I’ve just listened to an interesting program from two Sundays ago on Radio National’s Spirit of Things. The Spirit of Things often seems disconnected from the evangelical/pentecostal world, and it was good to see this intelligent engagement with it. It starts out with an excellent critique of the megachurch phenomenon by Marion Maddox, including its fixation on wealth, its individualism and its many backdoors of people leaving disillusioned. (There I am cheering Marion on.) But then there’s a twist, with an articulate defence of the movement by Jacquie Grey, ‘young’ (was Rachael Kohn being condescending or complimentary?) academic dean and OT lecturer at what was Southern Cross College but is now named after some star. I’m not a convert, but Jacquie responded very well to what she must have known what was not going to be the most sympathetic interview, recognising the movement’s shortcomings and its shifts and attempts to address these problems. (Nothing is more gracious, in my opinion, than recognising your own shortcomings. It’s something I’ve never heard one or two evangelical movements do.)
It bugs me how influential megachurches are on the wider evangelical movement. It is now almost compulsory to aspire toward being a megachurch, at least from what I’ve heard about Baptist churches in my neck of the woods.
Megachurches are antithetical to Anabaptism, that’s for sure. Anabaptists hate crowds, for a start. (Tongue in cheek, I offer this facetious comment in lieu of a full blown discussion, as I’m not up to it right now.)