The denominational world has degenerated into a glorified social swirl. They pretend to stimulate spiritually while making their basic appeals to the humorous and fun-loving natures of their members. There is little compelling about their preachers. Many are constantly searching for new gimmicks and gadgets to hold the interest of the people. All the recreational ideas, promotional persuasions, and social schemes are aimed at just one thing: to keep their folks happy.

The shame of it all is that the Lord's church is beginning to copy after them! A perusal of the many bulletins that cross my desk each week show a continued growth in the idea of keeping the people happy. Attendance, contribution and general interest seem to be the main problems. There is less and less Scripture being preached and more and more picturesque speech. Some would think the church is a medium of social functions, rather than a "soul-saving society." A Bible-filled Scripture-quoting, gospel sermon might be a rarity in some of our pulpits. Not only would it be unique, but elders of some churches have made no effort to hide their criticisms of gospel preachers who "quote too much Scripture."

"We've got to hold our young people" is the password of this movement. As if such a desire opened the doors to anything, just so long as the young people's interest is held!

What an insult to young people! To think they have to be coddled and pampered and appealed to as if they were ignorant and unlearned in the truth! All too often, these same young people are embarrased by such shenanigans of the oldsters, and in reality, are far stronger in the faith than the older ones!

When shall we realize that the gospel needs no gimmicks? It is God's power to save and would we imagine that God needed any changes that man might invent? We have long preached that the denominations are mistaken when they substituted the ideas of men for the plans of God. How consistent are we when we change the basic appeal of the good news of Christ to some social or recreational tug at the fun-seek- ing nature of man.

Let's have no gimmicks and no gadgets. Let's offer no apologies for the frank appeal for men to save themselves from this crooked generation. Let's offer a frank, true-to-the-Book stand.

Let's quit this silly appeal that the "church needs" the erring and negligent and tell them the truth: THEY NEED THE CHURCH AND THE SALVATION OF CHRIST! Why beg them to do what they in reality do not want to do! Let's stand for the truth; teach it lovingly; and expect men to either get in or get out!

By Roy H. Lanier, Jr.

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