Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The First Seeker-Sensitive Church?!?

If you think consumerism and market-driven church growth strategies are bad now, wait till you see what our 20th century forefathers had to deal with:

From George Marsden's Fundamentalism and American Culture (p.157):
"A sense of doom was created . . . and heightened by growing dismay about the moral condition of the nation. . . . Young men and even women were openly smoking . . . It was particularly galling that churches accepted such changes. Methodist church choirs, for instance, allowed young women to display 'brazen bared knees.' . . . Dancing, once an abomination to the Methodists, was now allowed even in their churches."

The King's Business was a publication which attacked the growing trends of secularism and liberalism in Christianity and culture at large. The reprinted image above represents their disillusionment with the "New Theology" of religious academics and their higher critical dissection of the Bible and the degeneration of the churches into an entertainment hall with "dancing lessons every Friday night" complete with bowling alleys and pool halls. At the root of it all, this entertainment-driven church is held together by the conviction that Man is sovereign.

Perhaps the write-up was a bit fundamentalist in tone, but it would seem that these evangelistic right-wingers had some foresight into the ramifications the consumer-driven culture would have on our places of worship. Now, make sure to cover up your knees.

(Thanks for the inspiration, Tim. And check out this sadly accurate parody of the modern understanding of a seeker's church.)


  1. That illustration makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

  2. Cover my knees? Heck, I'll cover my elbows. And maybe even my nose...

    Seriously, though, that cartoon is great. The entertainment/marketing obsession within the church today is nothing new, and we'd do well to take notice of the warnings given by those who came before us. Thanks for keeping us mindful of that, Adam--really enjoyed the post!

  3. Adam. You have disappeared from blogland. Where, oh, where have you gone?

  4. Sorry not to link to you on the blogroll, but you haven't posted on here in quite a while. When you post again, rest assured your name will be added.
    By the way, when are you returning to Louisville?