“Are we saved by the same forces that sell a Chevrolet?”

Given my previously posted thoughts on this topic, I am extremely appreciative of Fr. Stephen Freeman’s post, “Means and Ends:”

…[I]n our modern world, some denominations (and “non-denominations”) have themselves become a members of the market, recognizing the unbeliever as a consumerof religion, and itself as a purveyor. God, or salvation, becomes the commodity.

I suppose there are some who would say that in a pluralistic country which lacks a national religion, this is inevitable; religion, being entirely a matter of choice, is effectively entirely a matter of subjective opinion — that is, taste —  thereby being forcibly relegated to the marketplace of ideas, and that This is a Good Thing in a Free Society. There are certainly Christians who point to this and say, see? This is why we need to be “relevant.”

I’m not sure I have an answer to the secularist who would make this argument. I nonetheless say to my fellow Christians: we can, and must, do better. (Please note the “we.”) Mars Hill was not, in short, the excuse for Christianity to become a disposable consumer product, which is too often what seems to happen when we make “relevance” our goal. We can, and must, engage the culture, but this should elevate the culture, not bring the faith down.


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