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Posts Tagged ‘Hybels’

So tired of looking around and seeking all this seeker friendly/spiritual formation stuff.  I think it’s much like the cults…mormons/JW’s and others only they have walked right into previously decent churches that once did preach the gospel correctly.  However, error was likely there before in small ways.  Then there were weaknesses highlighted.  People wanted to do better, bought into some lies, and then time passed.  Slowly, slowly, these false teachers have taken over.  Our desire for good feelings in church has pushed many to just swallow and follow.  Ugh.  I know I did it.  If I had any inkling there was something wrong I just swatted it away.  So now, we’ve got real problems all over.  The foundations have shifted and we’re not seeing Christ in the church buildings, we’re seeing falsehood.  We forgot our first love and now compromised.  I say we because, well, I was once in this type of church. 

Still, though I know how easy it is to be a party to all of this mess, I am sick and tired of it.

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I was floored when I came upon this article/blog today…
http://galatiansc4v16.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/sermon-copying-when-the-world-has-more-integrity-than-the-church/#comment-17431

My husband and I were just discussing this after I listened to a pod cast by my former pastor. He had taken a story from somewhere and didn’t attribute it to the author. I was able to look the story up because it was so unusual, it involved a nail, and a dead dog, and a homeowner. I was able to trace the story online easily and found that the former pastor had used it word for word. When we first started trying to figure out what was going on in our former church, I spent time putting phrases from sermons into google, and I would come up with a book or another sermon. Because the lead pastor stepped down into a missional position, he no longer preaches the bulk of the sermons. His sermons always contained footnotes in online notes, but not always mentioned while he was speaking. This is how we discovered all the emergent/Warren/Hybels and other references. He actually cited who he quoted, and even if he paraphrased. The current pastor does not cite his stories nor books. He even recently preached a series on Nehemiah, and I was able to find online a book by Swindoll with the same theme as well as Saddleback materials with the same themes. I’m not sure he used them for his sermons, but it appears likely he may have. I do know that all it takes is simple searches to find who influences the pastors, they preach from these men’s works. I also found it disturbing when we began our church search to hear pastors using phrases and stories easily found in books or online. One such example is the Sunday we realized we couldn’t attend a church five minutes from our home. A speaker came and was happily sharing how well he knew Max Lucado and that the pastor of the church we were visiting because they attended the same college. He then spent his sermon talking all about “boat potatoes.” I knew I had heard this before, so I came home and opened up a book a friend had given to me to read, an Ortberg book. There is was, “boat potatoes” with the entire theme the pastor had made into a sermon (which by the way, I detested as a theme and feel it was a misuse of scripture). This man was traveling, getting paid for speaking on a circuit, and was using a canned sermon right out of Ortberg’s book. Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating. Putting two and two together is not hard when they make it so obvious. Peddling the word is what is happening, sadly, most believe it’s God’s word, but actually it’s men’s words being peddled or God’s word distorted. The illusion that these pastors are going to the Father and seeking his guidance for sermons is shattered when we learn how canned all these stories and sermons are. It’s not a Divine providence that you might hear the same message from one church to another. It may just be that all these pastors are cutting corners and using someone else’s materials to craft a sermon. They seem to be part of one big machine. This machine masks itself as the Body. Sad, very sad.

One other thought, the pastor has stopped quoting or citing in his online work. This means that an author has to be found by his quotes and not by the citation. It makes it a great deal harder to find who is influencing the sermons. We had come to the church with some examples of using emergent/emerging authors in sermons as proof the church was being influenced by this teaching. This was denied by our former pastor, and angrily so. Forced into plagiarism by Berean behavior perhaps?

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Every time we have a campaign in our church to go through another book, each person in the small groups buys a book.  If we cannot afford a book, someone else will buy it for us.  Most of these campaigns are for the teaching impaired, and therefore, there has to be a DVD purchased for each small group.  I guess tithes pay for this?  There are often slick ad campaigns before a series in which the entire church will follow the same theme.  There might be postcards mailed out, which can be mailed for free but still cost money to purchase from the organization selling them.  There might be posters in church ahead of time, again, there is a fee for such things.  Besides our church wide campaigns and books, there are many small group study books on just about any topic.  Some again are “DVD” driven.  At different times during the year our church has speakers who promote their books or music CD’s.  These speakers, I’m learning through my searches, are tied in with contemplative prayer or other topics of concern to me.  They do not speak for free, they are paid with funds taken from our offering.  And then there are the conferences, training sessions, and seminars.  Nothing is free, and if you get a “scholarship” that money comes from the general fund.  Oh, and the missions trips!  That’s right, how could those be linked in any way to an agenda for emergent church?  Well, in my reading and searching I found various links to a local emergent church and youth program/camp.  This camp I’ll call YF has several missions destination sites they are in charge of.  So, we often pay to send kids on missions trips through YF, and also send kids to the local YF camps around our area.  This YF camp is run by a man who is on the board and I think, from what I have read, helps pastor the local emergent church.  (This church has Brian McLaren speak, and is currently having Pagit and his roadshow come to their “church basement”).  So, our church funds all these missions trips, our youth goes by droves to several locations all affiliated with YF, we also have kids going to YF camps.  Our money goes to this emergent church through YF.  Essentially, many books we buy, speakers we fund, trips that are taken, and even our children’s curriculums are supporting emerging trendy churches or seeker friendly large megachurches, or publishing houses that are “in the back pocket” of these emergent/seeker friendly church leaders (or is it the leaders are in the back pocket of the publishing companies, not sure).  All this money, and we church members are paying it.  If you don’t like the direction of YOUR pupose driven, willow creek small grouping, emergent contemplative praying, Harp and Bowling, transformational, missional, spritual formating church, you need to quit buying the books, paying for the conferences, and you need to pay your tithe to God elsewhere.  Of course, you can always do what they are waiting for the challengers to do anyway and speak with your feet!

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