The Light of the Gospel


A wonderful home, a fine car, and all the luxuries of life.

Wow, this is the American dream isn’t it?

That is what we all work for in our American culture.  We turn on the television every day and see the “good life” depicted on the screen. Many of us are highly motivated to work hard so we can pay for it or maybe we are highly motivated to   apply for credit cards or bank loans so we can have it.  Yes many of us go into debt to get it.

We really want it.

But what good does it do us?

Pastor Chan quotes Frederic Huntington as he begins Chapter 4.  Let’s look at the quote.  “It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel.  It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”  At first glance, this quote is not shocking.

Scientific doubt can quench the love for God’s word of course.  The idea is that science completely rules out the need for God.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God and that can certainly put a damper on the Gospel.

Pantheism is the idea that nature is the thing to worship; nature is the power of the universe, not God.

Agnosticism is the idea that if there is a God, then he is unknowable.  At least agnostics do not rule out the idea that God exists [like atheists]; they just think he is not connected to man in any way.

Prosperity is the thing that can quench the light of the gospel.


The American dream.

Let’s do a little research about the Huntington quote.  When did Mr. Huntington write down this profound idea?


Do you think this condition is any better in 2015?

You know the answer to that question.

The really sad thing is the church is not an encouraging place for us to escape the effect of gospel quenching prosperity.   When you get Americans together as a church family, the worship of prosperity happens there too.

You know what I mean.

What do you wear to church?  What kind of car do you drive to church?  What do you talk about in church?  Church can be a “dog and pony show” if you know what I mean.

Pastor Chan says “Most of us have too much in our lives.”  He quotes David Goetz by saying “Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually.”

I have been at my church for 18 years and I have been blessed by having a few ways to help out.  One thing I have been doing is arranging opportunities for church members to learn and grow in their faith.

I bring my American attitude into this.  I become overly concerned from time to time about the number of people who attend our classes at church.  The worry is about numbers, not the content of the class that will touch a person’s heart.  Pastors count the people in the pews.   Pastors feel success or failure by the number who come forward to join the church.   Pastors feel success or failure by the number of people who come to pray at the altar rail.  For Americans, numbers impress us.

Really, is that what is important?

Our American attitude is not helpful for a strong relationship with God.

It’s a shame.

Pastor Chan writes about Luke Chapter 8 and the parable of the seed.  The world is the source of the thorns that choke out the seed and keep them from growing.  The church is the source of the thorns that choke out the seed and keep them from growing.

Are you choking out God’s kingdom in your life by spending too much time, energy, money and thought on the things of this world.

What is important?

The luxuries of life, how prosperous you appear to others or keeping the light of the Gospel burning in your life?

You know the answer to that question.

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