The No Goofy Zone Discernment Ministry

The No Goofy Zone is a discernment ministry for saved born again Christians and all who are seeking the truth.We expose non-biblical trends in the church. We are making material available to advance understanding of issue's which endanger Christianity. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit.

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Location: Piqua, Ohio, United States

Former drummer for Gary Lewis and The Playboys and The Coasters. Tim has also played with Paul Baloche, Lincoln Brewster, Darlene Zscech and Hillsongs, Jeff Fenholt, SteveCamp among others. Tim founded The Simply Agape Project in 2001 to get free Christian music to the troops. Recordings have been made with Tim, and friends Alex Acuna, Abe Laboriel SR, Justo Almario,Steve Camp , Jared Ming and some wonderful Independant Christian artists.The Somebody Brave CD also features words of encouragment to the soldiers from Pastors, Moms, Dads, and Lt Col Brian Birdwell a Pentegon 9/11 survivor Tim is married to Donna Wirth and has four children Alan 25,Steven 23, Brittany 22, Bethany 21. Tim has played in numerous churchs as well as shows on TBN. Tim has also performed on JCTV on the show Generation Worship featuring worship leader Jared Ming. Tim has a book published worldwide titled "Pass The Plate And Let Us Prey" (My Search For Black and White Christianity in a Gray Nation)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Very good article by my brother in the Lord Paul Proctor


By Paul Proctor

January 16, 2008

Something strange happened a couple of years ago in the music business here in Nashville. At the peak of his career, a country music superstar went into his producer's studio to record a CD full of songs that he had pulled from a Baptist Hymnal, mostly because his mother had been requesting it for years.

According to Alan Jackson's wife, Denise, who recently authored a book titled It's All About Him, chronicling their once-troubled marriage, and how the Lord had miraculously reunited them after a difficult separation, recounted how he finally kept his promise to record that Gospel CD - and upon completion, surprised his mother with it one Christmas morning.

It was a very simple and sparsely produced project - just something special for his momma. In fact, the cover photo for it was provided by Alan himself - nothing more than a distant shot of him sitting on the steps of an old country church with his guitar. It was an understated work by an understated man.

Denise had this to say about it in her book:

We made additional copies of Alan's Gospel CD and gave them to extended family and friends. Then, to our surprise, the record label executives decided that our little family CD needed to be released commercially. It was an odd decision. The album wasn't slick or professional. The label wasn't planning to promote it. And they knew that the country radio stations wouldn't play it. In other words, releasing it made no commercial sense. But they did it anyway.
To everyone's surprise, the Precious Memories CD shot up the charts and stayed there. Released in February 2006, it spent twelve of its first nineteen weeks at the top of the Country, Christian and Gospel sales charts. It was the first Gospel album ever to debut at #1 on the Country music charts.

Long story, short - it went platinum.

She went on to quote Reuters News Service as saying, "Sometimes it's the simplest, purest, creative expressions that resonate most powerfully with consumers."

I couldn't agree more. And so it is with the Gospel of Christ - a pure yet powerful expression of Divine love that's so simple a child could understand.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

But the strangest thing of all about the hymns Alan sang is that you hardly ever hear them inside a church anymore. For many of us, they've truly become precious memories.

Why do you suppose that is?

Could it be there's too much theology in them - too much humility and holiness - and not enough sensuality and groove for today's "Christian" consumer who fancies rhythm and romance over reverence and repentance?

That said, isn't it ironic that folks outside the sanctuary can't get enough of them?

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." - Colossians 3:16

© 2008 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved

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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print

Friday, January 11, 2008

Great article on the Emergent Church

Sent to me by Bud Press here is a great article by Roger Moran-

The Emerging Church movement calls for biblical scrutiny by Missourians
By Roger Moran
Missouri Baptists had their first significant encounter with the “Emerging Church” in December 2005 when former Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard recommended a $200,000 loan to a new church plant in St. Louis, called The Journey. The loan was to “help facilitate a church planting center in St. Louis.” But the Executive Board, which approved the loan, was unaware of the issues surrounding The Journey. Soon, an intense debate over such issues as alcohol and the Emerging Church would ensue.

By the July 2006 board meeting, then-MBC President Ralph Sawyer requested that the board’s church plant workgroup investigate and report on mounting concerns regarding alcohol use among some church plants. The workgroup issued their report in August 2006 finding no evidence of alcohol-related issues at The Journey or among MBC church plants.

By the 2006 annual meeting of the Convention, Clippard declared in his executive director’s address that the Journey’s pastor, Darrin Patrick, was a modern-day Caleb and portrayed The Journey as a church plant model.

But by the December 2006 Executive Board meeting, everything changed: it was discovered that there were significant alcohol-related issues and that The Journey had a bar-room ministry in a St. Louis micro brewery for nearly two years called “Theology at the Bottleworks.” An advertisement for the bar-room meeting on The Journey’s website encouraged attendees to “grab a brew [and] give your view.” The Journey’s mission pastor stated on the church website that he and his wife enjoyed having drinks “at the almost secret bar beneath Brennan’s on the Central West End.” As recently as June 2007, The Journey’s website advertised the event stating: “This large and lively discussion combines cold beer and hot conversation on the relevant issues of our times.”

By January 2007, the St. Louis Post Dispatch published on the front page of the Sunday edition a story with the headline, “Beer and the Bible, it works for one growing St. Louis church. But it’s got Missouri Baptists hopping mad.” On March 4th, The Journey was featured on NBC’s “Today Show” in a report entitled, “Beer and Bibles: New Churches Lure Young Members.”

Acts 29 Network
But the issues surrounding The Journey were much more significant than just a bar-room ministry. It was also discovered that Patrick serves as vice president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, a group of young, Emerging Church planters that plant likeminded churches across the United States, many of which are Southern Baptists, and a growing number of which are young Missouri Baptists.

On March 20, 2007, Baptist Press released another article entitled, “Alcohol, Acts 29 and the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention),” which only deepened the concerns that were already being raised across Missouri, especially with Acts 29’s status as approved ministry partner for the MBC.

The founder and president of Acts 29 is Mark Driscoll, named by Christianity Today as one of the most influential young preachers in America, with over a million downloads of his sermons each year. Also known by his peers as “Mark the cussing pastor,” Driscoll pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle, which he planted in 1996.

Stating that, “I myself swim in the theologically conservative stream of the Emerging Church,” Driscoll claims to be “theologically conservative and culturally liberal.” Regarding the use of alcohol, Driscoll writes: “My Bible study convicted me of my sin of abstinence from alcohol,” at which time he “repented” and immediately began to drink alcohol. Driscoll’s church website notes that the church has “beer-brewing lessons whenever a large group of [Mars Hill] men get together.” This would be in keeping with Driscoll’s view of Jesus, who, according to Driscoll, began His public ministry at a wedding, where He “kicks things off as a bartender.”

This past New Year’s Eve, Driscoll’s church hosted what they called a “Red Hot New Year’s Eve Bash,” which included a “champagne bar” in the church (ID’s were required for drinkers) and “bonus points” were offered for those whose attire was “RED hot.”

Driscoll is also founder of the Paradox Theater, a ministry of Mars Hill Church, which in its first few years, hosted about 650 secular rock concerts for underage kids in Seattle. According to Driscoll, “We have had only a few minor problems [at the Paradox Theater], like the Japanese punk band that got naked during their set for no apparent reason.”

Another concern about Acts 29 churches like The Journey is their “film night” ministries where secular R-rated movies are viewed and then discussed. At the Journey, four of the five most recent films that could be documented were R-rated. According to Driscoll, his church also has a film and theology event that shows “an occasional unedited R-rated movie.” Driscoll also writes that some of his “sermons on sex were R-rated,” and notes that he gives “warnings to parents and sometimes saw whole visiting youth groups walk out blushing halfway through the sermon.”

Another concern about Acts 29 is the issue of gambling. Damascus Road Church, an Acts 29 church in the Northwest, advertises on its website their “Men’s Poker Night,” stating, “If you’re a man, and you have 10 bucks, here’s your chance to prove your poker skills or lack thereof.” The church also sponsors a “Men’s Bible and Brew,” and a “Men’s Movie Night.”

With all this being said, it is critically important that Missouri Baptists understand that churches like The Journey, Mars Hill and Acts 29, represents the right-wing of the Emerging Church, which some SBC leaders insist that Southern Baptists should embrace. In fact, The Journey’s Patrick and LifeWay’s Ed Stetzer (who was an Acts 29 board member until recently) served as co-chairs of North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Young Leaders Task Force. Driscoll was scheduled to speak at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary this month, although he has stated for the record that he will “not be drinking or cussing when he speaks at the seminary.”

The “left wing”
While Driscoll has been a highly influential player among the right-wing of the Emerging Church, Brian McLaren would represent his counterpart among those who comprise the left-wing of the movement.

In November 2004, Christianity Today, identified McLaren as “the de facto spiritual leader for the Emerging Church.” McLaren serves as chairman of the board of Emergent Village, the group that occupies the far-left wing of the movement. This group claims to have everything from a Texas Baptist pastor to a New England lesbian Episcopal priest.

