28 July 2005

What's wrong with jumping on and off the fad-wagons?

Some people actually watch the undulating waves of fads in the evangelical movement as if these were the best barometer by which to discern how the Holy Spirit is working in the world. Many evangelical leaders actually seem to think the fads are a better gauge than the Word of God for giving us a perspective on what God wants to do in His church from season to season.

Rick Warren, for example, encourages church leaders to develop their skill at fad-surfing:

At Saddleback Church we've . . . tried to recognize the waves God was sending our way, and we've learned to catch them. We've learned to use the right equipment to ride those waves, and we've learned the importance of balance. We've also learned to get off dying waves whenever we sensed God wanted to do something new. The amazing thing is this: The more skilled we become in riding waves of growth, the more God sends! (The Purpose-Driven® Church, 14-15.)

Notice his tacit assumption that the fads are the means God uses to bring growth.

Faddism has begun to usurp the role of Scripture in contemporary evangelical thinking. Fads (not the Bible) are seen as the main instruments of growth and edification. Fads (not Scripture) also set the agenda for church ministry. If you want to discover what God is doing and formulate a working strategy for church growth, you have to get your nose out of the Bible and hold up a wet finger to pop culture. Take a survey and find out what people want, then give it to them.

That is the not-so-subtle message of a hundred or so volumes on church growth that have circulated among evangelical leaders over the past 20 years.

By definition, a Fad-Driven® church cannot be a church governed by the Word of God. Those who set their direction by following the prevailing winds of change are being disobedient to the clear command of Ephesians 4:14, which instructs us not to do that.

It is a serious problem that in the contemporary, Fad-Driven® evangelical culture, very few pastors, church leaders, and key evangelical figures are both equipped and willing to answer the serious doctrinal assaults that are currently being made against core evangelical distinctives—such as the recent attacks on substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, and the doctrine of original sin.

Someone decided several years ago that the word propitiation is too technical and not user-friendly enough for contemporary Christians, so preachers stopped explaining the principle of propitiation. Now that the idea of propitiation is under attack, we have a generation of leaders who don't remember what it meant or why it's important to defend.

Something seriously needs to change in order to rescue the idea of historic evangelicalism from the contemporary evangelical movement.

And here's a good place for the change to begin: A generation of preachers needs to rise up and be committed to preaching the Word, in season and out of season, and be willing to ignore the waves of silly fads that come and go and leave the church's head spinning.

Bonus: Here's an excerpt from a sermon on Hebrews 4:12:

We need to have more confidence in the ability of the Word of God to penetrate people's hearts. This is one of the real deficiencies in this generation of evangelicals. We don't have enough faith in the power of God's Word to penetrate a hardened heart. Some Christians—and even lots of churches—actually back away from proclaiming the simple Word of God to unbelievers in plain language. They think it's necessary to have musical performances, drama, comedy, wrestling exhibitions, or other forms of entertainment ("pre-evangelism") to soften people up and prepare them to receive the Word. And in most cases those who opt for such a strategy never do get around to declaring the Word of God with any kind of boldness.

The idea is to find some activity or technique that entertains people and tries to make them friendly to Christianity while carefully avoiding the risk of confronting them with the truth of Scripture—as if something besides the Word of God might be more effective than Scripture at penetrating their hearts. That is sheer folly, and all the emphasis given to such gimmickry these days is a tremendous waste of time and energy. Nothing is more penetrating and more effective in reaching sin-hardened hearts than the pure and unadulterated Word of God. All our human techniques and ingenuity are like dull plastic butter knives compared to the Word of God, which is "sharper than any twoedged sword."

Phil's signature

42 comments:

Daniel said...

Amen Phil - especially the remarks about propitiation. So many Christians these days think they are saved from hell - instead of saved from God's righteous wrath.

Jeremy said...

Thanks Phil... count me in as one of those preachers who wants to faithfully proclaim the Word of God in his generation!

And go Cubs!

Jeff Wright said...

I'm also one who wants to preach the Word. Not to many job postings seeking that though.

Anyway - Phil: Could you find time to post a list of books that you think detail how the Church is to be directed?

I'm guessing Nine Marks and maybe Ryken's City on a Hill would be on there but I'd like to see any others you might have come across that are quality.

