The Idolatry of Methodology – Jim Fowler
It is a natural tendency of mankind to develop methods that will lead to the desired human performance and production results. Our entire educational system seems to be the instruction of the latest methods in every discipline. There inevitably develops a competition of methods in every field of study concerning which method works better – “This is how to do it right or most effectively.” The social sciences and humanities studies, in general, seem to engender a broader spectrum of methodological variation, having less definitive operational criteria. Methods, procedures and techniques are necessary, but they must not be allowed to become the ultimate objective or end-all. When that occurs, we have the “idolatry of methodology” wherein people have faith in the method to achieve their ends.
We observe this proliferation of methods in almost every category of thought and action these days. Business methods. Production methods. Educational methods. Writing methods. Exercise methods. Diet methods. Health methods. Spirituality methods. Religious methods. This methodological diversity contributes to the abundance of books and popularity of the “how-to” section of the remaining general bookstores.
The idolatry of methodology is particularly apparent in the field of religion and the church. Denominational methods, Preaching methods. Worship methods. Sunday School teaching methods. Discipleship methods. Counseling methods. Faith, commitment and adherence to human methods, procedures and techniques often runs contrary to the personal direction and spontaneity of the work of the Holy Spirit. It can be, and often is, emphasis on what man does, rather than what God does, thus failing to be receptive to the dynamic grace of God in the function of the living Lord, Jesus Christ. “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).
Jim Fowler is a cherished and respected friend of Plain Truth Ministries, a wonderful brother in Christ, having served in a variety of capacities, on our Board of Directors, as a theological consultant and as an author and editor. After many years of ministry in Fallbrook, California, Jim and his wife Gracie have recently moved to Texas. He continues to write, with his latest being “Manifesting the Life of Jesus” available on Amazon. Jim is a treasure to the body of Christ, a Christ follower who faithfully reflects God’s grace in Jesus, as our risen Lord lives his life within him. We are delighted that Jim will once again grace our pages.