McLaren has been strongly criticized within his own circles for some of his aberrant theological views. Driscoll has publicly stated some of his concerns about McLaren and other Emergent Village leaders which include: “referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over – and knowledge of – the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell … .”

Driscoll has been equally critical of McLaren’s call for a five-to-10-year moratorium against any pronouncements against homosexual behavior. Yet, despite Driscoll’s claim that he is distancing himself from the “Emergent” stream of the Emerging Church, he is a contributing writer in a new book on the Emerging Church with some of the same leaders from Emergent Village that he has so strongly criticized for their “liberalism.” In June, a “senior fellow” and a board member of Emergent Village were featured speakers at a conference on the Emerging Church hosted by Driscoll’s church.

Providing a glimpse into the theological underpinning of the left-wing of the Emerging Church, McLaren writes in his book, Generous Orthodoxy: “… I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion,” arguing instead that we may just need to “help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts.” He further writes: “Ultimately, I hope that Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every other religion, including the Christian religion, which often seems to need saving about as much as any other religion does.”

While the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) is building strong relationships with the left-wing of the Emerging Church, some SBC leaders are calling on Southern Baptists to support and embrace the “theologically conservative and culturally liberal” wing of the Emerging Church – specifically Acts 29. They argue that our “kids are dropping out of church in droves … when they reach their 20s.” But churches like Mars Hill and The Journey, they say, “are attracting them!”

One layman’s opinion
If Southern Baptists could just plant more “theologically conservative and culturally liberal” Acts 29-type Emerging Churches, where people can hang out in a bar and drink beer, learn to brew their own beer, dance in “RED hot” attire at special church events, smoke, cuss, tell off-color jokes, watch R-rated movies, listen to “R” rated sermons on sex, attend secular rock concerts hosted by our churches, play $5 hands of poker with our church buddies while we drink our beer, indulge in the arts of tattooing and body piercing, etc., then maybe our young people would come back to church. Or better yet, maybe they would stay in church.

It should come as no surprise that people are flocking to “Missional,” churches like The Journey and Mars Hill, but we should find it disturbing at best that some SBC leaders view the Emerging Church as a legitimate solution to the problems of encroaching worldliness and carnality within contemporary American Christianity.

Equally disturbing is the failure of some to see that drinking at a church “ministry” and hanging out in a bar is the path that leads some to the rehab center, some to prison and still others to an early grave.

Likewise, isn’t watching sexually explicit R-rated movies the path that takes some to the pornography websites in the privacy of their homes and offices? (Let’s not forget that pornography is a serious problem among evangelical Christians.)

And isn’t $5 and $10 poker games at church the path that will take some to the gambling boats and casinos?

When “right believing” produces wrong living, of what value is our theological conservatism? Have we forgotten that the demons of hell believe – and tremble. One could argue that the great tragedy for those whose passion is to be “cool” and “culturally relevant,” is that in the end, we will find ourselves increasingly irrelevant. The more the church tries to look like the world and act like the world in order to win the world, the less we will have to offer the world.

But there’s another important question that deserves an answer: Beyond things like drinking, smoking, cussing, hanging out at bars, watching dirty movies, gambling, rock concerts, etc., what else beyond such “legal” behavior does the “world” clamor for in its desire to fulfill the passions of its sinful fleshly nature?

Have we forgotten the most fundamental of all biblical principles, that whichever nature we nurture becomes dominant in our life – that when we feed the flesh, the flesh grows stronger?

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness,” the Bible commands, “but rather expose them,” as we strive to keep ourselves from being “polluted by the world.”

“Friendship with the world,” we are warned in Scripture, “is hatred toward God.” And Jesus tells us, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

But far from “hatred,” the world is fascinated with preachers and deacons and church members that look, act and talk like the world.

The Bible is clear that we are in the world but not of the world. Any Christian movement that assaults either the truth of God’s Word or our biblical understanding of the seriousness of sin, is a movement that warrants our very close attention. (Roger Moran is research director of the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Has Praise And Worship Music in Church Become a Cain Sacrifice to God?

We know from the Bible that Cain did not present a sacrifice that God honored or accepted. Is there any hint in scripture when God no longer accepts the music we sing to Him during the week?
Yes, it details this in the book of Amos.

Amos 5:21-23 "I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them , Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.

Amos 6:5-7 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;
Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.
(note-The ruin of Joseph may refer to the societal disintegration in Israel, or to the effects of the impending judgment.)
This could also be in line with Gods judgement on His church which has strayed far from Him.

Many factors to address here.
We know that Cains sacrifice was not acceptable to God because it was not the right sacrifice.
But in Amos day we see God not even accepting the right sacrifice because Gods people had their priorities out of line.

I will for the most part address music and praise and worship bands in the church in this article.
Christian music as a whole has drifted so far away from God its really not even worth talking about even though I will say this.
I recently watched a Mercy Me concert on TV and was surprised by their opening tune.
Mercy Me is a popular band these days among some Christians.
They seem to be pretty decent players that seem to have a heart for God by what they say.
There concert opening up with a song by Phil Collins titled "In the air tonight".
Now I love Phil and all but I would doubt that Phil will be opening up with any Mercy Me tunes in any of his concerts.
The cover Mercy Me played was pretty decent but I ask the question why do Christians so often seek the easy way?
In the air tonight is a great tune but why rely on that to stir the crowd up instead of letting the Holy Spirit move people.
Because we have now replaced Gods ways with mans ways.
And shame on us for taking the easy way out.
God does not honor laziness.

Now the current praise and worship movement has only become a thing popularized in the 90's by companies such as Integrity music which makes a ton from all the worship seminars they teach all over the world.
Integrity also bought out a bunch of world famous musicians such as Alex Acuna and Abe Laboriel SR to pare them up with their contracted worship leaders to give their tapes STAR power.
Now I do believe that Integrity's heart was in doing the right thing.
But was it the biblical way to do things?

We now have salaried praise and worship leaders as a result in many churches across the world.
Salaries range conservatively from 28 to 30 thousand per worship leader.
Most are paid around 45-50 much more in the mega churches where responsibilities are often a very big load.

Most medium level churches usually just need the leaders to put together a 20-30 minute set of songs.
Usually practice is about 1 hour per week plus a run through before service.
Most rehearsals include songs we have been playing forever because pastors are often afraid of making the congregation learn something new (this puts the congregation into a compromising level of laziness as well).
Plus we have been feed the unholy mantra of Rick Warren who chooses not to honor God through music because of not wanting to offend unbelievers who of course do not understand what it is to worship God through music.
I know from experience that most medium level churches (like the one I currently attend) have poor practice habits with singers rairly practice with the band.
And people allowed on the platform with little to no talent.
(Not talking about my church here where most musicians and singers are pretty good at what they do). There are however many exceptions where at the Sunday night service people just come up and sing some who do not attend practice.
Does the Bible state what level the musicians and singers need to be at.
What was acceptable to God is plainly listed in the Old Testament.
David was a skilled musician. And the Levites (the musicians and singers) were skilled at their craft as well not just hobbyist.

By employing professional musicians (modern day Levites) you fulfill the principles established by King David when he formed the praise teams for the temple in I Chronicles 25. Let's consider King David's discourse with Ornan over a plot of land for an altar (see I Chronicles 21:24). David refused to accept Ornan's free gift of land for an altar of sacrifice because David would not submit an offering to the Lord which cost him nothing. In fact he insisted upon paying Ornan the full market value of the land. It truly was a sacrifice of praise by the Davidic temple when they employed skilled musicians (see references to skilled musicianship in I Chronicles 25:6-7 and Psalm 47:7) to lead worship. Because it did cost them something (see I Chronicles 21:24), they could truly consider the sacrifice of praise to God an offering from the entire temple. Had the musicians not been compensated for their part in leading worship, the sacrifice of praise would have belonged to the musicians themselves. We also have writings in the New Testament on the subject of the church body providing for those who work on its behalf.

Now we have condensed this all into only paying the worship leader. This is not the biblical method and if you choose this route of dont have good musicians perhaps lead worship by everyone singing to taped music.
This will not only be cheaper in cost but everyone on a CD will show up on time and always sing and play in key.

Ask yourself this question-Why has the church been pressured into having a live band which is more than not distracting for one reason or another (lack of skill or showing off).

Again I bring up the secular ungodly methods feed to the church in Rick Warrens book "Purpose Driven Church".
A undiscerning church who's main focus was to fill the seats instead of filling souls through the Holy Spirit bought this hook, line and stinker.

Here are some direct quotes from Purpose Driven Church.
Each week at Saddleback, we remind ourselves who we’re trying to reach. . . . Once you know your target, it will determine many of the components of your seeker sensitive service: music style, message topics, testimonies, creative arts, and much more. (253-254).

“The style of music you choose to use in your services will be one of the most critical (and controversial) decisions you make in the life of your church. It may also be the most influential factor in determining who your church reaches for Christ and whether or not your church grows. You must match your music to the kind of people God wants your church to reach. . . . If you were to tell me the kind of music you are currently using in your services I could describe the kind of people you are reaching without even visiting your church. I could also tell you the kind of people your church will never be able to reach” (280-281).

