At the heart of the Saddleback project is the idea of seeker sensitivity, of making the church a relaxed and comfortable place for outsiders. The underlying motivation is no doubt a good one. We do not want churches to be unfriendly and unpleasant places. If God is a hospitable God, one who loves the widow, the orphan, and the sojourner, then the people who bear His name today, as in the days of the desert wanderings, should be so too. And yet there are a number of very real dangers here . . .
First, we live in a childish age, where immaturity is lionized, whether it be the spoilt-brat behavior of some celebrity or the cheap tantrums of Joe Public on Twitter. True, Jesus commands His disciples to have the faith of children, but there is a big difference between serious childlikeness and silly childishness. Leading worship as a pair of giggling cartoon characters can only be described—and that with charity—as the latter.
Second, the church is not called to mimic the world. Far from it. There is only one description in the New Testament of how an outsider should react when he blunders by accident into a church service. It is in 1 Corinthians 14:24–25. Paul tells us that such a person will be convicted and fall on his face, knowing that God is there. Presumably, this is because he finds himself in the presence of a holy God and is overwhelmed by his own sense of unworthiness. Turning worship into a comedy skit seems unlikely to produce the same result. In fact, far from being sensitive to the needs of any seeker, it sends a clear signal that the gospel is unworthy of attention by any serious-minded person, believer or unbeliever.
Carl Trueman | “Turning worship into a clown show” | August 9th, 2023
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