I love the church. I am part of her. But the Holy Spirit gave me this parable and I must speak it, in obedience to my Father in heaven. May we all have ears to hear what the Spirit says to the church.
THE CHURCH’S NEW CLOTHES
Once upon a time, there was a small church that loved Jesus so much that she wanted to do big things for Him. “We want God to be pleased with what we do,” said her leaders and members. But they didn’t know how to begin.
Along came a team of anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, business professionals, architects, interior designers, and audiovisual experts. They told everyone in the town that they were able to teach people how to be very successful in whatever they undertook.
The small church got wind of it. The leaders thought, “This would be a great way to do big things for Jesus. These experts can tell us what we need to do in order to have a successful church!” They called a meeting and all the members agreed.
Their first order of business was to renovate the church building so it would draw young moderns. Thus, they began with the architects, interior designers and audiovisual experts. “Great idea!” the church leaders said as the experts served up their suggestions. The cost for the construction was a bit confounding, but the church felt it was well worth it so Jesus would see the wonders she could work for Him.
Soon, the building was beautified. It shone as the sun struck its shiny new windows. Fabulous fabrics and awesome art covered the walls. Comfortable, cozy chairs called out to churchgoers. Sound sprung from the superb speakers, and stirring scenery from the super-sized screens. The old was gone, the new had come.
Next, the business professionals were brought in. At their request, the church leaders donned demographic duds with a matching mantle of management principles. The church members thought, “Certainly all of this wonderful wisdom will work for our well-being. We’re sure to succeed with detailed data and the scientific systems suggested.”
Now it was time to consult with the anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Massive mountains of man’s wisdom weighed down the arms of the church’s leaders as they carried home tons of tomes to fervently study.
Soon they were coiffed with cultural capitulation, swathed in shirts of social system sensitivity and had put on pants of profound psycho-proficiency. Seekers of self-actualization swarmed the seats.
The church felt that she was ready, radiant, renewed. “Now, let’s make plans to present the product of our preparations to all of the people,” they said to one another.
“An Easter parade would be excellent,” said one. And they all agreed.
The day of the parade arrived. The church rolled out her resplendent renovations. A Christian recently filled with the Holy Spirit watched as the church passed by. Suddenly he cried out, “But the church hasn’t got anything on! She’s not clothed with power from on high!”
At first the crowd scoffed at the Christian, but then they realized he was right. They joined in and said, “The church hasn’t got anything on!”
The church stopped short for a moment. She had a sneaking suspicion they were right. But then she said, “This parade has to proceed.” So she continued on her course, hoping the heart of Jesus jumped for joy over the wonderful works she’d done.