The inherited churchly institutions in the United States are typically engaged in inducing people to join, support and attend church … in order to worship the church, not to glorify and enjoy God, and in order to enhance some churchly cult, not to esteem and enact the Gospel. The sanction for this appeal is a venerable one — the sale of indulgences. [People] are persuaded that by serving the church, by spending time and money and talent on the church, they can accomplish and exchange for merit and gain a justified status with God.

William Stringfellow (1928-1985) American lay theologian
Imposters of God: Inquiries into Favorite Idols