The Changing Church

The Postmodern Church - 1 (2001-2002)

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December 2005

Darkness At Noon: The Commission of a Post-Compliant Church by Albert Mohler: "...a mind resolutely determined to be absolutely open is often, in actuality, quite closed. The closing of the postmodern mind will present a challenge for the church in this post-Christian age. Swirling worldviews and a reflexive relativism come together to form a mentality often closed to all substantive truth claims. Gathering clouds of darkness and the eclipse of truth present the believing church with a great challenge – will we surrender in a spirit of cultural compliance?" See Dialectic Process & Dealing with Resisters

November 2005

The Face of Evangelism? Luis Palau Says Yes! : Meet Yuri, Mexico's former "Madonna". She's going to be ministering along with "Evangelist" Luis Palau in Washington D.C. soon. (This is the photo Palau is using on their website.) Media hype continues prior to the "Festival" Evangelism event in Washington D.C., Luis Palau and the assortment of jiggly celebrity women singers and entertainers

September 2005

New era of Christianity rises, author says: "Homophobic. Judgmental. Hypocritical. Maryland pastor the Rev. Brian D. McLaren said those are the first three things that come into the minds of most teenagers and young adults when they hear the term 'Christian.' But for an emerging group of postmodern Jesus followers, the heart of the faith lies in things such as racial reconciliation, poverty eradication and environmental preservation.... 'Is Christianity a way of life or is it a system of belief?' asked McLaren, a church founder and author. 'A lot of us are asking questions about a lot of things that haven't been asked about.'" See A New Kind of Christian

August 2005

The fallacy of feelings: "...thanks to all of the 'expert' help and encouragement from various 'Christian' consultants, commentators, psychologists and celebrities, the church has been persuaded by and large that to achieve its 'divine' purpose here on Earth it needs to stir a little leaven into the loaf to help it rise to the occasion and achieve it’s full potential. And so they give us the wisdom of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Maslow, Rogers, Jung and Freud, saying: 'All truth is God’s truth.'” See Shepherds who mislead their flock


Pastor denies membership to homosexual, gets canned: "'I was trying to show him the church was open to receiving [the member],' Layman said. 'He, in turn, relied on his interpretation of the scriptures.'...

     "'...Rev. Johnson was holding to biblical principle in denying membership to that individual,' Creamer told VaNCNews. 'I feel extremely sad and grieved. I feel a terrible injustice was done.' ..."I cannot see how you can take Holy Communion and openly practice that lifestyle. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Now everybody sins, but we like to think that everybody who is a member of the United Methodist Church is attempting to repent of their sins. Openly practicing homosexuality is not an attempt to repent of sins, in my opinion."  See Biblical Division and Dealing with Resisters

July 2005

Christian Churches Across the Globe Are Embracing a New Spirituality: "— A spirituality that looks so good yet denies the cross of Jesus Christ!" See The Rising World Religion


What is postmodernism?  " the postmodern culture, the roles and functions of all 'experts' and 'gate-keepers" are being reduced or re-directed. ...the customization & subjectification of truth means that culturally supported meta-narratives and broad-cast notions of truth have been defacto de-constructed.

     "....postmodern truths are concepts that are narrow-cast, self-discovered and authoritative only for the person seeking them. for the church, this will have profound implications for the roles and ministries of seminaries, bureaucracy, episcopacy, clergy and all the baptized people of God." See Modern versus Postmodern Culture

Postmodernism and You: "To the majority of Americans below fifty today, questioning the truthfulness of another's religious views is intolerant and morally offensive. This prohibition against differing with other's viewpoints is postmodern. Strangely, it turns out that one exception is allowed.... it's okay to question and even denounce religious views when dealing with what is pejoratively labeled 'fundamentalism.' Today, when people refer to 'fundamentalists' they no longer mean just religious extremists like the Shiites waging holy war against the West. Today, fundamentalism may refer to anyone who claims to know truth or who charges another religion with falsehood." See Modern versus Postmodern Culture

June 2005

Why I walked out on Billy Graham: " was with a sense of almost boyish excitement that I passed through the main entrance to the Flushing Meadow Park in Queens on... the second night of the last Graham Crusade.... When Dr. Graham was securely in the pulpit, he did indeed say some kind things about the Clintons, but instead of stopping there, he actually handed the microphone to the former president.... First of all, Mr. Clinton was his usual self-congratulatory unctuous self, making his praise for Billy Graham somehow magically redound to his own glory....

     "Dr. Graham said, 'I told President Clinton that when he left office, he should be an evangelist because he has all the right gifts for it, and he should leave his wife to run the country.' Except for the small number of boos, all you could hear was the roar of the crowd, many thousands of which stood to the their feet in whoops, applause and whistles." See Separation

May 2005

Young Evangelicals Call to Generation in Desperate Pursuit of God: "The upcoming event, Desperation, is currently being featured on the website of Young Evangelicals (YE) - a ministry born out of the National Association of Evangelicals. It will be held July 28-30, 2005 at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. According to Ted Haggard, President of the NAE, 'Desperation is one of the most important youth events going on in our country right now because we are in the midst of a major global struggle for the spiritual lives of people all over the world, and we need young men and women who are competently trained and adequately fervent for the cause of Christ…" Biblical versus Cultural Christianity


Postmodern Church & Family. Parents Describe How They Raise Their Children: "By far the top-rated outcome was getting a good education.... Helping the child to feel loved was the second most frequently mentioned outcome (24%), followed by enabling them to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ (22%)....

     "A second situation was whether the parent tells the child that the Bible teaches moral absolutes that must always be obeyed... or instead teaches that there are no moral absolutes, so the child must be prepared to make good choices in every situation without any absolute guidelines. Parents were evenly divided on this matter: 43% said they teach there are some moral absolutes and 45% said they teach that there are no such absolutes....

    "George Barna, who directed the research, noted that the faith commitment of parents made surprisingly little difference in how children were raised.... Only three out of ten born again parents included the salvation of their child in the list of critical parental emphases.'...

     “For years we have reported research findings showing that born again adults think and behave very much like everyone else. ... When our kids are exposed to the same influences, without much supervision, and are generally not guided to interpret their circumstances and opportunities in light of biblical principles, it’s no wonder that they grow up to be just as involved in gambling, adultery, divorce, cohabitation, excessive drinking and other unbiblical behaviors as everyone else." See Establishing a Global Spirituality and When psychotherapy replaces religion and the next link:

March 2005

Friendship First™: The 1 Thing You Can’t Live Without: "Jesus said our greatest call in life is to love God and love others. Friendship First uses food and fun to teach people how to make lasting friendships…and how that parallels their relationship with Christ.... It combines friendship and faith like never before.... Friendship First gives your small group: • Strong God connections • Real community • A focus on friend-making • Practical life skills • A tool for genuine spiritual growth."

    Do you wonder what they mean by a "strong God connection" when the focus is on "friend-making" -- rather than what pleases our holy, sovereign King? See Marketing "Christianity


Christians parent no different than 'world': "'Only three out of 10 born-again parents included the salvation of their child in the list of critical parental emphases.... The fact that most Christian parents overlook this critical responsibility is one of the biggest challenges to the Christian church.'

     "Of all parents polled, 43 percent said they teach there are some moral absolutes, while 45 percent said they teach that there are no such absolutes.

     "The Barna study found most parents take a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to monitoring media their kids consume. A majority of parents, 56 percent, said they gave their youngsters general guidelines about the amount and quality of media they were allowed to access and then let the children regulate their media intake by themselves One-third of all parents, or 36 percent, strictly limited the amount and quality of TV, music and other media the children were allowed to access." See Statistics for the Changing Church


What American Teenagers Believe: "What religious groups have to worry about, the study found, is not teen rebellion, but a "benign `whateverism"' that tends to reduce their perception of God to more of a valet -- someone meeting individual needs -- rather than an authority figure....

    "...the de facto religious faith of the majority of American teens is 'Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.' God exists. God created the world. God set up some kind of moral structure. God wants me to be nice. He wants me to be pleasant, wants me to get along with people. That’s teen morality. The purpose of life is to be happy and feel good, and good people go to heaven. And nearly everyone’s good."

     They are? With or without the gospel?


Survey shows teens following parents' religion: "The survey of more than 3,000 English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. teenagers ages 13 to 17 found that 80 percent believed in God....

     "The survey, funded by the Lilly Endowment, found teenagers are not flocking to 'alternative' religions such as Wicca. ...

     "'God functions for most teenagers as a combination cosmic therapist and a divine butler,' Smith said. 'God isn't part of history or everyday life, he is distant until you need him to solve a problem or make you feel better.'...

     "Chap Clark of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena conducted a recent study that found religious ambivalence among teens. But he argued that the number of religious teens was far lower and estimated that fewer than 10 percent had religion as 'an important part of their everyday life.' It is 'simply not on the lifestyle map.''' Postmodern thinking

February 2005

Church leaders discuss gay crisis: "Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has warned that difficult decisions lie ahead. ... Dr Williams said there would be 'no cost-free outcome' from the row following the appointment of Gene Robinson in 2003. The Synod has expressed its regret at the appointment." Disaster, Deliverance and Deceiving spirits


Church Holds NASCAR Event to Draw Crowds: Inside the yellow No. 5 Kellogg's car--which has an engine but can't be driven--were steering wheels, accelerators, brake pedals and video screens.... The car was parked outside Salem Fields as part of NASCAR Sunday, the church's second annual event combining racing and Jesus. ...

     "The point, said co-pastor Buddy Marston, is to attract people who love NASCAR but haven't been going to church. 'Our church tries to find what the culture connects with,' Marston said. 'And then connect them with Christ and the church.'" See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity


Church leaders work to alter public perception: "...some evangelical Christian leaders worry that people have the wrong idea about them, equating 'evangelical' with 'conservative,' 'Republican,' 'reactionary' and 'judgmental.'... 'People have no idea as to who we really are,' said the Rev. Erwin Lutzer, one of the Gatekeepers.... When the evangelical church stepped into the political arena, it actually made itself a target, I think, in the wider communities in America.'...

      "The Gatekeepers include pastors Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, James Meeks... James McDonald... Mark Jobe.... 'If this group really does come together for some great causes, it will represent hope that diverse yet Christ-honoring groups can come together and span some of what used to be thought of as uncrossable chasms,' said Hybels...."I think some evangelicals have put too much emphasis on what Christ's followers are against, as opposed to what are the great causes....'

      "And what would those causes be? 'First would be the poor and the oppressed,' Hybels said, '...the hungry, the homeless.... Certainly, it would be AIDS. Lack of education. It's the classic causes that Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount.'"

      [No, those aren't the main "causes" Jesus outlined in that great message. His concerns dealt with the heart and spirit, not possessions or earthly: Blessed are the "poor in spirit," those who mourn or hunger for His righteousness, the meek, the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers (sharing God's way to peace, not practicing conflict resolution), those who face persecution for His name's sake, those who -- by His Spirit -- seek His kingdom, not earthly gains and are salt and light in the dark and corrupt world.  See The Secret of Abundant Life]

       "Some of the pastors came away from that two-hour meeting talking about planning a mass event where tens of thousands of evangelicals could worship together... 'I think coming together to worship and to bless the city' is the best idea, said Eckhardt, who is pastor of Crusader Ministries.... 'We believe that when you come together to worship and do something like that, something happens in the heavenlies... some things that will impact the spirit realm."

January 2005

Love for an Offensive Gospel : "In the New Testament the members of a local church are never seen coming together for the purpose of evangelism. Evangelism took place apart from the meetings of the church – in the workplace, at the synagogue, in town squares, among family members and friends. The early Christian went to where the unbelievers were and presented the gospel of Christ.

     " should give us great concern when we find the philosophy behind the church-growth, or seeker-sensitive, movement ignoring this pattern and developing churches that have structured their regular services for the purpose of evangelizing the lost. This movement has turned the church on its head....

     "The gospel continues to offend; whether it is the crucifixion itself, the insistence on recognizing our sins and repenting, receiving by faith One that we have never seen, or abandoning our self-reliance, denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him (Matthew 16:24). None of these things pander to our ego. The gospel is not a message about how to get ahead in life, or how to find the key to happiness and success." See Creating Community through a New Way of Thinking


A viewer's Guide to Postmodernity: "Postmodern people are personally focused.... fully accepting of pluralism and diversity.... regard Christianity as just one of many religions.... philosophically confused.... have largely rejected the Western philosophical tradition ... theologically ignorant.... reject absolute values and absolute truth.

     "In Star Wars, Guinness’s character explained that he had not lied when he told young Luke that Darth Vadar killed his father. When the father turned to evil he destroyed the good man he had been and became Darth Vadar; therefore, what Obi Wan had said was true, 'from a certain point of view.' In the postmodern world, everything can be explained away as relative.

