Ok, so here goes our first sign post (no pun intended). This first sign is from about 7 miles down the road from where I live and just to let everyone know. I don't know the folks who attend these churches, nor do I know their pastors, so these different blogs are not an attack on them personally. However, I do want to simply ask questions and maybe think a little for myself about what the church is actually trying to accomplish with such signs.
I snapped this photo on the way home last week. I haven't been able to post and so finally, a week later, I am able to post. This comes from a four square gospel church. The sign reads, "Come out of the heat, the church is cool." Now if this showed up on a Reformed Baptist Church sign, which I don't think it would, then I might be inclined to believe that it really had something to do with the air conditioning. However, I want to ask a few questions: (1) What did the church mean by putting it up? (2) What do Christians think it means? (3) What do people who are unregenerate think it means?
I am sure that someone was just being clever in the church and once it was up the pastors, in this case a husband and wife (I know, it's unbiblical, but I'm not addressing that here), probably saw it and thought it was great that someone actually took the time to put the sign up and thought it neat. Many words were probably spoken about the sign as well and people might have gotten a smile from it. However, I do believe in the modern era, that the church would want itself to be cool. I'm not talking about an air conditioning issue, I'm talking about a Fonzie-Happy Days issue. Too many churches desire to be considered "cool" by the world's standards. They take the passage from Paul, "to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)" We see that with the whole Purpose Driven Church movement and with the diminishment of doctrine and the increase of services that are simply for entertainment (singings, puppets, drama, etc.). While many may have good intentions, we all know what those are: good intentions, and the path to Hell is paved with them.
As a Christiain, I simply chuckle, but deep inside I am grived that churches think this is somehow clever. They take the incredible treasure that they have been given, the incredible title that they hold (the bride of Christ), and the holy God of the Scripture and His Son Jesus Christ and put that message on a sign in such a way that it diminishes the beauty of the holiness of God and the value of His truth. The church is made to look somewhat like a harlot rather than a spotless bride as she tries to give a siren call to those outside the church and lure them in by appealing to their flesh. The call for air conditioning is an appeal to the flesh and the call for a "cool" social club is as well. Jesus never did these things but always spoke of a cost involved in following Him. He was one who did not look to appeal to the flesh with how cool He was or how cool His followers would be. Rather, He constantly warned those who would follow Him that it could cost them their lives because of how un-cool the world would view them. Christians should never promote the idea of being cool in following Christ. Christianity is not that which puffs us up, but which, when properly understood, should humble us before God and men.
What do the unregenerate think of the sign? Well, I can't tell you that, but I imagine that they really don't pay it much attention. They may not even realize what is going on or they may simply see it with the air conditioning interpretation. Either way, I don't get the idea that the man apart from Christ will come to the church because of air conditioning. Nor do I think they will think it is cool to come to church, unless of course he hears that the latest Christian rock band is playing and there will be a bikini clad woman and a corvette raffeled off at the next bingo game. Needless to say, we should really consider what we are putting out to the world when these signs are posted. May God grant wisdom to those who do to refrain from such things.
I thought I would add one last thing: it is ironic that a message speaking about the church being cool is posted by a church named "Faith Ablaze".