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Materialism: Christianity's Chief Competitor

Our problem, in catching a few fish for Jesus is not that we are so respectful of different cultures, so open minded and pluralistic, our problem is that we find it very difficult to imagine any culture more powerful than the one sanctioned by the Pentagon, the White House, AMWAY, and Toys 'R Us. It is a claim of Christian faith that these cultures are to be overcome, conquered in baptism. The biggest adversary to the gospel is not that so many people around here are skeptical, critical intellectuals but rather that many of us are rich, whereas the gospel of Christ tends to tilt toward the poor and dispossessed. Therefore the gospel is going to be abrasive toward those cultural expressions to which we cling and which we have tried vainly to find meaning for our lives.

The good news of Jesus has been in conflict with every culture in which it has found itself including the very first culture it encountered. In just about six weeks we'll see where all this open handed fishing got Jesus and his people - a cross.

-- William Willimon, from a sermon, "Fishing With Jesus"
Duke University Chapel
January 24, 1999
Matthew 4:12-23