     "...postmodern people accept spirituality. They believe in spiritual things, but they do not know about Christianity. It is a new age of paganism. In Star Wars, Guinness’s character teaches his young apprentice about 'The Force,' an impersonal power that permeates the universe and includes both good and evil. Postmodern people know that some kind of 'higher power' exists. They just don’t know what it is." Postmodern thinking 


Lost: The Foundation Of Christianity: "The message and delivery method was true to CGM form, but not true to the gospel. It was not 'the rest of the story'. It was all about what Jesus can do for you, but nothing about why he died or rose from the dead; no talking about sin, repentance, salvation. The true message of the cross was omitted. At the end of the show, hundreds of beach balls fell from the ceiling [the service had an Island theme]. Members of the church then ran around throwing them out to the audience of probably a few thousand. As I watched I could not help but think how easy it has become to compromise...

    "Religious leaders and others have lost the true foundation of Christianity.... And those that are coming into churches by means of these things will not know anything about this foundation either. The church looks like the world, has incorporated aspects of other religions, and is accepted as; this is the way it is." Colossians 2:8 

September 2004

All God's Children: "In a cinder-block classroom at the edge of Biola University's manicured campus in a Los Angeles suburb, Craig Detweiler was blasting the music of Nick Cave at his 'Intro to Mass Media' class. Two dozen students were arranged in a horseshoe of swivel chairs, and they were looking blankly at a photo of Cave, a sullen goth-rocker....

     "Detweiler... brings a kind of affable sarcasm to a complicated job; he is the chairman of a mass-media department at a university that until 1977 banned all films.

     "'This stuff is pretty hard and dark,' he offered.... 'But did you know that Nick Cave wrote an introduction to the Gospel of Mark for a special edition of the Bible published in the U.K.? What do we think of that?'

     "Like a lot of Christian colleges in the United States, Biola has in recent years made serious efforts to compete academically with secular and more mainstream religiously affiliated colleges." See Re-Inventing the Church

August 2004

Emerging Church (encyclopedia): --a label that has been used to refer to a particular subset of Christians who are rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of Postmodernism.... Emerging Church groups have typically contained some or all of the following elements: Highly creative approaches to worship and spiritual reflection. This can involve everything from the use of contemporary music and films through to liturgy or other more ancient customs. ... A flexible approach to theology whereby individual differences in belief and morality are accepted within reason. A more holistic approach to the role of the church in society. This can mean anything from greater emphasis on fellowship in the structure of the group to a higher degree of emphasis on social action, community building or Christian outreach. A desire to reanalyse the Bible against the context into which it was written...." Psalm 119:11


165 members ousted from Gardendale Baptist: "Members of Gardendale Baptist Church voted Sunday to expel about 165 members from their congregation because they did not support the leadership of the church's pastor.... In a letter to the congregation, Micah Davidson, the church's pastor, called a business meeting after a July 18 baptismal service at which members would vote on the following statement: 'Pastor Micah is the God-called pastor for Gardendale and is leading us in God's direction or not.' ...

      "'If the church votes for me to stay,' he wrote, 'those who vote against me will be removed from membership in the family immediately.'...

      "Gilbert said opposition in the church was impeding the church's progress. He said the members could not vote on every decision Davidson made, but could vote on whether he was called by God to be pastor.' They just couldn't continue with the gossip and slander and misinformation,' he said."

The audio interviews with some who were forced to leave indicate their concerns were valid, not gossip or misinformation. The "misinformation" seems to come from the new church managers, not from the concerned Christians. No wonder, since contemporary "church leaders" are trained to use tough words to discredit dissenters. See Dealing with Resisters and comment

Pop Goes the Bible: "Revolve is just the latest cross-pollination of religion and pop culture that has seen Christian-themed fiction climb the best-seller lists and Christian rock and rap get a foothold in the music world. 'Really, for the past 100 years, evangelicals have tried to use popular culture to draw people to their faith,' says Lynn Schofield Clark, a sociologist at the University of Colorado's School of Journalism and Mass Communication....

     "Examples date back to at least the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Many well-known hymns originated in the 19th century as Christian poems set to the music of popular barroom tunes. Martin Luther himself used secular melodies to spread the word. ...

     "Jeffrey Mahan, a professor of ministry, media and culture at Iliff School of Theology in Denver... believes the trend is accelerating. 'The old classic description of religion that made divisions between the sacred and the secular are breaking down,' he says.....

     "As fundamentalists became more prosperous, a new industry arose to sell them goods to suit their values and beliefs. ... 'People want to lead integrated lives,' says Mahan. 'So their entertainment life, their political life and their work life are integrated with their life of faith.'...

     "The growing stream of Christian fiction, rock music, and so on worries some evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians.... 'People get nervous that these new media presentations… become substitutes for the substantive biblical texts.'

     "If it has to imitate the culture in order to try to convert it, how much of evangelical Christianity is lost?"

           Martin Luther wrote his own melody for his most familar song, A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD. The rest of his songs translated into English are listed at If you check his music sources, you won't find barroom melodies. I wonder who started that rumor?

July 2004

Church must embrace post-christendom: "...the church needs to rethink the way that it relates to the world around it. That is the message of a new and radical book by Stuart Murray. The book entitled 'Post-Christendom: Church and mission in a strange new world' looks at the context within which the church in western culture now operates....

     "In the secular and religiously plural world of the twenty-first century, Christians can no longer operate with Christendom values, assumptions, methods or attitudes. A church on the margins, if it is to flourish or even survive, must learn to read the Bible, engage in mission and understand itself in fresh ways....

     " a Post-Christendom context the church has opportunities to engage in new and radical ways with the world around it, that it hasn’t had for hundreds of years.” See Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?


Worship services can be charismatic and sensitive to seekers: "Several years ago, as we explored implementing the Purpose-Driven Church (PDC) concepts, we were led to face a stark reality.... The self-evaluation required in making deep changes in any local church often surfaces painful issues. In the light of change, we discovered that our worship had become irrelevant to our community....

      "As post-modern thinking emerges, there is a new openness to spirituality, but it is not a spirituality that seeks absolute truth. It is a spirituality that looks for solutions that work in real life. Whatever works, whatever is best, that will be the spirituality that is considered truth, and people are looking for it everywhere....

     "To evaluate spiritual awareness in your community, go to the local bookstore. Look at the titles under topics like occult, spirituality, mysticism etc. Ask which ones are the top sellers. Have the courage to read one or two to find out what is attracting people to these forms of spirituality. The object of this research is not to build up an arsenal of 'what is wrong' thinking. The object is discovering what needs are attracting people to this spirituality.... Looking into the mirror as we embraced PDC was very costly; some things had to change. But, as a result, today we are healthier and better equipped to realize the kingdom of God within our church and our community."

      Does God really want us to read occult books to discover the "felt needs" in our community? How can we make our worship relevant to the secular or pagan community when God tells us to worship Him in "Spirit and truth"?  Should we not seek His will and ways -- then offer His truth to those whose hearts He has prepared? See Ephesians 5:2-17, Re-Inventing the Church and From Personal Freedom to Collectivism and Control


Emerging churches in post-Christendom: "New models of church are promoted as contextually appropriate and missionally effective - seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven and cell church among the most popular.... Redesigning church for postmodern culture is a quest on which many have embarked. On the fringes are those whose experiences of church make them wary of using the term 'church.' Alternative worship, café church, youth church, pub church, cyber-church, household church, portfolio church, table church, new monastic communities and other models are emerging....

    "The deep yearning for expressions of church that are spiritually authentic, culturally attuned and attractive to others is a hopeful feature of contemporary church life." But God didn't promise that His people feel at home in the world's culture. See John 15:20-21 and Hebrews 11


Why the 'Lost Gospels' Lost Out (DaVinci Code): "Twenty years ago, Elaine Pagels wrote The Gnostic Gospels, a book that introduced the larger public to the other 'Christian' writings that arose in the early centuries of the church. Regarding the books of the New Testament, Pagels asked, "Who made that selection, and for what reasons? Why were these other writings excluded and banned as 'heresy'?' For Pagels this wasn't a rhetorical question, but one designed to get readers to question the very authority of the New Testament.....

     "Pagels's suggestions to the contrary, gnostic texts were never seriously entertained by many Christians as legitimate representations of the faith. ....Hence, contrary to Pagels and others, the case was never that the gnostic documents were excluded or deleted. Rather, they were never serious contenders for inclusion in the canon, either in the Eastern or the Western church." But facts and reality matter little to postmodern thinkers who base beliefs on personal feelings and politically correct notions. Few want to know the historical truth that exposes the myths and lies behind today's promotion of gnostic heresies.  See A Twist of Faith - Chapter 1

May 2004

The Mad Rush to Seeker Sensitive Worship: "Os Guinness makes the valid point that, 'Meeting needs does not always satisfy needs; it often stokes further ones and raises the pressure of eventual disillusionment.... Need (is) subject to consumer fashion, (and) become shallow, plastic and manipulative.' Indeed, the drive to meet 'felt needs' can mask the real need that the truth of the Gospel addresses -- alienation from God! ...

     "One of the most blatant examples of the compromise which flows out of this can be seen in 1966 World Council of Churches dictum: 'The world must set the agenda for the church.' I would suggest that this idea, formulated in the crucible of ecumenical dialogue between light and darkness, is not far from the 'seeker sensitive' approach adopted through the Church Growth ideology of contemporary evangelicals." See Worldliness


Younger pastors ask: Is preaching out of touch? (From one of Rick Warren's websites) "At last February's Emergent Convention, a gathering of alternative church leaders.... Pagitt bluntly told 1,100 young participants that 'preaching is broken.' ... Most of those young leaders are quick to point out it isn't about technique. Preaching is broken, they say, because the church has failed to take the cultural shifts of postmodernity seriously. In today's culture, they explain, people are increasingly distrustful of authority figures, especially preachers....

      "'A sermon is often a violent act,' says Pagitt, a key figure among emerging leaders. 'It's a violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.'...  It's hard for a congregation to practice the priesthood of all believers when the preaching perpetuates an image of the pastor as somehow more authoritative or spiritual than his or her listeners." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

A God Thing. "If we’re not careful, we can turn an otherwise simple faith in Christ into a self-serving exercise of escape and opportunism, that ignores the Word of God for the gratification of the flesh, resulting in the leadership of deceiving spirits rather than God’s Holy Spirit, making those 'miracles' and 'blessings' ANYTHING but a God thing."

April 2004

Marketing the Church, God, and the Gospel: Why the Church Must Stop Selling Jesus: "As already alluded to above, there is a widespread and growing conviction among many church leaders and marketing gurus that the form or method of the message or the worship service has no effect on the content. Church marketing is seen as a completely neutral technique that does not alter the Gospel in any way.... 

      "Effective seeker church messages are full of paradoxes. They are traditional in theology, yet innovative in form; 'hard' in their call for conversion, yet 'soft' in their promotion of the this-worldly benefits of belief; traditional in their insistence that God is holy and righteous, yet modern in their willingness to focus primarily on God’s love and forgiveness.... In sum, seeker church messages resist the pressure of modernity in their theology but often accommodate themselves to the culture in their format and emphases.... 

     "...the issue is not how to get people back into churches, but how to make our churches into His church.”  Colossians 2:8

Spinning John Wesley: "If the church can't uphold an eternal principle involving sexual expression and male-female relations, it puts everything up for negotiation in our increasingly relativistic age where the truth can never be objectively determined. The conservative wing of the Methodist Church, known as the Confessing Movement, has it right. Its web page says, 'The moral relativism of our time rebels against Jesus Christ's gracious rule over human sexuality....

     "A confusion has arisen in our Church between the Lordship of Christ and the reigning cultural virtue of tolerance. The Confessing Movement challenges the misuse of the principle of tolerance to set aside the authority of Scripture." Judges 17:6

March 2004

The rise of the American megachurch: "Gone are traditional religious dogma, rituals, and symbols, replaced by uplifting songs and sermons. Congregants are taught that - through God - they are victors, not victims. The messages are encouraging and easy to swallow, and no one is called a sinner. It's 'Jesus meets the power of positive thinking.'"

February 2004

A New Song - Part 3: "...many of today's contemporary Christian songs and popular praise choruses are quite suitable for use by almost any of the world's religions. Like the church growth movement, the lyrical content is, more often than not, emotionally strong, theologically weak and largely ambiguous. Because such music verbalizes little more than fleeting emotions, vivid imaginings, poetic interpretations and felt-need affections toward a universal or generic 'God', leaving out any potentially offensive doctrinal specifics – especially scriptural negatives like sin, repentance, shed blood, crucified, cross, etc., virtually any god or religion could be accommodated, worshipped and served by their use." Psalm 100:2-5

Sinking Sand -- Ruin Looms for a Church that Forsakes God's Word: "The Evil One knows that if he can undermine the Bible, he can undermine the Christian. For Jesus said His words are like a rock upon which a house is built (Matthew 7:24), serving as a firm foundation for His followers....