Donnie said...

Phil, thank you for this post. As I have said in a previous comment I appreciate your insight.

You qouted Warren:

At Saddleback Church we've . . . "tried to recognize the waves God was sending our way, and we've learned to catch them. We've learned to use the right equipment to ride those waves, and we've learned the importance of balance. We've also learned to get off dying waves whenever we sensed God wanted to do something new. The amazing thing is this: The more skilled we become in riding waves of growth, the more God sends! (The Purpose-Driven® Church)
Notice his tacit assumption that the fads are the means God uses to bring growth."

It is amazing as I read this how subtly deceptive this really is. To a young Christian this can be disastorous and extremely confusing. Warren, by stating this, sets a president for people to go around claiming truly biblical doctrine as being legalistic.

At least this is what I am finding.

What else is interesting is that he uses the anology of waves-- would this make him double minded and unstable in all his ways? James 1:8

Sled Dog said...

Hey Jeff,

There are churches out their that want the Word, fear not. And though I would most likely not go to a church that strongly desired the PDL brand of teaching, I haven't always gone to churches that were specifically looking for expostional teaching. My present church had a pastor who was all over the map...topical, a lot of Piper stuff, etc. Now they've had 9 months of a steady diet of straight from the book preaching, and they are acquiring a taste for it.

God's Word is powerful. That's why we should go forward with, advance it...rather than look for safe havens.

MARK JOHNSTON said...

Preach it Phil-- The sad thing that comes to my mind when I read what Warren has to say about recognizing the waves that God is sending, is that in a lot of situations the waves are not from God and the sheep are dashed upon the rocks by these dangerous waves and never recover.

By the way I'm looking forward to reading a new book that is out with the title Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity
by Dave Shiflett

Jeff Wright said...

Sled - gotcha. Not looking for a safe haven. Looking for a position but finding closed doors.

Anyway, don't want to violate Phil's terms of use.

Tim said...

Great post Phil! Sometime you might find time to think about the churches and leaders that claim to be committed to biblical, expository teaching (and in fact may even use that format in preaching), but undermine their work by uncritically adopting fad-driven programs and/or methods that subtly work against them. For example, the church that preaches verse-by-verse exposition, but "simplifies" it for the unbelievers in the audience. Or Bible teaching pastors/leaders adopting seeker-based assimilation models that discount our downplay the Scriptures.

Some methodologies are not neutral ... the philosophy underlying them is inherently weak. Of course sometimes the church is still in process of moving to a sound, biblically-based practice and the leadership is taking time to bring the fellowship along. But I'm thinking that more often than not, it is discouraged pastors unthinkingly adding sociologically successful stuff because the "exposition thing" is not "working" fast enough ...

Steve Allen said...

I can't get enough of people like yourself and John MacArthur. I too am sick to death of all the fads - merchandising in the name of our Lord! The love of money truly is the root of all evil. May all fads die quickly, and may the church lift up and worship the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"

frostykaiser said...

It seems that we want so much to see the Spirit move in our churches. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking the active hand of God, we may be getting off-track in assuming our excitement is directly linked to His. The danger comes when we seek to move for the kingdom of heaven, rather than follow the lead of our King. We act, then ask for blessing. As the Hebrews verse describes, the word of God is living and active. I pray that we might believe it.

Chris said...

What's with the KJV references? You're not into the 1611-only fad, are you?

blueorigami said...

While I agree in principle with your post, I find your reasoning spurious and ill formed. You say: “By definition, a Fad-Driven® church cannot be a church governed by the Word of God.” Yet, you justify this claim by inductive arguments. In order for your statement to be true necessarily, as you have stated it, it must be proven deductively. Simply sighting examples of FadDriven churches that have done wrong does not make your conclusion necessarily the case.

At best, you can say “many or most fads do not help the biblical message.” Yet, surely we can think of instances where a knowledge of contemporary lingo or style is necessary to get the biblical message across. After all, the Bible is translated all the time into the contemporary language of the day so that it is not only relevant but also understandable.

Certainly you are right to say fads should not dictate how the Bible is presented (although, I am not at all sure one can take fads or contemporary prejudice completely out of one’s reading of the Bible), but I worry placing this delicate and complicated issue in such imprecise and broad language does not help clear up the issue.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Again I raise the question: what will American evangelical churches look like when true persecution comes? What will Saddleback and Willow Creek look like when a cost will be required for faith?

