4.29.2011

The LYNDEN CHURCH PARADIGM: A Signs & Wonders Movement (2)

Is a critique of Ncctk’s actions in our community really necessary (See Part One)?  That depends upon whether we believe it's permissible for Christ's church to be built with secular means, because that is exactly what is done in adopting a big business model.  Does God care whether a church uses a consumer model of outreach? Are the means for building his kingdom irrelevant?  Should the church operate as a business?  Is it permissible to market God as just another guy we can text messageIf we agree that God has chosen foolish means to save those who believe, then what does God really think about pastors who turn his church into a shopping mall giving the appearance that buying God is a product we can stamp "satisfaction guaranteed"? 

Some will not agree with what I write here, but I ask the reader to take the time to thoughtfully reflect on what is presented.  What I write is out of sincere concern for my brothers and sisters in this community.  I want nothing more than for us all to walk in the truth.

A Marketed God


Do you have a problem?  Are you divorced and need acceptance?  Are you tired of playing church? Has legalism beat you down? Do you want real life giving worship?  Do you need a mentor, a life coach? Recovery step program? Addiction release?  Need a prayer partner? What about a connection for your teenager? You name it we have a program for you.  If any of this sounds familiar it is because thousands of churches in this land have learned how best to build their churches based upon the wants of the people.  The church is offered as a product and the people as consumers.  But for this to work, you have to give the consumer what he wants, and to do that properly, nothing can look or feel churchy since those things run up against a God who is a lot more difficult to market.

The assumption being made today is that the way to build the church is to make the consumer sovereign in determining what he needs.  This is business 101.  For something to be desired, it has to be packaged well. The means being used today to build the church are no different than what the great American entrepreneurs have used to build their empires. Church growth gurus have been producing studies and surveys every year to help pastors learn how best to tap into their particular demographics and begin building.  The money to be made in this research is flabbergasting. Learn the business well, and you can put together a labor force unlike anything the traditional church has ever seen. So it’s no wonder churches have purchased and transformed shopping malls with every kind of ministry room under the sun. Getting spirituality can be as easy as going to the mall, it doesn't have to be any different or challenging.  If the young people want it, they can even have their own personal play “area” for it.  The church is given the appearance of mall with a CEO who understands how to vision cast under the guise of fulfilling the great commission. 

The reason Ncctk has been so remarkably successful in a short period of time is because the main vision setters recognized a unique opportunity in Lynden.  It would be interesting to know the demographic that makes up Ncctk.  Are they people who once attended a Reformed church in town, knowing that we have around thirteen within city limits? Are they mainly grey haired baby-boomers? Lynden has a powerful church heritage.  Great preachers have filled the churches here in the past.  But as times changed, there was a growing dissatisfaction.  Some of the dissatisfaction was legitimate. Conflicts occurred based on some pretty bad legalism. Preachers began to leave their studies feeling the pressures from their parishioners to tone down their Reformed convictions for the sake of their children whose friends in other mainline denominational churches were already enjoying this new thing called a praise band. As the preaching waned, so did the people’s interest in the traditional church model.  Why keep it? Children were tired of hearing that certain things were done because “it's always been done that way”. Some of the old school Heidelberg Catechism preaching was nothing more than dry lecture time from the pulpit (this was never a good thing), and who wanted to continue under that when the church down the street had just introduced this exciting new praise music with a pastor who tells stories from his own personal experience. 

As one church caved in, the others followed.  This produced a kind of perfect storm.  What were the limits to what could be done in worship?  Who defined those limits? Could anything be done? The Reformed confessions used to regulate these things and provide some uniformity for churches and to prevent this stuff from happening.  Why didn't they matter anymore? Were they old traditions of man or biblical ones? If anything has been evidenced in churches across this land it's that once you begin to build the church upon the wants of the people, there is no restraining what comes next.  As the churches tried to figure this out for the sake of their young people, each church searching for identity, before they knew it, a new church had come into town that actually bought out a shopping mall, offered the most hip praise band, the best of programs, adatped to all the wants of the consumer. You now had quite a force in town as the rest began to wonder whether this is the direction they really wanted it to all go, and their people.  

As a side note, all of this begs a provocative question. When everyone is doing the informal thing, doesn’t that at some point become what is traditional? I had someone visit the other day amazed to find a church where people didn't purposely dress down. I fail to see how it becomes all that innovative and exciting when everyone else is doing it, excluding, I suppose, the one who does it the best?  And, who really becomes the rare church in town offering something "brand new"?  Something to think about.

 

The Foolishness of God


The apostle Paul severely admonished the church in Corinth for adopting the conventional wisdom of the culture to do ministry.  In other words, they were being tempted to abandon the materials God chose for them to build his church. The admonishment is never more relevant than today.  I Cor. 2:1-5 states,
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Couldn’t we substitute this to the phenomena of our day?  Doesn’t the Holy Spirit say the same to us, namely, that he does not come to us making the church into a shopping mall, or a powerful praise band, or a theater drama, or any other human wisdom to win souls for Jesus? Why?  For the same reason as stated to the Corinthians, he doesn’t want your faith to be in the “marketing” of men, but in the power of God.

We are told specifically that the means God has chosen to give people faith is “through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”  Now why did the Holy Spirit call it foolishness?  The Spirit chose a means that has absolutely no outward glory humanly speaking, no pizazz, no appearance of power, no chicanery, no earthly wisdom, no marketing, so that when a soul is saved all the glory goes to God alone.  God didn't want three thousand people to fight in Gideon's army, only three hundred who would defeat the enemy with unconventional weak weapons.  God specifically told Gideon why; he wanted no one to start clapping and rooting on Gideon and his army for their power to  win the battle.  Can we make a connection? The same is true today. God has chosen foolish means to save, and when these are honored, the Holy Spirit powerfully regenerates the heart.  Our gimmicks do not produce one changed heart, they only tend to provide temporary highs to numb the pain of unrooted sin.
The church is not a business and God is not a product for our consumption. What becomes of a marketed God--a question we should all care deeply about as Christians?  If the customer is sovereign over what he is “buying” when it comes to the church, anything formal, serious, structured, churchy, are things viewed as hindrances to the perception of God that has already been recreated.  In other words, if God has been made only into a God of love, you cannot have practices that conform to any of those attributes of God that you dislike—this would create a perceived inconsistency between what you are trying to sell and what your product looks like.  So what goes? Humility, formality, seriousness, reverence, awe, fear, trembling, even formal dress, are all viewed as hindrances to the way you have refashioned God in your imagination.  All of this is gone in the marketing mega church.

