WHAT’S THIS?


            On my television were three sports commentators. The one on my right was a black man, a former athlete, who was immaculately dressed with coat and tie. His cohorts were similarly dressed. As this man spoke I found myself wondering, didn’t he know that the way to win the public’s respect was to shed the tie and leave the collar unbuttoned? Evidently he hadn’t been observing these modern day preachers. I suppose these preachers think that a coat and tie makes them appear starchy to this present generation and is a “turn off” unto them. Thus I see them up in front of the audience wearing their suit or dress trousers and sport coat but no tie and the collar left unbuttoned. The Apostle Paul said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” But I wonder just how far Paul would carry this.

            I recall, back when the miniskirt craze first started , this preacher telling of this pretty young lady in her miniskirt vigorously witnessing to the lost. When she was criticized for immodest dress, she responded that if you are going to win them you have to get in there with them. The preacher said, “I hope she doesn’t start working with prostitutes.” I wonder, if the lost people of this world quit brushing their teeth and using mouthwash, are we Christians going to run around with stinking breath and rotten teeth. I recall, that when the Beatles let their hair grow long, it changed the hairstyle for men drastically. And of course Christians and Christian ministers fell right into line. Who is following whom?

            Now, lest I be misunderstood, I am not suggesting that a coat and tie is necessary Christian attire but it never ceases to amaze me how people come up with all these off the wall ideas about how to attract lost people and win them to Christ. We used to advocate being neat and clean, well dressed, as it was thought that first impressions were important. Of course, usually the first thing people notice about you is your appearance.

            God had a job for Moses to do and so God stuck him in Pharaoh’s palace for 40 years and then put him on the back side of the desert for another 40 years to prepare him for the task. Did it take 40 years or the entire 80 years for Moses to learn to leave the tie off and his shirt unbuttoned? God’s task for the prophet Elijah included hiding in the wilderness, being fed by ravens, and watching his brook, his water supply, run dry. Then He sent him to live with a widow woman and her son. It was three years of exciting adventure! Kindly endure my sarcasm but I don’t know how else to express it. Of course Elijah was the man God selected to declare to King Ahab that there wasn’t going to be any rain or dew until he said so. Then after about three years of drought Elijah was sent to confront the King, destroy Jezebel’s priests, and bring rain. But then we know Elijah never was pastor of a megachurch so we probably shouldn’t pay any attention to him. Besides, due to a lack of pictures of him, we don’t know whether he had a coat and tie on or not.

            While people were going to hell, the Apostle Paul spent three years in the desert, and then several more in exile in Tarsus. But when those years were completed Paul had his head on straight, his doctrine sound, his theology counted as dung, and he was ready to serve God effectively. It seems he never did give any instructions about neckties and unbuttoned collars.

            G. C. Bevington spent several days inside a hollow log being fed acorns by squirrels before God used him to bring about mighty revivals. I suppose he was allowed to loosen his tie while inside that log. Of course he never was pastor of a giant church either so we can probably discount him.

            A lot of prayer went up and soul searching was done before God sent a mighty revival that began in Hughes Auditorium on the campus of Asbury College in February 1970. It then spread across the land and around the world. Of course it would probably have been much more effective if we had only been wise enough to take off our ties and leave our collars unbuttoned.

            Well perhaps I have beaten that horse long enough so let’s move on. I know that the primary objective of true Christians is to get to heaven and to use their Christian witness to influence as many others as possible to make that heavenly trip with them. But in this “instant” age we don’t have time to follow the example of Moses, Paul, Bevington, et al but have a quicker, easier way, thus no tie and unbuttoned collars. It seems that many have detoured from endeavoring to get people to heaven; we want quicker results, and are more interested in straightening out our society, nation and the world. Lots of luck! While our focus, as Christians, is to win people to Christ, whereby they miss hell and make their eternal abode in heaven, it yet follows that the more people who are won to Christ the more restraining influence there will be on evil in our world.

            Now we have megachurches. I am told to qualify as a megachurch requires at least two thousand members. Some have many more than that. I only have one question; with all these thousands of new Christians, why is our nation, and world rapidly decaying from within? Shouldn’t the righteousness of all these Christians improve our world? Christians according to Jesus are the salt of the earth. Something has gone wrong somewhere! Oh, I know what it is – all these “Christians” were not attracted by Christ but instead by no ties and unbuttoned shirts.

            Whoops!