De onderstaande heldere analyse van de subtiele aantasting van de boodschap in de seeker-friendly movement kwam ik tegen.

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 to drive them away."
  • "As with all clergyman (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 a soft-sell."

So the new rules may be summed up like this: Be clever, informal, positive, brief, friendly and never, never use the H-word.

The pastors and leaders in the (user friendly) church-growth movement certainly wouldn't portray thier own ministries in that way. In fact, they would probably laud their succes in drawing people into the church without compromising the message. But they fail tot understand that by decentralizing the Scripture and avoiding hard truths, they are compromising. "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and the holy angels" (Lucas 9:26). If the design is to make the seeker comfortable, isn't that rather incompatible with the Bible's own emphasis on sin, judgment, hell and several other important topics.

The gospel is a confrontational message. When you remove the confrontation - or soften, downplay, or bring it in through the back door - you have compromised the message. The modern pulpit is weak, not for a lack of witty messages, but because men fear to speak the hard truths of Gods Word powerfully and with conviction.