After returning from the Army back in 2000, I was told to check out one of the churches that belong to this association. So I did, and signed up for a small group. About 3/4 of the way through the small group signup, the leader asked for more people to become facilitators because there were not enough people signing up for that position. About 5 minutes later, after nobody volunteered, he made the announcement I'll never forget:
"Come on folks, we really need some facilitators. Don't be scared - you don't need to know the Bible to do this. You just need to be able to facilitate a discussion".
I was so shocked that I called him over. I asked him how he could have someone lead a small group that didn't know the Bible. He was quick to correct me - "they're not leaders, they're facilitators". Then I brought up Stephen, who was chosen to hand out food to widows, but to qualify just for that position, he had to be "full of the Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). How much more should someone leading a small group? He then said "We're short and we have to have people", and then he walked away. I guess James 3:1 doesn't mean anything anymore.
This is just one incident I had at one of the churches in the Willow Creek Assoc. Never mind the secular songs used during worship, the absence of the cross in the building "because it might offend someone" (I was actually told that), the shallow and pragmatic preaching.
Yes, if we would just rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and faithfully exposit God's Word, we wouldn't need to resort to this folly that is unfortunately becoming a false yeast in the dough.
Posted by: Clay Tarpley at August 3, 2006 11:07 AM
"See reality not as it is..." If that isn't the most oxymoronic statement. But this is the game these self-proclaimed pastors play. They toy with language, manipulating statements and phrases in order to swoon easily-awed babies. "Wow this sounds so fresh and cool and on the cutting edge!!"
hmmm...I think the Willow Creek copywriters should maybe think of changing their slogan too:
"See reality not as it is...well in this case let's not see reality at all!"
the foundations continue to crumble. . .
Posted by: reformedtwentysomething at August 3, 2006 01:13 PM
Willow Creek Leadership Conference: Where is the Holy Ghost?
Here's what the Christian Post is saying about the upcoming Willow Creek Leadership Conference, beamed by satellite to 125 churches.On Aug. 10-12, some 70,000 church and business leaders will participate in the global gathering led by a host of leadership experts including Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church -- voted this year's most influential church in America, according to The Church Report.
"If Christian leaders ever needed to be equipped for the challenges in this ever-changing landscape, it's now. The Leadership Summit provides a unique opportunity for Christ-following leaders to take the next step in their continual development," said Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, in a released statement."See reality not as it is but how it might be," reads the theme of the 11th annual Leadership Summit.
Sounds eerily identical to White House agents saying [Iraq] 'Reality is unimportant, it is what we say it is' Could there be a symbiotic link with CZ and RR and GOP authoritarianism!? Nah!
QED, @ JKS 20Aug'06 ]
.../... So when my pastor hailed this pagan [ M. Scott Peck ] as "a fine Christian author", I about puked. When I approached him about his remarks after the service, he was surprised - and told me that he was given the quote and endorsement by another SBC pastor and had not bothered checking it out.
Pastors who fail to take their position responsibly do inestimable harm to the church. We who love the Lord must pray for our pastors AND hold them accountable.
Posted by: Stuart L. Brogden at August 3, 2006 11:12 AM
Quoting Heretics: The New Trend for Christian Authors.../...
This article describes how Sweet, revered in emergent circles, actually thanks New Age occultist David Spangler for his help and influence! This post on the Lighthouse Trails blog addresses the strange propensity for Christians to quote heretics like Sue Monk Kidd. Ms. Kidd long ago left her Christian heritage and has been traveling the country promoting her New Age spirituality. That hasn't stopped speakers and pastors like Dr. David Jeremiah, or Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) or Today's Christian Women from favorably citing her work.
My name is Ingrid Schlueter and I've been in Christian radio for 18 years. Of all the trends I've observed, the explosion of the "seeker"-centered megachurches is one of the most disturbing. (Read More)
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A Very Poor Christian "Communicator" Rob Bell
I have substantially updated and expanded this piece concerning Rob Bell who is fast becoming the "Elvis" of Emergent. In it I provide some background for you to understand where he started from and you'll even see corroboration from another pastor, who is sypathetic to Bell, and is quite familiar with his "entertaining" work, that Bell "doesn't make the way of salvation through the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross."
