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Posts Tagged ‘church growth’

A Biblical Church Growth Model?

Posted by Job on October 12, 2008

The church growth movement is exceedingly controversial, and not without cause. Some of the better known members of this movement are associated with false doctrines and movements, and many of them have simply added church growth practice to their already man – centered or charismatic ideologies. Because of this, a lot of people take the church growth movement to be inherently man – centered or charismatic.

The main problem is that the church growth movement is not a doctrine, practice, or movement associated with the historic or traditional church. However, we must consider the reasons for this. From the time of Constantinism until very recently, Christianity – Catholicism and Protestantism – was dominated by “Christendom.” That is, in typical countries there were state churches where all citizens “joined” by being born in a country and baptized in its church, usually as an infant. In more recent times in nations like America without a state church tradition, the huge majority of the population was nonetheless Christian. So the only place where “church growth” was a concern was in third world mission fields.

Now, we are what it is called the “post Christian era”, which is actually the “post – Christendom era.” This is one where the state churches are curious anachronisms to which less than 2% of the population of a country is a member of, and even the tiny percentages that have actually been baptized into them rarely attend. Further, in nations like America where state churches never existed but generally Christian cultures did, church attendance is declining, especially among people under 40. Therefore, the west – America and Europe – has become a mission field. 

So while the church growth movement has issues, Christians have to recognize that our environment in which we run our churches and evangelize has changed. No longer can we presume most of our neighbors to be Christian. We cannot even presume most of our neighbors to respect, support, be interested in, or have any working knowledge of Christianity. That is why so many of the broad attacks on Christians and the Bible from people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Dan Brown are so popular. It is also why the behavior of corrupt well known ministers as well as of leaders of the religious right are so harmful. 

One manifestation of this is how so many people seem to honestly believe that Christians who believe in the great tribulation and the imminent return of Jesus Christ want to provoke war in the Middle East so that the rapture will occur more quickly. So many people honestly believe that such thoughts motivated George W. Bush to attack Iraq that it isn’t funny. Another more recent one is the common charge that evangelicals are hypocrites for supporting female political leaders i.e. Sarah Palin and not female ecclesiastical leaders, which betrays a lack of not only basic Bible knowledge but a total lack of familiarity with contemporary church culture, where women hold plenty of nonpastoral positions of responsibility (how many private Christian schools would fold TOMORROW were it not for female administrators?).

So rather than reject the church growth movement because there is no long history of church practice or doctrine for it the good people of Latvia didn’t need to practice church growth when everyone born in that region was baptized into the state eastern Orthodox church, we need to investigate whether a bible based God honoring method of growing churches that can be replicated in various churches and settings can be produced. I hope that the link below represents a contribution to what can be a useful field of Christian study and practice.

Biblical Church Growth Using Biblical Church Governance and Discipline

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The Error Of The Evangelical Manifesto

Posted by Job on May 15, 2008

The “Evangelical Manifesto.”   Last Wednesday, a group of prominent
Evangelicals released the “Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of
Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment.”  The Steering Committee
includes: Os Guinness; Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford
University; Rich Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary; and Dallas
Willard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California.  It has
been signed by apx. 80 “evangelical leaders,” though when a trained eye
looks through the list of signers, it becomes apparent what this document is
really all about.

For those who have been part of the Liveprayer family for a while, you might
remember me mentioning the gutless Dr.Mouw back in December of 2004, who
along with Ravi Zacharias, became pawns used by the Mormons to give them
mainstream credibility.  Here is an excerpt from that 12/07/04 Devotional:
“Mouw preceded Zacharias and amazingly apologized, yes, apologized to the
Mormon crowd of roughly 7,000 stating, ‘We evangelicals have sinned against
you. We have demonized you.’ Since when was exposing the false gospel of the
Mormon cult a sin? That is exactly what we are supposed to do! Also, the
last I checked, those who lead people’s souls into everlasting damnation are
demonic!”

First of all, let me state the obvious.  We already have an “Evangelical
Manifesto,” it is called THE BIBLE and it has the greatest author of all
time…GOD!  The real purpose of this document is to create a shift in power
regarding those who are seen as the Christian leaders of our day and those
who speak for the Christian community.  Many years ago, I had to make some
hard choices.  Do I build a giant ministry organization and preach to the
choir like the rest, putting my voice into the same mix as Falwell,
Robertson, Kennedy, Dobson, Graham, and the others, or follow God’s calling
as a true evangelist and reach out to the lost and hurting souls outside the
four walls of the church, and take on more of a prophetic ministry to reach
this lost world with God’s Truth.  I made the decision to pass on the
comfort, prominence, prestige, and financial security of building another
Christian organization, and chose instead  to give my life reaching the lost
and hurting with the hope of Jesus Christ.

That choice has given me the unique position of being free from the politics
of the “church,” and allowed me to not have to compromise the Truth of the
Bible to keep a “Christian business” going.  Like the prophets in the Old
Testament, I have been in the unique position few are in, to deal with the
issues of the day and in people’s lives without worrying about pleasing men,
only God.  My focus has never had to be about raising money for
infrastructure and operations, only for saving souls.  I have no other
agenda but God’s.  My goals aren’t earthly but heavenly.  My legacy won’t be
in buildings or the temporal things of this world that will one day soon be
gone, but the lives God has used me to impact and the eternal souls of men.