A marketed God becomes a tailored God using only those attributes that are non-offensive to us as we rid ourselves of all practices that conform to those very attributes of him that we dislike. In this scenario, it’s no wonder worship services are turned into sheer silliness—it corresponds to the God we have created in our own imagination. If you have ridded God of those attributes that you dislike, what becomes of his fear and holiness, or trembling before him? Is there any weeping for sin?  Why not?  The only way the Christian gospel has any real meaning is when there is a proper appreciation for God’s holiness and justice. Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and, therefore, are under his just wrath (Rom. 3:23). The only way anyone escapes the wrath to come is by faith alone in Christ, whose righteousness is freely imputed to all who heartily trust in him for salvation. 

But it is only when we are properly confronted with our misery in the face of God’s justice that we are prepared to submit ourselves to what he says is our greatest need.  If the consumer is sovereign over determining this need, all he will get from the vision setter is a series of practical suggestions to have your best life and "become your best you", thus Ncctk’s sermon on Easter Sunday.  But this is not the life transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. The solution will only be as radical as the problem.  The greatest need of the hour is not dancing or siliness, but rather a time of serious confession and mourning for making God a product and tolerating his holiness to be trampled underfoot. 

60 comments:

  1. Was extremely blessed by your analysis of the modern seeker , business model "Icabod" church - the fact that our Lord was angered over the manner in which HIs church ( the temple ) had been turned into a den of thieves by those who operated on a corrupted business model is revealing of His attitude toward Me Centered churchianity ( read candelsticks being removed ) - it isn't all about our selfish luke warm desires - always seeking the Lowest Common denominator when we are faced with the commands of our Creator - Instead of asking "what's wrong with it "in realtiuonship to some new ( or old ) heresy like a bunch of antinomian libertines - we should rather be asking "what is right holy and true about this ""how does this conform to God's Holy Word - Not WWJD but what does His Word say for us to do - Marantha and humbled before His mighty presence - Mike

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  2. I begin by expressing my appreciation for Rev Chris Gordon's critique of the relevant driven church. This subject is of particular interest to me, since I was once a minister, who embraced his model, and who employed this model with some success.

    Within my lifetime, I have observed a fundamental change in the way pastors, elders, and laymen think about the church and the way they do church?

    This tectonic change in large part is due to the influence of the church growth movement and several very successful large mega churches, who have redefined the way many Americans think about the church. Under this new model of doing church, leaders have learned how to build the church through secular means, by applying the social sciences to the church. For example, I remember reading men like Peter Wagner, an early church growth guru, who was one of the first men to promote the idea that we could grow the church by applying the right methods and techniques to the church. Back, in the 70's and 80's these men were instructing eager students, like myself, how to market the church. Through their instruction and influence the skill set of a Pastor has been altered from that of theologian, shepherd, pastor-teacher to that of a savvy entrepreneur, who understands how to market the church, create an efficient organizational structure, motivate people to serve, and possibly most important the ability to vision cast. Under this new model, the minister is more of a savvy, charismatic leader with great leadership skills than a trained theologian, a prophet who proclaims God’s word and a humble shepherd.

    This was pressed home to me, when one of these church growth doctors, over twenty five years ago, told me that I would be better served by getting a business degree than a seminary, degree, which emphasized theological training. According to this man who had a PHD in church growth from Fuller Theological Seminary, learning how to parse Greek verbs, may be helpful, but learning how to apply the social sciences to the church was the real key that so many ministers overlooked. This position was defended with the following line of thinking. After all the church is God's business and we should strive to do God's business in the most professional manner possible. The church growth doctors would argue that churches fail to grow, because they run the business of the church in a shoddy unprofessional manner. The emphasis of the church growth men, was on having a service friendly building, the location of the building was of great importance, being consumer orientated in the churches programming, targeted marketing, organizational structure, people skills with the ability to inspire, and motivate people to serve, and last but in no way least, the ability to vision cast. It was imperative that the lead minister have the ability to cast the vision in a convincing winsome manner. With this emphasis, is it any wonder that so many churches have become market driven, developing consumer orientated programs for everything under the sun. This secular philosophy of doing church has resulted in a church, which emphasizes cultural relevance, and meeting peoples felt needs, rather than giving people what they really need, instead of what they want.
    I can only post so much here, I will provide another post.
    Rev. Mark J. Stromberg Belgrade URC

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  3. Dear Mark, I want everyone to know that what I wrote here was inspired by your comments over the phone and when you visited a few weeks ago. Thanks for your help.

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  4. Thanks, Mike. Appreciate that others see this for what it is. May the Lord have mercy on us all.

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  5. Hello Chris,
    Just wanted to thank you for sounding the horn, on some of the ridiculous and offensive stuff that is being passed around in so many churches today. I suppose it has been a slippery slope, in that it came about incrementally, and therefore, went unnoticed by those, who would otherwise have paid attention, and addressed it head on! I have several family members, and many acquaintences who have hopped on board with the particular church example. The family members are 'in-laws' and therefore it is much harder to approach a discussion about the aforementioned concerns. Besides that, I have found that in particular, the community in which we live, does not 'share' opinions/concerns out in the open, in a non-threatening way....it seems any and all disagreement, is treated as if it is wholly personal, and is totally unacceptable. Not having been raised here, I couldn't say exactly when that happened, but I suspect that there was a time, when any dissent from, 'the way we do things here' was dealt with in a harsh and unreasonable manner, and created a cold/sterile/lifeless religiousness. In time, the community wanted to abandon the legalistic image that had been created, and the folks swung the pendulum far over to the totally non-judgemental, side that they predominantly find themselves in today. The balance seems to have been lost!
    I for one, am very very resistant to being manipulated, and have radar for the slightest hint of those trying to 'sell' God, by puny, self-centered methods. Do I think I have all answers?? Certainly not, and I have plenty of failings/waywardness examples of my own! But, I do have an idea of who I am, before our HOLY GOD, and want to see Him exalted, not brought down to our 'he's my buddy' level.
    I think that you are communicating well, your concern for the church, and the irreverent path that so many have followed along with.
    May God bless you, and bathe you in His Truth and discernment!

