Sometimes you can get your "church news" on ESPN. We don't have cable television, so I read sports on the ESPN website, where I saw Justin Bieber was baptized in the bathtub of NBA center Tyson Chandler's apartment in New York City. One of the hosts was wondering who the "guy on the right was," who happened to be the "pastor," Carl Lentz, who baptized Bieber, commenting that he looked like the "dirtbag version of David 'Menemun' (sp?)." Just from sheer appearance, an unaware ESPN analyst sees Bieber's evangelical pastor as a "dirtbag." Someone's judging something to look awry. Is it possible that something is wrong, when nothing can be wrong? The world seems to think so.
GQ magazine has done a feature on Lentz and Hillsong, his church in New York City, entitled, What Would Cool Jesus Do? Christians often chalk up secular magazine critique to persecution, but GQ pretty much nails Hillsong. It offers a savvy tongue-in-cheek analysis to this pop version of Christianity. Can anything really be wrong with Hillsong though? Evangelicals long ago stopped judging the specifics of the culture and relegated anyone who did so to legalism or adding to scripture or the gospel.
What I'm writing is that all evangelicals are responsible for what they see in Hillsong and should have zero room for criticism. They own Hillsong, because they can't judge cultural issues any more. Therefore, all evangelicals, including the entire Southern Baptist Convention, own Hillsong and everything like it.
Evangelicals know something is wrong with Hillsong. They know it. They won't say exactly what it is though. Some of the conservative evangelicals nibble around the edges without getting into any specifics. I've read their minimal critiques in various of the usual places and they usually mock them for being hipsters and celebrities. They don't offer any substantive critique. They don't give anyone any reason above personal preference for not associating with or even supporting a Hillsong or the like.
John MacArthur at the Strange Fire conference said, "It's the music. It's like getting drunk so you don't have to think about the issues of life. If you shut down the music, turn on the lights, and try to sell that with just words, it's not going to work." This is about the extent of the critique you get, but they still don't say what's wrong with it. They won't, because "the music" is also what MacArthur and other conservative evangelicals also use in their churches. They know something is wrong, but they aren't stopping what they know is wrong in their own ministry.
Imagine a classroom situation where young people are talking and jesting in a boisterous manner outside of class, but when they enter the classroom their demeanor and disposition changes to one of respect. The latter is expected as a proper classroom attitude and approach. Today in the public school system, a major reason a classroom is out of control is because the system has lost that ability to say certain behavior is wrong behavior. This is where evangelicalism is today too and a major factor for its continued destruction.