Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Churches Mix Faith, Football

inthenewsEvery month we get a copy of The Christian Chronicle delivered to our mailing address. It always makes for interesting reading, though it is disconcerting to see how steeped in liberalism many churches have become.

A few weeks ago we wrote an article on the subject of the “social gospel”, noting the fact that the paper was reporting on high school football as a part of the ministry of churches of Christ. I thought the article showed the upper limits of absurdity until I read an article in the October 2007 issue entitled, Churches mix faith, football, by Erik Tryggestad.

Tryggestad reported (favorably) upon various churches that are using football as a means of accomplishing spiritual gains. Note the following examples:

  • The Pleasant Valley church in Little Rock, AR, Has for the last 10 years had a Bible study at the church building each Monday night during the NFL season, before grabbing snacks and watching the game on a projection TV. The coordinator indicated it was a way “to ensure participation in something. What better than football?”
  • The Springfield Gardens church in New York City sets up two giant, fan-blown lawn decorations (Giants and Jets), and send out flyers inviting the community to watch the games. They serve food and drinks during the game. The minister said, “The food and football have led to conversations about faith the non-members. We’re waiting for God to give the increase.”
  • The church in Hurricane, WV has a youth devotional on Superbowl Sunday before showing the game on a big-screen TV in the church auditorium. (Remember, the Super Bowl is always held during the time that is normally reserved for evening worship). It is admitted by the minister that the devotional is attended mainly by members, and it is ineffective as a tool for evangelism. To quote the article, “But such get-togethers provide fellowship opportunities and allow members ‘on the periphery’ to build relationships with fellow Christians, he said.”
  • Perhaps the most egregious example of this silliness came under the article heading, “Fantasy League Evangelism?” To quote the article, “A number of Churches of Christ use the country’s growing obsession with fantasy football as an opportunity for outreach.” The minister identifies it as a form of what he calls “affinity evangelism” and advocates using it, other sports, and hobbies such as scrapbooking, reading, fishing, gardening and other hobbies as a means of “introducing Christ to non-Christians.”

Really, where will it all end? The Bible clearly reveals that the gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). It’s futile to try to become like the world in order to convert people out of the world. The fallacy of the social gospel (in addition to its being decidedly unscriptural) is the idea that you can bring people to Christ by appealing to them where they are! The way to conversion is to convict men of their sin! “Now when they heard this [the gospel], they were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37).