In between the headlines of the world renown and highly respected retired Presbyterian Pastor and Christian author, Eugene Peterson’s controversial publicized statements on homosexuality in his recent interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service, too little focus was given to his indictment on the condition of the American Church, particularly on the larger ones.
Unfortunately, many will dismiss him utterly concerning other matters, even though he’s a highly honorable and humble man. He’s the author of the top selling biblical paraphrase of the entire Bible (never intended to be a translation), which he wrote for members of his church of less than 500 members at the time (it may be the most quoted book by Southern Baptists of all people).
Most of them were working, blue collar, type of people with too little time to do the exegetical research to make basic sense of an ancient document that was written thousands of years ago over a duration of 7 different major human civilizations.
The man knows truth and speaks truth and he is no novice.
So, in that same interview with Jonathan Merritt, but published the day before, Peterson was asked about his opinion on the state of the American Church.
Here’s where our “Christian cultural” focus should have spent more time, but we were mostly distracted by the more “savory” issue which was released the following day for Christians to pick on already marginalized people concerning homosexuality. Peterson said this of the American Church and of Presbyterians:
“It has a consumer mentality. It’s about what we can sell and how we can attract people to come to church.
I think the thing that’s most disturbing is the megachurch because megachurches are not churches. My feeling is that when you’re a pastor, you know the people’s names. When 5,000 people come into the church, you don’t know anybody’s name. I don’t think you can be a pastor with just a bunch of anonymous people out there. In the megachurch, well, there’s no relationship with anybody. I think the nature of the church is relational. If you don’t know these people that you’re praying with and talking with and listening to, what do you have? I feel pretty strongly about that.
Now, there’s a lot of innovation in the church, and overall, I can’t say I’m disheartened. I’m just upset by the fad-ism of the megachurch, but I just don’t think they’re churches. They’re entertainment places.”
Of course, many will presume he simply was not of sound mind in that interview with Mr. Merritt anyway.
Now before you run off because you prefer mega-churches and Peterson’s comments fuel your disdain for truth because you presume you have a corner on truth that Peterson does not, watch the following video of Pastor Francis Chan where he gives his reason why he left his own church of 5,000 members which he started in his own living room.
Chan left, because he was disgusted at what emerged: a large church where too few people were actually serving and loving one another (and not using their own gifts and skills while watching him use his). Plus, it cost a lot of money to run this modality of church while most everyone were ignoring all the various “one to another” commands in the New Testament (the ones that entail expressing love through your behavior).
Chan explained in his own words that this disgusted him. So he left.
If you’re in a megachurch you may actually be in a fake church. They tend to be all about money ad big business – corporatism.
This is the very type of Christian religion that the US government and the New World Order wants. It monetizes relationships and prioritizes everything around things such as finances and professionalism (as if those are high priority ingredients for spirituality in the Kingdom of Jesus.
Your only “salvation” in these cases: get out. They’re filled with fake with people who enjoy “fake.”
The old Green Day song from their American Idiot album, “Are We the Waiting,” said it well: “The Jesus of Suburbia is a lie.”
Suburbia loves megachurches. Suburbia is found all over big cities.