December 4, 2014

Why Seeker-Sensitive Churches Are Doomed To Failure

I’ve been listening to a lot of good sermons lately. The sermon that I am posting here from John MacArthur doesn't seem to have been tainted by the Charismatic "scandal" per se but this one touches on a seeker-sensitive, emergent church philosophy that is rapidly spinning out of control in Evangelical America.  It is the philosophy that says we in the Church need to somehow drastically alter the way "Church is done" to make it relevant to the culture which inevitably makes the Church like the culture. This of course is in direct opposition to what Jesus said about being a city on a hill. It is also against what Jesus said about His disciples who are not of the world. It is what Paul reiterates (Jesus said it first) about idol worshipers in comparison to true believers.

Matthew 5:13-16 ~ ““You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

John 17:14-16 ~ “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

2 Corinthians 6:17 ~ “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…”

Because these principles or analogies of Scripture are being ignored, I see the Emergent Church (and to a lesser extent Seeker-Sensitivism) as a serious blight on/in the Body of Christ. Apparently, so does John MacArthur.

I have a manifesto it is pretty much what I state below. The time for half-truths and skating around issues when it comes to the well-being of the Body of Christ are over. The Church might be in decline but it isn't because we are not matching the culture step for step.

Church is for worship of God and for God's glory...

....not for entertaining man. 

Church is for pleasing God... 

...not pleasing man.

Church is about preaching the Gospel...

...not preaching traditions (to a lesser extent opinions). 

Church is about how God feels...

...not necessarily about how we/you feel. 

Church should be about God's business...
...not bringing business (or business models) into the church.

Church should be shaping the culture...

...not the culture shaping the church.

In this sermon John explains why the Seeker Sensitive churches have it backwards and are eventually doomed to failure. They may succeed in sheer numbers of attendees but spiritually, they are self-negating because of their pursuit of how they feel rather than how God feels about their holiness. More specifically, they are self-cancelling because of their methods of pursuit. 

In shaping the church around man's entertainment, man's business models, man's traditions and man's feelings the church has allowed in the spirit of Babylon instead of the Spirit of God to permeate and shape the Church. In this way there is a false church on the rise and it may already be bigger than the true Church. I am merely speaking of the evangelical church here, not the Roman Catholic church or anyone else. I am talking about what most would consider the true Protestant Church.

They have right within the very core of their operating philosophies the seeds of their own demise. As an observer of the church it pains me to even write these things. As a matter of fact, when I do I am often accused of being judgmental, harsh and/or unloving. Sorry, harsh and unloving is me not caring what happens in the church and letting people dance their way down the path of destruction without first informing or warning of the possible outcomes of their behaviors. The path to Hell is lined with  good intentions.

John's sermon shows why prosperity is nearly always poverty. It shows why feeling good and having people feel good is the wrong goal to pursue in ministry and the Church at-large. We’ll never be content in our Christian life if we are looking for contentment. We will always end up last when we are trying to be first. The only way we find contentment in this life is to find Christ.

The path to the cross is through being made humble not through instant gratification. The path to the cross walks through struggle and pain to reach triumph. Even Christ told us this. The Christian life is a life of liberation. It is liberation from need and earthly circumstances that we believe we need...but don’t. It’s about truly believing and trusting in the providential and sovereign God that many of us say we believe in. It’s about being content with nothing and a preoccupation with others. It is about being selfless. Scripture reference: Philippians 4:11.

Christian Fundamental Attitudes: Contentment
November 10, 1996

In the end, the Church needs to be transforming the culture, not the culture transforming the Church. Sadly, that is not what we see today. If the Church had tried to stay relevant to the culture over the last two thousand years...there would be no church. We need to get our heads right with God...not men. In an attempt to become culturally relevant...we become irrelevant like last year's fashions and the last cultural trend. The Church's distinct nature and character is what has made her the Church. I now see that, in an attempt to become the same as or non-distinct from the culture...we are slowly becoming extinct and only a remnant of true believers remain. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

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