Herd Behaviour?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Martin

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    I am concerned over what I precieve to be a "herd behaviour" among popular Christianity. What behaviour am I refering to?

    There seems to be "waves" that move through the popular church that cause this behaviour. A few years ago it was the "Dr Laura craze", then it was "The Prayer of Jabez", then it was "Left Behind", then "The Purpose Driven Life", then "The Passion" movie, and now it is "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and CS Lewis. What happens is the publishers and retailers start pumping the product, some popular Christian leader backs or authors the product, and then the whole popular Christian church runs after it. With little or no discernment what-so-ever people in the popular evangelical movement run to the stores, buy the book(s), or see the movie. What is worse, if anything could be worse than a lack of spiritual discernment, is that anyone who is critical of the product is immediantly opposed, isolated, and scoffed at by those involved in the movement (herd). Few people, in the popular evangelical Christianity circles where this herd behaviour is occuring, seem all that interested in what the Bible actually says about things. Mainly when the popular product causing this herd behaviour has questionable content or clearly unBiblical content. This lack of discernment is damaging the church.

    This "herd behaviour" is unwise and unBiblical! The Apostle Paul tells us to "examine everything carefully" (1Thess 5:21), John tells us to "test the spirits" (1Jn 4:1), the Old Testament warns about false prophets who mislead people (ex: Jer 29:8-9), and Jesus warned us that in the last times "many false prophets will arise and will mislead many" (Matt 24:11). We are to examine the content of a teacher or preacher's message, book, or product. We cannot promote or endorse doctrinal compromise in anyway shape and or form. Now when we examine these popular products we find, many times, poor theology or out right false teachings.

    The point here is that the popular evangelical church needs to be more discerning. This discernment must start behind the pulpit, in the Sunday school classroom, in the Bible study, and among popular Christian leaders. Only then will the average pew warmer figure out that just because something is popular does not mean that it is Biblical.

    Urging Caution,
    Martin.
     
  2. whatever

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    Sure there are fads in the church, and sure we should take caution. But C. S. Lewis has been dead for over 40 years. His writings aren't anything new. His books have been loved by many and hated by many for a long time now. His popularity is nothing new.

    But I have to tell you, there seems to be a current running through your post that if someone were discerning then they would come to the same conclusion that you have, and if one has come to a different conclusion than you then it must be because they have not been as discerning as they ought to have been. Is this what you mean to convey?
     
  3. Martin

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    ==No. My point is that I would like to see more caution, more discernment than I am seeing in the church today. Right now everyone, well the majority, seem to rush after these things with little or no discernment. That needs to change and the only way it will change is if the leadership of the church urges more discernment on these matters. I am not saying that Left Behind (etc) are bad. What I am saying is that I think the church should obey Scripture and "examine everything carefully" (1Thess 5:21).

    Martin.
     
  4. Mike McK

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    In all fairness, "The Chronicles of Narnia" has been popular ever since Lewis wrote them more than fifty years ago. I don't see how you can say that it's a new thing.

    Obviously, there's more attention being drawn to them by the new movie (which is fantastic, by the way), but the stories, themselves, have been tremendously popular and used for illustration of Christian doctrines since day one.
     
  5. DeadMan

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    I don't see this lack of spiritual discernment, but maybe it's my church family that is discerning. I don't have a lot of contact with Christians outside of my church family. But it would be a crying shame if the "mainstream" church was lacking in spiritual discernment on any topic. :confused:
     
  6. Boanerges

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    Judging by its lust for worldly entertainment, it is.
     
  7. Martin

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    ==I went into a major Christian store yesterday afternoon. What did I see? Tables and racks full of "The Chronicles of Narnia" stuff. Now I have never seen that before, why not? Because it has not been part of the wave. Now it is part of this "herd wave" I am talking about. Nobody is examining Lewis's theology or the theology behind Narnia (be it great, good, bad, or neutral). This is not about the age of the product this is about the behavior of many people in the modern evangelical church world.

    I find it interesting that even though I did not focus on Narnia everyone (so far anyway) is running to defend it. I think that within itself lends support to one of my points.

    Martin.
     
  8. whatever

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    I didn't see you post on this topic until after the Narnia movie came out. It could be that you are jumping on some anti-bandwagon just as others are jumping on a bandwagon.

    Or, it could be that this movie has given you an occasion to express something you have believed for a while.

    I suspect that the second statement is true, that you have believed this for a while but are using this occasion to express it. In the same way most Christians have held Lewis' writings in high regard but are taking this opportunity to take another look at the man and what he wrote.

