Showing Respect Persons

"For there is no respect of persons with God." [Roans 2:11] "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:" [Acts 10;34]

These are two of at least 10 passages that speak of God having no respect of persons. So it is normal for the scriptures to command, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." [James 2:1] The underlying principle is there is to be no respect of persons. On Saturday afternoon I had a conversation with a lay leader in a church of of about 1200. He told me that at one time they had two services, one traditional and one contemporary. The traditional service was running about 250 - 260 but they needed more room for the contemporary service so they told the people in the traditional service they had a choice adjust to the contemporary service or leave. He went through a whole lot of gymnastics trying explain a Biblical rationale for what they were doing. This is not the first church where this has happened. I was at a conference in NY when a pastor from PA said that's what they did in his church.

The message I received is that those who favored the tradition style service and where over 40 were not wanted because the didn't fit into the church's emphasis on youth and contemporary style music. After I got home, I realized the real problem. It is respect of persons. One group counts and one group doesn't count. One group they respect and one group the have no respect for. Spin it any way you want but this philosophy violates the very nature of the God we worship and violates the very command of God not to have faith with respect of persons. What happens when the definition of contemporary changes and these people no longer fit into the philosophy of targeting the 18 - 40 age group? As long as there numbers are bigger than other groups nothing but as soon as another group shows greater potential, they are history just the group they replaced. My concern is not traditional verses contemporary but the underlying rationale based upon pragmatism and the concept of throw away Church Members.

The new philosophy of church ministry that focuses on one segment of society at the expense of all other segments of society fails to realize the gospel message is for all people not some or a certain segment of society. John 3:16 says: "for God so loved the world..." not just the 18 -40 age group. Churches can spin their ministry anyway they want but until all people count they are out of step with God and His Word and one day they will be held accountable.

A previous article "Church and Change" will give you a background for this post.

PS Respect of persons is called discrimination by the world. Look at the news and see the flap that occurs when businesses are accused of discrimination. How much we have become like the world. The wrong people are being changed.

Suggested Reading Material 3 books by Gary E. Gilley

    1. This Little Church Went to Market

    2. This Little Church Stayed Home

    3. This Little Church Had None


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