     "Liberals seem enamored with this idea of a never-ending search for God's truth, a Hegelian process which turns its back on the past and is always looking forward to that fresh synthesis of old and new....

     "Edith M. Humphrey, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a five-year member of the [Episcopal] Primate's Theological Commission, said in an article for Christianity Today: 'Modern spirituality begins and ends with the self; Christian spirituality, with the Alpha and Omega.'" Psalm 119:11

Just who is it that has God's blessing?  "... a common mantra goes something like, 'He must have God's blessing: look how large his ministry is!' However, is bigness the evident sign of God's blessing? ...

    "I wonder just how big any of the churches where Paul served as pastor were? And speaking of the Apostle Paul, he was more noted for his stripes and imprisonments than he was for any mega-sized ministry, was he not? Are we to assume, then, that Paul was not one of God's blessed' preachers?" God's Wisdom or Human Foolishness

The Church Growth Movement & Purpose Driven Church VERSUS The Bible: "Man adds to the church daily as should be saved through contemporary marketing methods..." versus "And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved." This is a helpful chart showing the difference between Biblical and Postmodern guidelines.

Rock 'n' roll church stirs up Detroiters: "What will attract people to churches, synagogues and mosques? ... 'We try to make sure that everyone gets offended by something every once in a while,' said the Rev. Steve Andrews, the senior pastor. That's a line people never expected to hear from a clergyman, most of whom avoid offensive behavior at all costs. At Kensington, the rock music is so loud that people's ears may whistle when they leave and the comedy sketches occasionally stray into risque material." Loving evil more than good

A Critique of the "Seeker-Sensitive, Purpose-Driven" Church Model: "In our last article we examined why the message of the cross arouses the hostility of sinners when it is faithfully declared in their ears. In this article we will delve into the attempts by the proponents of the 'seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven' church model to minimize, if not outright eliminate this inbred resistance by the world to the gospel of Christ." The Cross of Christ

Church Growth Scholar Advocates Radical Change in New Millennium: "The evangelical church in North America must undergo radical change with new kinds of leadership in order to fulfill its redemptive mission in the postmodern context of the next century....  Speaking during the annual meeting of the American Society for Church Growth at Golden Gate Seminary's Mill Valley, Calif., campus, Nov. 12-14, Gibbs warned churches must embrace transitions or 'forfeit the possibility of exercising a transformational ministry within changing cultures.'...

     "The church itself will need to go through a metamorphosis in order to find its new identity in the dialectic of gospel and culture,' he said. 'This new situations is requiring churches to approach their context as a missional encounter.'

     "...the cultural changes with which church leaders must grapple are:

         - Global. 'There is nowhere to run to.' ...

     Comprehensive. 'They affect every area of life.'"  We will look at those "global" and "comprehensive" changes in Part 2 of Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven

January 2004

Saddleback, Golden Gate Launch Partnership for Educating Laity: "Designed to 'multiply leaders for ministry,' Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Saddleback Church in Mission Viejo, Calif., have launched a partnership offering graduate theological education and ministry training for lay leaders.....

   "We are committed to the inerrancy of God's Word. It is the bedrock on which we base everything else." 

       It sounds so good, but in Softening God's Word, you saw how Scriptures are paraphrased and taken out of context in order to please the postmodern community. Romans 12:2 and John 15:20-21


Practical Strategies for Outreach (Brett Schrock, Saddleback Church, CA) "Applying Purpose Driven Principles to Connect Your Church with Seekers//Workshop Description: Knowing how to identify and connect with the felt needs in the local community is a challenge facing thousands of churches. This session provides you with tangible examples of 'how to' meet the challenge and provides take away tools and models to assist you. Develop an intentional outreach plan to transform your community for Christ. This workshop is a must for any pastor wanting to build bridges and make a difference in the local community." Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?


US megachurches bring shopping mall theology to thirtysomethings: "As Americans like going to shopping malls for all their consumer needs in one spot, so self-styled 'megachurches' are the fastest growing form of service in the country. They offer a one-stop spiritual supermarket.....

    "The multi-ethnic congregation is made up of nominal Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. They are taught that through God they are victors not victims, and no one is called a sinner.... Eddie Gibbs, a professor at the Fuller Theological Seminary, has described it as a conscious process to 'remove every obstacle that keeps people from coming into the Christian Church.'....

    "The church's target market is the thirtysomethings....'We are trying to get the people in so that we can then process them towards a greater understanding of the faith, which we do through smaller discussion groups for those that want to further examine their spiritual path,' he said. 'Don't forget Christ used user-friendly language. He spoke to his followers in parables."

      Jesus spoke in parables so that only the true seeker (drawn by the Holy Spirit) would understand. Pastor Warren speaks a "user-friendly language" so that it will make earthly sense to everybody. See Softening God's Word and Psalm 119:11


Church giving away car, motorcycle to encourage attendance: "Abundant Life Christian Center in La Marque will give away a new Chrysler PT Cruiser to a woman and a Harley Davidson Sportster to a man at its New Year's Eve service. Parishioners and visitors have been eligible to enter for the free drawings each time they attended a service in recent weeks, and members who brought visitors could enter twice." Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?

December 2003

Church on the Other Side: "We are living in a time of some confusion and uncertainty as to where the church is headed and what it’s supposed to be. The options are many, and just about everything is being tried--seeker services, renewed liturgy, house churches, and cell groups. How does a church equip itself to minister effectively in the postmodern culture? ....Brian's first book, formerly titled Reinventing Church, now revised and expanded in 2000, has been a portal helping many Christian leaders enter the conversation about the postmodern transition." See Apostasy


Unbelieving 'born-agains': "Secularists, liberals, and Muslims do not need to fear conservative Christians, says Dave Shiflett in The Wall Street Journal. Christians, he says... don't really believe that there is such a thing as the heathen, tending to believe instead that every religion is equally valid. Even the most feared of Christians—the dread 'born-agains' ... often embrace the modern orthodoxies of tolerance and inclusion over the traditional teachings of their faith."

     "He cites poll data from Christian researcher George Barna that 26 percent of born-agains believe all religions are essentially the same and that 50 percent believe that a life of good works will enable a person to get to heaven....

     "...this is strong evidence of how American Christianity is conforming to the dominant secular culture. It is all right to be religious, according to the dictates of postmodernism, as long as your faith exists just in your head. Preachers sometimes exhort people to 'invite Jesus into your heart' without proclaiming who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners. This is evangelism that forgets to preach the gospel. The result will be 'nonevangelical born-agains.'... [See "Widening the gate to the Kingdom" and Colossians 2:8


Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven® Life sells 10 million copies: "Pastor Rick Warren's 'The Purpose-Driven® Life,' the #1 New York Times bestseller, has sold 10 million copies in the English language alone since its release in September of 2002.... A third '40 Days of Purpose' campaign was launched last month with more than 6,000 churches participating. It is estimated that an additional 14,500 churches will participate in the campaign in 2004.... 'The Purpose-Driven Life is more than a bestseller, it's become a movement....'" Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?  See the next three links:

The Emerging Church (by Dan Kimball): Vintage Christianity for New Generations: "...a new world is emerging all around us. We are fast moving from a Judeo-Christian world to a post-Christian world. This means we need to rethink leadership, preaching, spiritual formation, evangelism, what we do in worship services and most importantly of all how we view 'church'....  The book explores current cultural changes and then moves beyond deconstruction to give specific examples of emerging church ministry...." See Re-Inventing the Church


Endorsements for The Emerging Church” by Dan Kimball: "...a wonderful, detailed example of what a purpose-driven church can look like in a post-modern world," says Rick Warren. "My friend, Dan Kimball, writes passionately from his heart, with a deep desire to reach emerging generations and culture. While my book, The Purpose-Driven Church, explained what the church is called to do, Dan’s book explains how to do it with the cultural-creatives who think and feel in post-modern terms. You need to pay attention to him because times are changing." ...

      "The future of the church in North America hinges on innovators like Dan Kimball and the ideas presented in The Emerging Church."  Bob Buford, The Buford Foundation, Founder of Leadership Network." No! The future of the Church is in God's hands, not in the minds and plans of contemporary "innovators." See  El Shaddai, The Almighty God


Day the Church split: "Worldwide Anglicanism split in two yesterday after conservative leaders representing up to 50 million worshippers angrily rejected the Church's first openly homosexual bishop."

      Biblical unity is based on Biblical truth. Where people mock God's Word, there can be no unity. Oneness and Postmodernity


Church growth movement - Revival or Apostasy? "A wave is sweeping the world that many Christians are calling Revival. This is the biggest change to take place in the church since the days of the Protestant Reformation. Tens of thousands of pastors and church leaders in America have jumped onto the bandwagon of a Church Growth Movement that seems to be reaching the masses for Christ. Can this be the real thing?

     "What are the methods being used to grow the church? Are they really God's methods or have churches compromised with the world and used techniques common to the New Age rather than to the Bible? As Christian author and preacher John MacArthur said, 'Contemporary evangelism has been beguiled and sabotaged by a ruinous lack of confidence in God's word….

     "The Bible defines sin as rebellion against God, but Schuller finds that insulting. To him, Jesus was Self-Esteem Incarnate...

     "In Nov. 1987 that same Gorbachev that Schuller so highly esteems said in a speech at the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, 'In October 1917, we parted with the Old World, rejecting it once and for all. We are moving toward a new world, the world of Communism. We shall never turn off that road." See The State of The World According to Gorbachev


The Death of Truth: (Chapter 1) "As with Darwinism, postmodernism has its origin in intellectual and academic circles. This is why average Christians are unaware, or at least unclear, about what postmodernism is. Even Christian leaders and thinkers find themselves confused as their senses are assaulted by the strange or even seemingly insane language of postmodern analysis.

     "As we shall see, they present a dangerously convincing case for their view--a view that ultimately directly undermines all possibility of knowing objective truth (i.e., true whether I realize it or not). The real problem is this: once again, Christians aren't ready for a major challenge to the Christian world view...."

     The postmodern culture didn't just evolve. It was created primarily through the dialectic process. See The Mind-Changing Process and Postmodernity

"Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether." Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing See Religion-discussion

Gospel according to The Simpsons: "Church leaders... say the adventures of Homer and his family are an ideal way to explore moral and religious dilemmas....  'Despite its anarchic humour, The Simpsons is one of the few television programmes which portrays a modern family who attend church regularly.'" What a sad picture of the church and media!  Deut 8:10-20


A New Kind of Christian: "A New Kind of Christian gives voice to this emerging understanding of what it means to be a Christian in these confusing times, offering a constructive vision of what a postmodern Christian might look like.... The pastor is forced to grapple with the true source of his dissatisfaction with Christianity and his growing desire to become a new kind of Christian--one who discovers truth afresh each day through continuous engagement with God."

      Neither the Bible doesn't change with our times and culture. Nor does Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Life. But with today's quest for new and higher thrills, it's not surprising that people are less than satisfied with the good old gospel or an unchanging God. See My Lord and Psalm 119:11

Mosaic -- 'A Work of Beauty Under the Artful Hands of God': "The urban Mosaic church holds four services every Sunday. Three are held in high schools, while the fourth is held in a downtown nightclub....

      "Mosaic is a place filled with writers and dancers, actors, sculptors, painters -- a lot of people who are from the esthetic side of the world,' he explains. 'To me, it is an opportunity to reflect the creative beauty and wonder of God -- and to allow people to experience Jesus Christ in a new, fresh way."


Ten Things You Should Know About the New Girls' Biblezine: "In less than eight weeks, 40 thousand copies of the glossy New Testament have disappeared from bookstores.... An additional printing of 60 thousand copies should be in stores in the beginning of October. ...

     "Revolve's wild popularity with the media 'has to be a wake up call to Christians,' says Whaley....

     "What then are all these cute girl models—some of them braless, some baring their midriffs, some pouting their lips, a few striking provocative poses, a few in bikinis, all with seemingly spotless complexion, only one of them with braces, 98 percent of them skinny—doing in the photos adorning Revolve?....

     "It's not a magazine. It's not a Bible. It's not even a study Bible, Whaley told me. It's 'an inspirational and motivational Bible product.' ...

