In his book A Call to Spiritual Reformation D.A. Carson makes following observation about westernized Christianity:
The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better. When it comes to knowing God, we are a culture of the spiritually stunted. So much of our religion is packaged to address our felt needs – and these are almost uniformly anchored in our pursuit of our own happiness and fulfillment. God simply becomes the Great Being who, potentially at least, meets our needs and fulfills our aspirations. We think rather little of what he is like, what he expects of us, what he seeks in us. We are not captured by his holiness and his love; his thought and words capture too little of our imaginations, too little of our discourse, too few of our priorities ([Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006], 15-16).
Although I can’t personally testify of other countries in the western hemisphere, I do believe such observation is true of American churches. Over the years how many times did I hear people say the following:
- “I didn’t like the worship today because we only sung hymns.”
- “I didn’t like the worship today because we didn’t sing any hymn.”
- “I didn’t like the worship today because we didn’t have special music.”
- “Preaching was too long.”
- “It was too hot.”
- “It was too cold.”
- “We didn’t have greeting time.”
- “We don’t have fun in the service.”
- “I don’t get anything out of the message.”
- “You’re too serious when you’re preaching.”
- And ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
Conversely, Carson writes:
But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God’s blessings without running after him. We are even worse than the man who wants his wife’s services – someone to come home to, someone to cook and clean, someone to sleep with – without ever making the effort really to know and love his wife and discover what she wants and needs; we are worse than such a man, I say, because God is more than any wife, more than the best of wives: he is perfect in his love, he has made us for himself, and we are answerable to him (ibid., 16).