CONFESSIONS OF A FACILITATOR
By Paul Proctor
September 24, 2003
Agape Press reported in a September 15th article that George Barna, founder of Barna Research Group, a Christian marketing research company, says: “The church in America is largely ineffective because most believers have not adopted a biblical worldview.” (No kidding…)
Writing about Barna’s new book entitled: ‘Think Like Jesus’, Allie Martin, goes on to say “…Barna asserts that most born-again Christians do not live their lives in ways that are distinctly different from how nonbelievers live because they think the same. Instead, he says, many believers try to fit into society at all costs, which taints their behavior and decisions and radically damages their relationship with God.” (I couldn’t have said it better myself.)
OK – Seeing as George Barna is the head of the most prominent Christian marketing research organization in the country and an integral part of the church growth movement, where marketing, compromise, consensus, polling and pragmatism are all standard operating procedures, let me ask a question:
Is this an admission of guilt or an announcement of mission accomplished?
Demonstrating perfectly the duplicity of the dialectic process, Barna criticizes, under cloak of innocence and objectivity, the shallow, superficial, materialistic and pride-driven practices of the church today – problems brought on by the very movement he embraces. Those acquainted with Diaprax know all too well that this is exactly what facilitators do, which is why I posed the above question.
Fitting the church into society at all costs and vice versa is the driving philosophy behind the church growth movement. Rick Warren, the revered leader and latest figurehead of today’s new age Christianity told Erin Curry in a Baptist Press article last year that his goal for writing The Purpose Driven Life, (The CGM’s new unofficial bible), was to help Christians “develop a heart for the world” – which seems to be exactly what Mr. Barna has concluded in his findings – that Christians no longer have the mind of Christ but only a heart for the world.
"Creeker-speak", as I like to call it, is a lot like the occult symbolism and the ambiguous language of the mystery religions. The meaning and purpose behind the CGM’s esoteric terminology, ideology and methodology is often hidden away in plain sight – so blatantly obvious by its every day use that few ever question its scriptural validity. It’s like having an ugly sore on your skin for many years. It’s been there so long you don’t give it a second thought even though you know deep down that it could be cancerous. But, until it actually causes you real pain and discomfort, you just ignore it and go on with your life. That’s pretty much the attitude most Christians have taken toward the cancerous church growth movement. Imagine your doctor looking at a large tumor on your body and telling you: “See, it’s growing – so you must be healthy.” That’s the rationale behind the church growth movement.
You see Christians can’t be “distinctly different” from the world while imitating its fashions, fads, philosophy, attitude, language, habits, music, dress, lifestyles and values. All of these various characteristics and attributes are symbolic of who we are. If they are worldly, then our acceptance and practice of them can mean only one thing – WE ARE WORLDY and not Christilike. But because we’ve grown so accustomed to such worldliness at church and in our own compromised lives we embrace it as just being a part of each other’s self-expression, personality and individualism. But, the church of Jesus Christ simply cannot be the same AND different from the world simultaneously. His professed followers must choose whom they will serve. And from the looks of the movement now driving the postmodern church today, the choice has already been made. Our “faith in Jesus Christ” is quickly becoming little more than a sordid display of seductive imagery, emotion, contradiction and confusion.
The fact is – we simply cannot copy the culture we wish to save. That is not what the Apostle Paul meant by “being all things to all people.” If it was, then getting drunk with all the winos downtown would be considered evangelism, now wouldn’t it? What better way to NOT OFFEND a drunk than to get drunk with him, right? Shall we be liars, thieves, robbers, murderers, rapists, prostitutes, pedophiles, sodomites, con men, gang bangers, gamblers and gossips for Jesus as well? Why not, if the end justifies the means and being tolerant and inoffensive to the world around us is our primary purpose as disciples of Christ?
In a September 12th article, also written by Allie Martin, she reports that Barna came to the following conclusions as well:
"In many ways, the Church in America has become like the Church of Laodicea that's described in Revelation 3. We're a Church that's very complacent, very satisfied with ourselves." Martin adds: “He (Barna) believes that, to a large extent, the Church in America has lost its focus, apparently preferring to be prideful of all the ‘stuff’ surrounding it.”
Excuse me, but all that “stuff surrounding it” is precisely what the CGM is all about in its “FELT NEEDS” seduction of seekers from food courts to Freudian psychology.
As amazing as all these statements are, my jaw dropped to the floor in disbelief when I read the following quote by Barna:
"Even when we try to gauge how successful we are, we don't look at personal transformation as much as we look at numbers…
(Note: Barna’s organization is all about gathering numbers and percentages.)
…how many people show up, how much money do we raise, how much square footage do we have, how many cars are in the parking lot, how many programs do we have, how many staff are on board. Really, [such concerns are found] nowhere in scripture.” He concludes by saying “that's not what Jesus died for."
OK – If Barna believes these things are “not what Jesus died for”, then why has he made a career out of keeping track of them as if they WERE? If He is not doing it for Jesus, then whom, may I ask, is he doing it all for? As I see it, THAT’S the real question that needs to be researched and addressed here.
I’ll tell you friends – reading his comments is like reading one of my own articles from the last three years and yet he speaks as if he and his organization were merely innocent bystanders.
Well, Mr. Barna, if you really think the church has gone astray then maybe you should do some more research and tell us exactly how all this happened and more importantly, who exactly is responsible for leading us into this apostasy.
Researcher Says Most Christians Lack Biblical Worldview http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive /9/afa/152003d.asp
Like Rest of Nation, Church Reverts to Pre-9-11 Apathy http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/9/ 122003a.asp
© 2003 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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. Paul may be reached at email@example.com
"Fitting the church into society at all costs and vice versa is the driving philosophy behind the church growth movement."
"...the Church in America has become like the Church of Laodicea that's described in Revelation 3."