“At Saddleback we categorize songs according to target. Songs on the crowd list are appropriate when unbelievers are present (at our seeker services). Songs on the congregation list are songs that are meaningful to believers but wouldn’t make sense to the unchurched (we sing them at our midweek worship service)” (286).

“Use more performed music than congregational singing in your service for seekers. Visitors do not feel comfortable singing tunes they don’t know and words they don’t understand. It is also unrealistic to expect the unchurched to sing songs of praise and commitment to Jesus before they become believers. That’s getting the cart before the horse” (291).

“The style of preaching that I use in our seeker service is very different than the style I use to teach believers. . . . When preaching to believers I like to teach through books of the Bible, verse-by-verse. . . . Verse-by-verse, or book, exposition builds up the body of Christ. It works great when you’re speaking to believers. . . . But what about unbelievers who are not yet motivated to study Scripture? I do not believe verse-by-verse teaching through books of the Bible is the most effective way to evangelize the unchurched” (294). [By the way, Saddleback no longer has a mid-week believers’ service].

If you buy into this you are unfamilar with scripture and what Gods word teaches as well as the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.
But again Rick doesnt rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance but relies on his own wits.
Here is the kind of wisdom Rick Warren uses.
James 3:14-16
"But if you have bitter envy and self–seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
For where envy and self–seeking exist , confusion and every evil thing are there."
The real purpose that drives Rick Warren I believe is his own ambition.

What about the Christian Music Industry we get our songs from. They are owned and controlled by the world who lets them sometimes uses the name of Jesus because at this point in time it is still profitable.

From a David Cloud article-
"Contemporary Christian Music is big business today, a half billion dollar a year industry. The CCM industry sold nearly 50 million albums in 2001, raking in more money than the jazz and classical segments of the music business. As of 1995, there were 250 radio stations that carried CCM as their primary music format. Revenues from sales of CCM have tripled since the mid-80s. One-quarter of the sales in Christian bookstores are from music. This caught the attention of the world, and most of the major CCM producers and distributors are now owned by secular corporations.

WORD ENTERTAINMENT, a secular corporation, is the home of such CCM heavy weights as 4Him, Phil Keaggy, Amy Grant, Mary Mary, Cindy Morgan, Erin O’Donnell, Point of Grace, Sandi Patty, Mark Schulz, Jaci Velasquez, Wes King, Nicole Mullen, and Anointed. (Word purchased MYRRH RECORDS some years back.) Word Entertainment also publishes Veggie Tales and Veggie Tunes for children. Word recently changed hands from one secular corporation to another. Warner Music Group paid Gaylord Hotels and the Grand Ole Opry $84.1 million for Word. Warner, a division of AOL Time Warner, also owns Atlantic, Elektra, London-Sire, Reprise, and Warner Bros. Records, and has on its roster such vile secular rock artists as Green Day, Madonna, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

INTEGRITY MUSIC, which owns Hosanna Music, Fairhope Records, and Vertical Music, and which had $58.1 million in sales in 2000, has intimate partnerships with secular corporations such as Sony and Time Life. In March 2002, it signed a distribution agreement with Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment. Under this new deal, Integrity will also distribute Sony “Christian music products.” Epic and Sony publish and distribute some very immoral music groups, such as B2K, Tenacious D, Babyface, Bone thugs, Incubus, Michael Jackson, Rage Against the Machine. They also publish some of the vile old rock groups like Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and Pearl Jam. In its 2000 financial statement, Integrity Music boasts of these partnerships and speaks of its work almost exclusively in business terms. Integrity controls more than 50% of the “praise and worship market” and co-publishes the popular WOW worship series and the Songs 4 Worship series. In January 2006, Sony Music announced that it was launching the first major music label “dedicated to nurturing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender artists” (“Sony Launches Gay Music Label,” ABC News, Jan. 11, 2006). The label, called Music with a Twist, is a joint venture with Wilderness Media, a company led by Matt Farber, the founder of MTV’s new homosexual channel LOGO.

In 1992, SPARROW RECORDS (Avalon, Ce Ce Winons, Carman, Delirious, Margaret Becker, Newsboys, Phillips Craig and Dean, Steve Green, Steven Curtis Chapman, Twila Paris, Zoe Girl) sold out to EMI Christian Music Group, which in turn is owned by the secular corporation, EMI Group. EMI owns 70 music companies (Virgin, Capitol, Mosaic, Narada, Astralwerks, etc.) representing some 1,500 artists, including a wide variety of very immoral secular music acts, such as Janet Jackson, Smashing Pumpkin, Mariah Carey, Geto Boys, Spice Girls, Blind Melon, and the Beastie Boys. EMI also owns the music of old groups such as Pink Floyd, Grand Funk Railroad, Radiohead, Iggy Pop, Sex Pistols, Badfinger, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Billy Idol, Blondie, and Poison.

The EMI Group also owns CHORDANT DISTRIBUTION GROUP (Big Tent Revival, Gaithers Gospel Quartet, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Jennifer Knapp, John Michael Talbot, Mark Lowry, Susan Ashton, Supertones, The Ws) and FOREFRONT Records (Audio Adrenaline, dc talk, Rebecca St. James, Pax217, Extreme Days, Soundtrack, Geoff Moore) and EMI GOSPEL (Lamar Campbell, Beverly Crawford, T.D. Jakes, Sharon Riley, Tri City Singers) and STAR SONG RECORDS (Whiteheart, Bride, Don Francisco, Mylon LeFevre, Imperials, Gaither Vocal Band). Star Song, which was founded in 1977 and had a long list of recordings by the 1980s, was purchased by EMI in 1994 and was folded into Sparrow Records; by 1998, Star Song ceased to be an active record label.

In May 2002, EMI signed a letter of intent to acquire a twenty-five percent interest in GOTEE RECORDS, which represents Jennifer Knapp, Out of Eden, Relient K, the Katinas, John Reuben, and other CCM musicians. The CEO of Gotee is Toby McKeehan of dc Talk.

In 1995, the secular Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) purchased REUNION RECORDS (home of Kathy Trocolli, Michael W. Smith, Jake, Joy Williams, La Rue, Mat Brouwer, ShineMK, NewSong; former home to Rich Mullins, Billy Sprague, Kim Hill, Michael Omartian, Gary Chapman, Take 6, Morgan Cryar, Ashley Cleveland, Clay Crosse, and Third Day). BMG is the home for many immoral secular rock groups such as P. Diddy, Girl Thing, Alicia Keys, Run DMC, Santana, Foo Fighters, Jaguares, and O-Town. In 1996, BMG sold Reunion Records to another secular company, Provident Music Group, a subsidiary of British-based Zomba Music. Zomba owns such sensual acts as Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, and the Backstreet Boys, and others whose names alone are too vile to mention.

BRENTWOOD MUSIC was purchased in 1994 by Zomba Music. Three years later, the secular-owned Brentwood purchased BENSON MUSIC and the aforementioned Reunion Records. The newly expanded corporation was called the Provident Music Group. Benson publishes the following CCM groups: 4HIM, NewSong, Forty Days, Celebrate Freedom, Whisper Loud, and Kyle Matthews. Brentwood publishes the Smoky Mountain Series, the Hymnworks series, the America’s 25 series, and the Acoustic Worship Series. Brentwood also has a children’s division, featuring Kids Sing Praise, Mother Goose Gospel, Sing Me To Sleep, Daddy; Sing Me To Sleep, Mommy; Big Songs For Little Kids, and America’s 25 Favorite Praise & Worship Choruses for Kids.

With over 50,000 copyrights, the secular-owned Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing has amassed the world’s largest Christian music publishing catalog as well as the second largest “evangelically styled” choral music catalog. This same publishing group also publishes choral music, hymnals, and songbooks for churches. Thus, a large percentage of the money paid to license Christian music today goes into the coffers of a large secular corporation.

The secular Provident Music Group also owns DIADEM RECORDS, which features CCM artists Bob Carlisle, Bryan Duncan, and Helen Baylor.

In 1993, the Zomba-owned Provident Music Group purchased ESSENTIAL RECORDS. This is the home of CCM groups such as Jars of Clay, Caedmon’s Call, and Third Day.

The secular-owned Provident Music Group also distributes Tommy Boy Gospel, Here To Him Music, Praise Hymn Soundtracks, New Haven Records, Spirit-Led & Fervent Records, Galilee of the Nations Music, and One Voice Music.

Zomba also owns VERITY RECORDS, which has become “the world’s number one gospel label” featuring Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Tonex, Virtue, Commissioned, Richard Smallwood and Hezekiah Walker.

Provident Music Group also owns CEDARMONT KIDS, the number one selling line of Christian children’s recordings and videos with sales in excess of 12 million units.

We don’t see much evidence that CCM is influencing the world, but there is considerable evidence that the world is influencing CCM.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

POINT: The worship team should play and sing skillfully for two reasons. 1) It is what God desires and deserves. 2) It can be an awful distraction to someone's worship experience when musicians make terrible mistakes. We want to keep the congregation in a vertical posture toward God's throne. The music serves as a vehicle for our praise offering to the creator of the universe, and thus it should not be a "blemished lamb." But how many of today's churches, in the good name of stewardship, use amateur volunteers or poorly compensated professional musicians to prepare the praise offering? David insisted on paying the full market value for his offering to God. Consider this, the sermon/message/teaching is a horizontal (i.e. man-to-man) event. The praise and worship is a vertical (i.e. man-to-God) event. God really tunes in when His people begin to praise Him. He actually inhabits the praise of His people (II Chronicles 5:12-14). May we seek to offer Him the unblemished sacrifice of praise that He desires and deserves. And may we offer it with a clean heart amidst musical excellence. NOTE: The principle of using only professional musicians remained in place as late as Mozart's day.

