Glorified Littleness
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Counting People 20

Are Numbers Important?

numbersWhen new people begin attending a church, there is a tendency among existing members to resist them. This is founded upon the mistaken and subtly deceptive concept that "small is beautiful" or "glorified littleness." "Glorified littleness" argues that numbers of people are not important, it is the spirit that counts. "Where two or three are gathered," this approach says, "then there is the church." In this respect, David Pawson the prominent British Bible teacher writes, "We have glorified littleness."

Counting in the Bible

Day of PentecostIt is interesting to note the attention the Bible gives to counting the number of people. Not only is there an Old Testament book named "Numbers" but Gideon, David and other people carefully counted the number of people in Israel. Jesus himself is introduced to us at Bethlehem where his parents had gone because of a census which was a counting of the number of the people in each population by the Roman authorities. Numbers are everywhere in the Bible, we read of the "twelve apostles", "the feeding of the five thousand" in Matthew 14.13-21 and elsewhere "the feeding of the four thousand" in Matthew 15.29-39 and then of the five hundred in 1 Corinthians 15.6 who met Jesus after the resurrection. Jesus certainly did not glorify littleness but growth. "Somebody on the day of Pentecost was so full of the Spirit," writes the Bible scholar David Pawson, (1930- ), "that they counted heads!" Peter counted the fish as he pulled them out of a net according to John 21.11, "So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn." Peter or someone else must have meticulously counted the number "one hundred and fifty three." The early church certainly took great pride in counting the number of people and so should we.

"Glorified Littleness"
by Ron Meacock © 1982 - 2017

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