Rev. Dr. Paul Jinadu
Today, we have a Christianity made easy as an accommodation to an age that is unwilling to face the implication of Calvary, and the gospel of ‘simply believism’ has produced a harvest of professions which have done untold harm to the cause of Christ. How easy it is to live more or less in the enjoyment of God’s free grace, and yet not realize that we are called to fulfil a divinely appointed purpose. There is a kind of gospel being proclaimed today which conveniently accommodates itself to the spirit of the age, and makes no demand for godliness.
To me, one of the most disturbing features of present-day evangelism is the over-emphasis on what man can do, and I believe this to be the reason why we so often fail to get men and women to make the contact with Christ that is vital.
The average man is not going to be impressed by our publicity, our posters or our programmes, but let there be a demonstration of the supernatural in the realm of religion, and at once man is arrested.
I am disturbed by the attitude of the Church in general toward aggressive evangelism or revival. By evangelism I do not mean just an effort to get people back into the Church; this effort, while commendable, does not get us very far. What I mean is something much more: it is the getting of men and women into vital, saving and covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, and so supernaturally altered that holiness will characterize their whole being: body, soul and spirit. It seems to me that the time has surely come when we must, with open mind and true heart, face ourselves with unqualified honesty and ask the question: ‘Am I alive to my responsibility as a labourer in God’s vineyard?’
There is a power that is placed at the disposal of the Church that can out-manoeuvre and baffle the very strategy of Hell, and cause death and defeat to vanish before the presence of the Lord of Life. Yet, how is it that while we make such great claims for the power of the Gospel, we see so little of the supernatural in operation? Is there any reason why the Church today cannot everywhere equal the Church at Pentecost? What did the early Church have that we do not possess today? Nothing but the Holy Spirit, nothing but the power of God. Here I would suggest that one of the main secrets of success in the early Church lay in the fact that the early believers believed in unction from on high and not entertainment from men.
Entertainment in the church
One of the very sad features that characterizes much that goes under the name of evangelism today is the craze for entertainment. Here is an extract from a letter received from a leader in youth work in one of your great cities: “We are at our wits’ end to know what to do with the young people who made a profession of conversion recently. They are demanding all sorts of entertainment, and it seems to us that if we fail to provide the entertainment that they want, we are not going to hold them.”