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Modern Illusions
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Two thousand years ago in Alexandria, Egypt pagan temples competed for worshipers. In order to get the attention of the people, priests in these pagan temples had to come up with schemes and new inventions to create awe and wonder. One man named Heron of Alexandria created many devices for these temples such as flying chariots, moving statues, crying statues, automatic holy water dispensers, and many more. The temple that provided the best entertainment, intrigue, and astonishment received the most worshipers and, of course, the money through temple donations. Not only were these temples driven by greed, pride was a major factor produced by whose temple was the biggest and whose god was the most popular.

It sometimes seems that today’s churches are heading in the same direction. New churches are being built with attractive and unique architectural designs. Churches with gold trimmings and gold domes are popping up. Some churches have resorted to using the same things retailers use to attract customers; neon signs and digital displays. On the inside of some churches you can find fancy statues and ornaments encrusted with jewels. Some churches use large bands to entertain people while others use elaborate choir performances. Still, other churches have envelopes in the pews asking for a special donation on top of tithing that goes directly to the pastor–unchecked by the money counters or church board.

Feel Good High?

The question can be asked: Do churches do all of these things to attract people to Christ or to attract people to their congregation? Are greed and pride driving these churches to get larger and fancier? It is not our job to pass judgement on these churches so I guess a better question to ask is why do you go to church? Do you go so you can corporately worship the Creator or do you go to get that “feel good high”?

It seems like these ancient discoveries are now becoming entrenched into modern churches. Some Christians are being deceived by the very places they go to worship. At times we all find ourselves getting caught up in the hype of entertainment and something new. When this occurs we need to break free from the cultural norms and make sure our church attendance is motivated by a desire to grow spiritually and to give God praise. If a church is not moving us in these directions, it may be time to start searching for a new one.

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By David Wolstenholm. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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