DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Who is god?

Written by: on November 29, 2018

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other; you cannot serve God and mammon.”

Perhaps this is not the most accurate verse to describe Scott Galloway’s book “The Four,” but from a Christian perspective, it seemed the easiest to tie in. Even though the analogy of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse was a predominant part of this book, the premise that “at some point, there will be a Fifth Horseman[1],” I found the biblical nature of impending doom was somehow lost at this point in the analogy. Ultimately however, perhaps the impact that caused the thought for Matthew 6:24, was the comment that read, “The dominance of the four has an outsized effect on the competitive landscape and the lives of consumers. But what is their impact on the average career path of the educated individual?[2]” In regard to Global Evangelism, it is thought provoking to ask what effect commerce has on the individual when they look at the changing process of the financial world.

Though I was not only disappointed by the “God” and “Jesus” parallels, but actually offended by the comparison that said, “Steve Jobs became the innovation economy’s Jesus—and his shining achievement, the iPhone, became the conduit for his worship, elevated above other material items or technologies,[3]” I still could not dispute the fact that money has always been a major sinful downfall for mankind. Though possibly outdate, but I still believe relatable, Al Mohler wrote, “Comparisons to the Great Depression are inevitable, but today’s crisis bears little resemblance to the total economic collapse of the late 1920s. Capitalism is not in crisis and the fundamentals of the American economy remain strong[4].” The reason I chose this quote, was if we still evaluate things like economy and commerce on a Christian scale, and things today are as bad as is presented in our reading, then from a Christian perspective…is this a strong economy we live in today or a poor one? If people are worshipping the “gods” of commerce rather than the God of heaven, then maybe we should be warning churches of the deadly fall that is coming…or maybe even already upon us.

I still remember the ad by Carl’s Jr. for their new “god of the burger,” ad. Again, highly offended, I went to the church and warned them of the lackadaisical attitude possessed by our society when we failed to notice the problem with such an ad. To my dismay, it was only a few weeks later when one of our elders at that time came in talking about how good his burger at Carl’s Jr. was. However, I struggled with part of this reading in this aspect because it was not that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, or Google had declared themselves god…but rather, the author Scott Galloway. This struck me with a new dilemma:

  1. If these four companies are the future downfall and controlling being that is to guide our future as a society…not as a church…then rather than god…they are the devil; but if the devil, how do we justify using them so freely. Is it time to boycott the evil corporations and only buy our wares from the lesser quality, more local, higher priced companies; I mean, is that the answer to this problem? After all, Christ said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve[5].”
  2. However, if these four companies are just the product of society and its love for possessions over its love for God, then it does not matter who the “4 horseman” are, or even who the 5th horseman will be. The reality of this problem would be that the love for commerce, wealth and possessions have been, and seemingly always will be present, regardless of who is selling. Jesus also taught, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world[6].”

So in regard to the issue of Global Evangelism, as well as the connection this topic may have to my own dissertation, I have found that the goal of those taking the gospel to the world must also take the warnings against the world as well. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world…;” therefore, we must be able to demonstrate that the world has always presented an image of acceptability that was in complete opposition to God’s plan for His people. In my dissertation, I am demonstrating that many modern churches have changed the implications and teachings of water-baptism, even though I see Jesus commanding it in Matthew 28:18-20. When the world begins influencing our decisions as evangelists of the gospel, we risk taking a false religion to the world. Another one of those lies is that God wants us all to be wealthy, driving fast cars and living in the biggest houses; if that were the truth, then what is the point of promising us all heaven?

We have a family at our church that is always present for church events; truly dedicated to participation. However, they also love to get that next paycheck, possession, or opportunity to spend. Well, they went to the local car races one weekend, and during their evening, they won a $500 in a drawing they had. The couple that won then came to church that Sunday, so excited about their winnings that they wanted to share the story with me. In the story, they revealed that they wanted to do what was right, so they put $20 in the collection plate and donated $100 back to the track, because they thought they could use it. In spite of all the ministries that we have going on here, many of which they have been part of, their view of what was more important to spend their money on was the race track. For me, I saw the many times we helped them with bills, was there in the middle of the night when their house burned down, helped them get a new car, and provided them with numerous food boxes; and yet…they thought the track where they just won $500 was more in need. That is the challenge to Global Evangelism! We have to figure out how to reprogram the hearts and minds of people so that they do not see Amazon or Apple as their god. We need to show them that God’s Word has done far more for them than a Black Friday sale or IPhone XS could even begin to do. Maybe then, and only then, can we show them the importance of clinging to God’s Word in their lives.

To be honest, I have not fully understood the implications of many of these readings we have had in regard to the area of Global Evangelism, however, one thing this book successfully showed me was that we must never forget the danger of materialism on a ministry. To make my point, I offer one last illustration:

Bibliography

Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. New York: Penguin Random House LLC, 2017.

