Friday, July 23, 2010

Calvin on the Church Growth Movement

I am convinced that the vice behind much of the "seeker-sensitive" and "church-growth" movements is impatience. The natural human impulse is to want results—and to want them now! So we dream up ways and means to make the "church experience" palatable to the unregenerate, instead of breaking their hearts with the Law and providing the remedy through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The failure to make people understand their true condition before God, not in the level of their "felt needs," needs that are perceived through the filter of the carnal mind, but in the relationship of the Creator who demands His image to be perfectly represented in the only creature who bears it, effectively closes the door to the good news—the news that God has made a way, through His Son, for His demands to be spotlessly met in man if only man would know who this Son is, believe in Him, and trust Him for the solution to the problem—for if the problem is a lack of self-esteem, a lack of leadership, a lack of success, then only a false gospel will suffice.

Calvin thus speaks the truth:

"And, therefore, though some may murmur, and others scorn, and others slander, and though many differences of opinion may arise, still the preaching of the Gospel will not be without effect; so that we must sow the seed, and wait with patience until, in process of time, the fruit appear" (John Calvin, Commentary on John — Volume I (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classic Ethereal Library), John 7:31).


  1. Well said, brother. So many said "pastors" are satisfied with mushrooms and chia pets. But God's Word never returns without effect. He accomplishes His purpose through all of the mess men make with their egotistical efforts.

  2. Indeed, Ed.

    Many are those who are infatuated with what Luther calls the "theology of glory."

    But Scripture bears out the truth that ours is a "theology of the cross."


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