Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This Could Be a Wild One

I titled this article "This Could Be a Wild One" because this post could be one with many different comments and views. Here goes...

I was recently saddened by this article. I think the content and purpose of what the article is about will come across at first glance as good and productive. But when you really read it the article seems to shed some light on where the church as a whole within the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is headed.

I actually think there is a quote in the article from the pastor that really sheds some light on the subject.
"He did describe it as “the most unusual day we have ever had in the life of this church.”"

To me, if I were a member I would pay attention to the changes that start happening in the church. The "Interpretative Movement" and "Dance" that already takes place would be enough for me take great notice anyway.

Another issue that really bothers me is where do these ideas come from.

"Lee said he received the idea for the series after reading “Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God” by Craig Groeschel."

Groeschel, who launched Life Church in Edmond, Okla., in 1996, started out doing market research with non-churchgoers in the area and has a church that is gigantic and to me, very emergent friendly. On a side note...I have always paid close attention to the people someone listens to and the books that they read. The people who influence us have a huge impact on our thinking and practice.

I think my big concern with the sermon is:

1. I think Pastor Lee was showboating to get a lot of press and attention

2. Though he says he is not, Lee appears to be apologizing for Christian's view that homosexuality, shacking up, abortion is a sin.

3. "Lee quoted from “Unchristian,” a book recently released by the Barna Research Group, which reported that in a scientific poll 18-28 year-olds perceived the Church as “judgmental, homophobic, and irrelevant.”

Well, if Barna says something we had better jump to fix it. Calling sin sin offends people and gets us labeled as "judgmental, homophobic, and irrelevant."

"“Folks, they are not leaving the Church, they have already left. What are we doing to bring them back?” he asked the crowded sanctuary in each of the three morning services."

As I have said many times before, it is not our job to populate the church with lost people. The church are the called out ones, the saved.

“For me, I cannot stand in front of God and tell Him that I did nothing to reverse that perception. It’s important to know that the 18-28 year-olds are not against Christ; in fact, they tell pollsters that they have fond feelings for Him and believe in God. But the bottom line is that the Church is still perceived as judgmental, homophobic, and irrelevant” rather than for our love for them. "

Fond feelings and and $1.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at the Waffle House. Fond feelings have NEVER granted forgiveness to anyone from the Holy Throne of God.

I am not saying that I am opposed to all of the sermon. I think it has some points but mainly is full of trite comments.

What do you think?


Rick Frueh said...

Hopefully the preacher's motive was to remove political issues about morality from being barriers to the gospel. The apology aspect was somewhat theatrical though, but maybe sinners came to listen to that and heard the gospel.

We can only hope he preached the true gospel.

Dead Theologians said...


I agree with you. I do hope the gosepel was preached but it is hard to preach about sin and apologize.


terriergal said...

hear hear!

Craig Groeschel

I just want to take the time to point out that Groeschel is the darling of the Evangelical Covenant denomination ( which is promoting Social gospel, emergent/emerging, church growth (both warren and hybels), contemplative spirituality, mysticism, and whatever other erroneous fad comes down the pike, all in the name of 'freedom in Christ.'

Jeremy said...

"I think Pastor Lee was showboating to get a lot of press and attention."

Well, "I think" you're making a mountain out of a molehill - wait - make that an anthill.

C'mon. How can you possibly assume he's doing it for attention without knowing him more than just from this one article/sermon? "I think" the above quote is a pretty bold statement.

Dead Theologians said...


Thanks for your comment.

What do you think about the wording under the picture on the article's page?

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution announced the apology in a prominent story in its Friday editions and on its homepage; camera crews from the city's three major television stations also covered the worship service."

How did they know this was going to happen? Let me guess. The church sign?


Dead Theologians said...


Thanks for your comment. I think Mr. Groeschel and Mark Batterson are chummy.


Jeremy said...

Or we could take him at his word and leave it at that regardless of the media coverage.

From the article: “I never dreamed the media would have picked this up like they did,” he added. “All I wanted to do was engage people in a conversation about Jesus and His love for people and avoid the many traditions of church culture which drive people away.”

Why do we need to scrutinize this man's apology anyways? Could he truly have been convicted by God for his/the church's past actions?

Pastorboy said...

I think it important that we call sin what it is-sin. But we must take the exhortations of Paul into account, using speech seasoned with salt, and being completely humble and gentle as we point out sin. Since God, by his amazing grace has saved me from being a complete wretch, I can have compassion on those who are stuck in sin.

However, that being said, we cannot back down from what the Bible says sin is.

Aduladi' said...