Mohler, Al. A Christian View of the Economic Crisis. September 29, 2008. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/septemberweb-only/140-12.0.html (accessed November 29, 2018).

Silverstein, Nathaniel Lee & Sara. Businessinsider.com. April 21, 2017. https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-explains-big-four-amazon-apple-google-facebook-2017-4 (accessed November 29, 2018).

 

[1] Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (p. 183). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 183.

[2] Ibid, p.230.

[3] Ibid, p. 66.

[4] Mohler, Al. A Christian View of the Economic Crisis. September 29, 2008. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/septemberweb-only/140-12.0.html (accessed November 29, 2018).

[5] Matthew 4:10.

[6] John 17:17.

About the Author

Shawn Hart

13 responses to “Who is god?”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Shawn,
    Excellent intro and use of Scripture to set your tone. Amen!
    Satan plays a long game and always has conned humanity to worship multiple gods since the fall in Eden. So, the new evil demons and god’s of commerce just look different, but still appeal to the human’s need for vanity, lust, sex, greed, selfies, information, money, and more. It is like the new Jumanji movie, same evil theme, just modified for the more modern victim.
    As Christian leaders we should not be worried about the influence of the digital age, artificial intelligence, chips under our skin, and quantum computers. Like Gru’s mother would say, “Eh….” So I believe God would just smile, because He knows the beginning from the end.
    We need to be ready to lead in chaos, confusion, disruption, and division just to name a few. And the truth is, “In Christ” we can!
    I think the biggest takeaway for me is that the digital age is here to stay, and only get faster and bigger. Our ministry and Gospel stay the same, but as those who have the ministry of presence, this book helps understand where we are needed.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

  2. Greg says:

    Hey Shawn….I think you left us hanging….or there was something I missed. I walked away from this book thinking that there had to be a better way to convey this information than that of this author. I do think these 4 horseman are global evangelist but not of the Truth we find transformational. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I agree completely Greg. I was trying to figure out how we take his message and turn it in to a positive Christian message for the church.

  3. I’m struck by this statement: “We have to figure out how to reprogram the hearts and minds of people so that they do not see Amazon or Apple as their god.”

    Do you think that is the role of church leaders? To program hearts and minds?

    In my experience, it’s Christ and Christ alone who can do the trnasformative work in my life and the life of others.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I agree Jennifer, but who is bringing Christ to the people. We have this great obligation to make sure we lead them properly when they are tempted by the world. These days, Romans 12:1 seems to echo more loudly than usual:

      “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

  4. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Shawn,

    The frustration is real. The gods of this age, particularly in the U.S. are hedonism and materialism. Unfortunately it seems that these cultural constructs have become so ubiquitous that even Christians do not recognize the trap they are in as a result. Your story of the family in your church is a prime example. This is incredibly frustrating for me and as I teach at the university it is difficult to help students recognize that there is another and better way to live. Even their parents don’t want them to study ministry because they want them to be ‘financially secure’.

  5. Shawn,

    I agree with the essence of what you said; thank you!

    I’ll just add one small comment just because it stuck out to me. You said, “I still could not dispute the fact that money has always been a major sinful downfall for mankind.” Can I suggest a minor edit that makes a big difference? I think that it is the “love of money”, not “money” alone that paves the way for a downfall. Paul said it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. (1 Tim 6:10) Money itself is just a tool in our toolbox. It is a positive force for good in the right hands of people submitted to God and yearning to do his work.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Absolutely…great emphasis! As we look at all these “4”, I must also admit that it is not just money…it is also where you find your approval, who you listen to for advice, and how do you find quality of life.

  6. Chris Pritchett says:

    Very interesting how you took these warnings of Galloway and applied them to warnings being forced upon the church. I wonder if you see these thing four hourse man as more bad than good, or can they still be used as tools for the gospel? But how can that be done without getting ensnared? Thanks for helping me ponder these questions.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I do not necessarily see the institutions as evil, but I see the attention we give to them as a sign of where our hearts may be focused. With that thought in mind, it may demonstrate that we are drifting from God instead of toward Him. That is a warning worth taking to the church.

  7. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    Absolutey. Not sure I see the application here to this book. But perhaps that is because I, like most the evangelical church, tends to lag far behind what the secular world is doing in big-tech and finding how to harness it.

    that comment he was about Google being Mondern Man’s God was quite shocking!

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Kyle, I HATED his comments placing those labels on these companies; God, Jesus, and the Spirit should not ever be compared in equality. However, “gods” have always existed for the people, and perhaps that is not a far reach for many these years…which is scary; or at least eye opening.

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