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Posts Tagged ‘Purpose Driven’

This blog entry is a good interview with DeWaay…about Rick Warren

http://atlanticbaptist.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/redefining-christianity-radio-broadcasts/

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Because we have many children and homeschool, a midday meeting with a pastor to ask questions is difficult for both my husband and me to attend.  I trust my husband though, so since we didn’t find a sitter, he went on alone.  This pastor is from a “church plant” of our former church.  Some members came from our former church willingly for the plant, and others may have been less than willing to plant.  In fact, a few have returned to our former church after the allotted planting time.  We came to this church despite my fears because one of the couples who fought for two years in our former church goes to this church.  They really have expressed that the pastor is very conservative and handles the word of God rightly and carefully.  We had to at least try this church.  It’s very small at this time.  One benefit of it’s newness and small size is that the children older than 8 are with parents in service.  They don’t have enough people to take the children out.  This church does appear to have a wishy washy music ministry, if you ask me.  I have been trained on this music for at least 8 years…if not more.   I do like some of it, and rightly so.  However, other times I am not so sure as it’s the 7-11 style music (seven words eleven times…).  Also, one day the music pastor randomly said, “let’s have a bit of silence” for no reason.  This has to be addressed if we are to attend this church seriously.

My husband let the pastor know up front our issues with the former church and even shared one email from someone in leadership to us.  He started at the beginning with the “Christ followers vs. Christian” videos and the guest speaker Steven Smith.  He spoke to him about emergent things leaking in, Youth Front connections, Missional, and on and on.  He spilled it all (if you’re newly reading my blog you’d have to go back).  He even talked about why we’re not comfortable with Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose. 

This pastor’s response was so helpful.  He first said that, as a former staff member of the church we recently left, he was having difficulties with what was happening before he left for this new plant.  He talked about discussions of “missional” themes, and revealed to us one of the pastors was also against it from the beginning stating…”what does that mean anyway, it’s not even a word!”  Knowing that pastor, I laugh because I could hear him saying it.  He also shared our concerns about someone using quotes from emergent leaders and then trying to say they weren’t influenced by it.  He says, “I don’t quote even respectable leaders like Martin Luther because there are aspects of his teachings I don’t agree with…so if you disagree with someone I quoted please come to me.”  He also said he didn’t understand why the former church treated us so badly when it comes to being Berean like.  He commented that this is important, we are to test the spirits and listen to preaching critically, and that it’s not bad to be discerning.  He said he hopes we can feel comfortable enough to be able to learn from sermons.  I think he sincerely hopes we are hearing truth at the church he preaches in, and that we will be learning not because we’ve turned off our discernment and are learning bad teaching.  For once, my husband says he felt a preacher was truly hearing him and he wasn’t getting a “company line.” 

I believe that if this church was on the Warren train, my husband couldn’t have opened up about this without the “company line.”  This man is still friends with people and some leadership of the former church.  However, he assured my husband that friendship didn’t mean this church is like our former church.  He says they did seperate themselves rather quickly.  In fact, they have never liked the “marketing” to young marrieds with children.  He says he hopes this church is seen as a welcome place for Christians in all stages of life from birth to elderly.  Really, we did attend a Sunday School Bible study class, and noticed how the older couples who are very conservative were asked questions and were respected in class. 

This pastor also commented that people are still joining who are from our former church (it was big enough that we cannot know everyone).  A couple joined a few weeks ago, they expressed that they have been frustrated with  our former church and should have come when the plant was started.  Very interesting to see the former church is still bleeding out the back door. 

I am still nervous about jumping into a church plant affiliated previously with our former church.  Everything in me wants to run 180 degrees in the other direction.  However, I think it’s worth a look and to really see if this church is different enough to actually still be orthodox/Biblical.  Since we have been visiting another church that appears to be very Biblically focused, Christ centered….it’s really still between two churches.

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I sent the link to the previous post to a friend and elder in the former church as well as to others.  No real intent there except to encourage people to read the verses from Purpose materials as the Bereans did.  The response was interesting from the elder/friend.  He doesn’t want to be forwarded criticism and why would I be involved in forwarding a critical view of the ministry of others? He’s afraid where this is leading…ugh.   Am I not afraid of “getting afield of being a loving member of the body?”  He wants me to pray about talking to him about it in the future.  Okay, really?  So, the Bereans were not loving in their careful study?  I guess watching out for error is unloving.  Again, my family loves this man and his family.  Obviously though, he doesn’t want to hear our thoughts.  I’ve heard it said a person often “doesn’t want to be confused with the truth.”    I am supposed to just shut up already!

