Sunday, November 25, 2007

Placebos -- They Don't Work

Tract Text:

The dictionary defines a placebo as “a substance containing no medication and given merely to humor or please the patient.” Placebos have a legitimate purpose in today’s medical world. They are used in clinical research to test the potential of real drugs to provide real cures for diseases.

But what if you were seriously ill and your doctor prescribed you a placebo instead of the medicine that would cure you? What would you think of your doctor? Today, millions of people are prescribed a placebo and led to believe they are getting well, when in fact; they are terminally ill and drawing closer to death every minute. However, this placebo is not prescribed by doctors. It is prescribed by some pastors and professing Christians.

The placebo comes in the form of an easy-to-swallow message. There are many spiritual placebos being distributed these days. Here’s an example: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He longs to have a relationship with you, just the way you are. You’re a good person, but you have a God-shaped hole in your heart that only He can fill. Just pray a simple prayer and Jesus will come into your heart. Then, He will fix your relationships, heal your diseases, get you out of debt, and help you make the most of your life.”

If you have heard a message like this, then you’ve been given a placebo—a message intended to please you, but will do nothing to heal your disease. The disease is called sin and, without a cure, it is fatal. Examine yourself and see if you have any of the symptoms.

Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Then by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemer at heart. When you die from this disease (sin) and stand before God, He will find you guilty of breaking His commandments and sentence you to eternity in hell. But there is good news.

There is a real cure, and there is only one. God doesn’t want to send you to hell. So, He sent His sinless Son, Jesus Christ—God in the flesh. He took upon himself the punishment you deserve for your sins against God when He shed His innocent blood and died on the cross. Three days later, He defeated death when He rose from the grave.

So, what must you do to be saved? You must confess your sins against God, repent (turn away from your sins), and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, right now. Stop taking the placebo. It cannot save you. Repent and believe the gospel. It is the only cure and your only hope.

Matthew 7:21-23 and Mark 1:15

Why Publish This Gospel Tract?

Leon Brown, Alex Persegona, and I have published this tract (available through in a week to ten days) because we believe the fastest growing mission field in the United States can be found not in poverty-stricken areas; not in the inner cities; not in wealthy suburbs; not in redlight districts; not at the malls and the skateboard parks; not on college campuses, and not at Starbucks--although lost people who need Christ can be found in all of these places and others. No, we believe, sadly, that the fastest growing mission field is the "church" in America.

With more and more churches bent on entertaining lost people without proclaiming the truth of the Law and the Gospel; with entire denominations running head-long toward ecumenism and pluralism while deny essential doctrines of the faith, beginning with the gospel; and with the growing influence of the new gnostics and mystics of the Emergent Church Movement who also deny essential doctrine and embrace the post-modern, relativistic, and humanistic spirit of the age; we believe it is time to warn people that what many segments of the "church" in America advertise as Christianity and the gospel is nothing more than a worthless placebo that will only serve to mislead people to hell.

We are not publishing this tract because we are angry with the authentic Body of Christ. Rather, we are publishing it because we want to warn the flock of God that there are wolves in our midst--from pulpit to pew--that are preaching a false gospel and creating false converts. We want to warn people that there is only one Gospel that saves--the Gospel of the Scriptures. And we want to give people a tool that will help them to recognize placebo gospels when they hear them.

While we are confident that this gospel tract will be an effective tool in the hands of any Christian who has a genuine burden for reaching the lost with the Gospel, we also expect it might make us rather unpopular with certain segments of the "church." That is neither our intent nor our desire. But too many people die every day only to stand before God and have Him say "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" because they believed one of the many false gospel making their way through the "church" in American. And it's time to take a stand.

Stay tuned. In the coming weeks and months, Leon and I will let you know of where we will be putting this tract to good use. Some of the locations will surprise you. Others may not. Our hope is that you will join us in our effort to bring the Law and the Gospel to the mission field that is the "church" in America.

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