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Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'm angry today. Have you seen these Scientology commercials? "You're not your fears, you're not your failures..." Or something like, "Everyone feels that void they can't explain...and it can only be filled by one thing: the truth." Do you know why I'm angry? Two reasons:

1. They're effective; and

2. They use "evangelical-speak."

Watch one; you'll see that it's hard to disagree with any of the sentiments in them. Of course, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) so that's infuriating. This all says to me that we evangelicals need to stop evangelizing in the manner where feelings are the primary measurement of spiritual need. Or spiritual anything. Because if the language of feelings can be so easily co-opted as we see here, we might convince someone [Crap, it's on again!] of his need, but we won't persuade anyone in terms of the objective Kingdom reality wrought by God in Jesus Christ. I suppose it's somewhat of a fine line; if you don't connect at all subjectively, noone will trust you.
But it brings home the reality of the need for first principles, natural law, and reason. All Christians want to insist that we don't do "church" so that we simply have the means to make it through life. But that's what all this therapeutic, feelings-based preaching has done. Do we know that we have made scores of people vulnerable to appeals like what Scientology is making, because our presentations of "the gospel" are either entirely composed of subjective practical appeals, or spiritualized appeals to feelings, which yields the same result. One doesn't realize it's a Scientology commercial until the end, when it gives the web address. Suppose you didn't know Scientology was a weird, New Age-y cult. For all you know, "scientology.com" is the website for the megachurch down the street! It may be a rant for another day, but apparently, "outreach" is so important that we're too cool to put "Jesus Christ" in the name of our church. We wouldn't want to scare the "seekers" away, after all! Quick, someone make sure that guy gets a latte before he goes in the sanctuary! (Now, if the Lord leads you to serve coffee for people at your church, I'm not against it per se.) Forget it, it's a top 5 list:

5 Reasons I Hate Being An American Evangelical

5. We come into worship talking about a mighty, holy God, but we try to make the whole experience as comfortable and normal as possible.

4. Jesus offended people for their sake, but we can't do that. I mean, what if they leave?!

3. Sure, worship is about God, but if the dude on piano or guitar does a killer amazing job, we have to applaud, right?! It'd be too hard to encourage him after we're done worshipping. See "Children in Worship" also.

2. Other Christians are misguided brothers with wrong theology, never mind that 85 percent of us don't know our church's theology. Catholics of course are Pharisees and idolaters. Right?!

1. We wouldn't want to do the sacraments, er, I mean ordinances, too often. We wouldn't want people getting totally lost in worshipping Christ or anything. After all, everyone with half a brain knows they're just symbols, right? Right?!

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