A huge religious marketplace has been set up in North America to meet the needs and fantasies of people just like us. There are conferences and gatherings custom-designed to give us the lift we need. Books and videos and seminars promise to let us in on the Christian “secret” of whatever we feel is lacking in our life: financial security, well-behaved children, weight-loss, exotic sex, travel to holy sites, exciting worship, celebrity teachers. The people who promote these goods and services all smile a lot and are good-looking. They are obviously not bored.

It isn’t long before we are standing in line to buy whatever is being offered. And because none of the purchases does what we had hoped for, or at least not for long, we are soon back to buy another, and then another. The process is addictive. We have become consumers of packaged spiritualities.

This also is idolatry. We never think of using this term for it since everything we are buying or paying for is defined by the adjective “Christian.” But idolatry it is nevertheless: God packaged as product; God de-personalized and made available as a technique or program. The Christian market in idols has never been more brisk or lucrative.

– from Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
– 1 John 5:21

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3 thoughts on “The Christian Market For Idols”

  1. Anonymous says:

    careful, ya’ll…. : – )you may have the Sadducees and Pharisees breathing down your necks…. with this kind of talk…you don’t think they’re gonna put up with this kind of talk, do ya?and honestly, I’ve been seeing this for so long, and speaking about it among my friends and brethren…it’s very disheartening, and I try to just pray and love everyone that buys into this stuff…somehow, it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in for a lot of folks…I pray we all will gain “eyes that see” and “ears that hear”… regarding this issue…I know we need to be resourceful and share the Gospel but I just have never been able to fathom Jesus finding any of this okay…Perhaps I should add to the conundrum by saying… “I was Christian, when Christian wasn’t cool!”….ain’t that a laugh…. : – )Now, I can be Christian and cool… and have all the cool Christian stuff that a Christian needs in order to be cool, hip and with it…. like…. the… world….Auuuuugggggghhhhhhhh, Charlie Brown….cel

  2. Jared says:

    Chuck, it’s all gonna be okay. :-)Good to hear from you, man.

  3. nhe says:

    Which came first? Christian consumerism or a Democratic/Capitalistic Society? I’d argue that the latter bred the former because we the American Church imalgamated instead of staying in/not of…..this is a pretty big ship to turn around.

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Jared C. Wilson


Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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