Yes, there is a holy stink going on regarding the megachurch. Since that is a topic I have blogged about occasionally here, I thought I would highlight it for you.
Christianity Today highlights a controversy brewing over Andy Stanley’s recent sermon on a gay couple that attend his church, North Point. You can hear Stanley’s original sermon by clicking here (the relevant part starts somewhere around minute 24). You can read CT’s version of events by clicking here. The bottom line is that some are upset with Stanley for not pointing out that homosexuality is sin while using an illustration about a gay couple.
Albert Mohler (who himself teaches in a megachurch) used the situation to express his concern about the megachurch in a posting entitled, “Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?” In broad strokes, he paints a very unflattering account of the megachurch’s influence on American spirituality. He charges, for example, that the megachurch is leading evangelicalism in the wrong direction by minimizing sin.
The California Cardinal, Rick Warren, could not let this go unanswered. He tweets that Al must apologize for his comments:
“@albertmohler A TITLE questioning1000s of churches’ orthodoxy due to size is unChristlike.U need to apologize to pastors Al.”
The tweet is, in my view, a bit illogical. Al makes the case that the practice of “megachurching” is harmful and Rick requests an apology because it is the practice of 1’000′s of churches. Hmmm…. why didn’t he address the charges Mohler makes about the megachurch? Maybe it is the 140 character limit on twitter… which is exactly the argument that Mohler is making!
For better or for worse, it’s a missiological truth that how we do church gets infused with the message that is being delivered. “Big box” churches have consequences for American spirituality. I don’t believe there is a prescription for a particular church model suggested in the New Testament. However, all prescriptions have side effects. In this case, Mohler is simply highlighting them for us.
Could it be that we are witnessing the beginning of a movement that questions “big box” spirituality?