Warning to Worldly Church Technicians

Skimming through health-related books at the Niles Library the other day, I came upon one by a fellow named Matt Fitzgerald, a “certified sports nutritionist and an acclaimed endurance sport and nutrition writer.”

Now, at my advanced – oh very advanced – age, I have not suddenly responded to a whim of becoming the world’s next long-distance running champion. Old guys get strange ideas, but this one is not mine. I have trouble being motivated to move from chair one to chair two. But I have been concerned about a certain roundness developing just below my chest. Matt’s book, “Diet Cults” (2014) was inviting.

Matt’s premise is that every diet fad that comes down the pike advertises itself as the “one true way” of eating. All past diets are discarded and the advocate of this new way is promised that “science” has finally seen the light. Get on board. Buy my book.

Matt destroys each diet idol one at a time and lets us know that there are actually many ways to retain health that don’t demand subservience to the new diet gurus.

But that is not why I have introduced Matt to you. For one thing, Matt, though a “believer” of some sort, plays a little fast and loose with Scripture in HIs book, sounding much like the liberal theology I have come to disdain. No, he’s a great dietician but not so great a theologian.

I bring him before you because of a paragraph or two that knocked me over on page 107. Matt is discussing Multi-level Marketing (MLM) businesses and how they operate. When you read this paragraph see if it reminds you of something you have seen before…

“MLM rallies… are carefully orchestrated to paralyze the reasoning faculties of attendees. A charismatic leader is introduced with hyperbolic praise and held under a spotlight, his voice amplified to coax out the audience’s readiness to worship; powerful symbols of luxury are used to inflame greed; stirring music foments an emotionally charged altered state; an appealing quasi-religious doctrine – whose core precept, first articulated in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (The “MLM Bible”), is that wanting things makes them come to you – is preached; and the amazing brainwashing power of large groups is unleashed to finish the job.

“These social tools of manipulation are the most tried-and-true means that muti-level marketing companies use to place new recruits in an irrational mindset when they make a decision about whether to sign up… “

Oh my! Did Benny Hinn learn from MLM methods or did MLM learn from Benny Hinn? And Benny is not the only one out there using these very techniques to “get the Gospel out”, as they believe. But I suggest a casual reading of the book of Acts to see whether such tactics are necessary for a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Watch out church! When you start looking like the world, perhaps it’s because you still are the world!