The Gospel of Entertaining Goats
In our last report [Part Six] we addressed the issues of marketing salvation and the preaching of another gospel to apparently ‘win the lost’ for Christ. We saw the futility and the foolishness of such an exercise, and how the church of the risen Messiah has been seduced by fast talking deceivers. In this report Mac Dominick continues exposing the New Paradigm Church Game by focusing on its musical dimension and the pied pipers who are peddling falsehood, and potentially leading millions astray with their ‘other’ gospel [I Cor. 11:4]. From his book Outcome Based Religion, Purpose, Apostasy and the New Paradigm Church, Mac Dominick continues with the rules governing the New Paradigm Church Game…
“The Music in the Church should be the Style the Target Market listens to on the Radio.”
[Quoting from Rick Warren’s book ‘The Purpose-Driven Church’, Mac writes] Quite honestly, Rick Warren makes a few very good points (along with many very bad points) in his book, The Purpose-driven Church. However, there are no good points in his chapter on music. He is so consumed with church growth that he will apparently go to any length in an attempt to justify any pragmatic philosophy that results in exponential growth. He repeatedly insists that music is amoral with no documentation for this contention other than his opinion. In addition, he once again insults the intelligence of his readers with his deceptive “scripture twisting” by completely destroying the context of Psalm 96:1. This Psalm commands to “sing unto the Lord a new song.” Dr. Warren then uses this scripture to criticize those churches singing “old songs.” 1 The context of the Scripture reflects a “new song” due to a change of heart, not a contemporary song to attract the “unchurched” to an entertaining, non-threatening worship service.
True worship of a Holy God invokes the individual to spiritual prostration before the infinite righteousness of God. The biblical worship service entails an attitude and an atmosphere that exalts the holiness of God and the unworthiness of the worshipper. A very quick analysis of the Old Testament reveals that every individual who found themselves in the presence of God prostrated themselves in humility and unworthiness before His infinite magnificence and holiness. This included some very spiritual individuals – Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, and others who approached a holy God in abject humility. Their worship did not end with the worshipper proclaiming their excitement, self-esteem, or the euphoria over the great worship session that really pleased God. They all left the presence of God with fear, trembling, and with a profound sense of their unworthiness to not only enter into His presence, but also to be chosen as His servant. In contrast, the active attendee of a New Paradigm Worship service leaves feeling better about himself.
[In order to silence those who dare to be fundamental about the faith by pointing out his glaring errors and poor theology, Rick Warren has included in his book a section on how to deal with ‘detractors’ – ed.]
Those Who Oppose the Vision for Change Must be Marginalized or Eliminated
Rick Warren, Dan Southerland, and others continue to write and lecture thousands of pastors as to the most effective way to deal with the opposition to change. They seem to see themselves as Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem under the most adverse of circumstances. Dan Southerland goes so far as to base his entire book, Transitioning, Preparing Your Church for Change, against the background of Nehemiah and his experiences in rebuilding the walls. There are, however, several major differences in the work of Nehemiah and the work of the new paradigm crowd:
1. Nehemiah did God’s work God’s way. The New Paradigm Church has no inclination for God’s instructions given to pastors in the Pauline Epistles. Their sole standard is pragmatism – GROWTH=BLESSING. If a literal interpretation of the Scripture contradicts methods that result in exponential church growth, then the Scripture must be twisted to support the pragmatic methodology.
2. Nehemiah was rebuilding walls. The New Paradigm Church is tearing down the foundations of Biblical Christianity.
3. Nehemiah was building walls that would protect and separate the Children of Israel from the outside threats of a deviant culture and preserve the faith of their fathers. The New Paradigm Church directs a capitulation to the deviant culture, producing a synthesis or outcome denoted as a “new thing.”
4. Nehemiah was opposed by those who were the enemies of God. The New Paradigm Church is opposed by those who are standing in defense of the Faith.
