Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Seeker Movement

By Damian Romano

In these churches, Christian orthodoxy is not jettisoned, but it is tailored for the new consumer audience, which is one much given to spirituality shorn of theology, one stripped of much of its cognitive structure. Messages are preached with civility and they are more user-friendly than they used to be. Their effectiveness is judged by their “market value” (that is, their practical usefulness). God is much friendlier, too. Gone are the notes of judgment, though these are more displaced then denied, and they are replaced by those of love and acceptance. God, in one such message, was presented as the one “who loves you, is proud of you, believes in you, and will give you strength to stand up to the forces of evil in the world.” Sin is preached but is presented more in terms of how it “harms the individual, rather than how it offends a hold God. Sin, in short, prevents us from realizing our full potential.” Conversion is insisted upon but then, paradoxically, it is the this-worldly benefits that are accentuated, the practical benefits of knowing Christ receiving all the attention with scarcely a look at what happens if we turn away from him. To turn away from him, Hybels says, leaves that person not so much under God’s judgment as unfulfilled. Thus the exclusive message of classical evangelicalism is maintained but parts of it are de-emphasized and parts are transformed to make the adjustment to this consumer-driven and therapeutically-defined culture. Evangelicalism is now presented “in the friendly guise of an egalitarian, fulfillment-enhancing, fun, religious encounter with God” And is this not sailing dangerously close to adapting the gospel to the postmodern disposition for the sake of success, adapting it to those yearning for the sacred without addressing what stands in the way to knowing God? When Paul wrote to the Galatians, whom he had to rebuke, he was painfully aware of the temptation to soften the gospel. He firmly rejected the desire to “please men” because, he said, if “I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).

David Wells, The Seeker Movement p. 305-306

(HT: Monergism)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.pineridgechurch.com/

This link is a perfect example of a compromising church. It is located in town near here. The growth of the church has exploded due to this kind of teaching. Self-help style preaching.
-Nate-

Damian M. Romano said...

Nate, one word...WOW. Anytime you first visit a church website that has an ad for "Bringing Sexy Back" you should do one thing, close the browser immediately!

Andrew Faris said...

I don't know Damian. Couldn't you see Driscoll's church doing a series titled that?

Damian M. Romano said...

Maybe...Lets just say I'm somewhat open but real cautious when it comes to this type of church "relevance."

Andrew Faris said...

Haha, that's fair, and I'm right there with you!

Scott said...

It is sad that the American (and mostly western) church is obsessed with big buildings, lights, cameras, action, and celebrities. I personally don't think Driscoll is bad, I am just very saddened he (and his local church, or church building) has been made celebrity. Even the greatest Bible teachers and leaders are falling into this trap.

Anonymous -

What I have learned is rather than getting mad at certain people or groups, and frustrated with their unBiblical attempts, I would encourage you to humbly walk out the truth and hopefully others will ask questions so we can direct them if God so leads them to us.

Anonymous said...

It is not about being mad or politically correct or our own emotions. Part of it is the truth of Christ, the other part is jealousy for God's image to the public. This is something we should all be concerned about since this is the primary reason for the Sunday celebration. The public acknowledgement of God in Christ! We walk personally all week. Like Paul said in 1 Corin. 14:23, if you walk in on these people what would it impart to an unbeliever? Would he think they are mad? Or join the mosh pit and start head banging? Walking humbly in part is holding a high regard for God's name personally and publicly. Christ, I think we can agree was humble, cleansed the temple in anger for what the church (Temple) had become and how God was displayed to the unbeliever (gentile). I am not advocating cleansing the church, but your conscience should be pricked if someone, especially the church, cheapens the image of Christ. Thank God Luther got mad at the Roman Catholic Church government. I personally am not mad about this group, but it does bother me that the Word takes a backseat to lights, attitude, drama. Friends that I know attend this church are not excited about the Word, but about how fun and cool it is. That is a slippery slope when these peripherals become the center of the celebration of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. That is what bothers me!
-Nate-