Becoming All Things to All Men to Save Some
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may gain more. 20 And so to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those under the law I became as under the law, though I myself am not under the law, that I might gain those under the law. 21 To those without law I became as without law, although I am not without law toward God but under the law toward Christ, that I might gain those without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 But I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
24 Do you not know that those who run in the stadium all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore, the way I am running is not aimlessly; the way I am aiming my blows is so as not to be striking the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
What did Paul mean by becoming all things to all men? Christians are humble in their efforts to share the Good News with all people, not prejudging them based on their race, culture, or background. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) While this is true, no church should adopt any changes that would violate Scripture, nor would they water down their values and standards merely to please the world. Of course, we do not want a standard of behavior that would exemplify the mindset of this world. However, we would not want to speak, behave or dress in such a way that exemplifies the world of humankind that is alienated from God.
Keep in mind that, even though Paul said, “I became as,” so that he might become all things to all men, so as to save them, he never became anything that would be contrary to God’s will and purposes. A good/bad example of this would be the modern day Christian heavy metal bands, who by all appearances, is just like the worldly ones. Such bands are nine parts world to one part Christian. Can we imagine young Timothy, Paul’s student, and traveling companion, being a member of Stryper, Vengeance Rising, Deliverance, Believer, Tourniquet, and P.O.D? Much of modern-day Christianity, has become like the world in their misguided attempt to evangelize the world. They are nine parts world to one part Christian. This so-called evangelism is an excuse for loose conduct, i.e., an excuse to be worldly under the guise of ‘saving some.’ While we are using a hyperbolic extreme example here of being like the world, to save some out of the world, which is complete foolishness, there are many other minor to major examples within modern day Christianity. Jesus used hyperbole, which is to over exaggerate to emphasize a point, but sadly, in our day, we do not need to over exaggerate because our example found in these so-called Christian metal bands is a reality.
The solution is not to partake of the table of demons or be like the world, so as to save some. The solution is to train church leaders in evangelism, who in turn train the churchgoer in evangelism, so that they can use all facets of reaching the people, including metal fans, white supremacists, and yes the Black Lives Matters followers as well. Papa John’s is different than a Christian owned business in that they are literally trying to please all people so as to be politically correct. Whatever way the wind is blowing this is the way of their ships (worldly businesses), even if it is contrary to their value system.
A Christian business like Chick-fil-A will serve any customer because they are merely providing a service to humanity. However, if they are asked to provide a service that would mean they actively participating in anything that is contrary to God’s moral values, they would refuse. If a white supremacist walked into Chick-fil-A, he or she would be served. However, if they were seeking to have Chick-fil-A cater a racists gathering, this would be crossing the line.