Thursday, August 23, 2007

Does This Line Up?

I saw these words on a church sign today on the way home from the library:

"No perfect people allowed. Come just as you are."

But what about these words found in Matthew 5:48...

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Perhaps the church sign is a message for non-believers, letting them know they are welcome. But I go to church every Sunday. Do I need to stay un-perfect so I will be "allowed" in? If I remain un-perfect, then visitors will feel more welcome. Is that the point?

Is church for believers or unbelievers?


  1. Perhaps it was written for unbelievers who feel guilty because they feel like that they have to be perfect before they come to church. Therefore, many do not want to go to church because they feel like they have to be right with God first. Jesus came to save sinners unperfect people.

  2. I agree, He did come to save sinners! I know that's probably the point of that sign, BUT...If we are "marketing" to unbelievers, how else are we changing church for them? Should we be changing for them? And I don't think it stops there. I have heard people say, "Come on in. None of us are perfect either." Really? So what hope does that leave the unbeliever? "Come on in and remain imperfect--just like all of us!" And if that's the case...then why does scripture tell us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect?
    I'm just asking...

  3. Believers are called to go and make disciples. Go. That is the operative word. I think the church building is for everyone, but it is mainly for believers so that we may be fed and taught on how to go and make disciples. I believe churches today are moving away from that, making the church experience much like the world, so as to entice non-believers. Great, that is wonderful to get non-believers to come to church, but that shouldn't be the main objective. Followers go to church to learn to serve and make disciples so that once they know how to do so, they can GO and do what God calls them to do.

  4. I have to disagree with that sign also. It seems churches today are more concerned with making people feel comfortable, rather than letting the Spirit have the lead. If what they find inside the church is the same as what they had out in the world, then they've been deceived.

    Great topic, Brenda!

  5. Hmm.
    I find the sign comforting to believers and nonbelivers alike.
    No, the church should not "market" to unbelievers, but the Church as as whole has in the past "marketed" the idea that you have to be perfect to go to church, and so people are not willing to try it out because of that.
    Once inside the church, it shouldn't be a place where people feel "comfortable", but there's a fine line of conviction and grace.

    I don't see anything wrong with the sign. There is truth to it, after all, in that the Lord came to save sinners like the above commenter said.

  6. Thanks for the comments, Ladies.

    OK, can I change the sign a bit? How about if it said, "You don't have to be perfect to come to church--come just as you are!"
    And then, when they are saved, they must be taught and they must grow and change.
    And do you think there can be perfect people in church?

  7. I think this points to a larger problem, which is basically that there IS no distinction between the church and the world. I mean, sure we have our "Christianese" and perhaps a special dress code that everyone who is a member knows is acceptable.

    But it would be difficult to tell, due to church gossip, judgmental attitudes, and critical spirits, just who the Christians are and who the non-Christians are if you lined them up and were blind and could only listen to their speech.

    I know this is a total side issue- it just got my brain to working about how truly imperfect we ALL are.

    Interesting sign, though... on the point, I think that too many churches are designed for the unbeliever rather than for the believer. Music is the hippest, most catchy stuff the worship leader can find. Kids' times are all about kool-aid and hand motions. Sermons are often served up like cookies on the bottom shelf... where ANYONE can reach them! But where is the meat? What is the believer who wants to grow and go deeper to do in a world of churches stocked with cookies that are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator?

    Good questions- good thoughts. Glad you brought this for our consideration!

  8. The Church is for believers. The problem is that churches today are soooo "seeker friendly" and focus on reaching the lost. While Christians ARE to reach the lost, the Church is for believers. It's where we are to come together for fellowship, for teaching, for encouragement, for the breaking of bread. Things are SO messed up today with churches thinking that they need to change to make church more appealing to the lost. It makes me sad.

    Mrs. U

  9. Interesting topic. I guess I'm a few months late to this, but here's my two cents. Brenda - I too am dismayed by the lack of serious thought that goes into how we "market" church to unbelievers. Our focus is so much on unbelievers that we fail to put everything through the filter of scripture. It did my heart good to see that you fact... do just that. You tested the sign to see if it was consistent with God's word. If you do that consistently, be prepared to be criticized for "judging".

    My wife and I are currently wrestling with a decision to leave our church for this very reason; Scripture is no longer the basis for all words, thoughts and actions. The end (seeking the lost) has justified the means (minimizing the place of Scripture in the church). I challenged my pastor to indicate where in scripture it says that church (as a opposed to a body) should be catering to unbelievers. He cited Acts 17 where Paul preaches the "Unknown God" sermon to the Athenians. I could scarcely believe that my pastor was serious. Paul was speaking in a public square to unbelievers. This was consistent with Jesus' message to "Go." However there is a significant difference between an apologetic example and an example of what we are to do in church. For that I look to Paul admonishing Timothy to "Preach the season or out of season." That is the solemn duty of a preacher. Sadly our churches have bought into the culture and tried to become "inoffensive" to unbelievers. God's Holy Word has been butchered and ignored in the process.

    The church has lost it's distinctiveness, and "But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?" (Matt. 5:13) It cannot. "It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

    It tears me up to see God's Word diminished WILLINGLY by those who profess to call on the name of Christ. Meanwhile our brothers and sisters in Africa, China, et al. are literally killed in their quest to hear and possess the Word. It is no wonder that God has largely abandoned America to it's own lustful ways. We have a form of Godliness without the power.

    True repentance and revival has never come, and will NEVER come without strong, thorough, preaching from God's Word that brings painful recognition of sin to the hearers.

    Where are the men of God who will stand up and deliver this message?

    Well...those are my thoughts. We can all be praying for just such a revival of accurate Biblical preaching. It's our only hope.

    Kevin - Dillsburg, PA


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)