Thursday, September 03, 2009

Church Planting Foolishness

My wife happened to be sitting next to me when I was reading this article on church planting over at SharperIron. Yes, I look at their main post to see what they're talking about and I get sucked in. The moral of the story might be to stop looking there any more. I know that. My wife, I think, was giving me more than a big hint when she said, "Looking at that stuff would make me so mad that I wouldn't want to see it." Hmmmm. Very valid.

The article, entitled Planting Urban Churches, was written by Stephen Davis, someone who has taken a liking to influencing the young and restless fundamentalists and fundamentalist frauds at SharperIron. He is at a theologically correct location, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, and he has the credibility to make the connection---culturally, the deco black shirt and goatee beard, and educationally, the D. Min. in "Missiology" from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Davis doesn't have to build a blog audience, just plunk in the driver's seat of the bus that is SharperIron and take everyone for a spin.

Davis' article makes me feel sick to my stomach, renewing my wife's suggestion to let these things go. But I want to tell you what's so wrong about it, make it a teaching moment. Forget the title of his article. He's not about churches. He's about some kind of group or club or institution, but not a church. You'll note the lack of scripture in his article. When you hear "Missiology" from Trinity you might not want to think the Bible.

A group across the street from us has exploded in numbers with their rock concert platform, uber-casual apparel, and carnal entertainment. Their leader comes from Trinity. People gather to hear a month long series on U2 lyrics or an "outreach" centered on the Hollywood film, Evan Almighty. The Trinity graduate will admit that most of the people who come are unconverted. There's your Missiology. Something's definitely Missing; it's God's Word. It's fun though.

When I read Davis and watch the other Trinity grad, I think they could be twins. They both have the "I'm authentic" get-up required by the zeitgeist. They talk the same about the church. If the world is the NFL, they're both wearing the replica jersey, at the same time insisting that they're not in the game.

What Davis Describes

Nothing called church planting, urban or rural, should look like what Davis describes. He shouldn't be listened to as an expert. It's up to you, but you've been warned. I'm convinced that there shouldn't be able to be an entire doctorate that could be gotten in something called Missiology. I recommend to anyone---just study the Bible---imitate what you read there.

And what is it you read there? You start by going out evangelizing. And guess what? The gospel is the same for rural, urban, kids, adults, elderly, grunge, biker dudes, and university professors. Remember that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)? Remember that it is spiritual weaponry that pulls down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)? Remember that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)?

But that's not why the urban church doesn't grow, according to Davis. We've got to assume from what he writes that "meaningful relationships" are required with people "outside the church" in order to evangelize them. And why don't we have those relationships? He says because of "personal separation issues" and "traditional taboos." This is Trinity speak you're hearing. You get it from your Missiology D. Min. It means "you gotta be likem to winnem." For armchair theologians, it is Pelagian influence. And it is definitely you winnin' 'em with your missiological technique. In the end, you get the glory too (see 1 Corinthians 1-2 on this)!

What you really have to do is to get to everybody with the gospel. That's what Jesus said (Mark 16:15). When you do that, the lost will hate it. They walk in darkness and hate the light. Because love is supernatural, you can keep loving your enemies and Jesus says that they'll like that---being loved. It's not going to depend on what beans you choose for your cappuccino. Davis is saying that they'll like the light if you offer it to them in a fancy container, maybe with a label in graffiti font. The young church planter, Davis says, has a dilemma. If he is to succeed he's going to have to make a choice to burn some bridges with the mother church. The pews, the traditional hymns, and the reverent appearance all spell church planting disaster for the Davis system.

What's ironic is that these things of which Davis speaks are just window dressing. They don't matter. But they are really everything to the church planter. He's doing the planting. You can see that plainly when Davis writes:

When people ask me how to plant a church, what steps need to be taken, I try to explain that church planting is more of an art than a science.

An art? What? The kind of brush strokes you make is what will will have the greatest impact, he says. This is the difference between success and failure in the urban community. He's reading right from the Rick Warren playbook on this. Ignore him. Listen to him at your own peril.

This seems to be the paradigm that Davis learned in his Missiology work at Trinity:

Church planting involves numerous details such as strategy, demographic studies, fund raising, location, and gathering a leadership and launch team.

Wow. That's foolishness. The world won't think it is, but it is foolishness. Run away from his thoughts as quickly as you can.

