HAS YOUR CHURCH LOST ITS DIVINE PURPOSE?
In my recent article "Church Growth Movement - Revival or Apostasy" I talked about an ungodly movement that is sweeping our churches like wildfire. This is no fringe movement. I have heard that upwards of 250,000 pastors have been trained in these growth programs so far. Your church has probably already had to answer to this movement by either jumping onto the bandwagon, deciding they couldn't afford to jump on (there is BIG money in this) or deciding that it would remain true to God's Word. In my previous article I mentioned the big three in this movement as Dr. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, CA and Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. While I didn't have much trouble convincing most people that Dr. Robert Schuller was preaching a false gospel, some people had a more difficult time with my mention of Hybels and Warren. Warren in particular because so many churches across the nation are using his "40 Days of Purpose". The people attending these churches want to defend its use by saying that somehow God will work through this movement even though it is against biblical teaching. What these people are really saying is that when God talks about the importance of obedience to His Word, He doesn't really mean it.
Many defenders say that the teachings of these pastors are on the solid gospel. I would challenge them with a verse from 1 Cor. 3:11. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." The modern Church Growth Movement is using modern marketing techniques, not the gospel of Christ to bring in large numbers of people. The church converts and disciples people through the use of these modern organizational management techniques (Total Quality Management style just like business) so that they can effect "change" in the community and the world. Peter Drucker tells us that "pastors are the most under rated "change" agents. He calls Rick Warren the "inventor of perpetual revival". Sounds like the dialectic doesn't it? We need to continually change until we finally reach perfection, which is of course a humanist philosophy.
Who is this Peter Drucker? He is called the "guru of modern management". It is his marketing techniques that are being used to grow the church. He has worked with large corporations, small entrepreneurs, U.S. government agencies and other free governments. According to Christianity Today, "Drucker is a Christian, a practicing Episcopalian, but from his writings it would be hard to say much more than that about his faith... Drucker's writings seem determined to keep his faith a secondary characteristic for his readers."
Ann Hart, Provost, Claremont Graduate University says "Drucker is best known for his humanistic approach to business management." She goes on to say "He changes as the world changes." This is Drucker's own provost at his own university where he was a professor. Drucker has been quoted in Forbes Magazine as saying that he does not believe in moral absolutes. Yet many Christian churches are using his techniques to grow the church. Pastor Rick Warren himself says that Peter Drucker, Tom Paterson and Bob Buford were the three strongest supports of the purpose-driven church strategy in the formative years of Saddleback Church.
Dr. Schuller, along with Pastors Warren and Hybels have all used Drucker's modern marketing techniques just like any worldly business would by surveying their communities to find out what the unbelievers wanted. Rick Warren said he did not want to color the opinions with those of believers. Just like in the business world he was trying to reach the "non- customers". These non-customers want worldly music, drama, dance and other things to entertain them. They don't want to hear about things that will make them uncomfortable like sin and repentance or a literal burning hell. Romans 12:2 tells us "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The only thing that will transform us and renew our minds is the Word of God. Instead we are going against his Word and are conforming to the fleshly lusts of this world by bringing in what the non-believers want.
Humanist Manifestos recommend transformation of religious institutions into conformity with the world because salvation comes through mankind. They also recommend worldwide socialism. They think the church could be a great tool for bringing in the change to world socialism. Maybe that is why Peter Drucker said, in reference to churches that "The community ... needs a community center... I'm not talking about religion now, I'm talking society. There is no other institution in the American Community that could be the center." Bob Buford another of Rick Warren's "supports" said "The church of the 21st century is reforming itself into a multi-faceted service operation." But who will it be serving, God or man?
There are many organizations that are involved with this Church Growth Movement that eventually lead back to the ungodly United Nations. As we know, the United Nations is working for international socialist control of all countries because that is how they think they can bring peace on earth without God.
The "new church" is now pushing "small groups". Rick Warren says "small groups are the most effective way of closing the back door of your church". It is easier to change people in a group than individually. The focus in the "new church" is much more centered on human relationships than on your relationship with God. It is like a cult - They make it difficult to leave. That is why they have surfing ministries, biking ministries, etc. If you are strongly tied to people relationships in the church you are less likely to leave even if you begin to see things you don't like about the church. Small groups are where the big "changes" take place. Little by little the true believers will be led away from absolutes, because absolute doctrine divides. Unity is much more important. Bible studies are dialectic not didactic. There are accountability groups where accountability is shifted from God to man.
