Tuesday, June 28, 2011

William Stringfellow on the Apostasy of the American Churches

"Where both or either the secular unity and the churchly unity of the church, as given in Pentecost, are dishonored and where, consequently, some secular distinction and/or some charismatic gift is idolized, the members of the church become apostate. As an idol, it resembles any ordinary principality or else becomes a satellite of some other idol. This was a variety of apostasy which evidently sorely tempted Christians in Galatia; it is popularized and gross among the American churches. The inherited churchly institutions in the United States are typically engaged in inducing people to join, support and attend church -- described and disclosed in this truncated and distorted sense -- in order to worship the church, not to glorify and enjoy God, and in order to enhance some churchly cult, not to esteem and enact the Gospel. The sanction for this appeal is a venerable one -- the sale of indulgences. Men are persuaded that by serving the church, by spending time and money and talent on the church, they can accomplish an exchange for merit and gain a justified status with God. Yet secreted in the idolatry of church is the same futile worship of the power of death inherent in any idolatrous relationship. And from that, even when it is shrouded in the trappings of church, has Christ set men free."

--William Stringfellow, Imposters of God: Inquiries Into Favorite Idols (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1969, 2006), 59

1 comment:

  1. Thank God that for those who love the truth, by His grace, there is a way to overcome the idols in our lives, ourselves being chief among them.