Love the Lord Jesus. Go and evangelize. Learn your Bible. Preach it. Love people. Worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. That is the simplicity of all of it. How big will you get? I don't know, but what does it matter? God will be glorified. It's not going to make one bit of difference whether you have pews or padded seats. If the key is the big screen and powerpoint, then you are doing something very wrong. Know this. If you think the difference maker is the microphone head attachment, then you've got deep problems in your scriptural understanding.

Scripture doesn't present church planting. It presents evangelism that might end in a church being organized if people are saved. You don't need any of the things that Davis says you need. My first recommendation would be: don't take Missiology like Davis did. Know your Bible. Know the gospel. Preach it. It's powerful.

In his last paragraph, Davis crescendos:

Neither should church planters be expected to adhere to extra-biblical, albeit longstanding traditions (sic) which would be impositions on a new church and deform its identity. There should be mutual respect and humility between church planters and their sending churches.

This is a bunch of socio-economic psychobabble with all of the catchphrases included. Deform its identity? Come on!

New converts don't need to be dressed up in a suit and tie, but the pastor wearing these will have zero impact on the newly saved. He has become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:1-4). He won't go out from you, because now He is of you (1 John 2:19). Be glad that you have a different culture than the world---your music is different and your dress is different. Don't be ashamed of that, any of it.

The Reaction

So what's the reaction of the SharperIronites? I'm thankful to say that the new owner wasn't so convinced, even though he did publish the trash. Another comment reads of the typical new postmodern flavor.

Great article. The dynamic here between the more "traditionalist" approach and the less "traditionalist" is not just seen in new churches that are "inter-city." Great work.....looking forward to seeing more on this. I like the idea that both sides must be careful. Both sides must show charity. Both sides must be what they believe God wants them to be.

Of course, this assumes that the old way was only tradition. It always was tradition. Does anyone see the disrespect here? The way churches operated were just tradition. The new way, the outside-the-box modernistic methods, what's that? So they show charity and both agree that both sides are right? There is a mammoth chasm between them culturally, but those differences are meaningless---that would be the point. Really? Is that true? Of course not.

One of the young fundamentalists writes this:

More "close to home" is a friend of mine who wanted to rent out a theater for showings of "The Passion of the Christ" in his very secular culture--and found himself afoul of the "theaters are evil" conviction of his constituency.

"The Passion of the Christ" as an evangelistic tool, harmonizing with Stephen Davis. Renting out the theater. All of this about reaching a very secular culture. We've got secular, very secular, soft serve, and chocolate fudge. Where do we get this type of thinking? Missiology. Did Jesus do anything like this? Paul? Not all all. It's not just foolish. It's faithless. It's a way that can't just trust what God said to do. The scriptural way isn't sufficient.

There should be outrage over this faithless foolishness.

23 comments:

Jack Lamb said...

"Love the Lord Jesus. Go and evangelize. Learn your Bible. Preach it. Love people. Worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. That is the simplicity of all of it." AMEN!!!
"If the key is the big screen and powerpoint, then you are doing something very wrong. Know this. If you think the difference maker is the microphone head attachment, then you've got deep problems in your scriptural understanding."
AMEN again!

The more we rely on Scripture, the more we see God's unmistakable power!

Gary Webb said...

Brother Brandenburg,
I am in agreement with your wife on this one. Though I agree with what you have written, there is no doubt that one of the major effects of this "missiology" trash is to demoralize and discourage those who are seeking to please the Lord by following His Word. But, as discouraging as apostasy is, I am also with you on the simplicity of Bible Christianity - evangelism, holiness, prayer, godly music, genuine love between Christians who are in a local church, etc. May God grant us His power to see sinners converted in our day, even while these apostates work their religious magic and preach another Jesus and another Gospel.

David said...

Thank you for your response to the article on SharperIron. I am a missionary on deputation, Lord willing leaving in February for the country of Moldova. We have been very selective in the churches we choose to call and visit to present the ministry. Weeding through the different churches out there has been an educational experience, to say the least. It seems to me that "modern churches" have reversed the model that Christ created.

The church was not created for the lost but for the believers. The gathering together for worship and instruction in the Word was for the children of God. "Inside" the church was never for the purpose of reaching the lost. The lost are to be won outside the church ("GO and preach the gospel"). Once they get saved, then bring them to the church. If we keep the design that Christ gave, we will keep the church a sanctified vessel for the Lord and not rely upon the "culturally-relevant church" to do the evangelizing that Christ commanded us to do outside of our meeting.

