Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Turning Back, No Turning Back...
Part 1

If you've been reading this blog long, you have a sense of the churches I've been to, and why I have changed. From the published work that I received from Bethel Baptist Church here in Galesburg, it would appear that "Purpose Driven" drivel can be found deeper in the leadership than I could have imagined when I left.

From the book "Bethel Baptist Church Annual Report of Progress", Rick Warren's influence can be found all over the place. And who knows, maybe someone from Bethel will read this and smell the coffee burning...

Firstly, on page 2 Pastor Lee Johnson states that he had someone come to the church to evaluate to see "what was being done wrong". So, if this is being done, it's important to know who this person is and what they hold as a "standard". The name is easy; it's listed as Glen Sartain. What you have to dig a bit for is who he is and what he stands for. And here's a link to show that he is doing church transitions ala Rick Warren and Purpose Driven. Really spooky. And what I find interesting in light of this is that those of us who would oppose Warren-style "transitions" are "...among the forces of Hell." Also, be sure to read the following quote while you are there:

"During a [seminar] session titled "Dealing with Opposition," Mr. Clyde recommended that the pastor speak to critical members, then help them leave if they don't stop objecting. Then when those congregants join a new church, Mr. Clyde instructed, pastors should call their new minister and suggest that the congregants be barred from any leadership role.

"There are moments when you've got to play hardball," said the Rev. Dan Southerland, Church Transitions' president, in an interview. "You cannot transition a church...and placate every whiny Christian along the way."

So, if I affirm Biblical Evangelism (specifically the message of repentance from sin and faith toward God) I'm considered as part of the forces of hell? And if I'm "whiny" because I affirm God's Word, then doesn't that imply that God is a whiner too?

As Spock would say -- "Fascinating".

Then, of course, is the statement about "helping people leave" (let's see, would that involve a new "bouncer" ministry?) along with the "follow up" of calling the person's new church. Not enough that they are gone, ya know. Ya gotta twist the knife a little. How exemplary, this new "leadership".

"Pastor" Lee, on evangelism, states "Since I am not an evangelist by gifting, I have learned over the years that it is important for me to be intentional in presenting the Gospel of Christ". So, in other words, evangelism doesn't have to be intentional if you are gifted. And, oh, let me add that he mentions that he has "shared his faith" with at least one person per month. But apparently, he can't track one person per month because he also "doesn't have numbers" to show he accomplished this goal. And, remember, this is after he is "intentional" in his witnessing efforts.

Let's set aside any comments about double-talk, and just say "Lots of love for your perishing neighbor, huh?"

Of course, what he doesn't reveal is that, from one sermon he has preached, he defines "repentance" as "agreeing with God about your sin". No, pastor, that is wrong. You have given the definition of "confession" (homologeo), not "repentance" (metanoia), which means to have a change of mind (and therefore direction). That is a deadly error. So now, you have to ask which "gospel" he's sharing???

The sad thing about this is what it teaches those who attend Bethel Baptist. It teaches them that "hey, it's not that important". If the pastor doesn't make it a priority to evangelize, what makes him think anyone else (under him) will? Tragic silliness. Either he doesn't really believe that people really die and go to a real hell, or he doesn't get too concerned with it.

Mind you, he publishes here that the goal is to grow the church by a minimum 50% in one year, (854 members at the time of publishing). So, pastor, at your rate of evangelism and as others follow your example, how do you expect that to happen?

Remember, this is a "senior pastor" ... and that makes it very sad. I can just hear a clip from his next sermon including following lines from the 70's hit "Rock the Boat":

"So I'd like to know where, you got the notion
Said I'd like to know where, you got the notion
To rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
Rock the boat, don't tip the boat over
Rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby."

More later, I'm unpacking my airsick bag... In the meantime, if you follow the link to Bethel Baptist and (feel free to) email them, please tell 'em I sent you.

Rocking the boat...


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