Sectual Preferences

inflationary theologyWhat I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; still another, “I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:12)

I feel sorry for those first century Christians with their paltry four options. Since then, we’ve steadily and relentlessly added to the original list of sectual preferences. Today there’s a religious poster child for every conceivable spiritual taste. A person can follow Wycliff or Hus or Luther or Calvin, Grebel or Knox or Smyth or Fox, Wesley (or Wesley) or Smith or White, Russell or Eddy or Parham or Holmes, McPherson or Hubbard or Sun (make that Moon), Wimber or Warren or Hybels or Hickey, McArthur or Copland or Schuller or Hagee. But why follow somebody else at all? With the government’s generous 501(c)(3) policies, you can easily set up your own movement and follow yourself—and get tax-exempt status to boot!

Poor Jesus with his “I am the way” bumper sticker. That he would assume we’d be content with one narrow road was a major miscalculation on his part. Yes, yes, yes. We appreciate the death on the cross thing and the God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives ad campaign, but that’s just vanilla ice cream; we like the Church of Baskin Robbins where we each can get our favorite flavors. The dim, whinny calls for Christian unity are hopelessly drowned out by the righteous marketing clamor of denominational distinctives. We may theoretically all belong to one body (though I can’t, for the moment, remember what body that is), but that’s for academics and sentimentarians to mutter about. In the real world it’s Darwinian devolution, religious entropy, factional proliferation. In the real ecclesiastical world the game of choice is Splinter Cell.

In his naiveté Jesus once prayed that his followers would be one. Nice thought, but we take our cue from a much earlier divine command: Be fruitful and multiply.

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One Response

  1. Go, Fred! Go, kids! Great job and good stuff.

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