Julia Duin, religion editor of The Washington Times, has a new book, Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It, She’s interviewed at the Rutherford Institute:
The whole seeker friendly movement has ruined the church. . . .
The seeker friendly movement started in the 1980s. It was the effort to dumb down a lot of church services, make them shorter, easier to grasp, cut the number of hymns, cut the preaching time and get it to a kind of package deal. The idea was to get nonbelievers interested in going to church because it would not take up too much of their time and wouldn’t challenge them too much. But what happened is that a lot of people who had been believers for some time suddenly found that the sermons were like milk instead of meat. They were so simplistic. Many were finding that what they were getting was pabulum. . . .
I found that this was a major complaint from people. . . .
Many came to the conclusion that they could not get decent spiritual food. So they were looking at their calendars, looking at their schedules, and saying, “I spend three to four hours a week going to this place on a Sunday morning, and it is a waste of time. I am not getting good community. No one knows me, and no one talks to me. I am not getting fed from the pulpit, and we are down to about three hymns.” Thus, they started leaving the church.
“Down to about three hymns” — oh, don’t get me started on the way “praise” music is replacing the hymnal in many churches. It’s not as bad as “Frosty the Snowman,” of course, but the simplistic, repetitive, saccharine choruses of “praise” music are tedious.