A friend informs me that there exists in American evangelicalism a phenomenon that he calls “The Transfiguration Syndrome.” Peter’s desire to build three tents/shrines/retreat centers dedicated to each of the three figures that he encountered on the mountain of transfiguration is the background for this expression. My friend wonders if Peter was a modern evangelical if he might have stayed there on the mountain and build and direct the shrines, with new things to sell at the CBA Convention and a whole line of products for every seeker who came to visit. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

If you look at two mountains side-by-side the smallest possible area is on the top of each mountain. 99.9% of the movement going on is all about going down and then climbing up to the other mountain top. But people are always trying to find shortcuts to jump from one mountain to another. This is especially true with younger ministers who find the "success syndrome" appealing. They want to skip the going up and the going down process altogether. They do this buy into building shrines, or ministries, based upon the thinking of their favorite person or a special cause or event in history. They will build a shrine to the emphasis and language of the Synod of Dordt, a shrine to the most successful seeker churches and leaders, a shrine to Jacob Arminius, a shrine to a modern movement spokesman who markets his message the most cleverly, or even a shrine to a great seminary teacher or key thinker of the past. Such shrines are not only built by our Catholic brothers and sisters, who often have very good reasons for their display of genuine respect for a person of God, but by lots of evangelicals who should know better but obviously don’t.

I think we need some events that are given as gifts to encourage pastors and Christian leaders that are not built around the shrines that we have made to our methods and practitioners. It would be refreshing to be in a room with a group of honest ministers who were not showing off or promoting themselves. Real encouragement and ministry can happen if we could get beyond "The Transfiguration Syndrome." 

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  1. Dave Dryer May 12, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    I have found a “group of honest ministers who were not showing off or promoting themselves.” The group is found in my library under the heading “English Puritans.” And I love meeting with them.

  2. Howard Boldt May 14, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Will you now decide who those honest ministers are who are not intending to show off? When Martin Luther tried to reform the RC church, he failed and got kicked out. “Catholic brothers and sisters”? They pray to Mary among other things. Why not Mormon brothers and sisters? If people stand up for the truth of the gospel as the prophets and apostles did, they will not survive in the Catholic church.

  3. Nick Morgan May 15, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Dear Howard,
    Oh brother, here we go again! Please read the offical “Catechism of the Catholic Church” before taking such “cheap shots” at the RCC. This is from a Roman Catholic true brother in Christ.

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