Sanitized Easter Sunday Invitations Have Megachurch Facing Hard Questions from Christians

Sanitized Easter Sunday Invitations Have Megachurch Facing Hard Questions from Christians

When ostensibly Christian churches suppress talk of sin and redemption while prioritizing peripheral objectives, other Christians rightly protest.

Alas, judging by its Easter Sunday invitations, Pastor Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, appears to have sacrificed Christianity’s essence while prioritizing the peripheral.

In an interview posted to social media this month, Nicki Shearer, digital content director for Elevation Church, explained to “The Pro Church Tools Show” how her church goes about inviting people to Easter services.

“I’m putting a lot of my focus, energy, time, resources toward what I would call the ‘cold audience.’ That’s people far from God,” Shearer said.

So far, so good.

But how exactly did Shearer address those “people far from God”? In short, she prioritized the peripheral.

“So I’m not gonna say the word ‘Calvary.’ I’m not gonna say the word ‘resurrection.’ I’m not gonna say ‘the blood of Jesus,’ right?” she explained. “I’m not gonna say any of these words that make someone feel like an outsider.”

The interviewer later asked Shearer to elaborate on the decision not to use the word “resurrection.”

“We’ll use that in church,” she said. “You’ll hear Pastor Steven say that. You’ll hear hosts say that from stage. Where we’re not using that is outside. … And that’s because ‘resurrection’ is not in everyday conversation. If you talk to someone who doesn’t know Christ, they are never going to say the word ‘resurrection.'”

Readers may watch the full interview below. Shearer’s initial comments on the use of language began at the 23:27 mark. Then, her “resurrection” explanation appeared at the 31:02 mark.

Shearer’s remarks elicited harsh criticism from other professed Christians on social media.

“Just another addition to the already massive list of reasons Elevation Church, Worship, and Steven Furtick should be marked and avoided as the wicked deceivers they are,” one X user tweeted.

“There is no salvation without the resurrection and the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:17, Hebrews 9:22). Run from any church like this!” another X user tweeted.

Without depicting Shearer as a monstrous blasphemer — she does not give that impression — we might properly question her approach.

She wants to get people into her church on Easter Sunday. Fine. But she believes that to achieve this she must avoid making anyone “feel like an outsider.”

How exquisitely sensitive and modern! Yet, one could scarcely imagine a more complete inversion of the Christian message.

As he so often did, legendary Christian writer C.S. Lewis diagnosed the precise problem here.

“The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin,” Lewis once wrote of his efforts to speak to nonbelievers about Christianity.

Crucially, one cannot overcome that barrier by watering down the message so as to get people in the church door.

“Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness,” Lewis wrote in the classic apologetic “Mere Christianity.”

“It is after you have realised that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power — it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk,” he added.

In other words, Christianity makes no sense until people feel like outsiders — like sinners who have alienated themselves from God.

Furthermore, if you will not tell me the most basic truth about my sinfulness when I stand outside your church, then why should I expect to hear the truth once inside?

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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