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Are there any reasons to believe that colourful stage lights and fog machines are anything else than the toys of Christian stage technicians and a compensation for lack of Biblical revival? No. The global trend of churches investing billions of dollars in superfluous show equipment has increased dramatically over just the last few decades, but not many have asked themselves why we do it and what happens to church when we do it.
Of course, if someone dares to question this unbiblical practice that person is easily dismissed as someone who doesn’t understand young people or who isn’t into culturally relevant evangelism. So hi, I’m a young evangelist, and I hate stage lights. And fog machines, those horrible, stupid fog machines! How painfully obvious isn’t it that modern, Western churches lack God when they literally try to fabricate something which the Scriptures describes as a manifestation of the Lord’s presence?
As I’ve explained in my God vs Wealth series, Jesus doesn’t want us to be rich but live as simply as possible so that we can give as much to the poor as possible. This applies not just to individual disciples but to churches as well. There are hundreds of millions of Christians around the world living in poverty. If we truly think that they are our brothers and sisters, we can’t ignore their suffering by spending loads of money on superfluities.
As John puts it: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 Jn 3:17) (more…)
In the previous parts of my God vs Wealth series, I’ve explained why I’m convinced that Christians neither should be rich nor spend money on unnecessary stuff like luxury, beauty products and entertainment. There’s a common counter argument against this though: the woman with the alabaster jar.
In Matthew 26, Mark 14 and John 12, we read about this woman who poured out really expensive perfume from her alabaster jar on Jesus’ body. The disciples get upset and tell her that that perfume could have been sold for a lot of money, which could have been given to the poor.
However, Jesus’ defends the woman and calls her act “beautiful”. Countless (rich) Christians have told me that this is the proof that there are times when we don’t have to give our money to the poor but spend them on luxury instead. If it was okay for Jesus, and He was sinless, why would it be a problem if we from time to time enjoyed some extravagance and glamour?
My answer to that is that this text cannot be applied to any situation today whatsoever. I’ll show you what I mean. Firstly, we have to realize that the disciples are doing something very logical if we think about the teaching Jesus already has given them. He commanded them in Lk 12:33 to sell everything they have and give the money to the poor – of course they get upset when a woman refuses to do the same with an extremely expensive perfume (it says that it was worth 300 denarii – a year’s wage for the avarage worker).