Monday, September 10, 2007

I suspect Mr. Wiles wouldn't be impressed by a nine thirty pre-football service

Some additional comment from Roger N. Wiles on what the Great Commission is, and is not:

One of the driving forces redefining Christian faith and practice in our day is George Barna of Barna Research. Barna has long advocated the marketing of faith based upon the demands of the consumer. Barna discovered that the un-churched often dislike religious institutions, preaching, liturgy and theology. He recognized the unique likes and dislikes of each succeeding generation. “Boomers” wanted one thing while “Busters” wanted something else. I’ve lost count now of generations “X” and “Y” and whatever. Barna suggested that if churches wanted to draw a crowd they needed to recognize people’s faith preferences. Barna was absolutely right about the success of marketing the faith and absolutely wrong on ecclesiology. Religious consumerism draws a crowd but it cannot build a church....

A few examples of the marketing and redefining of Christian faith in our day are Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. I make no judgment as to their sincerity or love for God. I am even aware of some very good things that both Hybels and Warren have done for people with their fame and fortune. But all three, along with most religious media, are changing the essential definitions of what it means to be Christian.

Skipping over Osteen and Wareen, let's go to our point:

Bill Hybels redefined the church by creating the “seeker friendly” model of church growth. Hybels modeled his ministry on the conviction that the reason people don’t go to church is because it is not relevant to their lives and it’s boring. Hybels marketing genius was to make the message relevant by focusing worship on the worshiper and by making the worship experience amusing and entertaining. Hybels changed the worship of many churches from God-centered adoration to the felt needs of man. Biblically and historically God’s people were converted and discipled by Word, Sacrament, and prayer. Instead, these ordinary means of grace have been replaced by videos, skits, praise bands and special music designed to encourage and challenge an audience not edify the communion of saints.

While Wiles et al are correct in noting that worship should not be redefined, I argue that there is no problem in repositioning it. After all, Peter and John left the Temple, and Paul left the synagogue, and the Wesleys left the sanctuary. As long as you are speaking the Word, you can be doing it outside the confines of a church building.

Even in a sports bar.

Incidentally, I found some other comments about Unverzagt:

A recent article titled "Praise The Lord And Pass The Beer Nuts" shows just how far away many will go from the gospel of repentance. This is an abomination.

After quoting from the original article (including the section about how the service will pause if an important play appears on one of the screens), this verse is cited:

In II Thessalonians 2:3 it says "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

But the most important message appears at the end:

Special Offer - Become A Partner And Receive Two Free Audio Tapes.

Of course, the author probably abhors Bono and this quote:

"The God I believe in isn't short of cash, Mister"

- Bono, Bullet the Blue Sky from Rattle & Hum

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