by Scott Smelser
I think it works better than radio, better than autodialers, better than showings of Jule Miller videos, better than mailing out a bulletin, better than Dial-a-Bible-Reading, better than debates, better than cable TV.
What is it? It's brethren not being conformed to the world.
If a church is made up of people who understand 184 current and past issues correctly, but their lives do not show superior conduct, servitude, and holiness, don't expect an autodialer, computer, printer, broadcast antenna, or cable outlet to compensate for the failure.
When church members think like the world, dress like the world, talk like the world, and chase money and status symbols like the world, it is the world that is winning them, not the other way around.
When church members are selfish, egotistical, arrogant, and shallow, then they are not in a position to help the world to a higher plane.
If our families are splitting up, our children are dropping out, and our homes are little different from our neighbors then our "light" gets rather difficult to notice.
But if people learn self-denial (Luke 9:23), learn submission to God and care for our neighbor (Matthew 22), learn to be servants (John 13), learn to be content (I Timothy 6:8), learn to invest in family (Titus 2:5; Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6), and learn to clean out the inside of the cup, not just the outside (Matthew 23), then bright lights will shine.
"Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ... having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that ... they may glorify God" (I Peter 2:9-12).
"Present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God ... and be not fashioned according to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).
We are not called simply to know some things different from the world -- we are called to rise above the world, and to "be holy" (I Peter 1:15). And when people become that kind of light in the world, they become great evangelistic tools in God's service.
And it will far exceed the effect of debates, radio, TV, and mail outs.