“When Jesus entered the temple courts he began to drive out those who were selling. ‘It is written’ he said to them ‘My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers’”.
Lk 19:45, 46 NIV
T he history of organised religion shows that it often loses its bearings and gets “hi-jacked” by people who lose all sense of genuine godliness and forget its true purpose. Business management principles say that the most important exercise for any business is to ask, and to keep asking, “What is our business?” The religious leaders in Jerusalem had subverted the temple. Intended for prayer and worship it had become a commercial business making a fortune for those who had charge of it. Worshippers had to buy lambs and sheep there in order to offer sacrifices. Only those supplied by the priests qualified to be used. It had become a racket. And it broke Jesus’ heart. It also angered him that this wholesale exploitation was being carried out in the name of God.
There have been many instances of the Christian church also becoming side-tracked from its God-given mission. Sometimes it has become embroiled in commercial activities and its voracious need for money has encouraged this. Sometimes it has become a religious version of the national ideology of a country and in this it merely serves the glorification of the country and its secular leaders. This is very common. Often it has become the preserve of a certain class or group and overlooks the poor and lowly elements of societies. Sometimes the professional ministers have thought the church was there for their glorification. The Holy Spirit then comes in renewal and cleansing and redirects churches back to their biblical calling and purpose.
Lord, purify and renew your church.