Reformed Theology vs. Seeker Sensitive “Theology”
October 21, 2007 14 Comments
I have just started reading Why I Am Not A Calvinist by Walls and Dongell. In the introduction the authors make an interesting observation about the recent growth in Reformed Theology in our country. They said
Why is Calvinism making a comeback? What is its appeal? No doubt there are several factors involved here, but let us mention just two. First, part of Calvinism’s attraction is surely that it represents a stark alternative to the superficial, seeker-sensitive theology that predominates in many churches in America.
Second, many see Calvinism as a liberating doctrine that breathes new life into sterile and legalistic devotional life. (pp. 16-17)
It is the first reason that I want to address here. I read this and I thought how much sense that this explanation actually makes. Think about it. The seeker-sensitive model has been around for quite some time now. It is huge in our country. The problem with it is how shallow it is. It is great at getting people into the church, getting people connected, and building relationships but after that the spiritual growth of the people is really lacking. I know most who are proponents of the seeker-sensitive model would not agree with that assessment but I believe it to be an accurate assessment. Do an internet search and you will find many, many people pointing out the shortcoming of the model. The authors agree and state it this way
God is often reduced to a “cosmic bellhop” whose only concern is to meet whatever needs contemporary people feel in their lives. The biblical picture of a God of holy love before whom we stand guilty and in need of salvation is obscured or even denied. Doctrine is dismissed as irrelevant , Scripture is used as a self-help manual, and worship is replaced by various forms of entertainment.
Wow, what more can you add to that. The authors point out that many people who are in the seeker-sensitive churches come to a point that they realize God must be taken more seriously than He is in these churches. As they begin to search for a new “way” they find a home and a comfort in Reformed Theology.
I think this is an incredibly insightful revelation. It may have been around for a while but even if it has, this is the first time I have heard it. I personally have read and studied a little bit about the seeker model. I rejected it because of it shallowness. It is designed to place all the focus of the worship services on those who are not yet believers, to make them feel comfortable, non-threatened and willing to come back. Don’t get me wrong, I think this needs to be a focus for all churches but not the focus of the worship services. This is to be done in small groups and evangelism events. Worship services are for believers!
The seeker model also tends to water-down the Gospel message in order not to offend or challenge non-believers. I think that we can change our methods without compromising the message. Many seeker churches cross this line. If you have to change the message to reach someone did you really reach them? If so, with what? I have heard Dr. James White state it this way: “What you win them with is what you win them to!” That means that if you win someone with a watered-down gospel message then that is what they are going to commit to. If someone commits to a watered-down gospel message, is that the real Gospel or a false gospel. When, and if, the true gospel message is presented to them they may reject it or think what they have is good enough. Have you done them any good or just paved their road to destruction?
The growth in reformed theology being a function of people rejecting seeker sensitive churches…..what do you think?