This is a letter to the editor that ran in the Americus-Times Recorder August, 20, 2006 concerning the destructive nature of seeker-oriented churches….
There is a destructive movement on now in many parts of the world, but especially in the United States, to redefine what the Christian church has been for centuries. It is called the “seeker friendly church,” the “seeker sensitive church,” or the “seeker friendly” or “seeker sensitive movement” and is many times introduced as a church growth tool. It has maimed some people and scarred others, spiritually.
An Internet search for “seeker friendly church” will inundate you with information, but a mature Christian will soon understand the need to read and take to heart what is available there.
The destruction usually starts slowly, subtly and continues until “the frog is unknowingly boiled to death.” If you’ve never heard tlie story of the boiled frog, it goes something like this: A pot of cold water is placed on the stove, a frog is placed in it, and the heat is turned on “low.” Gradually, the heat is raised until the frog is cooked to death.
It may serve you well to take your own church’s temperature by comparing the traits below to actions within your own church to see if your “heat is slowly being raised.”
1. The church leadership may point out that you need a new, larger more modern building at a new location. This may or may not be true, but it will certainly be impressive.
2. They may point out that you need to update or create a new church logo. It will many times include a contemporary rendition of a cross that is a little sloppier in design than the traditional pictures of the cross that you are used to. The original cross was by no means attractive, but it was well built.
3. They may point out that your church needs to target the younger people, young families, 20- to 40-year-olds. This point may be introduced through a church growth seminar with an outside moderator or church growth expert. Where does this leave our senior citizens?
4. You may actually recognize, in some instances, an introduction of New Age practices. If you’re not familiar with such, you won ‘t recognize them. Many times they take on the shape of religious all-inclusiveness. An Internet search on the New Age Movement will again give you much information. The local library would be another source.
5. You may notice other changes that are odd to you, but you can’t put your finger on what’s different or why they don’t feel right.
6. Should you point these out to church leadership, you may be identified as a “resistor” and told, “If you don’t like what’s going on here, you can leave.” Loss of membership is to be expected in a church desiring growth.
7. Unfortunately, the book “The Purpose Driven Life,” by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, will sometimes usher in or be linked to the changes you see in your church. It reads well at first glance, but look again. Also, the Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois seems to be heavily involved.
8. Your church may be engaging in “feel-good” activities to draw more people to church but then not giving them the meat of the Bible for fear of hurting their feelings. Go to the Bible and see what Jesus said to them … it wasn’t always pretty, but it was always the truth and always for their good because He loved them enough to not leave them in the condition they were in.
9. You may notice people in your church falling into the deception of these traits that you never would have dreamed would be involved, people you love, people with whom this may cause a break in relationship, people you thought would have been able to “see it coming” and helped the church avoid such destruction.
10. A relatively new version of the Bible, called The Message, is used in a large number of seeker friendly churches. If you will compare your favorite version with many scriptures in The Message, you will find that much has been added to The Message, for example, I Corinthians 6:9, where, not only was an idea added, but the existing idea was muddied and made unclear. There are many others, but to save space I’ve only included this one. If you would like to compare scripture from almost any version of the Bible with The Message, http://www.biblegateway.com is an excellent resource. It includes The Message version.
There are other signs, but these are some of the more obvious. Not every seeker friendly church will have all these traits; they are all different, but they will all have some of the traits.
You may think that I am resistant to change, that I’m old fashioned, an old fuddy duddy that wants things to go on as they are forever. In some cases, you may be right, but in this case I feel like the church is turning away from becoming Christlike, as He’s told us to be. Jesus talked with ALL people: all ages, all colors, male and female, people of all beliefs or no beliefs, whomever he came into contact with. He simply talked with them and gave them the truth … and He did it in love. He never told them, “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” but they did always know they had a choice. Do we really need to get away from all that?
Satan wants to take as many people to hell with him as he can because he knows that will be his final home, but he’d like to get in a few jabs at God along the way. What better way than to attack His kids and distract then from Jesus, whom he hates?
Pray for your church, love your church, pray for protection from the deception that is creeping in, but realize that at some point you may have to make a choice … do I stay or do I go? And, by all means, realize that your battle is not against flesh and blood but against Satan (Ephesians 6:12).
Hopefully, you will understand that this has not been written in anger but with the sincere hope of saving some from the torment and heartache that many have endured in recent years. Please, please don’t let this happen to you and your church.
Few things in life are more painful than being betrayed by someone you love.
The original article was posted on the ATR website.