Outcome Based Religion
The Numbers Game
“Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk therein.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. (Proverbs 22:28)
But remove it, we will; Why? Because we have become unbelievably arrogant so as to think our ‘wisdom’ exceeds that of our forebears. Forget solid Bible teaching, and the offence of the cross - God forbid we should confront anyone! To win the masses ‘for Christ’, the church must now be re-garbed in a more permissive and appealing image. It must be marketed to the world as ‘a safe place’, purged of the moral standards that stirred conviction of sin and a longing to separate from the world’s immorality. So in our ‘wisdom’ and ‘enlightenment’ we have re-jigged the tried and true into a feel-good church stripped of all offense – one the world can proudly call its own! As we have illustrated throughout this series thus far, there has been a paradigm shift, global in its reach, deliberately planned and executed by those known as ‘change agents’ whose agenda demands a shift in emphasis from knowing to interpreting, from methods to discovery, from individualism to community, from knowledge to character, from telling to inviting, and from salvation out of eternal damnation to an invitation into a better way of life. It is a non-offensive gospel because it is not a gospel at all. It is not the good news, but rather the ‘totally awesome, wicked, fully sic to the max news’ dude. It is a gospel of selfishness, one pandering to the demands of the flesh which calls to account no personal sacrifice. It is the antithesis of the Biblical Gospel. And it is being peddled by ‘popular’ churches the world over. It is all about self satisfaction, and a pandering to the insatiable desires of both religious and non-religious egomaniacs alike. Notice what the Apostle Paul had to say about true fulfillment:
“Fulfill my joy, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:2-3)
This is the Father’s goal for his people, and He doesn’t need the help of ‘enlightened’ church leaders taking the world’s pedagogic formulas and psycho-social strategies, peppering them with ‘Christian’ words in order to veil their unbiblical sources and diffuse any opposition. The Bible calls for self-denial and self-discipline, while today’s church demands self-indulgence and self-glorification. This spiritual shift began in earnest in the 1990s. Liberal ecclesiastical leaders realized more than 50 years ago that biblical absolutes, separateness and evangelism would block the United Nation’s agenda. To clear the way, they built the foundations for today’s Purpose Driven / Outcome-Based religious and education movement that would:
1. Equate Biblical truth and evangelism with hate and intolerance. [Hence the shift from ‘preach’ to ‘share’]
2. Redefine Christianity.
3. Hold Christians accountable to global standards for mental health. [i.e. absolute proclamations such as ‘Christ is the only way to the Father’ will be accounted as delusional paranoia]
4. Conform Christian churches to the demands of UNESCO’s declaration on religion in a culture of peace. a [Currently being achieved through Comrade Rick Warren and company]
5. Build the framework for global control.
6. Establish the One World Church.
Author Mac Dominick continues our study on Outcome-Based Religion as he writes:
Children in Sunday School still play the little “hand motion” rhyme that chimes, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and look at the people.” Interestingly enough, this most basic way of playing church games is not at all unlike the way many adults play “big church.” An adult version of this children’s rhyme could realistically ring, “Here’s the church--see a magnificent, warm, friendly, religious edifice. Open the doors, listen to the great rock music with religious prose; thrill to the stellar, entertaining drama; experience God in our personal enrichment encounter groups; hear a self-esteem building message that details how becoming a Christian will bring health, wealth, perfect relationships and complete psychological fulfillment; and take particular note of how the house is packed with people every Sunday.”
This game is becoming more common with each passing week, and pastors are flocking by the thousands to buy the “how-to” books and attend conferences that instruct them in the methodology of the “new paradigm” plan. The truth is that the game plan for the new paradigm church works. It may not work as well in every instance, but it does work. The religious pragmatism sweeping North America (indeed the world) is influencing those who call themselves Evangelicals and even Fundamentalists to accept and promote men, methods and programs that will lead all of mankind into the One World Religion of Antichrist. As many may suspect, these methods and programs are based on the desires and whims of the popular culture rather than the Word of God. In essence, to ostensibly win the culture war and lead multitudes to Christ, the Evangelical Church has identified with, has become edited by, and has surrendered to the popular culture. The culmination of these forces has negated the plan for the local church as prescribed in Scripture and created in its place Outcome-Based Religion.
