Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Given the Left Foot of Fellowship

Chris Rosebrough, the host of the Fighting for the Faith radio program, made this comment on his September 18th show:

If you’re going to a Purpose-Driven church and you’re gonna try to combat this as a church congregant, you’re going to be given the left foot of fellowship because that’s what the Purpose-Driven church teaches them to do with people who are dissidents. They don’t tolerate dissidents because you’re supposed to unquestioningly get behind the vision of the pastor.
By Purpose-Driven, Chris means a church that follows the seeker-sensitive blueprint often found in the Church Growth Movement. The term Purpose-Driven comes from Pastor Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Church, and his subsequent book The Purpose-Driven Life. These types of churches often try to recast the die on how a church should look and operate – the technical term is paradigm shift.

In moving a congregation to a more seeker-sensitive "model," many things are thrown out the window. Out go the liturgy, doctrine, and the Old Testament lesson, out go closed Communion, vestments, and true unity. Out goes the name on the front of the building, and possibly even the cross on the wall. They are replaced by a sermon series on how to solve your problems, praise bands, coffee bar, consultants, and vision. The Gospel is twisted into Law.

Next comes the push for a re-engineered church "management" structure, Constitution, and By-Laws. The senior pastor becomes a manager, and you, the parishioner, become the minister. Your church starts looking like the "evangelical" community church down the road.

These kinds of "hostile takeovers" are not pretty. If you’re one of those people who think that the main focus of your congregation should be Word and Sacrament ministry instead of meeting the felt needs of unbelievers, and you dare to voice your opinion, watch out! You might just get the left foot of fellowship. At the very least, you’ll be labeled as "divisive" and ostracized.

I mention this because it’s happening now in a church near you – possibly even in the pew you’re currently occupying.

Chris states that the pastors of Purpose-Driven churches are taught to give troublemakers the heave-ho. This sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t. It’s the game plan of choice if you want your seeker-sensitive church to be a "success." Kick out the discerning, doctrinally oriented members, and replace them with "seekers."

If you’d like to get a sneak peak at the play book that provides the details on how to excise these troublemakers who resist the paradigm shift, here are two well written articles on the subject:

By Ralph M. Petersen on his blog Well-Meaning Gentlemen With Different Ideas, titled "Resisters, Obstructionists, and Troublemakers."

By Berit Kjos on her apologetics website Kjos Ministries, titled "Dealing With Resisters."

If you’re in one of these churches, and you’re the type of person who’d rather fight than switch, put on your shoes and breastplate, strap on you belt and helmet, and grab your shield and sword – you’re in for a fight.

1 comment:

Ralph M. Petersen- Always Right;Sometimes Wrong! said...

Scott,
Great post. I appreciate the opening comment by Chris Rosebrough and I especially like the phrase, "The Left Foot of Fellowship."

The reason I have posted so much on this subject is because the practices and evidences of a purpose driven paradigm shift are manifest in my church and the leadership is in full denial.
Consequently, I have been marginalized, vilified and demonized for bringing these things to their attention.

Chris is right. If you are going to combat the errant philosophies and practices, you will find yourself all alone; others might tacitly agree with you but, when push comes to shove, they will abandon you for the sake of peace and unity.

Thank you for the kind mention and the referal link to my blog.

Ralph