    I do not know why it would bother you that a store would take advantage of a movie release to sell more of the same books that they have been selling for decades. That's just good business.

    And again you speak in sweeping generalizations. You say "Nobody is examining Lewis's theology or the theology behind Narnia (be it great, good, bad, or neutral)." That simply is not true. His theology has been discussed for decades.

    Plus, you are the one who lumped Narnia in with Jabez and PDL and other things, and on the weekend that the Narnia movie was released. To act surprised that people respond by talking about Narnia is disingenuous at best. The fact is, the circumstances surrounding Narnia and those surrounding PDL and Jabez and such are different and that ought to be noted.
     
  9. Boanerges

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    ==I went into a major Christian store yesterday afternoon. What did I see? Tables and racks full of "The Chronicles of Narnia" stuff. Now I have never seen that before, why not? Because it has not been part of the wave. Now it is part of this "herd wave" I am talking about. Nobody is examining Lewis's theology or the theology behind Narnia (be it great, good, bad, or neutral). This is not about the age of the product this is about the behavior of many people in the modern evangelical church world.

    I find it interesting that even though I did not focus on Narnia everyone (so far anyway) is running to defend it. I think that within itself lends support to one of my points.

    Martin. [/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]The church at large, is now being tossed to and fro by every "wave" that sweeps the church. Why is this? It is simple:

    Hosea 4
    6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

    Many are involved in an experiential faith, that has no foundation in strong Biblical teaching, so they will follow anything that the "teachers" put their stamp of approval on. The secular media has figured out how to work the church into a frenzy, and many pastors such as Rick Warren (the passion) and organizations such as the SBC (the pasion), are getting in on the act.

    The new feeding frenzy is Narnia, and God only knows what it will be next year.

    The modern church is full of merchant preachers and money changers who operate in the "temple". Nothing new under the sun.

    Boan ...a "stray" from the herd :)
     
  10. Bunyon

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    Narnia is valuble and I don't mind spending my money on it. It has helped be to highlight what I have tought my children about the sacrifice of Chirst.

    You are correct about the herd mentality in general though, but it is 100 percent human. Christians aren't immune.
     
  11. Deacon

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    The "herd behavior" you mention is the result of marketing techniques that are used by savvy sales organizations. The selling of products has become a real science.

    Sure, discernment is a needed. Every Christian should be aware of when we are being manipulated into strongly desiring a product.

    That being said, Christians can also use marketing techniques to influence their neighbors.

    The Passion movie was used to create an awareness of Christ’s work on the cross.
    The Narnia flick can be used by Christians to influence people as well.

    Rob
     
  12. Mike McK

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    Because there is a marketing push on right now to coincide with the release of the "Narnia" movie.

    That doesn't mean that it has never existed before.

    Like I said, the books are more than a half century old and have always been very popular. That more attention is being shown them now that the movie is out, doesn't negate this.



    That's odd. I've read dozens of articles about the theology of the book and movie in recent weeks (not to mention studying it in school and the many books that address Narnia, as well as Lewis' faith) and have been involved in at least three threads here on Baptistboard about it.

    I only pointed it out because your claim that it's some sort of new fad is so ridiculous.
     
  13. Martin

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    ==Narnia and Lewis are not my main focus here, my focus is the mad rush that is created by these passing fads (no matter how old or young the product). However I think any Bible based Christian would take issue with some of the doctrines that Lewis compromised or wrongly understood (ie..Ransom Theory of atonement).

    ==I am not talking about the stores, I am talking about the professing Christians who run to buy this stuff without any examination. Does Paul's words in 1Thess 5:21 mean nothing to do the modern church? How about 1John 4:1, or Matthew 24:11? These warnings are there for a very good reason and we better start paying closer attention to them.


    ==Really? Then why are christian leaders promoting his books and movies? I am not anti-Lewis. He had a major contribution to Christian scholarship. However it should be well known that several of his teachings are rejected by most of Christian scholars for very good reasons. Now, more to the point, I doubt most of the people running to buy the Narnia stuff and see the movie today know much about Lewis. Just like the Left Behind series. While I agree with LaHaye's doctrine I have serious issues with how many just accept what he says without examining it carefully. I could give example after example of how this is happening. We better be careful and pay closer attention to the Biblical warnings. Sure at this time nothing destructive has been embraced but if we keep this herd behaviour up sooner or later it will. The modern Christian lacks solid spiritual discernment. That is my view.


    ==All of these are fads. Yes Narnia is a fad. Sure it has been around a long time and sure it has been popular. However thanks to Focus on the Family and Hollywood it is now part of the wave. You should be more concerned with the fad/herd problem then my post.