The apostasy of Outcome-Based Religion is not as easily detected as that of Modernism and other blatantly heretical teachings. The Modernist openly denies (among other things) the Virgin Birth, the Vicarious Atonement of Jesus Christ [Y’shua], and the Inerrancy of Scripture. Those who ascribe to Outcome-Based Religion may oppose the heresy of Modernism, but will be more than willing to compromise with the Modernist or even ignore the clear teachings of the Word of God to attain their ultimate purpose—exponential church growth.
The primary focus of the gathered church should be geared to the saved not the lost – to the training and instruction toward evangelism, not the entertainment of the ‘born-again bored’.
It must be pointed out that Outcome-Based Religion will not perpetuate itself—when doctrine is cast aside as an unnecessary ingredient or an obstacle to church growth, no firm foundation is established—and the house is built on violently shifting sands. The game may indeed continue into future generations, but all vestiges of truth will subsequently become lost with the passing of time.
Defining the terms
THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN CHURCH
The Purpose-Driven Church is a term coined by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church south of Los Angeles. The idea is that a church should set its sights on its ultimate purpose and structure its methodology to achieve that purpose. The term “purpose-driven” is synonymous with “outcome-based.” In his book, The Purpose-Driven Church, Dr. Warren lists the process of becoming “purpose-driven.” For the purposes of this report, the word “outcome” has been substituted for “purpose.” The meaning is the same. His plan is as follows:
· Define the Outcome
· Demand the Outcome
· Base activities to achieve the Outcome
· Initiate the program to achieve the Outcome. 1
The outcome in this case is exponential church growth. [This is what is meant by ‘Outcome-Based’. Everything is structured toward the pre-determined outcome. It is an end justifies the means theology which is patently unbiblical.]
THE NEW PARADIGM CHURCH
Again, Dr. Rick Warren, in his groundbreaking book, The Purpose-Driven Church, states that his book is written to offer a “new paradigm.” 2 The basic definition of new paradigm relates a “new way of thinking.” In this case, a new way of thinking about how to “do church.”
Reason dictates that if this is a new way of thinking in the ministry, the old way of thinking must be seriously flawed. This must then lead one to evaluate the “old way” as critiqued by Dr. Warren in his book. [See our opening scripture references] The “old way of thinking,” according to Dr. Warren, is characterized for the most part by those who continue to attempt to communicate the Gospel to our modern culture in an “outdated style.” 3 Warren’s philosophy exhibits the pre-immanence of style over substance, which is contrary to the heart of biblical teaching. The Bible declares that a man is to “Study to show himself approved…rightly dividing the Word of truth…” 4 The Bible is also clear that God speaks to His children through His revealed Word. The day of dreams and visions (in spite of the erroneous teachings of those involved in the Charismatic Movement) are past (I Corinthians 13).
However, when one advocates style over substance in the case of a church, that individual is, in essence, stating that the process used in growing the Church is more important than the doctrinal teaching of the Church. Warren dismisses any problem with this dangerous methodology by declaring, “…Your style of worship says more about your cultural background than it does about your theology.” 5 If this were true, and if culture dictated a worship style of acid rock music, drugs, and orgies, would this not imply a flawed theology? This illustration may well be absolutely ludicrous, but it clearly exhibits the extremes that can be derived from the so-called “new paradigm” approach to ministry.
Secondly, the New Paradigm Church is intentionally designed for rapid growth, for church growth is the desired outcome of Outcome-Based Religion. In order to achieve this outcome, the design of this type church is based on business principles and marketing demographics. The problem that arises from this methodology is seen in the biblical revelation, “the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish.” (I Corinthians 1:18) The Bible also teaches that Jesus himself is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” (I Peter 2:8) Based on this seeming contradiction, the question then must be posed: How do you market a product that is offensive and foolish? The answer is simple, You cannot. You must first change the product’s “Curb appeal” in order to divert the perception from one of offensiveness and foolishness into that which will appeal to the target market. These necessary changes inevitably result in a departure from the Word of God and a creeping apostasy that will ultimately erase the last trace of truth in a very short period of time.
