A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Most Pernicious and Pervasive Heresy within American Christianity

Every time someone says to me, "It must be difficult as a pastor to keep everyone in your congregation happy, I always respond, "It's not my job to keep everyone happy. I'm not doing my job if anyone is happy."

With that in mind, Roger Olson nails it (HT: Henry Neufeld):
Years ago Presbyterian sociologist of religion Dean Hoge (Catholic University of America, d. 2008) wrote this about American Christianity:
For the typical Protestant church member middle class commitments to family, career, and standard of living are so strong that the church commitment is largely instrumental to them and contingent on whether the church appears to serve them. As a result, many local churches tend to become instruments for achieving middle class interests, whether or not these interests can be defended in New Testament terms.
Of course there are many exceptions, but, in my experience, they are rare. Most American "church people" look for a church that will entertain and comfort them. As soon as it challenges their most basic values and lifestyles, they either protest or leave.

Can we give the heresy a name? I think so: the desire for respectability and domestication of the gospel and the church. If you need a single word, then I suggest “respectabilism.” We want our churches to be respectable.

Do I need to detail the ways in which respectabilism appears?

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