The bottom line is that, as long as a Christian musician is a minister and not simply in it for the sake of entertaining, fame, etc., he/she should be supported by those who benefit spiritually from his/her ministry and those who will share in the credit, perhaps a church or group of churches, and individuals to wish to give freely as a "love offering" (Galations 6"6). In fact, that being said, concerts should be paid for and hosted by churches, not ticket sales. Look at I Corinthians 9:18 about offering the gospel without charge. We have a lot to learn today with regard to the church and its relationship with true Christian musicians.

When we choose to just use volunteers we should at least choose musicians and singers who are willing to sacrifice their time to give unto the Lord. Not just take the scraps and leftovers who often crowd the platform in churches these days.

David Cloud
praise and worship

Corporate Christianity

This speaks to what I have been talking about lately.
It also touches on what I will be talking about in my new article "Has Christian Music Become A Cain Sacrifice?"
enjoy- Tim

Corporate Christianity
As Big Business Cashes in on Christianity, Can They Serve God and Mammon?
By Holly Pivec


You may have noticed something — everywhere, large corporations have started courting the Christian market.

Christian books and music, once sold only in Christian bookstores, can be found at Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Christian product labels bear secular imprints, like Time Warner, HarperCollins and EMI. And faith-neutral products, like cars and music equipment, are being marketed specifically to Christians. A recent Yamaha music equipment ad in Worship Leader Magazine boasted: “Training a new generation of worship leaders.”

Even Hollywood is now making Christian-themed entertainment, like NBC’s Revelations and Disney’s version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

What’s going on? Has Corporate America found Jesus?

Yes and no.

As the Son of God who died for their sins and rose again … well, no. But they certainly regard him as a Profit. And while they may not accept his message, they do know one thing — right now, it sells.

Americans will spend more than $4.2 billion this year on Christian books, music and other Christian products, according to the Christian Booksellers Association, an association representing Christian suppliers in the United States and 60 nations. This staggering sum — expected to keep rising — hasn’t escaped the notice of large corporations who want a piece of the pie. Many have begun buying Christian companies or have started their own. HarperCollins bought Zondervan, Time Warner bought Word Records, and Random House started its own evangelical press, WaterBrook — just to name a few.

And Christian companies aren’t complaining. Under the ownership of large corporations, they have more resources than ever before to make and distribute their products. Which means they can sell their products through chain stores — and reach more people with the gospel.

Everyone’s happy — the secular corporations who are making more money, the Christian companies who are reaching more people, and the consumers who have better access to Christian products at cheaper prices. But is there a downside?

The Catch
If Christian publishers, music makers and other Christian product makers are under the control of non-Christian companies, could they be pressured to compromise their message? Has the message already been compromised?

These are important questions for Christian consumers, who depend on Christian companies to make products that represent biblical Christianity.

The person with, perhaps, the best pulse on this issue is, interestingly, one of the most optimistic and the most cautious — Bill Anderson. Anderson is the president and CEO of the Christian Booksellers Association, a member of Biola’s School of Business Advisory Board and a parent of three Biola graduates.

He’s optimistic because he firmly believes God uses Christian products to convey “His truth.”

“Isn’t it wonderful these products are available virtually everywhere?” Anderson said.

Yet he’s cautious. He said, as of yet, secular owners have not pressured Christian companies to change their message. On the contrary, the corporations have actually encouraged the companies to make products with explicit Christian messages. Why?

They sell.

“As long as the wind is at their backs, they’re not seeking to change the message; they’re applauding it,” Anderson said.

But what if the spiritual climate changes, and the Christian message stops selling?

Anderson believes corporations and their stockholders could start pressuring Christian companies to change their products to “keep paces with the times.” And this makes him uneasy because he believes they have a God-given responsibility to protect the message.

Christian Books: Business, Ministry or Both?
Protecting the message is a weighty job, and Christian publishers shoulder much of it, according to Anderson. That’s because, of all Christian products sold, books and Bibles make up the lion’s share — about an annual $2 billion.

Can Christian publishers stay faithful to the message when they work for secular companies?

Some Christian publishers say they not only can — they have.

Consider Zondervan, one of the largest and most respected evangelical publishers. In 1988, HarperCollins — one of the largest publishers in the world — bought all Zondervan’s stock. Zondervan leadership approved the move since it would bring financial stability to Zondervan.

Biola graduate Stan Gundry ('63), Zondervan's senior vice president and editor in chief, was among the Zondervan leadership interviewed by HarperCollins officers during the events leading up to the purchase. He said HarperCollins assured Zondervan they would never interfere with Zondervan’s publishing philosophy or hiring decisions — a promise HarperCollins has honored.

“They have never tried to impose a publishing decision on us of any kind,” Gundry said. “In fact, they have encouraged us to strengthen our publishing philosophy statement.”

The only major difference is HarperCollins reviews Zondervan’s financial statements, “as they should,” Gundry said. After all, he said, HarperCollins is a business.

Can Gundry guarantee HarperCollins will never tamper with Zondervan’s publishing or hiring decisions?

“No. Theoretically, it could happen because they own us,” he said. “But the likelihood is extremely remote. They realize that, to do so, would likely destroy a valuable asset.”

Plus, New York publishers place high value on freedom of the press, Gundry said, which means they believe Zondervan should publish whatever it wants to.

And what if HarperCollins did tamper with Zondervan’s publishing decisions? There’d be a “mass exodus of Zondervan management,” Gundry said.

Another Christian publisher — Biola graduate Jerry “Chip” MacGregor (’84) — also sees major benefits in corporate ownership. In January, Chip left his job as one of the top Christian literary agents and accepted the position of associate publisher for Time Warner’s division of Christian books, “Warner Faith.” Time Warner, the largest entertainment company in the world, began publishing Christian books in 2000.

“Time Warner books are distributed everywhere. So we’re taking Christian books into places that, a few years ago, wouldn’t have even considered selling them,” MacGregor said.

Time Warner currently has two authors on the New York Times bestseller list, Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.

“Both authors have received incredible acceptance by the general market without watering down their message,” MacGregor said.

But some Biola professors are concerned Christian publishers have watered down the message, like theology professor Kevin Lewis. Whether that’s the fault of secular ownership, he doesn’t know. All he knows is, “Christian publishers have a decreased commitment to evangelical, Protestant orthodoxy.”

What’s his evidence? He said, 20 years ago, Christian publishers released books of great theological importance. But, today, he said, reputable publishers are releasing books like Benny Hinn’s Good Morning, Holy Spirit — which, he said, had heretical statements about the Trinity in the first edition. He’s also concerned about books promoting open theism.

What’s more, he said, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association recently admitted the Local Church into their membership, “a group that for years has been declared to be a cult.”

The problem, Lewis said, is Christian publishers have become businesses first, and ministries second.

“You have a person like Benny Hinn who, frankly, is marketable. He’s going to sell millions of copies and make money for the publisher,” he said.

Lewis isn’t alone with his concern. Biola ethics professor Dr. Scott Rae said he’s seen a dumbing down of Christian books. “When I go into my local Christian bookstore, I don’t see a lot of rigorous books that push people to think hard about issues,” he said.

Though Christian publishers do make mistakes, overall they’re doing a good job, said Gundry. Of course, all Christian publishers are tempted to publish Christian “celebrities” simply because they’ll sell, Gundry said. And there are dozens of ways to rationalize such a decision. But Zondervan, he said, tries to only publish books that will make “positive contributions to the Kingdom.”

Gundry also believes publishers are still releasing works of theological depth. He mentioned two of Zondervan’s bestselling authors, Philip Yancey and Joni Eareckson Tada.

“I’m not proud of everything Christian publishers have published, and I do think there is, from time to time, legitimate cause for concern,” he said. “But if a publisher thinks one of its roles is to further the dialogue among Christians about controversial issues, then we have to allow that they will make mistakes.”

Mistakes, he said, that can be made equally by secular-owned publishers and Christian-owned publishers.

Marching to a Different Tune
Another booming industry is contemporary Christian music, to the tune of more than $700 million a year, according to the Gospel Music Association. And secular corporations are cashing in.

Secular corporations own the three largest Christian music companies: Provident Music Group (owned by Sony/BMG), Word Entertainment (owned by Warner Music Group) and EMI Christian Music Group (owned by EMI North America, who also owns Virgin Records).

Have Christian lyrics changed under corporate ownership?

That depends on whom you ask.

“I don’t know of any attempt by mainstream companies to influence the lyrical production whatsoever,” said the president of the Gospel Music Association, John Styll, who also founded CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine.

Styll said music companies are smart enough to realize their gospel labels need to remain distinct from the rest of the music they produce. After all, he said, they bought a Christian label, not jazz or hip-hop.