A final and very disturbing aspect of the “new paradigm” label is the fact that the term “paradigm” was popularized in the late 1970s and early 1980s by Marilyn Ferguson in her book, The Aquarian Conspiracy. This book was another groundbreaking work that characterized the inner working of the New Age Movement with the term “Paradigm Shift.” Ms. Ferguson contended that new spirituality garnered by New Age philosophies would eventually lead to a “critical mass” in human consciousness to bring about a major Paradigm Shift to initiate a new level in evolution from homo sapiens to homo noeticus, the god-man.
Those individuals who are not active members in any church are “the unchurched.” These are the individuals that the New Paradigm Church seeks to reach for true church growth. Dr. Rick Warren is positioning Saddleback Community Church as “a church for the unchurched.” 6 If one were to ask again: What is a true church? The answer would be the same—A true church is a body of born-again believers gathered for worship, fellowship, and equipping for service. Once a church accepts a single member that denies personal salvation in Jesus Christ, this organization ceases to be a true church. How then can a church become a “church for the unchurched”? Is this very phrase not an oxymoron? When this transpires, the church is no more than a club, and the ministry no more than a game.
Expository preaching is the verse by verse preaching of the Word of God rare in today’s New Paradigm church whose focus is on self-esteem, self-fulfillment, relationships and community. Expository preaching has not only been the preaching method of the most notable Bible preachers since the Reformation but the method given by the example of Isaiah in the Old Testament:
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall be made to understand doctrine? For precept must be upon precept…line upon line…” (Isaiah 28:9-10)
Christian Pragmatism is the philosophy that declares, “If something works, it is working as a direct result of the blessings of God.”
The acid test for any religious organization or methodology is very simple: Does this organization or methodology conform to the principles of the Word of God? If these principles are violated, the success, growth, or any other positive measurements from a human perspective are resulting from a source other than the “hand of God” on these so-called ministries.
This is a term that has been redefined by the modern culture. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “worship” is shachah. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as “worship” is proskuneo. In both cases, the definition of these words is “to prostrate oneself in humble homage.” 7 This simply conveys to the believer that true worship of a Holy God involves total submission and humility. In contrast, it seems today that the Charismatic influence on what is perceived as worship is looking up and raising hands to God while swaying to “Christian” rock music. Dan Lucarni, in his book, Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement, relates the following testimony from his personal experience:
“I thought back to when I first changed my personal worship style from bowing my head to looking up. I was influenced by charismatics praying in one of our city-wide prayer meetings. I remember the good feeling it gave me that I was for the first time a participant in worship with God, not some lowly worm who had to prostrate myself. I felt better about myself.” 8
The bottom line comes to this: Worshipping God is not about the worshipper, but is about God. Worshipping God is not intended to make the worshipper feel better about himself, for true worship of a Holy God will cause the worshipper to see himself as he really is before the magnificent, incomprehensible, holiness of God. True worship is not accompanied by rock music that appeals to the flesh. True worship involves submission to the truth of the Word of God. “The true heart of worship is the heart that bows before God and submits to his Word, no more, and no less.” 9
The worship of the new paradigm is completely opposite of that which has just been described. It involves fleshly music, the charismatic influence of looking up to God, and making the worshipper feel good about himself. Those who tout Outcome-Based Religion feel that lost individuals do not have a problem with God—they have a problem with the local church. They want to leave the church service “feeling better about themselves instead of being called to self-examination, sincere repentance, and faith toward a holy God.” 10 Therefore, the service must be one that does exactly as described by Dan Lucarni—they want to participate in worship with God and elevate themselves in fleshly pseudo-worship rather than be humbled in the presence of God’s holiness.
According to “church growth experts,” the population of the United States [and Australia] is becoming more and more spiritual. This new spirituality is not the spirituality consistent with the teachings of the Word of God, but is more of an inner quest for happiness, true fulfillment, and purpose in their lives. These same experts also reveal that the average unchurched, lost man is friendly toward God, but is turned off by the church. 11 This individual then is seeking a way to God, but wants to make an “end run” around the traditional church to get there. He feels the Church is irrelevant and is a failure in meeting the needs of its members. He feels that the Church cannot relate to him where he lives, and therefore he cannot feel comfortable in a church service. In spite of all of the inhibitions created by the church, he is still seeking for God, and the resulting inner peace that finding God will bring into his life.
