There is no doubt that you have seen infomercials advertising products as “clinically proven.” Clinically proven may mean any number of things and on the other hand, it can mean absolutely nothing. You see, when you really want to sell something just throw in that “clinically proven” statement which is usually a vague claim that requires no hard evidence and isn’t easy to disprove. Most people do not realize that as long as the product has, “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA” disclaimer on the label, it’s not necessary to have evidence to back it up.
My concern is for the “clinically proven” claims made by so called mega-churches, celebrity pastors and ministries. These guys and gals are some of the best salespeople I have ever seen. They advertise health, wealth and blessing through religious products. The anointing oil from Gethsemane, water from the Holy Land, a mustard seed in a necklace, at home communion sets, books, CD’s and DVD’s with the promise of blessing-all of this with a very generous love offering. Not convinced? You can watch the what testimonies of people who say they got it and it does everything from fixing their flat tire to paying off their mortgage.
Then there are the commercials. I have found it interesting that preaching has segments now. You even see it in church. Preaching is not enough so we throw a video in the mix. Then the new breed of televangelists have interview formats, in the name of making Christianity more interesting and conversational. The interviews even include celebrities who do not claim to be Christians but have tips on being successful. After a few minutes of preaching you have snippets of religious commericals advertising the message you are watching or future conferences and we even have pay-per-view preaching.
The emphasis of much Christianity today is all about results or being practical. Pastors and leaders are not immune from buying into the “clinically proven” church growth strategies from men who went from 40 to 4000 in a year or two. That is all that is pumped into the minds, conferences and groups of any denomination in the name of evangelism.
But who defines this?
You got it-the times and culture of the day redefine faith and religion in a whole new way. Scripture is reinterpreted in line with the zeitgeist (a word meaning the “spirit of the age”). The only problem is that such concepts of sin and atonement may become out of sync with the culture and so we have seen even Christianity redefines God, sin and forgiveness and church in light of the world around them. They will spend time on issues such as practical living, family, marriage and health rather than on “doctrinal” issues in order to really “help people.” That is their selling point and they say, “it works and you get results with our new religious product.”
It is all boulderdash!
Here is what matters to Christ-doing the will of God from your heart (Eph. 6:6). It is God’s desire that we, “may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Col. 4:12). That understanding of will of God is found in the clear teaching of the scriptures by gospel ministers in the meeting of the people called the church (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 14:26). No sales, no cheesy punch lines, no dramatics, just a determination to do the will of God. It is after we have been persistent in doing God’s will that we will receive the promise of heaven and eternal life (Heb 10:36). All of this worldly flim- flam religion cannot last under the times of molten trials and fiery testing that will come (1 Cor 3:10-15). John makes it clear: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17).
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