Here is a quote from the article which cites Barna:
Unlike the Great Awakenings, which brought people into the church, this new movement "entails drawing people away from reliance upon a local church into a deeper connection with and reliance upon God."
Who needs a church when you have God? Especially when the church can be so common, day-to-day, and unexciting. To quote the article again:
Barna illustrates with two fictional characters who "eliminated church life from their busy schedules." Why? They did not find a ministry "that was sufficiently stimulating" and "their church, although better than average, still seems flat."
The article also interacts a bit with Barna’s argument that the New Testament does not call for active involvement in a local church.
I confess that this has me a bit wired up. I can’t believe he has finally said it so baldly, but this is the spirit of the age. This properly pictures for us what many out there are thinking. I am proud of CT for critiquing it. Barna has been allowed to be a guru for years all the while showing that he has little theological or biblical basis. In fact this approach to church which he reports and encourages is simply the logical end of the consumerism he has been promoting for some time.
But, my main point is to say this simply underscores the need for clear teaching in order to properly shepherd the people entrusted to our care. This neglect of the local church is not good for us, and in spite of some common misconceptions it is not the heritage of Protestantism through the Reformation. When Protestants today are so negligent and apathetic towards the church they are in fact abandoning their heritage. The Reformers were strong in their ecclesiology. In fact Calvin wrote, “If we do not prefer the church to all other objects of our interests we are unworthy of being counted among her members” (Institutes, 4.1.1). You can pursue this further with a really good book from Soli Deo Gloria entitled, Onward Christian Soldiers: Protestants Affirm the Church. It is a collection of addresses on the church by people like John MacArthur, Do Whitney and R. C. Sproul.
Since my first post on this topic began with a story about my children I’ll close this one with another story. I came in recently to find my third son, Jonathan, playing with a tape measure. As I walked up to him, I saw him pull out the tape measure a certain length, look at it studiously, and then he said matter-of-factly, “Yep, it’s 32 degrees outside.” Things like this Barna book are much like my son here. Measuring with the wrong instrument, and therefore coming up with really flawed results. At least my son will eventually learn better and his error concerns trivial things rather than controverting Scripture to the detriment of the Bride of Christ.