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Yes, We Have No Bananas

Consider this for a moment: On this past Wednesday, April 11, the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, built a 600-foot long banana split.

It seems now that churches are in a competition to see who can devise the most ridiculous gimmick to draw people into their assemblies.  They are sliding full-speed ahead down the slippery slopes (probably now paved with banana peels) they started long ago when they first lured people to their churches with worldly appeals.  As the old gimmicks become worn-out and stale, newer and more sensational tricks are required to maintain what they have begun.

It is said by those who promote themselves in these ways that such marketing is necessary to bring people to the Lord.  They say it draws attention to their particular church, gives them a place in the community, and creates an opportunity to spread their message that they otherwise would not have.

Are we to believe that the word of God cannot reach people through New Testament preaching unless it is marketed with worldly appeals?  Or is it that some, not willing to accept the full message of the gospel themselves, peddle an impotent, watered-down message disguised with worldly packaging that is designed to draw the masses?

The truth is that the pure gospel of Christ never did attract everyone, or a majority, or even a large minority.  Yet when preachers in New Testament times failed to attract people with the preaching of the gospel, they did not alter their message or turn to some worldly appeal to draw people to them.  All they offered was the glorious power of God for salvation through the gospel of Christ, and of that they were not ashamed (Rom. 1:16).

The world is the same today as it has always been, so the unchanging gospel still does not have a broad, worldly appeal.  Jesus knew that this would always be the case when He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

However, many are unwilling to accept the narrow way of Christ and the few who find it, so they create their own broad ways to draw the masses.  They believe that they can bring people in through the broad ways of entertainment and worldliness and then somehow funnel them down into the narrow way of the Lord.

These efforts based on worldly appeals simply will not work.  It is like feeding a child a mound of candy while hiding a sprig of broccoli in the middle.  Do you think that the child will suddenly like broccoli just because it was covered in candy?  Do you think that if you take the candy away the child will want the broccoli?  The point is that Christ is what lost sinners need, and we must appeal to them only through Him.  Just because many do not want Christ as He is, it does not give us the option to recreate His image into one they will accept.

Do not be deceived by the appearances of success based on popularity and the masses of people who respond to worldly attractions.  Popularity is not a measure of whether a church is pleasing to the Lord or whether they are preaching the message of salvation.  Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).  Jesus lost many disciples Himself when, after feeding the five-thousand, He refused to feed them again.  Instead, He taught them the difficult truth about Himself which they refused to accept (John 6:26-66).

Therefore, the Lord’s church must not be lured into the worldly practices that are common in the world about us.  So, yes, we have no bananas, nor do we have rock concerts, movie nights, bingo games, or any other ridiculous gimmick that may draw the world’s attention for an hour.  All we have is the gospel of Christ, which is all that the Lord gave to us to call the world to Him (2Thess. 2:14).  It is all that we shall ever need.

Stacey E. Durham



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