‘I’m in the Lord’s Smarmy’ — How ‘Sham-Wow’ Christianity Threatens Western Civilization

Written by John Kirkwood on April 14, 2013

431px-Barnum_and_Bailey_-_3b52428uDo your ears tingle when pastors use their “church voice” to promise you Jesus in a bottle? Do you play the Lord like a rabbit’s foot or a sanctified Ouija board? Have you bought into the God can serve you and give you your best, purpose-driven life now, so that you can “eat the cookie” and “buy the shoes” Christianity?

There is a heap of teachers willing to tickle your ears with the promise of God as your bellhop, but if you have been convinced that God plays Alfred to your Bruce Wayne then I’m afraid you have lost the heart of Christianity and the soul of discipleship.

Christ didn’t die to make your marriage better, buttress your portfolio, inspire your weight loss or demonstrate “an example.” Christ didn’t die to be your marriage counselor, financial adviser, personal trainer, nutritionist or life coach.

Christ died to crush the serpent, satisfy justice, overcome death, and please the father. Christ died to make dead men living reflections of his Father’s glory.

When you treat Scripture like a sanctified fortune cookie, you reduce God’s message and His messenger to the level of a laundry detergent commercial and you abandon the battleground for the playground. And while modern “Christianity” plays in the “how to” and “what’s in it for me” sandbox, the hallowed ground is plundered.

Yes, there is a wealth of wisdom in the Word of God for these secondary things but God never promises you that His salvation will bring you happiness, a sound marriage, better relationships, health, wealth or long life. Don’t take my word for it; just ask Saul of Tarsus, “On which side of the Damascus Road experience was your family life, peer life, health and general well-being better off?” And you won’t have to wait for the answer, just compare Philippians 3 with II Corinthians 6 and 11 and you’ll note the true irony:

That all the things that modern Sham-Wow Christianity offers to their “clientele” are all that Paul reckoned as “dung” in the stead of a true, vivid relationship with Christ!

Prior to his blinding engagement on the Damascus Road, Saul Benjamin Tarsus Paulus had a family (members of the Sanhedrin had to be married with children), health, wealth and the esteem of his peers. Following his conversion to Christ he was presumably disowned by his family, hunted by his peers, beaten, falsely accused and eventually beheaded. Between the lictor’s axe and the Damascus Road, Paul lost his family, friends, eyesight, comfort, reputation, and religious access; yet he welcomes this new life and calls the old one “dung.”

True, he never had the advantage of being mentored by an Osteen or a Meyer but the apostle of the Gentiles did have a couple of sessions with the risen, glorified Christ. Not too shabby.


Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society’s own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender. – A. W. Tozer

The Bill of Rights is treated like a piñata by our own government. The headlines are a hat tip to Orwell and Huxley. Pastors and politicians compete for the affection of the Gaystapo while abortionists boldly talk about snuffing out babies born alive – and the country yawns. Jane’s Addiction was prescient – “Nothing’s Shocking.”

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John Kirkwood
John Kirkwood is a son of Issachar. He is a Zionist, gun-toting, cigar-smoking, incandescent light bulb-using, 3.2 gallon flushing, fur-wearing, Chinese (MSG) eating, bow-hunting, SUV driving, unhyphenated American man who loves his wife, isn't ashamed of his country and does not apologize for his Christianity. He Pastors Grace Gospel Fellowship Bensenville, where "we the people" seek to honor "In God we Trust." He hosts the Christian wake up call IN THE ARENA every Sunday at noon on AM 1160 and he co-hosts UnCommon Sense, the Christian Worldview with a double shot of espresso on UncommonShow.com. He is the proud homeschooling dad of Konnor, Karter and Payton and the "blessed from heaven above" husband of the Righteous and Rowdy Wendymae.