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  6. Thank you, Anon, wonderful post. You have articulated the problem very well. Appreciate your interaction. Chris

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  7. Thanks for the post Chris, and thanks Rev. Stromberg for an "insider's perspective."

    For some reason I found one of the most interesting parts of the post to be "I had someone visit the other day amazed to find a church where people didn't purposely dress down." "Purposely dress down." Hmmm... interesting. So deep down the people really do want to dress in their "Sunday best" when they go to the Lord's house to meet with him, but they have been told not to for the sake of the seeker.

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  8. Thought you might be interested — There's a column in the Lynden Tribune this week about the signs and the "business model."

    See below:

    Is church becoming a business in Lynden?
    Darcy Manderson

      When is church too closely related to a business? At this point, I don’t think the “I (heart) My Church” signs popping up around Lynden are wrong, but I would say they are on the verge of a very slippery slope. The first thing I thought when I saw these was it seems like an ad campaign. That got me thinking, is that what this is? I know the people who put them outside their homes probably do love their church and their intentions are good, but where do we draw the line and say “enough.”
      Do we stop when businesses sponsor the signs and the Starbucks siren, the golden arches and a Nike swoosh are on the sign too? It reminds me of Wall-E where Buy-N-Large is on everything, even in the government. Or it is like Tim Hawkins, the comedian, who says worship songs such as “I can only imagine” will become a lot like “I can only eat margarine.” Some churches are acting like businesses and seeing members as consumers, becoming more and more “seeker friendly.”
      A few years ago, a church in Bellingham hosted a lunch for the top 50 church tithers, thinking it would be like a stockholders' meeting or a customer appreciation event. What about when Jesus talked about the poor woman who gave all she had and it was only a penny?
      Last year, another church in Bellingham hosted a book signing of “The Shack,” despite the teaching of universalism and patripassionism (just to name a couple of heresies). The pastor said he knew, but that he wasn’t “teaching it as theology.” I asked if anyone could get saved from reading the book and he said, “If God could use a donkey to speak to Balaam, yes.” But the donkey spoke truth. And what about the lady who in a prayer meeting in Bellingham yelled, “Enter me, Sarayu!” (the name given the Holy Spirit in “The Shack”)? She took it as theology, and asked for an unbiblical name of a heretical spirit to enter her. Scary.
      Also, at the cleansing of the temple, remember how angry Jesus got and why? Not for teaching heresy, but for turning it into a den of thieves — they turned a place of worship into a business.
      As to the seeker-friendly idea of a church (a place where the church speaks to non-believers) if I went to a mosque, would I expect them to speak English or Arabic? At a synagogue expect Hebrew or Yiddish or even Greek? When I went to the kingdom hall (Jehovah’s Witnesses) they were focused on what they believe (indoctrinating) and not the visitors. So why is it only in Christianity where the pastor is so busy entertaining the goats while he forgets to feed his own flock of starving sheep?
      I love the church as well, but the church isn’t a place, it is a people. Church is not mainly for the unbeliever, although they are welcome to attend. Church in Greek means “called-out ones.” It is a place to meet and remember what Jesus did for us. So when you say “I (heart) MY church,” it doesn’t make much sense when you mean only the name at the bottom of the sign. All Christians everywhere make up the body of Christ, which is what Catholic originally meant (universal). And I think that is what was missing from the sign: Jesus. On the week we are most of all supposed to remember him for what he did, why not say “I love Jesus” or at the very least leave out “my” when you say you love church?
      He is risen.
      Darcy Manderson lives in Lynden.

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  9. Hi Mark, thanks for this. I heard about it, but had not read it. Interesting that we picked up on the very same problems. Mr./Mrs. Manderson has been bold in raising the right questions. I hope others, especially those raised in traditions that once held to these convictions, will not be ashamed and do the same. Thanks, Chris

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  10. Mr. Darcy MandersonApril 29, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    You would really like alittleleaven.com its one of my mentors' Chris Rosbrough of PirateChristianRadio.com's collection of stupid things seeker driven churches do to get attention. Like 'pole dancing for Jesus', or the Rodeo in the Sactuary ect.
    God Bless

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  11. I enjoyed reading your insight on this issue! So much truth spoken in it. This is definitely a blog I'm going to follow...
    ~Denise M.

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  12. Chris,

    It sounds like all the churches in Lynden need to be pointed, with clarity, away from their navels to the Christ of Scripture.

    Perhaps the saints of Lynden URC may want to consider putting together a conference of sorts centering on topics like:

    What Is The Gospel?; What Is The Church?; and What Is Worship?

    You could even turn those three topics into three separate conferences.

    Have you guys ever done anything like that in Lynden before?

    Great blog posts, Chris!

    Rev. Brad Lenzner
    Emmanuel United Reformed Church
    Hanford, CA.

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  13. It would be interesting to know how many big business advertising campaigns these types of "churches" have used to market God. Enough to know, however, that the ways of the world are not the ways of God.

    Pastor, I'm glad you make us aware of these things but yet even more thankful for the "foolishness of preaching" the word and sacrament, the prescribed means used by the Holy Spirit that God ordinarily uses to save souls.

    Thank you for exposing idolatry in our community!

    Kevin Barrow
    Lynden, WA

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  14. Pastor, part 2 does well to put true preaching in the spotlight. God uses the foolishness of preaching. I had almost forgotten that passage, but how true and humbling! How dare we put our own wants on the foreground, when all God requires is to repent and believe. I have often wondered if there is a way to put more "oomph" into worship, but I was reminded that it is from the Spirit working it out in us. If we don't feel that zeal, we have barred the Spirit with our own wants and desires, and so God brings us down a few notches in order for us to see the great Gift we have. Have a blessed Sunday Celebration!

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  15. Thanks, Darcy. Appreciate your public stand on the issue, and also the link. Chris

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  16. Dave, 1 Cor. 2 speaks to everything of our current Christian climate. Will interact more in another post. Thanks for the comments.

