I saw this post on Facebook the other day, which was posted by a megachurch in my area. It read, “We hope that you’re having an incredible Saturday and are expectant for God to do something amazing at our services tomorrow.”
Now, when they say “we hope that you are expectant for God to do something amazing at our service”, I can almost picture God as a Tony Robbins type of character who comes swooping in to fix everyone’s problems or a genie who pops out of a magic lamp to grant everyone’s wishes.
What is the “something amazing” that God will supposedly do? Well, I was at this exact same church a few years ago and before they took up the offering they showed a video of people giving testimony of how they had given faithfully and then they experienced some kind of miraculous financial breakthrough. It was obvious that this video was specifically designed to stir the congregation towards giving which I think was kind of disgusting.
The thing is that churches like this aren’t much different from any other institution that caters to a consumer culture. They’re in the sales business and what they’re selling is the same thing that everyone else is selling: something that will make us happy.
Pretty much any advertisement can be summed up in this one sentence: “You are not happy, so buy our thing and then you will be happy” or at the very least, a little bit happier than you are now. Another variant of the sentence could be: “You are suffering and our thing will take away your suffering.”
We believe that if we could only get “that thing” – whatever “that thing” might be – then all will be well. When it comes to churches like this, they’re selling the idea that their religion is the means to that end and that their God will give us “that thing”. But this is where I believe that most modern day Christians completely miss the point of the Bible.
You see, the thing that we are really after is certainty. We want to believe that there is some kind of system that, if we could figure it out, would guarantee that we always get what we want.
In the Biblical times, this system was known as the temple and the temple was extremely important in Jewish life. If you were a Jew in the Biblical times, your entire life revolved around the temple system. The temple and the sacrices offered there was the thing that guaranteed God’s covenant with his people. The temple was the thing that gave people certainty. As long as they kept the sacrifices and offerings comig, everything would be okay. Yet, what we see happening time and time again is that the temple is ransacked and destroyed. The very thing that’s supposed to guarantee certainty kept on failing them.