Talk of Hell, damnation, and even sin has been replaced by a non-judgmental language of understanding and empathy. Gone are the arguments over doctrine and theology … More Americans than ever proclaim themselves born again in Christ, but the Lord to whom they turn rarely gets angry and frequently strengthens self-esteem. [As a result] the faithful in the United States are remarkably like everyone else.
…Generally speaking, preaching in evangelically oriented growth churches, however dynamic in delivery, has remarkably little actual content. Scripture is invariably cited but only as a launching pad to reinforce the message of salvation that Jesus can offer.
…Evangelicalism’s popularity is due as much to its populistic and democratic urges—its determination to find out exactly what believers want and offer it to them—as it is to certainties of the faith.
…But popularity means bowing to, rather than resisting, popular culture, and since American popular culture is one that puts more emphasis on feeling good than thinking right, these movements tend to be especially hostile to potentially divisive doctrinal controversy.
…This adherence to growth can have its frustrations; watching sermons reduced to PowerPoint presentations or listening to one easily forgettable praise song after another makes one long for an evangelical willing to stand up, Luther-like, and proclaim his opposition to the latest survey of evangelical taste.