This blog is not a visceral pleaser. In fact some people will conclude it is a useless harangue by an angry old man. Let me clarify a couple of my self-imposed assumptions. I’m not good at writing to touch the inner feelings of a therapeutically confused culture. My desire is to target the brain/mind. The brain is located in the upper portion of the human body and functions to process thought and memory by the use of neurons, synapses, and other electrical impulses. When the body dies, so does the brain. The mind which is often used (and sometimes confused) as a synonym for the brain is metaphysical. It is a component of the soul. It will be around somewhere, forever. I’m writing this blog to a truth seeking, intellectual, and rational brain/mind, but aware that all brain/minds are sinful. Therefore, some of them will understand what I write and others will resist it. As for “an angry old man” I am old and the Word of God instructs me to “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). It does make me angry when I see the church falling into pieces, and professing Christians saying, “the church, the church, the church” (Jeremiah 7:3-4). Jeremiah’s actual words were, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’”
I will be writing the next few blogs, probably to myself, with excerpts taken from my book, The Church: First Thirty Years. All the quotes will come from chapter 46, “The Church Growth Movement.”
The church growth movement, the mega-church concept, and various other exciting religious inventions charm professing Christians with frills, thrills, and entertainment. These religious charms have captured the attention of churchmen around the world. “Marketing the church” has replaced the biblical concept of “making disciples.” The Mega-church has replaced the biblical concept of a shepherd and the flock. It is important to realize that the church growth movement finds its most faithful followers referring to “contemporary worship” or talking about the “emerging church.” These recent inventions spring forth from the church growth movement. This chapter is the result of my observation, research, and inquiry into the church growth movement. This is my critique of the movement and if correct, it is contrary to the doctrine and practice of the first thirty years of the church. My purpose in this chapter is to explain how modernity is inseparably related to the church growth movement.
The decline of the evangelical church may be attributed to any number of factors. However, two factors have significantly contributed to the decline. They are modernity and the church growth movement. The argument set forth is that although modernity has shaped the character of the evangelical church, the church growth movement is the driving force to implement the tools of modernity in the evangelical church. (p. 297)