Thursday, July 8, 2010

Size, Speed, and Power

  • "It was the hypocrisy of religious-right political leaders quick (and right) to condemn big government and its corrupting power, but who thought that the big ministries and megachurches they were creating would somehow be immune to the same corrupting power."
  • "Size, speed, and power have become the ways the evangelical church measure God's blessing."
  • "But I do believe we have gotten to the point where it is fair to say this: many of the worse elements of the modern world - materialism, empire building at the expense of community building, and the accumulation of power and money - have become some of the most recognizable attributes of American evangelicalism."

Warren Cole Smith, A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church, (Colorado Springs: Authentic Publishing, 2008), 7, 40-41.

I just started Warren Cole Smith's book. It is interesting to say the least. I don't know if I agree with all of his points or if he even has valid solutions to the legitimate problems he sees. However, the book has provided some interesting things to chew on.

One of the things I have been pondering is the idea of size & power in the church. Now I am not against megachurches, but I do find it interesting that the fear of size in relation to the government does not translate over to the fear of size in the church. Many right-wingers love to gush about the need for government to be small enough to kill yet see no potential issues with a church being large, powerful, and at times without strict accountability. It is my belief that with size comes potential. Of course that potential can be used for evil - but it also can be used to accomplish greater things. A large government is no worse than a large church - it just depends on whom is in power, what type of accountability they have, and if they are using their size for the betterment of society. A small government just like a small church is not guaranteed any more success, hope, or effectiveness just because its size is smaller. The frustrating part in it all is the idea that Christians think they are immune to the same issues of improper spending, ill-use of resources, or abuse of power that the government often is guilty of. People are people. If one foot needs to be on the throat of the government, is the other on the throat of our large and powerful evangelical churches? If not - why?


Paula said...

I totally agree. I was at a women's FCA coaches wives Bible study this last week that touched on this very topic. I often wonder why we need waterfalls or some other fancy thing that shows up at church. I tend to judge it pretty quick. However, I do realize that as Americans, we like comforts and this may draw in more people. I also look to myself with all the "stuff" and comforts I have. Could I go a couple of days without turning on the air in the heat of summer?