If you’re looking for a Fad-Driven® church, check out the 50 Most Influential Churches. "What are the prerequisites?" you ask? “The 2005 survey was sent to 2,000 church leaders with the goal of ranking the nation’s fastest growing churches and churches with more than 2,000 weekend attendance..”
WARNING: Take your blood pressure meds before reading the above listed link!

Donnie said...

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't Paul in his letters saying something to the effect (which we can translate into today's vernacular) that the gospel itself is not to be bought or sold; which means we cannot put a price tag on God (nor will He let us). However, a laborer of His word should be compensated for his work in the Lord.

In my estimation of things, this whole fad-driven thing has nothing to do with slang (as this is what I think blueorigami is saying). Slang is a different topic. This fad-driven thing is trying to sell Christianity to people. In my opinion, that is stomping on the Cross.

Brian Jones said...

Phil, you wrote, "...very few pastors, church leaders, and key evangelical figures are both equipped and willing to answer the serious doctrinal assaults that are currently being made against core evangelical distinctives."

What is the basis for this assertion? I agree in principle with a lot of what you write but I think you make reckless generalizations about what the "average pastor" or "average evangelical" can or cannot do. Unless you have some data to back up these assertions, I think you'd be wise to hold such generalizations to yourself.

Lets see how you like it: I assert, in the Johnsonian spirit, that most employees of GTY are unable to know what most pastors are or are not fit to do. This assertion is doubly true for those GTY employees who do not have at least an M.Div.

How do you like it?

centuri0n said...

Jon Moorehead makes a great point, but I think I have an asnwer he doesn't expect: "no persecution will ever touch Saddleback". Persecution presupposes that Saddleback will not "catch the wave" when the Gospel becomes outlawed.

blueorigami said...

Donnie raises a good point. What exactly is the definition of fad. Up to this point we seem to just be playing with our individual prejudices on this issue.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Good point Centuri0n

Bill said...

Brian wrote: What is the basis for this assertion? I agree in principle with a lot of what you write but I think you make reckless generalizations about what the "average pastor" or "average evangelical" can or cannot do. Unless you have some data to back up these assertions, I think you'd be wise to hold such generalizations to yourself.

Not to speak for Phil, but I agree with his statement. I think it's pretty obvious, based upon the sheer number of lemmings who have jumped off the Purpose Driven(R) cliff that they are not willing to answer the doctrinal assaults. They're leading the assaults (albeit unwittingly, in some cases)

Phil Johnson said...

Blueorigami writes: "You say: 'By definition, a Fad-Driven® church cannot be a church governed by the Word of God.' Yet, you justify this claim by inductive arguments. In order for your statement to be true necessarily, as you have stated it, it must be proven deductively."

You apparently missed the syllogism, which I thought was pretty clear:

¶ Scripture commands us not to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.
¶ Faddism is the practice of being governed by prevailing trends.
¶ Therefore, those who are Fad-Driven® are being disobedient to Scripture.

It's not a complex argument, and it is certainly not inductive in nature.
______

Brian Jones says, "I think you make reckless generalizations about what the 'average pastor' or 'average evangelical' can or cannot do. Unless you have some data to back up these assertions, I think you'd be wise to hold such generalizations to yourself."

Granted, the basis for my statement in this case is an inductive argument. Also, it would have been better for me to say "comparatively few pastors" instead of "very few pastors."

However, with the caveat that I intended the expression "very few" in a relative sense, I still stand by the substance of what I said. And if you dispute it, since you have a such hankering for hard data, feel free to provide me with any statistical data that you feel proves me wrong, and I'll recant.

In my work, I deal with thousands of pastors and churches worldwide every year. (And I have done so for more than 20 years.) As a matter of fact, I would guess that the segment of church leaders I deal with are among the best evangelicalism has to offer. Nonetheless, they are, as a group, woefully unprepared to give an effective defense of some of the crucial soteriological doctrines that are currently under attack—like original sin, vicarious penal substitution, etc.