Such a revolution is underway in evangelical Christianity, and its effects are also heavily influencing Fundamentalism. The paradigm shift taking place is indeed producing a time of critical instability, but as Rick Warren observes, it is a movement operating “under the radar.” 2 It is only “under the radar” because so many in evangelical and fundamental churches are asleep, apathetic, or ignorant of the teaching of the Word of God. In order to implement this “new thing,” the church transition change agents have introduced concepts to generate this critical instability that are also contrary to the following teachings of the Word of God:
· The emphasis of the church service is preaching
· The emphasis of preaching is doctrine
· The primary purpose of the church gathered is edification
· The preaching is to reprove, rebuke, and exhort
In addition to the negating of these biblical teachings, the pragmatic philosophies of the New Paradigm Church have given rise to false concepts of worship:
· The false concept that music is amoral
· The false concept that the church must identify with the popular culture
· The false concept that meeting of felt needs is a priority for the church
· The false concept that psychology is a necessary ingredient in preaching
· The false concept of post-modern tolerance
· The false concept that church attendance should give the attendee an enhanced self-esteem and leave church feeling better about himself
Rick Warren speaks of the fact that there will be those who are recognized as the “pillars of the church” who will leave the fellowship in the face of purpose-driven, Outcome-Based Religion. He, of course, answers the problem with his typical, twisted, illogical analogy, “Pillars are people that hold things up…You will have some blessed subtractions before you have blessed additions.” 3 In addition, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek adds his “two cents worth” to this issue by stating, “You only have enough tears for one group: those who are walking toward you or those that are walking away from you. Choose whom you will weep over.” 4
One cannot help but wonder if these dedicated pastors who have a burning desire to reach the “unchurched,” build churches for the “unchurched,” and capture their target market for Christ ever read the Bible. If so, they must have a way of deleting large swathes of Scripture that totally contradict their new paradigm philosophies. For the Bible is very clear that people led into a particular church are to be shepherded by the pastor. The Bible is further very prolific in its analogies that compare the pastor and his congregation to the shepherd and his flock. In no uncertain terms, the pastor is to be to the congregation as the shepherd is to the flock. When these comparisons are taken one step further, the teachings of Jesus himself must be included. Jesus described Himself as the “Good Shepherd who giveth His life for the sheep.” Furthermore, Jesus spoke the parable of the shepherd who left the 99 sheep in the flock and risked his very life to bring the one lost lamb back into the fold. Recognition of this Scriptural teaching screams the question: “How does marginalizing and eliminating members of the flock equate to the concept of selfless, sacrificial, or even competent shepherding?” How can a man love the least little lamb of his flock and “decide who leaves by defining the vision?” How does an attitude of marginalization and elimination of those who hold to the fundamental teachings of the Word of God equate to the heart of a man called to be the shepherd of the flock that God has given him?
Dan Southerland relates that the church he pastured started the transition process with 300 members. Over the course of the transitional period, the church lost 300 members and gained 2000. Of the original 300 members, over one-half left the church. Dan Southerland relates, however, that it was well worth the trade of losing those 300 people to gain 2000 “unchurched” into the “kingdom.” In Lieu of such an attitude, Dan Lucarni asks a very pertinent question: “What kind of shepherd has decided some sheep are worth losing?” 5
Not once in the Word of God is there any hint of the expulsion of a church member for standing on the principles of Scripture. The penchant for marginalization or elimination of those “pillars of the church” who oppose the new paradigm vision is completely foreign to the instructions of the Word of God.
[It is critically important that you understand the sheer arrogance of the proponents of the New Paradigm Church Game. It is all about numbers, it is not about individual souls. It is network marketing at its absolute ugliest, and its practitioners are standing behind lecterns clutching what may be Bibles, spruiking their diatribe to those who are either asleep, or who lack the courage to challenge their lies. Mac now goes on to expose the pied pipers of the New Paradigm Church Game – ed.]
THE NEW PARADIGM HALL OF FAME: THE PIED PIPERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY CHURCH
“Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The Greek word translated “contend” in our English Bible is defined as “to struggle…to battle…to fight.” 6 Immediately after the call to “contend for the faith,” Jude conveys that “certain men crept in unawares…ungodly men…turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3)
The most interesting aspect of this statement is the fact that “ungodly men…crept in unawares.” If these individuals were accepted into the fellowship of the saints, they were obviously not recognized as ungodly men; but rather, were fully accepted into the church membership and possibly into church leadership positions. In the case of the Church in the Twentieth Century, many men apparently began their ministries on a biblical course only to be led astray by the siren songs of fame, wealth, or power. In some (or even most) cases, even the digression onto the road of compromise may have well been paved with good intentions--- or even the vision of leading many thousands to Jesus Christ.
One of the primary forerunners of the New Paradigm Church Game is Harold Ockenga who held a firm grasp of the Doctrine of Separation – namely not remaining in a compromised denomination but rather coming out and being separate. Ockenga, however, later began to waiver on his strong stand and embraced ‘New Evangelicalism’ and termed ‘New Evangelical’ to describe those who followed his leadership which espoused the view that rather than biblical separation from, infiltration into apostate churches was more desirable – a complete back flip on his original stand. In 1948, he further took it upon himself to detail the goals of New Evangelicalism:
· New Evangelicals would address the social issues that Fundamentalists avoided. New Evangelicals would include with salvation a ‘social philosophy’
· New Evangelicals would not ‘delve into personalities that embrace error’
· The Christian should not be ‘obscurantist in scientific questions as to creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood, and other debatable biblical questions’
· Intellectual questions should be answered within the framework of modern learning and there should be liberty in minor areas
The strategy of a consensus between the churched and the unchurched in order to facilitate an outcome that will destroy Fundamentalist Christianity is precisely the essence of that to which Dr. Ockenga prescribed. [Let us remember that the Word of God declares that before the return of the Messiah there will be a great falling away from the faith. Gk. Apostasia: Away from foundation – ed.]
