#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
It’s halloween: that time of the year where people “celebrate horror” while forgetting that some people like the refugees and war plagued countries are actually living in horror, daily. The issue up for discussion today isn’t why we should or shouldn’t celebrate halloween, it’s how we shouldn’t use halloween as a scare tactic to force people into the arms of Christ.
John Palowitz, in his article: Christians Shouldn’t Try To Scare The Hell Out Of People writes
Is this the best we can do? Is this really the heart of our faith story? Is this the way we want to invite people into a life-giving relationship with Jesus? Are we OK presenting faith in Christ as simply a way to escape eternal torment from God?
I’m not. I don’t believe we can scare people into loving God or that an uninformed, frantic, fearful knee-jerk prayer to avoid damnation is what this is all about.
Real love is never grounded in fear. It is never chosen to avoid damage. It never comes packaged as a threat.
I don’t think we should use dimly lit haunted houses or glorified rock show worship services to force an immediate decision. If someone’s faith is authentic, it will be chosen in the naked, natural light of day, without bells or whistles or bands or devils. Church isn’t a used car sale, and we shouldn’t be trying to close a deal, afraid of buyer’s remorse setting in. We’re sharing with people the good news of a God who adores them and invites them to respond to that love through their lives.
I believe the words and life of Christ are worth emulating and that His ways are worth walking in, but I refuse to cajole someone into doing so because they’re terrified of Hell. When it comes to relationships with people, real love is never grounded in fear. It is never chosen to avoid damage. It never comes packaged as a threat. We would never look at such things between two people and call it love—we would call it coercion.
I could not agree more. We drum up the scariest of messages during halloween and use the events around us to make people give their lives to Christ so they won’t burn in the lake of fire. Since when did that become the way Jesus drew men unto Him? Besides, the Lord loves Cheerful Givers. If they’re mumbling and grumbling when they’re bringing their hearts then of what use is it? If they come out unto the altar but they don’t really offer their hearts up to God and allow Him into their lives, then we’ve just wasted our time. Don’t invite God to receive something people don’t really want to give.
Don’t waste God’s time, say no to scare tactics.
P.S — Please don't forget to read the full article to get a better understanding of how churches use halloween to scare people into giving their lives to Christ! Also please be encouraged to share with us some of the scare tactics that you've seen or heard pastors/ministers use. Reach out to us via social media using the hashtag #SayNoToScareTactics