     Os Guinness said in his trademark style, "Never have evangelicals tried so hard to be relevant and never have they been so irrelevant. … This is a triumph of marketing over mission. Niche markets are death to taking the Bible seriously." See 2 Corinthians 2:17


New Teen Bible - Coolness Is Next To Godliness: "In the beginning was the Word but the Word alone is now no longer enough: a new version of the Bible targeted at teenage girls offers beauty tips and advice on boyfriends as well. 'Are You Dating a Godly Guy?' asks the cover of Revolve, the Complete New Testament, beside a picture of three smiling teenage models in fashionable summer gear. Inside, the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament are juxtaposed with items on plucking eyebrows, photographs of girls in bikinis and boys' musings on relationships." See Chart: postmodern culture


Graduating in faith: "Azusa Pacific sends 200 to 300 students overseas for study each year and imports 222. 'If we don't globalize,' says Vic Bezjian, executive director of the college's International Center, 'we'll be left behind.' So globalize they have.... Ministering to this mix is no easy task, says college chaplain Chris Brown.... He preaches at chapel Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the homespun style of radio personality Garrison Keillor. 'It's a challenge to be three times a week in front of 3,423 critical thinkers,' Mr. Brown says. 'The power in this country is not in money, land and politics. It's in the media, those who can tell narrative creatively.' The screen saver on the chaplain's computer reads '3,423 eternities,' a reference to the destinies of those critical thinkers....

      "Our goal generally is not to indoctrinate our students,' Mr. Jones says. 'At its best Wheaton College will be a dangerous place for students, because there's nothing more dangerous than ideas. They'll read Freud, Nietzsche and Kant, the most dangerous thinkers of contemporary and past ages. In the end, students will make their own decisions. The best thing we can do is not be hypocrites, and to be healthy and self-critical.'...

     "...the Rev. Gordon Bietz, Southern's tall, dapper, silver-haired president, says his school attracts students by depicting itself as an incubator of passionate faith in Jesus Christ. 'From a pure marketing perspective, that works.'"

     While Christian colleges are far better than secular universities, their focus is changing fast. Considering Rev. Moon's friendship with church leaders but hostility toward the cross [scroll down to "Global Spirituality" in Ban truth - Reap Tyranny], it's no surprise that the series was published by Washingon Times. See The Church Walking with the World



New Church Specialties Bridging The 'Contextualization Gap': "The vision of New Church Specialties is to assist the church and its institutions of higher education worldwide in 'bridging the contextualization gap.' We aim to develop New Church University, not just as a place, but as a learning process. Our goal is that, as a prospective NewStart, ReStart or ReFocusing church leader finishes their theological education, they would also be assessed....

    "At New Church Specialties, we are also planning, not only for church planting and ReFocusing diplomas, but also for Church Health diplomas as well, designed to reward persons who invest their lives in bringing fresh life to churches that need to be 'turned around' and brought back to 'health.' The focus of all New Church University training is not simply on 'church growth' but 'church health.'" See Legalizing Mind Control

Harry Potter Reading Club: "The 'Platform 9 ¾ Harry Potter Reading Club' is Grace’s attempt to enter the conversation that is occurring in our country and community, and to shine the light of Biblical truth on the spiritual issues that are raised in the Harry Potter books. The book club takes place every Thursday afternoon... from June 26-July 31. See Harry Potter Overview


Relativism reigns over morality: "That these controversies even exist points to the continuing effort by many within the church to abandon Holy Scripture and replace it with their own personal preferences. The Bible is clear in its declarations that homosexuality ranks as a sin. Note that St. Paul places such acts alongside other sins: 'Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.' Nonetheless, many would prefer to ignore sin, making repentance unnecessary." Jeremiah 6:13-15


Christianity Becoming a Dirty Word in Canada: "'The problem is bigger than simply the velvet oppression of the political and cultural elites, antagonistic to faith. What we're dealing with is the corruption of Christianity itself.'...

     "The secular establishment's slow squeeze on the country's fading Christianity is taking place largely in the area of sexual ethics.... 

     "What does it matter if Christianity is exiled from the public square? 'The church invented things like public hospitals, schools and charities... And we're discovering that these institutions remained humane only so long as they preserved their original inspiration.'"(While true of many U.S. churches as well, this does not describe the Canadian Christians we know.) Lukewarm "Christianity"


repeat Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats (by Spurgeon): "An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

      "...providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church.... What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt" (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy....

    "Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular...."


Showtime Religion (John MacArthur): "Can the church fight apathy and materialism by feeding people’s appetite for entertainment? Evidently many in the church think so, as church after church jumps on the show-business bandwagon.... The idea is to give the audience what they want. Tailor the church service to whatever will draw a crowd. As a result, pastors are more like politicians than shepherds, looking to appeal to the public rather than leading and building the flock God has entrusted to them.... More and more churches are relying on marketing strategy to sell the church." See Re-Inventing the Church


Night Stalkers: "How confusing it must be for those outside the faith who try to connect the Jesus Christ of scripture to the people, groups and institutions of our day that call Him Lord. It’s a wonder ANYONE comes to faith in Christ anymore! Were it up to the machinations of men, clearly no one would. When I myself read Isaiah the prophet’s brief description of the coming Messiah and then view the postmodern church that bears His name, it’s often difficult to see any resemblance or relation between the humble Shepherd and the 21st century sheep." Rom 8:1-8 and Chart: Postmodern church


What's Inside the Trojan Horse? (John MacArthur) "...Church leaders reacted to the world's indifference, not by a return to strong biblical preaching that emphasized sin and repentance, but by a pragmatic approach to 'doing' church–an approach driven more by marketing, methodology, and perceived results than by biblical doctrine. The new model of ministry revolved around making sinners feel comfortable and at ease in the church, then selling them on the benefits of becoming a Christian....

       "Even the church's ministry to its own has changed. Entertainment has hijacked many pulpits across the country; contemporary approaches cater to the ever-changing whims of professing believers; and many local churches have become little more than social clubs and community centers where the focus is on the individual's felt needs." Rom 12:2-9 and America's Spiritual Slide


Yes, Jesus would approve a war with Iraq: "What would Jesus do? Well, thankfully, deep minds have thought this through for us centuries before now. The Christian just war theory was first extensively addressed by St. Augustine of Hippo, who proposed two major requirements: proper authority and proper cause....

     "When challenged by an expert in the law as to which was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied that to love God was greatest; 'And a second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' ' Loving your neighbor in 2003, it would seem, means in part to save a region — and a world — from a tyrant...."  Is that what Jesus really meant by those words? I doubt it. It has become all too natural to conform God's Word to our own thoughts and ways -- rather than conforming our thinking to His. Romans 12:2

Helping God: "...many churches today are acting as if big sound systems and video screens are required to hear the 'still small voice' of God and experience His presence. ....

      "Am I saying that making your church attractive is sinful and that state-of-the-art church buildings are Temples of Doom? No, I’m saying that many formerly humble fellowships have become like Michael Jackson – butchering themselves and their credibility with millions of dollars in frivolous makeovers, renovations and reinventions in a desperate attempt to appear beautiful, successful and legitimate to a skeptical world." Galatians 6:4


Post-Modernity - A Global Weather Change? "Like a slow-moving weather front gradually blanketing our continent, a radical shift in the way young people view reality is bringing permanent change to Europe's spiritual climate.... Post-modernity, as this mood-change is becoming known, is not a rational, consistent, philosophy.... It is not a cohesive, logical mindset. It is a soup of contradictory ideas. Yet it is as radical a change as that triggered by the Enlightenment, when 'Pre-modern' thought gave way to the 'Modern' view of life.

     "This climate-shift... carries major challenges and opportunities for how we are to present and demonstrate the Gospel in Europe today and tomorrow. Our evangelistic methods and approaches developed for the 'Modern' world will be irrelevant for a 'Postmodern' generation."

      Yes, because public education has -- for many decades -- been teaching relative values, group thinking and hostility toward absolute truth. It happened by design, not by chance. See A New Way of Thinking and Brainwashing in America


Vatican Weighs in on New Age Movement: "In a 90-page booklet dotted with references to the 'Magical Mystery Tour,' 'Feng Shui' and the dawning of the 'Age of Aquarius,' the Vatican addressed a topic usually reserved for the self-help sections of bookstores.

     "The Vatican said the book was the product of requests by bishops for guidance on determining whether practices embraced by New Agers, including yoga, channeling and healing by crystals, were compatible with Christianity. The booklet doesn't give a definitive answer. Rather... the book stresses that the question comes down to one of individually discerning compatibility." Such personal and cultural relativism corrupts the church

Harry Potter. Vatican Succumbs to Harry Potter's Spell: "Harry Potter fans, relax. The Vatican says the kid is all right. The question of whether J.K. Rowling's books and the films on the boy wizard have a positive influence came up at a news conference on Monday where the Vatican presented a document on 'New Age' spirituality, which contain elements of the occult.

     "'I don't think that any of us grew up without the imaginary world of fairies, magicians, angels and witches,' said Father Peter Fleetwood, a Vatican official who worked on the document. 'They are not bad or a banner for anti-Christian ideology. They help children understand the difference between good and evil." They do! But from a pagan perspective. Isaiah 5:20 and Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies


  It's Another Way of S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g Your Faith: “At one California church, people are practicing what is called 'Christian yoga.’ ... Angelica Bays... says one can get a good workout, calm down, and glorify God all at the same time.... ‘The physical practice of it is actually ecumenical [and] transcends any one particular religion,' she says. 'It's like prayer -- Christians pray, Buddhists pray, and other religions pray -- but it's just what you do with it.’

       “At first, Bays had serious reservations about doing yoga because she knew it was associated with the Hindu religion and promotes pantheism. But she says not one church member has questioned the class -- and her pastor has been supportive.”

    That sounds postmodern, doesn't it? If the group agrees, go ahead. Man's approval supercedes God's guidelines. Judges 17:6 . But God has a different plan for us. See The Way.


Healthy Churches: "Characteristics of a Healthy Church [Willow Creek]: Active spiritual formation... Contagious evangelism... Mobilized spiritual gifts... Strong leadership... Cultural relevance... Collaboration and partnership....

      "They utilize holistic stewardship practices. They serve the needy people in their community. They equip families to minister to themselves." Some points sound good, but all take on a new meaning in the context of the postmodern church. So be on guard. See Re-Inventing the Church


The mall where you talk to God : "Like the super-sized shopping centers that have mushroomed coast to coast, churches like Grace endeavor to offer everything under one roof: professional child care [usually means government oversight], Christian rock concerts, chemical dependency programs [involves the consensus process], full-service cafés, bookstores, health clubs, teen centers, even food courts. This emphasis on full service has spurred a dramatic growth in membership, prompting management guru Peter Drucker to call 'pastoral megachurches' like Grace 'the most important social phenomenon in American society in the last 30 years.'"  See Re-Inventing the Church


Is Willow Creek the Way of the Future? "Healthy congregations in the 21st century will undoubtedly be more 'seeker friendly,' but they will balance marketing efforts with a more judicious use of traditional understandings of the church and its ministries. 'Theological engineering' will catch up to church marketing.... Using their market-driven approach, its leaders will likely learn to address the current weaknesses...

"In a world of Willow Creeks, pop psychology can invert and ambush biblical truth about the relation between people and God. A firm foundation in scripture and in research-oriented psychology would generate a clearer recognition of the limits of such approaches. But cautions are not likely to receive much attention because of what Pritchard identifies as a strong pragmatic bias toward what is immediately useful. What doesn’t work now is not important." See The People's Church


If Christianity Is So Great, How Come Christians Keep Imitating The World?  "...the direction of the contemporary church is the wrong one. New Barna data suggest that 'born again Christians' have a reputation slightly better than that of prostitutes....

     "...our past efforts – as evidenced by 'seeker' worship approaches and Y2K hysteria – have done little other than prove to the world that our brand of Christianity has very little to offer them, and may in fact be leading them away from the Truth they hope to find." See Re-Inventing the Church and Gal 2:20


Church Welcomes 'Scum of the Earth: "With their tattoos, body piercings and alternative hairstyles, they are finding acceptance in a setting that's meant to make outcasts feel welcome so they can hear the gospel. 'Scum of the Earth' began two and a half years ago as a Bible study led by the Christian band Five Iron Frenzy.

      "The church's name isn't meant to be degrading to its members or other churches, according to pastor Mike Sares. Rather, it's based on 1 Corinthians 4:11-13: 'To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.'"

       Actually, that Scripture and title refers to faithful Christian who face hatred and persecution for following Jesus, not for following cultural trends. Thankfully, in Christ, any of us may be worthy to bear that title. See Luke 6:22-23


Church seats undergoing comfort reformation: "Laurie Wuerfel and her two young sons slipped their coffee and hot chocolate into the cup holders, eased into cushioned chairs and waited for the sermon to start. 'Who wants to sit in church if you're uncomfortable,' said Ms. Wuerfel as she sat in the burgundy theater-style seats at Cedar Creek Church.... Chairs with cup holders, and plenty of space and padding are finding their way into churches where clergy say the seat can be as important as the message." See The Global Church


Christian music controlled by secular music industry: "...they emerged from the 1960s with a unique fusion of evangelical faith and pop culture. They loved fellowship, but didn't like frumpy churches. They trusted their feelings, not traditions. They loved the Bible, but not those old hymnals. So they started writing, performing, recording and selling songs.... Out in the mega-churches, the definition of 'worship' changed and then kept changing....