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  17. COMMENTING NOTE: Blogger has been known for commenting problems. Many of you have tried and were not able. I think I have fixed it now by embedding the box. Give it a try and let me know if you still are not able to comment. Best, Chris

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  18. According to the Bible what people really need is to be put to death, crucified with Christ and spiritual washed and resurrected in Christ, born of the Spirit, for Jesus says, “the flesh gives birth to the flesh, the Spirit gives birth to the spirit.” “You must be born from above, born of the Spirit” if you are going to enter the kingdom of God. This new birth by the Spirit, is a miracle that the Holy Spirit produces in those who are dead in sin. According to the Bible (Romans 10:13-17) the Holy Spirit only produces this miracle through the means that Christ has ordained, namely the preaching of Christ. When the Law and the Gospel are faithfully preached either the Holy Spirit will harden the reprobate and the preaching of the gospel will be the stench of death, repulsive, Christ crucified will be a stumbling block, to the reprobate, but for the elect, in God’s time, the Spirit will work through the gospel message, to bring the elect to a spiritual understanding of their true condition before a holy, righteous, and just God and the elect will flee to Christ after they have born of the Spirit. This kind of conversion is not brought about by appealing to man’s felt needs. The church has to be willing to give people what they need and not necessarily what they want. The winsome, informal, casual, conversational, felt need, culturally relevant preaching that has become so popular today ultimately compromises the faithful proclamation of Christ crucified and the good news of the gospel.

    Consider the words of the Prophet Jeremiah "My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good." I can't imagine that God's assessment of the secular market driven church would be any kinder, especially, when one considers the doctrine of God, which this model presupposes. In this model God is small and man is large. This is evident in that man’s felt needs are more prominent in the preaching and the worship than God’s righteousness and holiness.

    Those who defend this secular model, make the assertion that the means are not restricted by God’s word as long as the message is preserved. But they fail to recognize that the means and the message are inseparable. The cultural winsome preaching that I have described in this article is incompatible with the faithful, direct, prophetic proclamation of the Law and the Gospel. The foolishness of preaching must remain foolish to those who reject Christ crucified and the promises of the gospel. In principle this is also true of the visible means which Christ has ordained. For example, the second commandment forbids the use of visible images in worship, including all images of God. And therefore the only visible images, which can be used in worship are those, which Jesus Christ has ordained, water-baptism; bread and wine-Lord's Supper. When the sacramental elements of water, bread and wine are properly understood these humble elements proclaim Christ crucified, and the benefits of the gospel, through these elements Christ is offered to those who receive them in faith. This cannot be said of any other visible means. God has restricted the use of means to word and sacrament.

    My last point, is that this secular relevant driven model of doing church, has resulted in the profaning of worship. The worship service is often so informal, casual, and lacking any true proclamation of the law and the gospel, that not only is the gospel compromised, but the holiness of God is altogether lost.

    Can anyone honestly say that this kind of casual worship conforms to the teaching of God's word in Hebrews chapter 12. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28, 29

    Rev. Mark Stromberg,

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  19. Denise, thanks for taking the time to read the post. Brad--AMEN!

    Kevin, the church wants to be so much like the world, it's fallen in. Zeal for the Lord's house...

    Great stuff, Mark!

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  20. The utter dread of our human sinful condition was manifested this past Lord’s Day morning in a sermon about God’s holiness. The forgotten holiness (http://www.lyndenurc.com/listen.htm)

    We must not ascend upward to this holy God. We must not approach this God directly. The ‘theology of glory’ ascends the throne room of God directly and presumptuously. Listen to what happened to Uzziah in Isaiah 6 when he tried to do so. How do the leaders at ncctk encourage you to approach God?

    In the words of Dr. Michael Horton, “A direct ‘beatific vision’ of God in his Glory is more likely a glimpse of hell rather than heaven, judgment rather than grace.” Ascending upward is a proud pursuit of the beatific vision.

    This God is not a perfect mirror of our own prejudices who we can approach with unmediated access - however and whenever we want. God is holy.

    Contrast the Reformed theology of the cross with how you approach God? Dr. M. Horton, writes, “While the ‘theology of the cross’ proclaims God’s descent to sinners in the flesh, by grace alone in Christ alone, theologies of glory represent human attempts to ascend away from the flesh to union with God through mysticism, merit, and philosophical speculation.” Little equivocating splashes of Jesus here and there do not erase the overriding idolatrous ‘theology of glory’ approach to God.

    Why is the worship of God so distasteful and shameful in Lynden at ncctk to any Christian who is reminded of God’s holiness? Is it not the proud practice of ascent known as the ‘theology of glory’?

    In contrast, God graciously condescends and accommodates us by revealing to us his will - in his word. God’s will is not known by our climbing the scale of being, but can only be known in and through the Mediator.

    The ‘theology of the cross’ will always recognize that we cannot reach God (or attempt to speak to him in imaginary dialogues with him, as done at ncctk in worship) he can reach us, and has done so, in his preached and written word. We humbly recognize what is happening… when he reaches and touches us in Christ - as Isaiah was.

    The forgotten holiness sermon is a timely reminder for us to humble ourselves and be thankful that we are provided even an opportunity to meet and respond to him (in Christ) under his terms of condescension and accommodation - thankfully.

    Kevin Barrow
    Lynden, WA

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  21. Wow, I came across this inadvertently and was quite taken back. I'm a Lynden resident, and am embarrassed of the stone throwing here. Big model - small model - corporate model - etc. As long as the common goal is reaching the lost, discipleship, and spreading the gospel, I'm not sure one has the authority to play God and decide their model is better? If I remember correctly, jesus was a radical - and people wanted to kill him fir being such. If Jesus can hang with the drunkards to reach the lost, I suppose a church can post some signs.

    I would recommend spending this short time on earth reaching the lost, not trying to critique other believers and churches "business style". Unless of course there is a specific sin being committed - which doesn't seem to be the case in reading this. I siggest we focus on the lost, and reach them however we can.

