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Was Jesus Preaching People Focused?

John on June 20, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Over at Slice of Laodicea, they continue the Rick Warren bashing. Today they have a post called The Seeker Sensitive Half Message, which supposedly lays bare the scandalous outrage of seeker-sensitive preaching. The post itself is a summary of this article. There are many things in the article that bother me and strike me as “off.” For instance, the author consistently criticizes seeker-sensitive churches as being “man-centered” rather than God centered. He sees “relevance” as somehow dangerous to the Christian message. But the one claim that stuck out more than all the others was this one:

For that matter, He [Jesus] spoke of hell more than He did of heaven…Certainly, these proclamations could not be labeled “seeker-friendly.”

In response to these claims, I left the following in the Slice comments section. Not surprisingly, and for the second time in a week, my comments have not been approved. Indeed, another commenter whose mildly critical comments I read earlier in the day, has been scrubbed from the site with no explanation. None of this is in line with Slice’s official comment policy, which you can read here.

Since Slice of Laodicea is apparently only approving comments that praise them in glowing terms, and since the site refuses to engage in polite dialogue with anyone who disagrees, I am posting my comments on my own site:

I haven’t read the book that is cited by the author to back this up (footnote 27), but it seems that a simple word search reveals Jesus referring to “heaven” far more than to “hell.” Nearly all his references to hell come from the sermon on the mount (Of course the same references are duplicated in different Gospel accounts). But using Matthew as an example, Jesus refers to hell three times and refers once to fire. By contrast, he refers to heaven (usually as the “kingdom of heaven”) in these same verses 15 times (Matt 5:1-7:29).

Just as important for this discussion is the fact that the most important sermon in history contains the word “you” or “your” 159 times in just 111 verses. By contrast Jesus only refers to God directly 5 times. So this idea that Jesus preaching was somehow not focused on man doesn’t stand up to a little Bible study. The sermon on the mount is very much about what the kingdom of heaven would mean to “you.” In other words, it was relevant.

Any guesses as to why this wasn’t approved? Anyone from Slice of Laodicea want to set me straight on the facts? I think it’s pretty apparent at this point that Slice’s actual comment policy is as follows:

If you disagree with Slice, don’t bother. As far as we’re concerned, you don’t exist.

Update: Jim from Slice of Laodicea has a bone to pick with me in the comments.

I also notice that in light of our discussion last night he has reconsidered and allowed my comment to appear on Slice. I see this as progress toward a more honest editorial policy.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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