Shallow Worship, Shallow Faith

 David Wells discusses the baby-boomer turned market-driven worship movements.

“What results, all too often, beneath all the smiling crowds…is a faith so cramped, limited, and miniscule as to be entirely unable to command our life, our energies, or, as a matter of  fact, even much of our attention.  One church advertises itself as a place where you will find ‘loud music’ and ‘short services.’  It has a ‘casual atmosphere’ but, it wants us to know, it also offers ‘serious faith.’

This is always the rub in this experiment: the form greatly modifies the content.  The loud music and short services are part of the form, but the form, put together to be pleasing, actually undercuts the seriousness of the faith.  The form is in fact the product, and in this market the sale has to be done quickly and as painlessly as possible because the customers all have itchy feet.  That greatly militates against the seriousness any church wants to have.  And that is why a deep chasm has opened between the church marketers and historic Protestant orthodoxy.  It is less that the truths of this orthodoxy are assailed than that they are seen to be irrelevant to the building of the church.  They are, it is believed, an impediment to its success.

Not only are the bare bones of this approach now showing, but it has to reckon with the fact that people have also become bored with it.  They want something new.  It has been mainstreamed.  The marketing approach has become conventional in the American evangelical world, so now, people are thinking, it is time to move on.  Frankly, there is no judgment more to be feared than this: you are now passé.  That weighs more heavily even than words coming from the great white throne at the end of time.  Imagine that!  Passé.

Maybe we could say a person’s faith is only as deep as the worship songs he or she sings.

The above quotes are from pages 13-14 of The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells

shane lems

sunnyside, wa