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Thread: Seeker Friendly Church definition?

  1. #1
    peaceseeker Guest

    Default Seeker Friendly Church definition?

    Would someone please enlighten this old woman with a simple/concise and easy to understand definition of exactly what seeker friendly is and what a seeker friendly church looks like?

    I'm trying to understand this and don't know where to start. You people are sooo smart and up to date on this stuff and I trust what I read here.

    Thanks brothers and sisters!

  2. #2
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    Seeker-friendly basically means that they don't want to teach anything that will make a "seeker" uncomfortable. So you aren't going to hear teaching on sin, repentance, hell, etc. It's not going to challenge you on any level to holy living. It's not going to be very deep into Scripture. It's going to be soft and feel-good.

  3. #3
    carolina_guy Guest

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    You likely won't find any crosses in the sanctuaries, no more pews, controlled lighting, contemporary worship, slack dress "code" (not that dress or contemporary worship are negative--it's just the trend), life study groups, no Sunday School, all milk and no meat.

    You likely won't hear any messages that would put bring an unbeliever to the cross, or convict a wayward believer to repentance. Everything is watered down so to not offend anyone.

    The Seeker Friendly Movement really set the groundwork for today's Emergent Church Movement. It's really hard to tell them apart, and if a church goes SF, they just might end up Emergent.

    You might find the following comments from John MacArthur helpful:

    Questioner

    My wife and I have one son is at Southern Seminary and he’s kind of mildly, you know, thinking there’s good in the seeker-friendly movement—some of it—and my other son is totally hostile to it, and I’m caught in the middle. I was talking to somebody who is very high up in seminaries and just asked him a question, “Do you believe that the watering down”—and I’ve read literature and I’ve seen pamphlets where preaching is one line and there are 300 lines on worship and dance and everything else from the seeker-friendly movement—and I asked him, “Do you think that the seeker-friendly movement is a new form of liberalism? Is that where it’s going to take us?” And he said, “Yes, I do.” Do you believe the same thing?

    John MacArthur's Answer

    Absolutely. It is the new liberalism. It is the new liberalism! It’s no different than the old liberalism, which was a social gospel. That’s what this is, only it’s not a social gospel, because it doesn’t reach out to the poor. It’s not the down-and-outers; it’s the up-and-inners. It’s a psychological gospel. So, the psychological feel-good gospel is the new liberalism. Nobody’s going to say that they deny the Word of God; it’s just not “relevant.” It’s just not relevant.

    I’ve said this many times: I can listen to a guy preach—put anybody in front of me—and I’ll tell you what his view of Scripture is by what he says. If he doesn’t preach out of the Bible, I know what his view of Scripture is, I don’t care what he says. I don’t care if he wants to die telling me he’s a believer in inerrancy, if he gets up and does not preach the Word of God, that’s his view of Scripture leaking all over the place. Look, every preacher preaches for impact, for effect, for result. You’re up there saying what you think is going to get you the best result. If you think it’s foolishness and fun n’ games and song n’ dance and sermonettes for Christianettes—if you think it’s that kind of stuff—that’s what you’re going to do; but if you know, as Al [Mohler] was saying, that the power is the truth, that God has, as we’ve heard all week, has invested his power, as R.C. [Sproul] said, in his Word, then that’s what you preach. I mean, it’s that simple! It comes down to this loss of preaching. And I’ll tell you, how do you know it’s the new liberalism? Because you can’t stop a seeker-friendly movement, because it’s going to be redefined, it’s going to be redefined, it’s going to be redefined… It’s relentlessly being redefined because the culture changes so fast in a media-driven society. It changes so fast!

    You know, Schuller is the architect of this. Robert Schuller is the absolute father. The grandfather of the movement, who was a little bit below the radar, was Norman Vincent Peale. Norman Vincent Peale is a classic liberal. The primary impact that Norman Vincent Peale has had on the world is through his leading disciple, Robert Schuller, who said to me, “I can sign the confession of my denomination and makes the words mean anything I want them to mean.” Well, that’s classic neo-orthodoxy—or liberalism (whichever).