The “seeker sensitive” approach to ministry demands that the seeker be made comfortable when he comes to church. How does the church ensure the seeker is comfortable?
· The church should not have pews or appear too formal.
· The seekers are encouraged to “come as they are.” No specific dress code is required, but casual dress is encouraged.
· The dress of the ministry team and pastor should also be casual.
· The setting should include the latest in video and audio technology.
· Dramatic productions with spiritual themes should be used to subtly convey a religious or moral message.
· Preaching of sin, self-denial, and self-examination will really make the seeker uncomfortable. Therefore, sermons should be geared more to life applications, stress reduction, meeting felt needs, daily relationships, parenting, self-esteem, successful living, and other subjects based more on modern psychology than on what “thus saith the Lord.”
· The music played in the service should mimic the style of music the seeker hears daily on his favorite radio station.
· The King James Bible should not be used, but various modern translations will make the seeker more at ease.
· The seeker should sense that the church will meet his needs and offer the keys to the fulfillment and happiness for which he yearns.
· The seeker needs to see that the message of the church is relevant to his daily life.
· The seeker needs to see that Christianity works and will bring immediate results.
While this sounds good to the human ear, the truth of the matter is that the answers sought by the seeker are not the answers provided in the Word of God. God never promises the believer (much less the lost man) that he will live in perpetual happiness. Yes, the believer is given the fruits of joy, but true joy and human happiness are not synonymous terms. From a human perspective, the happiness and fulfillment the seeker so fervently desires may have no connection to God or even to reality.
Therefore, the only method by which the church can meet the perceived needs of the seeker is through emotional manipulation and / or deception. In other words, the Church must conform to the culture of the seeker to become “seeker sensitive.” The Word of God contends, “…whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) This warning of Scripture demands the exact opposite approach to ministry, and when a church defies the commands of Scripture, that church is simply playing the church game.
Doctrine is the foundational teaching of the Christian Faith. Without doctrine, there is no true Christianity. The Bible teaches, and Fundamentalists believe that in order to be saved, an individual must adhere without reservation to the Fundamentals of the Faith. Although there are minor variations on these points, the primary points are as follows:
· The Inspiration of Scripture (The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, very Word of God)
· Creation of man by the direct act of God
· The incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, ascension into Heaven, and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
· The new birth through regeneration of the Holy spirit
· The resurrection of saints to life eternal
· The resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death
· The fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ.
These concepts comprise the core of biblical truth, and a true believer will stand firm in these truths. Herein comes the proverbial rub: Many (if not most) of the unchurched seekers do not affirm many of these beliefs. As a result, the new paradigm churches minimize the teaching of doctrine because doctrine not only divides, but the expository preaching of doctrine may make the seeker of happiness and fulfillment so uncomfortable that the seeker will never return to the church services.
Furthermore, under the new paradigm model, a church cannot expect to grow based on the premise that it offers the truth to those that seek for it. The modern culture is convinced that all truth is relative, and the truth claims of all religions are equal. If all truth claims are indeed equal, the claim of exclusivity to the truth is a definite deterrent to growth. Therefore, the doctrinal view of the new paradigm churches are culturally edited to subordinate the teaching of doctrine to life applications, meeting felt needs, daily relationships, parenting, self-esteem, successful living, and other subjects based more on modern psychology than on what “thus saith the Lord.”
Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church defines sin as “a flawed strategy to gain fulfillment.” 12 This definition is very much akin to that conveyed by occultist, Jean Houston who describes sin as “unskilled behavior.” [political correctness at its ugliest!] Both of these definitions fall far short of the portrayal of sin in the Word of God. According to the Scripture, sin is that which alienates the unrighteous individual from a holy God. The Bible describes sin as crimes against God for which the sinner will be condemned to eternal torment in the flames of Hell. The Bible portrayal of sin is far more vivid than the squishy, dumbed-down version of Hybels and Houston. However, the Word of God is truth, and any attempt to soften sin is a game that will result in tragic eternal consequences. [And the blood of those buying the politically correct version of sin will be on the hands of those peddling such nonsense.]
