1 Corinthians 14
Any Princess Bride fans out there? There’s a scene in the movie where one character keeps using a word and another character says to him, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
There’s a lot of talk about whether churches should make their services more ‘seeker sensitive’ or ‘seeker friendly’. Believe it or not, Paul actually addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. And I believe his view is a resounding ‘YES’ to the question of seeker friendly churches.
However, I think our definition of seeker sensitive and Paul’s definition are vastly different.
Typically, a seeker friendly church service does anything possible to avoid causing guests to feel uncomfortable. We want them to come back, after all.
Here’s what Paul thought,
“If an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in…he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged…So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)
Understand that this teaching comes in a section of Paul’s letter in which he’s digging in to exactly how the Corinthian church should ‘do’ church services. He talks about speaking in tongues, sharing prophecies, and what an orderly service might look like. While specifics of church services may have changed over the years, I believe the principles that Paul is teaching remain true.
I’ve heard the opinion that in order to be more seeker friendly, churches should not mention the names of God or Jesus. The Bible may be referenced, but only generally because giving verse references may cause outsiders to feel…well, like outsiders.
How can God convict someone that they are a ‘sinner and will be judged’ if we aren’t clearly and boldly preaching the Bible?
Churches should be the most loving, welcoming, friendly places in a community. But there should be no doubt when entering that one is in a Christian environment, surrounded by people who live their lives by the instruction of God’s word.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could master the art of boldly yet kindly speaking truth? Maybe if we did, we’d have more visitors fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”