“They want the music to be what it is — Christian. They know enough about niche marketing to not mess with that part of the formula,” Styll said.

Jim Van Hook, the CEO of Word and the founder and former CEO of Provident, confirms this.

“In my nine years under Zomba and BMG, not once did they tell me to change the message or who we were,” Van Hook said. “In fact, if we had artists who wanted to be something other than Christian, they frequently were disappointed.”

Meanwhile, the benefits of corporate ownership are huge, according to Styll and Van Hook: Wider distribution, more resources, and more connections for radio play.

But one Christian artist isn’t buying it. Steve Camp left a successful career in the Christian music industry in 1994 because the Christian labels were being sold to secular corporations. Before going independent, Camp released 16 records through top Christian labels like Word, Warner Alliance and Sparrow.

“There’s no question Christian lyrics have weakened,” Camp said. He encourages anyone who doubts this to listen to the top 20 Christian albums. He said they’ll hear “man-centered” lyrics that are sparse on biblical truth and the name of Christ.

Yet, he agrees with Styll and Van Hook about one thing: Corporations haven’t said, “You can’t sing about Jesus anymore.”

They don’t need to, according to Camp.

“What they have said is, ‘We don’t care what you say as long as it sells,’” he said.

And, of course, what sells may not be biblical or honor the Lord, he said.

“There’s a reason Amy Grant no longer sings ‘El Shaddai’ but continues to sing ‘Baby, Baby,’” Camp said.

The bottom line, Camp said, is Christian music labels have become unequally yoked with secular corporations — something Scripture forbids.

“The context of being unequally yoked, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, is the attempt to harness believers and non-believers in a spiritual ministry,” he said. “Paul says this is as ludicrous as trying to find partnership between Jesus Christ and Satan.”

Styll, of the Gospel Music Association, agrees Christians should be careful not to be unequally yoked. And he admits he doesn’t know if the prohibition applies to business, in this sense. After all, the same Paul who forbid being unequally yoked also said he didn’t care about someone’s motives for preaching Christ, as long as He’s being preached (Philippians 1:18).

“We have the mainstream market helping to propel Christian music to places it’s never been able to go before,” Styll said. “And I don’t find that to be a bad thing.”

He also opposes the claim that lyrics have been compromised. Styll said some very explicit Christian songs have crossed over into the general market, like Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine,” a song about heaven.

Besides, it’s a mistake, Styll said, to think all Christian lyrics need to be explicit.

“I personally don’t want every song to be about John 3:16. I like a little lyrical variety myself,” he said. “As long as a song isn’t openly contradicting the Bible, I would not call it a compromise.”

The Gospel According to Hollywood
Even Hollywood has, reluctantly, come around. After refusing to take part in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ — which has made about $371 million in U.S. box offices — they’ve realized they can’t afford to ignore the Christian market.

“You’ve had a perfect storm of interest in Christianity created by the Left Behind book series, The Passion of the Christ film and the recent presidential election,” said Craig Detweiler, the head of Biola’s Film/Television/Radio program.

Though Hollywood hasn’t started buying out Christian companies, they have started making more Christian-themed entertainment, from TV dramas to blockbuster movies. If the trend continues, Jesus may soon get a star on the Walk of Fame.

Last season, TV networks aired Christian-themed programming like NBC’s Revelations, CBS’s Joan of Arcadia and ABC’s 20/20 special on the resurrection. Next season’s lineup includes new supernatural dramas and thrillers like NBC’s Book of Daniel and Fox’s Briar & Graves (described as The X-Files goes to church).

Even Disney has jumped on the bandwagon and, Dec. 9, will release the film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on a book by the beloved Christian author, C.S. Lewis. Disney partnered with Walden Media — a faith-friendly entertainment company who acquired the rights to the book from the C.S. Lewis Estate — after assuring Walden they would be faithful to the book. Then Disney hired a Christian marketing firm, Motive Marketing, to help them promote the film to Christians — the same firm that marketed The Passion of the Christ.

“This is one of the first films where we’ve had a significant and focused ‘Faith and Family Outreach Program,’ where we are marketing specifically to the Christian community because we know we have a huge fan base of the books within that community,” said Rick Dempsey, the senior vice president of Disney Character Voices (and a member of Biola’s Studio Task Force). His department oversees character integrity and is a part of the effort to preserve the integrity of Lewis’ book and characters.

Yet some Christians are skeptical. They wonder how Disney will depict one of the book’s main characters, Aslan, who is an allegory of Christ.

But Dempsey said they needn’t worry: The depiction will be faithful.

“Just like readers of the book, Christians will see Aslan one way,” he said, “while general audiences may likely see Aslan in a different way — as just a great character that people will love and embrace.”

Disney’s campaign includes sending fliers to churches, promoting the film at Christian youth camps and concerts, and making pastors aware of the film so they can promote it to their flocks. Disney is also planning a music CD, inspired by the movie, featuring Christian artists like Steven Curtis Chapman.

Biola graduate Mark Joseph (’90) — who served for four years as a consultant for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Walden Media — said that Hollywood’s growing interest in the Christian market “makes perfect sense” since 84 percent of Americans call themselves Christians, according to the latest Gallup research.

“The real question is why wouldn’t studios have thought of this before?” Joseph said.

But is there a danger that, when Hollywood depicts Christianity, they will get it wrong? Based on Hollywood’s track record, the answer seems obvious.

“The media’s purpose is to entertain, not preach,” Detweiler said. “We can’t expect their products to fall in line with orthodox Christianity.”

But he thinks it’s great Hollywood is addressing issues of faith and spirituality, even if they do get it wrong.

Kevin Lewis, however, thinks false depictions of Christianity do have harmful effects, such as films that depict all Christians as greedy televangelists or weird cult members. He said people form impressions about Christianity based on what they see, without getting all the facts. “So they go into their search for God at a disadvantage,” Lewis said.

But some movies have accurately portrayed spiritual themes, with positive results, he said. For example, when The Exorcist came out in 1973, the culture was blind to the spiritual world.

“The movie, though overstated in some places, was accurate as far as its portrayal of a world with real spiritual evil,” Lewis said. “It caused a worldwide phenomenon where people started thinking about spiritual things, and they started calling churches to find out how they could be protected from evil.”

In cases like this, Christian-themed films have clear benefits, he said.

The Challenge
So, is the corporate interest in Christianity good or bad for the Christian message? It seems, like many things, to be a mixed bag.

“I’m encouraged companies are recognizing there is this faith-dominated segment of the market that is worth their pursuing,” said Rae. “

But he also said: “I would want to be careful that the gospel message isn’t prostituted and make sure the message is accurately portrayed.”

Bill Anderson, of the Christian Booksellers Association, agrees, saying Christian product makers face some “serious challenges” — challenges pastors and others in Christian ministry also face. Do they give people want or what they need? And how do they guard their motives and the message?

He believes Christian consumers also have a duty to guard the message by supporting good Christian products and objecting to unscriptural ones.

So far, Anderson said, Christians haven’t voiced much concern about secular ownership of Christian companies because, as of yet, there haven’t been any downsides.

“But there is a need for a real word of caution and a sobering warning,” he said.


© Biola University 2005

Monday, January 07, 2008

The New And Improved Church

This is a great article by my friend and brother in the Lord Mike Oppenheimer. It adds a lot to what Ive been talking about lately and it ties in with the next two articles Im working on.
It shows what happens when mixing man made business practice and the church.
Thats like mixing oil and water together.
But thats how Rick Warren has created his new purpose driven religion.

here is the article-

Making Way for the New and Improved Church

We are watching a metamorphosis take place inside the church at large. Some call it a movement of positive alternatives to doing church, others see it as a trend. What we see is many moving from a biblical emphasis to anecdotal storytelling and experimenting with new methods invented by men which incorporates worldly ideas for church practices. Pragmatism is being practiced in the place of biblical teaching accompanied by faith- if it works it is accepted.

Some well known names have endorsed and become party of this new paradigm. Leaders have risen that have the intent of changing the way we do church.

This whole movement have become much bigger than Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven____ ; it now has a life of its own. It is further being developed by many who joined in the new paradigm. Warren in his Peace Plan has pronounced that, “we intend to reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century.” “As I stated, this will be a new Reformation. “It will be a reformation of purpose- what the church DOES in the world.” In changing the way the church does ministry has also changed the way we do church.

At best it is a mixture of both biblical principles and philosophies of men (with business practices), at worst it is a removal from the foundation the apostles built for the church to stand on. Isa. 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” Everyone needs to make to their mind whether this is in agreement with God's word or not.

What we find is that the gospel itself is softened to appeal to the what they call spiritual consumers; to “enlarge the churches borders.” Lest we forget, Jesus is God and He knows how to build a church, His church has been continually built for almost 2,000 years. Our trying to implement successful business practices to help this growth seems pathetic to the one who is “ before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:17) who holds all things together by the word of his power. “who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands” (Rev. 2:1).

Many are not discerning what is now emerging, they are not using common sense to see-- much less biblical sense to understand what is taking place. They have no idea what the church is changing to. By the time we arrive at the destination they have for us it will be too late.

