“If our being as church is of our own making so that we are neatly structured for carrying out the plans that we make and properly organized for putting into operation what we think should be done, then it is very possible that we have created a golden calf for ourselves, not in opposition to God, mind you, but to give expression to what we maintain is the glory of God. If we examine ourselves only in the light of statistics and let our projections be determined merely by what has evidently been the growth of the church, then it may well be that we have become false prophets, not in that we change the message of God but in that we read what has been done and what shall yet be in terms of what we can see and determine for ourselves. This is our “Peace, peace,” while some lonely Jeremiah is eating his heart out because he must declare differently and the message of the Lord is a fire in his bones”  False prophets who read the metrics around them and concluded that all was well and there was peace.  They cried out “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace. But the fact of the matter is that there was peace, visible, tangible, present peace, and the only one who insisted that there wasn’t was Jeremiah, who interpreted what he saw in the light of what God said and not in the light of what was evident. But the false prophets were drawing the only conclusion that so manifestly stared them in the face; they were interpreting the doings of God by their own knowledge and not by His revelation”.  William Buege

 

The above is written by a professional social worker and pastor and he wrote this back in the day when the church was growing.  What is happening when the church is in decline?  I have written about the fact that measurements by human beings, especially in the realm of mercy work are usually corrupted by human nature and that is doubly true when social justice replaces the concepts of grace and mercy.  There is evidence that social justice corrupts refugee and immigration services and even the areas of adoption and child care.  We know that it can corrupt disaster relief and recovery.  When religious based social service agencies prevent and forbid volunteers and employees at disaster sites to pray with the folks they are trying to help, that agency is rejecting the very foundation of why they existed in the first place and denigrating the faith of most of their donors.  Social justice sounds marvelous and very fair.  It is a monster theologically and pathetically ineffective in actually addressing human need.

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