Proponents of the New Paradigm Church are not at all wrong when they give a high priority to the Great Commission. The sad reality is that the Church has painfully failed in obedience to this command of Jesus Himself. However, those involved in Outcome-Based Religion have not grasped the true purpose and mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is the edification of the saints, equipping the saints, reaching the lost for Christ, and subsequently nurturing those converts to spiritual maturity.
The third point of this mission statement could be summarized as “evangelism.” The heart of the issue comes to light when one realizes that the New Paradigm Church transforms the entire mission of the Church to evangelism, and subjugates edification and equipping to the point of virtual deletion. The missing ingredient to this formula is the distinction of the mission of the “Church gathered” and the mission of the “Church scattered.” In both cases, evangelism is not the primary mission of the Church.
As previously stated, holiness is the major component of Christian life. This applies to both the Church gathered and the Church scattered. After holiness, the primary mission of the Church scattered is evangelism—leading others to Christ. However, evangelism should be assigned lower priority for the Church gathered. The Church gathered is NOT for the sole purpose of evangelism, but edification, equipping, and nurturing. This makes Rick Warren’s statement of “a church for the unchurched” a complete oxymoron. Any organization for the unchurched is not a church. Any who claim to lead such a “church” are simply playing the church game.
According to the new paradigm thought, a local pastor should employ the marketing principles found in major corporations to reach their communities for Christ. Rick Warren, for example, identified young, financially secure, white collar, urban professionals as his target market. Saddleback Community Church was then built with the needs of this particular market segment in mind. The key to the market strategy is not the particular demographic targeted, but rather the identifying and developing of a strategy to meet the felt needs of those that reside within that demographic. The bottom line is that “if we can convince people that Christ died to meet their needs, they will line up at the door to buy our product.” 13
Those familiar with Outcome-Based Education are equally familiar with the term “change agent.” This term was one employed by John Dewey and his comrades in his attempt to advance the Progressive Education theories that eventually became implemented in Outcome-Based Education [An abstract failure in the United States – ed.] In this situation, the public school teacher was to act as an agent of change to transform the thought processes of students from the beliefs of their parents to the “new realities” confronting them in the modern world.
In similar fashion, Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek sees himself as a motivator and an “agent of change.” 14 His view is as was that of John Dewey. He must facilitate change from old beliefs to new beliefs—from an old way of thinking to a new way of thinking. The goal of the change agent is the implementation of a change of mind without the changed individual realizing a change has taken place.
(As opposed to spiritual needs) Relieve pain, provide happiness, fulfillment, and self-esteem 15
The Church of Jesus Christ is defined by and receives its instructions from the written Word of God. The Bible is very concise in its assessment that the Church is to be separate from and untainted by the world:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world; If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world.” (I John 2:15-16)
“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed…” (Rom. 12:2)
“Pure religion and undefiled before God…is this…to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
How much more plain can this be?
These and other scriptures draw a distinct line of demarcation between the Christian and the world. It is this argument that raises red flags when assessing the marketing strategies of the new paradigm movement. In the quest for relevance to achieve the church growth outcome, the culture of the world has begun to define the Church in lieu of the Word of God. What then defines the modern culture? While the culture of today is most certainly multifaceted, there are those who report that today’s world (and America, in particular) is driven from a “psychological worldview.” 16 This worldview did not magically appear out of thin air, it grew into existence over the last 80 years of the Twentieth Century, conceived with the World War II Generation.
It has been said that the World War II Generation was the “Great Generation.” This contention is not without merit, for the young men and women who reached marturity in the early 1940s arguably lived in a time of unprecedented upheaval. The children born just after World War I were the children of the prosperous “Roaring 20s.” However, many witnessed at a very early age their world crashing down into the murky depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then, as if that were not enough, they were asked to give their very lives on the soil of a foreign land or on the beaches of some remote island.
