Once upon a time as a student, I was taught the use of appeal by advertisers to lure customers to a product and the types of appeal varies. There is sex appeal where girls are used, dressed sexily to attract men to a product. I remember the fear appeal that tends to bring fear to the customer, unless he or she uses a particular product or stops the use of a product. Health organizations for instance can use the fear appeal to promote the dangers of cancer and others. They can use it to also sell their products. eg ‘Malaria kills’ use Zayzeequin to treat yourself’.
Now, let’s talk about churches and the use of appeal. Love appeal versus fear appeal. The church basically is where Christians go to fellowship together and worship God. There are some who think that the church is a place only for the saved. How wrong. There are some church workers who would be uncharitable to some people, because they feel those people are not holy enough or are too worldly.
I remember an old episode of Desperate Housewives. Lynette Scavo went to church after the hurricane that almost destroyed all their lives. And she raised her hand in church to question the reverend. Bree Hodge schemed to make sure Lynette never returned to her church, until her reverend told her he found Lynette refreshing because of her questions.
‘Soul Winning Out Where The Sinners Are’, a book by T. L. Osborne said it all. He said that we Christians should take the church out into the world where the sinners are because we have made the church into a kind of temple that is intimidating to the ones we are supposed to be bringing into the presence of God.
Most times than not we have preached fear instead of love. Fear and love can actually make people do the right thing, but while one will be out of respect and sincere love, the other will be out of obligation because of fear.
I got thinking about this yesterday while driving down in a taxi in Ibadan. I saw a banner that said ‘Unending Punishment for Sinners’. It made me wonder. If I wasn’t born again and I am being preached to that unless I repent I will burn in hell for eternity, I doubt I will be convinced to accept God.
Love is magical. God is love. He loves you so much that He considered you worthy enough to be redeemed of your sins by sacrificing His only son for you. And forever the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, will cover you. Forever you have access to God because by the blood you have been bought.
We are mandated to preach the gospel throughout the nation. Not all of us can evangelize, but we can preach our beliefs and the Christian principles by the way we live our lives. Enough with the use of fear, in with love because that is who God is. He is love, and when that message sinks in, sooner than later, we will realize why we must fear Him, afterall, He is the Almighty.
This whole fear thing ‘Unless you repent, you will roast in hell’ should not be an opening for the unbeliever. It portrays God as wicked. The church is home for the unsaved. Where is the love?