This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If You Build It, They Will Come (Part 4)

Should we use build-it-and-they-will-come methods as long as they work? Here's my third response:

My personal goal is to follow Christ. i want to learn more and more how to follow His teachings and examples. Part of that involves not merely imitating His goals, but also His methods. Did Christ teach or behave as though the ends justify the means? Was He willing to adopt methods as long as they accomplished His goals even if those means were questionable? Did Christ build His kingdom using questionable methods? Or methods which catered to bad values in people? In other words, did He ever try to capitalize on people's bad appetites to achieve His own ends (even if those ends benefited them as well)?

Consider in John, that He fed a huge crowd of people a meal, but when it was obvious that they simply wanted to stick around so that He'd give them another free meal out of thin air, He didn't do it. He could've, couldn't He? Couldn't He have kept giving them miraculously produced food over and over again in hopes that they would eventually stay for the right reason? But He didn't. He didn't cater to their greeds.

Did Jesus or Paul or Peter (etc.) ever use something simply as an 'attracting-device' in order to get people to show up to their sermons? i honestly can't think of an example in the Bible that could be construed that way.

Again, i don't mean to oversimplify these matters at all. We can ask in each case, given a particular church and a particular new idea, whether or not they are catering to people's greeds; and the answer may very well be 'no.' But i have raised a fuss about it, so obviously i think there are churches using the build-it-and-they-will-come that are, in fact, catering to what's bad in themselves and unbelievers as a means of growing numerically. (And i'm not certain of it, but i'm at least suspicious my own congregation might be doing this sort of thing.)

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