And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. - Luke 2: 10-11 (ESV)
I truly do not expect any better from false preacher Paula White. How can you expect anything from a woman who once claimed God told her that 1Chronicles 22:9 meant that you should send her $229? It amazes me that anyone would even take her seriously to begin with but then I am reminded that God warns us that people will gather for themselves teachers to tell them what their itching ears want to hear. That God wants you rich. That this is your best life now. That you are destined to reign. That if you go to church this week you can win a free flat screen television! I came across this year's Christmas advertisement from Paula's new church, "New Destiny Christian Center", located in Apopka Florida. Was the draw the manger nativity scene? Was the focus on the birth of one who would die for our sins? If you thought so then you have not been paying attention to Paula White all these years. There is no mention of Jesus or His birth on the placard at all. What is promised is as follows:
1) Christmas service and concert featuring Jonathan Cain from the rock band Journey.
2) Free flat screen television giveaway at both the 9 am and 11 am services.
3) Take a photo with Santa in the lobby at both the 9 am and 11 am services.
If you are wondering how Paula convinced a former Journey band member to perform for her Christmas services you should be aware that they are married. Jonathan Cain is her third husband, clearly defying Scripture when it comes to the basics of pastoral qualifications. Putting that aside, how sad is it that any pastor would think the best way to draw people to a Christmas service is with gimmickry and carnal secularism? This is the new normal beloved for the church today. This is why the great apostasy is well underway within the walls of churches across this country. These three things are the only things mentioned on the advertisement, in this order. So to celebrate their Sunday Christmas service, her husband rocker gets top billing. What does the Bible say about that?
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. - James 4: 4 (ESV)
Today's church does not only wish to be friends with the world, they seek to be relevant to it. Ask any mega church pastor and they will admit it is the center piece of their church growth strategy because it is at the heart of the Purpose Driven Church model. Bill Hybels removed all of the crosses from his church because the unsaved found them offensive. They are supposed to be offensive to those who are perishing! Rick Warren canvassed the unsaved neighborhoods and found that they really wanted music that entertained them so out with those dusty old hymns that actually praised God and in with the smoke machine driven drivel you see today that is passed off as worship. Listen, I like Journey. I saw them once back in 1986. That was at Madison Square Garden though, not a church and certainly not on Christmas. The only thing today I don't want to stop believing is in Jesus Christ. You know, the guy who Paula White had no room for on her advertisement. How Christmas-y ironic. Second billing went to the lure of winning a free television. How sad. The Bible warns us specifically about valuing the trinkets and baubles of this earth:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rustdestroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6: 19-21 (ESV)
Where is Pastor Paula laying up treasure for those who may come to hear her this Christmas? Is this ambush Christianity? Lure them in with the chance of winning a free goodie and then slap them with the Bible while you have them? The church is supposed to be the church so that people will come there seeking Christ not a free television. Is Paula White even aware that this is the day that Jesus Christ was born (ok not really but the world thinks so)! It reminds me of when Jesus had fed the 5000 and shortly thereafter He started to draw larger crows following Him. But they were not drawn by the teaching and wisdom. They were not drawn because of a sincere desire to repent. They were drawn back by what originally drew them - a free lunch.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." - John 6: 25-27 (ESV)
Paula; do not offer the television that rusts and fades with time but offer the Savior that transcends time! Jesus calls out those following Him and lays the truth right into their wicked hearts. They were only following Him for the food. It was like someone had told them they might get a free flat screen television so they showed up to hear what this Jesus guy had to say. Christ cuts them to the quick and later in this same chapter the multitudes walked away when the teaching got too tough. The lesson should be stark for us today. Whatever you draw people with is what you will need to continue to give them to keep them. If it is free televisions and rock concerts then only giveaways and entertainment will keep them. Try bringing up the true meat of the Gospel and they will walk away:
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. - John 6: 66 (ESV)
One of the saddest verses in the Bible teaches us that not everyone who says Lord Lord is in it for Jesus. Every Sunday people are drawn like moths to the false light of modern evangelicalism. Promises of a God who encourages greed. Promises of a God who doesn't care about our sins. Promises about some supernatural purpose that rewrites the Bible into a story about us. The problem is that eventually the real light of the world will shine on their lives and drown out the false one they have been living under. They will either come to penitent faith or turn back and walk with Him no longer. The third and final billing for Paula White's Christmas services is none other than Santa Claus.
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." - Mark 7: 8 (ESV)