And the "love" notes of "peace" such as this from Emergents like Scott in the comments section speak very loudly concerning the "gospel" they are receiving to "grow from" through Christian "communicator" Rob Bell:
"So many comments, so full of negative words - and maybe jealousy?If Rob is not against us, then he is for us (Mark 9:40). But can the same be said of the comments on this site. Rob Bell preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that people can hear and grow from. I hope for your congregations, you all do the same. Peace to you."
Posted by Rev. Ken Silva on August 3, 2006 @ 11:46 PM
======= comments: =======
Rev. Silva ... I just picked up Kenton C. Anderson's new book "Choosing to Preach" (Zondervan). Anderson is dean of Northwest Baptist Seminary, and associate professor of homiletics at Trinity Western University (British Columbia, Canada). Anyway, he uses Rob Bell as an example of what a "visionary sermon" (popular among emergents) looks like. (He also showcases MacArthur, Warren, and Eugene Lowry.) There's no condemnation; he actually extols Bell's Nooma series of video clips. Overall, he's accepting of this "very poor Christian communicator" (as you call him).
As to the quote: "Well, because God wired them that way ... to seek Him." The emphasis should have been on "to seek Him." I definitely am not Emergent friendly--but I think what Bell was saying is simply that God has wired us to seek Him; unfortunately people seek for Him in all the wrong things. Sad.
Posted by: T. Ruth at August 4, 2006 08:07 AM
I have just split from the AG church that I have been attending for the better part of this year. The reasons are numerous, mostly revolving around the doctrinal issues I have with the Pentecostal faith, but primarily due to the fact that the youth ministry I was involved in is sliding ever so closely to the seeker/emergent/relational edge and I fear it wont be long before they go over the precipice.
During the summer interns from the Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Evangel University came and took over the sunday school class. They, taking their cues straight from the postmodern drenched culture, aptly renamed the Sunday School class "Vintage." How ironic. I hated the name. I hated it then, I still hate it now. A reformist friend of mine (who is a sophmore at the University of Oklahoma...a "twentysomething") turned to me one day and said "By 'vintage' I assume the purpose behind the summer classes will be a robust study of Christianity's rich heritage. The creeds and the councils and the reformation and such."
In a word: no.
"Vintage", along with all the other "words" that get thrown around in todays postmodern church, means absolutely nothing whatsoever. Just like the word "Jesus" has been emptied of all meaning, maintainng no propositional structure and now being worn as a badge on an abercrombie and fitch polo.
Reverend Ken, it grieves my spirit, so much so that sometimes all I can do is bow my head and weep for my generation. They are being bamboozled by the enemy and showing absolute contempt for El Elyon and his ways. During the last Sunday School class I attended 70+ ripe-for-molding students sat watching a NOOMA video. "Bull-Horn Guy " was the name of it and it was my first introduction to Rob Bell. I had no idea who the guy was but felt a rush of righteous indignation from the minute I saw him sitting on a bench with his curly hair and emo glasses spouting off his pseudo-gospel rhetoric.
I make my departure with a Piper qoute:
"Those who talk like this--"Christ unites, doctrine divides"--have simply replaced propositions about Christ with the word Christ. It carries no meaning until one says something about him. They think they have done something profound and fresh, when they call us away from the propositions of doctrine to the word Christ. In fact they have done something very old and worn and deadly."
Posted by: reformedtwentysomething at August 14, 2006 12:49 PM
The Cult that I was raised in and was delivered from by the grace of God, which was very concerned about the ecuminical movement (not knowing they were already part of Babylon) has many members embracing Rob Bell.
This cult has been around for 80 years and was built on the platform that they would overcome sin and be just like Jesus who they thought was a heavenly creature.
Many in this cult just love Rob Bell. Why would that be? It is apparent that they are enamored by his rejection of the Orthodox Christian Faith. He espouses a universalism gospel, which is no gospel at all.
Rob Bell is a false teacher who denies the atonment. He does not believe in the Word of God.
Please keep exposing this poison, Pastor Ken. It is unbelievable how many deceptions are going on.
Posted by: todd at August 14, 2006 12:50 PM
------- ======= -------
Yes I did say that. Israel is comprised of all who enter by faith through the promise given as Isaac. We are ingrafted as gentiles into that tree which has the root of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
According to Eph 2:11-22, Israel is comprised of both Jew and Gentile united by the finished work of Christ and the cross.
I am not saying I am "jewish".
Israel is the chosen people of God and a careful reading of the Scripture demonstrates that God' plan was for all nations, not just the jews.
