By Lewis Willis
On the left, I have reproduced a copy of a newspaper ad from The Daily Record (3/9/90), in Wooster, Ohio. There are several things about this ad I want to note. I have long been of the view that some religious practices can be recognized as error more quickly, if reduced to their most absurd form. Perhaps that is the case regarding this ad.
It should first be observed that a “Church of the Savior” would never be involved in anything remotely resembling what is advertised. The true, New Testament “Church of the Savior” exists by divine authority and acts only when empowered to do so by “book, chapter and verse. ” There being neither for such a practice as advertised, we know that the church placing this ad is not the “Church of the Savior.” Thus, we all know what this is — actions of another false religion!
It appears that this “Sunday Night Live” concert is a play-on-words, based on the famous television series, “Saturday Night Live.” The T.V. program is supposedly “funny.” And, since this activity is a blend of music and humor, the Chapman’s must plan something on that order. Perhaps on another night they could have some people come in and do a take-off on the Cosby Show. Or, have a group come in for a performance based on Happy Days. Or, have a group come in and do a performance based on M.A.S.H. When the team performs surgery, let the local preacher be the patient. Perhaps he could learn to “cut-out” some of the foolishness.
This couple proposes a “candid discussion of family relationships.” I assume the discussion would be from a biblical point of view. However, if they are unable to see that the church has no business trying to compete with the entertainment industry, how confident could one be that they know what the church needs to learn about family relationships? If they do not know the Scriptures for one, what causes us to think they know the Scriptures for the other? Possibly they can “laugh” their way through their lack of authority for such nonsense.
Still, I guess the thing I have most difficulty with is a church charging admission to its activities. We are seeing more and more of this in religion. At first, it was fees for Bingo. Then, admission was charged for dinners. Some churches even conducted drinking and gambling festivals which involved additional charges. One wonders how long it will be before you have to buy tickets to attend the worship of these churches. I bought a ticket not long ago to some kind of entertainment park, I have even forgotten where it was, but once inside, each exhibit visited required that the ticket be punched. When you had used all of the spaces on the ticket, you were through until you bought another ticket. I suppose a church could do something like that. You could sell a general ticket to the worship, or, several different tickets for individual activities. Maybe you could just make individual charges for everything and you could bill it to Visa, Master charge, or American Express. In order to get a jump on this idea, I have started preparing a price list for this new approach to religion. You must understand that I have not yet developed a marketing strategy for this idea, so my price list is very preliminary. But here it is anyway:
Use of Songbook $ 2.00
Use of Pew Bible $ 2.00
Partaking of the Lord’s Supper $ 5.00
Lord’s Supper (Family Plan) $12.00
Bible Class $ 3.00
Bible Class (Family Plan) $10.00
Bulletin $ 1.00
Tracts (each) $ .50
Tracts (bundles of 5) $ 2.00
Baptism (clothes provided) $20.00
Counseling (one hour at building) $10.00
Counseling (one hour at your home) $15.00, plus $ .24 a mile
As I told you, this is very preliminary. I can imagine that my brethren will want to help me considerably in the formation of this price list. However, I think I shall charge my brethren $8.50 per suggestion.
I was just thinkin’ we could adopt this growing trend of modern religion and start charging people admission fees to the activities of the church. Or, we could content ourselves to raise money through the contribution of godly members who are following the guidelines for such which are set forth in the Scriptures (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8-9). Those who regard the authority of God’s Word will find this sufficient. Those who do not care what God does or does not think will probably continue with their ungodly activities and fund raising. Let us pray that the church will not stumble in this matter.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 12, pp. 365, 376
June 21, 1990