    Martin
     
  14. Bunyon

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    "However it should be well known that several of his teachings are rejected by most of Christian scholars for very good reasons."------------------------------------------------------

    But that is true of Luther also, so it does not say much about the merits of this particular work. I read Narnia to my son 8 years ago, long before I knew it was going to be a movie. Narnia has been in christian book stores for 50 years- hardly a fad. It is just that the rest of the world is waking up to it now.
     
  15. whatever

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    ==Really? Then why are christian leaders promoting his books and movies? </font>[/QUOTE]There you have it. They have come to a different conclusion than you, so obviously (to you) they haven't looked at his theology.

    As I said earlier, "Sure there are fads in the church, and sure we should take caution." Point taken. We ought also be more careful what charges we make against those with whom we disagree and what motives we impute to them.
     
  16. eloidalmanutha

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    martin wrote:
    ==Really? Then why are christian leaders promoting his books and movies?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    whatever responded:
    "There you have it. They have come to a different conclusion than you, so obviously (to you) they haven't looked at his theology."


    Why is it assumed that christian leadership takes the time or has the interest to examine theology in a series of books that has been accepted by mainstream christianity for 50 years? Perhaps, as Jesus stated, most are not pursuing Truth, but relying on the traditions of man and the assumption of all things that look christian, are.

    It amazes me that Jesus said there would be MANY false teachers and prophets that will deceive MANY CHRISTIANS. How is it then, that we think we are so elite, so spiritually aware that either they or we cannot be terribly deceived?
     
  17. Martin

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    ==Be careful. Lewis believed in the ransom theory of atonement. He also openly taught that a person could enter heaven apart from a willful relationship with Jesus Christ.


    Martin.
     
  18. Martin

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    ==Really? Then why are christian leaders promoting his books and movies? </font>[/QUOTE]There you have it. They have come to a different conclusion than you, so obviously (to you) they haven't looked at his theology.

    As I said earlier, "Sure there are fads in the church, and sure we should take caution." Point taken. We ought also be more careful what charges we make against those with whom we disagree and what motives we impute to them.
    </font>[/QUOTE]==I have no clue how you have jumped to your false accusation. I am talking about the problem of the people who run out to buy this stuff and how the leaders need to be more responsible. If you can't agree with that then I am sorry.

    Martin.
     
  19. Martin

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    Let me make one thing clear. My post is not about Narnia! I included Narnia because it is the latest wave to hit the popular Christian world. I am talking about the fad syndrome not any specific fad wave. Left Behind was a fad, as was the Passion movie, The Purpose Driven Life, the Prayer of Jabez, and others. Some of those are good others are not but they are all fads. It does not matter when they were written they were fads. People herded out to buy them without investigation first. That shows a lack of discernment. How do we solve this problem? Christian leaders need to promote discernment, need to practice descernment, and need to be careful about what they attach their names to or promote (etc).

    Now CS Lewis and Narnia are not above reproach. Both have some very troubling doctrinal problems. That does not mean that it is not a good movie but it does mean that people need to be careful when they watch the movie or read the book. The same will be true for any writing by Lewis.

    Scripture commands us to examine everything carefully (1Thess 5:21, 1Jn 4:1). This includes everything that is taught. We must hold every teaching to the test of Holy Scripture. It does not matter if the teaching comes from CS Lewis, Billy Graham, John Wesley, John Calvin, or Charles Stanley. We must test everything by Scripture.

    The whole point of my post was, and is, that most Christians are not doing that (at least not carefully). This is seen in these various fad waves, the popular Christian music (which is more feelings than doctrine), and the soaring popularity of life principles teachings over solid doctrinal teachings (ex:Joel Osteen over John MacArthur). I am not saying that feelings and life principles are not important (they are) however I am saying we need a better balance (solid theology with life princples). The church is slowly moving away from deep, sound doctrine and heading towards a mushy almost post-modern feel-goodism. This is dangerous. We need to get back to serious, deep theology.

    How do we do that? First the leadership of the church needs to step forward and teach serious descernment. Second we need to show more discernment (what why buy, listen to, etc). Thirdly there needs to be more of a focus on Bible doctrine and theology. All of this goes together.

    Martin.
     
  20. J. Jump

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    Martin,

    I get what you are saying. However, I don't think it's going to get any better on a large scale. I believe the Bible says that Jesus wondered if there would be any faith left at all on the earth when He returned.

    That doesn't excuse us of our responsibilities to continue being the light to a dark world!

    Take courage as you are not the only one paddling along in that boat [​IMG]
     

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