I think it is a slippery slope when pastors try to run to certain groups to apologize for the acts of mean 'ol Christians. We are no where near perfect either, but we do follow the One that is.

Granted, I know I have personally not been as forgiving as loving to people as commanded and need to be, but it almost seems he is getting into that whole, "let's throw out the Law and all matters of sin and just love 'em to Jesus". That just does not work. It is not even biblical.

Maybe I am wrong. I really hope that I am!

Rick Frueh said...

In 1975 I went to see a Broadway play in Manhattan titled "Godspell". It was written by an unsaved Jew (Stephen Schwartz) and it was about the Gospel of Matthew. Several weeks later I saw Billy Graham on television preach about Jesus coming back. That was the first time I ever heard that Christ would return.

The next night I climbed up the face of Garret Mountain in Wayne, New Jersey and overlooking the skyline of Manhattan I was born again. At that time the revelation of my sin was not the most preominent issue in my heart, it was the reality that Jesus was God in the flesh and the only way to heaven.

I shared that to let you guys know that we should always make the gospel clear and Biblical, but that God can and sometimes does work in some deficient presentations. And those of you who are reformed and who have reminded the church of God's sovereignty, should especially believe that to be true.

All those who believe on Christ, whether of their own free will or God's sovereign election, ALL will be saved, NONE will be lost. That should comfort our hearts even while we stand for the truth!


A poor Arminian :)

Dead Theologians said...


What brought up the sovereignty issue?


Dead Theologians said...


>>Why do we need to scrutinize this man's apology anyways?

So as to make sure that we are not apologizing for sin being sin.


Dead Theologians said...


My problem is not with the sinner sinning. That is what he does and he cannot help it unless God changes him.

My problem is wanting to make sure the church apologizes for the right reason. No, we are not the police but we are to encourage our brothers to walk in the correct way.

I want to make sure that sin is never excused or made light of. God's Word is extremely clear on this.


Dead Theologians said...


I agree. I am just cautious. And I knew this would draw some fire. That's ok.

As I have commented earlier, we must be careful not to apologize for God's view on sin.


Rick Frueh said...

Just to let us understand that God can still work in a church such as this.

Dead Theologians said...


I am in 100% agreement with you.


Bobby said...

This is an out-and-out Emergent church, complete with all the fixings, as they say.

Look at the first sign and you will see evidence this is a Warrenist church.

The evidence that first struck me was "My Sugar Hill Church" is seemingly becoming the church's name. It comes straight from the Warren playbook.

The language in the article was the second piece of evidence.

I've had fights with my church over the past few years since taking voice and reading John MacArthur, Ingrid Schleuter, and other great sites such as this, with church leadership. As a vocal student in classical voice on the side, in addition to my day job and rest of it, I have had it when karaoke has replaced the organist and teens dancing to Osteen theology songs has replaced hymns with great choral singers.

What gives?

Dead Theologians said...


Good to have you join us. Thanks for the great comment. I agree wholeheartedly.

We live in the age of ear-tickling and making people feel comfortable.


Anonymous said...

shades of Bill depends on how you define "is" or rather, "sin"

Andrew said...

What immediately stands out to me from this article and the excerpts from his sermon is that, once again, we have a pastor apologizing for all the behavior of all the straw men that he constructs while simultaneously using those straw men to derail the concept of "humble, yet truthful" preaching of the solid gospel. His feigned humbleness in apologizing for these "actions" on his part, and on the part of the church as a whole, is nothing but regressing the truth and the foundation of our faith in the name of "love" and "tolerance". While it is true that all our actions as Christians must be done out of love, it is first and foremost a love of our Lord and Savior and HIS Word, His unchanging Word that is full of warnings against sin and the wrath that entails. What this man is doing is brainwashing the minds of people with the notion that preaching the truth and standing against sin is tied with the straw men that he constructs during his sermon, in order to paint repulsive the idea of standing on the solid rock of God's truth because, surely I wouldn't want to be one of them! (those hateful, bigoted, straw-men Christians).

Since few others will call this out for what it is, allow me, out of love for my Savior, love for His truth, and love for you all that you might recognize this error - this man did NOT receive this message from the Lord. He is using Warren-style dialectic where, in the same sentence he says he follows 100% the Bible, while concluding that same sentence with a false idea. Riddled throughout that sermon are truth, lie, truth, lie, in order to synthesize the two. He uses several verses out of context in that article to prove HIS point...but not God's. The Bible that he claims to believe in "100%" has a word for this - false teacher. He can say that his message came from the Lord, but I can tell you based on an analysis of what he preached through the lens of scripture that it surely did not come from the God of the Bible. I will say that definitively and unwaveringly - this man is a false teacher who is deceiving not only his flock, but himself.