Since you like objective proof, I propose a test: go to Pastors.com, which is by all accounts the largest repository of evangelical pastors' helps on the Internet. If you can find one document that adequately and coherently gives a biblical defense of the principle of penal substitution against the attacks that doctrine has suffered at the hands of Steve Chalke, Robert Brow, and the open Theists, I'll make a major BlogPost to retract what I said.

Renee said...

Jonathan,
Thanks for link. Your link to the 50 Most Influential Churches was "interesting" (for lack of a better word)...

I am curious as to the churches that threw the survey out with the garbage because they thought that they had more inmportant work to do for the Lord. :-)

Matthew Hoover said...

OK, lets see a show of hands. How many Bible-believing churches out there that drink grapejuice for communion? Sing flowery hymns in worship like "In the Garden"? How many sermons have you heard in your churches about the details of the coming Rapture? How about ones with "small groups" that meet together more often than the church takes communion?

I could go on. The point is that we conservatives are in no position to point the finger. Even if we reject the fads of today, we're only hopelessly clinging to the unbiblical fads of 150 years ago. As Chesterton put it, those liberals are busy reforming and we conservatives are busy conserving the reforms.

What we really need to do is show Rick Warren and Benny Hinn and the rest of the world what it means to repent. The churches of today are the harvest reaped by the sowing of yesterday, and we have a responsibility before the Lord to admit before Him that we and our fathers have sinned and gone astray.

Joe said...

Do seminaries teach such things as "propitiation" these days? If so, what do pastors do with what they have "learned?" Do they just throw it all away in favor of being certain to please enough folks in the congregation to keep their jobs?

Has the local church become such a quasi-political organism that pastors can no longer take a theological or doctrinal stand?

David said...

The measure is preaching the Gospel of Jesus.

The means are not relevant - at least they were not to Paul in his letter to the Philipians.

Phi 1:18 What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (NET Bible)

Now if in the Fad, the gospel is lost, then it is sin. However, your cite of Ephesians 4:14 is completely irrelevant to your arguement - it is not the method that matters, but the message. If the message is the gospel, the method that is communicating that message is fine.

Renee said...

I just flipped channels and came across "Does The Truth Matter" and the gist of this entire discussion was summed up with this (Sorry I can't type fast enough to quote the exact phrase):

I have no problem with innovation in the church, but when the Gospel and the Word of God take a back seat to these "innovations", then there is a problem

Jeremy Weaver said...

At Saddleback Church we've . . . tried to recognize the waves God was sending our way, and we've learned to catch them. We've learned to use the right equipment to ride those waves, and we've learned the importance of balance. We've also learned to get off dying waves whenever we sensed God wanted to do something new. The amazing thing is this: The more skilled we become in riding waves of growth, the more God sends! (The Purpose-Driven® Church, 14-15.)

Waves of growth? What in the world is that? That's one of the problems with this movement. They've ridden the wave of not using biblical language because it is so 'cliche' and have substituted their own cliches which serve to obscure the truth even more. But obscured truth is their power. "We're own the wave of growth!" How can you even respond to that? It's ridiculous jargon for a message without truth.

Steve Weaver said...

That's my brother!

atoep said...

Amen, brother. Amen. I love this site!

Brian Jones said...

Phil, I will concede that you are an expert on pastors and churches affiliated with GTY. But even if you do deal with "thousands" of pastors and churches, that's still only a fraction of the number of evangelical pastors and churches "worldwide."

If, as you say, these pastors affiliated with GTY "...are, as a group, woefully unprepared to give an effective defense of some of the crucial soteriological doctrines that are currently under attack..." then I'm shocked by that. Sounds like GTY has some work to do! But, I'll take you word for it. Do you give them essay exams to measure this?

Seriously, if it is as bad as you say, then your constituents don't need a radio show; they need a good seminary.

Jess Elliott said...

I'm not a pastor, a church leader, or even very knowledgeable about Christian writing in general, but I will still say this; The Purpose Driven Life book was a Godsend to my family. It woke my husband from the torpor he had been in for years. It rejuvenated and motivated him to read God's word daily and to seriously annalize where he was at spiritually. He has been a Christian for almost all his life and I think that he had become comfortable in his faith. By which I mean that he wasn't actively seeking God or His will. This book has been a blessing to us, and because of that I cannot believe that God isn't using it for His purposes. So maybe it will be classified as a fad in the eyes of history, but not to me.

blueorigami said...

