Quote of Note # 149: The Materialistic Values of the American Church

photo by GAC

“Typically, we see the success of churches measured by the numerical size of the church or the financial health of the church (often reflected in the condition and appearance of the church building). In more colloquial language, we focus on the ABCs of church success: Attendance, Buildings, and Cash. Or even more directly, the three Bs of church success: Buildings, Bucks, and Butts. The church holds the same materialistic values held by American society. We measure success in the church with standards as worldly as the most secular Fortune 500 company. Churches are no more than businesses (albeit non-profit ones) with the bottom line being the number of attendees or the size of the church budget. American evangelicalism is held captive to the materialistic and consumeristic values of American society.”

Soong-Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009, page 56.


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