I was taught a word years ago in my medical training that speaks of a condition which resists drug therapy. This word could also be applied to our culture’s reaction to church and western Christianity. The word is tachyphylaxis. My copy of Taber’s Medical Dictionary describes it this way: “1. Rapid immunization to a toxic dose of a substance by previously injecting tiny doses of the same substance. 2. Diminishing responsiveness to a drug after routine usage.” I believe the western industrial nations are experiencing a form of tachyphylaxis, a rapid diminishing responsiveness to the gospel we are currently prescribing.
The human body, diseases, viruses, etc., can all develop a resistance to change. By now I’m sure, most of us have heard of the new antibiotic resistant “bugs” that have arisen. They are immune to usual treatments. The primary cause is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Like these “super-bugs”, our culture and it’s ills have developed a resistance to the presentation of the gospel. Persecution and hostility aren’t new reactions from the world, but in many places our ability to overcome, win, and keep hearts in church is on a decline. So, how did we get here? I believe we have over used parts of the gospel, underused other parts, and totally given wrong answers to the question the world has been asking.
I believe our “gospel message” has lost it’s potency. Now, let me explain. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t need to be re-invented or updated. The message that turned their world upside down then is still powerful enough to do it today. Have you heard of the wonderful things this message is doing in Asia, the Middle East,and Africa? Perhaps the issue is our version of the gospel message. The culture is very familiar with our churchianity, but very unfamiliar with real Christianity. In our version of the gospel, we have left out key ingredients or mixed the ingredients incorrectly. We are presenting an incomplete picture. Another dose of a placebo Saviour, one given for psychological effect/ feelings rather than one that truly brings healing, just isn’t tolerated anymore. The world’s patience has run out with our superficiality because their pain is real.
Now, let’s look at the issue of “tiny doses”. The world is in no way helped by how we are dosing Jesus. Our small living, small praying, small devotion, small thinking and small faith have helped create unnecessary opposition. Shallow religion isn’t selling, but Jesus is the desire of every nation. We should up the dosage in our gatherings and in our sphere’s of influence. It is time to bring the “Z Pak” of heaven’s cure on the the dysfunction of this fallen world. It is time to up the dosage! Our God is mighty to save!
We live in exciting days. Many are questioning assumed methods of treatment and if we are truly helping or exacerbating the problem. “What did the early church preach?” “What was the good news, really?” “What was all the talk of a kingdom about?” “Why is there no power in the church?” To rediscover the cure in our day, everything must be put on the table and re-examined in the light of the Word and prayer. In my opinion, we need a serious overhaul in the Theology we received from the Reformation and modern eschatology fads. We need to add in ingredients like heaven on earth, Kingdom, and holiness. We must aggressively reject tolerance of a powerless and passive church system. Tachyphylaxis in the west is a condition we have helped created. By the grace of God, we will help correct it. There is still a balm in Gilead.