The "church growth" or seeker sensitive movement has carried the pre-eminent clout in mainstream evangelicalism for several decades now. That is quite staggering when you consider that it's foundations were built upon a false premises. The idea that lost people seek after God is foreign and contrary to Scripture. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 3 that noone seeks after God. Jesus elaborated on the "why" of this in the verses that followed His most famous:
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:17-20)
People don't seek God because they love darkness and hate the light and the light will expose their evil deeds. And such were we! Before God graciously saved me I was:
dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3).
As Ray Comfort so eloquently paraphrased: "lost people can't find God for the same reason that a thief can never find a policeman". Paul Washer also states that while we do need to be seeker sensitive, we need to understand that there is only one Seeker! Men don't seek God, Who was it who cam to seek and save that which was lost? Unregenerate men cannot come to God unless God draws them (John 6:44) There is a lot more that could be said about this and there is certainly no shortage of people much sharper than myself that can provide a more in depth analysis. It would seem only natural that the first false premise would give birth to others . . . and so it has!
The man made idea that unregenerate men seek after God has led to the faulty premise that there is some sort of "sliding scale" of Christianity. This scale is bordered by the extremities of complete pagan and fully committed follower of Christ. Everyone, according to this idea, lands somewhere between these two poles. It would seem that they have confused sanctification with an imaginary process of salvation. But Scripture is clear that there are only those who are dead in sin, and those who are new creatures in Christ. You are either an heir to the King of kings or an outcast awaiting damnation. Christianity doesn't have a middle class.
Just as purgatory was the invention of Catholicism, so too is the "nearly there" and "carnal Christians" of the modern seeker sensitive mega church. The mother ship of this phenomenon would have to be Willow Creek pastored by church growth guru Bill Hybels. It would seem that after almost 30 years of trying to lure pagans into church through entertainment and programs, they have finally found themselves painted into a corner of what to do next. Eventually, the well of innovations and new concepts runs dry and the reality of the difference between goats and sheep becomes too obvious to ignore. The analysts at Willow Creek heard the alarm bells but didn't go to Scripture for a remedy - instead they surveyed their congregations - AGAIN!.
Here, Todd Friel gives some excellent critique of the "Reveal Survey" at Willow Creek . . .