Lance Armstrong used unsavory means to win seven Tour De France bike races. He admitted it this week to Oprah with much fanfare across the world. My question: who cares how you got there, as long as you won the race, got the victory, received the accolades in the end? Armstrong gets hammered again and again for this. They were races. On bicycles. In France. He was a bad example. He's terrible for kids. He went outside of the written guidelines to reach his goal.
Evangelicalism and fundamentalism (fundagelicalism) yawn. The end justifying the means has become a regular feature of fundagelicalism. The Bible didn't work. It wasn't practical. So new measures were invented, that required some "tweaking" to the accompanying theology. This is the norm in evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Yawn.
Lance Armstrong was a bike racer. Churches are the direct domain of God. Jesus Heads the church. Pragmatism is rampant in churches all over. That's not news almost anywhere. That's only offensive to God. It really matters to Him. Churches go outside of the God-ordained means all the time to reach their goals. People expect it. If you aren't cheatin', then you must not be tryin'. Churches have been fudging the biblical model for awhile to get what they want. If you're not doing this, you must not be very smart.
The Tour De France has its own followers with its own interest group. There are some very avid bike race fans. They really keep track of all of it. And then there are sports fanatics, who know about almost every sport, including cycling. Lance Armstrong was so good that he transcended the sport. Obviously he wasn't so good, but he got good by using the inordinate means to get there. He'll still be very famous, even if he took dope to do it. The biggest names in the various circles of evangelicalism and fundamentalism go outside of biblical methods to get their results. The results are what got them their fame. They got their results using inordinate means, those not ordained by God. It's all over the place in fundamentalism and evangelicalism. They don't follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles to attain success. Not only will they not be punished for this, but they have been and will likely continue to be rewarded.
Are people going to attack the governors of bike racing for catching Armstrong? Some might. Probably not many will. It feels good now to go after him, to strip him of his awards. People who expose the extra scriptural methods of churches and their leaders will be more unpopular because of it. In other words, the wrong people get punished and will be punished.
Very few will be upset at how evangelicals and fundamentalists got to where they are. They won't care. It doesn't matter to people like even bike racing does. People will justify it because it isn't important enough for people to get upset about. And it's easy to get away with. There's no "governing board." Those who might govern it are the biggest names, who would just go along for the ride. And rules for bike racing mean something. Whether you follow what God says in His Word exactly doesn't mean much anymore, actually very little. It's not a game. But it's treated worse than a game. That's why how people succeeded in evangelicalism and fundamentalism doesn't matter very much. It's if you won, not how you won. And if you didn't use biblical means, not only will you not get in trouble, but you'll be praised for it. Bike racing doesn't like someone using a wrong means of success. Churches and church leaders praise you and emulate you if you do.
What am I talking about? If you don't know, I want to explain. I can't say everything, because it would be a book. It's widespread. It's rampant. It's the norm. Not cheating is the exception. It's so normal to go outside the Bible that the exception is now biblical only methodology. If you are not using some other means than biblical means to attain success, then you are now someone who doesn't know what he's doing. You need at least a seminar or two or three to straighten you out.
All through Scripture, operating different than what God said, even though not against what He said, is judged by God in a severe way. He doesn't always kill people for it, but the examples show how bad it is. These are major events through the Old Testament, and pivotal. Cain's offering. Nadab and Abihu's different recipe of incense. Carrying the ark on a cart. David's numbering of the people. Something all of those have in common is that none of them were forbidden in the Bible, but were different than how God said it. These are Finney's new measures. In 1 Corinthians 1-2, Paul said the method needed to be what God said to do. If not, God wouldn't get the glory, which was the point. All of this says that we judge these innovations in methodology as actual violations.
Churches and their leaders decided that the Bible doesn't "work." Churches can't train their own pastors, so parachurch colleges are invented. Going out to evangelize doesn't work, so inviting them in, luring them in is concocted. Concerts. Gimmicks. Big days. Pop music. Games. Carnivals. Buildings shaped like theaters. Fun for the youth culture. A more convenient doctrine and practice. A huge range of acceptable beliefs and practices.
Lance Armstrong won. These churches are winning. Why should anyone complain if it works?
Almost all, if not all, of your leading churches, most well-known churches, have made some, if not many, of the pragmatic changes to be successful. They've added dope to the biblical methods, since those don't work any more. They have nothing on Lance Armstrong.