      "Today, the bottom line is almost always the financial bottom line. While believers lead the companies that dominate Christian music, secular corporations now own these smaller companies... But this corporate culture also is affecting worship and the heart of church life....

     "...we view ourselves first and foremost as consumers,' Barna said. '...Americans have made worship something that primarily that we do for ourselves. When is it successful? When we feel good." Matthew 16:21-26


Church backs raves to bring in young people: "The Church of England gave its official blessing to alternative forms of youth worship such as 'raves in the nave' yesterday as part of its efforts to attract young people into church... Youth services range from those organised by Soul Survivor, which feature rock bands or Christian disc jockeys, to those that favour 'post-modern symbolism', from surreal video images with ambient music to offerings of salt or sunflower seeds." Romans 12:2-9


Americans Draw Theological Beliefs From Diverse Points of View: "A new nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Research Group indicates that a large share of the people who attend Protestant or Catholic churches have adopted beliefs that conflict with the teachings of the Bible and their church. ....'Our continuing research among teenagers and adolescents shows that the trend away from adopting biblical theology in favor of syncretic, culture-based theology is advancing at full gallop.'" Brainwashing in America

Americans Draw Theological Beliefs From Diverse Points of View: "A new nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Research Group indicates that a large share of the people who attend Protestant or Catholic churches have adopted beliefs that conflict with the teachings of the Bible and their church. ....'Our continuing research among teenagers and adolescents shows that the trend away from adopting biblical theology in favor of syncretic, culture-based theology is advancing at full gallop.'" Brainwashing in America


Teens Change Their Tune Regarding Self and Church: "...the Barna statistics show that the percentage of teens who are evangelicals - i.e., those who are not only born again but also believe in the accuracy of the Bible, personal responsibility to evangelize, believe in salvation by grace alone, and possess orthodox biblical views on God, Jesus and Satan - have declined from 10% in 1995 to just 4% today. This demise is attributable to growing numbers of teenagers who accept moral relativism and pluralistic theology as their faith foundation....

        "For more than a decade, teenagers have been among the most spiritually interested individuals in the nation. However, sensitivity to faith matters has not resulted in a boom in Christian conversions.... 'Teens do not go to youth groups for music and games, and they will not attend 'adult church' for music and preaching. They demand transcendent adventures and supportive relationships. They need an outlet for their desire to have a positive affect on the world...."  That may sound good, but the solution is managed "community service" with the sensitivity or "diversity training" needed to create solidarity. See Serving a Greater Whole


Teens' Rite of Passage Can Include Their Faith: (10/19/02, archived) "Promise Keepers is, the Christian men's movement.... are launching a rite-of-passage offshoot for teenage boys.

     "Hoping to capture what organizers fear could be a lost generation of evangelical Christians, 'Passage' uses Christian rock bands, hip-hop artists, extreme sports exhibitions, testimonials and scores of fast-paced videos in an attempt to reconnect teenagers with their faith and families....

      "Randy Phillips, who heads the Passage event, says a youth revival is possible if the Christian message is repackaged in a more relevant form. 'The emerging generation has far more spiritual hunger than the previous four generations,' Phillips said. 'But they are rejecting the current expression of the church that's been the model for them.'" See Postmodernity


Church in porn deal: "Pornography will be beamed from the bell towers and spires of churches across the country next year in a £25million deal with a mobile phone company. Transmitters hidden in Church of England parishes will send out a video stream' of news, sport, advertisements and porn to be viewed on new mobile phones with bigger screens. Around 1,500 parishes - 10 per cent of the churches in England - have already signed up....

     "Outraged retired army officer Ian Dobbie... said: 'I'm shocked that people could be worshipping in their churches while pornography is being streamed out of the spire above them. It's as if the Church has sold out in a pact with the devil.'" See Chart: Postmodernity

Teaching the Parables to a Post-Modern Society - The Contextualization of the Stories of Jesus: "What is Contextualization? ... No simple definition will do justice to the intricate concepts that are included in the use of the term. However, in this paper, contextualization is seen as a bringing together the 'relationship of the gospel or Scripture to culture... Thus, contextualization is an attempt to make the Scripture applicable and understandable to modern society.... An important step in contextualization proper is understanding the receptor culture... the post-modern culture of the United States....

     "'the post-modern perspective . . . is that of a radical reader-oriented literary criticism, a criticism which views literature in terms of readers and their values, attitudes and responses.'"

    Note the paradigm shift from (1) reading the Bible from the Author's perspective -- using the context of the whole Bible to understand what God was teaching us in each part -- to (2) rethinking its parts from the perspective of the reader's values, culture and worldview, then linking each Scripture to a new meaning based on the subjective context and criticism. See Three Sets of Meanings of Educational Buzzwords and find "Critical Thinking."


A wordless faith: “'We should never view scripture through the lens of personal experience but rather view our personal experience through the lens of scripture.' If we believe in our experiences FIRST and God’s Word SECOND, we practice the sensory-driven religion of unbelief that brought about the very fall of man – listening to the voices in and around us saying what appeals to the flesh and emotions instead of faithfully yielding to God and His Word." Proverbs 3:5-7


Reinventing church: "...the institutional church wasn't attuned to the world he lived in; open to theological questioning; or responding to the challenge of a Postmodern culture in which institutional authority, absolute truth, and even a rationalistic world view no longer hold sway.... Today, working out of his garage in Newport Beach, Calif., Mr. Burke runs THE OOZE, a Web-based community for some 50,000 Christian leaders in 60 countries who are part of a new 'emerging church' movement aimed at reinventing the church for the 21st century. They are responding to what many consider the most dramatic cultural shift since the Enlightenment. ....

     "At THE OOZE's annual 'Soularize' conference last week in Minneapolis, some 500 pastors, theologians, and young church leaders from across the US gathered for dozens of workshops on topics from 'theology's new groove' to 'calling God Mother' to 'allowing Jesus as rad whole-life disciples.'...

     "In a workshop, John Franke, of Biblical Theology Seminary in Hatfield, Pa., described two major streams of thinking among theologians. The first group says there is absolute truth, but only God can know it; human beings, coming from their own social and cultural perspectives, have to be open to learn from one another. Those in the second group say that not only is it impossible for humans to know absolute truth, it's not desirable, because such claims often result in attempts to control or repress others.....

     "'The emerging church believes strongly in the 'priesthood of all believers,' " says Tom Sine, a consultant familiar with the movement overseas." Priesthood of seekers who neither accept or want to believe in God's absolute truth? Have they traded certainties of God's unchanging Word for the shifting sands of "continual change"? See Re-Inventing the Church, Part 1 and Part 2


'I Didn't Want to Be Cute': "Eugene Peterson has worked on The Message, his rendering of the Bible in contemporary language, for 12 years. This year he can celebrate the arrival of The Message as a complete text. Peterson's work has won praise from diverse readers—from the Protestant contemplative Richard J. Foster to football coach Bill McCartney, and from theologian J. I. Packer to rock star Bono....

     "I agreed to do 10 chapters of Matthew..." [said Peterson] "It was very wooden, and it just wasn't working. I just kind of let go and became playful. And that was when the Sermon on the Mount started....  I was astounded when I learned about some of the new versions of the Bible that are being published by companies that spend thousands of dollars trying to find the vocabulary level of the average person and exclude all the words that don't fit into that grid." Psalm 119:11


Americans Draw Theological Beliefs From Diverse Points of View: (Barna Research Online) Nine out of ten adults own at least one Bible and eight out of ten consider themselves to be Christian, but you'd never know it from the smorgasbord of religious beliefs professed by most people. A new nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Research Group indicates that a large share of the people who attend Protestant or Catholic churches have adopted beliefs that conflict with the teachings of the Bible and their church. ...."Our continuing research among teenagers and adolescents shows that the trend away from adopting biblical theology in favor of syncretic, culture-based theology is advancing at full gallop." Brainwashing in America


The Rethinking Forum: "The most noted expression of the Rethinking Movement, which gave it its name, was the book Rethinking Christianity in India. ... The Rethinking Group objected severely to numerous aspects of the agenda of church and mission leadership both internationally and especially in India....

      "Christianity in India is still full of stagnant western waters.... A new Rethinking effort aimed at changing the churches would almost surely fail as its predecessors has." The true Church can't be quenched, for God will always have a remnant of people who remain faithfully and undivided in their love for Him.


Teaching the Parables to a Post-Modern Society - The Contextualization of the Stories of Jesus: "What is Contextualization? ... No simple definition will do justice to the intricate concepts that are included in the use of the term. However, in this paper, contextualization is seen as a bringing together the 'relationship of the gospel or Scripture to culture... Thus, contextualization is an attempt to make the Scripture applicable and understandable to modern society.... An important step in contextualization proper is understanding the receptor culture... the post-modern culture of the United States....

     "What then is post-modernism? A concise definition of post-modernism is cited by Vanhoozer who holds that post-modernism should be seen as 'incredulity towards metanarratives.' A more precise explanation of post-modernism's literary outlook is found in Edgar McKnight's work, Post-Modern Use of the Bible where he states that 'the post-modern perspective . . . is that of a radical reader-oriented literary criticism, a criticism which views literature in terms of readers and their values, attitudes and responses.'"

    Note the paradigm shift from (1) reading the Bible from the Author's perspective -- using the context of the whole Bible to understand what God was teaching us in each part -- to (2) rethinking its parts from the perspective of the reader's values, culture and worldview, then linking each Scripture to a new meaning based on the subjective context and criticism. See Three Sets of Meanings of Educational Buzzwords and find "Critical Thinking."


Stupid church tricks (link requires registration): "gross-out' games have become a fad in youth ministry. Since adolescents are amused by bodily functions, crude behavior, and tastelessness -- following the church-growth principle of giving people what they like as a way to entice them into the kingdom--many evangelical youth leaders think this is a way to reach young people....

     "Defenders of these kinds of activities maintain that they help create group unity. The way they work, though, is to overcome a teenager's inhibitions with the greater desire to go along with the group. In other words, these exercises teach the teenager to give in to peer pressure. Instead, youth groups need to teach Christian teenagers not to go along with the crowd and to stand up against what their friends want them to do."  Rom 12:2-9


Cutting-edge youth center puts teenagers on 'The Right Track': "Teenagers looking for fun, excitement and a student ministry that cares about relationship are taking the last train to ClearView Baptist Church.... ClearView's youth center is equipped with the latest high-tech gadgetry that appeals to the MTV generation.... The Station is outfitted with arcade games, foosball tables, multiple video play stations, more than 30 televisions that can accommodate DVD, VHS and PowerPoint presentations and satellite transmissions -- and the center has surround sound....

      "'It's really great,' said Daniel Childs, 15. 'We didn't know what to expect when they first told us about the room, but it's a lot of fun. It's easy to invite friends to church.'" See Re-Inventing the Church

        Paul Proctor says, "This church is right across town from The People's Church. I think the fact that the name of Jesus never appears in the article speaks volumes about what they're most proud of and interested in these days.


Three Sources of American Religious Renewal: "When old-line Protestant churches began experiencing membership losses in the mid-1960s, the primary cause of the decline was their failure to adapt to social and demographic changes. There was, however, no clear agreement on a path or paths to renewal....

       "The FACT data show that the expressive nature of contemporary and blended forms of worship have now made it to the east coast and even into some old-line churches. More importantly the data show that this style of worship—measured in the survey by the use of electronic instruments in worship—is positively related to membership growth across all Protestant families." 

       But is there a trade-off?  Are the "expressive" new worship and short, feel-good sermons designed to please God or the crowd and community? These conclusions don't tell us. See 1 Pet 4:3-4


High-tech's sway expands in church worship services: "'Churches, just like everybody else, are looking at the power of their communications,' Randal Lemke, executive director of an audiovisual industry group based in Fairfax, Va., told The Times. 'They've got young people coming up who are very visual. They're trying to use the same technology that people are using in businesses and in entertainment.''...

     "'Despite the excitement that surrounds the new technology, most churches agree that getting the message out is the goal, regardless of the medium. 'The message hasn't changed in 2,000 years,' Robert Scott, a sales manager with a design group that has worked on church systems around the country, told The Times. 'The way we deliver the message to our congregations -- that's what's changing.'"

      Remember Marshall McLuhan's famous slogan: "The medium is the message." For example, when hard rock becomes a medium for the gospel, the beat and the context blur the message. Or, when Harry Potter books become the medium for the message about good and evil, they replace the Biblical meaning of "good" with a cultural alternative. See the first item in Harry-Comments-4. Then read the next summary:


Marshall McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message": McLuhan both announces the existence of a global village, another word he is credited for coining, and predicts the intensification of the world community to its present expression. All of this was done in the early 1960s at a time when television was still in its infancy, and the personal computer was almost twenty years into the future....