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http://cicministry.org/berean.php

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Southerland tells pastors, “You will be criticized. It might as well be for doing the right thing.”[xxxi] From what he writes, one must conclude that he really believes that making the church a community gathering place for religious consumers rather than a gathering of the “called out ones” is the right thing. He really believes he is like Nehemiah sent by God to rebuild Jerusalem. He really believes that people who hunger for gospel preaching and Bible teaching are the enemies of God’s vision. If your church has bought the Purpose Driven franchise, your pastor probably does too. It is a sad, harsh reality, but you have lost your church. It’s very unlikely that it will ever again be a gospel-centric church.”

The above quote is from Bob DeWaay quoting Southerland’s book, Transistioning, Leading Your Church Through Change  

It’s a Saddleback recommendation for pastors.    

Another paragraph sounds EXACTLY like our situation.

The vision includes the process of removing people who oppose becoming Purpose Driven. This book is very revealing.

“What Happened to My Church?”  Reading Southerland’s book will help people whose churches have changed from gospel preaching and Bible teaching churches to “seeker” churches understand what has happened to them. Southerland characterizes those who resist this transition as “leaders from hell” who are of the ilk of Sanballat who resisted Nehemiah.[ii] It is clear that Pastor Southerland is convinced that he is like Nehemiah on a mission from God (i.e. to convert the church to being a Purpose Driven seeker church) and that all who resist are misguided, have evil motives, or are just unwilling to change because of their being caught in traditions.”

 

Yes, we were considered the Sanballats.  The pastor even said to our friends in our former church that he “felt like Nehemiah” when he met with us.  He said he has his Ezra, probably someone telling him he’s right to attack as he has.  Yep, we are just in the way of power, in the way of change.  Love that scripture twisting, don’t you?

 

We are free and we pray more will follow us.  I pray actually that somehow God will give grace and mercy and will free the old “Bible” church of this movement.  It would take a miracle from God to do so.  When the pastor says, ‘jump” they jump.  At least they don’t use koolaid in communion. 

 

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I actually believe our former pastor may mention our names at least in an elder meeting.  Because one of us was overheard talking about the church, I just wonder what will come of it?  During the call, my husband shared that he cannot possibly stop telling people who ask why we left the church honestly what he thinks.  The pastor then said something like, “so likewise, I can share about you spreading rumors and saying things we don’t agree with.”  My husband said he didn’t care what they say.   It may have not been that harsh, really, from the pastor.  It was what I thought my husband said, but it was along those lines.  At any rate, I wonder if there will be some sort of larger group that will hear about this?  At any rate, it is what it is. 

I don’t believe we ever said the former church was 100% emergent.  I do believe we said there were emergent phrases and authors popping up in sermons, and that the youth camp was emergent.  The type of prayer has been mentioned as a problem to pastors, one even contacted the youth camp to get the example of prayer off the web site stating it’s not Biblical.  Last time I checked, it’s still there.   The pastor told my husband about Noomas being shown to the youth…and this was not something we’d ever heard.  It was in the context of, “I thought we agreed to be discreed about [minister X] and the Noomas.”  Huh.  So, though it wasn’t my husband who had this discussion, and I don’t recall us talking about minister X, someone has AND at least one Nooma has been shown to youth somewhere, somehow through this church.  Yet there is denial of emergent creeping in?  The pastor still was frustrated that we made connections based on who was quoted in sermons.  Okay, truthfully, it wasn’t just quotes.  A sermon was framed right from Donald Miller’s stuff.  I heard a podcast and the idea came directly from the podcast of Miller’s.  Even if only one pastor on staff was saying this stuff, it shows he is into emergent teaching and he promoted it right from the pulpit.  To NOT address this is wrong.  So, yeah, since that pastor is still on staff, there is an emergent element in our former church. 

One thing that has been true of our former church is they have been on the Warren P.E.A.C.E. plan.  So, I guess we can call them what?  Seeker friendly?  The pastors all read Dallas Willard and many recommended his works to me to read.  So, we can call the church what?  Contemplative/Spiritual Formation influenced?  The church itself uses terms like “Bible based” and “Missional.”  So, it’s an emergent/contemplative/Spirtual Formation/Missional/Bible influence church.  ECSFMBIC

Of course, we’re supposed to never say this church is emergent because that movement is dying, according to what the former pastor said.  Huh.  Bet there was a day when someone thought the Mormon church was dying too when it was in it’s early years.  Of course, renaming yourself or infiltrating churches through the back door, and many times through the front, doesn’t make you a “church” so much as it makes the churches you.  But, no, pastor…it’s not dying.  It’s doing what it has been made to do, it’s evolving.

