The late Presbyterian minister and chaplain of the United States Senate, Richard Halvorsen, always had a succinct way of putting things so that ordinary folks could understand a big point very clearly. He once said that when the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy; when the Romans got it, they turned it into a government; when the Europeans got it, they turned it into a culture; and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business.

The great tragedy in the American church is that we do not understand how the gospel transcends our various ways of thinking and ordering life. All of the above “turns” amount to what the Bible calls worldliness. Sadly, much of the evangelical movement has turned the gospel, and thus the church, into a business. By this transformation the church conformed itself to the world more than the gospel. When our leaders and spiritually concerned people realize this in greater numbers, and consciously turn away from it, we will be far closer to experiencing the real power of the gospel at work in our lives and faith communities. “Lord, hasten the day!”

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  1. Nathan Petty July 6, 2006 at 10:00 am

    I’m still searching for the proper God-honoring way to balance the need to be supportive of the church’s mission but offer loving criticism when the role model for mission and outreach is a car dealership or the carnival at the county fair.
    Thanks for another thought provoking post.

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