     "On McLuhan's gravestone are the words 'The Truth Shall Make You Free.' ...  [H]is life was dedicated to showing men the truth about the world they live in, and the hidden consequences of the technologies he develops." Huxley's Brave New World


Teens Change Their Tune Regarding Self and Church: "...the Barna statistics show that the percentage of teens who are evangelicals - i.e., those who are not only born again but also believe in the accuracy of the Bible, personal responsibility to evangelize, believe in salvation by grace alone, and possess orthodox biblical views on God, Jesus and Satan - have declined from 10% in 1995 to just 4% today. This demise is attributable to growing numbers of teenagers who accept moral relativism and pluralistic theology as their faith foundation....

        "For more than a decade, teenagers have been among the most spiritually interested individuals in the nation. However, sensitivity to faith matters has not resulted in a boom in Christian conversions.... 'Teens do not go to youth groups for music and games, and they will not attend 'adult church' for music and preaching. They demand transcendent adventures and supportive relationships. They need an outlet for their desire to have a positive affect on the world...."  That may sound good, but the solution is managed "community service" with the sensitivity or "diversity training" needed to create solidarity. See Serving a Greater Whole


Fundamentalism’s Discernment: Where has it Gone? "The Scriptures here tell us that our senses or ability to discern between that which is right or wrong or good or evil comes as we not only are hearers of the Word of God but doers. Have we come to a time in fundamentalism when we are nothing more than hearers? Are we too busy with our lives to be doers of the Word of God? As I have often said and preached, the Word of God determines the answer and not us." Psalm 119:11


New Book Helps Christians Understand Postmodernism: "...a belief system largely defined by what it disregards, rather than what it affirms. Few Christians can identify it, much less understand how to approach a world defined by it.... Imagine a world in which logic and reason carry little weight compared to experience and feelings; history is not valued as something from which to learn; there are no universal truths; what is believable is more important than what is true; and the world doesn't need to make sense--in any sense. Welcome to the murky world of postmodernism....

     "The postmodernist is free to mix and match religious beliefs from many--even conflicting--belief systems, and at the same time, take none seriously.... 'If we simply say postmodernism is evil and we're going to fight it with all we can, our culture will move into this era without us,' Smith said. "By the time we finally say ‘OK, postmodernism is here,' it will have already shaped our culture. However, if we can be in on the discussion from the start, we don't have to be bystanders, we can actually be participants in shaping the new era.'" It's not that simple. Those who participate in today's dialogue may never even notice the compromise. Instead, they learn to "understand" postmodernity from the world's -- not God's -- perspective.  Chart: Postmodernity. Those who refuse to conform may soon face persecution. 2 Cor 2:14


Church Debates Relevancy, Message of Contemporary Christian Music: "There is a major debate and division in the Christian Church today over contemporary Christian music -- or CCM, as it is called. Some say the new style of Christian music is necessary to reach a generation of young people brought up on video games and MTV. But others in the Church have some concerns with the direction of CCM....

      "Darko Velichkovski of the former Republic of Yugoslavia... says there are some styles of music that cannot be mixed with God's Word. 'You cannot put the gospel to just any harmony, any beat, any rhythm,' he says. The clarinetist feels that the more Christians try and be like the world, the further they will go from the true spirit of the gospel....

      "'Anytime you get people that are unequally yoked in business or marriage or whatever, there's always going to be problems,' LeBlanc says. The debate over contemporary Christian music is deep and wide in churches across America. It is a debate that likely will not be settled any time soon." See Popular Music with Pagan Roots


'Christian Raves' Offer Right Beat for Young Clubgoers: "Beyond the distractions of drugs and promiscuity, here young people communicate their souls closer to God -- all while getting their groove on," said Jeff Stoltzfus, who opened Club Worship, a Christian rave nightclub in the Philadelphia area, two years ago. Becky Horning, 18, a regular at Zion Mennonite Church, added: '...Here [at Club Worship], I get my exercise and blessings from God at the same time.'...

    "Planet Jesus, a collection of DJs from Pennsylvania communities and College Park, Md., has thrown two since January. 'I truly believe that God can use this kind of music,' College Park DJ Erik Sellin, 29, said. 'I mean, God created music."...

    "'My friend and I used to go clubbing all over,' said Jacob Norotsky, 20, who recently brought 15 people from the youth group at Victory Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Souderton, Penn. 'We came to Club Worship about a year ago just to check it out. Now I'm a youth leader, I oversee three youth groups, and a buddy of mine is training to become a pastor. It changed my life.'" Chart: Postmodernity


New Coalition Announces First Steps Toward Broad U.S. Christian Alliance: "A group of church leaders has invited the nation's denominations and congregations to work toward a national alliance that - for the first time - would unite all sectors of U.S. Christianity. The new entity, tentatively called Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., has been under private discussion for two years....

     "The concept emerged from discussions two years ago in the National Council of Churches, an organization that includes denominations representing some 50 million 'mainline' Protestants, black Protestants and Orthodox.... In terms of doctrine, the invitation defines potential members as those who 'confess Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scriptures to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.' The invitation says the future organization's purpose would be to represent 'the full spectrum of Christians in the United States' and provide a stronger and united voice on 'matters critical to the gospel in our society' and 'crucial issues of human dignity and social justice.'" In the context of the NCC's social agenda and pluralistic perspective, the above "doctrine" no longer points to the Biblical gospel. Instead, the focus shifts to social service, and the cross becomes an embarrassing offense. See Statistics for the Changing Church and Conforming the Church to the New Millennium


"The Reconciliation Walk is a diverse network of Christians who desire to fulfill the biblical mandate for reconciliation and peace. Our emphasis is on restoring relationships across boundaries of civilization, nation, and culture, by addressing the mythologies and stereotypes that breed enmity. By bringing people together at the grassroots, we wish to emphasize our common humanity. We resist characterizations of others that are dehumanizing, especially abstract labels that appear to remove others from membership in their God-given human family. We believe that each life is as valuable as the next, no matter on what side of the border the person was born. We believe that God is most highly glorified in man’s humility, and that the cornerstone of humility is esteem for others." 

     See apostasy. Susan Conway (Redefining Church & Missions) says: "There seems to be a tone on this site which focuses on an oppressive type of Christian witness, and denigrates the many who have gone into areas of the world to live and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in love along with teaching the Bible."


Global Leadership Team Meeting 2001 Minutes (edited version by Lynn Green): "Reconciliation procedures for YWAM International....  The YWAM Christian Growth Study Bible is to be republished, as reported by Lynn Green." Luke 12:51


 Let's Make Waves! "A new anointing for doing what YWAM has been called into existence for - that is the main goal of the Festival of the Nations... 'Our business is making waves,' added Jeff Fountain, explaining that the apostolic calling meant changing the status quo, sending waves of change through church and society. 'We are called to do new things in new ways, and if ever there was a time when the church needed to do things in new ways, it was now, at the start of this new millennium,' he said.....

     "Plenary speakers will include Loren and Dar Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Frank Naea, Mark Anderson, Tom Sine.... Informal evening receptions in the various hotels will give opportunity for YWAMers to meet senior leaders, including ... Lynn Green, initiator of the Reconciliation Walk...." When global leaders shift the foundations of Christianity from the Biblical Christ and His guidelines to a human vision of pluralistic unity, churches become part of the growing apostasy. See Conforming the Church to the New Millennium and Col 2:8.


What is Wrong with Drama? "Gospel communication must be in words addressed to the mind. It requires rational speech, whether uttered in a large building or in a home gathering. Proclamational methods - particularly preaching - are under attack today in evangelical circles. The latest church growth books nearly all sweep away the primacy of preaching, and what preaching is left makes slender use of the Word of God as a divinely provided source and model. The promoters of so-called 'seeker services', though they use a measure of preaching, tend to see it as only a component in an elaborate mix of methods....

     "When we proclaim the cross of Christ we have much to do. We must present the need for the cross, the holiness of God, the Fall of man, the person of Christ, and what really happened on that cross. We must also expose the emptiness and futility of life without God, the benefits of salvation, the exclusive saving merits of the cross, and the tragedy of a lost eternity. But only words can adequately explain these matters to rational minds, informing them of the details and challenging attitudes in a way that the Holy Spirit can use." See next item:


The new Jesus and a love called tolerance: "There's a new Jesus in town and he brings with him a NEW gospel message. It is a message that teaches a permissive kind of love...a love called 'tolerance'...a love that hears no evil, sees no evil and frankly never brings evil up for discussion lest the offenders become the offended.

     "Discussing the evil in our world, that is the sinful nature of man, is a risky venture nowadays, especially for any Christian or church seeking to be loved and accepted BY that world. But then that's not really the great commission, is it...that you and I go out into the world and seek its love and acceptance in the name of Jesus? No, the bible assures us that because of Christ the world will hate us.

     "You see the great commission involves a good news/bad news kind of message. To preach repentance we have to make perfectly clear what it is God expects man to repent of. We can no longer assume that the lost know they are sinners, especially among today's adolescents who are growing up in an increasingly scripture-free environment. Yet, more often than not, that is exactly what we do. We forget that today's young are coming of age in a much different world than most of us did...a country where biblical instruction like the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount have been strategically replaced with a multicultural value system. Multiculturalism basically means almost anything and everything is permissible." Psalm 50:21


Eight Characteristics of a Healthy Church: "Empowering Leadership... Gift-oriented Ministry...Passionate Spirituality... Functional Structures... Inspiring Worship... Holistic Small Groups... Need-Oriented Evangelism... Loving Relationships... Isn’t that a wonderful picture? Wouldn’t everyone want to be part of a such a community, contributing to its life and growth?"

      No! This model for church growth and feel good marketing shows no appreciation for solid Biblical teaching -- the real foundation for knowing and following God. See Re-Inventing the Church.

Some churches taking different approach to Easter service: "...Other ministers say the telling of the Easter story has to be grounded in 21st-century forms of communication. Just as we are no longer a society that sits around listening to radio broadcasts, church services must reflect the ways people get information. 'We've discovered that a lot of people don't see how the Christian message is relevant to their lives,' said Steve Dycus, associate pastor of the People's Church in Franklin. 'We found it's very common for individuals today to come out of an experience where they've been to a Titans game or TPAC or Thoroughbred 20. That's why we've elected to use creative means to make that message relevant.' ...

      "The Rev. Don Choi of Unity Baptist Church will preside over an interdenominational sunrise service for Nashville-area Koreans. It will include only a sermon and readings from the Scriptures, he said. 'For all pastors, I think it's the challenge of making Jesus' spirit come alive each year, and how you do that is up to you,' Choi said. 'For us, it is most difficult to win our children to Christ in this country. Young people question their parents more here, and they question what's in the Bible. That's a new experience for us. I am looking for new data and methods to tell the story to win them.''' Rom 12:2 and The People's Church


 'Jesus, the hippy friend of Hendrix' angers Catholics: "A book designed to take a light-hearted look at the life of Jesus by portraying him as a hippy who accomplished miracles after breathing in incense has caused a wave of protest in Austria and Germany. ....

      [But] "Christoph Niemand, professor of the New Testament at the Theological University in Linz, said he didn't see a problem with the book because controversial pictures of Jesus have always been in existence. He said: 'I get the impression that this new book is not terribly profound or provoking from a theological point of view but it rather presents an overall modern-day, accessible picture of Jesus.'" 

      “...and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” Mark 10:34

Church flextime: Selling out or saving world? "As South Church in Andover, Mass., was debating when to hold an alternative worship service, the question wasn't which day is holy. Instead it was: When do people have nothing else to do? A market survey gave them an answer: 5 p.m. Saturday. 'It integrates nicely into the normal schedule, after the day's activities and before dinner,' says Tom Jones, a member who helps plan the United Church of Christ service. With sports leagues and other things competing for weekend time, he says, 'there's nothing sacred about Sunday morning anymore.'" Rev 3:15


They Say It's Just a Phase: "...the postmodern transition unleashed by philosophers as far back as Kierkegaard and Neitsche could go either way.... If we people of faith in Christ would arouse ourselves at this critical moment, and engage ourselves for the next hundred years with rare passion and purpose during this time of transition, the world of 3,000 AD could be a vastly different and better place....

     "Instead of being obsessed by analysis (the breaking down of wholes into parts, or effects into causes), we can explore synthesis and systems thinking.... True, we have lost our modern sense of control, power, and certainty in this transition. But since the fruits of control, power, and certainty (from paving over wetlands -- because we were sure that parking lots were better than swamps, to ethnic cleansings -- since we were sure that our people were better than theirs) haven't been entirely salutary, maybe there's something better than control, power, and certainty out there...."