Thanks again for your time to help keep people thinking Biblical and not modernly pragmatic.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

The Trinity graduate will admit that most of the people who come are unconverted. There's your Missiology.

Here's a slogan you all could post out on the sign in front of Bethel, to maybe help separate the wheat from the chaff - "Bethel Baptist Church: Where to go when you don't want to go to church at a nightclub."

Steck said...

The "scriptural way" to which you've alluded is absolutely based upon proclaiming the Truth to all men, but God has provided further instruction to those communicating that Truth.

I believe much of Steve's article reflects upon I Corinthians 9:19-23.

19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

When I read Steve's article, I received a challenge to consider these things - specifically, how to reach the lost who live in an urban area. Christ has commissioned us to to be all things to all men, without sinning. It's our responsibility to wrestle with and understand this commission.

That's what I gathered from Steve's article.

Stephen said...

Kent:

Hope you're feeling better. Maybe you should stop looking at “trash” that makes you so mad. But hey, where would your blog be without guys like me? So you like the "the deco black shirt and goatee beard." I never thought of it that way. My wife took that picture, in France of all places. Must be something postmodern about that. Next time I'll wear my disco shirt.

BTW, it's Stephen, not Steven, but my friends call me Steve. I'd love to sit down and have coffee with you sometime. Where are you? Maybe we could invite the other Trinity grad. Gotta say I love your reasoning. I’m a Trinity grad with black shirt and goatee, there’s a Trinity grad with a growing church across the street from you, and we might be twins. Serious? Does he look this good in black? And Zeitgeist. Nice touch. Hope you get your "outrage over this faithless foolishness."

Steve Davis

Kent Brandenburg said...

OK, in order....
Jack, Thanks, I agree.

Gary Webb, I do think people are influenced by this kind of teaching, and I want to influence the other way---I didn't spend too much time on it. I agree with you on the demoralizing affect. I think it is true.

David,

Right on! And well written! I'm glad you're thinking that way!

Titus,

I like your sign idea. I've thought of this too, "Come and Suffer with Us!"

Steck,

I would have been happy if Stephen would have dealt with 1 Corinthians 9. Then at least I would know where he's coming from. However, since that isn't what 1 Cor 9 is talking about (his philosophy), it wouldn't have been effective.

Stephen,

Sorry for misspelling your name. I went with the "v" based on the picture and should have gone with the "ph" under the essay.

You seem to really pick up on the peripheral mention of your appearance. I think what people look like means something. I'm unapologetic about that. How we choose to present ourselves means something. All of this has meaning as does music and art and more. But it wasn't the main point of my criticism obviously. You were in France and your wife took a picture of you and it just happened to be the one that would identify you for your readers. I don't think it was an accident.

I would sit and talk with you. And with my Trinity neighbor. We could talk about how that I'm the ball and chain church and he's the church where people have fun. That's how he portrays himself in most of his marketing. Maybe you could show us how to bridge the gap. The Golden Gate bridge is in the Bay Area (where I'm at near Berkeley) and so is Gap, so it would be culturally relevant. The world likes to have fun, so Trinity Man has done some serious demographic work, it seems, there. I don't know about black shirts, that's probably more Euro. Perhaps we could get some French Vanilla at a cafe.

I'm happy to represent and present a different point of view than you. People will have to choose.

Dave Mallinak said...

I've always wondered if the 'Missiology' guys, having invested years of labor, ever walk out of their service wondering what, besides gathering a congregation, they have really accomplished... like, say, for God, and stuff.

I wonder that because I have to think that somewhere between the conclusion of the series on the lyrics of the Rolling Stones and the launch of the latest series on "The Office," the Missiologists must wonder if getting all those people to come is really making a difference --- other than, perhaps, in making those worldlings more comfortable, more at ease in their worldliness.

After all, it has to be somewhat comforting to a worldling that the pastor shares his values. Comforting I say, because there won't need to be any of that messy, painful kind of "transformation" stuff if I join this church.

Dave Mallinak said...

Steve,

Were you feeling a need to defend your traditions in your comment? Were you disliking the way Kent here burned a bridge with your missiological tradition?

Or were you, perhaps, championing a cause that is divisive. Were you disliking the way that Kent here is trying to say, transparently, that "this is who I am, this is how I roll." Were you disliking that?

