The Seeker-Friendly Movement Is the New Liberalism – John MacArthur

Originally from here.

I’ve said this many times: I can listen to a guy preach—put anybody in front of me—and I’ll tell you what his view of Scripture is by what he says.  If he doesn’t preach out of the Bible, I know what his view of Scripture is, I don’t care what he says.  I don’t care if he wants to die telling me he’s a believer in inerrancy, if he gets up and does not preach the Word of God, that’s his view of Scripture leaking all over the place.  Look, every preacher preaches for impact, for effect, for result.  You’re up there saying what you think is going to get you the best result. 

If you think it’s foolishness and fun n’ games and song n’ dance and sermonettes for Christianettes—if you think it’s that kind of stuff—that’s what you’re going to do; but if you know, as Al [Mohler] was saying, that the power is the truth, that God has, as we’ve heard all week, has invested his power, as R.C. [Sproul] said, in his Word, then that’s what you preach.  I mean, it’s that simple!  It comes down to this loss of preaching.  And I’ll tell you, how do you know it’s the new liberalism?  Because you can’t stop a seeker-friendly movement, because it’s going to be redefined, it’s going to be redefined, it’s going to be redefined…  It’s relentlessly being redefined because the culture changes so fast in a media-driven society.  It changes so fast! 

You know, Schuller is the architect of this.  Robert Schuller is the absolute father.  The grandfather of the movement, who was a little bit below the radar, was Norman Vincent Peale.  Norman Vincent Peale is a classic liberal.  The primary impact that Norman Vincent Peale has had on the world is through his leading disciple, Robert Schuller, who said to me, “I can sign the confession of my denomination and makes the words mean anything I want them to mean.”  Well, that’s classic neo-orthodoxy—or liberalism (whichever).

So, you’ve got Norman Vincent Peale, who creates this kind of liberal, social gospel; his number one disciple, positive-thinker Robert Schuller; Robert Schuller develops this concept of the church many years ago, where he goes into Orange County and he goes door-to-door, passes out cards, and tells people to write down what they want a church to be, and then he gives them what they ask for.  He said in a speech at N.R.B. many years ago, “If you want to know how to build a church, ask the community, and give them what they want.”  His most famous disciple trained into that model is Bill Hybels, and the second is Rick Warren.  Rick Warren says, himself, that when he left seminary, he drove right to the Crystal Cathedral and was mentored there. 

So, there’s a flow going on here.  And where is it going?  It’s going toward the Emerging Church.  That’s why you can have all those people—Rick Warren and Brian McLaren—way out on the edge of the Emergent Church, you can have all those people at the same conference in San Diego all speaking, and, in between, sessions on Yoga.  If you just look at the roots of something—and look where it’s going: if you let the culture define the church, there’s no way to catch up. 

So, now you go to Schuller’s church, you wouldn’t find anybody whose hair wasn’t gray, because they had their little niche for that little cultural group, and they go to the grave with them.  And the same is going to happen with the others and the others and the others…  It’s not transcendent.  It’s not trans-cultural.  It’s not even beyond their tiny little chronological zone.  And that’s the problem with it, because if it’s culturally defined, it is its own worst enemy; it’s planned obsolescence.*

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*Planned obsolescence – a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.[1] Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor who might also rely on planned obsolescence. Has led to the phrase “They just don’t make things like they used to.”

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is a husband, father, blogger, and life insurance agent.
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