Friday, June 16, 2006

McLachlan on Succeeding Miserably

This is from Doug McLachlan's chapter on "Hindrances to a Balanced Fundamentalism" in his book, Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism (p. 20):
For more than a quarter of a century, we have labored under the false assumption that bigness equals greatness and that success can be measured quantitatively. We are much more effective at counting numbers than weighing ideas. This is a form of secularization and an indication that we have bought into the affluence mentality of our day. We seem always to be thinking in terms of numbers, numbers, numbers! How much? How many? How big? This push has led to the disintegration of ethics in reporting statistics and represents a tragic failure to recognize that invisible spiritual growth cannot be accurately gauged by mechanical measuring devices. Moreover, it forms the ground of pragmatism which has invaded so much of Christian ministry. The trouble with pragmatism is that it works: it attracts large crowds. But under its influence, we end up "succeeding miserably" because we are not succeeding Biblically.

In many cases the result has been the development of a philosophy of ministry which revolves around a celebrity focus (the star of the show who attracts the crowd) who functions as a corporate executive manipulating and then discarding his people in his relentless advance toward statistical superiority. All too often, evangelism in this context has been reduced to humanism as the Spirit and the Word are set aside while the Gospel is packaged and marketed almost as though it were a plastic toy.

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