I remember for the first time seriously considering the advice at a type of church growth conference or a leadership development conference I attended. The advice that we attract more flies with honey than we do with vinegar has been around for decades, maybe longer. Where this may be true in the fly kingdom and flies everywhere would like us to continue promoting this belief, I began to question why we use such a metaphor? What are we saying about the Bible when we say something like that? What are we saying about Jesus? What are we saying about the church? These types of questions have lingered in my mind for over a decade.
Let me first define my issue. When it is all thought through and considered it is for me an issue of the sufficiency of Scripture. Meaning that I have had to answer a question that leaves most of us uncomfortable. It is what some might call a “Crisis of Belief.” Do I believe that God will do what He says he can and will do. Am I going to respond as Abraham and Sarah did when the Lord told them that the two of them would have a child? I think they believed God wanted to do this, but they were obviously going to have to help the promise out.
Have we somehow done a similar thing with the promise from our Lord when Jesus told Peter that the gates of Hell will not prevail or when Jesus said that He would build His church? Have we become so enlightened that we dare to make such godless declarations that we can attract more flies with honey than we can with vinegar in relationship to the Lord’s Church? What do we even mean by that?
When a church, who is responsible to preserve the gospel, looks to another source to accomplish her duty she has begun to slide down a slippery slope that we have been warned of from Scripture. (Most all of the epistles warn the church to be careful, even to the point of contending for this truth.) It appears from history that the church has been in this fight from the birthing of the church in the book of Acts. The apostle Paul is engaged in this battle with passion and clarity.
Don’t we have a huge responsibility? The gospel is at stake. I am not at liberty to handle this gospel with such commonness. I am responsible to deliver it rightly today and preserve it for any generation to follow. What kind of church would I want to be part of? What kind of pastor do I want to have? Do I want a church that prefers methods of the secular world over Scripture? Do I want a pastor who will use ‘honey’ to attract a crowd or do I want a pastor who will be bold enough to actually use “vinegar?” As for me and this church we will choose the latter.
I say to the post-modern, world embracing, honey spreading church as Moses did to Pharaoh; “Let my people go.” May the Word of God be enough for you and your church.
adapted from an earlier post: Honey or Vinegar? August 2, 2011