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It Must Be Good

Rick Warren and his kind have built their churches audiences on a pragmatic philosophy that says whatever draws the biggest crowd is a good and godly method. This pragmatism goes back farther than the modern megachurch movement.


The role model for contemporary pastors is not the prophet or the shepherd—it is the corporate executive, the politician, or worst of all, the talk-show host. The contemporary church is preoccupied with audience ratings, popularity polls, corporate image, statistical growth, financial profit, opinion surveys, demographic charts, census figures, fashion trends, celebrity status, top-ten lists, and other pragmatic issues. Gone is the church’s passion for purity and truth. No one seems to care, as long as the response is enthusiastic.

Tozer noticed that pragmatism had crept into the church of his day, too. He wrote, “I say without hesitation that a part, a very large part, of the activities carried on today in evangelical circles are not only influenced by pragmatism but almost completely controlled by it.” Tozer described the danger posed to the church by even so-called “consecrated” pragmatism:


The pragmatic philosophy . . . asks no embarrassing questions about the wisdom of what we are doing or even about the morality of it. It accepts our chosen ends as right and good and casts about for efficient means and ways to get them accomplished. When it discovers some­thing that works it soon finds a text to justify it, “consecrates” it to the Lord and plunges ahead. Next a magazine article is written about it, then a book, and finally the inventor is granted an honorary degree. After that any question about the scripturalness of things or even the moral validity of them is completely swept away. You cannot argue with success. The method works; ergo, it must be good.

—John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel (Crossway, 2010), 92.

Posted 2014·12·17 by David Kjos
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Posted in: A W Tozer · Ashamed of the Gospel (2010) · Church Marketing · John MacArthur

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