If our great need is to be delivered from the wrath of God, then Jesus is our mediator. But what if our big problem is losing ten pounds? Finding a bigger house? Paying for college? Getting out of debt? What if the guilt that concerns us is the guilt of not having a pool like our neighbor? What if the center of our prayers is the moral life of our kids or our physical health? Do we actually need a crucified Jesus for any of these things?
A few weeks ago I was at a gathering of people from all over America, many from various ethnic communities. The preacher of the day was a Southern White evangelical. As he preached, I noted when the audience responded with “amens,” etc. It was universally on any statement that referred to material blessings, or the idea of prosperity. On statements referring to Jesus as atoning savior, there was almost no reaction.
The prosperity gospel isn’t on the fringe any more. As Willimon says, churches now advertise that they “have what you are looking for.” What is the average American looking for? A bloody savior to deliver from the wrath of God? Or success in life?
Read the entire post here, and make sure you read this short article (pdf) by William Willimon, "It's Hard to be Seeker-Sensitive when You Work for Jesus" (thanks, iMonk!).
And if you missed my essay the first time around, the point was that I accused a local church plant of being the ecclesial equivalent of internet p**n (that was to avoid comment spam).
Oh, and will someone please go deal with Noakes?