Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dog and Pony Show

<< Ray, I don't believe dog-n-pony shows should be mixed with the Gospel. "Vain jesting" and the like derides the solemnity and seriousness of the state the Lost is in . . . Light shows, magic tricks and comedy acts have no place with the Gospel>>

I’m not sure of this brother’s past experiences. Perhaps he has seen some horrible pulpit humor or some distasteful youth-group pranks, mixed in the with message. But I have to make a defense, so that others wont be discouraged from legitimate and biblical ways to reach the lost. His words were in response to me using sleight-of-hand to relate to six young people, or maybe it was in response to something I shared earlier about having someone stand beside me and blow up a latex glove, and then I bursting it to illustrate how our lives are like a vapor that vanishes in an instant. Is such a thing a “dog and pony show” or is it biblical? Throughout the Old Testament the prophets of God would take clay vessels and smash them, or use wineskins and other objects to enforce their words. Jesus asked for a coin to make a point. He could have merely said that Cesar’s inscription was on the coin, but He had one brought to Him. People are more likely to remember something if they see with the eye, as well as hear it with the ear.

I also think that it’s biblical to begin a gospel message in the natural realm. Nathan spoke of a lamb when he addressed David. Jesus spoke of water with the woman at the well, and Paul quoted secular poets as he preached open air on Mars Hill. Lambs, water, and poetry were used as springboards for the message, but some of the things we do in the natural realm have nothing to do with the message. They are merely ways in which we attract a crowd. Once they gather, then we swing to the subject of the things of God. One way we often do this is to ask the crowd trivia questions, and give prizes to those who get a right answer and Giant Money tracts to those who get the answer wrong. The gifts create good will among the hearers and make it easier for them to listen to us. Some may not like to do this, but we do because we like it when 100-150 gather and then stay for an hour and a half and listen to the gospel.

I have a dear friend who is extremely funny, and is part of “Clean Comedians.” He makes people laugh (something strongly encouraged by Charles Spurgeon--“I sometimes tickle my oyster until he opens his shell, and then I slip the knife in.”) and once they feel comfortable, he then presents the Law and the blood of the cross.

So never be discouraged from being innovative and of making sinners smile. Follow the example of a good doctor who takes a moment to make his patient feel comfortable, before he gives him a sobering diagnosis, and then presents the cure. Other doctors may criticize him for such trifling . . . but he knows that he does it because he deeply cares about his patient.