In your article, Steve, tell me: were you trying to maintain the missiological status quo? Steve, are you stuck in expressions of cultural Christianity which rarely edify the body of Christ?

Just wanted to know, Steve.

Stephen said...

Kent:

I’m glad to hear someone like you represent another view. In reading your comments I was wondering if you really read my article or just had something to get off your chest.

“Stephen Davis, someone who has taken a liking to influencing the young and restless fundamentalists and fundamentalist frauds at SharperIron.”

“Davis' article makes me feel sick to my stomach.”

“He's not about churches. He's about some kind of group or club or institution, but not a church.”

“When I read Davis and watch the other Trinity grad, I think they could be twins.”

“For armchair theologians, it is Pelagian influence.”

“The pews, the traditional hymns, and the reverent appearance all spell church planting disaster for the Davis system.”

“He's reading right from the Rick Warren playbook on this. Ignore him. Listen to him at your own peril.”

“Run away from his thoughts as quickly as you can.”

“This is a bunch of socio-economic psychobabble with all of the catchphrases included.”

“’The Passion of the Christ’ as an evangelistic tool, harmonizing with Stephen Davis.”

“There should be outrage over this faithless foolishness.”

I’m sorry you have such a poor relationship with the Trinity grad. Any transference going on here? Anyone who knows me would find your comments outrageous and laughable. For those who don’t know me I just want to say – read Kent and read me. Then run from me (Kent’s recommendation) or make up your own mind once you get past the bluster. About outrage, maybe I should have some but I can’t imagine too many people take you seriously when you write like this.

Steve

Terry McGovern said...

I was just getting ready to send out my “leadership and launch team”! I was hoping on Sunday, I could discuss how we can have a godly village spirit dance to honor Christ! I know, if I could just hold a singsing (traditional spirit dance), the villagers will come! After all doesn’t the end justify the means! If you come and help, just remember we practice another way of living out the Christian life practically. It might look unbiblical to you, but that is just your impression from your worldview.
(Just kidding)

As a church planter, I could not agree with you more. Whether you are in a remote village or New York City, the method does not change. I often have to deal with cultural issues and questions. I preach almost every week, “as a result of conversion a brand new culture should form, a heavenly culture. “ The fact is “old things” should be pass away, all things should become new. We need to remove the “grave clothes” from our dead, lost life!

Too often we underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit when the gospel is presented, and thus we turn to other power sources for the work (i.e. Stephen Davis’ method). I was preaching at a market, a few weeks back. There were many who came over to hear, at least 200. Most listened very intently, and I knew the Lord was working. After I finished, we passed out many gospel tracts and talked with several people. When I was getting ready to leave, a man approached me. He told me his was Catholic and had not heard anything like this. (This is now at least 30 minutes after I finished preaching). I could see conviction on his face. He asked a few questions, always going to back to the preaching. Once he was clear on the gospel, he stopped and said he wanted to put his faith in Christ for salvation, which he then did! The point of that story was his conversion, and hundreds just like him, is not the result of the music I played (I did not play any music at the market). It was not a result of relationship building. It was not the result of my great speaking abilities (which I have none). It was the result of the power of the gospel to convert men!
The key to being successful in church planting, is being yielded and submitted to God. Steve and his ideas are not church planting, but how to plant a good social club for the benefit of the community. We do not become like the culture to win the culture. We become like Christ, and allow His power change the people.

Here is a statement Steve said that I agree with, “The churches have been built and have grown primarily by adding Christians who left cities or who moved into the area.” He was referring to the traditional churches or sending churches of these urban church planters. Too often this is a sad truth. The only growth many churches ever experience is because of other Christians who move into the area. The solution to this though is not becoming like the world to win the world, but members who are yielded to God’s Spirit. We do need a burden for the lost. The fact is the “harvest truly is plenteous but the labouers are few;”

P S Ferguson said...

It never ceases to amaze me how far these Neo-Fundamentalists can fall in such a short time.

Steve

With the very greatest of respect, we already have a historical precedent for what you are proposing - it is called Neo-Evangelicalism. Even Phil "the Goatee" Johnson now claims that this idea was a failure.

