Friday, December 04, 2009

A Most Disturbing Idolatry

I came across this article at Theolog, the blog of the Christian Century. It is titled "Salvation By Pastor Alone."

Whoo boy. Have I known churches like this. And they are not necessarily churches full of "bad people", per se. But they are, in my opinion, churches practicing a form of idolatry, and they can be churches totally unwilling to take responsibility for working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for taking on the ministry of the gospel. Which, last I heard, is not the sole responsibility of the person who is getting a paycheck out of all this.

Churches that do this can get into some disturbing patterns, including dissatisfaction with pastor after pastor as no one fulfills their fantasy. Or, they can actually become vampire-like, in the way they consume the pastor who is simply trying faithfully to place the gospel before them.

I've known these churches. I do not believe St. Sociable is such a church, though I remember what someone on the search committee said: "We just know that everyone will love your sermons so much it will just fill up the church." Um, not so much, at least, not so far. And even though I recognize the pitfalls in this kind of thinking, I think it takes superhuman acts of will and faith to avoid falling right into the kind of trap of believing it's all "my responsibility."

Fight the false faith, people!

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