We came across a thought-provoking article recently that points out the problems of a church "going seeker-friendly." Here are some of the more convicting parts:
"I once read through a stack of newspaper and magazine articles that highlight a common thread in the user-friendly phenomenon. These observations from newspaper clippings describe the preaching in user-friendly churches:
- • 'There is no fire and brimstone here... Just practical, witty messages.'
• 'Services at [the church featured in the article] have an informal feeling. You won't hear people threatened with hell or referred to as sinners. The goal is to make them feel welcome, not drive them away.'
• 'As with all clergymen [this pastor's] answer is God– but he slips Him in at the end, and even then doesn't get heavy. No ranting, no raving. No fire, no brimstone. He doesn't even use the H-word. Call it Light Gospel. It has the same salvation as the Old Time Religion, but with a third less guilt.'
• 'The sermons are relevant, upbeat, and best of all, short. You won't hear a lot of preaching about sin and damnation, and hell fire. Preaching here doesn't sound like preaching. It is sophisticated, urbane, and friendly talk. It breaks all the stereotypes.'
• '[The pastor] is preaching a very upbeat message... It's a salvationist message, but the idea is not so much being saved from the fires of hell. Rather, it's being saved from meaninglessness and aimlessness in this life. It's more of a soft-sell.'
"Now observe, brethren, if I, or you, or any of us, or all of us, shall have spent our lives merely in amusing men, or educating men, or moralizing men, when we shall come to give our account at the last great day we shall be in a very sorry condition, and we shall have but a very sorry record to render; for of what avail will it be to a man to be educated when he comes to be damned? Of what service will it be to him to have been amused when the trumpet sounds, and heaven and earth are shaking, and the pit opens wide her jaws of fire and swallows up the soul unsaved? Of what avail even to have moralized a man if still he is on the left hand of the judge, and if still, "Depart, ye cursed," shall be his portion?'" [Charles Spurgeon; Soul Saving Our One Business, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 25 (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1879), 674-76.]
May we see more pastors raised up with a passion for the lost - a passion that will force them to not mince words! May we see more pastors raised up with a passion for the found - a passion that will force them to biblically feed the sheep!