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  22. Dear Anonymous, In response to your post, let me pose a few questions for clarification. Are you suggesting the ends justify the means? Do you actually intend to say that we can use whatever means we want to win the lost? If so, what do you do with the many condemnations in Scripture itself of using things contrary to the appointed "foolish" means God has chosen to keep his church from ear tickling (2 Tim 4.)? And I think you've misunderstood what Jesus was radical about, he overturned tables upon those who acually employed the business model in his father's house--the same thing I am reacting to here. I'm sure it was an embarrassing moment for all, but zeal for the Lord's house had eaten him up. I humbly encourage you to read the articles with an open mind. Contending earnestly for the faith against falsehood is a most worthwhile responsibility of a Christian. Best, Chris

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  23. Interesting Viewpoint...

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  24. I just caught the last of this exchange, and I'm now too am becoming confused. Are you, Chris, suggesting that Jesus turning over tables was based upon this business model, or was it because they turned the temple into a market, a modern day store - where you buy goods. I am not sure at all how some people putting out signs in hopes of reaching out to people, not selling goods, in fact not selling anything. The intent as I understand it, is that the signs are outreach.

    Can you clarify why you are comparing these - it seems there is no correlation whatsoever? I look forward to your feedback here. Blessings,

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  25. Dear Anonymous, thanks for commenting. I am not sure what is confusing here. I am suggesting that Jesus was reacting to the fact that his father's house had become a marketplace. There was a mass ponzi scheme to line the pockets of those who wanted to keep their empire strong. So the articles go much deeper than the sign placement. I interact with this in part one, I would encourage you to reread that post as I show who the "outreach" is really aimed at. The sign phenomenon is a symptom of a greater problem, mainly that God himself is being marketed and treated like a product and the people consumers.

    The "I LOVE MY CHURCH" signs come from the marketing strategy of Ally Bank, which launched a whole commercial campaign, "I LOVE MY BANK". At the end of the commercial they ask, DO YOU LOVE YOUR BANK? suggesting, of course, that you should switch banks because Ally Bank offers the best banking above the rest.

    Is a connection in marketing strategy unwarranted?

    Here is the link: http://christopherjgordon.blogspot.com/2011/04/lynden-church-paradigm-i-love-my-bank.html

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  26. Thanks for the response. If I understand your point of view correctly, it's your assertion that NCCTK church is involved in sudo panzi scheme, and is some way attempting to line their pockets or profit from the church and it's attendees?
    I know there have been many cases of this over the years, so it's not our of the realm of possibility for this to happen in our country or abroad. Do you have any evidence or can you site any occasion or instance where you have seen this to be the case?
    There was much conspiracy over all of the catholic church priests and sexual assualts over the last number of years, and if I began to assume to that if all preists were molestors, I would be making a dangerous assumption.
    If you have any evidence of this I would be very interested to know this. I am concerned that people look at the Joel Osteens of the world, and then group aall of the "large" churches together in this.
    Can you shed some light on this or backup the "line their pockets"? From my understanding NCCTK is tithing church, the pastors and staff live humble lives, and spend what money they do have in a Godly way. Look forward to your insight here.
    Thanks Chris

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  27. Dear Anonymous, do you mind revealing yourself? This is a total tangent, that is not what I said, I answered your question about Christ. My main point is that God is being marketed as a product--don't miss that. As for Osteen, in this case, the very same title of Osteen's book was the Easter Morning sermon title. If you don't want to be grouped with Joel Osteen, then why are you preaching his sermons? I think that alone is a fair connection. Best, Chris

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  28. good grief its amazing what people will try to come up with to discredit a well written article exposing serious errors. i agree that annonymous' comments are provocative and misleading. you have to be really blind to support a market mega church. Keep it up pastor and dont be sidetracted with foolish agendas

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  29. I have not listened to both sermons in full, but know that they were not nearly the same sermon. But just because there was a similarity in a title, I would never assume they "preached his sermon". This is yet another example of what I am concerned about. Im surprised you would go on record to say "they preached Joel Osteens same sermon".
    What if you listened to them and found that in fact this is not the case? How would you feel if people began spreading this about you because your sermon title happen to be similar to someones sermon that was not yours? I think you have a higher responsibility here, regardless of your feelings about large churches, to judge people based on fact. This is concerning to me.

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  30. Dear Anonymous, it's the same prosperity, American Arminian theology. I haven't even done a post on the theology of this, or the message. You are certainly making me consider two more parts to my critique. But you have completely disregarded the concern I have raised about the profaning of God's holiness. Are we cheerleaders as pastors? Is it permissible to give a pep rally for Jesus in worship as we do at the ball game? Yes, the correlation with Jesus is noted, zeal for the Lord's house has eaten me up. It's concerning to me that few share that same zeal.

    COMMENT NOTE: I will delete all further comments unless there is a name provided. I have put myself out there, why should I interact with a ghost who refuses to stand by his own words in name?

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  31. Jerry RutherfordMay 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Is it ok to stand and cheer and raise your hands at a Ballgame, but not for the Saviour of the world who hung on a cross?
    If David can dance in the streets in his underwear for Jesus, and Jesus finds that worthy of placing in his Word for us to read and see for eternity, then yes, I would say that is appropriate. Again, you are citing tradition here not scripture. It's ok if you value your traditions and want to dress nicely, but do you find scripture telling us how to dress and how worship is to be conducted with regards to this?
    Also - I can tell you the man's comment about wearing a suit to church - or "sunday best" as he put it, will remove MANY people from ever entering your doors (Jesus doors) as there are many people who can not afford such clothes, live in poverty, are addicted to drugs, etc. These people would be immensely intimidated by people who dress to the nines... but I supposed this is ok with you? If I remember right, Jesus is a "come as your are" type of God. He had a few things to say to the Pharisees about these types of legalisms. How do you reconcile this?

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  32. Anonmyous, there you go again clearly he wasn't saying it was the exact same sermon but the teaching was the same anyone can see that. why are you purposely provoking and then covering by saying the pastor is not being responsible. i wonder do you work for this church in question.

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  33. Jerry RutherfordMay 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Raymond, his comment was:

    "If you don't want to be grouped with Joel Osteen, then why are you preaching his sermons?"

    Do you see anything about "but the teaching was the same".

    Not sure how you are confused by this? Preaching his sermons is pretty clear.

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  34. Dear Jerry, the cross event was not a ballgame, I can't believe you made a correlation here. David was not in public worship in the temple, but if you want to run down mainstreet naked, go ahead--the authorities may not like it though. If people refuse to come to church because someone else has their own liberty to dress nicely, who really has become the Pharisee? It is not OK for people to judge others people's clothing, that goes both ways.

