Friday, October 19, 2007

Pioneer "Seeker-friendly" Church Repents

UPDATE (10/22/07): ~ As Emily Litella would say, "Never mind..."

I guess I should have known, but it looks like Willow Creek's recent "repentance" was only made in order to make way for their next (newest) ministry "fad"--ECM (which, I must admit, my husband suspected when we discussed this last week). Earlier today while reading Phil Johnson's response to Willow Creeks "repentence" I took note of some links provided by a blog commenter--links to Willow Creeks upcoming "Shift" conference, complete with Brian McLaren.

Having warily watched this movement since the late 80's, the following excerpt practically brought tears (of joy) to my eyes:

"...Bill Hybels said, 'We made a mistake. What we should have done when people...become Christians...started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility...taught people how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.'

In other words, spiritual growth doesn't happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage..." Full article HERE

In the late 80's while we were at DTS, Bill Hybels was invited and scheduled to be a keynote speaker at one of the annual "spiritual growth" conferences on campus. News of this prompted talk of and plans to picket/boycott his lecture(s), which was met with a verbal and printed "warning" from the office of the seminary President.

Why the uproar? Because even then many students, faculty, and staff had rightly become concerned over Willow Creek's "customer-driven" approach to church, and saw it for what it was--unbiblical and spiritually damaging to the Body of Christ.

Within a matter of months, my husband and I were shocked and deeply saddened to discover that the church at which he intended to intern had sent a "delegation" of staff and members to Willow Creek with plans to implement their approach. It was announced one Sunday morning when we were home for a visit with family--I recall fighting back tears, and seeing the color drain from my husband's face.

If you'll read the article, I'm certain you'll see that I'm not being overly dramatic about this--it is a grave matter to be "toying" with the souls of people. When we start "customizing" church we essentially divide and destroy the Body of Christ--all for the sake of "felt needs".

While I'm encouraged at this recent confession, I did take note of one comment by a Willow Creek executive pastor Gregg Hawkins; "...Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture...".

Wouldn't this be the more Biblical approach, "...Insights that are informed BY AND ROOTED IN SCRIPTURE (period)."?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old article. However, it also makes me glad to see there is a change in this seeker-friendly fad that has damaged the church and hurt far too many people in their relationship and fellowship with God,

Thanks for the post