Now, to give a biblical response to your flirtation with Lady Pragmatism in the hope of getting a few more pews filled let us see what Abraham said,

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Steve, you don't need to throw out the Biblical method of evangelising. Listen to what the Lord tells us:

Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

However, there was one group of individuals that bought into Rick Warren's pragmatism:

Acts 17:21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

You are taking the trendy position of the Joel Treteaus, so you get a big metaphorical pat on the head at SI.The modern academy of SI has a bias that is self-fulfilling. It elevates its own and ruthlessly suppresses dissent. I take offence at the implication of your statements that traditional Fundamental churches have "unbiblical and unnecessary barriers which prevent others from hearing the good news and having a redemptive encounter with Christ." Odd, that unbelievers have for centuries been converted from the worst of backgrounds in churches that you say cannot work!

I'll be happy to change tradition if it is unbiblical, but trotting out concepts like we should be "open to different forms of worship, a different leadership style, a different philosophy of ministry, and a different way of living out practical Christianity" at us who won't hop on the steamroller of compromise does not help anything. We see the tunnel you want to head down but we don't see any light there.

The motion to justify unbiblical evangelism by a D.Min. in Missiology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is hereby rejected as being Neo-Evangelicalism for slow learners at Calvary Lansdale.

Next case!

P.S. Suggest Steve you apply in writing to the "Hour or Power" or Warren for your next assignment! Clearly, you are not a Fundamentalist so lets stop playing the charade that you are. Abdicating the task of evangelising from the true remnant church to the principles of apostates like Warren is about as reliable as a chocolate teapot!

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Pastors Brandenburger, Webb, Mallinak, etc.

You know what's ironic?

The Apostle Paul would have flunked out of the Missiology Program at Trinity Evangelical.

Stephen said...

P.S. Ferguson:

If you are a Fundamentalist then I am glad that you do not consider me to be one.

Steve Davis

Kent Brandenburg said...

Stephen,

Thanks for your comment. I don't have anything against you personally. I don't know you. I'm judging what you've written. You can rest assured that there's nothing on my chest---I don't like what you wrote nor the philosophy that it represents. It isn't scriptural nor honoring to God.

My post has nothing to do with a relationship with the Trinity grad. We're not in fellowship but I'd talk to him just like I would you. And that's just the thing, you say the same types of things as I see with him. The "transference" was funny. I feel sorry for the guy and for you, but it isn't anything transferred---you both share equally in my sorrow for you. What's different with you is that you've written an article that is dangerous, because it encourages unbiblical practice.

If someone said what I did about your article, it would bother me. I'd be concerned. The fact that you're so nonchalant about it is tell-tale.

Terry,

Thanks for what you wrote. I appreciate hearing about your evangelism there in New Guinea. You give me a good laugh too.

PS,

I enjoyed reading your comment. Thanks.

Titus,

It's true!

Dave,

Thanks for your comments.

Stephen said...

P. S. Ferguson:

You should be careful of who you call an apostate. With Rick Warren there's plenty to disagree. But he is a brother. Your vituperative spirit does a great disservice to the cause of Christ and the gospel and is the bane of your brand of fundamentalism. Perhaps you would like to take back those words and ask for forgiveness for a lack of charity and civility under the guise of defending the truth.

Steve Davis

Stephen said...

Let me wrap this up. I do hope we have the chance to meet. I don't think you would feel as sorry for me.

Concerning your comment: "If someone said what I did about your article, it would bother me. I'd be concerned. The fact that you're so nonchalant about it is tell-tale." You might be bothered when people call what you wrote trash but you would consider who gave that assessment. In this case after having read some of your other blogs I now understand what someone meant in saying that I should consider it a compliment to be bashed by you. I don’t write for your approbation.

Here’s part of an email I received: “Thank you so much for your article on SI this morning. The need for good Bible churches is amazing…. I just took over a very small [eight people] church here in my town….and almost everyone in my theological area would cut off the ties with me…. The vast majority of the people in my congregation wouldn't understand a lot of typical IFB practice, so I have to add 'training wheels' to their Bible studies and worship service. It's maddening at times, but I think we're seeing fruit. Anyway, the dynamic between 'established' Christians in your article and the church work that I'm doing is spot on. Thanks for writing about it.” That, my man, makes it worth writing regardless of what you think.

Steve Davis

Kent Brandenburg said...

Stephen,

Let's just say that everything that I have ever written was bad. You've still done nothing to show that what you wrote was scriptural or challenge the point of my post. Your testimonial from the email you've received adds zero evidence. That may be how you operate, that some illustration stands as authority, but it doesn't to me. I'm not surprised at all that someone agrees with you and that what he says agrees with you. Purpose Driven Church was a bestselling book. You'll surely be able to find friends who will say that you've done a great job and that you deserve some reward for having me oppose what you wrote.

