By Not Known
Classical growth theory popularised by Adam Smith’s 1776 treatise “An Inquiry
into Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” defined output of economic
growth as a functional relationship between population investment and land
growth. Smith’s neat and succinct formulae had influenced many economies
then, giving rise to several other new growth theories afterwards.
How often Christian people also wish that spiritual growth could be reduced to
neat and succinct formulae updated over time? How convenient that would be if
minimum effort can bring about maximum outcome? Unfortunately, nowhere in
the Bible can we find a spiritual equivalent of Adam’s Smith’s theory for the
economy of God. When it comes to an engineered spiritual growth – that is a
The Apostle Paul wrote I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it
grow. (1 Cor 3:6) The Parable of the Sower illustrated grounds of various
conditions on which the seed fell that can either inhibit or promote growth (Lk
8:1 -15). Spiritual and Kingdom growth is often clothed in agricultural language in
the Bible. These biblical data should inform our theology of spiritual growth:
Growth is God-enabled, not human-engineered;
Growth is an outcome of one’s godly response to the word of God, for the
message of the Parable of the Sower is about hearing, retaining and
persevering in obedience;
Growth is pastoral, not technical.
Practically, we ought to test any Christian literature on spiritual or church growth
that veers towards humanistic tips and techniques. For these promised much and
even achieved much, but are fundamentally flawed in substance. These often
promote an addiction to methods which really is confidence in social scientific
The Bible teaches that authentic spiritual and church growth is first and
foremost – Gospel growth! The Gospel is centred on God. Growth flows from a
living and obedient relationship with God through Christ and his word. It is a
relationship to be nurtured pastorally, not engineered technically. Such a
relationship will keep on bearing much good fruits in seasons. This is our theology
of spiritual growth 101.
With God himself farming on your heart, he turns it into a beautiful garden in
time. Will you let him work in your heart?