The Robert Schuller model (aka Rick Warren) is what is now being popularized, having the church takes instructions from unchurched people (unbelievers is more accurate) in their community so they may build a church to cater to them as unbelievers. They think this will make them believers. The new evangelicalsm is market-driven. They gather for a good time at a comfortable church building with hip music, with entertainment and listen to a pastor who is trying to relate to them by telling stories and jokes sprinkled with some exposure to the Bible. The crowd grows as this method of seeker-sensitivity is practiced. They then justify it is God blessing their numbers. Does anyone with Biblical knowledge not see something wrong with this? Filling up the church is not revival unless the heart of the people are changed. Anyone can be spiritual at a church gathering, but are they spiritual the other days of the week beside Sunday.

Because of his great success, Rick Warren’s books and methods have become the newest way to do church, many searching to expand their borders use these christianized business strategies to build themselves a mega-church.

Warrens mentor, Peter Drucker, says, “All institutions, including governments, churches, universities, and so on, will become more interdependent, more market- and customer-driven” (Peter F. Drucker Leader to Leader, No. 1 Summer 1996). This involves a compromise to achieve a harmonious working social relationships between two opposing belief systems. To do this both the secular and the sacred (the church) it must be cohesively integrated in various ways. We are watching that synthesis taking place now at various levels.

Bob Buford is one of Drucker's disciples, he founded Leadership Network in 1984. They believe a new paradigm is needed for the 21st century church with new tools and resources for the emerging young leaders of tomorrows church. Leadership Network is like the hub that supplies and connects all the new paradigm churches together. Bob Buford says, “the church of the 21st century is reforming itself to a multifaceted service operation.” Because of their worldly methods church leaders reach out to the “consumer” by thinking like him (post-moderns) and offering to him what he is searching for. Like a shopper looking for a product he has found himself at a certain store because it has just the right color, size and price. However, we should not forget that if we are pleasing men then we are no longer pleasing God. Do we give them what they need according to our Lord or what they want in their sinful state? We need to know whom we are serving and the correct way to evangelize otherwise it can no longer be called evangelism.

To understand what this is about we need to take a short look at the root and its influences.

Peter Wagner head apostle of all apostles writes, “About the same time, I began studying church growth under my mentor, Donald McGavran. He taught me to be relentless about discovering where churches were growing vigorously and why God was blessing them. No sooner did I develop “church growth eyes” than I began to be aware of the tremendous surge in the Pentecostal movement in Latin America, especially in Chile. So I traveled there from time to time and looked in on the Pentecostals” (p.22-23 Third Wave of the Holy Spirit).

Peter Wagner served as a missionary in Bolivia and was appointed in 1971 to the Donald McGavran Chair of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary School of World Missions. He became the successor to McGavran and authored numerous books on Church Growth. And became known as a missions strategist at Fuller theological (which is now a liberal Bible college).

Church Growth pioneers are always was looking for a reason why one church is growing and another is not growing. If they can find a method, a reason why, they can duplicate it and make it happen elsewhere. Wagner who is into packaging methodologies (ie. spiritual warfare) noticed that certain Pentecostal groups were growing in Latin America and one of the things he deduced from this was that miracles and signs and wonders must be the key. Much more can be understood about Wagner through his book Church Growth State of the Art with Win Arn and Elmer Towns.

Peter Wagner in his Church Growth book defines what this is all about, “A group of pastors, denominational executives, missionary, professors and other Christian leaders who allow their ministries to be governed by Donald McGavran and fellow participants in the Church Growth Movement” (Church Growth: State Of The Art, 1986, p. 284, by Peter Wagner, Win Arn, Elmer Towns).

The fact that Wagner who heads up the new (false) apostle prophet network is one of the sources of this certainly cannot be coincidence (he states God is now putting the foundation of the church in place). Neither can we overlook that Rick Warren received his D. MIN. in 1993 under Peter Wagner at Fuller (New Churches for a new Generation: Church Planting to Reach Baby Boomers. A Case Study: The Saddleback Valley community Church). It is all coming out of Fuller Theological Seminary that has gone through the new paradigm years ago.

Rick Warren who is now looked to as the leader of this new way of doing church can hardly claim his main promotion is to give understanding to God’s word when he writes in his best-selling Purpose Driven Life book, “The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice” (p.231).

I have found that this simply not so. That we cannot get enough of studying God’s word, especially from good teachers that give us a hunger to hear more. When I go to Church or study and the teacher is really doing an expository teaching of the word I want to hear more not less. But this is the modus operandi of this movement-- less is more. In fact this is the opposite of what Jesus said, we are to live on the word of God. And when we neglect it, it will show in our lives. Just look at the overall church today and see the anemic influence we have on the world. We do need MORE Bible study; in fact some people need to go back to the basics to start all over again. In fact Warren has stated he does not teach on prophesy. Prophecy happens to take up one third of the Bible. Considering that much of what we are living in today would pertain to Jesus instructions on the end times this is intentionally being negligent on delivering the whole counsel of God to sheep.

Because of this new model we have a weakness in the church-- because of a synthesis with culture; instead of our influence on those in the secular world, we (the modern church) have adopted its current trends and fashions. This has become a sad chapter in the history of the church and certainly not a surprise, as we are told in Scripture what the last days church would be like—Laodicea- men ruling. Do we understand what the word of God is being replaced by? Instead of Bible studying and learning the word so we can know Him and have His power to do His work, we have various substitutes to choose from.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1John 2:15). How can we justify taking worldly ideas and concepts and Christianize them to be practiced in the church. There needs to be some separateness of the secular from the sacred. We are to be in the world but not of it. A Church is not to be run like business, it is to be different than anything found in the world. The world’s values are in opposition to the Bible’s, so why go there? A famous man once said, “In the eyes of the dialectical philosophy nothing is established for all times, nothing is absolute or sacred” that man was Karl Marx.

Let me give an example that is becoming popular. One church in Hawaii has once a month church service for everyone, from the young to old. A short message is accompanied by live music and prize giveaways. A hot meal is served, and money is given to the first 100, and a drawing for prizes. It’s fun-- its fresh and it is doing good in the community. But as a church what message does these types of action send? Is this how we want to attract people to set foot in the church? There is a saying, “What you win them by is what you win them to.” How does this offer a solution to the problems they live with?

Their Church Growth Principles: “World wide truths which, when properly applied along with other principles, contribute significantly to the growth of the church” (Church Growth: State Of The Art, 1986, p. 284, by Peter Wagner, Win Arn, Elmer Towns). In other words whatever works can be applied and we see this in action today.

When the church caters to a market driven culture by using the culture, its man-made philosophies, it forfeits the protection Christ has for it. This changes the church from being Christ centered to man centered. If we don’t know the difference in making quality Christians, mature servants instead of just church members we will buy into these new methodologies. “Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. Who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.” To gather our methods and practices from the world and tag the name of Jesus on it to sanctify the secular is a lack of faith. Faith in God’s word is what we are to exercise to please God, not mans.

We are not to mix business concepts in our evangelistic efforts; demographics is an advertising technique. If the church uses business methods instead of prayer how can the Holy Spirit who is to draw people to the savior be at work? You then become more dependent upon the method more than God. We have then rejected God’s way of doing things. But we have become unconcerned about the Biblical basis of our methods, only that it works. And if it works, well, why not use it? Despite it being a very non- biblical method of evangelism. In its place are people drawn to a building that has been lavishly changed to make them comfortable. The seeker sensitive churches are basing their church structure on human leaders and methodologies to build the church. Jesus said He would build the Church. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten this and opted to help him along. This is not unlike Sarah’s advice to Abraham taking his handmaiden Hagar to get the promise of God quicker.

Here is an example of the new way to reach those postmoderns: An ad in one magazine read, “Jesus with dirty feet” saying “most folks think of Jesus as a man who started Christianity. But it turns out he wasn’t just a man, and he didn’t just start out Christianity. He had dirty feet, partied, cooked breakfast and got himself killed” (Outreach magazine).

I have not read the book but if this is how it is being presented I don’t want to read it. Although I understand it may appeal to others especially with this catchy title and ad promo. Is this a good way to attract people, he cooked, partied and got himself killed? What does party mean to the youth generation of today? Jesus ate with the sinners and may have drunk some wine with his meal, but does this mean he partied. This is sending a wrong image and message, it sounds like a Jesus of the world. This is bending over backwards to sell them something for them to relate to. Did Jesus get himself killed or did he give His life willingly for the people he loved to save them. This sounds so crass and mundane.

We are making God so user friendly that it becomes so easy for everyone to say yes to church, but what about yes to Jesus. Do they teach to pick up our cross and die to self as Jesus required? How can you tell people to die to the attraction of worldly influences if you adapt the world’s mannerisms into the Church? There is something very fundamentally wrong with this concept-- it not only lacks grounding from the Scriptures but goes against it.

When the visible differences between the Church and the world are reduced to a minimum, we can no longer be distinguished from them. Paul’s emphasis contrasted the way the world works and the way God’s people should. Notice Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world.” Christ prayed for the church in Jn.17:14-19 of our being in the world but not of it by being sanctified by the truth as Jesus was set apart to live for the truth. The church is supposed to look and act different from the world not imitate it. Our pattern is not to imitate the world but Christ. Wherever the world’s ways are accepted in connection with the name and work of the Lord, there is compromise and leaven does not go away unless it is purged.

