The Danger of Teaching Americans to Live Simple Lives?

The Elephant Room conversations were fun and insightful. I found myself agreeing, disagreeing, or neutral on many of the opinions being stated. Special thanks to all of the participants, organizers, and site hosts.

One conversation still lingers in my mind. Nearly 30 hours later, I still can’t believe what I heard.

Pastor David Platt has become well known for his call to USAmerican Christians to live a more simple life and radically live for the good of all. Pastor James MacDonald disagreed by stating one of the most absurd things I have heard in recent memory. In fact, it was so nuts that I listened even closer, to make sure I wasn’t hearing wrongly.

After some attempt at arguing for the affluence of the average American Jesus follower by quoting “given us all good things to enjoy,” Pastor MacDonald said, “Your teaching is very dangerous.”

Maybe only an American pastor could argue for the danger of simple living and for great riches.

David’s church had been seeking to reduce their spending so that they could do more to get the Gospel to those in our world who have never heard. We have everything necessary to get the Gospel to the whole world but lack the funds to do so. David’s congregation was struggling with this notion and decided to reduce their unnecessary spending. Their children’s ministry said, “We can have a meaningful worship experience without Gold Fish crackers.” The children were very excited to give up their crackers so that the money could be used to reach those who have never heard.

The children’s decision to give up the crackers became the laughing-stock of MacDonald, Driscoll, and others.

I was truly, and deeply, saddened…….a very wealthy (by his own admission) pastor bashing on another pastor, congregation, and children’s ministry for seeking to live more simply so that those who have never heard could have the joy of hearing the Good News.

Without a doubt I am no Bible scholar or theologian but even a child can understand that Jesus had severe warnings about riches and much grace for the poor.

Either David or James’ perspective is dangerous. I am thinking it isn’t David’s.

The whole conversation caused me to encourage my readers to purchase David’s book and get radical about living simply.

See Amazon’s page for David’s book here.

1 thought on “The Danger of Teaching Americans to Live Simple Lives?”

  1. It’s 2022, I have covid and am quarantined. I’ve been passing time watching the Elephant Room series on YouTube. I couldn’t agree more with you. Not only was I completely taken aback by James Macdonald’s rebuttal, but his combative and arrogant tone shocked me.

    I guess these videos haven’t aged well, since he and a few others have since been removed from their positions due to scandals. It’s interesting to watch these now knowing what has played out for them. Negative character traits were evident even in 2011.

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