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Archive for August 12th, 2008

I spoke with one carefully selected pastor today.  He was amazing.  He first prayed, and asked God that I would speak in “truth” with “clarity” and “boldly.”  I cried before I started, but got it together so that I could speak at all.  He agreed with me that the “emergent” themes are popping up in our church.  He agreed that the youth organization camp (YF) outside of our church is emergent and that the emergent is linked with the New Age.  He also feels that our church pastors have historically been focused on Christ and are saved, but that they are trying to replace language with new language and it’s not just the language that’s the problem but the meaning behind it, and the focus.  He believes this church’s focus is now just off enough that they are no longer focusing on Christ, on the Word of God, and it’s subtle, but it’s truly there.  He says he’s spoken to pastors about his concerns.  One pastor even brought a book from lighthouse trails research to him and asked him to read it.  He said he did, but he’s also reading another book much more technical and looking at theology and emergent.  I am facinated to hear this.  He really almost begged us to stay, that we would share our concerns carefully in love.  He did say he understands though if we really feel called to leave because our children are important.  He was glad I came to him and am honest, and he feels our family is rooted in the faith and loosing families like ours is bad for our congregation.  Many have already left, he’s spoken to them.  He suggests before we make our final exit, we write to a few of the pastors and outline our struggle specifically, telling them truthfully what we are seeing and where the message has gotten off.  He says to wait for their response.  He says he prays they will admit their mistake, and that they will put their focus back on Christ, the gospel, and reaching people for Christ. 

I feel for him, I really do.  He says he is not “a warrior” in this church trying to be on a high horse and change them back.  He does feel he’s welcome to speak the truth here (and I’ve never heard any of this stuff from him).  This is very good to hear.  He says he doesn’t feel he needs to leave and then he added, “yet.”  He wants to stay in contact with us, and really is concerned with things I brought up, and made it clear he has seen it too.  His hope is that the church will get off of man centered focus and back to focus on glorifying God.

I believe him.  I don’t think he’s playing any games.  He might be let go if he does push forward, and may have to find another job someday.  However, it’s possible, maybe, the church will be brought back.  Now we are back to square one, almost.  Actually, my husband has released himself from the area of ministry he was involved in.  He let the pastor of that area know we were leaving.  Of course, if we do decide to stay, we will not hide anything at all.  We will stay with the hope that our church does change back.  We can still participate in missions, service, and arts worship.  We just have to START with the focus on God.  The works can flow from this.  Oh, I believe there needs to be a humility, repentance, call for forgiveness, and then maybe a pruning, and then we’ll see what God will do.  Of course, I only spoke with someone who “got” what I was saying.  I think we’re going to come upon resistance like we’ve never seen if we really push forward.  At least we’re not in any positions of power, we don’t have anything to loose.  I am nobody.  I am not worth anything.  I am just a sinner who is saved by the mercy, grace, and faith given me by Christ Jesus.  Period.  That’s what I got. 

 

So now it’s to prayer, and talk with my husband to see what we should do.

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Wow.  I have a comment on here telling me that:

“sometimes the best thing that can happen to a church trying to move beyond the evangelical-cultural understanding of “bible-based” teaching and into a more meaningful expression of what it means to live the “with-God life” as a community – is to have people like you go somewhere else and critique some other pastor from your pedestal.”

Wow.  Ouch. 

I will say that if I were just about critique this comment would be fair.  We are to respect those God has placed in leadership over us.  I absolutely do love and respect my pastors.  I grieve, grieve, grieve the fact that their focus is off the gospel lately.  They (and I would say not all ) have begun to focus more on mission rather than on the gospel, on Christ.  It’s not okay to take the foundations for granted.  I am not just being critical.  I’m not asking that we get rid of the screen at the front of the church during music time, I’m not asking for us to take communion more times a month or less, or asking for us to change every little thing.  I am asking that my pastors do not bring another gospel or a different religion into Christianity.   I do need to share my struggles and concerns with the church pastors.  I should do this in love.  I am not free of sin, free of pride.  I am no one, only Christ is supreme, and is perfect.  I have to walk humbly.  I do believe though, that in this case, I am dealing thougthfully with my church.  I have not intentionally written my pastors’ names here, not interested in tarnishing their reputations.  I also believe what I am writing can be helpful to others, so I am sharing my thoughts here.  I may sound critical, but I see that I am being like a Berean and taking what is said back to the Bible itself.  Does it match up?  Not all the time.  That is what I’m taking to task.  I thank my critic for the reminder, I need to tread boldly and carefully in love.

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If you are in a church claiming to be using Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. plan or claiming a missional organizational stance, then see if this description sounds at all familiar.

“Disciples Initiated disciples have no interest in anything but the vision, the Plan and its direction and materializing on earth. Accepted disciples are learning this and in the meantime have to react to the vision in what might be called a second hand manner; they are occupied with the Plan and with the distribution of the forces which will materialize it. A disciple becomes an Accepted Disciple when he starts climbing towards the vision, towards the mountaintop; he can also register consciously what he has seen and then begin to do something towards materializing it. Newly accepted disciples (who are only learning to cooperate) are valuable as “agents for experiment.” According to their reaction to the imparted truths and Plan, according to their ability to sense the need and to bring the need and the medium of release into relation and according to their capacity to work with the world disciples (who are definitely responsible to the master of the Ashram for some aspect of the Plan) will be the success of the effort in the outer world.”

 

This comes from the glossary of www.soulout.org.  This is not a Christian site.

 

 

Sounds to me a LOT like what is going on in mergent Borglike churches.  Assimilate or die, resistance is futile?  I hope not! 

Of course, I was told by an elder in our old church that everything is on a continuum, and our church is on the spectrum somewhere.  No church is perfect.  Any thoughts on this.

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