Last Sunday the stadium of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was filled with people watching, listening, and hearing a message from the Bible.
Pastor Greg Laurie delivered the message in a well-organized event called Harvest America. I was able to watch the live feed on Twitter from the Harvest website. Here are some of my thoughts.
The first impression
I have experienced several crusades from Harvest throughout my life. This crusade wasn’t much different. However, I did notice a bigger push to use technology than previous crusades.
I guess that’s why millions of viewers watched this event online. The most of any crusade. I don’t have the statistics, but I would guess that the majority of these views came from the United States.
This was due to the buzz surrounding the event which focused on revival in America. The message, on the other hand, focused less on revival and more on salvation.
Discerning the message
When it came to the message, there were verses used out of context. In one part, Laurie says we have a hole in our heart. A hole that cannot be filled with anything except God. Then he goes on to quote a verse which says, “God has placed eternity in our hearts.”
In a nutshell, Laurie was saying God will satisfy our emptiness by placing hope or eternity in our hearts. The red flags in my head immediately went up. I checked the Scripture reference. It came from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.
After reading the full chapter I found that “eternity in our hearts” means ignorance in our hearts, so we cannot understand the full knowledge of God. I get what Laurie was saying, but the verse was way out of context.
The good preaching
Although the whole in the heart teaching threw me off a bit, I still heard many valid truths. For example, Laurie said that “immoral and moral” people need Jesus. This was a good point, especially in reference to the Nicodemous passage.
Just because you are moral doesn’t mean you are good with God. In other words, not all good people go to heaven. This, I felt, was his strongest point. He also mention how “You can’t be a Christian unless you are born again.”
I think this was aimed at today’s culture. Many Americans claim to be Christians. Many people claim to be many things. Sadly. But to be born from above or to be born again is the real message of salvation.
Weighing the good from the bad
The event itself was well thought out. It’s amazing how many people can connect to one event now. There’s definitely potential in technology if we use it right.
Overall, I heard many relevant claims about the Gospel, but they lacked biblical context to back them up. I think this is one of the pitfalls of Christianity. We boost in verses but often take them out of context.
At the end of the message Laurie said, “Eternal destination rest on [our] decision.” I believe eternity rest in faith through grace and not in our decisions alone. Also, I somewhat disagreed with Laurie when he called people to make decisions for Christ. Isn’t that the Father’s job?