This is a social media advertisement that appeared in my newsfeed last week.
There were two comments. One thought the event was going to be awesome. I suspect that there are a lot of professing young Christians that will agree with the”awesome” comment. After all, they’ve been slowly primed for this day since of the advent of the “seeker friendly” approach to church and church growth that assumes that natural born lost sinners are, at some level actually seeking after God, an assumption the Bible denies. (Psalm 14:2 – 3, Romans 3:11 – 12); The other comment I read at the time was not so complimentary:
“Gee, I don’t remember any “preaching festival” ANYWHERE in the Bible! ’Entertainment festivals showcase musicians. Gospel preaching is to be for God’s glory, NOT a talent show to “showcase” young preachers.”
Fellow believers, that there is a “festival” to showcase young preachers (IMHO) is an offense to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Many of you will get that sentiment. It’s also an offense to the gospel itself.
At he same time, it’s an accurate description of what much of evangelical Christianity has become, man-centered entertainment. Here’s a statement from the non-profit sponsoring the “festival”.
“One of the goals at Pulse is to encourage and equip young preachers to share the Gospel in a Biblical, unique, and unapologetic way. On March 2nd these young emerging leaders will showcase how they preach the Gospel.!”
While encouraging young preachers to unapologetically preach the gospel, the emphasis is clearly placed on “how” these youngsters preach rather than on the gospel itself and its power to save lost sinners. I can’
t can’t think of a single instance in Scripture that talks about the preachers “unique style”, whether it’s an OT prophet, NT apostle, or Jesus himself. While I’m hopeful that the true gospel will be clearly presented,, I suspect there will be a couple of “adventures in missing the point”, which is truly sad, for a couple of reasons.
First, since this event is, by design, to showcase the young preachers showcasing themselves will, by necessity, be advertising their own unique styles, and most likely removing the “offense of the gospel”, in order to please the audience with their many talents, while not making anyone feel uncomfortable before a Holy God. If you know your Bible, the Apostle Paul, as well as Peter declared that the message of the gospel is, by nature, offensive to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Peter 2:7 – 8). By and large, today’s gospel must be appealing to a lost world, not convict it of sin, as the Holy Spirit is wont to do.
Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, the hearers of a false gospel cannot be saved by it.
I am NOT saying that no one who attend the “festival” will be saved, or that biblical truth won’t touch the hearts of listeners. God has saved many a lost soul at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, just not through preaching that never discusses the problem of sin (a self-confessed hallmark of Joel’s preaching).
Back to the point of this post – the sorry state of much of today’s evangelicalism., designed to entertain both the sheep and the goats. The aforementioned ad for a blatantly man-centered preaching “festival” says it all.
As was already stated earlier, that there is a “festival” to showcase young preachers is an offense to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.. It’s also an offense to the gospel itself. We need to be about the business of praying for TRUE revival, which is God’s work, not ours. We should also continue to pray that God continue to pen hearts to hear the gospel message, as Jesus Christ continues to build HIS church until He comes to meet his Bride in the air!
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Is your issue with the seeker friendly church primarily a theological issue? Lost people can’t seek God, so a church based on the idea is wrong?
My issues are more historical: The church has always been the people of God. The focus of the gathering was to worship God and to strengthen the faith of His followers. The seeker model inverts all that and weakens the believers who actually attend.
It’s a theological issue, of course, but also historical, as you said. The church is to be primarily for the building up of the body of Christ, not become attractive to the world. NT model for church growth was to go and preach the gospel and bring those whom God saves into a local body of believers, IMHO. There’s probably more, but I should stop here. 🙂
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