I think this makes a point I have been making for a long time. The best way from the church to change the culture is from the bottom-up. Such is an effort of generations, not months or years. As such it takes lasting institutions, not the latest incarnation. It is time for “The Great Protestant Rethink.”
Another, though admittedly less important, reason for the reinstitutionalization of Protestantism has to do with stories like this:
A Louisiana televangelist is convinced that God wants him to own a fourth private jet ― and he’s calling on others to donate toward that lofty goal.
Evangelist Jesse Duplantis asked listeners to “pray about becoming a partner” in his grand dream to own a Dassault Falcon 7X, a luxury plane that’s reported to be worth at least $54 million. Duplantis claims he needs the private plane with seating for up to 19 and an optional onboard shower to efficiently spread the gospel.
A strong Church institution would be capable of either calling this silly man to account or divorcing Christianity from him. This story bubbled up all this past week in exactly the fashion you would expect – to discredit Christianity generally. I winced every time I saw it. But those that have tried to discredit this individual have done so on the basis of the wasted resources for the plane itself. I think that is aiming at the wrong place. I can easily see a situation where a ministry, not an individual minister but a ministry, could enjoy economic efficiencies with a aircraft like that – though in this day and age even large corporations lease aircraft, not own them. My deepest problem with this fool is his theology – his stated theological basis for wanted the plane to begin with.
Here’s what he says:
“I really believe that if Jesus was physically on the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey,” Duplantis said in a May 21 video posted on his website. “Think about it for a minute. He’d be in an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world.”
What’s wrong with that statement? To posit Jesus on earth today is to deny the sovereignty of God. You see here is the thing. God has all of time spread before His vision as easily as you or I can see the expanse of a bed. Jesus came when He came because that was God’s choice as to the best time in history for the Incarnation to occur. To think about Jesus in any other time is to either think about a less effective Jesus or to think that God had no choice or control over just when the Incarnation would occur. Both make God less powerful, less sovereign.
We have such a limited view of God today. We think of Him as our “Blessing Buddy,” our “Cosmic BFF.” We believe in Christianity as a sort of holy self-help plan. We limit God to what He can do for us and our loved ones. But the God we are talking about here is so much more than that.
Acts 17:24 – The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
God will not be constrained by our desires, nor controlled by our wishes. He made us, not the other way around. There were a lot of other things going on in other parts of the world when Jesus did come. Vast civilizations in China and Central/South America – Stonehenge had already been built by the people of Britain, do you honestly think the God that created the universe needed an airplane to reach out to those people? He chose not only to appear at the time He did, but in that place.
For the Lord Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
Fear is a natural reaction when we think how powerful God really is. That’s a bit more than our “Super Pal.”
God is our Creator and our King. We would do well to remember that.