Why the divide? Why the snazzy sanctuary for that matter? They could just meet at Starbucks, bring their big screens and avoid the mortgage … and parking attendants … and reverence of Christ.
Then came (and went) the 20-minute sermon on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. To introduce his sermon, the pastor played a totally un-relatable clip from the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie. Void of mentions of sin, transformation in Christ, and Scripture reading and full of Bible paraphrasing, this feel-good motivational talk was the tipping point.
As I listened to the sermon, I remembered a sermon by David Wilkerson, a Christian evangelist and founder of the addiction recovery program Teen Challenge, in which he delivered a prophetic warning against seeker-friendly churches such as the one we visited.
Wilkerson delivered his caution in a sermon titled, "The Gospel of Accommodation" at the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield, Missouri in 1998. Wilkerson warned against a consumer-focused formula that would be especially popular among affluent white Americans and would create "destruction from within."
"It's giving birth to mega churches with thousands that come to hear a non-confronting message. It's an adaptable gospel that is spoon-fed through humorous skits and through drama and short non-abrasive 20 minute sermonettes on how to cope," Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson encouraged faithful Christians to recognize the gospel is confrontational in nature.
"There is a friendly grace, but there is a gospel that confronts sin," he said.
"It's not wrong to pray for growth," continued Wilkerson. "But if it's only to feed human ambition it will change the man into a devil."
As we walked to our car, I felt a heavy burden for the unsuspecting congregants of that seeker-friendly church. I commit to pray that the Holy Spirit reveal wisdom to this church's leadership and instill in their hearts a yearning for Biblical literacy and costly discipleship.
Our church search continues.