Entrepreneurial evangelical ecclesiology : towards a critical evaluation of the Willow Creek seeker-sensitive model

Cameron, Alan Duncan (2001-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2001

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Willow Creek's celebrated seeker-sensitivemodel ostensibly offers an alluring alternative ecclesiology for many congregations seeking a differentway to 'do chuch' viz an attractive communication ambience and an effective process of persuasion. It reflects both the strengths of evangelical entrepreneurial ecclesiolgy as well as the weaknesses of first generation independent ecclesiology. It espouses a pragmatic, populist approach, reliant on managerial, therapeutic and marketing techniques. Whilst there is much to commend in the Willow Creek model, uncritical imitation of the attempt to reach a secularized post-modern North American society results in unwitting theological reductionism and cultural accomodation of the gospel not least in the following respects: The temptation of image places a premium on performance and appearance. The allure of psychology distorts the ethical framework of Willow Creek. The stress on marketing and measurasble results unduly shapes the gospel. A 'user-friendly' canon within a canon results in a minimalist dualism. A marginalization of theology leads to baptised pragmatism and a deprecation of truth. The resultant re-imaged ministry model owes more to contemporary business methodolgy than it does to the historic theological magisterium of the church.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Willow Creek se beroemde soekersensitiewe model bied klaarblyklik 'n aanloklike alternatiewe eklesiologie vir baie gemeentes wat 'n anderrnanier van 'kerk-doen' soek, aan, te wete, 'n aantreklike kommunikasie ambience en 'n doeltreffende oortuigings proses. Oit weerspieel beide die sterkte van evangeliesgesinde ondernemingsekklesiologie so wei as die swakheid van eerste geslag onafhanklike ekklesiologie. Oit omhels 'n pragmatiese populis benadering vertrouend op bestuurs-, teraputiese- en bernarkinqsteqnieke. Alhoewel daar baie in die Willow Creek model is wat aanbevelings- I waard~g is, kan onkritiese navolging van die poging om 'n sekulariseerde post-moderne Noord Amerikaanse samelewingte bereik, eindig in 'n onbewuste teologiese reduksie en kult~rele aanpassing van die evangelie, ten minste in die volgende opsigte, te wete: die versoeking van beeld plaas 'n premie op vertoon en voorkoms; die aantreklikheid van sielkunde verdraai die etiese raamwerk van Willow Creek; die klem op bemarking en meetbare resultate vorm uiteindelik die evangelie; 'n verbruikervriendelike kanon binne In kanon lei tot 'n minimalistiese dualisme; die vermindering van teologie lei tot 'gedoopte' pragmatisme en afkeuring van die waarheid. Gevolglik het die nuwe beeld , r: van die bedieningspraktyk smId- meer te danke aan eietydse besigheidsmetodes as die historiese magisterium van die kerk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51742
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