Here I am reading David Wells’ book The Courage to Be Protestant. It is a very useful read and it has many quotable passages.
Here is one on the Bill Hybels and Rick Warren type of churches [p. 14]:
Here also were churches smelling of coffee and reverberating with edgy music…The music is contemporary…Rap or heavy metal would not be cool.
What results, all too often, beneath all the smiling crowds, the packed auditoria, is a faith so cramped, limited, and minuscule as to be entirely unable to command our life, our energies, or, as a matter of fact, even much of our attention. One church advertises itself as a place where you will find “loud music” and “short services.”
It has a “casual atmosphere” but, it wants us to know, it also offers “serious faith.”
This is always the rub in this experiment: the form greatly modifies the content. The loud music and short services are part of the FORM, but the form, put together to be pleasing, actually undermines the seriousness of faith. The form is in fact the product, and in this market the sale has to be done quickly and as painlessly as possible because the customers have itchy feet. This greatly militates against the seriousness any church wants to have. And that is why a deep chasm has opened between the church marketers and historic Protestant orthodoxy. It is less that the truths of this orthodoxy are assailed than they are seen to be irrelevant to the building of the church. They are, it is believed, an impediment to success…
No comment, but you may want to look at the useful review by Trevin Wax.