Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pastor Says Frightening Preaching No Longer Converts Sinners

How many times have you heard a pastor's desperate plea encouraging the unsaved to turn from their lives of sin or burn in hell? Although they have good intentions, this turn-or-burn approach may rub sinners the wrong way.

Family and Religion contacted the Reverend Teddy Jones of the Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS) and pastor of Shalom Missionary Church to have him shed some light on the issue.

"I am indeed familiar with that particular approach to evangelism. It was very popular in the '80s and early '90s," explained Jones.

"I have a big issue with it. I think it amounts to psychological manipulation, and I do not think it is an effective method of evangelism today. During the time when it was being used, it [was effective], in that a number of persons were pretty much scared, so they made a sudden decision."

The reverend told Family and Religion that though some of these persons are still walking with the Lord, most people who make a decision under that kind of preaching tend not to last.

"This is so because their decision was not thought out and just like with persons who made decisions when there was the whole millennium bug [scare] at the turn of the century, many of the promises were shortlived," he said, adding that following Jesus is something one needs to think through, count the cost, and then make a decision.

Pastors and their saints who endorse this type of evangelism clad their messages with scriptures of the Bible.

Revelations 21:8: "The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers ... . Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur ... ."

And St Matthew 25:26: "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

These types of scriptures and those emphasising the promised weeping and gnashing of teeth that await the sinful are heavily used in an attempt to win souls for the kingdom.

"I believe Hell and Heaven are real, and the scripture is clear on that. However, I think that when the turn-or-burn approach is taken, persons make a decision simply because they want to go to Heaven," the reverend said.

"They operate out of a utilitarian perspective, that is, what they can get out of it. So it becomes all about walking on streets of gold and inheriting the mansion in Heaven. Their decision isn't based on a desire to have a relationship with God. It should be that you want to serve God because of who you understand God to be and not what you can get. Your decision should be based on the realisation that you want to serve Him and embrace salvation in Jesus Christ, whether there is a mansion or street of gold," he said, adding that not wanting to go to Hell or Heaven should not be the main deciding factor.

Jones said many people who make a decision in such circumstances have very shallow commitment.

He said: "It seems to me that that is one of the reasons we have so many persons in church today who will not do anything for the Lord and who are just content to sit and make up numbers."

The director of recruitment and admissions at the JTS told Family and Religion that he believes the turn-or-burn approach no longer has any impact on the unsaved.

"It has lost its frightening power. At best, it may stir the emotions, but not enough to make them want to leave their life of sin," explained Jones.

The CCJ: The Role of the electorate

In light of recent disturbing developments with regards to the politicization of the CCJ debate and the exploitation by the Justice Minister of homophobia to gain support for the debate and establishing the court as our final one I decided to post this entry here.

CCJ may unite church and state 

You can follow the more pressing matters on Gay Jamaica Watch HERE: Justice Minister exploits homophobia to gain CCJ support

Dr Paul Ashley, political analyst

The CCJ debate in the Senate is in full swing: lots of distractions,drama, and rhetoric but woefully devoid of substance.

We have expressed our discomfort with the decision of Jamaica’s final appellate resting solely on the vote of one Opposition Senator “exercising his conscience” and being anxious to be on “the right side of history”.

One of the key elements is the role of the citizens (not their elected representatives or their appointed agents) in the making of this decision. On strict Constitutional terms there is none.

The Constitutionalist:

The PNP Government has decided to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ as Jamaica’s final appellate court

The severing of ties with the Privy Council requires only a simple majority in both Houses. The government of the day has such a majority so that is a relatively simple exercise.

Both our Supreme Court and our local Court of Appeal are “entrenched”.
The UK- based Privy Council has stipulated that the replacement of the Privy Council (which was not entrenched in our Constitution) should enjoy the same level of protection (read entrenchment) as our Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

The entrenchment of its replacement—the CCJ or our local final appellate court ----- requires the 2/3 majority in the case of the plainly “entrenched” plus a referendum for the “deeply entrenched” in addition to certain specified time periods.

The PNP Government is not into “deeply entrenchment” but mere “entrenchment” as stipulated by the UK- based Privy Council.

Should citizens have a say?

There is the view that to put such a “sensitive” matter to the public would expose the Judicial system to the vagaries ( and vulgarity ) of politics. Somehow this would “politicize” the matter—a somewhat dishonourable and ignoble exercise.

“We commit to a Constitution that is truly grounded in the will of the Jamaican people and pledge that, as soon as
possible after the General Election, we will seek consensus to pass the legislation required to achieve the main elements of constitutional reform that have so far been

 These include:
• A Jamaican Republic headed by a Jamaican
• Substitution of the Caribbean Court of Justice for the UK-based Privy Council and
• An updated Charter of Rights to reflect current thinking on human rights

Before taking effect, we will ensure that these constitutional changes are submitted to the Jamaican electorate for their approval.”
[Source: People’s National Party Manifesto 2007 Chapter 1; Constitutional Reform, p8] 

That commitment by the PNP represented a reversal of its position as highlighted by the Jamaica Observer in an article “Now PNP says it will put CCJ to referendum”, Friday, August 10, 2007

“The People's National Party (PNP) has made an about-turn in its position on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), promising to put the issue to a plebiscite within the next five years as part of other proposed changes to the Constitution.
The commitment is outlined in the ruling party's manifesto which it launched last night at The Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston.”

[their emphasis]

This commitment was given by a PNP government now headed by Party leader and Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller and represents a departure from the stance taken by the PNP government under former Prime Minister PJ Patterson who, “had stoutly resisted calls by the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and rights groups for the CCJ to be put to a referendum.”[emphasis added]

It can be argued that the commitment was conditional on the PNP being elected to form the next government as the general elections were to be held on August 27, 2007. The PNP lost.

Some questions:

Did the PNP Government “politicize” the issue by reversing its position and including a commitment to involve the Jamaican electorate as soon as possible after the General Elections?

Was that a blatant vote catching exercise?

Was the substitution of the Caribbean Court of Justice for the UK-based Privy Council an agreed element of the constitutional reform?

What must be made of the fact that the PNP in its 2011 Manifesto seemed to revert to the original stance taken by PJ Patterson?

“We will also complete the long journey of de-linking from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal and fully embracing the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice.”
[Source: 2011 Manifesto of the People’s National Party p39]

No mention of:

1) the will of the Jamaican people;

2) seeking consensus of that which has been agreed;

3) submitting constitutional changes to the Jamaican electorate for their approval.

Is there any merit in the argument that the PNP, having "politicized" the issue in its 2007 Election Manifesto, sought to "de-politicize" the issue in its 2011 Election Manifesto?

Does any of this really matters as only a tiny portion of the electorate has read the Jamaican Constitution and/or any Election Manifesto?


also see:
Lawyers' Christian Fellowship's hypocritical stance on CCJ but keep Buggery Law!

PM scolds gay-rights protesters in New York ........ challenges truthfulness of Homophobic Claim

Justice Minister reiterates his personal position on the Buggery Law, Anal Intercourse, Consent & Privacy

Portia Simpson - 'Uncouth behaviour of others to make me look less than polished'

When did anyone ask for gay marriage rights in Jamaica when we can't get basic tolerance ....

Opposition Leader sides with antigay groups on Referendum on The Buggery Law 2014

No Buggery Law Removal says Justice Minister, Gay Marriage parachuted in yet again May 2015

Vaz Says Constituents Stand Firm Against Homosexuality

also see: Holness Dithering On Homosexuality from 2011
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