It was ironic that within a day or two of finishing
the book Dining with the Devil: The Megachurch
Movement Flirts with Modernity by Os Guinness I should
pick up the March 2007 copy of Nation Geographic and
read the article "The Theme-Parking, Megachurching,
Franchising, Exurbing, McMansioning of America: How
Walt Disney Changed Everything" by T.D. Allman.
Two excerpts from the magazine article are especially
disturbing. In speaking of the largest megachurch in
Orlando, Fl, the now retired pastor, Jim Henry, who led
First Baptist to its megachurch position said that, "His
church's physical transformation has been accompanied by
a philosophical change. 'We are not here to dictate our
The section of the article dealing with the megachurch
in Orlando reads, "'You begin with faith,' Henry says,
and in his case at least, you end up as an expert in
This telling commentary by Guinness brings perspective.
He is discussing the difference between secularism and
secularization. "Being openly hostile, secularism rarely
deceives Christians. Being much more subtle, secularization
often deceives Christians before they are aware of it,
including those in the church-growth movement. How else
can one explain the comment of a Japanese businessman
to a visiting Australian? 'Whenever I meet a Buddhist
leader, I meet a holy man. Whenever I meet a Christian
leader, I meet a manager.'"
"The two most easily recognizable hallmarks of secularization
in America are the exaltation of numbers and of technique.
Both are prominent in the megachurch movement at a popular
level. In its fascination with statistics and data at the
expense of truth, this movement is characteristically modern."