Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reformed©, Inc.

Recently Time Magazine ranked the 10 most influential ideas in the world today. Amazingly, Calvinism was #3. For my parents' generation, that would've been unthinkable. But by God's grace, reformation theology has made such a resurgence that everyone is talking.

Before we break out the Genevan champagne, a word of caution. If our numbers are significant enough to attract the notice of Time Magazine, they have most certainly already attracted the attention of industry sharks eager to make inroads with this new and growing segment of Christian consumers.

This may explain why much of contemporary evangelicalism is driven by the need for constant turn-over [change is the basis of commerce]. Books, Bible translations, songs for church and home, pastoral methods/ministry techniques – we’re told that these are constantly becoming obsolete - that’s why you need this Crossway product or that Pastor’s Conference.

It's been said that the American genius is not production, it’s sales; not meeting needs, but creating them. For the first time, Reformed Christians are specifically being targeting by marketers. As this happens, it's good to be reminded/warned that:

1. There are no secrets to living the super Christian life. The means of grace are all God has given and all we need. They are glorious - not boring - but were intended to save, not sell. There is no microwave spirituality - as the constant commands to persevere imply.

2. It's more important to fear God than be hip. He promises to be near the broken and contrite-hearted ... not the trendy, Euro-chic christianettes.

3. The old paths are ... well ... old. It's hard to put a glossy cover on the collected works of Jonathan Edwards. It's harder still to imagine Knox or Dabney coloring their beards to earn some relevance points w/ the youngsters. Old saints are wise. Young ones aren't. It is difficult for people in our culture to 'search after wisdom like a hidden treasure' when we are driven by the same impulses that have made Botox a billion dollar product.

4. We are a very superficial generation. God looks on the heart; we ... not so much. This isn't good when Christ warned that the wolves in our midst will never look like wolves when viewed superficially.

5. Change is not all its cracked up to be. Motion does not mean movement; activity does not equal progress. After all the hype and emotion, money has changed hands, but people may often be no more forgiven or holy than they were before all the hooplah.

Please don't think me too much of a curmudgeon - I think these things need saying, negative though they be. Having said them, with this news we once more have an occassion to worship our God and praise Him for His kindness. He is not abandoning us, though we deserve it [and worse]. He delights in mercy. This article is a small encouragement. Let's smile and continue on - spend and be spent for the cause of His glory, Kingdom, and people.

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