August 30, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Another great post by Carman Niesley on his blog. This is another example of the mindset of the western Church, and the way in which the structure fails to meet the social and spiritual needs of the every day man:

Speaking of abundance, I wonder if individual believers are only following the pattern that the western church has set forth in lavishing good things upon itself. Jesus told a parable that addresses the prevailing consumeristic attitude of the western church.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells of a rich man whose land was so productive that he had no more room to store his crops. In a quandary as to what to do, he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. God called this man a fool because he laid up treasure for himself, not being rich toward God.

The rich man in this parable bears a striking resemblance to the prosperous church that says, "We have more than what we have room for. Therefore, we'll build bigger facilities to accommodate all that we are taking in."

In a comment, I asked Niesley about the difference between the goals of a rich man (be fat, lazy, and greedy) and the goals of the rich church (more people?), and wondered if drawing in more people using marketing tricks and the such was really that bad. His reply:

Your use of the word "fat" reminded me of an experience Juan Carlos Ortiz relates in his book, "Disciple," concerning the church he was pastoring.

"The Holy Spirit began to break me down. The first thing He said was, 'Juan, that thing you have is not a church. It's a business.' I didn't understand what He meant.

'You are promoting the gospel the same way Coca-Cola sells Coke,' He said, 'the same way Reader's Digest sells books and magazines. You are using all the human tricks you learned in school. But where is My finger in all of this?'

I didn't know what to say. I had to admit that my congregation was more of a business enterprise than a spiritual body.

Then the Lord told me a second thing. 'You are not growing,' He said. 'You think you are, because you've gone from 200 to 600. But you're not growing - you're just getting fat.'

What did that mean?

'All you have is more people of the same quality as before. No one is maturing; the level remains the same. Before, you had 200 spiritual babies; now you have 600 spiritual babies.' "

Wow. And that's exactly what we see today in the western Church. In my town, there are literally dozens of churches on every road, and yet I don't see the social needs in town being met. I don't see the churches taking care of orphans and widows, and reaching out to the homeless community, or the foster-care community. I just see more churches, with more people getting lazier and fatter, physically and spiritually.
np category: theology


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