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I would say we can't marry the two. In its truest sense, at least in the USA, materialism is a god unto itself. The better question would be, "How do we live out the Gospel in practice and proclamation in the midst of a materialistic worldview?" See Romans 12:1-2
Materialism and consumerism have become toxins both in our culture and in our churches. When I think about Jesus and the rich, young ruler, I agree with Randal that we need to be visible Christians in our society. Jesus challenged this young man no differently than he proclaimed the gospel to anyone else. "Come, follow me." I believe the first step is for church attendees and some pastors to do some growing up and realize we are here to serve our King, not ourselves and not some church board or organization. I don't see it happening anytime soon though. Our consumerism type mentality has infected the church. Pastors are viewed as being paid by the congregation to entertain them or else. And pastors, in an effort to appease or worse yet become famous, feed this behavior. If you want to help the most, provide the example. Start a ministry outside of an institutional church with some others. You will find locally there are several others already doing this...trust me. These are true Christians bearing real fruit and are always willing to help you. This will set a true example for the community to see the true power of the Christian faith.
I think the general notion that ministries must plant their branches everywhere is generating the drive for fund raising, on the erroneous intrrpretatation of the following scripture: Zechariah 1:17 "Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lᴏʀᴅ shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem." (KJV - sent from CadreBible)
We have as a society become some consume with things that many have forgotten the true essence of being a Christian. Too many people are caught up in the glitz and glamor they no longer know their identity in Christ. When we as the people of God know our identity then can evangelism take place and the gospel is spread James R
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