Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“Precious Moments” Churches

A few days I linked to a post on Roger Olson’s blog about “TACO Churches,” that is, “Totalistic, Aberrational, Christian Organizations.” These are churches that tend to be exclusivist, abusive or overreach God given authority. That post generated a lot of comment so I thought I should also connect to his recent post about the opposite kind of Christian organization which he calls “Precious Moments Christianity.” These are groups that often attract people who have been hurt by TACO churches and want a safer environment. These churches “present the gospel as all comfort and calm, sweetness and light, with no conviction or accountability.”

Olson quoted John Wesley, “that the purpose of gospel preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Sadly, as one commenter on the site mentioned, TACO churches afflict the afflicted and Precious Moments churches comfort the comfortable.

He listed ten marks of Precious Moments Christianity:

1) No or few expectations of members;

2) Promotion of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace;”

3) God, Jesus, portrayed as resource for feeling good about oneself and achieving success in life;

4) Church presented as support group whose primary purpose is therapy;

5) Doctrine shunned as too difficult and divisive;

6) Little or no emphasis on the cross—either Christ’s or his followers’;

7) Worship practiced as entertainment;

8) No church discipline;

9) Spiritual formation, discipleship, presented as optional and beneficial for feeling good;

10) Christianity treated as a warm blanket of comfort and/or as a platform for personal achievement.

In my experience on Guam, I think I have seen more TACO churches and organizations than “Precious Moments Christianity.” I certainly have seen this with popular TV preachers. I have been in a few churches on the US Mainland that very much seemed to have several of the characteristics above. I am interested in your experience. Have you experienced this? Or TACO churches? Do you agree with Olson that this is a problem?

No comments: