He " showed them all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour 'All this I will give you', 'he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me'", Matt.4:8,9.

The lure of success was as real for Jesus, as it is for us. How shall the Kingdom be realised? Is it through a commitment to God's Word revealed, or is it through a devoted application of the systems of this age? By what means could Israel survive in Canaan, forced to retreat to "mountain clefts, caves and strongholds"? Their choice was between the Word of God and the glory and power of Baal and the Asherah - the splendor of corrupted nature. The temptation was to look to another Golden Calf for survival.

We tend to measure a church's success in terms of numerical growth. Forgetting that "a description is not a prescription", we look to repeat the wonder of Pentecost and its aftermath - "the Lord added to their number daily". In reality we look to repeat the glory days of pre-war nominalism. In the 1950's that generation forgot to come to church, but at least they sent their kids. The children of the baby-boomers don't even send their kids. So we ask, "how can we wind it up again?"

Following secular marketing methods, we have discovered that the "Footy Show" is the best way of getting nominal Christians along to church. The trouble is, the Prayer Book doesn't sit well with a "Footy Show". So we busy ourselves ripping away "the received English tradition of the Apostolic church reformed", and replace it with a "relevant" but ephemeral pop-culture alternative. Marketing techniques may seem the best way to win "the kingdoms of the world and their splendour", but you have to sell your soul in the process.

If Christ has already conquered the world in the cross and empty tomb, then success comes by relying on that truth, rather than by replacing a "received" way of doing church with a "pop" alternative.

[Pumpkin Cottage]