One of the most troubling passages to me is found in Ezekiel 8 when the people of God bring idols into the temple courts and even into the temple of the Lord. Did they bring these in to appeal to a younger generation who found the previous way of worship a bit too traditional and restrictive? Did it cause more people to make visits to the temple and increase contributions? In Ezekiel, God calls what Israel was doing abominable. It is easy to agree with Him, but what about our (invisible) idols today?
Pragmatism- to pursue actions and determine effectiveness based on visible, measurable results
I had not considered pragmatism an idol. It just seems the way we do things. Basing actions on results seems prudent. Finding out what people want or think they need and teaching on these subjects seems reasonable. However, the most popular ideas are not the godliest or the ones which will lead to long term spiritual growth. Our faith does not come from persuasive words and the wisdom of man but from the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). The most well-attended Bible studies are not necessarily the best. The dwindling or slower growing small group does not mean those leaders and not doing it well while God is blessing the faster growing small groups. In order to achieve measurable, numerical growth, are we offering “lighter” versions of truth according to our audience? We know Jesus did not do this even when the truth was weighty and hard. Instead of making the words easier to digest, He allowed those who had been following him to withdraw from walking with Him. John 6:66
God is immeasurable. Yet we try to measure everything. Marketing is as polished among believers as in the world. Even when I consider blogging, am I promoting myself or exalting Jesus? Like Isaiah, I cry out, “Woe is me!” I am guilty of taking on the spirit of this world judging by numbers and what people prefer instead of keeping the glory on Jesus and focusing on truths found in His Word.
How devastating it was in the days of Ezekiel when God’s glory departed from the temple. I wonder, did many people even notice? And how heart-breaking it would be if God’s presence departed from our meetings because we choose effective methodology over His abiding Word which endures forever.