Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Five Fold Ministry Goofs of the Seeker Sensitive Movement (Part 7)

“I believe in being seeker sensitive, it’s just that I only believe in one Seeker”
Paul Washer
Question 6. Can the desire for relevance compromise the purity of the gospel itself?

If we were to break down presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ into five essential elements then I would explain it in this order i) the Holiness of God; ii) the sinfulness of man; iii) the certainty of judgment; iv) the atoning work of Christ and His resurrection and; v) man’s response that requires repentance and faith. Other people may break it down in different ways but these five points encapsulate the necessary truths one must understand in order to come to saving faith. This message God has given to His church is both offensive and foolish to the unconverted sinner[1].

But the quest for relevance often turns into a quest to make the gospel inoffensive. The problem with this is that in order to make it inoffensive you have to tone down point i), avoid points ii) and iii), change the emphasis in point iv) to that of Christ identifying with our pain, and remove the repentance element of point v). As a leader within a “seeker friendly” church once said to me in an unguarded moment “we know we’re not putting all the cards on the table”. A pioneer of the “seeker sensitive” movement had this to say about point ii) “I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition”[2]
I’ve sat through many “gospel presentations” where the message has undoubtedly been compromised. In fact on one occasion at an “outreach” the speaker actually neglected all five points and then had an altar call. Unfortunately this is becoming all too common, at least in my experience. John Macarthur had this to say “Unfortunately the philosophy and practice of compromise has even invaded the church. Because "tolerance" is the operative ideology in our society, the church adopts a similar perspective to reach the unsaved. Many churches now look for ways to give the gospel to people without offending them. Yet the very nature of the gospel is offensive because it confronts sinners with their sin. Ignoring that, many churches willingly compromise God's Word instead of standing firm on the gospel, and they give the world a watered-down version that can't effect any change”[3].
That concludes PART I.
Coming Soon PART II - The Discipleship Disaster

[1] I Corinthians 1:23
[2] Robert Schuller – Christianity Today – October 5, 1984
[3] http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Grace_to_You/Article.asp?article_id=1048

Go Back To Part 6
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

You don't have to look far to see the compromise.