    And for your last comment, Jesus as a come are you are type of God, that is blatantly false and a tradition of man. He commands you to worship him revently and with godly fear because he is a consuming fire (NT-Heb 12). Quite a few people tried to come as there were before him, and were incincerated.

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  35. Jerry for the record, Raymond is correct, that is what I meant. I did not mean that the exact same sermon was preached, but the theology behind it was the same. Best, Chris

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  36. jerry the whole world went black because Jesus was suffering the wrath of god in his soul and people were weeping that's a lot different than cheering shaq's dunks. good grief i cant believe we are having this discussion.

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  37. and people chose to read only what they want to read as the many comments here show

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  38. I would encrouage everyone to listen to a recent series of radio addresses I gave on the Holiness of God--especially the Thursday broadcast. Here is the link: http://christopherjgordon.blogspot.com/2011/05/abounding-grace-radio-forgotten_02.html

    I appreciate the spirited discussion.

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  39. Jerry RutherfordMay 6, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    My words did not say people cheered as Jesus was on the cross, they cheered for the Saviour that saved them by the cross. Big difference.
    Please just point to the recipe in scripture for attire and the level of zeal we are allowed to have. This would put it to rest very quickly, I am not coming against you being "reserved" in your approach to worship, it's the other way around, therefore the burden of proof is on you here. Please just list the scripture and this will be sufficient.
    In terms of Pharasees and judgement, you made my point for me. You insinuated that these people that may pass judgement because of the environment you create is intimidating to some, are Pharasees. YES! They are, they are unsaved entirely and are condemned to hell. But I suppose we need to wait until they get saved, and realize that they are being judgemental, and THEN they can come to church. That is in complete contridiction to Jesus Chris, he came into the world not to condemn it but to save it. He also said he did not come for the saved but for the sinner. He hung out with them, he made himself available to them, they like him. We need to put our own traditions and comfort aside and look at what will possibly reach the lost and not expect them to figure it all out and THEN come to us. Amazing how backwards that is.

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    Replies
    1. I'm continuing to read down through the responses to this article, but wanted to take a moment to respond to Jerry's here. It seems like you are suggesting that Jesus' ministry, hanging out with the lost, and making himself available to them, happened within the doors of the Church. When Jesus ministered to the lost, it was outside of the Church. And he did so with love, and kindness, and gentleness, but always confronted there sin and invited them to repentance. His message was a loving invitation to turn from their lives of sin, to Him, Christ. And I believe we are to do the exact same, spend our lives with the lost, seeking them, inviting them to turn from their lives of sin against their Creator, to repent, and instead serve Christ. Our role is to be followers of Christ in this respect.

      However, where does this ministry of Jesus take place? Is it within the doors of the Church? We are called to "Go out" and make disciples of all nations, not to stay in and bring them in. The Church is a body of believers who join together to worship Christ. The purpose within the walls is to grow the flock of God's Children so they are equipped to be teachers (Hebrews 5:12-14 "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." The lost are absolutely invited within the doors of Church, by all means, but our teaching of Scripture must not be tailored to them, for we will starve the flock of Christ from growth if we continue to offer milk.

      One day the leaders of the Church will answer to the Lord himself for how they cared for the flock. We are to prepare the flock to go out. I have attended several Churches of this type, including the one mentioned above, and the messages have consistently been a surface level "milk" that gives suggestions to try and to remember in daily life, rather than the life changing deep truths of Scripture. It is tailored to a better you, at things we can all "do", ways we can become happier. You mention in your post "We need to put our own traditions and comfort aside and look at what will possibly reach the lost and not expect them to figure it all out and THEN come to us." This statement to me suggests that your mode of outreach is "come to our church, just try it" and then they come. We aren't trying to get the lost to come to us, but we are GOING TO THEM, meeting them WHERE THEY ARE.

      There must be a distinction made between inside of the Church and outside of the Church. We do see several instances of letters that Paul wrote to Churches, that there were people in the Church involved with sin. We see Christ address those attempting to make a profit in the Temple Courts. We see Christ address the Pharisees hypocrisy in the Temple. We see the way the Lord dealt with sin "in" the Church when Ananias and Saphira lied about their offering (they still gave a lot, just lied about it). There are many instances we learn about "inside" the Church, but Christ's ministry was largely outside the Church, in all cases when he was reaching the lost. Today's "contemporary" model moves this role inside the walls of the Church, starving the flock, and making it a numbers game rather than a discipleship that honors the Word of God.

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  40. Jerry RutherfordMay 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Chris, I will listen to your sermon, thank you for posting it.

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  41. Jerry, I cited Hebrews 12 as the kind of reverence that must accompany all true worship. You're missing the whole point by focussing on dress, it is a area of Christian liberty. I wrote elsewhere, I have noticed the reverse problem of striking at a brother’s liberty because he wants to, for example, offer his first-fruits in the way that he dresses or looks. "They make all their people dress a certain way at that church.” Broad characterizations and generalizations are made this way and lumped together as a “legalistic” when, in fact, practices of people are often birthed out of genuine gratitude for the grace given. In other words, marketing mega churches keep kicking the traditional churches as legalistic in matters of Christian liberty—they wear ties, they sing out of a song book, etc.

    The paradoxal thing here, however, is that to disregard the law of God this way, for instance, in how we are commanded to worship, actually forces church leaders to create their own inventions and impose their own ideas on the people (i.e. conversations with God, videos, dramas, liturgical dancing —the list is really endless here). We think of Isaiah’s words, “Who has required this from your hand, to trample my courts.” So the one making the charge of legalism needs to look at the plank in his own eye for attacking people who are sincerely trying to honor the Lord’s expressed will. Disregarding the law of God, and imposing ones own inventions upon people in worship is de facto doing what Jesus condemned in Matthew 15, “in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

    The freedom that we have is freedom within the bounds of the law of God to honor it as a way of gratitude. People today are making the assumption that freedom is freedom to live outside the law of God. Simply put, “If you come to us, we won’t require anything of you.”

