Sunday, September 25, 2011
I recently read an article in World magazine (Sept. 24, 2011), entitled "It's not about the dream." In the article, Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, discusses what he views as the problem with the Veggie Tales movies. In doing so, I think he also diagnoses what is wrong with many American churches. I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, "Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so," or "Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!" But that isn't Christianity, it's morality. He goes on to discuss what he refers to as the "American Christian ideal." : We're drinking a cocktail that's a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we've intertwined them so completely that we can't tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It's the Oprah god. In the first quote, he gets it exactly right as to what is going on in so many churches. They teach you how you are supposed to act, but they don't give you the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. In the second quote, he gets it right by saying that the gospel that is often presented is not the pure gospel. I am not sure how he defines the gospel, so I will comment that the gospel is specifically Christ for you, for the forgiveness of sins. That is what is missing in so many churches, and that is what the church is here to offer to a sinful and dying world. Editorial update: This post won Issues, Etc. Blog of the week, Sept. 30, 2011.