If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. – A.W. Tozer
What is the biggest influence behind the change we see in the new paradigm church in both its message and methodology? In this chapter of This Little Church Went To Market, Dr. Gilley examines this question and comes up with this answer: it is “the invasion of psychology and its focus on felt needs.” (ch. 4)
He then broaches one of the leaders behind this “felt needs philosophy” and his bestseller book: Rick Warren and The Purpose-Driven Church. Warren uses Jesus as his example of a model reaching all the lost by satisfying their felt needs. And while Jesus did heal the sick, raise the dead and perform numerous miracles – Dr. Gilley reminds us what Jesus’ real motive was:
A closer look at Jesus’ evangelism shows that he always quickly got to the heart of the real need of his audience – their sin which separated them from God (e.g. John 3; 4; Mark 10:17-31) – in contrast to the loneliness, poor self-esteem, lack of fulfillment, etc. (ch. 4)
Dr. Gilley goes on to show us the difference between modern psychology and the Word of God:
- Difference in focus
- Difference in view of human nature
- Difference in view of values
- Difference in our source for answers
- Difference in methodology
Then where did this psychology influence come from and why has it had such a strong influence on the Christian community?
First, Satan is always busy attempting to undermine the authority of God’s Word . . .
Secondly, there is very little understanding or desire for biblical truth and theology even among Christians . . . Christian radio saturates the airwaves with talk shows and psychology experts. Christian magazines aimed at the laymen are full of testimonies but devoid of solid spiritual food, and so few believers study the Word for themselves. As a result, we are a spiritually starved people who are no longer able to discern truth from error. (emphasis added) . . .
Thirdly, seemingly good and respect Christian institutions and leaders support a Bible/psychology blend . . .
Finally, there is confusion over the concept of “All truth is God’s truth”. (ch.4)
I came away from this chapter reminded, once again, that there is only one source I can turn to for the complete, infallible truth – the Word of God.
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.