One day I awake, in sort of a Rip Van Winkle experience, to find that my world, the world of the church, had changed, and I had been ‘left behind’. Where had everyone gone? Most churches were now talking about dysfunctional families, poor self-image, co-dependency, addictions, 12-step programs, and needs, lots and lots of needs that the church was supposed to meet. More Christians were obtaining their philosophy for living from popular talk-show hosts than from Jesus and Paul. (ch. 5)
In this chapter, Dr. Gilley explains in more detail how the church was now being built upon the wrong foundation – that of psychology. It was no longer based upon the Word of God and all the truths contained therein. Instead, they had adopted the world’s view of psychology and answering to people’s needs, rather than bringing them to the foot of the cross in repentance. They had forgotten that Jesus can heal – without the world’s advice on how to do it.
“The new-paradigm churches, then, appear to be succeeding, not because they are offering an alternative to our modern culture, but because they are speaking with its voice, mimicking its moves.” (ch. 5)
It is Robert Schuller who claims to be the founder of this church growth movement that focuses on people’s “felt needs” rather than the Gospel. But Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church caught on and ran with it. However, he tweaked Schuller’s idea of self-esteem being the most important felt-need and settled on his own opinion – that of personal fulfillment or the pursuit of happiness being what most people wanted and needed.
Nobody said anything about repentance of sin.
This church growth movement has made Christianity a bunch of self-seeking individuals who only care about how God can make them feel. Not on how they can please God.
“In the seeker-sensitive church, ‘needs reign supreme; God exists to meet Harry’s needs. Harry comes to Christ, not to glorify Him, but to find the promised fulfillment and happiness in this life.” (ch. 5)
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
If you are just beginning this book study of “This Little Church Went To Market” with us, you are welcome to begin the series here. To purchase your copy, you can buy one on Amazon (paperback and kindle – affiliate link) or on Dr. Gilley’s website here.