Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reclaim Your Faith- Review of Doug Batchelor's Series

Reclaim Your Faith, live from Maryland, is Doug Batchelor's attempt to bring inactive SDAs back to church.

Actually, I love Doug Batchelor, even if I dislike his preaching style, his serpent-like hisssing of his "s's", his geriatic humor and I am convinced that his self-deprecating humor masks some serious arrogance issues, amen? Yet, I mean it genuinely when I say that watching him in his own fantasy world is endearing, like a little boy with pillowcase tied around his neck as a cape playing Superman.

SO: If you are a fan of Doug Batchelor and enjoy his speaking techniques, his humor, his style of preaching,

If you are an Adventist who believes in the doctrines of your church,

If you are an Adventist who has become bitter against God BECAUSE someone in the church hurt you,

If you are actually watching the Hope Channel and therefore, must be right on the edge of coming back anyway,

THEN you might think about coming back to church as you listen to this series.... The problem is that Doug either really doesn't understand why people leave or he has deliberately chosen only to address that very minute group that are already tipping towards the SDA side of the fence. Up front, he states that those who have doctrinal issues need to go to the SDA website and sign up for Bible study classes. He knows none of us are coming back, so he doesn't waste his time. Which is smart.

I am now about to finish the third sermon in the series and so far no one had mentioned this being a SDA production. There have been a couple references to Sabbath, and I must admit I fast forwarded during the music, so it is possible I missed something... But in general--no SDA specific sermon--only come back to Jesus.

It is extremely doubtful that anyone will return to the SDA church from this series who isn't already making their way back, and where Doug goes very wrong is in his trivialization of why people leave WHEN they leave because they have been hurt. He tells this story about a dementia-sick grampa who yells ugly words at a guest and compares that to why people leave. Is Doug really thinking that trivializing the trauma some Adventists go through with their church going to win them back? Doug needs to address the incest, the clerical sexual abuse, the abandonment issues kids have from absentee parents who gave all to their church, serious religious abuse... (there are some deeply wounded SDAs out there); if you really wanted them to come back BECAUSE they left on issues of interpersonal relationships then deal with the hard stuff....

The SDA church and its privately-owned affiliates are spending a ton of money to recapture wandering members. Unfortunately, Doug resembles an ER doctor tending a hemoragging car crash victim by an entertaining chorus of "put on a happy face" (with an occasional Adventist-appropriate body sway). This is just the wrong medical procedure.

So far, the series has only fought the departing with an emotional appeal. I suppose that will work for those who quit attending because of superficial emotions. Judging from the loud, defensive "amens" coming from the audience when Doug points out that we who left are angry, bitter at God or hurt over things such as music or money issues--I wonder if this isn't an elaborate show for them. Show the church members that we are really trying to get our lost ones back, without dealing with the issues that will actually get them to return.

This series is definately a kinder and gentler Doug Batchelor, carefully edited of all SDA references and doctrines, as if blurring the church's identity gives all of us formers spiritual amnesia. In the end, I should be glad that the SDA church isn't persuasive, logical nor intelligent in its call for us to return. Less pigs returning to their own vomit, I guess. However, I really wished that the church would tackle the real reason we leave.

Imagine if, instead of playing the spiritual heroes by conquering their own designed strawmen, they would courageously dialogue and listen to former Adventists? Imagine if they would be open to hearing a pure Biblical message untainted with Ellen White and see us who now live in Christ's freedom.


Now I am playing in my own fantasy world. So, I will keep praying and hope....


Anonymous said...

Thanks. I'm married to an Adventist who is still active but who experienced substantial evil connected with the church. It is helpful to have your perspective.

Anonymous said...

In reading your comments I feel you have not experienced true freedom in Christ. Although you may have some valid points about superficiality and deep insight needed to be addressed, you yourself appears to still be enslaved.

May God Deliver You