It’s Funny Because it’s True

Watching a movie with the boyz this weekend, a joke about America in general was extra funny to me because of involvement in the Outhouse:

“In America we have a rule.  If you want to motivate someone, DON’T MENTION DEATH!”

Is there a better description of the fundamental presupposition of seeker-sensitivity?  And I don’t mean “you shouldn’t mention death,” because that’s not the presupposition, but a consequence of the presupposition, which is that the point of Christianity is to motivate.

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24 Responses to It’s Funny Because it’s True

  1. RubeRad says:

    Not that the context makes the quote any more interesting, but I will now entertain guesses as to the source…

  2. Echo_ohcE says:

    oh boy, I have a lot to say about motivation.

    Ironically, seeker sensitive churches have failed to motivate people. Bill Hybels, of Willow Creek fame, a church which I have driven by – you won’t believe how big it is, it looks like a university – was recently interviewed by Christianity Today, and said that they have made a mistake. People want less fluff, apparently, and more serious Christianity.

    So his solution is to hold individuals more explicitly responsible, cranking up the heat with regard to accountability.

    I guess if you’re not preaching the law or the gospel, and people begin to wonder why they’re going to church in the first place, the solution is to give them more law.

    Ugh. So Hybels wants to motivate people with the law. Well, that’s not going to work.

    It’s the gospel that motivates, but ironically, it’s not preached for the purpose of motivating, but for nourishing your faith, that you may lay hold of the righteousness of Christ, and be found in him on the last day. Preaching the gospel serves to grow us in our faith, uniting us ever tightly to the one in whom we must put all of our hope. This in turn yeilds a greater, stronger faith, which yields greater sanctification.

    As Horton says, the gospel is the propeller, the law is only the rudder. You can’t make the ship go forward with the rudder, but only steer it one way or the other. It is the propeller that makes the ship go forward.

    Oh the irony of the cross and the proclamation of the cross. What a clever God we serve who worked all these things out this way.

  3. Rick says:

    By ‘boyz’ do you mean your sons?

  4. RubeRad says:

    Indeed, “My Three Sons” (which is not where the quote came from)

  5. Rick says:

    So it’s probably a kids movie. Animated?

    if so, it’s an animated movie set in America.

    Not Shrek or the Rat movie set in Paris or the mouse movie set in London…

    How about The Incredibles?

    Are there any prizes for correct guesses? Google searches allowed?

  6. RubeRad says:

    So his solution is to hold individuals more explicitly responsible, cranking up the heat with regard to accountability.

    I don’t know much about the details (we need an Outhouse post on the Willow Creek mea culpa), but I’d like to give him credit for moving in the direction of accountability. Discipline is one of the marks of a true church. And I don’t see how he can avoid excluding from whatever accountability program he develops the concept of needing Christ’s atonement and forgiveness.

  7. Lori says:

    I’m not so sure this is the direction you have in mind:

  8. Rick says:

    Ahh, thanks Lori. Wow

    A shift to the emergent. One good mistake deserves another.

  9. RubeRad says:

    I’m not sure that’s related (except for coming out of Willow Creek). That looks like a student (leadership?) conference.

    I was talking about this article (apparently by the editorial staff of CT?) (which has been followed up this week by another)

  10. RubeRad says:

    I’ll say it again, we need a post to discuss that (I don’t know that this tail of a post is sufficient to wag that dog of a topic). But The Function of the Church is just getting legs, I’m sure it will turn into quite a productive discussion before we need to add more fresh material…

  11. Lori says:

    What difference does it make that its a student conference? Willow Creek is still endorsing Mclaren’s teaching by inviting him to speak.

  12. Zrim says:

    Rube is talking about the fake-out repentance of WC, Lori is talking about Emergent.

    For my part, and as one for whom WC was a big part of his initial conversion (yes, if Stellman can own up to coming in by way of Calvary Chapel, I can certainly admit that!), I say it is all more white noise made in the Evangelical household. These are the things they do. Roman Catholics do their Romanism, and Evangelicals do theirs. I have more interest, so to speak, in what those who profess Reformed confessionalism are not/doing.

    I mean, are we really blaming WC for inviting Mclaren to speak (or faking us out with their “repentance”)? That seems like blaming the local priest for performing the Mass, or the revivalist an altar call…or a Baptist for not baptizing his child, or a Republican for wanting limited government.

  13. Steve Moulson says:

    Something like it was said in the movie “Network”.

    On zrim’s comment about leaving the WC’s, baptists, etc. “alone”, (here and in the comments about Reveal): Do we not have a responsibility to confront our brothers with their sin? If no one had confronted my Arminianism when I was a baptist, I might still be an Arminian. Should we leave them to figure it out on their own? What is our duty here?

  14. RubeRad says:

    Something like it was said in the movie “Network”

    I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen it. Guess again, if you dare!

  15. Lori says:

    Is it your position that only those who profess Reformed confessionalism are believers?

  16. RubeRad says:

    In case Z takes a while to respond, I can tell you that is absolutely NOT Z’s position. For instance, see this recent comment

  17. Rick says:

    Here Here Rube.

    Lori, I think you read something into Zrim’s comment that wasn’t there. He just wrote that he’s not interested in their internal rumblings – the rumblings in the confessional church interest him.

    Yeah, Zrim keeps bankers hours on the internet. You probably won’t get his answer until tomorrow.

  18. Zrim says:

    Why do bankers lounge in libraries so much?

    Lori and Steve,

    What Rube (and me) and Rick said…this is all a matter of nuance, etc.

  19. Lori says:

    OK Zrim,
    So your position is that you “care” that other believers are being taught a false gospel (emergent or seeker sensitive), but your main concern (because one person only has so much energy, time,etc.) is for teaching within the reformed confessional world. So that is why you are so picky about reformed guys like Keller.
    Do I finally understand your position?

  20. Zrim says:


    I suppose I could live with that thumbnail for the moment…

  21. Echo_ohcE says:


    That was an interesting little exchange…

  22. Echo_ohcE says:


    Your comment that accountability is at least a good thing has some merit, but I would nuance that by saying that WC is trying to teach people that they need to be their own little church of one for themselves, like the Army’s “I am an Army of one” slogan. It’s nonsense, and not really any different than what they’ve been doing all along.


  23. RubeRad says:

    Your assessment is backed up by the following quote from Hybels:

    We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

    Here’s an idea: when people cross the line of faith and become Christians, you should FEED THEM!

  24. Echo_ohcE says:

    Yeah, no kidding.

    But actually, my statement isn’t backed up by that statement. Rather, it was derived from that statement, proving once again the value of actually reading things before commenting. Wow, that sure could have some practical applications, couldn’t it?

    Boy I’m feisty today. Must be the wine. Yowza.

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