Dr. Billy Graham began his ministry as a Fundamentalist. He attended Fundamentalist institutions and took a militant stand for the principles of the Word of God. He aligned with the great Fundamentalists of the 1940’s against the attacks of Modernism, and preached the “whole counsel of God.” In 1949, Graham was catapulted into the national limelight when William Randolph Hearst heard him deliver a sermon during a Los Angeles revival. Hearst subsequently instructed the editors of his newspapers to “puff Graham,” 7 and soon vibrant stories about Graham graced front pages across the country.
The national spotlight did not make Graham immune to the attacks of the enemies of the gospel. In an October 23, 1950 letter to Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Graham related:
“Modernists are beginning to write letters against me…Articles are starting to appear in certain papers attacking the thing for which I stand.” 8
However, as was the case with Harold Ockenga, things began to change. As early as 1951, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. warned the young evangelist of the attraction of the world:
“Your care for glamour and your ambition and desire to please everyone are so present in your life that you are staggering from one side of the road to the other.” 9 [How often may this well describe many ‘popular’ preachers today? – ed.]
In a May 12, 1956 letter to Dr. Graham, Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. (a close personal friend of Dr. Graham) stated:
“…you have sold yourself a bill of goods, and your position…is contrary to the teaching of the Word of God, and anything contrary to the Word of God is wrong.” 10
On January 17, 1956, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. responded to Graham’s letter to John R. Rice with the infamous rebuke, “Billy, it is never right to do wrong, not even to get a chance to do right.” 11 [This poignant reminder undoes the very foundation of the Outcome-Based Religion theology with its end justifies the means approach – ed.]
Dr. Graham’s New York City Crusade in 1957 was apparently the “hour of decision” to align with Modernists and Roman Catholics while shunning the godly men who supported his efforts since the inception of his ministry. It was this critical turning point in his ministry that led to his complete capitulation to error, and the slide down the slippery slope of compromise continued to accelerate as Dr. Graham reported in a letter to his constituents in May of 1958:
“I do not believe that the ground of our fellowship is to be the inerrancy of Scripture, but rather…the deity of Christ.” 12
Dr. Graham has led many people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, his very methods and strategies have resulted in many of those individuals becoming totally ineffective for the cause of Christ—and thus failing to perpetuate the true Gospel to their children or even those with whom they have daily contact. The players of the New Paradigm Church Game are pursuing a course that follows this very example, and will, with the passing of time, harvest the same corrupted fruit.
THE FATHERS OF THE NEW PARADIGM CHURCH
The “Fathers of the [New Paradigm Church] Movement” are Donald McGavran and Robert Schuller.
Donald McGavran, a graduate of Yale Divinity School, was a third generation missionary that became frustrated with the few conversions and the lack of church growth in the 17 churches under his charge in India. He determined there would only be growth in these churches if the mission work was conducted in a new, enlightened manner. Therefore, he purposed to succeed in building the ministry while “discarding the theories of church growth that did not work, and learning and practicing productive patterns which actually disciple the peoples and increase the household of God.” 13
He pursued a thought process that, if mission methodology existed that produced few or no churches, there must be a missions methodology to produce many churches. He then proceeded to diligently research all avenues available not only in India, but also in other mission fields. His plan worked. He began to see many converts and new churches planted in the same areas that produced limited results for a number of years.
As a result of these successes, in 1955 he authored the monumental book The Bridges of God, and later became Dean Emeritus and senior professor of mission, church growth, and South Asian studies at the School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. His principles of church growth earned him the title of “The Father of the Church Growth Movement” 14 by those who studied and implemented his concepts. However, a study of McGavran’s methods leaves a Bible-based individual with as many questions as answers. The basic concepts of which can be summarized by the following points:
· Christian Pragmatism is the philosophy that declares, “If something works, it is working as a direct result of the blessings of God.” However, pragmatism has absolutely no place in analyzing the success or failure of a ministry. The guiding principle of any Christian work should begin with the question: Does this work align with the teachings of the Word of God in its concepts, methods, implementation, and results?
