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More (Bad) 'Church Sign Theology'

You'd like to think that the stuff that appears on Christian church signs -- regardless of the denomination -- is actually going to express a basic tenet of the Christian faith.

At the very least, you'd like to think that the stuff that appears on church signs -- regardless of the denomination -- is actually going to make some sense too.

Is that too much to ask?

Well, we know better, don't we? For those of us who regularly listen to Table Talk Radio, we know how bad "Church Sign Theology" can be.

Case in point, boy, did I see an awful message on a church sign the other night! Here's the message that appeared on it and my comments on Facebook since I had to vent about it.

Church Sign: "God Wants Full Custody, Not Just Weekend Visits" 
What!?! SMH! So, we're supposed to view God as a "divorcee" in this awful analogy then? How does that work exactly? And if we're supposed to be the "innocent child" affected by their parent's divorce (since we're His children who He wants "full custody" of), then who is the other "divorcee" in this one if we follow it to it's logical end? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The World perhaps? Makes my brain hurt. Why don't Pastors think these through before putting them up in public? I mean, seriously. You expect me to trust that you can faithfully understand and communicate God's Word to me, and yet, you have trouble with a simple statement like this? Even my 9-year-old said, "But Daddy, God doesn't like divorce, right?" Right, little man. Anyway, I almost crashed the car driving home last night after I saw that one. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see what denomination it was. My guess is that it was some "Non-Denominational Community Church" knowing the demographics of the neighborhood it was in. Is that "scandalous" of me to assume something like that? No more scandalous than a Christian church putting up an un-Christian statement like that. Had a good discussion and teaching opportunity with the wife and kids who were along for the ride though.

To even consider making an analogy like this one involving divorce is absurd, especially when you consider all the passages of Scripture where God condemns divorce and expresses His hate of it (Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Ezra 10:10-11; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:3-10; Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:31-32; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Hosea 2:19).

Yes, of course, He forgives the sin of divorce -- no sin is outside of Jesus Christ's saving grace and atonement upon the cross. But we're not talking about that. We're talking about how idiotic many of these church signs can be and how often they butcher the holy Word of God like it's no big deal.

Sadly, nowadays, even the Christian church sign can't be trusted to faithfully express the truths found in Scripture. Why? Because the same false teachers who peddle a perverted version of God's Word at that particular church are often the same ones putting that perversion on full display for the public to see (and if it's not them, then it's one of the poor souls who are being fed a steady diet of this spiritual poison week-in-and-week-out). Pray for those churches, their so-called Pastors, and their congregants when you see a sign like that.

At the heart of this horrible trend in "Church Sign Theology" is an unholy desire to please man more than wanting to please God.

Hey, that's funny, because I remember reading something about that!

Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Now there's a passage that accurately describes this ridiculous business with the non-Christian views often expressed in far too many church signs across America today.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, the pursuit of the kind of humor and wit that only a pun can deliver has replaced the pursuit of truth that only faithful, sound Biblical exegesis can deliver. 

There's nothing wrong with fun, humor, and laughter, but these so-called Pastors at these offending churches are guilty of wanting to be "Ministers of Funny" as opposed to "Ministers of the Word" as they should be.

Please make sure you don't just trust whatever it is you're reading on church signs in your community and neighborhood. Trust, but always verify that it's consistent with God's Word (Acts 17:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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