Monday, May 14, 2007

Numerical Growth Can Be Deceptive

From Old Truth:

"Quoting Nathan Busenitz . . .

Numerical growth can take place for wrong reasons. For example, during Jesus' ministry, much of the crowd that followed him was more interested in his miracles than in his message (John 6:26). In fact, the wrong measure of success can be outright deadly - lulling churches into thinking that they are doing well when in fact they are not.

Quantitative growth can be deceptive. It may be no more than the mushrooming of a mechanically induced, psychological or social movement, a numerical count, an agglomeration of individuals or groups, an increase of a body without the development of muscle and vital organs. . . . In many ways the expansion of Christendom has come at the expense of the purity of the gospel and true Christian order and life. The church has become infested with pagan beliefs and practices, and is syncretistic in theology. . . . Large segments have become Christo-pagan.

Sadly, by watering-down the message and using unbiblical methods, [these churches] may be doing more harm than good - filling their auditoriums with vast crowds of lost people who think they're spiritually okay.

Having investigated both its evangelistic message and its evangelistic model, the sad conclusion is that the gospel according to Hybels and Warren falls far short of the biblical paradigm. Influenced more by pragmatic business principles than by prescribed biblical precepts, it is little wonder that seeker-driven churches are both numerically vast and spiritually shallow. Christ, of course, promised that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18). However, it is obvious that the building must be according to His plan. Attempting to build the church by human means only competes with the work of Christ.

Instead of always looking for new ways to do ministry, pastors and evangelists should content themselves with studying and applying the biblical principles for evangelism - being ever mindful of their God-given calling. God has already given His church the instructions they need. When they invent their own instructions, the end result is guaranteed to fall short of His standards. ...


The Gospel According to Hybels & Warren"

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