A rant about Happy Shiny Salesman Preachers
Because sometimes I need a good morning rant.
Here's the scoop, with a tasty sprinkle of sarcasm:
If you wanted to promote yourself, sell your books, sell your brand of feel good -God wants you to be rich religion what do you do?
Here are my suggestions....but apparently the most "unfluential"
First, appeal to people's basic greed.
In our natural hearts we have an insatiable lust for more. More wealth, more prosperity, more success, more health....more fame. Promise people that their wildest dreams with come true if they come to Jesus and they will come, by the thousands. They will enthusiastically embrace the incarnate God of the universe as their own personal VLT token.
Assure people that they deserve it. This will seductively play into their natural religious and moral pride. Sell them a vaguely Christian version of karma. Everyone wants to feel in control of their own destiny. If they send their money to the guy on tv , do some good deeds, and smile a lot...God will owe them whatever their sinfilled, corrupt little heart desires. You deserve it after all. Don't worry about anyone else....just show the world by example how an "abundant and victorious" life should be lived. After all Jesus hung on that cross so you could have a Bentley...and a mansion on the hill. You will win others to Christ purely by their jealousy of your money. Inform them that all they need to do is chant the holy name of Jesus, live by a basic code of ethics, and they could be this "blessed too". That was God's ultimate plan all along....he wants you to be a shiny, happy, chipper, positive thinking, self made man. Kind of like Jesus...oh wait...scrap that.
Lastly, Give daily tidbits of advice on how to live their best live now. Keeping them addicted to ill informed anecdotes and advice about nutrition, health, finances, and the power of positive thinking will help everyone feel like a king's kid. Assure them that they have the power to make themselves good people. They should impress God enough that he'll open up the coffers of heaven....or at least they'll open up their wallets to buy more of what your selling.
Whatever you do don't let people find out that "God doesn’t get things done through spiritual pick-me-ups, but through death and resurrection."
Self improvement advice is so much more palatable than preaching uncomfortable things like death to self, cross carrying, and sacrifice. It certainly won't win you a spot on Goodmorning America or a page in Forbes magazine.
If you don't sell Jesus along with an appealing inheritance reward package what are you left with? Just Jesus. After all, leading people to a life of humble repentance and surrender, accurately teaching people the Word of God, ministering to the hurting with the truth that Jesus is sufficient...that Jesus is the reward...just doesn't quite have the same level of pizzaz and stage sparkle. I suppose you could try adding some jazz hands and a little tap dance to the end of your biblical exegesis just to give it more stage appeal.
Preaching that the sacrificial, radical grace giving, bloody, God glorifying, gospel of Jesus Christ is central and sufficient for both salvation as well as sanctification just wouldn't do.
Using the Bible as more than a feel good recipe for moral and successful living probably wouldn't sell very well either.
Preaching about the reality of our wretched totally depraved condition before a holy God just doesn't make people feel like the winner's they know they are. Preparing congregations for suffering, loss and trials ....well they would rather hear 3 simple steps to make all their problems disappear.
If you don't deceptively scratch their itching ears and tell them what they want to hear, who will? I'm sure satan doesn't already have that one covered.
A little something to think about.
Do we know to the depths of our spirits the all satisfying depth, breadth and beauty of the true gospel of Jesus Christ? Or are we being charmed by something else?