      The ambiguous postmodern promises may sound good, but they demand a new way of seeing and adapting God's unchanging truth. No matter what postmodern leaders tell us, God's Word offers certainty, and we would be fools to change it.  Psalm 119:11

The Apostate Church (Part III): Redefining Evangelism: "In a recent article from the Charisma News Service, Andy Butcher reported the following: 'With more Americans dismissing the relevance of traditional Christianity to their lives, a growing number of church leaders are saying that it is time for a major change in the way believers try to share their faith....' 

      "The Hegelian Dialectic is no longer limited to Willow Creek or Saddleback membership. I can tell you from many hours of research that it is running rampant across every denomination in America from mega-churches to country churches transforming mainstream Christendom into a culture club of coddled consumers. Facts are out. Feelings are in. We don't want teachers with information! We want facilitators with affirmation!"  2 Thess 2:1-3

Churches Need to Redefine Evangelism, New Movement Says: "With more Americans dismissing the relevance of traditional Christianity to their lives, a growing number of church leaders are saying that it is time for a major change in the way believers try to share their faith....'The unchurched do want to talk to a Christian, but they don't want to be talked at.'

    "OTM promotes evangelism as simply 'Christians connecting with non-Christians,' and documents stories of what it calls Ordinary Attempts in which small acts of friendship can lead to opportunities to talk about faith....Now rather than being 'targets,' non-Christians are 'fellow brothers and sisters," he said. 'I no longer count conversions, rather I count conversations.'" Col 2:8


The Apostate Church (Part II): "Is your faith in the Living Word of God or is it in one of the Christian organizations, programs, movements, bands, activities and events that have become so essential to today's 'seekers'? ...

     I'm not talking about forsaking good Christian fellowship or becoming a societal outcast for Christ..... I'm talking about becoming addicted to the emotional trappings, psychological maneuvering and sensual seduction of an Apostate Church that empowers itself and its leaders through the egos and appetites of those they claim to serve. Jesus warned us to beware of the wide gate and the broad way where so many would go to destruction. If you'll recall He didn't tell the rich young ruler to take up the cross and follow US. He said "take up the cross and follow ME". That means there will be times when Jesus will be the only company we have down the road of adversity. But, if our faith rests in Him, He's all we'll need for the journey." 2 Tim 4:3-4

Dealing With Mega-changes: Churches On the Cutting Edge of Global Mission: "In the area of intellectual and cultural changes, Stanley Grenz points out the move from Modernity to Postmodernity and how Evangelicals should take the opportunities inherent in this shift. ... In the field of training and equipping new global mission personnel, J. Allen Thompson challenges us to produce competent global church planters by changing our training models from the acquisition to the developmental view of learning.... Donald Posterski even challenges us to reinvent our evangelistic approaches and strategies in a globalizing world." The Global Church

Christian schlock: "At Jesus Java, you'd be able to get Christian coffee: Salvation Sumatra, Anointed Arabica, and Faithful French Roast. You could get your favorite espresso drinks as well: Mind-of-Christ Mochas, Love-Your-Neighbor Lattes, and, if you weren't in the mood for coffee, you could always try our Charity Chai. ...Worse, however, Christians do a disservice to their own faith when they use the name of their savior to peddle schlock." Psalm 50:21


An atheist teaches Sunday school: " leaders thought that if they were going to do justice to their mission statement they needed to bring an atheist in to teach their youth group. With that in mind, they thought of Stuart Bechman-Besamo, a former Methodist who abandoned the church while still in high school....Stuart said 'If they know a person who is an atheist ... they won't have any negative preconceptions about atheism. If they find their beliefs head that way, they won't feel like an outcast, that something is wrong with them. I consider this process similar to what gay individuals go through.' Despite that depressing statement, the church's pastor told the Los Angeles Times that Stuart is the sort of person his church wants. He's 'a caring, bright, perceptive, inclusive kind of person who has a strong sense of justice ... " Judges 17:6

Genesis 2K - Now the Generation: (Northwest Revival Network) "Christianity is currently experiencing the most convulsive, unsettled moment of change since the birth of the Church more than two thousand years ago. No generation has witnessed the vast and accelerated alteration of systems that our generation is undergoing. Surely, we are that generation 'upon whom the ends of the world are come' (1 Cor.10:11)....

      "In May of 1996 I was flying to Pasadena, California to attend the National Symposium on the Post-denominational Church when God suddenly interrupted me with these words: 'The current structure of the church will not accommodate what I am about to do; take it down.'... 

      "Because of our ineffectiveness, we build a theology to accommodate our failure. We claim that 'evil must increase.' We dogmatically state that 'darkness will increase until there’s almost no light left in the earth.' How do these statements square with the Bible statement that 'the whole earth is filled with God’s glory?'

      "Contrary to the pitiful preaching of some, God is not going to send Jesus to rescue a defeated, discouraged, desolate Bride. The church Jesus is returning for is a church of power, of purity and of purpose - a church that is transforming the earth, destroying evil, and conquering strongholds with His love, mercy and grace."

      Do you see the strange postmodern blend of truth and error? True, Jesus will not rescue a defeated, discouraged and desolate Bride. The true Bride, who finds her Life in her resurrected Bridegroom, will be victorious in the midst of persecution, hopeful while suffering, joyful though hated by the world. This Bride, the pure and faithful remnant of the true Church, will indeed be full of grace, mercy, love and peace. She will not defeat evil, for evil will continue to drive the world system and the growing apostate church until its ruler is silenced by Christ, not by the Church. But the evil one (Satan, not bin Laden) can never defeat the Bride whose eyes are on her King and whose heart is full of hope. apostasy and America's Spiritual Slide


The Apostate Church a Sensory Circus: "You see my is one's faith that should stir one's feelings and the Word of God that should stir one's faith, not the other way around. If your faith becomes dependent upon feelings and emotions triggered by the stimuli of some staged event, (music, skits, humor, romantic stories, sentimentality, tears and the excitement of being with crowds and celebrities) then emotion will always lead the way in your Christian walk. This excludes the Word of God, deafens the conscience to the Voice of the Holy Spirit and opens the door to all kinds of satanic deception." Col 2:8


Reaching new heights 12,000 new churches open in China: "In the 1950s the 'three-self movement' emerged as Protestant churches struggled for survival. 'Three-self' refers to self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating--all to be done without overseas leadership, influence or financing. Three-self churches are registered with the government. So-called 'house churches' also are common and not usually registered. ...

     "'We are proud of being a post-denominational church, but we are struggling with the problems of restructuring the church....'" See Communist Strategies Enforce Solidarity


Chinese bishop reflects on the future of the church in his country: "China's last Anglican bishop, K.H. Ting... has seen the most important developments in the life of the Chinese Christian church--and he has some deep concerns about its future....  The key to maintaining unity is an attitude of mutual respect in matters of faith and worship.... 'We are paying a heavy price in order to maintain the present unity,' he said. 'Many things are being omitted in our church life in order to be mutually respective. In building up our theological life and thinking we are trying to emphasize that we all need more diversity...." See Conforming the Church to the New Millennium

Perspective on Postmodernism  - Reality in Paradigm: "We believe that the different strands of thought represented in postmodernism have something to contribute to the church. Thinkers like... Thomas Kuhn help us to understand that language is symbolic and that we hold reality in our minds in paradigm. Our grasp of what is real is not always - if ever - complete....

      "Truth in Community. Other writers such as Richard Rorty can help the church to appreciate that truth is best discerned in the context of community...." To understand the postmodern emphasis on a managed community and collective thinking, see the first item in The Postmodern Church, the chart Postmodernity and some excerpts about Thomas Kuhn from "The Aquarian Conspiracy."


Reaching new heights 12,000 new churches open in China: "In the 1950s the 'three-self movement' emerged as Protestant churches struggled for survival. 'Three-self' refers to self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating--all to be done without overseas leadership, influence or financing. Three-self churches are registered with the government. So-called 'house churches' also are common and not usually registered. ...

     "'We are proud of being a post-denominational church, but we are struggling with the problems of restructuring the church, training enough qualified leaders and managing in a democratic way. We are excited about the modernization and socialist market economy, but we are threatened by commercialism and worried about corruption. We will stand firmly on our selfhood, but we don't want to be isolated as we were before.'" See Communist Strategies Enforce Solidarity


Epicenter-Tribal Generation: "On top of this, Mal leads Tribal Generation in UK and Tribal Training in 3 centers including Dublin. What people do not know about Mal is this: That Mal drives a funky Fiat Multipla - a bloated 6-seater mutant car with headlights mounted high near the windscreen, like someone rolling back their eyes. This car of his, and the fact that Mal's office in up in the bell-tower like Quasimodo, makes Mal a very cool person and someone you need to meet in Austin. The web site, which is ground zero for the Tribal Generation movement, is becoming THE place for the whole world to connect and is definitely worth a trip to check out if you havent yet done so. ...

     "Trevor has been ministering among punks, goths, industrials, riot girrls, ravers, skinheads and Canadians. Not that Canadians are to be linked with extreme postmodern subcultures - its just that he lives there. His leadership extends over a network of similar ministries all over Canada and United States called Underground Railroad." We need to reach out to the postmodern generation, but we can't conform to its values -- or the cross becomes meaningless.


President's Pastor-Friend Seeks 'Community Salvation': "'s the role of the church to cast God's preferred future for this community, and make sure folk have what they need to accomplish that vision -- be it faith, hope, grace, etc.," [UMC Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell] says....    Caldwell's vision for 'community salvation' was born out of his childhood in a poor Houston neighborhood. He believes that Western culture has divorced people from the biblical concept of community.... 

       "Caldwell's development work caught the eye of then-Gov. George W. Bush. Their friendship continued after Bush ascended to the White House. Caldwell describes himself as 'just one of the people who prays with the president,' but he was invited to give the benediction at the presidential inauguration, and was also asked to pray at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Caldwell also accompanied the president on his first visit to Ground Zero after the attacks." See other illustrations of The Postmodern Church

Leadership Network: "The ministry of Windsor Village and Kirbyjon Caldwell is one of the shining examples of how ministry will be conducted in the 21st century. Their commitment to discipling the whole person for ministry and everyday life is exceptional. Their understanding of how to transform both the person and the city is phenomenal." See Church Networks and Reinventing the World

American Faith is Diverse: "The findings suggest that many Americans have developed a form of faith that is comforting but only vaguely Bible - related while the stereotypical, Bible-based Christian faith is more of an anomaly than it is typical."  See Statistics for the Changing Church


The Cathedral of Faith. "A graduate of Oral Roberts University, [Ken Foreman, Senior Pastor at the Cathedral of Faith] is presently serving as a member of the Convening Council for the Post denominational Church Symposium headed by Peter Wagner. Pastor Ken also serves on the Pastoral Advisory Board of Western Theological Seminary."

The Protestant Church in China: " was during the Cultural Revolution that the identity and nature of the church in China underwent a profound change. Rev. Gao Ying, professor at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary...says, 'It took the Cultural Revolution for us to discover strengths in our weakness. God did indeed lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.' Li En-Lin is now associate general secretary of Amity Foundation, the social services arm of the China Christian Council, and a member of the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Asia Regional Group. ... she now speaks as one of 15 million Christians in a socialist state. ...

    "Post-denominationalism and the China Christian Council (CCC). "...It is not -- yet -- one united church, but we no longer have any denominations. CCC stands somewhere between a national council of churches and the one united church." ... Central to this process of building a distinctive Chinese identity was the foundation of the 'Three-Self' movement in 1950. Standing for 'self-support, self-governance and self-propagation', Three-Self was a key to the Chinese Christian community establishing a protestant church understood in the Chinese context and ending a reliance on foreign financial assistance, leadership, and evangelism. ...

     "Evangelism and religious freedom. The building of trust, and respecting the country and its culture are important themes evoked by members of the China Christian Council. They note especially that religious freedom still means that you need to follow a country’s regulations. "If we follow the constitution and the law,' Dr Su states, 'we have religious freedom.' Not true. When the government bans certain truths and forbids teaching on Christ's return, Christians are not free. That's why uncompromising Christians risk their physical lives to join the underground church.  Luke 6:22-23 and The Global Church and the next item, which reminds us that the same apostasy is changing the church in America.