Phil,

Thanks for the response. The only problem I have with your argument is that your second premise is precisely the one I am worried about.

First of all, throughout your entry (which was a blast a to read) you never define "fad" (thanks Donnie for this very appropriate point). Second of all, it is precisely this very broad and ambiguous premise that I dispute. What exactly is a fad? Second of all, your argument is still missing a couple premises. You need to establish how “winds of doctrine” and “prevailing trends” are synonymous phrases (this can prove very very difficult, which is my contention). Your argument is not “pretty clear.” You can’t simply say that faddism is “the practice of being governed by prevailing trends” without establishing how these “prevailing trends” are always necessarily an affront to the biblical message.

Phil Johnson said...

Brian Jones:

What pastors and church leaders "need" is to take the Word of God seriously, make understanding it correctly and proclaiming it clearly the first priorities in their ministry, and quit filling their minds with the evangelical fads Christian publishers are peddling—which is what I was saying in the first place.

Phil Johnson said...

Blueorigami says, "Throughout your entry ... you never define "fad" (thanks Donnie for this very appropriate point)."

Both you and Donnie need to read again, more carefully this time. I did explain in detail what I meant by "fad." See this article, just after the subhead "Fifteen minutes of fame."

I even explicitly anticipated complaints like yours that would challenge the label "fad." Then I defined a fad as a movement or program that:

1. Has "nothing to do with historic evangelicalism or the biblical principles that made evangelicalism an important idea."

2. Was unheard of until recently. ("Not one of those movements or programs even existed 35 years ago. Most of them would not have been dreamed of by evangelicals merely a generation ago.")

3. Can't be expected to last. ("And, frankly, most of them will not last another generation.")

That's even more detailed than the standard dictionary definition of "fad": "Something briefly but enthusiastically taken up, esp. by a group; a craze."

But if you prefer the dictionary's rendition, it works.

The distinctive of my definition, however, lies in point 1: Fads are temporary notions, actions, movements, or programs that have nothing to do with the principles that define evangelicalism and make it a great idea.

For future reference, there are teeming hordes of homeshool moms around here, and they all carry big dictionaries. Check with them next time a concept seems unclear to you. They are more than eager to help out. :-)

Aircraftdaft said...

Proponents of a more culturally tuned approach to ministry and evangelism love to use this red herring: "If you were going to start a church in China, before you leave wouldn't you learn to speak Chinese?"

The implication is clear: what seeker churches are doing is simply learning to understand and speak the language--the cultural language--of the unchurched people around us. Find out what interests, attracts, and stimulates, and what offends, repulses, and inhibits, then apply the former and avoid the latter.

But is there not a vast difference between adapting to a culture's language, and playing to a culture's way of thinking and behaving? Where is the biblical model that allows for the world and its depraved appetites to set the agenda for how the church worships and evangelizes?

If I go to China to start a church, indeed, I'll be needing to learn Mandarin. What I can't imagine doing is studying, then pandering to, the things in the Chinese culture that are shallow, fleshly, unprofitable, or that cloud and diminish our Christ, the power of His Word, and the loving-but-hard realities of His gospel.

Donnie said...

I was mis-understood by blueorgami as I wasn't concise in communicating my point. Please forgive me.

blueorgami you said this:

"Yet, surely we can think of instances where a knowledge of contemporary lingo or style is necessary to get the biblical message across. After all, the Bible is translated all the time into the contemporary language of the day so that it is not only relevant but also understandable."

I said:
"In my estimation of things, this whole fad-driven thing has nothing to do with slang (as this is what I think blueorigami is saying). Slang is a different topic. This fad-driven thing is trying to sell Christianity to people. In my opinion, that is stomping on the Cross."

Let me try to explain. In any culture there is language to express ourselves and yes language changes slightly over time. Language itself is not a fad; however, there is slang that we use that is faddish in nature but still not the same. Contempory lingo should not be confused with what a "fad" really is. (: a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal : CRAZE, Websters) What I was getting at with your comment, blueorgami, is that you are confusing our language and a fad. We will always have the original text to refer to. A fad is not to be used to convey a biblical message or try to rally-up converts. Do you think that the church in Acts participated in any of the fads of the day? I think not; the fads of the day where clearly lasciviosus in nature. And well, quite frankly, aren't the current fads the same, just in a subtly deceptive way?

