Fitch is a prof at Northern Seminary and one of the pastoral team at Life on the Vine. He is also the author of The Great Giveaway, Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies, one of the more important books in any discussion of the Western church in post-modernity.
McKnight is a prof at North Park University and the author of numerous books including The Jesus Creed – a book on our profound requirement to love God and love others – a simple yet powerful interpretation of the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6. When at home in the Chicagoland area, McKnight attends Willow Creek.
Fitch and McKnight, friends that they are, have come down on opposite sides of the debate around Willow Creek and the church’s Reveal study. Scot, from his post this morning, is not impressed with those of us who have criticized Willow, it’s Reveal study and its present actions around that study. In my not so humble opinion, McKnight appears to be taking on the role of an apologist for the church. McKnight comments,
To those who are criticizing the study, observe this: it is a “customer satisfaction” type survey and it measures how the local church is contributing to the personal, individual development in spiritual formation of Christians.
On Fitch’s post, Is the Consumerism Critique Legit?, McKnight has debated calling Willow a consumeristic church, but might I suggest that any church that does a customer satisfaction survey is, by definition, consumeristic. (Why else would it do do a customer satisfaction type survey? Might it be based on this from a poster that, apparently, until recently hung outside Hybels door, "What is our business? Who is our customer? What does the customer consider value?")
McKnight and Fitch are taking their debate to the airwaves at WMBI Radio in Chicago at 7:30am CT on Thursday morning – 8:30am in my neck of the woods (ET). You can listen in live here or tune in via iTunes using this link and pasting it into the dialogue box when you select Open Stream under the Advanced Menu in iTunes (or simply selecting Command – U in iTunes).
I will be making a point of listening. You will find my thoughts on Consumerism (and the church) here.