It doesn't surprise me that someone like you could read my posts and not believe them. I evangelize several people every week and I'm accustomed to having people reject what scripture says. I would be pretty sure that you didn't write for my approbation, but you do have to give an account to God. That's what I would be concerned about if I were you.

Let's just say that I never wrote my post or that I never existed, you're still responsible to follow scripture. What you wrote was in absolute contradiction to the biblical examples in the gospels and epistles. It might "work," but it's not the way God showed it to be done.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Hi Stephen,

Yes, the vituperative spirit demonstrated by John and Paul terribly damaged the cause of Christ, as well. I mean, seriously, "they went out from us because they were not of us?" "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them?"

Definitely not getting an A on their next Missiology 101 assignment.

Gary Webb said...

Stephen,
Oh to have the "vituperative spirit"! I just read Jude this morning, & yes, I do think that the warnings & condemnations of that book apply specifically to guys like you who attract the world to "Christian" religion through sensuality (Jude 19). Yet, we are instructed & I do feel "compassion" for some (Jude 22), just as Kent "felt sorry" for you. It would be my great desire to see Rick Warren repent of his wickedness, but it would be a repentance unto salvation because the Gospel he preaches is "another gospel".

Stephen said...

Titus:

I write one final time only because your inane comments show up regularly to pile on with nothing substantive added to any debates. My point, which has not been answered, was calling a brother like Rick Warren an apostate, however much you might disagree with him. If you think that’s the spirit of Paul and John then we have little to discuss.

Steve Davis

PS Ferguson said...

Stephen

When I read comments like yours it is truly astounding that those who proclaim to speak for the Bible seldom seem to allow the Bible to speak. What is notable throughout your replies here and your summarized “Purpose Driven Church” pep talk on SI is the absence of any Scriptural basis for your “new revelations.” All we get is a patronizing diatribe that we the unenlightened have been stuck in our failed legalistic traditions for decades until Steve with his D.Min. in Missiology from Trinity arrives to emancipate us. So the “oracle” has spoken and so we all need to repent, humbly genuflect, and jump on board. Frankly, when I first read your SI posting, I felt like the seminary professor who wrote, “I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.”

You also imply that I am an interloper to historic fundamentalism yet in the next breath argue that I need to be “open to different forms of worship, a different leadership style, a different philosophy of ministry, and a different way of living out practical Christianity.” Unless I am losing my sanity, this is at the very least suggestive that it is you that are seeking a change from the faith and practices of our forefathers. You may not like the type of fundamentalist I am, but have the courtesy to concede that I represent the historic position.

Rick Warren is an apostate with his wide view of the grace of God that embraces other faiths and his attempts to “worship” with the music genres of the gutter. Demas got rebuked for far less!

Steve – it is not that we do not like you. You remind many of us of when we were young and foolishly naive. However, it is time to grow up and leave the immature SI cabal to grow a few goatee hairs at Jericho. As Kent said, it is Scripture you have to worry about and pleasing God not the applause of the Laodicean traffic at “Rusted Iron.” If you have a Scriptural framework that permits you to invent a new faith based on the worship, dress, and values of this present evil age then let’s hear it. Galations 1:4 tells me that Christ died to deliver me from these – a DMin from Trinity now says that actually He died to merge the true faith and the the worship, dress, and values of the world. Until you can come up with something better than your opinions as to what will “work” based on a rehashed version of Constantine and Rick Warren, then I will stick with the old book and the old faith.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Steve - I don't understand the source of your vituperativeness, however, allow me to address the matter of Rick Warren for a minute.

Rick Warren does not preach the Gospel. He preaches a no-sin, no-repentance, feel-good-about-yourself-wherever-you're-at false gospel that has nothing to do with true salvation. Paul, demonstrating what you apparently believe to be a vituperative spirit, said in Galatians 1:8-9 that anyone coming to Christians and preaching a false gospel is "accursed." That's a strong term. In the Greek, it's anathema, and literally describes something that is dedicated to an idolatrous representation of a false god. That's what Paul would say about Rick Warren, were he here today.

So perhaps you are right - we don't seem to have a whole lot to discuss. I want to discuss Bible. You don't. That does tend to remove a framework for "dialogue" from between us.