Many of those who put together and signed this document are for the most
part those who I have warned you about in recent years, this emerging group
known as the “Christian left.”  Prominent signers of this murky document are
people like Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Rick Warren, Pastor of
Saddleback and author of the Purpose Driven Life.  A major portion of this
document is spent repudiating Christians involved in politics, and seeks to
replace the fight for life, marriage, and family issues, with a focus on
world hunger, AIDs in Africa, and environmental issues.   It also lashes out
at those who have the audacity to go into the public arena and take a stand
for Christ based on the Truth of God’s Word.  The document says evangelicals
have often expressed “truth without love,” helping create a backlash against
religion during a “generation of culture warring.”  The fact is, we have
been intimidated into silence by those who represent satan!

This is the mindset fostered by the “seeker,” “emerging church,” and “church
growth” crowd that for the past 15 years have watered down the Gospel and
set aside the absolutes of the Bible to attract warm bodies.  What they have
done is created a new subculture of “Christians” who might be saved, but
live no different than the world and easily embrace the lies of the false
religions, cults, and New Age teachings that are leading the souls of men to
hell.  This is why you have people like Oprah who claim to be a Christian,
yet promote the lies of every New Age guru that comes down the path.  This
is why you have people like Sen. Barak Hussein Obama who claims to be a
Christian, yet votes continually to slaughter babies and redefine God’s Holy
Institution of Marriage.  This is why you have Christians who think people
in a satanic cult like the Mormons will go to Heaven.  This is why you have
people who call themselves “Christians,” but deny that the Bible is the only
Truth there is!

Add to this the prominence of pastors who are little more than motivational
speakers like Robert Schuller and Joel Osteen who go into the secular media
when they want to sell their latest book, and brag bout never talking about
sin or the social issues of our day and refuse to answer the most simple
question of the faith, whether Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved or not.  So
people read their books, watch their TV programs to “feel good” and become
part of this new subculture of “Christians” who have no concept of basic
theology and embrace lies like “there are many roads that lead to God.

Don’t believe me?  Here is a typical email we get daily:  “I’m a
Metaphysical Christian and a Human being a child of GOD. I was baptized at
Saddleback Church with Rick Warren.  There is a very powerful wonderful
movement of consciousness going on right now obviously the old way is not
working very well. Watch a few Videos on Esther Hicks etc GOD bless you
too!”  What a load of garbage.  Metaphysical Christian???  The “old way” is
not working very well?  The old way being the Bible?  Ester Hicks is one of
the more popular New Age teachers out there today.  I wish you could see the
feed back I get daily from the Daily Devotional, from the TV program, from
my appearances on FOX News, CNN, and from the videos we post on YouTube.
People who call themselves “Christians,” yet reject the Bible as the only
Truth there is, and embrace beliefs that are in complete contradiction to
what the Bible teaches.

How did this happen?  It started with the church.  Forty years ago the
mainline denominations brought in pastors who were from liberal seminaries
and denied the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.  They quit preaching
the Gospel of Jesus Christ and opted for a social gospel instead.  At the
same time, you had this growing Christian subculture of Christian TV, radio,
and publishing, geared to and marketed to Christians.  Major ministries and
Christian organizations were birthed that generated tens of millions
annually, and for the most part did very little  but preach to the choir and
self perpetuate themselves from one year to the next.

Billions have been raised and squandered on the temporal things of this
world instead of on the work of God.  We have extracted ourselves from the
marketplace, and now not only have the better percentage of two full
generations who have never even been to church, but a new generation of
“Christians” who don’t believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of
God, representing Absolute Truth, and our final authority in all maters.  It
is no wonder our nation is in spiritual freefall and this world we live in
grows darker by the day.  Men of God in days gone by didn’t build great
organizations, they built up men and women to serve the Lord.  They only had
one book, the Bible, and one message, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They
never compromised the Truth of God’s Word and their only goal was to save
souls!

I love you and care about you so much.  While I agree with 90% of what is in
the “Evangelical Manifesto,” the other 10% makes it a document designed to
give more power and prominence to those in the Christian left,  replace
abortion, marriage, and family issues with issues like world hunger, poverty
and disease, and calls for Christians to be more friendly to non-Christians
by not talking about things like sin and hell in the public.  Just in case
you were wondering, they never contacted me about signing this document.
LOL!!!

I have been warning you for years now about this new and growing group who
make up the Christian left who are now fighting with the old guard on the
Christian right for power and to be the voice of Christians.  The Christian
left waters down the Gospel and lays aside the absolutes of the Bible in
order to attract warm bodies and advance their social agenda, while the
Christian right has been turned into little more than a very lucrative
business that generates hundreds of millions annually around various causes
and is more concerned with power and self preservation than getting actual
results.  This leaves Christians alone to deal with the hurts and pains of
every day life with a very thin foundation to their faith, while the vast
majority of people are living without hope and heading to hell when they
die.

However, there is a remnant, a faithful group of Believers who have not sold
out and whose sole goal is to serve the Lord and see God’s Kingdom advanced.
Praise God for those faithful pastors and ministries that only want to see
the work of the Gospel accomplished as they share the Truth of God’s Word
without compromise and labor to bring the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.
These are the last days my friend.  Jesus is coming at any moment.  There is
no time for playing games.  People are dying and heading to hell every
second.  The focus of all Believers in Jesus Christ has to be on bringing
lost souls to faith in our Lord.  We don’t need an “Evangelical Manifesto,”
we already have one and it is called THE BIBLE!!!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller bkeller@liveprayer.com 

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY?  The fact is you will die one day.  At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to:
http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now available via AUDIO each day.  Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling, 1-727-342-5673 or 1-845-510-2722.

(C) Copyright 2008, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.

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