    So, you’ve got Norman Vincent Peale, who creates this kind of liberal, social gospel; his number one disciple, positive-thinker Robert Schuller; Robert Schuller develops this concept of the church many years ago, where he goes into Orange County and he goes door-to-door, passes out cards, and tells people to write down what they want a church to be, and then he gives them what they ask for. He said in a speech at N.R.B. many years ago, “If you want to know how to build a church, ask the community, and give them what they want.” His most famous disciple trained into that model is Bill Hybels, and the second is Rick Warren. Rick Warren says, himself, that when he left seminary, he drove right to the Crystal Cathedral and was mentored there.

    So, there’s a flow going on here. And where is it going? It’s going toward the Emerging Church. That’s why you can have all those people—Rick Warren and Brian McLaren—way out on the edge of the Emergent Church, you can have all those people at the same conference in San Diego all speaking, and, in between, sessions on Yoga. If you just look at the roots of something—and look where it’s going: if you let the culture define the church, there’s no way to catch up. So, now you go to Schuller’s church, you wouldn’t find anybody whose hair wasn’t gray, because they had their little niche for that little cultural group, and they go to the grave with them. And the same is going to happen with the others and the others and the others… It’s not transcendent. It’s not trans-cultural. It’s not even beyond their tiny little chronological zone. And that’s the problem with it, because if it’s culturally defined, it is its own worst enemy; it’s planned obsolescence.

    To me it’s a metaphor, like looking at Oral Roberts University—has anybody ever seen Oral Roberts University? It looks like a parking lot for old spaceships that came out of the sixties, doesn’t it? Because, in an effort to be really, really modern, you become immediately obsolete. I look at that and I think, “That’s what this is and it never can reach beyond its own limits, self-imposed.” So, the illusion of the seeker-friendly movement is that it has the potential to have the greatest impact. The truth of the matter is its impact is narrow and limited and, in many, many cases, superficial—but it gives the appearance of impact. But stripped of any depth and any real continuity in content and things that come out of the Word of God, it is it’s own worst enemy.

    I will tell you this, there’s really only one thing that I want to do in my ministry. There’s only one obligation that I have and it is this: to show people that the Scripture is the Word of the Living God, to be adhered to. I don’t want them to think I’m the authority, I don’t want them to think the culture is the authority; I just want them to know this Word is the authority. Now, how do you convince people of that if you don’t ever teach it? People coming through those kinds of environments, have a superficial, once-over-lightly view of Scripture. The depth of it utterly escapes them. The simplest apparent paradox in theology knocks them for a loop. They can’t think deeply about things and they’re, therefore, sentenced to a life of battling the flesh without ever being armed with sound doctrine to deal with it. I’m not picking on anybody, I’m just saying, once you move away from the Word of God, in my definition that’s “liberalism,” if you like that word. “Compromise,” whatever.

    http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/SC2005-QA10-5.htm

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Search Results for "Emergent Church" at The Berean Call

    Search Results for "Emergent Church" at The Berean Call.

    There are a massive amount of resources here on the issue.
    Mike ~

  5. #5
    peaceseeker Guest

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    Thanks so much folks.

    Yep, the church we're visiting is DEFINITELY seeker friendly/emergent. Back to the drawing board.
    Will be ever find a church to settle down in?

    I'm very serious when I say that my husband and I may start a bible study in our home.

  6. #6
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    The church I've been attending is the same way, Peaceseeker. I knew something was wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it.

    The Sunday School class is fine (at least mine is). I noticed the singing/preacher is getting different. I don't like it.

    My parents go there too, but they seem to love it? I'be been trying to explain, but they like - I don't. Sometimes, I think I am the wrong one, but when one goes to church and feels they don't get anything from the message - it's time to go. Then when I come to this board - I knew the name of this movement!

    We have all new people and I did give them a chance. This church was grown away from what church used to be when I grew up. It's not the same.

    I'm still looking - praying.

    The preacher only preaches on Sunday morning now. We have lifeskills, lifegroups, house meeting, etc. now
    Isaiah 1:18 ...Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceseeker View Post
    I'm very serious when I say that my husband and I may start a bible study in our home.

    This is exactly what we're praying about.


    deb

  8. #8
    rrrrrpitch Guest

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    "philanthropic social club"

  9. #9
    carolina_guy Guest

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    Another excellent indicator of the direction of a church is to visit their bookstore and see what books they are selling. If you see Purpose Driven "anything", chances are you're in the wrong place.

  10. #10
    His Bride Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceseeker View Post
    Thanks so much folks.

