Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When Business and Church Merge

The Lutheran Church has for years flirted with the Church Growth Movement, and more recently with the Emerging Church. One name that frequently surfaces when discussing business practices or church growth is that of Peter Drucker. Drucker, who is often considered the father of modern business management, has wielded a huge influence on the Church.

Drucker might seem an unusual fit for the Church, but there are many who have modeled their church plans after Drucker’s ideas. His name is often mentioned in Church Growth Movement circles.

In an excerpt from Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone: the emerging church - a new reformation or an end-time deception on the Lighthouse Trails website, Oakland discusses Drucker’s influence among Evangelicals (and thus Lutherans by infiltration). Mr. Oakland describes Peter Drucker’s attraction to mysticism, a practice forbidden by God that is sometimes seen in the Church Growth Movement, and even more common in the Emerging Church. He also relates Drucker’s universalistic leanings and minimization of doctrine. Drucker’s thoughts have lead followers such as Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Bob Buford, Leonard Sweet, and Doug Pagitt to view the Church as an agent of change. That sounds like an odd way to describe the Church, and it is indeed. Instead of the Church as the gathering of all believers under the cross of Christ to receive His gifts, it is viewed as a vehicle for paradigm shift for the benefit of society.

Drucker’s ideas on mysticism, interspirituality, and paradigm shift formed an ideal breeding ground for the Emerging Church. As Oakland puts it, "This view of minimizing doctrine would become one of the earmarks of the emerging church, which in reality was to be a testing ground for high-tech marketing skills, business management techniques, and an experience-based religion; but its foundation is flawed with a non-biblical, mystical premise."

If you’re interested in some of the ideological underpinnings of both the Church Growth Movement and the Emerging Church, these excerpts from Roger Oakland’s book are a good place to start.