The danger of any pragmatic approach to ministry is the lure of secular or even occultic principles that result in the achievement of predetermined goals and purposes. If one is purely pragmatic, the end will always justify the means if it ostensibly or even arguably produces the desired results and this concept is blatantly unscriptural.
Secondly, a pragmatic approach to ministry implies that if a ministry is struggling to grow, there must be a breach in operating in accordance to the will of God. This implication does not consider the fact that God only requires one thing of His ministers—faithfulness. God requires complete faithfulness to His Word, and thus any methodology that deviates from God’s prescribed plan as revealed in His Word is not His will—no matter how successful it may appear on the surface.
· The facts dictate that “group-think” philosophies have their origin in “the occult.” If one has any doubt as to this statement, particular note should be taken of the following quotation from World Goodwill, a division of Lucis Trust (formerly the Lucifer Publishing Company): “The third objective is the growth of the group idea with a consequent general emphasis upon group good, group understanding, group interrelation and group goodwill. The power which the New Group of World Servers will eventually wield, will be drawn from two sources: first, from that inner centre or subjective world government…These are the people who are building the new world order. They are all of them definitely serving humanity, and are through the power of their response to the spiritual opportunity tide and note; emerging out of every class, group, church, party, race and nations…they embrace all religions, all sciences, and all philosophies. Their characteristics are; synthesis, inclusiveness, intellectuality, and fine mental development…
“…Behind this four-fold division of humanity stand those Enlightened Ones whose right and privilege it is to watch over human evolution and to guide the destinies of men. In the West we call them Christ and His disciples. In the theologies of the East they are called by many names. They are also known as the Agents of God, or the Hierarchy of liberated souls who seek ceaselessly to aid and help humanity. This they do through the implanting of ideas in the minds of the world thinkers…” 15
When the methodology of any ministry bases its primary philosophy on these concepts, the Bible-based Christian must be compelled to raise questions as to the origin of such philosophies.
· McGavran developed his philosophies by infusing the behavioral sciences into missions methodology. This was a mistake as grave as the infusion of psychology into the Church in the late 1970s. McGavran summed up his defense of these methods when he stated:
“The great obstacles to conversion are social, not theological. Great turning of Muslims and Hindus can be expected as soon as ways are found for them to become Christian without renouncing their loved ones which seems to be a betrayal.” 16 [Unbelievable! This is the embodiment of the Seeker Sensitive ideology – terminal compromise. – ed.]
The statement that the obstacles to conversion are more social than theological is a direct antithesis to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Word of God, and a subordination of God’s grace to the devices of man. Furthermore, the infusion of the social sciences into missions is akin to that of adherence to theistic evolution in order to accommodate the modern intelligentsia’s atheistic view of creation. Scientific research and adherence to the secular scientific method in ministry is no more than cow-towing to the “wisdom of this world,” and thus reducing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to that of the “message of the social status-quo.”
· After McGavran came to the faculty of Fuller, many students sought to apply his methodology to the United States. The students at Fuller were already primed for this intellectual approach to evangelism, and one individual in particular, Win Arn, took up the challenge with enough vigor to initiate the American Church Growth Movement. 17 Arn and McGavran say it all with this statement from a book that they co-authored:
“…The truth which the Bible reveals is not fully exemplified in any empirical church. The one way is never what any given church does. Its rituals, customs, hymns, and doctrines are all man-made and imperfect.” 18
The final analysis of the ‘Father of the Church Growth Movement’ raises issues that should be very disconcerting to any born-again believer:
· The infusion of the behavioral sciences into ministry equates to subjugating the Gospel to the “wisdom of men is foolishness with God, and…God “has made foolish the wisdom of the world.” (I Cor. 3:19, I Cor. 1:20) Is not, then, such an infusion a corruption of the truth?
· The infusion of the social sciences then “opens the door for social science to play a role it was never intended to play in the church.” 19
· Doctrine is reduced to “ritual and a mere outgrowth of the popular culture.” 20
· In order to implement the Homogenous Unit Principle, faith is reduced to the lowest common denominator. (Just as Outcome-based education results in the “dumbing down” of the public school system, these principles of Outcome-Based Religion not only “dumb down” or compromise the purity of the Word of God, but also “dumb down” the members of the church due to a lack of doctrinal instruction.)
· The development of group dynamics utilized in the Homogenous Unit Principle is a building block in the dialectical process that is fatal to fundamental Christianity.
· The Homogenous Unit Principle has no biblical foundation.
