Monday, May 30, 2011

Cobourg Alliance Church cancels a Sunday service in order to support a secular charity

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; I Peter 2:9

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:1-4

Cobourg is a small city in southern Ontario. As reported on the home page of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada:

The entire Cobourg Alliance Church recently attended the annual MS Walk instead of holding a traditional church service. "The decision to mobilize the church came as a way to help and serve the community", said Pastor Andre Turcotte. Five members of the church have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Despite unfavourable weather, over 250 members of the congregation particpated in the event raising over $20,000. The reaction of the community, particularly the unchurched, was one of awe. They heard countless stories of individuals touched by such an act of service. Prior to the event, Pastor Turcotte's sermons for three weeks were about service and sharing Christ's love. This church service was just the beginning of numerous opportunities for Cobourg Alliance Church to serve the community and share the love of Christ.

Ah yes, yet another example of the Peter Drucker/Rick Warren-influenced "transformation" of evangelical churches into community social service centres. The reader will notice that there’s nothing distinctively Christian in participating in a run for a secular charity--and that the participation in the charity event took place not in addition to, but instead of the Sunday church service. What about those members of the church who preferred to support a different charity, or--perish the thought--would rather have engaged in the distinctively Christian activity of attending a church service on Sunday? Will they be encouraged to seek their Christian fellowship elsewhere? I don’t have a problem with individual Christians supporting secular charities if they so desire, but I do have a problem with Christians and churches equating "serving the community" with assembling to worship God and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As for the reaction of the community, the community loved the Lord Jesus Christ when He performed miracles for them, but they turned away or became hostile when He began teaching doctrine.

Another thing that annoys me about this: Why is it that charities that use walks and runs as fund-raising activities always hold them on Sunday mornings when church services are taking place? There was a time when these events wouldn’t have been permitted on Sundays because even the secular law regarded Sunday as a day of rest. There have been several occasions in recent years when I’ve been prevented from going to church because the roads have been blocked off because of a run or walk for some frivolous charity. Why aren’t these events held on Saturday mornings? Could it be that holding them on Saturdays might interfere with Mammon-worshipping activities such as going to shopping malls?

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