Once devoted to forming character and conscience among its followers, the contemporary church has let the marketplace take control. Churchgoers demand entertainment, not edification. Pastors, desperate to grow membership rolls, treat their churches more like companies and their congregations more like customers. The need to shape high-caliber people has gotten lost in the scramble to give the church a corporate makeover.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald is an award-winning religion reporter and an ordained minister. As the leader of a small congregation in New England, he witnessed firsthand this lapse into consumerism. He realized that in an effort to cast a wide net for souls, churches have sacrificed their ability to transform Americans’ self-serving impulses for the better. Where it once shaped desires, the church now merely satisfies them—where it once dispensed religious counsel, it now offers up mere therapy. He’s witnessed this disturbing trend in churches from coast to coast while covering religion for the Christian Science Monitor, TIME magazine and other national news outlets. There is much at stake here as the awesome power of religion in America threatens to become a force for ill rather than for good.
Grounded in journalism, personal experience, and Christian theology, Thieves in the Temple is an incisive critique of today’s movement away from influential religion, showing how desperately we need a new religious reformation.