Category Archives: church

Gospel-Starved

Rick Warren, popular pastor of purpose, has once again flown the flag of philanthropic philosophy.  It is clear that Warren supports attractional and law-focused moralism rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ that not only saves but compels to good work.  Here is a tweet he sent out earlier today:

CHURCH! An army’s strength isnt seen by how many eat in the mess hall but how many are fighting on the front line battle. (Online Source)

The Purpose-Driven movement is all about action, and Warren’s critique of Gospel-driven ministry is that all it does is “feed” people and neglects to challenge people to “live out the gospel.”  Unfortunately, the Bible teaches the contrary.  Over and over again we are commended to study, to teach, and exhort the story of Christ and his atoning work for us on the cross.

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Why I Criticize Christian Leaders: Part 3

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In The Pilgrim’s Regress CS Lewis talks about growing up and being handed a card that was covered front and back with rules.  He found that there was no possibility of following all of the rules, and this set him on his journey to find what truth really was.  

As I was wondering around in the forest of the Emergent Church (see part 2), I decided to follow what I believed to be God’s call on my life to serve as a pastor.  I honestly thought that I had something figured out, and was ready to lead a group of people in the same direction.  

My fervent determination to make a difference in the church instilled a passion for learning, and in the process was opened to a number of books and resources on church leadership and church models, which is how I was exposed to the work of Thom Rainer.

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Pop Went the Church

Nearly a year ago I began to follow the moving and shaking that has been happening in the northern part of my state in a booming Christian congregation called Granger Community Church.  A typical megachurch, Granger prides itself in being fully relevant to popular culture even to the extent of using Coldplay songs to headline services and basing sermons on popular movies, drawing out “spiritual themes” and applying them to the lives of Christians.

As a testimony to the belief in the method above the message, executive pastor Tim Stevens wrote a book called Pop Goes the Church: Should the Church Engage Pop Culture? to defend the church’s philosophy of taking pop culture as the driving force behind its weekly services rather than the good news of Jesus Christ.

Lacking theological basis, services at Granger lack the biblical substance, giving popular culture the center stage.  Granger wrongly bases its success on the number of people in attendance, not on the strength of their belief. For the remainder of this post I will take chapter 8, titled “I’m Not a Theologian, But…” and address each of the ten points he tries to make to justify a position that the church should not only address popular culture, but completely embrace it.

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New Fire and Brimstone

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In 1997, Robert Duvall “graced” the screen in a film called The Apostle in which he played a fiery Southern Baptist preacher.  Even then the story of this man seemed like an anachronism.  Did anyone actually preach like that any more?  Who would think to speak in such a harsh way toward people and think that they will want to come back and listen to you again the next week?

There certainly continues to be those who use scare-tactics to “bring people to Christ,” but fortunately most have wised up.  Or have they?

“Fire and Brimstone” preaching is best known for its scary and sinister manipulation into agreeing to a complete life makeover.  The preacher’s face would get just as red as he described the fires of hell and he would shout, dance around and cry as if he were demonstrating what it would be like.  Although this is why these hell-bound messages are remembered, this is really not what was so deceitful about this kind of preaching.

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Oprah and the Evangelical Church: Where Is the Difference?

Ranked as the world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey is undoubtedly a woman who has inspired millions with not only her wisdom, her wide circle of connections, but also with her very own rags to riches story.  Although much ink has been spilled over her questionable influence in matters of spirituality, this post is not about her, instead it is about the church.

In 2005 a national survey of pastors was conducted, asking each of them to name the books that have most influenced them.  The Purpose-Driven Life was the most frequent response.  Authored by America’s pastor, Rick Warren, the book which has sold the most copies of any book in print, excepting only the Bible.  Warren, who has amassed significant wealth as a result, retains a significant level of influence including the ear of the President of the United States.

Here is where we play the game regularly found in copies of the children’s magazine Highlights: circle the differences in these two pictures.

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