One thing is clear from more recent evangelistic methods. The conversation has changed from law-breaking and the guilt it brings to the abundant life model. I was nurtured on the former and find the focus on the latter harder to place in the center of the Gospel conversation. The emphases I grew up with – my guilt as a law-breaker, the forgiveness of sin, the gaining of heaven and the rescue from hell, and a life of separation from the values of the world – are fading away as mission critical messages. Quite frankly, that may be why more and moe evangelicals are finding home base in Roman Catholicism. Their liturgy is absolutely immersed in guilt-death of Christ-forgiveness-eternal-life-in-heaven truths. Evangelical Protestants like myself find real difficulty with their views on justification and sanctification, but they are speaking the language so many evangelicals have discounted in large numbers. Today we speak the language of how much God wants to do for us in this world. I am wondering if we are setting people up for a fall – they are unable to sacrifice, suffer, endure and focus. Modern day evangelicals need good music, fast tunes, full-time music ministers, charismatic personalities, and parking lots filled with SUVs (and I don’t mean the Hyundai model) and buildings that don’t feel too religious and create a sense of the “be still and know that I am God” kind. Let’s call it the Jimmy Buffet model.
I think MacArthur should cut Warren some more slack, but he is on to the “feel” of our packaging of the Gospel. We might say “it’s not about you” in the opening sentence of our books, but along the way something else gets communicated.