Today a friend of mine posted an article about a pastor in Zimbabwe who was arrested for selling his parishioners tickets to heaven for $500 each. Evidently the tickets allowed the holders to bypass judgment and assured them a place in heaven. Needless to say there is so much wrong with this story that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so wrong. My friend posted this article with one word of comment. “Creativity…” I cringed.

My response was “I’m a fan of creativity… It’s the first thing we learn about God… This is not creativity.” I may have been hasty. There is certainly an element of creativity here. If the assignment is “Find a way to fleece people who trust you, in a way that will make them never trust God again.” then I suppose this was a creative solution, but, of course, this is a massive misuse of creativity.

That’s when it hit me. Creativity, especially Christian creativity, needs boundaries. Now I know as a creative you might want to kick against this. We artistic types often do not like boundaries. I have a post upcoming soon that talks about enjoying creating creatures because the possibilities are endless and there is truth to that, but when it comes to creativity in the church there are boundaries, and those boundaries are for our good. The primary boundary is the Word of God. In my opening example, the Scripture would have reigned that in very quickly, as the Scripture teaches over and over again that the gifts of God are not for sale and that no one misses out on judgment, though admittedly that judgment is for different reasons. Further, wealth is not often seen as a blessing in Scripture. Remember the camel passing through the eye of a needle and that we cannot serve both God and money, the rich young ruler and on and on. As a matter of fact money is such a difficult thing for people to handle properly that Jesus talks more about it than He does about things like heaven or hell. But it’s not just money.

Scripture sets boundaries on subject matter, content, morality, and on and on and on. Basically it comes down to these questions: will God be glorified by what I’m about to do and will He be praised? These boundaries will keep us, not just on the right side of God, which is primary, but will allow us to live with a clear conscience before our fellow man. If we are going o glorify God, how the people around us, those we are glorifying Him to, need to see us living above reproach. Boundaries allow this to happen.

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