Saturday, 26 April 2014

Should a church be seeker sensitive?

A popular model for many churches today is the 'seeker sensitive' approach to evangelism and conducting church services. One of the most high profile exponents of this is Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Church was released almost 20 years ago. The seeker sensitive advocated by Warren and many other involves changing church to something which is more friendly, culturally sensitive and appealing to the unchurched, a church experience which is non threatening and which will give them what they want from church. Old style hymns and worship will be replaced with a more modern worldly style of music, including pop, rock and rap. Long expository sermons will be diluted down into a shorter story based talk that meets the perceived needs of the hearers, with biblical doctrines such as sin and repentance being rarely mentioned. The focus of the message will instead be light on doctrine, centred on man and with the Lord Jesus Christ presented as the means of you improving yourself and filling that void in your life. Essentially it is church done the way the unsaved want it to be done, a way that does not cause them to feel uncomfortable or threatened. The seeker sensitive church will also provide for the social needs of the area with numerous programs aimed at improving the lives of those living in the community. These churches have been very successful in seeing large congregations built up very quickly, with thousands of people in attendance and multi-million pound programs being run by the congregation. The question is whether the seeker sensitive approach to doing church is one that we should adopt, and whether it can be supported by scripture.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Calvinistic motivation for evangelism

The teaching of John Calvin is often summed up in what is described as the five points of Calvinism. Most commonly this is known by the acronym of TULIP. Whilst these five doctrines are not all that Calvinists believe, it is what marks them out from Arminians, from Lutherans and from other branches of Christianity. These beliefs have come under many attacks from the opponents of Calvinism, one of those attacks being that some of them are a hindrance and a discouragement to evangelism. This view is encouraged by those who are hyper-Calvinist in their doctrine, and who do refrain from engaging in active evangelism. Yet in truth it is an accusation without any support; indeed far from discouraging evangelism, all five points should be an encouragement and a motivation to the Christian to evangelise the lost. In each one we do not simply have a dull theological concept, but a scriptural encouragement to spread the good news of the gospel, sure and certain that our work is not in vain.