In Defense of the Seeker Church Movement
(I know the "seeker movement" is a thing of the past. But it spawned a whole new way of thinking about church that continues to be emulated and panned today. These thoughts came out of my daily reading this morning)
1 Corinthians 14:20-26 is about tongues and prophesy. It's part of Paul's exhortation to do things decently and in order when the church gathers. His argument in these specific verses revolves around whether tongues and prophesy are for believers and unbelievers; and to make his point he quotes an old testament passage.
This topic is difficult and complicated. The context into which Paul was writing was unique and means we cannot make an exact transfer of Paul's instructions from Corinth to now.
However... I think there is a secondary principle in Paul's words that is at least worth a mention.
As I read these instructions, I notice three assumptions Paul has about the Corinthian worship gatherings. These assumptions seem to be somewhat universal in nature, and therefore are worth noting:
1. Nonbelievers were present at the worship gatherings and this was expected.
2. The presence of the nonbelievers at the worship gatherings warranted the Corinthian's attention and in Paul's opinion should have impacted what happened at the gatherings.
3. The salvation of the nonbelievers because of what happened at the worship gatherings was a desired outcome.
In the past few decades of the American church, much has been said (good and bad) about the "seeker" movement. I am one who prefers to change bathwater without changing babies, so I would suggest there is some good in the seeker movement, but as in any movement, there are always elements to be reformed.
From these short verses in 1 Corinthians, I think we can develop a basic understanding of some Biblical principles which encourage a seeker-type church:
1. We should expect and encourage nonbelievers to join us in worship.
2. We should give consideration to the presence of nonbelievers when planning our worship gatherings.
3. One important outcome of our worship gatherings should be the salvation of nonbelievers.
What could be better than seeing people who were once at odds with God worshiping Him and declaring that "He is really among you!"