Monday, 16 March 2009

Can we ever make the effort?

We had some new friends over last week for dinner (one Christian, their partner not...) and it turned into a fascinating evening.
Without going into detail that could prove embarrassing or the breaking of a confidence suffice to say that while facing a difficult life-situation the Christian was feeling increasingly drawn (perhaps understandably) to charismatic Christianity, especially that element that promises health, wealth and prosperity. While the non-Christian wanted to embrace a purely scientific/humantist route (again, quite understandably given their worldview).

What's my point?

Well, how can we ever get to a point where as a community of believers, we'll take the more difficult way of research and study of theology to get ourselves on a firm footing with this God we profess rather than the immediate 'satisfaction' of a I-want-results-and-feelings-NOW 'doctrine'?

I fully realise that I am rather caricaturing this dilemma, time doesn't allow the finesse of detail. The bottom line is, IMHO, that we live in an instant gratification era and so it is no real surprise that the Church has embraced this idea in the way that it views a 'relationship' with God. Is this inevitable though, or can anyone suggest ways in which we as individuals or as a Church community can take more time, care and effort over the faith we profess and not merely be at the whim of every theological offshoot of mainstream secular society?


  1. The 'prosperity gospel' only came to my awareness mid last year (how poor my knowledge of the Church is!), and since then I have had a deepening concern to challenge it and show it to be what it is, a self-satisfying replacement for the true dying-to-self gospel of Jesus and the Apostles.

    Why are these things so often accepted with little effort made to check them out carefully? Probably because that requires careful study of the scriptures, study which we are not willing to undertake anyway.

    How can we guard against this? By becoming people who read the scriptures together, talk theology together, and be responsible by making use of the vast body of literature produced by those who have spent their lives reading the scriptures and talking theology. The originators or popularizers of these bad theological movements usually show no awareness or interest in biblical scholarship. This is simply irresponsible.

  2. Couldn't agree more hermeneutica! There are, in my opinion, very few more pernicious 'doctrines' out there at the moment.