Monday, April 11, 2011

"I never knew you..."

Skye Jethani reminds us that God is not a means to an end — even when the cause is good.
.... We can all agree that using God simply as a divine vending machine to provide us with the American Dream, as consumer Christianity teaches, is wrong. God is not a means to an end. He is the end. But what about using God as a means of solving world hunger, growing the church, or constructing a sense of self-worth and value? Could such activist Christian tendencies be equally flawed? Might activist Christianity also reduce God to a useful device?

We pastors have a tendency to over-correct the error of consumer faith and instead make evangelism or justice the center of our life rather than Christ. We [are] essentially exchanging one error for another, albeit a more admirable one. As Tim Keller says, idols are “good things turned into ultimate things.” ....

Consumer Christianity is a pandemic in the American church, on that I agree. But a prescription of radical activism is not the remedy. It robs people of their joy, burdens them with guilt, and fails to draw people into a passionate communion with Christ. And we should remember that one of the most disturbing statements of Jesus is directed at those who nonetheless accomplished great things for him:
On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
[more]
Skye Jethani: Redefining Radical (Part 1) | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders