By Wayne Harmon
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
The Church Growth Movement (which I will call CGM for the purpose of this article) is stripping churches of the Gospel. Grace has been replaced by Greed.
There are many books, organizations, seminars, devotionals, inspirational calendars, and other merchandise ad naseum devoted to CGM.
Churches dedicate whole weeks to studying the latest books on this subject. They spend more time reading, studying, teaching and discussing men’s opinions and ideas than they spend on the Word of God. Men’s words are quoted more often than God’s Words. The people in these “churches” are propagandized about the importance of “community” and “submission to authority”.
Those who disagree are called “rebellious”, and if they don’t submit to the “leadership” then, horror of horrors, these “leaders” are forced to invoke Matthew 18 and exercise “church discipline”, ejecting the disruptive elements from the congregation lest the “unity of the Body of Christ” be compromised.
Excuse me. I have to go vomit now.
Sorry about that. Where were we?
If you took out the “christiany” words, like “church”, “Body of Christ”, and the plethora of Scripture verses quoted out of their contexts, you would be left with a plan (dare I say “plot”?) that reads much like the methods used by fascist tyrants to rid their countries of those who dare to oppose them by either word or deed. (No, I’m not suggesting that all churches are led by “fascist tyrants”, but many that are led by insecure, self-appointed, false shepherds who use a perverted “gospel” for personal gain.)
In your typical CGM church the people in the congregation are required to take some type of test to determine their “spiritual gifts”. They are then given “ministry opportunities” within the church in keeping with their “giftedness”.
It is interesting to note that most of these “ministry opportunities” are actually jobs that any other business would pay to have someone do. Under the disguise of “ministry” and “spiritual gifts”, these “churches” are getting much of their work done for free.
Child care, security, grounds maintenance, janitorial services, secretarial services and food services are all services that normal businesses have to purchase. This is good for the economy, because each of these services creates a job, adding to the health of a community. However, in the CGM “churches”, these jobs are expected to be done for free, but it gets worse.
Along with taking the “spiritual gifts assessment” and being placed in “ministry”, the members in many of these organizations are required to sign a “covenant” promising to give 10% of their incomes to the organization.
These organizations, claiming tax-exempt status as “churches”, are now saying to their members, “Give us 10% of all your incomes, and we’ll let you work for us for free.”
Can you imagine a business getting away with that?
There is little or no emphasis on the Cross of Christ. The rough-hewn, blood stained Cross of the Crucifixion has been replaced with the cold smoothness of a religious decoration.
The message of the Risen Christ has been replaced with slick glibness of a salesman’s tongue.
The mission statement for one of these “fellowships” reads as follows:
“We are a family church. Our mission is to create an environment of worship, reach out, teach God’s Word, equip and encourage, connecting people to possibilities.”
This is verbal cotton-candy. It looks like it has substance, but when you try to bite into it, there is nothing there. Drop out or replace the “christiany” words and phrases, and this could be an ad for an online dating service.
These organizations don’t seek to comfort the afflicted. Rather, they take great pains to avoid afflicting the comfortable. Conviction is avoided, repentance is neglected, and troubled lives continue unchanged.
Copyright 2017: Wayne Harmon