When Marketing Replaces the Holy Spirit We Get Corporate Christianity
I cannot help but wonder how deep it all goes? Only God knows for sure.
The truth is that much of Christendom has become just like corporate America. Many churches and parachurch organizations in many states of the United States are recognized corporations regarding their non-profit tax status. Under the individual laws of that particular state, it is often how they must be set up. Okay, I get that. It’s simply a way that the IRS has decreed that these type of organizations are labeled and it helps the IRS with their overall accounting of that particular organization.
However, what is troubling to me – much more deeply troubling now than before though I was troubled about it before – is the way the people within many of these organizations act and how they see themselves. In too many cases, churches and parachurch organizations are set up as corporations and run as corporations.
What I mean by that is what I touched on in a previous article. Most of us have worked for secular corporations or institutions. Some of us have likely worked for specific corporations where things didn’t feel right. These weren’t great places to work. There was a sense of feeling dominated by the upper echelon. As a regular employee, you might have felt put upon or even downright intimidated, especially if you have superiors who were suspicious because of their own insecurities.
I recall working at one place where the top man in our division had a person just underneath him who seemed to delight in getting into everyone’s business. This person would go through memos placed in someone else’s box, would constantly hang around where they were not needed in order to pick up the latest gossip. In general, you felt as though you were being spied on and in my case, when I broached this to the top guy, he went to bat for the person under him stating without equivocation that the person had the right to look in anyone’s box or do whatever they needed to do. I was a shift supervisor and stupid me, I believed that if I wrote a memo to someone (this was long before the days of email and texting), and placed it in their mailbox, it should only be read by that person. I found out that I was wrong and I was flabbergasted because of it.
This is the way secular companies often work and we’ve either had direct experience with companies like that or know someone who did. It’s never pleasant, but that’s how people in and of the world operates. We don’t expect that from so-called Christian organizations, unfortunately, it appears to be a growing trend.
There is a growing group of individuals who like to play ball with each other. Through self-aggrandizement, attaboys, promises of “I got your back,” and “I can’t recommend that person enough!” comments, it’s as though there is a real love affair happening between some of the large names within Christendom. This is in spite of what certain individuals may have done or connected with religious organizations that have been implicated or even indicted in illegal behavior.
It seems that, way too often, it is almost always about the money, the dollars, the good ol’ American greenbacks. It’s difficult to believe that because we are talking about Christianity, aren’t we? Yes, but that doesn’t seem to matter for some once they get to the coveted top dog position for which they’ve been searching and yearning for years.
The sad fact of the matter is that because religious organizations are too often seen as corporate structures, the same type of abuse that happens in secular humanistic organizations can and does happen in religious ones. The difference though is that the abuse that occurs within churches, parachurches, and other religious organizations is often done under the guise of biblical doctrine and theology. It’s enough to make the average Christian puke. No wonder Jesus says what He says about most of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. It’s sickening.
Just became some leaders wear very expensive suits, drive expensive cars, live in expensive homes, and receive six-figure incomes (complete with expense accounts), does not mean that God is blessing them! It could be, but that should not be our automatic assumption. Frankly, I would feel terrible to live in that kind of manner knowing that neither Jesus or His apostles did. How can that be that Christian leaders live so high off the hog? It’s one thing to build a secular company from the ground up as a Christian and expand over time as the owner of Chick-Fil-A did (or Hobby Lobby). It’s quite another thing to take a religious organization and turn it into a multi-million dollar corporation!
The problem is becoming clear. But how did the church get there? How did religious organizations come to this point?
Let’s not talk about past generations. Let’s focus on this current one. During my lifetime, we have gone from a society that needed to either read the newspaper or wait for television and radio to tell us something. We went from that to what we have now with the Internet, “streaming” video, live updates, instant text messaging, chat forums, and social platforms. It all happened in far less than one generation. We didn’t really have any of this prior to the mid-to-late 1970s and we are now with information coming at us all the time from every source imaginable.
The many social platforms were created for people to get in touch and stay in touch. It wasn’t long before these same platforms became hotbeds for marketing opportunities for everything, from the next book you’re writing to the newest music you’ve just created. People, blogs, music, and video can now easily go “viral” within moments of being uploaded to the Internet (of things).
Today, it’s all about marketing. Marketing your book, your music, your thoughts, your church, or just you. If you don’t market, you’re not doing it correctly because the name of the game is fame, followed by fortune, followed by guru status, followed by self-aggrandizement and celebrity endorsements. It’s pretty heady stuff!
The sad part is that churches bought into this same thing. It’s as though we believe that God cannot work in His own Body (the true Church), unless human beings market the gospel. We kid ourselves into thinking that we have to come up with the newest techniques to make the gospel more “relevant” so that it will be heard. Naturally, when numbers are low, we think something is wrong. Conversely, when numbers are high, we automatically believe God has blessed our endeavors. Even a cursory reading of Acts proves that marketing has nothing to do with the spreading of the gospel. Imagine what an in-depth reading of Acts will cause us to see.
It all started with what became known as the Emergent or Postmodern Church and the need to let people know that your church was different, exciting, moved by the Spirit. But being different in and of itself is nothing unless people – lots of people – know about it. This is where marketing comes in and the sad fact of the matter is that for many churches, parachurches, and religious organizations, marketers have replaced the Holy Spirit. This is nothing short of tragic with too many Christians having bought into all of it.
This modern generation of Christians has come to believe that the church needs to be “hip,” expansive, open-ended, and heavily marketed before God can really do anything. The people who believe that simply point to the numbers, large crowds of people filling a church building to overflowing. That, to them, is proof enough that something good is going on. However, that “good” is determined by human worldly standards, not by God’s Word.
Jesus said in His Olivet Discourse that the deception of the end times would be so great, so all-pervasive, that if possible, it would even deceive the elect (Matthew 24:24). He is specifically referring to false messiahs and false prophets here, who work their magic like a top of the line superstar magician. Note that Jesus states that these false guys will work their magic so well that if it were possible (He’s saying that it is not), their works would actually deceive the elect. That’s pretty powerful!
It’s no wonder that so many churchgoers are caught up in the lies, the deceptive practices, the masterful misleads by some of today’s well-known leaders within Christendom. These people (both leaders and congregants), are in for a very rude awakening if they do not rouse themselves.
So what can we, the average Christian, do to ensure that we are not deceived? First, each of us must be alert. In order to be alert, we must know what the Bible teaches. Far from cherry picking this verse or that one, we must understand large sections of Scripture, kept within its context in order to fully grasp God’s intended meaning. Second, we must be diligent in ensuring that our own lives are free of deceit and moral impurity. This is a must. We must keep our sin list short, confessing our known sin to the Lord as soon as the Spirit informs us. Third, we must seek His will and His will only in all matters of faith and living. The more we dabble with the things of the world, the more deaf we become to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Fourth, we must understand that we are meant to be in the world for now, but we are not meant to be part of the world’s system! There is a huge difference.
As I stated before, I used to think that the end times would highlight large amounts of people leaving the church. Instead, what we are seeing is the world having infiltrated the visible church and because of it, congregants are being led astray but feel safe because they are still attending church. I’m not saying that people need to leave all churches. I’m saying that people need discernment to know whether or not their church is toeing the Scriptural line. If it isn’t, they need to find another church.
I want to talk more about this next time, so please join me then, all right? You’re all swell! 😀
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: christendom, corporate christianity, emergent church, nimrod, wolves in sheep's clothing.