The Bible’s statement, “Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.” (Romans 5:3-4) is certainly conducive of this generation that certainly experienced more than its share of tribulation. They were plunged from a life of relative comfort in the 1920s into the “survival mode” of the Great Depression. The flip side of survival mode is not always completely negative, for survival mode tends to cause one to reassess his or her priorities. This very reassessment led many of these young people to Jesus Christ; and as a result, Biblical Fundamentalism became embedded into the moral fiber of a generation. It was this moral fiber that became the basis for the attitudes and values of the most cherished decade in all of American history—the 1950s.
There was, however, one glaring weakness of the World War II Generation—their parenting skills. While the World War II Generation was achieving the “American Dream” in the “Ozzie and Harriet World” of the 1950s, their children (the Baby Boomers) were growing into the Rock and Roll Generation that would openly rebel against the very culture their parents risked their lives to preserve. Not that the parents of the Baby Boomers were blameless, for one need not possess a degree in astrophysics to look in retrospect at the causes for the rebellion of the 1960s. The decade of war protests, racial upheaval, the sexual revolution, and the drug culture can be at least partially traced to doting parents who grew up with very little material wealth during the Great Depression and wanted their children to have more—more opportunity, more things, more fun.
Thus, the Baby Boomers became a generation totally obsessed with self-gratification. As the Baby Boomers then had babies of their own, those children (Generation X) wanted all of the material benefits of Dad and Mom—and they wanted it all immediately. The pattern is now repeating itself with the new generation—Generation Y [More aptly termed Generation I]. Therefore, the materialism of the Baby Boomers has dramatically increased through two successive generations, and the resulting cultural landscape consists of three generations whose first priority is the edification, gratification, and glorification of the one they see in the mirror. Thus the three generations who make up today’s western society can very well be collectively labelled as the ME Generations. What is in it for ME? How can I feel better about ME? It is all about ME and no one else!
When stating that the culture is all about ME, there are several aspects of pleasing ME that must be explored. A member of the ME Generation can be reached by the following methods:
· Solve his problems by meeting his needs
· Help him achieve his goals
· Build his ego
· Entertain and amuse him
· Do it all now
The first three aspects can be addressed by utilizing the tools of modern psychology or by emotional manipulation. The entertainment and amusement aspect is the easy one, for there are many talented individuals who are very anxious to exhibit their talents to any audience willing to observe, church included. To adapt the balance of these methods to the church services requires only a change in philosophy of true worship to fleshly gratification. Suddenly, God becomes more of a “fairy godmother” than the God of Scripture. 17 As a result, the Church becomes suddenly relevant to the ME individual, but does such a church continue to be a true church? Evidently such questioning in today’s new paradigm is totally irrelevant, for the outcome has been achieved—exponential church growth.
John MacArthur states that the term “Christian Psychology” is an oxymoron. 18 He is absolutely correct in his assessment. There is no such thing as Christian psychology. That which psychology teaches is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Scripture. These principles are as follows:
· Psychology is man-centered; the Word of God is God-centered.
· Psychology’s goal is the happiness of the individual; the Word of God does not guarantee happiness to any individual.
· Psychology teaches that all things in life (including God) become a means to an end—happiness of the individual; Scripture teaches that man was created to glorify God.
· Psychology teaches that human nature is basically good; Scripture teaches the opposite.
· Psychology teaches relativism, answers are within self, and solutions to problems are found in the past; the word of God denounces all of these. 19
Even though the Evangelical Community has in effect been hijacked by psychology, the New Paradigm Church uses psychology as its primary focus. This utilization is found both in “Christian Counseling” and as the basis for pulpit oratories. The dangers involved in these methods are made evident when 1) therapy is accepted as a necessary aspect of ministry and 2) church leaders begin to describe psychological categories as biblical principles. 20
At this point, the hidden dangers of the church game are revealed. Will the next generation even recognize the teachings of Scripture? Or will Freud, Jung, and Rogers set the standards for the church in the future?
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC
Dr. Rick Warren is adamant that the music at Saddleback be the style of music that his constituents hear on the radio. As a result, the service of Saddleback Community Church resembles a Hollywood variety show more than a gathering to worship a Holy God. Dr. Warren should not get all of the credit (or more accurately blame) for this trend. The Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Movement began in the late 1960s with the Jesus Movement. (It was from the roots of the Jesus Movement that Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek Church grew.) For the purposes of definition, some basic points and evaluations will be listed here:
· Music styles are not amoral—there are moral and immoral lyrics.
