Friday, December 07, 2018

Churches Drunk on Earthly Power

Wildflower by our kitchen window.

 Richard Foster wrote a book called The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power. Tim Keller wrote Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters. John Piper wrote Living in the Light: Money, Sex, and PowerThe Big Three temptations in life are, arguably, money, sex, and power.

To quest after money, sex, and power is to desire the "world," as understood in Romans 12:1-2. Church leaders have done this, led their churches to follow, and in so doing have lost their way. Hence, the Consumer Church. The Entertainment Church. The Metricized Church. People-pleasing. Happy. The worship of Numbers.

I'm now reading The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus' Path of Power in a Church that has Abandoned It, by Jamin Coggin and Kyle Strobel. As the title indicates, their focus is on churches that have succumbed to earthly power, and how to walk in the power of Jesus.

When I began to read I found this book was delivering more than I expected. For example:

"In a culture drunk on power and in need of an intervention, the church has too often become an enabler. In many places, churches openly affirm the way from below. Instead of being told how desperately I am in need of God, I am repeatedly told how much God needs me. Instead of being exhorted to pick up my cross and follow Christ, I am told that Jesus wants to be my partner in the plan I have to rid my life of all struggles and challenges. We hear gospels of moralism, centering on my power to become a better person, and we hear sermons offering up God as merely another resource along my journey for successful and happy living. Sermons become pep talks amid a quest for power and significance. Instead of worship being an invitation to come before God in humble awe and reverence, worship becomes an experience meant to lift us above the travails of everyday life and give us a sense of transcendence. Instead of hearing God’s vision of redeeming all things in Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit, we hear of the pastor’s vision to grow an even bigger church that does bigger things so that he can be powerful and we can be powerful with him."  (pp. 14-15)


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