For these churches and their pastors, anything goes so long as there is no explicit biblical command against it. They argue that if God can use their means and message to win souls, then why not use them? While I heartily appreciate their ultimate aim, simply because God can use something is not a biblically sound argument for it. For in all of history, we can observe how God has providentially worked around all sorts of sinful means in order to accomplish His sovereign ends. But the ends do not justify the means—unless they are the means that God has ordained.
The reality is that many Christians simply aren’t aware that God has provided the church with particular means for winning souls. In fact, for several years after I became a Christian, I was unaware that God had ordained that the church use such means to rescue souls, disciple souls, nourish souls, and restore souls. I first discovered these means during my freshman year of college. I was at a Ligonier Ministries National Conference and was a poor student, barely able to afford my required course books. I came upon a book on one of the tables in the bookstore that cost only four dollars. It was a white paperback book with a photo of the inside of a cathedral on the cover, and under the photo was the title: the Westminster Confession of Faith. I immediately read the entire confession and its catechisms and quickly realized that I had just discovered one of the greatest documents that had ever been written. My entire world began to change. I was in doctrinal shock, and I have never gotten over it.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism’s question 88 asks, “What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?” and answers, “The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.” That all sounds much too simple, I thought. But I soon realized that if God has sovereignly foreordained the ends of all things, we must trust Him and His ordained means to bring about those ends. We don’t need to invent our own means or borrow the world’s means to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We don’t need to develop our own cleverly devised tactics and schemes to rescue souls, disciple souls, nourish souls, and restore souls; we simply need to trust God to do what He said He will do by the means He has provided. To do otherwise is to suggest that we know better than God and to set ourselves as a higher tribunal over God. To use our own methods, means, and message, or to revise God’s appointed methods, means, and message is akin to playing God.