BAG said...

Phil said:

"And here's a good place for the change to begin: A generation of preachers needs to rise up and be committed to preaching the Word, in season and out of season, and be willing to ignore the waves of silly fads that come and go and leave the church's head spinning."

I agree that there is a sickness in evangelicalism right now; but I must say, if the kind of guys the Master's Seminary (in general)are putting out into the pulpits, are the kind of preacher boys you have in mind--then I think this is just as problematic as the fad driven church.

I know of many churches, my parent's church (my former church), that have been split in half by Macarthur driven pastors. Is this an intentional philosphy of ministry, find churches that are "fad driven" and purify them with the "True Gospel of Jesus"? Does Grace Community have a corner on the gospel that no one else has? And by the way, it's not necessarily "what" these Macarthurite Pastor's are preaching/teaching, it's (in many situations) "how" they're communicating it ("MY way or the highway).

Is there any legitmacy, Phil, to my take here?

Bill in NJ said...

I can see taking something from a fad that is useful and implementing it. I can see trying something out that looks interesting. I believe we have lots of freedom to try stuff as long as a clear and accurate gospel is proclaimed and the great commission is being obeyed. Too bad too many churches start depending one the fads and worse, water down the gospel as a result.

John Schroeder said...

Virtually all of these fads end in corruption. Think about it, as they grow, the money simply becomes too much and some sort of scandal emerges. Many of the movements are founded on very sincere and successful leaders who may avoid the scandal, but it is almost certain with the second generation. If we will indeed "know them by their fruits," can we really state that something that ends in scandal is where God is working now? Read the rest of my thought here.

andrew@stonepavement said...

Whilst preaching the word is one thing, living the christian walk as given in the word is another...

.. talking about how we do these things, and reaching unbelievers is another..

We simply are not engaging with our cultures enough on any format/type of approach! or more importantly with the words of life.

..talk is cheap, so is blogging...life isn't...

Let's be more out there and witness to(modern term "engage with or to") one person a day...just one!! the fads would go away because we wouldn't be tempted by them, the Word would become real and the church would be mission focused....hello...

moose said...

Hey, surf's up!

When Warren wrote his dissertation (which apparently was the first draft of PDChurch)for a DMin at Fuller Theological Seminary (a veritable bastion of orthodoxy), his mentor and faculty advisor was none other than "Apostle" and acclaimed church-growth guru, C. Peter Wagner. Col. Sanders, oops, I mean C. Peter, must be awful proud of little Ricky's radical and relevant ability to "hang ten." And since God is always wanting to do something new, it's time we all grasp some "present truth" and "hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church today" and recognize and catch the new "Third Wave" as God ushers in the New Apostolic Reformation.

Can you say New Order of the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God/ Dominionism?

Btw, this is not a fad, it's a "new paradigm," a new way of "doing church" that will "change the very definition of Christianity." There's a lot of "cross-pollination" (a term used by one of those mean ol' "heretic hunters") going on with certain "evangelicals," so, why can't we all just get along?

Yeeehaw, all hail Ted Haggard!

Paula said...

"We need to have more confidence in the ability of the Word of God to penetrate people's hearts." Following 'fads' isn't so new. The nation of Israel did the same when they approached Samuel to say they wanted a king appointed to govern them "like other nations."

It was displeasing to Samuel and displeasing to God. He told Samuel straight up that the people had rejected Him from being king over them. They wanted to be like all the other nations so God gave them over to their desires. The Bible gives us many stories of how those kings handled their responsibilites toward the people and in faithfulness to God. Most of them didn't do too well.

Be assured that God knows what 'faddish' churches are up to as well. He will give us over to our desires and let us suffer the consequences of our actions. He loves and lets us make choices. But if nothing changes, nothing changes.

fontanarenaissanceman said...

Actually everyone should read the book "Deceived on Purpose" By Warren Smith. It exposes the New Age Spirituality creeping into the Church and Satans use of people like Rick Warren ...he doesnt even see it happening !