I saw a quote the other day, see if this sounds about right.
“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.”
I think it hits the nail on the head. I preached on Peter and the other apostles becoming fishers of men last week and reminded my church that those guys fished with nets. Jesus was talking about casting the net of the Gospel and never meant for us to fish with bait – not for people anyway. But here’s the kicker: the above quote is from A.W. Tozer. I don’t know in what year it was written, but he was born in 1897 and passed away in 1963. There’s a guy with wisdom and insight that could see the writing on the wall.
I shared the exact quote from above on Facebook yesterday and added “Before social media, the Internet, the ‘seeker sensitive’ movement, Christian rock bands, projection screens and Starbucks in the lobby, Tozer saw where the church was headed.”
Now let’s be clear; I enjoy many different types of music and have a few Mercy Me and Newsboys songs myself. I drove a bus full of church people to see “God’s Not Dead” in the theater. My readers know I love coffee! But look at what Tozer is saying about the attraction being God or something else. The purpose of the church is not to entertain non-believers; the purpose of the church is for God’s people to worship him. Worshiptainment must not replace authentic worship. Worship gives all the honor and glory to God; it draws attention to him and not the person or persons on stage. It’s something God’s people do together and not a spectacle we all watch.
After my Facebook post, I got a message asking about the term seeker sensitive. My response was basically this:
“…the seeker sensitive church movement sought to remove anything that might be offensive to non-believers who might be “seeking” Jesus; or God, or answers to life questions. Removing the altar, placing more emphasis on music and less on preaching, sometimes even removing images of the cross from the sanctuary could all be examples of things one might do. If your pastor wears skinny jeans and silk shirts, and preaches from a clear plexiglass podium, you might belong to a seeker sensitive church. If the band performs a Christian concert for 40 minutes and then some guy gives a brief talk (and there is no sermon) you might be seeker sensitive. You can draw a big crowd, but are people receiving the Gospel? The Gospel message and the cross of Christ are offensive, but we cannot simply do away with them. Authentic Christian worship will have the effect of drawing people to Christ that need him.”
That’s a very Michael Spencer sort of answer. I know because that’s who I learned about the movement from and the dangers of it. I’m not saying to take down your projector and big screen. I’m saying Sunday morning is not “the big show.” If we draw a huge crowd and don’t present them with the Gospel and challenge them to change, what are they there for? Preach the Word, worship in spirit and in truth, and people that need Jesus will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and respond to that.