Friday, January 13, 2006

SBC Professor Speaks out on "Seeker-ism"

The Southern Baptist Convention puts out a montly news magazine called "SBC LIFE." You can view it online here. In the January 2006 issue (click link and scroll down to "Seeker"), Dr. William Brown wrote an amazing article on the prevalence and danger of seeker-oriented services in the modern church.

Accroding to the article, William E. Brown (PhD) is associate professor of Evangelism and Church Planting and Nehemiah Project director at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is to be congratulated for writing such an article and SBC LIFE is to be applauded for printing it. It is very encouraging.

Some of the quotes found in the article go along with several things I have been saying over the past several months. The following are quotes taken directly from the online article:

  • The Bible establishes from its opening verses that God is the initiator of His relationship with mankind. He is the Seeker.
  • The Bible clearly teaches that man cannot initiate or advance his salvation. He cannot seek. One may ask, "How about Matthew 6:33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God....?' or Hebrews 11:6 where God reassures us that He rewards those who diligently seek Him?" Whenever the Scriptures speak of man seeking God, it is in the context of a relationship in progress, not man deciding on his own to restore his relationship to God.
  • Charles Finney, the "Father of Modern Revivalism," laid much of the groundwork for modern seeker theology. His semi-Pelagian position — that a non-Christian could accept Christ, of his own initiative, whenever he so chooses — motivated Finney's use of "New Measures."
  • We must always remember that our responsibility is to clearly declare the gospel, giving people the opportunity to respond to the Holy Spirit's stirring rather than our own. When we assume responsibility for the individual's response to the gospel, it is just a short step to the Seeker model. After all, if I can stir emotions so that people will "accept Christ" after they have come to the service, then should I not also do whatever I can to get them to the service in the first place? (Perhaps like this: On December 31, 2005, Abundant Life Church in La Marque, Texas gave away a $120k house to a lucky "worshipper" on New Year's Eve. Since 2003, the church has given away a car, a motorcycle and furniture. According to the church's website, lighting, music, indoor fireworks and balloon drops were part of the festivities. A church member/home builder charged the church $53k to cover the cost of materials to construct the house.)
  • Rather than trying to attract the lost, the Good Shepherd went in search of the lost sheep. The Great Commission commands us to go.

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