The Religion Racket
by Norman H. Wells
Former Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Cincinnati
Now With The Lord
© 2005 James H. Dearmore/Gospelweb.net

The Late Dr. Norman H. Wells

[GospelWeb.net Globe]

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Chapter 6

Spoiled Saints

The marks of a spoiled child are all too familiar. He gets everything he wants or he throws a "temper tantrum" and the parents quickly bow to his wishes. A spoiled child has never been disciplined and consequently reacts violently to any restrictions. He insists upon having his own way. He has been brought up to be concerned only about himself and has little concern for the feelings of others. Because of overindulgence it takes something really tremendous to please the spoiled child. His demands and expectations become greater and greater and it takes more and more to keep him happy and satisfied.

The spoiled child finally seems to lose interest in everything. Nothing pleases him and he takes his revenge by making life miserable for everyone around him ... particularly his parents. The spoiled child has been petted, pampered and fawned upon to the degree that love has lost its meaning. His bad antics and meanness have been smiled at and condoned until he no longer recognizes what is wrong and what is right. The spoiled child has been waited upon hand and foot and cared for to the degree he has never learned to care for himself or to meet his simplest needs. Generally a spoiled child never grows up ... he remains a spoiled child all his life. He may finally marry but he then demands from the wife the same attention he received from his parents.

A spoiled child is bad. A spoiled saint is worse.

Just as the spoiled child is so prominent in the American family, so is the spoiled saint in the religious world. The allegory is almost perfect. The marks of a spoiled saint are just as familiar as those of a spoiled child.

The spoiled saint must have his own way or he will throw a "temper tantrum." If everything doesn't go just exactly as he thinks it should he'll sulk, pout, and stay home to punish the church for disagreeing with him. His attitude is expressed in the old saying, "If you won't play my way, I'll take my marbles and go home." A spoiled saint reacts violently to any restrictions. Nobody is going to tell him what he can or cannot do. The spoiled saint is concerned only about himself. "What's in it for me?" seems to be his motto. The spoiled saint has little or no concern for the feelings or well being of others.

Because of an overindulgence of religious excitement it takes something really tremendous to stir the spoiled saint. Like the spoiled child, his demands and expectations become greater and greater as he demands more and more. Each religious hayride creates an expectation for one bigger and better. Finally he becomes a sophisticated, hardened connoisseur of religious fare and takes great pride in disdainfully rejecting all that is offered. He loses interest in everything and his only satisfaction seems to be in ruining it for everyone else.

The spoiled saint has been so petted, pampered, and fawned upon by glory seeking, numbers building preachers and every kind of compromising cult that he no longer recognizes true love.

Spoiled saints! Waited upon hand and foot by a frightened bunch of professional preachers whose only task seems to be to pamper the whims of this sorry lot. These spoiled saints have long since passed the place of caring for themselves. A spoiled saint never grows up but remains a whimpering, pampered, babied, coddled, spoiled saint throughout his entire life.

What is the cause of this condition? Generally, with few exceptions, a spoiled child is the product of well-meaning but woefully inadequate parents. Others can have a part but in the final analysis the responsibility rests with the parents. What about the spoiled saints? Again the source of this difficulty is not difficult to trace. With few exceptions it rests with men who serve as pastors. They are the ones who must ultimately bear the responsibility of raising spoiled saints.

In our day preaching and pastoring a church has become a highly competitive business. A great number of modern preachers labor under the constant pressure of feeling they must keep the saints happy and contented or someone else will lure them away ... and they'll be without a job. This is a sorry, despicable picture but it is an accurate analysis of much of today's religion. So ... in the continual effort to please the saints the process of spoiling progresses. Instead of pastoring his people the average modern preacher pampers, pets, and coddles them. He gives them everything they want. His main purpose in life seems to be to satisfy every passing whim of his people. He becomes a kind of parasitical politician. A toe kissing flunky!

Modern day religion has raised a crop of saints with no training and no equipment which would enable them to grow and become strong. Seemingly there is nothing glamorous and appealing about teaching. It's hard work to teach and hard work to learn and neither the modern day pastor nor people have a stomach for this sort of thing.

Today's religion is characterized by an almost complete lack of discipline. Anything goes. The saint is not taught the standards by which he should live. Today, no one expects much of the church goer. Is it any wonder he is spoiled and completely unable to determine what course he should follow? The standards have been lowered until there is no longer any difference to be seen between the saint and the sinner.

Another contributing factor to the conditions we are describing is that, in a great percentage of religion, entertainment has been substituted for worship. The saint is invited to church, not to worship, but to be entertained. The congregation has become an audience. They don't come to take part ... just to watch while a group of high-powered professionals put on a show.

Each pastor and church feels they must outdo the others to stay in the race of bringing amusement to the saints. On and on the pace goes until the spiritual sensitivities of the goggle-eyed saint become dulled to the extent of being void of understanding. Finally, it will take a good sized earthquake, four or five erupting volcanoes, and the ominous ticking of a hydrogen bomb to get him even mildly excited.

All the emphasis is upon a religious good time ... a hayride of happiness. Get on board and hallelujah, your troubles are all gone. Just sit back and enjoy yourself. What ever happened to those good, old, religious words like sacrifice, service, suffering, self-denial, etc.? What's the answer? The situation calls for preachers ... real, courageous preachers ... calling for a repentance that will wake up the slumbering saints. We need preachers who are not afraid to spank the spoiled saint.

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