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One of the hardest things about figuring out that the church we attended for about 8 years was beginning to reveal emergent/missional thinking and also used Purpose Driven Life and Warren’s plans (not just as a passing fancy), has been realizing that I fell for it so easily.  If there’s so much wrong with the things leading our old church, why did I not see it?  I have been thinking about this and have come to a conclusion about myself.  Because I have many flaws as a Christian, I missed it.

First, I was not rooted in the Bible as I should have been.  There’s the concept I should have known, to be so familiar with God’s truth that when a lie comes our way, we recognize it.  I have always been lax when it comes to scripture memorization and also reading.  I should be reading daily, should be memorizing whole passages for context and not just one verse here or there.  In my selfishness, I choose not to do what would benefit me most.  Second, I was focused on life’s problems and not Christ.  This focus allowed me to be helped by church members emotionally.  I could be needy.  Being needy meant I told people of my worries so much, and they helped me through.  This is not always bad, to rely on Christians.  However, prayer is what I needed to be doing first of all.  When you are focusing on problems and worrying, you are not taking time to pay attention to the messages coming in.  Third, and this is a biggie in our lives.  I am worldly.  Yes, I said it.  I watch television and listen to secular radio often.  I read things on the internet in excess (like news, and I have a particular focus on pregnancy, babies, nurse blogs, etc.).  I just love to entertain myself with things that do nothing for me…and may actually be harmful to me.  I am somewhat conformed to the image of this world as an American in the culture.  It then means that when my church does things that are just normal for the culture but not right for the church, I don’t notice.  I’ve been desensitized.  I settled for a life less worthy of the calling to which I have been called.  Worse yet, I have exposed my kids to far more than I should have already, though we do have some restraint, it’ s no where near enough.  Finally, (though there probably is more I will learn about myself in the future that is ugly and I would not like to know), I have not been a Berean style Christian.  I went through the 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community and didn’t once ever mention to someone else how the scriptures were being used in a loose way.  I did make fun of Warren’s shirts, noted our pastors wore them to be funny.  I did feel annoyed that my small group was split for this thing, and was annoyed that we were watching dumb videos and repeating things over and over as if we couldn’t “get it” any other way.  What should have bothered me was the way Warren uses scripture.  I noticed he uses many translations and actually recall thinking that could be convenient for him.  He could easily get what he wanted out of one translation or the other…he could chop a verse in half and make it say what he wanted it to say.  I even thought about looking up the verses in context but in the end, didn’t do it.  I went right through these campaigns not really putting much thought into them.  I did write my own notes, did study and read Warren’s books and the Bible at the same time.  I just didn’t go much further.  This is because I trusted my pastors, and thought they surely had enough wisdom to warn us if there was a problem with these books.  In short, I didn’t do the homework I should have done.  I swallowed 40 Days like it was candy. 

What woke me up?  A turbulent time in our small group showed me that the church just handed teaching and leadership to people unprepared.  It also got us out of using our small group for support.  We then listened to the messages at church with a new hope, with a hope that we could get spiritually fed there.  When we didn’t get that food, I personally began to notice what actually was being said.  Speakers were saying strange things and taking verses out of context or applying meanings to them that the narratives weren’t meant for (like that Lazarus had graveclothes on and those wrappings are like our hang ups and worries in our lives…what?).  Pastors were using the same buzz words, but I didn’t know what they meant.  It made me think of my conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.  I would always have to recheck for what they meant, not what I thought they meant.  I began to research also online, and found critics of some of the same things that were happening in our church from people in churches all across the country.  When one pastor began quoting emergent church leaders profusely, and when he was saying things like “god consciousness,” and “we are little Christs,” I knew we were in big trouble.  These quotes did more than wake me up, but alarmed me.