· When religious words are put to immoral lyrics, the lyrics are not magically transformed from immoral to moral. [See our article on back masking]
· The CCM industry has been heavily influenced by the Charismatic movement. Therefore, many of the so-called praise choruses sung in churches that oppose charismatic teachings are proclaiming those very teachings.
· A church should never compromise its music to draw in a crowd.
· Does this music teach sound theology?
· Does this music admonish to correct living?
· Does this music worship God in truth? 21
The Gospel of Jesus Christ [Y’shua] as taught in Scripture is not complicated. It is simply the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to accomplish the redemption of mankind. In his book, This Little Church Went to Market author Gary Gilley explains that the Gospel in the Word of God deals with:
· The problem of sin
· The need for righteousness
· It is foolishness to them that perish 22
The Gospel also reveres the cross. For, in the cross, believers understand:
· The cross slays men who must die to themselves and live for Christ
· The cross condemns because of sin
· The cross destroys confidence in the flesh 23
However, under the new paradigm plan, the Gospel has been redefined:
· It liberates from low self-esteem
· It frees from emptiness and loneliness
· It is a means of fulfilment and excitement
· It is a way to receive our heart’s desires
· It is a means of meeting our needs 24
In other words, it is all about – ME!
The effects of the cross have also been redefined. The new paradigm view of the cross is as follows:
· The cross entertains.
· The cross amuses.
· The cross encourages confidence in the flesh. 25
In summary, the truth of the Gospel is becoming eroded by new paradigm church games, and thus the impact on true Christianity is potentially catastrophic. All of this genuinely leads one to ponder Christ’s question, “When I return, will I find faith on the earth?”
In Part Six of this series, we will expose the rules of the New Paradigm Church game. Stay tuned!
Moriah Ministries Australia
1. Warren, Rick. The Purpose-Driven Church, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p.110
2. Ibid. p.80.
3. Ibid. p.65.
4. II Timothy 2:15.
5. Warren. p.241.
6. Ibid. p.193.
7. Lucarni, Dan. Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement, Evangelical Press, Auburn, MA., 2002, p.52.
10. Pickering, Ernest. The Tragedy of Compromise, Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC, p.153.
11. Gilley, Gary E. This Little Church Went to Market, Xulon Press, Fairfax, VA., 2002, p.86.
12. Pritchard, G.A. Willow Creek Seeker Services, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001, p.177.
13. Gilley. p.45.
14. Pritchard. p.28.
15. Gilley. p.49.
16. McMahnon, T.A. “To Whom Shall We Go?”, The Berean Call newsletter, Bend, OR, April, 2003, pl.
17. Gilley. p.86
18. Pritchard. pp.229,284.
19. Gilley. p.131.
20. Ibid. p.44.
21. Ibid. p.59.
22. Ibid. p.44.
23. Ibid. p.59.
a UNESCO’s 1994 “Declaration on the role of religion in the promotion of a culture of peace.”, contained the following statements.
· “Religions have… led to division, hatred, and war.”
· “Peace entails that we understand that we are all interdependent…collectively responsible for the common good.”
· “Our communities of faith have a responsibility to encourage, conduct, imbued with wisdom, compassion, sharing, charity, solidarity, and love; inspiring one and all to choose the path of freedom and responsibility. Religions must be a source of helpful energy.”
· “We should distinguish fanaticism from religious zeal.”
· “We will favour peace by countering the tendencies of individuals and communities to assume or even to teach that they are inherently superior to others.”
· “We will promote dialogue and harmony between and within religions…respecting the search for truth and wisdom that is outside our religion. We will establish dialogue with all, striving for a sincere fellowship…”
· “…we will build a culture of peace based on non-violence, tolerance, dialogue, mutual understanding, and justice. We call upon the institutions of our civil society, the United Nations system, governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations, corporations, and the mass media, to strengthen their commitments to peace and to listen to the cries of the victims…”
· “We call upon the different religious and cultural traditions to join hands…and to cooperate with us…” [Emphasis added]
· Outcome Based Religion, Purpose, Apostasy and the New Paradigm Church – by Mac Dominick