Somewhere along the way in your new church journey you will actually be given a personality test or assessment to find out your spiritual gifts. It is called "understanding your shape". Can you believe that? Churches are testing people for their abilities and strengths so that they can figure out where to use us. Rick Warren tells us in his "Purpose Driven Life" that "today there are many books and tools that can help you understand your personality so you can determine how to use it for God." Like God wouldn't know. Isn't He the one who is supposed to direct us? Too bad the early believers and martyrs didn't have today's " tools" to understand how to best serve God. How ridiculous can this be? God uses our weaknesses not our strengths because He wants people to see that it is through Him and not through us that good works are accomplished. Look at Moses. He couldn't speak well, but that is where God used him. We are using man's made up personality tests to find out spiritual gifts. What folly!
Ephesians 4: 11-13 says " And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The main focus of the church according to the Word of God is to edify the body of Christ, not to focus on unbelievers. The church is for the saints and from there they are to go out into the world as witnesses. That is the example of the early church, too. They prayed and broke bread together. They listened to the Apostles and studied the Word of God. Then they went out into the world to reach the unbelievers with the message. We can see what has happened over the years as the church has drifted from her divine purpose. Studies have been done to show that there is just as much adultery, divorce, abortion, etc. in the church as out of the church. A broken body cannot minister unto the world.
Instead of edifying the saints, the church is reaching out to fill the "felt needs" of the community. In the small groups, problems are fed back to the pastor so he can preach sermons on the people's needs instead of preaching what God says. These problems also help to stifle opposition when someone has confessed their sins to the group and then becomes disillusioned with the direction of the church. People are being taught the unbiblical concept that Jesus is there to heal their hurts and to fill their needs so that Christ becomes the servant rather than us being His servants.
In order to rationalize his gearing the church toward unbelievers, Rick Warren tells us that Jesus said, " Let the tares and the wheat grow together and one day I'll sort them out." He says "we are not in the sorting business. We are in the harvesting business." Warren takes this seriously out of context because Jesus tells us very clearly in Matthew chapter 13 that the field is the world, NOT THE CHURCH. The devil sows the tares which are the children of the wicked one. The harvest is the end of the world. Rick Warren is either intentionally distorting the Word of God or he is a prominent pastor who doesn't even know the Word of God even when Jesus explained it to us.
Numerous passages in the Bible tell us to come out and be separate from unbelievers. For example Romans 16:17, and 2 Cor. 6:14 - 18. Certainly God wanted the saints separated from the nonbelievers for our own good. Because the church ignores this part of scripture and is geared toward unbelievers the messages are watered down. Just like with Dr. Schuller, we are given positive only sermons that make us feel good. Don't talk too much about sin or repentance and certainly don't mention a fiery hell! Doesn't Jesus mention hell more than heaven in the New Testament? In Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life" he talks about hell as eternal separation from God. Why would unrepentant sinners fear that? They are already separated from God. The God of love and the God that builds up our self-esteem is the God that can easily merge with the deities of all the other religions of the world. This sounds like the beginning of the One World Religion talked about in Daniel and Revelation to me. I believe that is what is at work right now in many if not most mainstream churches today.
I have only lightly touched on this topic here. It is a very big and difficult subject because the tangled web runs so deep. Many good people are caught up in this movement. There is a lot of information out there, but people need to take the time to search it out. I pray that many of you are at least disturbed enough to want to do some of your own research. It is time for those who truly love the Lord to get out of these churches and find one that understands the divine purpose for which Christ established her.
© 2003 Debbie O'Hara - All Rights Reserved
Debbie O'Hara is a homemaker, wife and mother of eight children. During her business career she held a position in management in the aerospace industry in Southern California. She left the business world to become a full time mother. She is an avid reader, and did the necessary research to provide a comprehensive homeschool curriculum for her children. This led her to closely examine the political direction our country has been following. Debbie and her children are now active in the political process both locally and nationally. Debbie is a contributing writer to www.NewsWithViews.com. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Drucker has been quoted in Forbes Magazine as saying that he does not believe in moral absolutes. Yet many Christian churches are using his techniques to grow the church. Pastor Rick Warren himself says that Peter Drucker, Tom Paterson and Bob Buford were the three strongest supports of the purpose-driven church strategy in the formative years..."