From “Following” to “Getting Something From”

A quote I encountered earlier today while reading a sermon from Eugene Peterson on the story of the rich young ruler from the Gospel of Mark (10:17-22) seems to rhyme in its own way with my previous post on Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Peterson writes:

“There is something about this story that seems to me to be very American.  In my lifetime there has been a sea change in the religious church culture, from following Jesus to getting something from Jesus.  The basic terms that get people into churches these days are almost entirely in consumer language:  the gospel will put you in a position to be in charge of your life, to be happy and successful.  And under such a campaign, we suddenly have churches springing up all over the country with ten, twenty, thirty thousand members.  People flock to these churches to get something.  They are consumers to the hilt.”1


  1. Eugene H. Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God (New York: Waterbrook, 2017), 246.

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