Hegelian Dialectic & the New World Order: [Long, but a useful summary of the new way of thinking] "The Hegelian Dialectic or 'Consensus Process' is a 200 year-old, three-step process of 'thesis, antithesis and synthesis'...  that results in what we now know as 'group-think'. It is a system Dean Gotcher calls 'Praxis' that Socialists have used for centuries to seduce, seize and control mass populations without warfare. It is also in full operation here in the United States under such names as: 'Outcome Based Education', 'Goals 2000', 'Sustainable Development', 'School To Work', 'DARE' and many more. It's all about embracing 'tolerance, diversity and unity' for The New World Order." [See Brainwashing in America and Reinventing the World]

     "Here's how it works: A group gathers, and has agreed beforehand that each in attendance will ultimately surrender his or her own personal position on any given issue to the will or 'consensus' of the group after *processing to consensus* through dialog. In a Christian setting, the presupposition is that the group's will determines 'the will of God'. The group's 'facilitator', whoever that may be, mediates between sides, be they 'good and evil', 'for and against', 'republican and democrat', 'liberal and conservative'.... The resulting outcome or *consensus* is then re-introduced if necessary, at the next meeting for more 'Praxis', more dialog and more compromise until another 'consensus' is reached. Then the 'process' repeats....

     "Over time, the convictions and concerns anyone may have had originally are processed away beyond recognition.... It's no longer a question of what is right or wrong, good or bad, lawful or unlawful, but rather HOW WE ALL FEEL ABOUT absolutes, no conscience, no convictions... only consensus.... 2 Tim 4:3-4

     "Theirs is a selective morality...  Instead of accepting God's way as Holy and the world's way as sinful, they busy themselves endeavoring to make everyone else at church exactly like them through the micromanaging and peer pressure of accountability groups while re-defining for those outside the church what being a Christian really is....

       "Here's what Jesus says about diversity: 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.' (John 14:6)  Here's what He says about unity: 'Suppose ye that I come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.'" (Luke 12:51)  See The Global Church


Celebrating Halloween (Click on "articles" and find this strange message from a man who ministers to Christian youth and churches across the country): "Halloween is the symbolic observance of Christ's victory over Satan. The enemy was completely defeated by the work of our Lord upon the cross. Therefore Christians in years past felt free to mock the Devil by portraying him in a variety of costumes (a practice which I do not wholly endorse). The practice of children dressing up as devilish characters then was not for the purpose of promoting evil, but rather that of making fun of Satan's failure and defeat at Calvary." See Modern vs. postmodern and the next link.

January 2002

American Faith is Diverse: "The growing diversity of American culture can be clearly seen in the changing nature of people's faith, according to a new study by the Barna Research Group.... Based on interviews with more than 4000 adults across the nation, the report suggests that there are at least five major and distinctive faith groups in America today - three of which are generally thought of as 'Christian' but each of which is unique from the others in significant ways. The findings suggest that many Americans have developed a form of faith that is comforting but only vaguely Bible - related while the stereotypical, Bible-based Christian faith is more of an anomaly than it is typical."  See Statistics for the Changing Church and Modern vs. postmodern


Seven Questions: "What do you see as the top three elements of community in a postmodern age?" Stanley Gerz, "a fellow with the Henry Luce Fellowship in Theology" and a professor at Regent College ("home" of Eugene Peterson), Vancouver, answers from inside the movement:

      "'Community' is, of course, a postmodern buzzword, and a term that I have used extensively in my own writings. Postmodern people do indeed 'crave' community, but unfortunately they so often settle for 'lifestyle enclaves,' largely because the only way they know how to relate to others is as 'consumers.'...True 'community" emerges when people find themselves connected to a group which functions as a community of memory (i.e., that tells its past narrative) and a community of hope (i.e., that anticipates a glorious future). This, in turn, leads to the kind of on-going fellowship that we all so strongly desire. Naturally, as a Christian I am convinced that only the community of Christ can ultimately serve as a true community in this manner and therefore foster true fellowship."

      Perhaps Getz's "community" refers to the fellowship unique to those who have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the cross, but the grant from the Henry Luce Foundation requires a far more ecumenical, inter-faith or pluralistic view -- one that bridges the spiritual divisions in a community. His comment about "memory" matches the vision of "community" touted by former President Clinton and by UNESCO. The latter would limit cultural "memories" to those that fit their vision. See The Memory of the World and Conforming the Church to the New Millennium and another Henry Luce Foundation winner below:


Contemporary theologist to speak at Bates: "Diana L. Eck, award-winning author ... is a member of the international presidium of the World Conference on Religion and Peace and has worked closely with the World Council of Churches to improve interreligious relations and dialogue. In 1995, she was awarded the Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology for her work on the book "Multireligious America: New Challenges for American Pluralism." Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, has documented the growing presence of the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian communities in the United States. Her research has been published on an interactive, multimedia CD-ROM titled, "On Common Ground: World Religions in America." See The Freedom Forum: Twisting Truth by Group Consensus


Postmodernism and Philosophy: "The Gospel & Our Culture Network... is a network of Christian scholars, pastors, and church leaders who attempt to look at North American culture from the perspective of the Christian gospel.... The Network has formed out of an awareness that the role of the church, and of Christianity in general, is changing dramatically in North American culture. Old paradigms are breaking down, and we need to explore fresh visions for what it means to be the church, and what it means to bear witness in our rapidly changing situation. ... What are appropriate Christian analyses of modernity, post-modernity, pluralism and the other forces which are sweeping through our culture?" See The Global Church


Delights and Dangers of Navigating the Postmodern currents: "The prevailing ethos of an age provides a lens through which even the most conscientious and diligent Christian interprets the Divine. During a transitional period, when a new ethos and thought challenges the prominent mode, it benefits the Christian to consider both how and if the new thinking helpfully adjusts his or her mindset ..."  

       [Conform Scripture and our minds to these unbiblical changes? Only at the risk of distorting truth, re-inventing God and allowing the new human philosophies and thought process to strip away the meaning of the cross, sanctification and closeness to God.]

      What then is postmodernism? There is no one authoritative thinker who by his or her work encompasses the entire breadth of postmodern reflection. But some summary comments can be made that move us toward a better understanding. We will focus on just three strands of postmodern thought: the inadequacy of language and paradigms, the way that paradigms serve oppression, and truth in community." See Paradigm Shift

The Changing church. Danger lies in ignorance of postmodernism, journal says: "Should Christians be concerned about postmodernism? For that matter, what is postmodernism? ... The journal's writers argue that postmodernism -- the belief that there is no absolute truth and that all individuals construct their own meaning -- poses a great threat to the Christian church. Postmodernists generally believe that all religions are equal and that morality is relative....

      "'We must note immediately ... the danger that lurks when we choose to neglect a deviant philosophy, especially when the philosophy is gaining ground in the culture,' writes Schreiner, professor of New Testament. 'We may piously claim to be preaching the Gospel, while in fact we are in the process of being co-opted by the very philosophy that we have supposedly avoided. Our ignorance may become the platform by which we are subverted.'

        "Noting that everyone is influenced by the culture, Schreiner points out that many orthodox [or traditional] Christian beliefs were defined when the early church had to answer various heresies. 'A pastor who knows nothing about heresy probably has a very shallow understanding of orthodoxy,' Schreiner writes. 'Those who are in the dark about postmodernism may find themselves clutched by its tentacles.' See The Global Church

     "Although this article brings up a very important issue for the church," says Paul Proctor, "I was absolutely stunned by the title of a sermon that is included in a journal they offer: "What Did Jesus Believe About the Bible?" The sheer depth of ignorance and/or dialectic deception in that question is almost beyond belief."  Col 2:8 


The Changing Church. Postmodernism and Philosophy: "The Gospel & Our Culture Network... is a network of Christian scholars, pastors, and church leaders who attempt to look at North American culture from the perspective of the Christian gospel.... The Network has formed out of an awareness that the role of the church, and of Christianity in general, is changing dramatically in North American culture. Old paradigms are breaking down, and we need to explore fresh visions for what it means to be the church, and what it means to bear witness in our rapidly changing situation. ... What are appropriate Christian analyses of modernity, post-modernity, pluralism and the other forces which are sweeping through our culture?" See The Global Church


The next two articles give additional glimpses into the postmodern church. In today's fast changing world, Christians need to understand the human philosophies that are transforming churches around the world. Col 2:8


Postmodern church. Christian discipleship in Postmodernity: Toward a praxis of spiritual friendship: "A good bit of ink has been spilled over the questions surrounding postmodernism’s impact on the church and her theologian’s reaction to postmodernism. What has not been addressed as extensively --- beyond the topic of evangelism --- are the practical implications for Christian discipleship that the community of faith might garner from the legitimate insights of postmodern thinkers. One of the strands of postmodern reflection worth considering in this connection is the importance of community and relationships in establishing truth. ...

       "When we believe in another Christian, we are actually believing in God’s work within that Christian. She is a new creature and is being daily renewed in knowledge in the image of her Creator...."  [Maybe, maybe not. While God calls us to such renewal, it cannot happen in a cultural climate where human relationships become more important than God's absolute truth and guidelines. Rom 12:2, 9]

       "Our confidence in the other person is abundantly warranted because our trust is placed in the Spirit working in that person, relentlessly driving them toward more and more Christlikeness. There are few things more powerful than when Christian has faith in Christian."

      Jesus would not put His trust in people or human relationships, "for He for He knew what was in man." He saw the weakness of our human nature and saw how easily we can be deceived. The apostle Paul agreed: "For we ... rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Phil 3:3


The Changing Church. C. S. Lewis Among the Postmodernists: "Lewis... goes on to examine the way in which any world-view, including modern ones, can be said to be 'true.'... He also shows that the predominant evolutionary model of the nineteenth century was already widespread before Darwin's discoveries lent empirical weight to the paradigm. Lewis concludes that 'no model is a catalogue of ultimate realities, and none is a mere fantasy. Each is a serious attempt to get in all the phenomena known at a given period ... each reflects the prevalent psychology of an age almost as much as it reflects the state of that age's knowledge….

      "It is not impossible that our own Model will die a violent death," said Lewis. "But I think it is more likely to change when, and because, far-reaching changes in the mental temper of our descendants demand that it should." ...

     "Lewis stresses the undecidability of many of the great questions we would like to pose."

        These excerpts -- referring to what Lewis wrote long after he supposedly became a Christian -- sound more like postmodern speculations than Biblical certainty or hope. Yet, keep in mind, they are only short glimpses from a long, scholarly article. See Lord of the Rings: Truth, Myth or 'Discovered Reality'? and skip down to C.S. Lewis. 

God’s design and pattern for the N.T. church (scroll to this heading): "The 2 winged church - cells and cell-ebration: *Celebration – greatness, corporate anointing, excitement, momentum, preaching and equipping, corporate praise and worship, vision, direction, etc.  *Cells – intimacy, vulnerability, accountability, personal attention, discipleship and mentoring, make friends, participate and contribute, exercise gifts, love and be loved, share deeply etc. *It’s not one or the other – we need both! (Balance) ... *Jesus had a cell – the Twelve - and had a triplet...."  This unbiblical description of the New Testament Church outlines one of the more popular patterns for the global church. Cells and celebration may sound loving and feel good, but -- since it uses the consensus process to build group unity, it shifts individuals from God's unchanging Word to a group consensus led by a facilitator trained in the dialectic process. See The Global Church and Part 4: The Open Church

"Quality Management" for the Church: Involve Everybody Who Cares: "... building participation is not optional. As leaders, we have no choice but to figure out how to invite in everybody who is going to be affected by change. Those we fail to invite into the creation process will surely and always show up as resistors and saboteurs. But I haven't become insistent on broad-based participation just to avoid resistance, or to get people to support my efforts. I've learned that I'm not smart enough to design anything for the whole system. None of us these days can know what will work inside the dense networks we call organizations. We can't see what's meaningful to people, or even understand how they get their work done. We have no option but to ask them into the design process." See The Global Church


Organizational Learning Ventures - Helping church leaders transition from the present to the future: "The convergence of three shifts in culture has combined to provide a new opportunity for effective [church] organizational and staff development in the 21st century. [1] Over the past three decades, the US culture has moved from one of observation to participation, from involvement to experience. [2] A second shift is from training to learning, for a one-time transfer of information based on a classroom model to a life long process of discovery and learning that is interactive...... [3] A final shift is from individual learning to collaborative learning or shared leaning in the context of a team."  This shift in from facts to feeling or experience -- and from individual to group our collective learning -- parallels UNESCO's global education system. See Molding Human Resources for a Global Workforce

11-18   "Through all of the statements, reactions, retractions, and general hubbub, has anyone seriously asked the question of what God's Word has to say about God? If they have, how many have taken the time to look beyond those attributes of God and those verses describing his character and will which conform to their own preferences? Are we willing to allow God to speak for himself and define himself, or will we continue to insist upon creating him in our own image? ...As creatures of his making, we are never free to assume anything about his character and nature which he has not revealed to us explicitly in his Word. Nor do we have the prerogative to pick and choose which parts of his Word we will allow to inform our understanding of God and his works. It is of the utmost importance that we -

  • take his Word in its entirety seriously,

  • submit to its authority absolutely, and

  • allow it to govern our thinking exhaustively.

 God's Providence in the Presence of Evil by Steve Watkins

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