Friday, October 17, 2003
In the September 2003 issue of Touchstone: a Journal of Mere Christianity, Louis R Tarsitano has an article titled, Seriously Seeking Mysteries: on Seekers, Liturgy & Baseball. It's a straight shooting article that genuinely questions the "seeker-friendly" mentality currently found in evangelical circles. Indeed, the first line goes, "I have a very dear friend who has attended Willow Creek Church for years, and he has never moved much beyond his original attraction: a jolly good religious show that does not require him to do anything “demeaning,” such as worship or getting too involved with the other members of the audience." The question essentially raised by Tarsitano is whether we, as Christians, should water down the Gospel message in order to attract non-Christians to our church services. Offshoots to that question would be whether or not we let the desires of non-Christians dictate how we package our liturgy (e.g., non-Christian: "Church is BORING", Christian: "Okay. We'll do away with emphasis on sin and really jazz up the worship team... Oh!, how 'bout some cafe mochas between services?"). Along a similar vein, in the July/August 2003 issue (no web access to the article), Gillis J. Harp presents an article entitled, Mall Christianity: on Seeker Sensitivity & Cultural Captivity. In it, Harp states that, based on the early Church, the primary emphasis of Sunday worship was not to evangelize non-believers... it was for believers to corporately worship God and study His Word. Now, this is not to say that no evangelizing could occur on Sunday... rather, Harp is saying that it was through a concerted effort to impact society during the rest of the week that the early Church would seek new believers. This dovetails wonderfully with Hugh Hewitt's latest book, In, But Not Of. Although we should certainly be aware of the concerns of non-Christians, we must realize that they will not completely understand our liturgy or our ways. This should not be surprising... for they are In, And Of the world.