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  42. Now Jerry, you said this, "Is it ok to stand and cheer and raise your hands at a Ballgame, but not for the Saviour of the world who hung on a cross?" i'm not sure what is unclear here but you correlated the bloody cross with a ball game. that is highly offensive to me. but i think it indicates clearly how irreverent people have become in worship services. jesus may have hung out with the hurting but what was their attitude a lot different than the goofiness of worshipers we see today.

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  43. Jerry RutherfordMay 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Raymond, I choose to cheer for my King as David did. Jesus did not condemn him, and he will not condemn me - not sure how you can argue with this, but you seem to.

    Chris, I read Hebrews 12 in it's entirety and am familiar with this passage. Explain where it talks about how much zeal we are to have during worship? Or how about where it describes it at all? Which vs? Is does not address it at all, and the context has little to do with this.

    The Bible is pretty good and laying out rules and procedures for things if Jesus wanted a certain recipe for thnigs... like marriage, like electing leaders in the church, etc. Worship style?? Not mentioned, so I wish you would stop trying to fabricate it, let's just agree it's not there. Your traditions are not everyone else's traditions, so they ALL must be wrong, only Chris's church has the market on "true" worship?

    Our first fruits.. again, you have made my point for me. We give our energy in full to ballgames, to cheering on our children (out loud), etc, etc. But it MUST stop there, right?. When we get into a temple it must be quiet and done in a certain way, even though it does not tell us to do so in the Bible and some instances show otherwise when pertaining to worship. (David for one, the apostles overcome by the Holy spirit acting "drunk").

    I have NO problem with you wearing suits, or singing out of hymnals, if this is meaningful worship to you and you connect with God through it AWESOME! I mean that with sincerity, but who are you to judge someone who finds worship through dancing or painting? God did not address those things in scripture and only HE knows their heart. Or are you like the people in the bible that thought the apostles were drunk? I mean, how could someone "act" in such a way? Don't you see the hypocrisy here. Your way is the only way and nobody else's is. Even though you can not point to a single scripture that supports you in this.

    I would say that there are boundaries, but where those boundaries fall is addressed partly in scripture (if it conflicts directly with scripture), or some churches set their own boundaries, which again, is OK, provided it does not conflict with scripture. The point is, that when you start to judge others - the Lord will judge you accordingly as it says in scripture. So let your judgements be driven by the Word of the Lord, not your own personal opinions based on how you "feel" things should be.

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  44. Jerry, reread Hebrews 12:28 therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we might "worship" God acceptably with reverence an godly fear for our God is a consuming fire. Sorry, a pep rallies, cheerleading taunts, videos, dramas, theather settings, cars on stage, shopping malls, etc, is worldy and has nothing to do with the fear of God. STYLE IS NOT NEUTRAL. It's mentioned all over the BIBLE, that we are to worship only as God has commanded in His Word, and not as the pagans do with will worship. And you are making the assumption that we should just listen to our heart about how we should worhip? Jerry... your heart is desperately wicked (Jer. 17, Rom. 3) and as Calvin said is an idol factory. If you need Scripture, see isa 6, Lev, 10, Ex, 24, Ezek. 1, heb 12, Col. 1, Matt. 15, on and on and on. I judge according to Scripture as Christ commands. You are saying true worship is out of the impulses of the heart and then you warn me about imposing my "feelings" upon you? See the real inconsistency here? I think we have exhausted this discussion, let's move on. I will pray for you.

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  45. Jerry, isn't it evident David was not in corporate worship, as Chris points out.

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  46. and jerry as I read your comments, you borderline on apostastizing from the historic Christian faith...

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  47. Jerry,

    Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
    3 And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying:`By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'"

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  48. Interesting discussion but it seems to have gotten to the "blindness of the Jews" or the "I'm not listening to you " stage - it is amazing how misuse of the language is so prevalent among those who choose to apostatize rather than humble themselves before the Living God - I have never seen the inference or hint of term "cheer for " in any context in Scripture - I think we all need to bow before the Lord our maker and give His Holiness love and adoration - amen

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  49. Michael, but you have seen Dance many times in scripture. And to this you say?

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  50. Sorry to interject here, Michael, but I thought I might add a few words for Jerry to ponder before I retire for the night.

    First of all, Jerry, great question!

    Jerry, we recognize that the commands were given in a typological period. We also distinguish private worship and public corporate worship.

    For example, from the typological period, we do not engage in holy war nor slaughter bulls and goats in worship, nor dance in worship - for all the same reasons, to mention a few.

    Since we are now living in the time of fulfillment, where the Mosaic civil and ceremonial laws are now abrogated but not the moral law, we worship according to how God has commanded us now. We no longer sacrifice bulls and goats, burn incense, have a brazen altar, etc, etc.

    If you want to dance in public worship as an element of worship to please God, then you would need to reinstate all the Mosaic cultic system also - and keep all of it perfectly.

    So this is the problem...

    When you invent ways of worship or cheer or dance you do so according to your own will and this is called will-worship in the Bible. On the other hand, if you implement ceremonial aspects of worship from the old typological period and appeal to the typological period for support, now living in the time of fulfillment, to do so, is to effectively deny Christ and his fulfillment of the law.

    We now worship God according to the Regulative Principle of Worship and we are most aware of what type of worship is forbidden in the time of fulfillment. That which is will-worship or typological but even more importantly, we need to know and must ask - what does God require and what worship will he accept?

    This is what every Christian should want to know! What does God require of us in worship and why?

    You may want to Google the "Regulative Principle of Worship" and study how God has revealed himself in these matters in his Word. He has not commanded us to dance in worship in the time of fulfillment – therefore we do not.

    Better yet, talk with Pastor Gordon and he can fill you in on what God requires and what God rejects - and why.

    Kevin Barrow

    Lynden, WA

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  51. Kevin, interesting insight. And I thank you for this.

    I am over and over stuck by the interpretations that seem to surface. You used the terms Regulative Principles of Worship. This is not found anywhere in scripture, nor is a "recipe" for worship - post fulfillment, ever given. I can not count the number of times I have requested this. Maybe you could point this out.

    Furthermore you make an assertion that dancing was part of the Mosaic system of worship, and then later condemned. However, again I ask for any scripture condemning such or proposing this theory. God does address certain things that were no longer required after Christs sacrifice, but dancing was not one of them.

