Friday, January 06, 2006

Doctors are stealing our ideas

Over at, there's a story that reveals the latest findings from Canada's medical research: Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior.

Admittedly, this doesn't have anything to do with the church . . . directly. But you have to read the last paragraph to understand what they mean. It says: "The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases... It's about improving the quality of life."

Jim Bublitz over at Slice of Laodicea makes this insightful connection:

That logic (changed to fit the Church Growth Movement) sounds like this:

"Preaching to their felt-needs gets them in, builds trust and then we have the opportunity to treat their spiritual condition... It's about giving them a purpose in life."

Most of us probably cringe a little at this because we see it for what it is - manipulation, well-intentioned though it may be. If that is the case, why do so many rejoice in the same practice in the church?

Manipulation is manipulation, whether it is meeting the desperate sinful "needs" of alcoholics or the alleged "felt needs" of "seekers."

1 comment:

Jim Pemberton said...

Good parallel. I'll go one further. Fulfilling "felt needs" (as distinguished from real needs) is a hindrance to the gospel. Does God fulfil "felt needs" in the process of sanctification? No. in fact, He even denies some real needs so we learn to rely only on His grace.

For the alcoholics, what good is it to treat medical conditions that are a result of alcoholism? While symptoms may be treated, the best medicine is to correct the root problem - not to exacerbate it. Sometimes this means denying real medical needs, like causing a gaping wound in someone in order to perform life-saving surgery.