June 24, 2008

Simonization Of Christianity

Simonization is probably not a word but it draws from 'simony' which is trafficking for money in spiritual things. Named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment so that anyone he would place his hands on would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. (Wikipedia)

Television evangelist come to mind when we think of Simony. However little is said of the inflated salaries of many pastors of our mega-Churches. Ludicrous compensations serves to hide the extent of the full salaries these people receive. Steve Gaines probably makes over $400,000. Adrian Rogers made about half of that. This would not include compensation packages and out side engagements and royalties. However these are mere guesses since their salaries are unknown to but just a few who handle the finances. When you give to Bellevue coffers you will not be able to know how much staff members are paid. This is for obvious reasons as it would discourage giving.

There is a good blog report of clergy salaries here. Roughly $50 - 60,000 is the median salary for the average pastor not including compensation. So more than likely your pastor is inadequately salaried. Churches need to have an open book policy about staff salaries since their salaries come directly from the tithes and offerings received in services.

Simon wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit for his own continuation of greatness in the sight of the people. Today's ministries have found the importance of money replacing the need of the Holy Spirit. This adds an interesting twist to Simony. On one hand the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be bought as Peter informed him. Today the Holy Spirit can be replaced with money. I saw this at work when I attended Bellevue's closing VBS presentation. The money spent on their VBS insured the success without the help of the Holy Spirit. If you invest enough money into a program it will be successful!

Perhaps your Church's VBS was simple and in your closing presentation the kids gathered on stage and displayed what they learned with disorganized but very cute skits and songs. At Bellevue the kids sat with their parents and watched well trained performers with state-of-the- art technology. Through the week the kids were instructed to "scream on cue" which nervous parents were not prepared for. Water was sprayed on the audience and confetti was dropped from the ceiling which thrilled every grandmother in the house! Who needed the Holy Spirit. This is repeated all across America in large Churches. Who needs the Holy Spirit when you have so much money?

The unspoken rule for mega-Church administration is "more money, more ministry." More money...more lost souls saved! Now, why do we need the Holy Spirit? Money buys you the best preacher and the best preacher brings in the souls. Why do we need the Holy Spirit?

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