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CHURCH SWITCHERS ARE RESTLESS?

 

 

 

By Paul Proctor

April 25, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

In my last two columns, the first of which was titled, "Church Switchers, Change Agents & Agenda-Driven Surveys," I addressed the curious results of a much-publicized survey from the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Resources - a study that allegedly sought answers as to why people are fleeing their churches in such large number today. I concluded my article with a little survey of my own just to see how similar or different my findings would be from theirs. The response was huge - and many of those who participated wanted to know what I came up with - which I provided in a follow-up piece called: "Our Survey Said!"

Well, now USA Today has jumped on the church-switchers survey bandwagon citing reasons and percentages from the same LifeWay study in an article titled: "Dissatisfaction, yearning make churchgoers switch," surmising that, "the faithful are restless."

Yeah, whatever�

In the USA Today piece, Cathy Lynn Grossman reported the following:

They're switching from church to church, powered by a mix of dissatisfaction and yearning, according to the study by LifeWay Research. The organization is part of the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Most of the switchers who changed their house of worship without making a residential move (58%) say their old church failed to engage their faith, or put their talents to work, or it seemed hypocritical or judgmental.

But 42% of the people say they switched because another church offered more appealing doctrines and preaching or the preacher and church members' faith seemed more "authentic."

She goes on to quote LifeWay's associate director of research:

"We may believe in the same doctrine, the same God and study the same Bible, but we are also imperfect human beings who mess up, who are not always living out those beliefs," says Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research. He adds in the rise of "consumerism and narcissism" - when people expect to customize every experience to personal taste.

FLASH: Consumerism and narcissism have invaded the church!

Now there's a breaking story.

I find his chastising conclusion rather remarkable considering "consumerism" is a big part of what pays the bills at LifeWay Christian Resources. Who does Mr. McConnell think LifeWay is selling to, if not to consumers? Furthermore, just how much "consumerism and narcissism" do you suppose is for sale at LifeWay's Christian Bookstores? I would invite you to stop by one of their retail outlets sometime, browse the bookshelves, banners, brochures and displays to see for yourself. After all, where would Christian consumerism be today without Christian manufactures, merchandisers, distributors, promoters, publishers and retailers marketing product to the brethren for profit?

So, churches, pastors, leaders and laymen are treated like consumers by Christian businesses with stuff to sell - but when Christians practice the same marketing principles to draw crowds (more consumers) to church - often using the very same stuff LifeWay sold them to do it with, a LifeWay rep criticizes them?

Isn't that a little hypocritical?

Well, on January 29th of this year, Bob Allen from Ethicsdaily.com, highlighted my concerns about the hypocrisy of The Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Press criticizing Wal-Mart for selling pro-homosexual books from it's online bookstore while the SBC's own publishing house, LifeWay, was offering much the same junk from its own website in an article titled: "Gay-Friendly Authors Populate SBC's LifeWay Site." LifeWay had already removed, in the previous year, numerous books on yoga and Eastern Mysticism after being notified of the problem by Christian Research Service, an organization whose stated mission is to, among other things: "Alert and warn fellow Christians about spiritual deception outside and within the body of Christ."

Now, in a new article from Christian Research Service, titled: "Hidden From View," CRS Director, Bud Press is reporting that numerous LifeWay walk-in bookstores were recently contacted, "including all of the Southern Baptist theological seminary campus stores," to see if books could be ordered on "Christian Yoga" - books like: Invitation To Christian Yoga, Holy Yoga and Yoga For Christians. It was also asked if they would order books by Chris Glaser and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott for customers, as well. If those two names don't sound familiar to you, click on them for more information.

According to Press, the answer to all of the above questions was a resounding Yes!

So, LifeWay deleted the problematic books from their online bookstore, freeing them to criticize Wal-Mart and anyone else - but, according to the latest CRS report, you can still call LifeWay Christian Bookstores directly and one of their helpful representatives will order them for you.

How's that for "consumerism?"

But that's not all!

LifeWay's biggest selling author, Rick Warren, wrote in his March 2005 column for The Ladies Home Journal that: "To truly love yourself, you need to know the five truths that form the basis of a healthy self-image," which he goes on to list as:

1. Accept yourself

2. Love yourself

3. Be true to yourself

4. Forgive yourself

5. Believe in yourself

Wouldn't this qualify as narcissism?

The USA Today article continues with this:

Says Brad Waggoner, LifeWay's vice president of research and ministry development: "There's no simple answer why people are so restless."

Again with the "restless" excuse!

People aren't restless, Brad! They're angry, hurt, betrayed, abused, confused, discouraged, disenchanted and disgusted because their churches have been taken over by Purpose Driven puppets and products that YOUR company has shamelessly been selling for years!

Why isn't that mentioned in the USA Today article?

USA Today apparently decided to do a survey themselves in their online article asking: If you have left or thought about leaving a church, what was the main reason? - where the voter is given 5 answers to choose from - none of which include anything about Rick Warren or all of The Purpose Driven changes underway at churches around the world - the two most commonly cited reasons responders to my survey said they left.

Surprise! - Surprise!

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." - Romans 16:18

� 2007 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved

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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.

E-Mail: [email protected]

 


 

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They're switching from church to church, powered by a mix of dissatisfaction and yearning, according to the study by LifeWay Research.