By Paul Proctor
August 29, 2004
One hundred and sixty five members of Gardendale Baptist Church recently found themselves without a church home after their pastor decided it was either going to be him or them. The Caller-Times of Corpus Christi reported the following in a July 20th article:
Although I have used the terms �pragmatism� and �consensus� in many previous articles to describe the modus operandi of the church growth movement, many Christians still fail to see the inherent danger of their acceptance and practice. I wish to thank Gardendale Baptist Church for providing us with an excellent illustration of just how consensus and pragmatism work.
Consensus in the church says that the majority determines the will of God. Though many godly men and women throughout history have had to stand alone against heinous herds of misguided zeal, the postmodern church has been persuaded by certain celebrated charlatans that groupthink is synonymous with God-think.
Our Lord experienced the calamity of consensus when Pilate offered the agitated assembly Jesus� freedom as a gesture of good will. But, the mob didn�t want an innocent man released. Instead, they wanted a murderer named Barabbas turned loose and Jesus crucified. You see, that�s what consensus is; mob rule. And when the mob rules, sin reigns.
Pragmatism in the church teaches, �The end justifies the means;� that anything goes as long as it goes forward in God�s name. When you embrace this Marxist philosophy, you are free to draw the line anywhere you wish because pragmatists spell grace G-R-A-Y-C-E, as in, no black and white. (i.e., no standards or absolutes) Christian pragmatists (oxymoron) consider scriptural obedience to be legalism. Jesus, on the other hand, said time and again that our love for Him was measured by our obedience to His Word, making pragmatism anything but Christ-like.
The Decatur Daily reported on August 16th that a �Christian organization� in Atlanta called, Single Focus, regularly holds a bible study at Hooters in Kennesaw, Georgia. I find it curious that they don�t patronize some of the local strip joints, bathhouses, porno shops, massage parlors and gambling venues to study the bible as well. Those poor folks need God�s love too, don�t they? And I�m sure they�d appreciate the business as much as Hooters does. If the end justifies the means, why stop with a risqu� restaurant? Maybe if we�d visit more adult establishments during the week, they�d visit our churches on Sunday, right? Isn�t it all about joining in and being �relevant to the culture� to �reach people� for Jesus so the church will grow into the Kingdom of God? Sounds like a man plan to me.
I wonder what Jonah would say to the folks at Hooters if he were still around? The pragmatic church teaches that Jesus would have bellied up to the bar and bribed everyone with a beer and a basket of wings. I believe they call that �sharing God�s love� now. What sinner wouldn't want to be baptized into a fellowship like that?
You see, the church will either be led by the absolute truth and authority of a just and holy God or it will be guided by consensus and pragmatism. They each have their own deity and purpose and are therefore incompatible, though many pastors and leaders today often try to switch back and forth from one to the other in order to advance their careers, forward their agendas, keep up appearances or work damage control, which is really only pragmatism.
My heart goes out to the former members of Gardendale Baptist Church. Like so many others that have written to me over the years with their tragic tales, they have truly suffered for the cause of Christ. Rick Warren calls them �blessed subtractions.� If he only knew just how right he was�
�Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.� � Luke 6:22-23
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at [email protected]�
Although I have used the terms �pragmatism� and �consensus� in many previous articles to describe the modus operandi of the church growth movement, many Christians still fail to see the inherent danger of their acceptance and practice.