The nature of the church is being challenged by the culture of consumerism in which it exists. The consumer mentality with which many people approach the church has caused a seismic shift in the focus of the church. Now, instead of seking to proclaim to the people a truth from God, the church is seeking to sell itsself to those who may want to purchase their srvices. The average person in our culture does not come to the church assuming that s/he needs what the church offers for truth and salvation. Rather, if they come at all, they come to inquire whether the church offers services that meet their needs as they have defined them. The locus of decision making rests with the individuals. The burden of proof rests with the church.
While this might seem to be an appropriate step away from the triumphal arrogance of the historic church, it raises a very fundamental problem. The history of individuals having clear insight as to the nature of truth is no better than, and perhaps even worse than, that of the church. If God is the source of our truth and salvatiion, how do we have access to that truth in a manner that is not distorted by either the dogmatism of the church as an institution or the insight of individuals limited by their own fears, desires, and capacity for rationalization?