Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Marketability to the masses is generally not a bad thing if it is used in the context of cars, clothing, or toothpaste. When it comes to Christianity, though, it's a different story. It's sad, but the marketability of the individual has become the "standard of truth" for much of Evangelicalism. Instead of being more concerned about what an individual teaches and holds to, mainstream Evangelicalism has become more concerned about whether the individual "will sell." What do I mean by this? What I mean is it doesn't matter to these people what the error is as long as the error doesn't impede upon the marketability of the individual to society at large. For example, "Angry Calvinists" (ie. those who actually hold to Calvinism) are usually not easily marketable to the masses so they seem to be easy for these folk to target and discard. It's why you can see these people write articles about "Angry Calvinists" but none about T.D. Jakes' heretical oneness doctrine. Jakes is generally more marketable.
This practice is nothing more than run of the mill idolatry. It's generally not spoken about because it is, in fact, such (and it's the same reason why some are hesitant to link to articles like this), but it's true nonetheless.
Why would someone, even orthodox folk, be concerned about the marketability of an individual, though? It's because it is sin, and it's sin that should be dealt with. It's only dealt with rarely because, let's face it, people are a lot more concerned with their personal status in this life than they are the things eternal.
There's no doubt that there are some smart businessmen in Evangelicalism abroad. I'm convinced (like my friend, Chris Rosebrough) that some could even be CEOs of very big companies. The problem comes when these people believe that the Church is a business. It is not. Though they are making a lot of money off of it running it like a business, the Church, by definition is the called of God. As such, if we really believe that God has chosen His remnant, we should treat the Church as sacred and not as a Madison Square Avenue marketing demographic. I sometimes wonder if the reason we see these people not going to try their hand at running companies in a secular context is the "Christian Music Principle" - that is, many in Christian music tried their hand at making it in the real world, couldn't, and now they found their place in a sub-par Christian music scene that gives them all the attention they sought in the real world but could never get it because they didn't measure up. Like the "Christian Veggie Tales Watch" or the "Christian Football Scripture Holder" you'll find at a Lifeway Christian Gift Shop, these people are just the "Christian version of someone successful." In other words, they aren't really "Christian" just because someone slaps the name "Christian" on them, they aren't really valuable to the Christian for the same reason, and they aren't really "successful" by the standards of the Church.
Brothers and sisters, let's not be led by every wind of doctrine of every marketable person that comes our way. Let's actually stand for truth instead of merely flirt with it while protecting our market share. Then we may really see a Reformation instead of a repackaged "Christian" version of what we already saw last year.