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Friday, April 02, 2010

texas church offers big prizes for easter

Bay Area Fellowship of Corpus Christi, Texas is planning an unconventional Easter service:

YOU are the next winner of The Ultimate Giveaway! That's right...With nearly $1 MILLION in prizes and giveaways, this Easter, everyone will win something at Bay Area Fellowship! And, wait...that's not all. Each service we're giving awayFREE FLATSCREENS, LAPTOPS...and CARS!!! Be here beginning April 1 (, this is no April Fool's joke). This is the real deal! No tricks, strings or fine print! Show up and let Bay Area Fellowship bless YOU this Easter!

Because on this holiest weekend of the year, it's important for Christians to come together for fellowship and a chance to win big prizes. The resurrection is nice, but free laptops are what the gospel is all about.

Honestly, this is cheap grace at its worst.

Pastor Bill Cornelius justifies the giveaway:

“We’re going to give some stuff away and say, ‘Imagine how great heaven is going to be if you feel that excited about a car,’ ” lead Pastor Bil Cornelius said. “It’s completely free — all you have to do is receive him.”

That is simply not the gospel of Jesus, who taught that following him could cost us everything (see Luke 14:25-35), who told one would-be follower to sell everything first (see Matthew 19:16-30), who said that we must deny ourselves if we truly want to follow him (see Luke 9:18-25), and who assured his first followers that they would be hated and persecuted (see Luke 21:12-17).

The claim that "all you have to do is receive him" is not the least bit biblical. Jesus never asked anyone to receive him. He told them to follow, to deny themselves, to leave behind their old lives. In return, he promised that they would be disliked by everyone.

That's far less exciting than winning a new flat screen TV. But if we want to claim the name of Christian, we ought to take Jesus' teaching seriously.

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