At the biggest church in the country, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Pastor Joel Osteen preaches to some 25,000 people each week -- and sin is not on the menu. Osteen said his goal is to “give people a boost for the week.”

“I think for years there's been a lot of hellfire and damnation. You go to church to figure out what you're doing wrong and you leave feeling bad like you're not going to make it,” Osteen said. ”We believe in focusing on the goodness of God.”

Critics say magachurches' party-like atmosphere takes the spirituality out of Sunday services.

“It tends to be a guilt-free, sin-free environment,” said Woodward. “These places are a bit too bubbly. ... It's very chummy with God.”

Some Lakewood qualities that appeal to a younger set are “the best lighting and the best sound system,” a youth ministry program that attracts hundreds, and every service kicks off with 30 minutes of upbeat contemporary music -- not hymns -- played by a live band.

“It's not a churchy feel,” Osteen, 40, said. “We don't have crosses up there. We believe in all that, but I like to take the barriers down that have kept people from coming. A lot of people who come now are people that haven't been to church in 20 to 30 years.” (For more on what Osteen believes)

The seriousness of traditional churches scared many parishioners away, Osteen said, but the warm hug delivered by megachurches like his is bringing them back.

“I think it's a place of life and victory,” he said. “They want to be encouraged and uplifted.” But Woodward said this approach to religion isn't helping parishioners.

“If I'm already a pretty good guy, why do I have to go to church to hear that?” he asked. ”Sin really has disappeared from the pulpit. lt's too much of a downer, I'm afraid.”

Wise also doesn't agree with the idea of cloaking religion in church in order to boost numbers. “I guess I kind of thought that was what church was about,” he said.

“I don't see how you could put God first in your life if all you're going to do is go to church and feel good about being there. I enjoy good music and a good sermon, but what did you really get out of the message?”(Fox News, February 03, 2004 By Amy C. Sims)

A Mustard Tree Church

On the growing mega church phenomenon Amy Sims reports “These massive holy houses attract churchgoers by the thousands with celebratory services that tout contemporary music, television screens and sermons that aren't “churchy,” according to the pastor of the nation's largest church. But critics say the sin-free pep rallies don't encourage personal transformation and reflection, keystones of religion” (Fox News, February 03, 2004 By Amy C. Sims)

The message becomes short in its place are more anecdotal stories and jokes. It has become very popular to preach Christ without the discomfort of the cross. They want to diminish the offense of the cross to increase attendance. This is hardly an instruction that would come from the apostles—consider Paul who stated “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). Paul’s message was not any different than all the apostles “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23). The apostles preached Christ crucified. They did not attract people by their ability to tell stories, or share their adventures and the miracles they did. In an age of putting people on a pedestal and making them stars, we had better not forget that the messenger saves no one, it is the message that saves; and that message is the ancient gospel. Paul told the Roman believers “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The Gospel is God’s ministry to fallen mankind. But if you are ministering to felt needs of sinners then you cannot be explaining the gospel. Because the focus is then on them, what they feel, their views of life not God’s view of them. Jesus did not minister in this way and certainly the apostles He trained did not either.

The model church today is Rick Warrens (Bill Hybels etc.). Do people even know how he has arrived at his conclusions? Rick Warren describes his church like this: “Saddleback is kind of the Research and Development department of the church at large. We're not afraid to fail. We've always tried more things that didn't work than did. Every once in a while we find - usually by accident-something that works. Then we teach the seminars and pretend like we planned it all along, when really it was just the result of trial and error” (Rick Warren, )

By accident they find what works! If they went by the Book (the Bible) there would not be any accidents or use of trial and error. Warren being interviewed on the a well known radio program that now promotes his methods explained, “we try something and it doesn’t work, we try something else, 99 out of 100 don’t work, we find one that works then we go out and teach a seminar and pretend like we know what we are doing in the first place.” This is not funny. Who would want to learn from someone like this? Where’s the Holy Spirit in all this? Has not God given us the instructions, the guidelines to follow? Why not do it God’s way?

In his book the Purpose Driven Church Warren says, “Never criticize any method that God is blessing” (p. 156). The question that needs to be asked is, if it’s not biblically based, how can it be God’s way or have his blessing? Rick Warren also stated, “I contend that when a church continues to use methods that no longer work it is being unfaithful to Christ.” Are we using methods that are passé, archaic or are we to be using God’s instructions from his book that are there for all time. Let me refer back to his own concept of trial and error, using experiments to find one that what works. And what if HE CHANGES what he once used? Not thinking this concept through, he has put himself in this same category.

Consider Paul, he was just the right Jew to be sent back to the Jews, he knew the laws and was more zealous than them all before his conversion. But whom did God send Paul to? The Gentiles; that’s a bad application to Middle East demographics. But human wisdom is not God’s wisdom. God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses.

Church members do not equal believers and we should never get this confused. Those who believed were “added to the Church” “Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5:13-14). Fear kept people from joining the church. That's not seeker sensitive at all. They were holy- separate form the world and the world had respect. They did not compromise to have more join their group, they did not make themselves look like they were major influence, they actually were. “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:3).

Paul says in contrast of those who do not believe “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). A God fearing group will want to do things God's way, as it is written, not mans way as it is invented. They will have faith and depend on God for the results not make it happen in the flesh.

Was Jesus Seeker Sensitive?

This is an important question because it goes straight to the heart of the new ways of doing church. Scripture says, “he came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). What does lost mean? Unchurched (according to Hybels and Warren)? Or Unsaved according to the Bible. You can still be lost going to church.

But was Jesus seeker sensitive? No, Jesus was not seeker sensitive. Mt.13:11-12 explains He purposely spoke in parables to hide the truth from those who rejected him and His message, and revealed the truth to those who were seeking truth. His Preaching and teaching the truth attracted the few but repelled the many. He had a purpose in His ways.

Jesus was not after great numbers but great sincerity, and an earnestness to know truth. Our goal should be the same. If you preach the truth uncompromisingly you can expect not to gain as many as you will lose. That’s the way it's been, that’s the way it will always be.

Many look to expand the membership of their church quickly? Jesus didn’t look for an increase of crowds. In fact when the crowds were at their peak Jesus gave them hard statements to understand to diminish them. He said, You must eat my flesh and drink my blood, He explained “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” In John 6:66-69 because they were unable to understand “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” They left him. They did not stumble over what He did but what He said. This is important as we compare it to the seeker friendly model of church today. Jesus did not go after them to help their misunderstanding, He turned to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away? He didn’t make it more comfortable for them to stay. Peter had enough sense to answer, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (referring back to his revelation in Mt.16). It is just as important to know who He is to follow His words or you can't be faithful. Something that is also neglected in seeker sensitive meetings.

Lets look at Jesus' evangelism to understand how he reached individuals. A rich religious youth came to Jesus and asked “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Look at Jesus’ exchange with the rich young ruler, he did not make it easy, in fact he used the law to make him guilty and then told him to give away all that he had to the poor, not to Jesus. And he needed to follow him. Jesus didn’t make it easy and say, well come back when you can and don’t forget to bring your money too. The Lord allowed the ruler to depart, he did not negotiate the truth or make it easier.

Matthew 19:16-26: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said,” ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The rich young man was seeking an answer, he had no idea what he lacked to receive eternal life. He was familiar with his religion but he was ignorant of carrying out what was required. As Jesus went through the commandments that had to do with his horizontal relationship to men the young man acquitted himself of any guilt; done that. “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus continued to press the law into his heart so that the sin that blocked him would be made known to him, coveting, compassion for others. It is the light of the law that puts an x-ray on our sinful heart. The rich man may have thought he kept the law but when it was applied personally he knew he was deficient. The law; an explanation of what sin is has to be part of our Gospel presentation. To a Jew of the first century they were familiar with Moses and they were practicing Judaism (though it was corrupted by Pharisaism), they could understand. Today, Gentile’s (and even most Jews) do not have a clue what any of this means. Unfortunately, many of the ones delivering the message do not also. They are not prepared to discuss the matters of the soul and God’s view of man. Today’s “new gospel offer” is not concerned with the detrimental harm of sin.

Jesus did not lower his standard or soften any requirements for entrance into His kingdom. The covetous man still want to hold to their riches and give up nothing to the Lord calls “follow me.” God cannot save any man who continues to serve Mammon. It's one or the other. One must chose having treasures on earth or treasures in Heaven. No man can serve God and Mammon at the same time (Mammon was not just money, Matthew 6:24). The requirement is repentance, admitting I have sinned in loving my riches more than God and those in need around me. For salvation the young ruler had to forsake it by an action--giving it to the poor and then follow Jesus.

The Lord allowed the ruler to depart, he did not negotiate the truth and make it easier. Notice right afterwards the disciples reaction. “When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The worst of sinners to the sinner with the highest morals each have their own obstacle.

So this rich man could not let go of the sin that he needed to deal with. Jesus does not call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Only those who have become aware of this and are willing to repent can follow Jesus. He does not allow things to stay the same. He does not take what is good in us to make us better persons. Not giving up anything to have a relationship with God is not the message of the Bible. We are to give up whatever is necessary, and everyone has something necessary.

