Complexity and Depth

Every once in a while I hear people griping about other churches they're aware of, saying "they're just not very deep."

Sometimes they're right. More often what they really mean is "I don't like the music."

Fairly often, I think Christians have a tendency to confuse complexity with depth. If a church (particularly a pastor) has a tendency toward complexity, we talk about them being "deep." If a church (particularly a pastor) has a tendency toward simplicity, we talk about them "not being deep enough."

Make no mistake, many churches out there are not deep enough. But unfortunately, we often use the wrong criteria to discern between the two.

I've had friends brag about their pastor's "depth." When I go to their church, what they really have is a pastor who loves to preach messages so complex even a person with a masters degree in theology couldn't begin to follow him. The irony is, those churches are no less shallow than some of the Christianity-Lite churches I could mention. If nobody can understand or apply the message, the message might as well not be present to begin with.

Similarly, several times a pastor's reputation for "shallow" sermons have preceded him in my mind. But when I finally get around to hearing a sermon, I find depth I didn't expect to find.

If it's just complex, it isn't deep. If it's just simple, it isn't necessarily shallow. We have to be careful not to judge depth on the wrong criteria. Otherwise, we'll lean toward spiritual arrogance and shallowness, all the while thinking we're deep.


Unknown said...


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