I do not wish to make this a forum for this kind of study. I will post more on this on my blog later today.
Posted by: Chris P. August 15, 2006 09:30 AM [box at right ]
[yet will Heaven allow them not? / 'with Faith as Children' I must suppose so, which sadly repudiates ~all discernment and thus doctrines! oops, God is God. /jks]
Which comes first, belief or action? Foundation determines lasting fruit, not vice-versa. The only way to know Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh, is to know the Word revealed in Scripture. Matthew 7:21-23
Friday, July 14, 2006
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem [baffling how some blogspot sites have indexed & properly titled shortcuts for articles... not in this case, sorry, 'Reader' if you exist! /js]
.../.... For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son." 10And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call-- 12she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated
In light of the outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon and Gaza:
My prayer is that the church get it's head out of the convoluted teachings of dispensationalism, quit listening to John Hagee and Perry Stone and start reading the Bible. Oh yeah,and stop watching the media and their slanted misinformation campaign. [Amen, writeth js]
He is: H'Yeshuah B' Maschiach Yeshua
======= my own selected comment [noidiots!!]
Chris P. said...
Museum hails ancient Psalter found in bog By Jodie Ginsberg
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's national museum on Tuesday hailed what it said was one of the most significant discoveries in decades -- and perhaps centuries -- after an ancient prayer book was found by chance in an Irish bog.
The National Museum of Ireland said fragments of what appeared to be an ancient Psalter or Book of Psalms, written around AD 800, were uncovered by a bulldozer in a bog in the south Midlands.
"In discovery terms this Irish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls is being hailed by the Museum's experts as the greatest find ever from a European bog," the museum said in a statement.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, found in the mid 20th century, are considered to be of enormous religious and historical significance since they include some of the earliest known surviving Biblical documents.
..."In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a discovery as fragile and rare as this," Museum Director Pat Wallace said, adding it was not so much the fragments themselves, but what they represented, that was of such "staggering" importance.
"It testifies to the incredible richness of the Early Christian civilisation of this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland," he said. ... possibly more than a thousand to twelve hundred years ago."
In this article Scott McIntyre of Wood & Steel Ministries brings to light something to which we should be paying strict attention. What will happen when the entire body of Christ is following after a few select leaders that "are...
Posted in Slice of Laodicea on August 22, 2005 10:17 PM
It's a shame that we need to keep posting topics that require a parental advisory, but unfortunately this is going to be yet another. A new Bible created especially for girls age 13-16 has some Christian parents saying such material should not appear alongside Scripture.
Stacy McDonald is editor of Homeschooling Today, author of "Raising Maidens of Virtue" (a great book that we read to our daughters) had this to say:
"I find this 'Bible' comparable to filthy graffiti smeared across the Word of God. Instead of edifying young girls and encouraging them to godliness it actually violates their purity by its very text,"A spokesman for Zondervan defended the content of the teen Bible, saying the company would be irresponsible not to include the controversial subject matter.
Heat Wave Edition - Christian Carnival CXXXIVHello and welcome to Christian Carnival CXXXIV (that's 134 outside of Rome). My old friend, Heat Miser brings you greetings as well! Be nice to him... he's a bit of a hothead, you know.
Is religion The Root of All Evil? At Principled Discovery, Dana begins with Mel Gibson's latest statements and compares them to media statements about Christianity.
Want to learn a little more about political philosophy? JCHFleetguy at Brain Cramps For God is in the midst of that very exercise. Check the post A "Discussion" of Political Philosophy.
Marijuana and hashish in the Old Testament? "Not a chance," says Tyler from Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot. Then he sets about debunking the whole idea. Interesting read.
Minimum Attention For Minimum Wage is the offering from Father David at Left of Calvary.
I'm married with three kids. I have a small business selling t-shirts and the like. I also am the pastor of a small country church. Contact me at rev-ed at verizon.netView my complete profile
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One lady asked me, "If I become a Christian, will my life get better?" My answer didn't really satisfy her. I told her that her situations wouldn't change, but the way she looked at them would. Like the rich young ruler, she walked away shaking her head, for she wanted everything to be different. She wanted her boyfriend to really love her. She wanted her illnesses to go away. She wanted a better job and a better this and a better that. But why bother if nothing will be different?