    Mr Gordon brought up that worship must be Holy, or pleasing, to God. And by your own admission, Dancing was part of worshp at one time - and pleasing to God. So we have established the dancing was in fact pleasing to God in worship, and now it's not?

    The real issue here is interpretations of scripture, not commandments or the actual words of scripture. To you, dancing is not pleasing to God, but you could never say it's sin, not unless you point to specific Biblical condemnation.

    Lastly, where do you find private and corporate worship distinction in scripture. I find it interesting that you have so many conclusions for how to worship God, but very little to back this up. Googling something is not a standard by which I use to determine what is Biblically acceptable.

    Dancing is never condemned by God with regards to worshiping him, never. But you dare to interject for him and decide what is acceptable?

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  52. Jerry, worship itself means to bow down. and who do you ever find in the presence of jesus who did not fall on their face in worship. your failure to distinguish between worship as the gathering of saints and individual private worship is distressful. are you kidding? you show no understanding in the things that you say here...in total ignorance of the principle that chris cited by those who come near to me i must be regarded as holy. and jerry do you find the wory trinity in the bible? do you believe it?

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  53. Jerry,

    Thanks for the interaction. I understand that we need to stick with the Bible and that God has made us reasonable creatures. I notice in your reply that you plead for the Bible only but deny the reasonableness of making or drawing conclusions to form a hermeneutic.

    If you are pleading for accessing God in any way your heart desires, then we can easily find evidence in scripture that condemns that approach. This approach is condemned by God (God wasn’t too pleased with the golden calf approach, for example) so we need to start thinking about what God does accept and why – by drawing conclusions from the Bible which will form a hermeneutic. This means we need to start making distinctions which will determine our worship according to what God has prescribed, if we are truly interested in pleasing him. If you do not allow for this, then you must conclude that God was unjust in condemning the Golden Calf event – God forbid!

    God did not forbid but rather commanded the burnt sacrifices, also, correct? Would you discern that this is acceptable Christian worship practice and pleasing to God in worship today? If not, why – he commanded it and it is in the Bible?

    I’m trying to discern what positive position you are taking to draw your conclusions. It seems you have many negative positions in your reply’s fighting against the positive hermeneutic we have listed. Please clarify your positive position and what you would allow in worship – this would helpful.

    Here are some questions below that might help further this discussion. Without knowing what you positively believe there is little value in reasoning together without knowing what your positive position.

    - You must at least notice that God is extremely angry with certain forms of worship in the Bible even if done in Jehovah’s name, correct? (i.e. the Golden Calf event - God is not unjust).

    -According to your assertions, it seems to me that you would allow for anything that your heart desires or that God has not forbidden? Is this correct?

    -God did not forbid the burnt sacrifices so is there some reason you would not allow for it today or if your heart wants to do it – could you still please God by worshipping him with burnt sacrifices today? If not, why?

    The Regulative Principle of Worship hermeneutic has outlined all the events of worship throughout the entire Bible and has reasoned responses to each one. God is consistently approached and worshipped in the way he has prescribed in the Bible. If you love me keep my commandments (John 14:15)

    Kevin Barrow,

    Lynden, WA

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  54. Jerry et al - yes the word dance is in the Word of God but noone but "literalistic "folks use this as a weapon to brow beat believers with a non point - just because you read that David danced does not mean that we should do that as well - David lusted after Bathsheba and then committed adultery and murder as a result - Should we do the same ? your logic unfortunately terminally flawed - its the same as saying in the OT temple worship that because there were horns and drums and cymbals and we should also do that in our worship ( as a justification for the unholy cacophony that makes up the relevant man worshiping churches) - in a recent posting I saw one individual use the words "Sola Scriptura " - in all humility I ask you to run toward the Savior and bow down before Him - get away from the self and become a vessel for true worship Michael

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  55. Jerry, wrote:

    "To you, dancing is not pleasing to God, but you could never say it's sin, not unless you point to specific Biblical condemnation."

    Jerry further wrote,

    "Dancing is never condemned by God with regards to worshiping him, never. But you dare to interject for him and decide what is acceptable?"

    The Bible states, Exodus 32:19

    And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 32:19


    Kevin Barrow,

    Lynden, WA

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  57. We quit ctk in bham last july. Couldn't take it anymore. the youth group leader is tattooed. Our teen daughter says they weren't learning any bible, he said he didn't want it to be like church. What a Joke! The minister doesn't preach against anything, has never mentioned homosexuality, abortion. He asked the church one sunday if they liked lady gaga or bob dylan, neither should be mentioned in a church! They've showed clips of the simpsons, superbowl commercial etc. during the church service. The hulu commercial was totally SATANIC! A guy sat next to me one sunday morning with his blackberry screen on during the whole service, he was shopping for a home. Girls show up in short shorts. People come late, walk out early, every service. Everyone feels comfotable in their sin. I am scared for them, they are going to end up in Hell! P.S our teen daughter couldn't take it anymore either. What does that say. This is a Rick Warren emerging church. We left before we were totally sucked in. I could go on and on. I've since found pastor Mike Hoggard, he preaches the true gospel from the authorized KJ bible. I have his dvd he made on the Emerging church, You can find him online.

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  58. First off, I am a regular attendee of NCCTK. It pains me to see a blog that is so negative from another pastor of our community. I will have to say that our church makes many mistakes in my opinion in their outreach. Most obvious to me was the "I love my church" signs. I was completely embarrassed by the signs and had to apologize countless times to many of my friends from other churches. I was relieved to see the signs taken down and talk of them re-using them not materialized. I do like my church, but I LOVE JESUS. There are other problems that I have, but I have discussed them privately with people from the church. The leadership and passion from NCCTK is like no other church that I've been a part of. That passion is what has led to some mistakes in my opinion. The leadership can be very "Peter" like in the way it does things. Meaning they act first because of their passion and think later. When I look at Christ's apostles I notice that they are not all the same. I don't take that as a co-incidence, but as an example for us to witness. I think it takes many different styles of people to reach all the people that God wishes us to reach. I personally don't care if my church has 10 or 1000 people next Sunday as long as the people are being witnessed to in some way. I pray blessings on your church and hope that you would do the same to us.

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