"CH CH. What's missing? U R!"
"Reboot your life. Jesus saves!"
"Give God what's right, not what's left."
"Hell is un-cool."
"Fight Truth Decay - study the Bible."
Is there no one in these churches that understands that this communicates nothing effective to those who don't know Christ? Reading in 1 Corinthians 14 this morning, Paul is addressing the priority of prophecy over speaking in tongues. He is explaining that it's much more edifying to the church to speak a word of encouragement or comfort than one that no one else understands but you. In verse 9 he explains that "if you talk to people in a language they don't understand, how will they know what you mean? You might as well be talking to an empty room."
Hey church! Are you talking to an empty room?
Many of these churches probably have great theological or cultural issues with the gift of tongues - speaking in a language that others can't understand. But when we attempt to talk in our "super spiritual secret decoder language"...aren't we doing the exact same thing? Who is it exactly that we're trying to communicate the Gospel to? Who is this message for? Did Jesus come to seek and save those who are lost? Are did He come to talk in special catch phrases to everyone in His club?
I know - prophecy is for the benefit of believers. But read on. Paul explains that even if "people who don't understand these things come...and listen...their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, 'God is really here among you.'"
As followers of Christ, what are we saying to those around us who don't know Him? What Gospel are we communicating? Because the Jesus I know and the Gospel that saved me and the depth of soul-changing that comes from the Word of God is way too important to trivialize on a sign or a T-shirt.
"I would rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language."
1 Corinthians 14