    Yep, the church we're visiting is DEFINITELY seeker friendly/emergent. Back to the drawing board.
    Will be ever find a church to settle down in?

    I'm very serious when I say that my husband and I may start a bible study in our home.
    Don't give up yet. There may still be another church that preaches the solid gospel without watering it down.

    I smiled when I read your post, because so many of us have been there, or are there presently.

    But God knows....

  11. #11
    peaceseeker Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by His Bride View Post
    Don't give up yet. There may still be another church that preaches the solid gospel without watering it down.

    I smiled when I read your post, because so many of us have been there, or are there presently.

    But God knows....
    You know what His Bride...we've been to every.single.solitary.church. within over 40 miles of our home. There is not one that hasn't moved over into the seeker-friendly worship style, appearance, and watered-down preaching that borders on psychological teaching. The last church we visited before this one, the preacher was doing an 10 week series on life choices which included topics such as How to treat your family; How to forgive; How to prosper, etc. Not one.single.word. was ever uttered about Jesus, nothing resembling the Gospel or salvation or hell or repentance was EVER breathed from that pulpit. "The Band" as they called it (headed up by the Pastor's daughter and son in law), gave a rousing performance {sarcasm} every week complete with strobe lights, colored lights, jumping around on the stage, and more as the whole sanctuary stayed darkened during 60 minutes of ear-splitting 'praise' music before the sermon and 30 more minutes while the congregation filed up to the pulpit area at the end of the sermon (without an altar call) and 'fell out' on the floor being 'slain in the spirit.' It was quite a spectacle. We left there after a woman had what the Pastor called a 'holy fit' in the sanctuary one Sunday morning. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and tearing at her clothes before she fell out 'in the spirit' on the floor and was covered with a black cloth. She just laid there until the show was over, then got up and walked out the door as if nothing had happened to her. That was enough for us.

    I really don't know what we're going to do.

  12. #12
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    This is an article dealing head on on the seeker sensitive church movement. Obviously a lot has happened since the article was originally published close to 10 years ago, but I believe "conservative" Emerging church or missional church could be considered a further development of the seeker sensitive church movement:

    http://rr-bb.com/showthread.php?t=70176

  13. #13
    His Bride Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceseeker View Post
    You know what His Bride...we've been to every.single.solitary.church. within over 40 miles of our home. There is not one that hasn't moved over into the seeker-friendly worship style, appearance, and watered-down preaching that borders on psychological teaching. The last church we visited before this one, the preacher was doing an 10 week series on life choices which included topics such as How to treat your family; How to forgive; How to prosper, etc. Not one.single.word. was ever uttered about Jesus, nothing resembling the Gospel or salvation or hell or repentance was EVER breathed from that pulpit. "The Band" as they called it (headed up by the Pastor's daughter and son in law), gave a rousing performance {sarcasm} every week complete with strobe lights, colored lights, jumping around on the stage, and more as the whole sanctuary stayed darkened during 60 minutes of ear-splitting 'praise' music before the sermon and 30 more minutes while the congregation filed up to the pulpit area at the end of the sermon (without an altar call) and 'fell out' on the floor being 'slain in the spirit.' It was quite a spectacle. We left there after a woman had what the Pastor called a 'holy fit' in the sanctuary one Sunday morning. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and tearing at her clothes before she fell out 'in the spirit' on the floor and was covered with a black cloth. She just laid there until the show was over, then got up and walked out the door as if nothing had happened to her. That was enough for us.

    I really don't know what we're going to do.
    Peaceseeker, you know exactly what you are going to do. You are going to spend some time on your knees and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. You WILL KNOW when He leads! Trust your discernment!

  14. #14
    m2pinggggggg Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceseeker View Post
    You know what His Bride...we've been to every.single.solitary.church. within over 40 miles of our home. There is not one that hasn't moved over into the seeker-friendly worship style, appearance, and watered-down preaching that borders on psychological teaching. The last church we visited before this one, the preacher was doing an 10 week series on life choices which included topics such as How to treat your family; How to forgive; How to prosper, etc. Not one.single.word. was ever uttered about Jesus, nothing resembling the Gospel or salvation or hell or repentance was EVER breathed from that pulpit. "The Band" as they called it (headed up by the Pastor's daughter and son in law), gave a rousing performance {sarcasm} every week complete with strobe lights, colored lights, jumping around on the stage, and more as the whole sanctuary stayed darkened during 60 minutes of ear-splitting 'praise' music before the sermon and 30 more minutes while the congregation filed up to the pulpit area at the end of the sermon (without an altar call) and 'fell out' on the floor being 'slain in the spirit.' It was quite a spectacle. We left there after a woman had what the Pastor called a 'holy fit' in the sanctuary one Sunday morning. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and tearing at her clothes before she fell out 'in the spirit' on the floor and was covered with a black cloth. She just laid there until the show was over, then got up and walked out the door as if nothing had happened to her. That was enough for us.