So how will I live differently?  I have to get back to basics, which is study the Word of God, pray, repent, and humbly turn to Christ.  As a mom I need to focus on teaching my children.  I need to work on what influences I allow in our home, television, radio, and more.  I need to also pray for believers to be more careful, more watchful, more critical. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in His wonderful face…and the cares of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His mercy and grace…”

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My one pastor who does understand the dangers of the emergent church in our old church has noted my use of lighthouse trails and other websites, and says to be careful.  He says Rick Warren is not in the same “boat” so to speak as people like Pagitt, Bell, McLaren and the like.  Making such connections because one person speaks at a conference, writes on a book jacket, etc. seems flimsy to some.  I agree.  Two speakers at one conference may not be related, one may be completely emergent while the other is completley orthodox and on message as a Christian.   However, if you look at the goals of the conference, then the connections are messy.  If the goals of the conference are emergent style goals, then the speaker who appears not to be emergent just may be so.  If the person positively quotes emergent types…is there a problem?  If they recommend a book, is that enough to make it a problem?  What if a person comes out and says they are not into the emergent stuff, and yet they have all the connections in the world?  Are we to just take them at their word? 

Lighthouse trails does show connections.  Book jackets, the backs of books, acknowledgements, conference speakers, quotes on web sites, book recommendations, speakers who show up at a church or college, and many more things are shown to prove contemplative or new age beliefs are seeping in.  If Fred is considered on the bad side of things, and there is a middle person who is clearly linked to Fred (we’ll call him Clyde)…and then Clyde is the influence of Ralph…is Ralph connected to Fred?  Let’s say most people recognize that Fred is taking great liberties with the Bible, and is actually throwing it out or twisting it in a way most Christians would cringe at.  Now Clyde, Clyde recommends Fred’s books in his own books.  They have meetings together often.  They speak at the same conferences.  Clyde is less objectionable than Fred at first listen.  Then there is Ralph.  Ralph has meetings with Clyde but never Fred.  Clyde acknowledges Ralph in his books, and others who like Ralph too.  Clyde, Ralph, and a few others who like Ralph speak at a conference together.  Clyde comes to Ralph’s church and trains people there.  Is this enough of a connection to Fred to say Ralph has some issues because he’s connected to Fred even though it’s through someone else? 

I have to admit, I tend to believe that following connections and people we recommend for reading is important.  I also think if the conference theme is obviously questionable, then speaking at the conference suggests approval unless a person actually takes a strong stand at such conference and speaks against the theological problems presented there…  Oh, I’m rambling and not sure if this post makes sense….but maybe you see my thinking here?

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There will be a leadership conference with online access for listening. 

 

Here’s the link:

http://www.calvarychapeljoco.com/index2.htm

 

 

P.A.L.  (Pastor’s and Leader’s) Conference
Location:  Calvary Chapel Johnson County
Dates: Thursday, August 7th, 6:30-9:00pm
           Friday, August 8th, 8am-8pm, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner
           Saturday, August 9th, 7am-1pm, with breakfast and lunch
           Sunday June 10th, 10am Service
Speaker & Author:  Ray Yungen ‘A Time of Departing’
Speaker & Author:  Warren Smith ‘Deceived on Purpose’
Pastor/Teacher: Xavier Ries, Calvary Chapel Pasadena
CLICK HERE for Daily Schedule
Cost:  Free will, Love offering

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Heard another pastor on the radio this week, and he was speaking about having a “purpose driven life.”  Ugh.  You know what, I am about sick of this theme!  I think it’s all backwards.  Instead of trying to figure out our gifts, plug in to a small group, and figure out God’s purpose for us (all this is focused on me finding my  gifts, me plugging in to a small group, and me figuring out God’s purpose for me) we should be turning our eyes upon Jesus, focusing on Him and not on me or anyone else’s idea of what we should do.  Yet another pastor is pointing Christians (and he was speaking to those already claiming to be Christians) to themselves, to spend time on figuring their thing out so they could follow some sort of purpose (supposedly God’s purpose).  Now, I want to know, you out there who are seeking God’s purpose for your life, what exactly is this purpose?  How did you begin to search it out?  What was the thing that got you searching for God’s purpose to drive your life? 

I’ll tell you how I have come to where I am in my life.  In my sinful self, nowhere.  I am nothing.  My Jesus, He’s everything.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I believe whether I am a janitor or the most famous writer and missionary, what I need to keep doing is keep seeking Christ Jesus.  God does have something in my life for me to do, but it’s up to Him to show me.  I can make my plans, but He is to direct my steps.  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is my strength and my portion forever.”  Period.

C’mon, pastors, quit following a plan written by a man in a book.  Lift your heads from that book and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

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