The thing is, when a person trusts Christ to be not only Lord, but also Savior, nothing is different. Ah, but everything's changed. "Keeping up with the Joneses" isn't what drives us anymore. Stockpiling cash and prizes aren't our lives' focus. We now look to please God rather than men. We understand that this earth is not all there is. We realize just how messed up we really are.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Thinking About the 4th
I posted a couple of days ago about the way the minds of so many American Christians link patriotism and Christianity as almost one and the same. This was an extension of my July 4th post about the American flag's presence on church property. Anyway, in the comments section, Bob of gratitude and hoopla pointed out,
I hear all the time from people who have mistakenly equated Christianity with Americanism. It sounds foolish to our ears, perhaps, but where did they get that idea? Did we give it to them? I think the answer is yes, unfortunately. We have to work at correcting this misunderstanding, for we bear that responsibility. I thank God for my country, but it does seem that we American evangelicals are far too "at home in this world".Now I can argue that personally, I didn't give these people that idea, but I realize that Bob was using "we" to refer to Christians in general, especially teachers and preachers. But the responsibility to correcting this misunderstanding falls on me and upon all who are reading this. So how do we do it? How do we get people to see that Christian does not equal American? Here are a few ideas:
(1) Get the American flag off of church property. We don't have to fly flags, right? And flying the American (or Canadian or whichever) flag forces us to put Christianity and patriotism on the same level, or if both flags are on one pole it's the Christian flag which is pushed to the bottom. You can't tell me that the symbolism isn't noticed at one level or another by the general population. I went off on that topic here.
(2) Preach about Christian sacrifice. What should we be willing to give up for Christ? Think about this: Almost every church in America has people sitting in the pews who would gladly lay down their lives for their country, but who wouldn't in a million years give up their lives for God. You know it's true.
(3) Along with that idea, preach about the advantages of being a Christian. Those who would die for their country realize that they want the advantages of being an American to be available to others. They will give their lives so that others can continue to enjoy those benefits. But do most people understand the advantages of being a Christian? Aside from being "fire insurance", what about the value here on earth -- peace which passes all understanding, hope, strength, faith, etc. Does the average person in the good ol' U. S. A. know about these things? I'd bet not. Perhaps the idea of Christian sacrifice wouldn't seem so foreign if we realized the benefits we're already using.
(4) Teach priorities. Do not denegrate this country. It's a great country. I'm sure Canada is fantastic too. But this is not our home. Our first priority is to our Creator and Savior.
(5) Don't allow anyone to inject "America" into the Scriptures. I've heard so many people interpret 2 Chronicles 7:14 as applying to the United States, yet in context the promise to "heal the land" is for the nation of Israel. Americans are not the "people who are called by my name". Not that we shouldn't humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, but the promise is not for America.
At least those are my ideas. Feel free to argue any of them or suggest more. But a clear teaching of Scripture is needed to give a clear understanding that we are called to be Christians before we consider our home country. I argued in my last post that we are to be Christians before we are doctors or fathers or any other role we fulfill. Being a Christian first makes us better doctors and better fathers and so on. In the same way, making sure Christ is our first priority will make us better citizens, and it will put God solely on the throne as He deserves.
======= two of four comments: =======
"it is a way for us to want what God wants, " -SO true... I long to desire what God desires! Seems I was once doing far better in this area than I am of late!
"We just can't find a pressing reason to make it necessary or even efficient."-- Yet again, very true statement. This is one of my primary fears, that I will pray and not say anything but vain repetition, that I will have nothing to say, that I am too proud to even think there is something I NEED to say.
"He knows that we're so self-absorbed that our efforts at a relationship with Him are superficial at best."-- Again, hit the nail right on the head. So often I am praying for myself! and asking for this or that, but really what I need is a deeper knowledge of Him, a closer relationship with Him, a heart that is so attached to His that I desire what He desires...
(ps thanks for the plug!)
Doubt, Pride and ShameA good writer doesn't give away the answers to the question too quickly. So, call me a hack.
I asked the question, "So, why don't we pray?" and I've already given you the answers that I've come up with right there in the title. Doubt, pride and shame. I thank those who offered their comments, which I believe fit into these three categories.