    I really don't know what we're going to do.
    It took us 6 months to be released from our last Church. Prayed hard! We had attended 12 churches. Been in a Church for four weeks, that presents the gospel, with a pastor using his Bible, with the worship pastor shepherding us. The songs are Christ edifying. We just got done with an all day forum on music. Locals Churches brought in for learning what's the reason we're up front when we sing, answering questions on the style, if people can solo anymore. Theology strong...but SF in their colleges. Sometimes, ya just need to missionary it for a season in a Church. You won't believe what people don't know. Most denominations are becoming SF. They just don't know it. They have music levels (volume) set differently for all three services. We have attended Four Churches in the last three years. One for 30 years, one for 2 years, one for 2 months, and now this one for 1 month. We have worshipped! We have fellowshipped, and we have made friends in many locations in and around Sacramento,Ca. God will make a way when there seems to be no way!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJcPD4S9MkI

  15. #15
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    Have a look here at the seeker friendly guru's take on what it is, and how you build it.

    http://www.rr-bb.com/showthread.php?...ghlight=hybels

  16. #16
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    I'm thinking that maybe there aren't enough true believers in our country to fill too many honest to goodness bible believing churches?

    Christianity and church going has had a large role in our culture, so for many, believing in God and going to church is just what you do... even though you've maybe never been washed in the blood of the lamb, or even understand what the bible is... and you're told it is no longer relevant anyway...

    If all the men who've filled up stadiums at Promise Keeper's events were actual men of God...

    If everyone who's ever responded to an alter call actually surrendered their life to Jesus...

    ... our country probably wouldn't be in quite as big a mess as it is now, because those tens of millions of believers would make a huge difference in a positive way, but such as our world is, only a small remnant of those are making a positive difference, and our society is sinking very quickly into darkness.

    So, I guess, that given the basis of a need to survive, most denominations and congregations are heading towards seeker friendliness and emergent teachings. I wonder if this phenomena is happening in other parts of the world where Christianity at one time or another flourished. Could this be the apostasy mentioned with regards to the end times?
    see 1 Tim 4:1
    Mat 24:12 2
    Tim 4:3 2
    Thess 2:3 2
    Thess 2:9-10

    The visible church in the USA is turning or has turned into a business whose number one objective is to survive. They've made the Word of God irrelevant in their church and in their lives.
    Tall Timbers

  17. #17
    His Bride Guest

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    Seeker-friendly, Christian-unfriendly.....two sides of the same coin!

  18. #18
    peaceseeker Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tall Timbers View Post
    I'm thinking that maybe there aren't enough true believers in our country to fill too many honest to goodness bible believing churches?

    Christianity and church going has had a large role in our culture, so for many, believing in God and going to church is just what you do... even though you've maybe never been washed in the blood of the lamb, or even understand what the bible is... and you're told it is no longer relevant anyway...

    If all the men who've filled up stadiums at Promise Keeper's events were actual men of God...

    If everyone who's ever responded to an alter call actually surrendered their life to Jesus...

    ... our country probably wouldn't be in quite as big a mess as it is now, because those tens of millions of believers would make a huge difference in a positive way, but such as our world is, only a small remnant of those are making a positive difference, and our society is sinking very quickly into darkness.

    So, I guess, that given the basis of a need to survive, most denominations and congregations are heading towards seeker friendliness and emergent teachings. I wonder if this phenomena is happening in other parts of the world where Christianity at one time or another flourished. Could this be the apostasy mentioned with regards to the end times?
    see 1 Tim 4:1
    Mat 24:12 2
    Tim 4:3 2
    Thess 2:3 2
    Thess 2:9-10

    The visible church in the USA is turning or has turned into a business whose number one objective is to survive. They've made the Word of God irrelevant in their church and in their lives.
    Amen, TT.

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