WHEN WE TALKED TO THEOLOGIAN DAVID WELLS, HE CAME UP WITH THE FOLLOWING QUESTION AND ANALYSIS: "WHAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN FAITH WILL YOU PRESENT OR BE LEFT WITH IF YOU ARE OBSEQUIOUSLY PROSTRATING YOURSELF BEFORE BABY BOOMERS—A GENERALLY SELF-CENTERED, RELATIVISTIC, UNLOYAL GENERATION? YOU'RE GIVING THEM A CHRIST-CULTURE THEME THAT THEY CANNOT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND, GIVEN THEIR INHERENT NATURE. WILLOW CREEK AND ITS CLONES VIEW ALL OF CULTURE AS HARMLESS AND NEUTRAL; THEREFORE, WHY NOT ADAPT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH TO IT? THE PROBLEM IS THAT CULTURE IS LADEN WITH VALUES THAT INEVITABLY GO AGAINST THE THRUST OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE." HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?
I think the values of our society are blatantly opposed to the values of Christ. But what we try to do at Willow Creek is say, "Come as you are. Come with your BMW and your Rolex, because even though you have caved in to the values of this sick culture, you still matter to God." And when they confess their sins and see what Christ did for them at the Cross, we begin a very aggressive value-transformation program that will not stop until they go to their graves.
HOW DO YOU MOVE A PERSON FROM A CONSUMER ORIENTATION OF FULFILLING FELT NEEDS TO A CHRISTIAN FOCUS ON SELF-DENIAL?
Through teaching, prayer, fellowship, service, discipleship, mentoring, discipline. Through all the means of grace that people have been using for 2,000 years. This isn't the first culture that's been sick. What has the church been doing for 2,000 years? It's been taking people out of a sick culture, leading them to Jesus, and then trying to inculcate his values in them.
John Seel, the author of "Evangelical Forfeit," presented us with this concern: "If you convert a person under the seeker-sensitive philosophy, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more