When I first started hashing this thought out in public, it was at Meg Logan's Blog. (Meg was away from the blogosphere for awhile, but is back at it again. I heartily recommend a trip over there.) But in one post on prayer, I mused about this subject and Meg, very bravely, admitted that her problem was doubt. It is very easy for us to doubt that our prayer will make any difference at all in the situation we pray about. Why is that? Because we've all prayed for something and not received what we prayed for. All of us. I've met no one who is batting 1.000 in the GWPF's (Getting What we Prayed For's). In fact, I'd say I know more people who are closer to .050 than to .500 in GWPF's.
So doubting is natural for us. Since we often think of prayer as a way of getting what we want instead of remembering that it is a way for us to want what God wants, we can get discouraged watching request after request go unanswered -- or at least not answered the way we want.
If we don't think something is going to "work" it becomes a less attractive way for us to spend our time. But prayer is not about getting God to change His mind, it's about molding us into the image of Christ Jesus. "Thy will be done" -- remember?
The mental image I use when explaining how prayer works is of a person in a rowboat holding a rope which is tied to the dock. By pulling on the rope, the dock is not brought closer to the boat. In fact just the opposite is true. Prayer is most effective when our will is brought into line with God's will. But the doubting mind keeps us from seeing the true purpose of prayer, and so drives us away from prayer. We may not really hate the idea of praying. We just can't find a pressing reason to make it necessary or even efficient.
Then comes pride. Pride makes us think that prayer is unnecessary because we can handle the tough stuff ourselves. Pride makes us believe that we're not in that bad shape. Pride says that we are rugged individualists who have no need for a crutch. Pride tells us that "God helps those who help themselves" yet forgets that this old saw is not taught in Scripture.
Oh, pride. It's just our own poor perception of ourselves taking action. It's usually more of a "male" thing, but it brings down plenty of females too. Urging us to "be strong" and to "deal with it" and the like. Funny how Jesus never had any real problem with being too proud to pray -- and I doubt we think we're stronger than Him!
We do so love to have a good opinion of ourselves. Self-actualization, self-worth, loving yourself before you can love others... the world tries to sell us that whole bill of goods daily. Scripture teaches something else entirely. And the Bible is full of examples of godly people who weren't too proud to come to their Creator.
Shame. There's a word we don't hear much anymore. I suppose it stems from the whole pride nonsense. But deep down we still have shame, even when the world tries to tell us we shouldn't. And that shame can get in the way of our relationship with Christ.
.../... [Shame: ...] All this to avoid a confrontation which needed to be worked out. Running from confrontation seldom accomplishes anything but delaying the inevitable. Yet still many people run. By the same token, many run from prayer, too ashamed to go to God to get rid of the 1200 pound gorilla.
Now maybe I'm just being simplistic here. But I think prayer avoidance comes down to these three categories. Again, not having time is just an excuse. Claiming to not know what to pray or how to pray or even not knowing we should pray are childish rationalizations meant to make ourselves feel better about snubbing Almighty God. It's back to doubting in prayer or God's ability to answer prayer, being too proud to ask for help, and feeling too much shame to come to the One we continue to sin against.
But isn't understanding the reason for our running a step toward getting that prayer life on track? I'm challenging you and me both to deal with the reason why we don't pray, then let God put it as far away as the east is from the west, and get back to a deepened relationship with our Savior and Lord. posted by rev-ed @ 12:24 AM
School Loan Debts Snag Mission Candidates
Reprinted by permission of Christianity Today
Rising tuition and easy loans send students into debt--- and away from the mission field!.../...
At Elmbrook Church near Milwaukee a missions committee fund provides up to $1,000 per year for each student from the church headed for missions. If a student does not enter missions work with-in a reasonable time after graduation, he or she is asked to repay the money with interest. Since about 1982, the fund has helped 25 students complete undergraduate and graduate studies, according to missions pastor Valgene Hayworth. In that time, only two have not gone to the mission field.
Smaller churches that cannot match Elmbrook's million-dollar missions budget can still contribute to a potential missionary's success, according to Floyd Bruning of the ACMC. "The key is for churches to assume responsibility early in the process, long before someone becomes a candidate, and find ways to keep them out of debt in the first place."
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[WADNet Post] August 7, 2006: Religious Updates
- From: WADNet Post Editor <wadneteditor@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: wadnetpost@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 23:57:01 -0500
RELIGIOUS UPDATES -- Summer Series: Theology on Tap -- August Dates for Women's Bible Study, Appleton -- Aug 20: Deaf Sunday School Class, East Delavan Bible Church, Delavan
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