The Lord did not hold anything back or make it easier for the rich ruler. He stated that following Him would involve rejection, suffering, pain, and humiliation, all part of carrying the cross. The young man was clued in that obedience to Jesus would call for discomfort and sacrifice in his life. Discipleship is costly; it often means the loss of the things of the world, not gain. Count the cost’ (Luke 14:28). Jesus did not recruit anyone by false pretences. The road of following Him is through difficulty not ease. There is not a hint in the Scripture of following Jesus does not include not sacrifice and pain.

Jesus then turned to His disciples saying, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Christ required “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Nor did He offer them an abundant life as a reward for following him so that they get everything back. He required turning from what is necessary to follow Him as our condition of discipleship. Everything is to be made of second importance to Him. What people want today is a savior without having him be Lord over their life. They want to choose where to get their instruction from, and how to follow. A little bit here (the Bible) a little bit there (the world). They want the promise of heaven for later but not the road on earth to walk on to get there.

All this shows is that sin is STILL the main problem to be dealt with. Nothing has changed inwardly, only outwardly-- how we live. We still have the same human condition from Adam and Eve in their post tree eating. Jesus' answer to us is no different than to those of his day.

For a video on the seeker friendly church movement and its influences.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

From Extreme Theology

From my friend and brother in the Lord Chris another fine article about businessman/globalist Rick Warren-

Warren's Mulligan Theory of the Atonement: A False Gospel?
If you didn't see Rick Warren's Christmas Sermon on Fox News then you missed a dooosie of a sermon and by dooosie I don't mean that it was a good sermon I mean that it was a bad sermon.

This year's "Christmas Sermon" at Saddleback is a perfect example of the quintessential Warren sermon.

First of all, the sermon was chock full of verses ripped from their context which were cited from really bad paraphrases like "The Message". Warren delivered these verses in such a fashion that they didn't even remotely resemble what the Bible actually says and means in the original languages. (Since, when did this practice become okay?)

Secondly, his sermon barely mentioned sin and the entire context of what we need a savior for. Instead of giving us the Biblical context of sin and the gospel proclamation of a savior being born to us Warren, like a used car salesman, listed out 3 benefits that people could receive by accepting God's "Christmas Present" to them. (Warren and his apologists call this approach the 'Positive Gospel'). Here were the promised benefits.

1. Presence - You lose your loneliness
2. Pardon - Jesus gives you a Mulligan, a 'do-over'
3. Purpose - You find out who you are (discover your purpose)

The "benefit" that I want to focus on for this post is the second one, Jesus gives you a Mulligan. Here is some video from that segment of Warren's sermon.

Warren says that God wants to give us a 'second chance', a do-over and a Mulligan. Is this the Biblical Gospel? Is the 'good news' of the New Testament the proclamation that Jesus is offering you and me an opportunity for a 'do-over'? Before you answer, consider the implications of this 'gospel' very carefully.

I play golf nearly every week. My USGA Handicap Index is a 15.3. You could say that I have a lot of experience with Mulligans. Here is how a Mulligan works. When a golfer stands on the tee box, addresses the ball then takes a swing and finds to his dismay that rather than heading straight down the fairway his ball instead flies off into the woods or into a house or into a water hazard. Making a mistake like this on the tee box is not only embarrassing, it can be very costly. When a golfer finds himself in this situation (if his playing partners are feeling forgiving) he can invoke the Mulligan and re-tee his ball and take another swing. There is a catch. If your second shot is just as ugly as your first, there are no third chances. You cannot take a second Mulligan.

So if you take Warren's Mulligan metaphor and mistakenly think that is what the Biblical gospel is all about then you are going to believe a false gospel.

The Bible does NOT teach that Jesus Christ came to Earth and died on the cross so that you can have a 'do-over'. If that were the case then our salvation would still be based upon us and our keeping of God's law. That is like saying that we messed up the first time, so Jesus is giving us a 'second chance' but if we mess up another time there is no hope for us. Quite frankly, I don't need one do-over, I need hundreds of do-overs every day.

This whole do-over/Mulligan metaphor that Warren used is at best wrong and at worst is a 'false gospel'.

So what would be an appropriate Golf illustration that conveys the truth of the Biblical Gospel?

If you want to use a golf analogy to convey the true 'Good News' of the scripture it would sound like this.

Pretend you are a terrible golfer (for most there is not much imagination needed here). Now pretend that your eternal salvation depends on you scoring a perfect round of Golf (par or better for the entire round) at Bethpage Black (arguably the toughest golf course on the planet) and the course has been set up for U.S. Open conditions (7400 yards long, 8 inch rough and greens so fast it's like putting in a bath tub). But, wait just to make things even more difficult, the devil has thrown in gail force winds that are swirling and gusting as high a 60 miles an hour.

To give you an idea of how difficult this feat is, Tiger Woods at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, with practically perfect weather conditions was the ONLY golfer with a score that was UNDER par. Phil Mickleson was the only other golfer that scored an even par for the tournament. Every other golfer was above par for the tournament. But under these course conditions not even Tiger Woods has any hope of being saved. Sadly, even if Jesus gave you a Mulligan then there would still be no hope of your being saved. One 'do-over' would be quickly gobbled up at Bethpage Black under these conditions.

So then how can you be 'saved' in this scenario?

The Biblical Gospel teaches us that even under these impossible conditions, Jesus Christ shot the perfect round of golf for you at Bethpage Black and is offering you HIS scorecard as your own. He's already taken your scorecard, the one with all the sins on it, and he's atoned for those sins on the cross. In return, He will give you His perfect scorecard and let you sign your name to it as if you were the one who shot that round.

Do you see the difference between these two golf metaphors and the implications they carry regarding the Gospel?

The 'gospel' Warren preached this Christmas was the 'gospel' of the Mulligan and the do-over. But this is really no gospel at all. It puts our salvation back on our shoulders and puts us in an impossible situation by requiring us to get it right the second time.

The Gospel that the Bible teaches isn't about 'do-overs', its about what Christ has already DONE for you. He has won your salvation and is offering you a full and true pardon, complete forgiveness and His perfect righteousness as a gift.

There is a big difference between Warren's Mulligan Theory of the Atonement and the Biblical Gospel. Which are you going to put your trust in?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Politically Corect Osteen Does It Again-By Steve Camp

This is a article by my friend and brother in the Lord Steve Camp. Steve rightly asks the question why does Osteen call himself a pastor?
But the bigger question is why do we call Osteen a pastor?
I have stopped referring to businessman Rick Warren as a pastor for some time now. Just because a guy calls himself something doesnt mean he is it unless his character adds up with what scripture states a pastor is.
Nether Osteen or Warren fits the biblical mold for pastor.
Here is Steve's article-

Politically Correct Osteen Does It Again: Why Does This Guy Call Himself A Pastor?

Posted: 12/31/2007

How Wide is the Narrow Road at Lakewood Church?
...Pastor Osteen believes Mormons are Christians too

"[The Pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy
word as taught, so that he may be able to
give instruction in sound doctrine
and also to refute those who contradict it."
-Titus 1:9

Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX was on Chris Wallace's excellent news broadcast this morning: Fox New Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Once again, Joel speaks sentimentally about spiritual things, but shies away from speaking clearly and biblically about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And more importantly, speaking against the unorthodox beliefs of those who represent a false gospel dressed in Christian rags - such as Mormonism.
This interview represents the tragedy of unbiblical compassion... resulting in a distortion of the truth, an acceptance of a different gospel, and an ecumenical accommodationalism that defects from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

This interview is disappointing on three levels:
1. Joel is a pastor and failed to speak biblically as a pastor on an essential of the faith: what is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and do Mormon beliefs pass the test of orthodoxy according to the standard of Scripture?

2. Because of Joel's large TV audience (especially among nonbelievers) many folks will surely come away from today's broadcast thinking that Mormons are truly Christian when in fact they are not at all.

3. Mitt Romney, though a fine politician, is now further confirmed in his unbelief and his heart a bit more calloused against the biblical gospel because of Joel's words.
This is serious beloved. What Joel affirmed is nothing short of a compromised gospel worthy only of eternal damnation. Mormons believe a different gospel than the biblical gospel and cannot be considered as part of orthodox Christianity under any circumstance (here is an excellent apologetic site that has numerous detailed articles about Mormon beliefs and doctrines.)

In the wake of this unfortunate interview, my prayers today are twofold:

1. that Joel Osteen would daily study to show himself approved unto God as a workman unashamed by handling accurately the word of truth. Eight years is a long enough time beloved for any man in pastoral ministry (seminary educated or not) to be thoroughly acquainted with the essentials of the faith - especially the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to clearly represent its truth.

And 2. that the Lord would bring truly saved men and women into the Romney household to proclaim to them the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; warning them to flee the wrath to come; compelling them to be reconciled to God; commanding them to repent of their sins; and calling them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone... follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
Below you will find a section of the transcript of the broadcast. The video can be watched here or read the entire transcript can be read here.

WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?

OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. (emphasis mine).

And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.

I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.

My Zimbio
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