I spent a few weeks on the letter to my pastors. It was one of the most difficult things I have written in that I wanted so much to convey my thoughts and my concerns. I wanted it to be a warning, and to be specific enough to get the point across. I wanted the letter to express our family’s love for our church. My rough draft had too much wishy washyness, I believe. I filtered the letter through a few people, one was a man who helped by making it less female but he kept the word “feelings” in there and I had to get that out. This was not a matter of feelings, it was a matter of conviction or truth. What I feel about something on chruch doctrine doesn’t matter. What I see that was happening and if it matches up with the truth of scripture does. In the end, I used the quote from lighthousetrails.com on the last post. I added a few more. I pretty much drew a line from my pastor, to Donald Miller, to the New Age movement. I also added a quote on the definition of missional by Michael Frost from a youtube speech he gave at a conference. I shared our concerns from this definition that takes the focus of the church off of Christ and puts all energy, and centrality on mission. I then shared a few confusing things my pastors have said in sermons. Phrases like “god consciousness” and “wholly other” and “christ coursing through your veins” just don’t come from normal Christian jargon nor from the Bible itself. It only takes a short Google search to discover them in New Age or other religions.
I also took the advice of one pastor I had spoken to and showed what our church was missing, the Bible. I used many quotes, and also looked up “preach” on . It was VERY helpful. Acs is full of references to preaching. The early church “preached the word,” “preached the good news of the kingdom” “preached in the synogogues that Jesus is the Son of God” and on and on. They preached about Jesus, and the kingdom of God and guess what? Church grew. That’s the model. Later, when they had a community built up, they assigned some to be deacons and to serve in the churches to meet the needs of the widows and orphans. So that is legitimate, the church should have it’s people who preach, it’s people who meet the needs within itself. As Christians we’re called to do good to our neighbors, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison. This is good too….but now I’m rambling on. I didn’t include all that in the letter. I did though list a few Acts references to preach as I feel our pastors spend time on topics/books of men rather than the Bible, the good news of Jesus, etc.
I also shared my concern with the church being involved in the youth camps/missions in our area. It’s probably going to be the first time anyone complained about the youth camps. I did not give references except to say we researched and the leadership of the camps is into meditation in the eastern form. I think I said enough that the pastors themselves could investigate. I heard a sermon by the leader himself by podcast, and he outlined several ways to medidate and lectio divina, also using a prayer rope, and praying the Jesus prayer (Christ have mercy) over and over again. He says he teaches this at his camps, and at one point mentions the numbers of youth I think 25,000 affected by his camps plus 5,000 camp leaders. I didn’t go into detail, but if I get a call or something I’ll share the link with the pastors so they can know what this man is about. I do not think anyone will though.
I feel for my pastor I’ve been talking to. He is hoping we get some sort of response. He may not like the response. This job is his livelyhood, his wife doesn’t work that I know of except maybe for lessons. He is in a tight spot for sure. Of course, maybe someone will see it…at any rate I let the pastors know they each had the letter (four of them total…we have many more on staff). This was calculated. I want them to be able to openly discuss the letter, and to discuss us as they please. I want to free them from the worry of gossip and let them share their thoughts. I also stated in the letter I hoped that it edified the whole body of our church. If people want to openly talk about this issue, I have no problems. Our church usually keeps things confidential. I do not think it’s unhealthy to do this. But in this instance, so much is so quiet. We decided to leave, so it’s not harming us…they cannot kick us out for our observations. We cannot be disciplined. If we do decide to go back, things will have had to change anyway.
I feel relief and a bit of anticipation as the pastors will be discussing this soon, I am sure.
in tags, I’m not sure using the term emergent is off, but I think our church had been growing into one. I think that’s what Warrenite churches grow into when they grow up a bit (maybe early teen years)…emergent. Later, they just probably become something else as everything is still in shift.
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