1 Samuel 6:3 KJV
And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
These are Scofield's notes on this passage,
"The story of David's new cart and its results is a striking illustration of the spiritual truth that blessing does not follow even the best intentions in the service of God except as that service is rendered in God's way. It is a constant point of failure. God had given explicit directions how the ark should be borne (Num_4:1-15) but David adopted a Philistine expedient.
(1Sa_6:7); (1Sa_6:8). The church is full of Philistine ways of doing service to Christ. "
That our churches are full of "Philistine ways" is pretty obvious. I doubt that anyone would deny it. What we would have lively debate over is what ways are those "Philistine ways." Our churches do almost all they do based upon tradition, culture and preference. This is the way we always did it is synonymous with Scripture. I am as traditional as they come. Conservatism means that I loath change. But I wonder if we even know how to distinguish between what is God's way and the worldly "Philistine way"?
So what would be the Philistine way?
First, Scofield's word "expedient" comes into play.
The Philistine way, was the easiest way. They used a new cart so it might not be the least expensive way, but it is the way that required the least amount of research and preparation. David didn't have to find priests qualified to bear the ark, he just had to buy a cart. Flash and show, spending money for that which is impressive, displaying "bling" might be a Philistine way.
Secondly, the Philistine way could be that thing that leads to the results we want the most quickly.
Driving the cart could have gotten the ark to its destination more quickly than having men carry it. Even if our goal is a Biblical one, to use means that bring about the goal quickly rather than ones that bring them about more Scripturally would be classified the "Philistine way.
Apparently no one questioned David's plan with the Philistine expedient.
God grant that someone would take note today and begin to question whether what we do is a Philistine way, just the way we do it now, or God's way.