Pastorboy said...

Amen, Andrew.

andrew said...

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." -Romans 16:17-18

Pastorboy said...

This guy will clearly still be able to preach when the anti hate speech law goes into effect.

Darrel said...

Andrew, you are so very correct. This man is a prophet of Baal. And please, folks, don't try to say that God uses false prophets to preach THE Gospel. HE DOES NOT!!! And never will. What ever happened to "Go and sin no more"? This is clearly another gospel, brought to you by a false prophet, and authored by the father of lies himself. We must learn to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14). Nothing good or godly will (or can) come from this man's mouth until he repents of this evil before God. Do not be deceived God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. What he is spouting is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Andrew said...

One more thing I would like to add - I am a 25 year-old in the age group he speaks of and you know what brought me to saving faith? It was Christ, through the solid, truthful, God-fearing preaching of His servants who, through that preaching, awakened my soul to my dreadful condition under sin, awaiting God's wrath. And you know what? I am so thankful for the love and boldness of those faithful men who shared with me the truth about the way to escape the wrath of God through Christ! What an amazing, loving truth that is! It is the good news! So now when I hear this tripe, the Lord has granted discernment in me to refuse these lies and to expose them. This is my cross to carry, and it is the cross of every born-again believer to carry throughout this life. It will not be popular and we will be hated just Jesus was. I can tell you, all those people the pastor claims have warm feelings about Jesus, it must be some other Jesus, because apart from the work of Christ in our hearts, we are ALL at enmity with God. Left in our sinful, unregenerate states, we ALL would crucify Christ if He were here in the flesh right now. Praise be to God for the grace He has shown to us who believe, converting our wicked hearts into His likeness through the miracle of the new birth! And praise Him for faithful pastors (the few) who still preach the whole counsel of God!

Anonymous said...

<< God can and sometimes does work in some deficient presentations>>

Yes, I know for a fact that is true. I got saved as the result of reading a book by Norman Vincent Peale -The Power of Positive Thinking. I would never read anything of his today and certainly would not recommend that book to anyone. But, out of all the bad theology in that book, God used one sentence that contained enough gospel truth to open my eyes. Yet, even though I got saved through a "deficient presentation", I have often wondered if that same book could have led many others into deception. I was "ripe for the picking" so to speak so that just one sentence of truth was all it took at that point in my life. Much better though to have the full gospel presented without the errors or compromises- preached boldly like the apostles preached. They didn't go around apologizing to people to get them saved. On the contrary, they were hated, persecuted, and died preaching/defendng the faith. God can use anything He chooses to save His elect, but the example He gave in His apostles is the best way! Seems like we need to get back to that model today.

Watcher's Lamp said...

Sounds like a teh preacher took a page out of Tony Campolo's Red Letter Christians...

“Justice for gays and lesbians should be on the political front burner for Red Letter Christian . . . because it is impossible to tell people we love them if we deny them the basic rights we enjoy.”

It's not our love, but God's love that can only be shown through His Word by the vessels of clay so that captives can be set free...

Seriy said...

Thank you for this article. Not so much that one should focus on this particular gentleman's circumstances, but rather a sad commentary on the state of many in the American church. (I do not mean this at all to be elitist, but for the grace of God, my sinful nature also would make me revel in seeking favor from a world system opposed to God's holiness.)

Clearly, we have ignored the character of the prophets whom God used in the Bible. What happened to the Elijah's who could stand up to Jezebel and her 400 prophets of Baal? What about Jeremiah who was so "relevant" that he got chucked down a well and is on record as having either few, or maybe zero, "converts".

The problem we have in America (and probably elsewhere) is we have bought into the "MBA" definition of success - numbers - rather than the Lord's - faithful obedience to Him.

Our problem is that we want to make a "god" of our own image with very low standards. We end up failing to reckon with the "G_D" of eternity Who has every right to condemn us forever. Praise HIs love and mercy that He gives us an "out" through Jesus CHrist taking the hit that we all deserve.

If this is not a "relevant" message, then let us be like those in Hebrews 11 who were willing to stay "irrelevant" and suffer for God's Name knowing of the long-term "relevance" of being a testimony for us to see the real relevant thing - "long-term" eternity.

Thank you, DT, for your provocative articles. May they draw us and others into relationship with the true God of history!


Dead Theologians said...


Your comment made me smile. It is TOTALLY refreshing to see that there is someone who "gets" it.

I agree 100% with you. Please visit again.



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