Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Meditations: Secret Salvation

I have a confession to make. I keep my eyes open during altar calls. I don’t mean to be disobedient but I have a good reason for it. I learned pretty early in my career as an altar worker than keeping your eyes closed may not always be the best thing to do. Unexpected things happen when you’ve not looking. Unfortunately, that practice has crippled me when I’m not working the altar. When the preacher is telling everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes, I normally still have one eye cracked.

I understand why this practice of closing our eyes and bowing our heads during the invitation to Christ has gained popularity. We are living in a very PC world and sadly that has infiltrated the church. God forbid we embarrass people while their accepting Jesus. I’m sure the practice makes it unbelievers feel better knowing no one sees them raising their hands, but I’m not sure that’s the best way to bring people into the Kingdom of God. It’s a contradictory start to their walk with God.

Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:16:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

It can’t get any clearer that God intends for us to be seen. The imagery of the city on a hill and a light on a stand that Jesus uses shows that we should have high visibility. But we come into the Kingdom under the cloak of secrecy. That’s a little paradoxical, isn’t it?

Another reason I don’t like this practice is because I want to meet my new brothers and sisters in Christ. All believers make up God’s family. How crazy would it be for a woman to bring a baby into the world and hide the baby away from the rest of the family? That’s what I feel like the secret salvations do. We can't love on the babies in Christ because we don’t know who they are.

And they need love. They’ve made the most important decision in their lives. They will leave the church a changed person going back to their old lives. New believers may even question what happened to them, thinking that nothing really happened. They need some fellow believers to assure them that what they are experiencing is real. They need us to properly welcome them and benefit of being a part of a family. This will help them start to build relationships in the Body of Christ.

New converts need us to gather around them and coo and tell them how cute they are. Hard to do when you’ve got your eyes closed. What do you think? Do you think new believers should secretly come into the Kingdom or should we openly welcome them? Whatever your position, make it a point to welcome new Christians into the family when you do see them. Love on them and tell them they won’t regret the decision they’ve made.

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