Al Mohler is not my favourite Calvinist. Despite being one of the signatories for the Cambridge Declaration, he is currently one of the board members for Focus on the Family and one of the proponents of the Justice Sunday movement.
Mohler has just written an article on his blog about the Self-Help and Actualization Movement - SHAM for short. Since this particular topic is one of my pet hates, the article is quite interesting.
Mohler does a good job at exposing the inherent problems with the movement - if self-actualization is possible by following the teachings of this movement, then why are so many books and seminars being held year after year after year. Surely if these programs are successful, why are people always eager to come back for more?
I have my own limited experience of this movement. Many years ago when in ministry, I was encouraged by my boss (the assistant pastor) to read The One Minute Manager and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They didn't do much for me, which left me wondering how it was that God could use secular management and self actualization techniques to benefit the growth of the Kingdom of God - something I am still wondering.
Mohler's article is a great summary of the work done by Steve Salerno, a freelance journalist who has done a lot of research into money scams in America. And as such, Mohler's words ar every useful.
The problem is that he has let me down, again. While Mohler is able to easily denounce SHAM thinking in America and rightly condemns it, he fails to make a synthesis between it and the Christian faith. It is interesting that Mohler mentions that the New Age movement has moved from spells and meditation into SHAM thinking - but he fails to note that the Evangelical church has done the same thing.
Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen and a multitude of others who lead evangelical churches in America are essentially preaching SHAM. This is one of my major issues with AMerican evangelicals - so many churches are failing to teach sound doctrine and preach the Gospel of Christ. Instead of preaching about Christ, they preach about our own human potential. Such an outright distortion of the Gospel is not limited to America - listen to Brian Houston and you'll see the same thing. The long-term result will be an evangelical movement that is blind and crippled, and where unbelief will spread.
These things are not what Mohler speaks about. He condemns SHAM, but not the way it has changed the Gospel. Obviously he is concerned with SHAM and its effects upon America generally - but he does not go the extra step.
Come on Al. Get it together.
From the Theosalient Department
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
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