The Market Driven Church by Udo W. Middelmann

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Middelmann is president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, longtime worker at Swiss L’Abri, born and raised in Germany. With this background he is in a good position to evaluate the paradigm shift in the modern American church from a unique perspective. As a European who spends much of his time in the United States, he is able to contrast the European church and society with those of America. In Europe, churches resemble museums, impressive as history and tradition, impotent to affect culture. The European churches are hollowed out institutions to which few people pay much attention. But in America the church is everywhere. It influences our culture, demands our time, and is a vital part of our lives. In these ways the American church is light years ahead of the European church.

So it is with deep sorrow, it would seem, that Middelmann believes the American church is wasting her privileges and selling out to the culture. The market driven church is now more likely to offer inferior attempts at entertainment and community activity instead of reaching into the community with truth. It is more likely to appeal to emotion than objective thought. It is more likely to offer a sports program than deal with the real issue of life. It is more likely to look “within” for truth than the Word of God. It is more likely to share its relationship with Christ than to proclaim biblical truth. And it is drifting from true Christian living to Eastern mysticism.

The Market Drive Church is a good book that will provoke much thought. I would caution, however, that chapter seven, “The Islamization of Christianity,” reveals a very weak view of Calvinism that will surely ruffle the feathers of even a moderate Calvinist. If some of these statements can be ignored, the reader will find much to commend in this fine book.

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