· “The Gospel becomes the message of the social status-quo, relativized to little more than a sociological symbol of group adherence to Christ, rather than a transformative force in culture.” 21
In conclusion Dr. Donald McGavran must receive unanimous consent in the vote for his induction into the New Paradigm Hall of Fame. He even gets a vote from Dr. Rick Warren:
“McGavran brilliantly challenged the conventional wisdom of his day about what made churches grow. When I read McGavran’s article, I felt God directing me to invest the rest of my life discovering the principles that produce healthy growing churches.” 22
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18)
Robert Schuller needs no introduction. As the founder and pastor of the infamous Crystal Cathedral, the Garden Grove Community Church in Garden Grove, California, Schuller’s face has appeared on every TV screen in America and in much of the world. As a matter of fact, he now has the largest audience of all “TV Evangelists.” 23
Robert Schuller, a 33rd degree Mason, is the man who assumed the mantle of Norman Vincent Peale (also a 33rd degree Mason), the originator of the “Self-Esteem Gospel.”
When Schuller founded the Garden Grove Community Church, he started with very little money, but canvassed neighborhoods asking people if they attended church. If the answer was no, Schuller asked them why they did not go to church. He would then ask them what would make them go to church. He listened to the answers and decided to “throw the kind of bait out that they would like.” 24 His primary philosophy of church growth was simple:
· Perception must be changed from viewing people as “saved” or “lost” to “churched” and “unchurched.”
· “find out what impresses the unchurched in your community” and do it.
· Bring in popular “heroes” to attract the multitudes. 25
· Use the successful principles of retailing: accessibility, surplus parking, inventory, service, visibility, and good cash flow.
· Pastors should model themselves after businessmen and plan strategically.
· “Do not preach expository sermons, you have to win them and build relationships.” 26
· Move from a theocentric approach to ministry to a “human needs approach.” 27
[At this point you, the reader, need to honestly answer this question: “Does your fellowship follow Schuller’s methods?” If so you are part of the New Paradigm Church Game and should be approaching your pastor demanding his repentance – ed.]
Key points of Schuller’s theology can be easily ascertained from the following quotations: [Note these very, very carefully, remembering Schuller is one of the primary drivers of this new ‘Evangelical push’ – ed.]
· “We must begin to say, ‘I am not trying to convert any other religious people to my viewpoint.’” 28
· “There is no need for one to recognize his own personal sin, no need for repentance, no need for the crucifixion of self.” 29
· “The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being.” 30
· “Nothing exists except God.” 31
· “Christ was self-esteem incarnate.” 32
· “The most destructive thing that can be done to a person is to call him a sinner.” 33
· “Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem.” 34
Enough said. Robert Schuller is not a Christian—based on these quotations, he can accurately and unequivocally be termed a pantheistic Spiritual Humanist and deceiver. And yet:
· Billy Graham said of Schuller, “He has done some of the greatest things for the Kingdom of God of any man in our generation.” 35
· ·Christianity Today reported: “…he believes all the doctrines of a traditional Fundamentalist.” 36
· Bill Hybels decided to found Willow Creek after attending Schuller’s Institute on Church Leadership in 1975. He later took about 25 of Willow Creek’s core leadership to Schuller’s conference to be trained in his methodology. 37
· Rick Warren is also a graduate of Schuller’s leadership conference. 38
· Robert Schuller’s name appears on the endorsement pages of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Church. Here Schuller states, “I am praying that every pastor will read this book, believe it…and change to match its sound, scriptural wisdom.” 39
· In his book, The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren notes, “I had not been in Southern California long before I realized it was an area that already had many strong, Bible-believing churches. Some of the best-known pastors in America ministered within driving distance of our new church…Robert Schuller…John Wimber, Jack Hayford…” 40
· Robert Schuller’s 1995 “Hour of Power” Seminar for Success for Churches, 6 video series includes videos by Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, David Yongi Cho, and Bill Wilson. 41
Schuller has made his position very clear: He is a Spiritual Humanist who ascribes to the notion that the Christ Spirit dwells to some extent in all men, and that Jesus of Nazareth simply nurtured that spirit to a level of messianic proportions. The questions then must be asked of those Evangelicals who praise or commend Schuller, and also to those who would attend his church leadership conferences.
· Why would Billy Graham praise Schuller as he did?
· Why would Bill Hybels base his entire operations philosophy on that of Schuller?
· Why would Rick Warren attend his institute, equate the Crystal Cathedral with Bible-believing churches, and allow himself to be endorsed by Schuller—in print, in his book?
The Forerunners of the movement laid the groundwork for the great philosophical experiment, the Fathers of the movement conducted the experiment both on the intellectual and prototypical level, and the Facilitators implemented, and are continuing to implement, the principles (and ideas) developed by their predecessors on a macrocosmic scale in the public arena.
C. Peter Wagner
Dr. Peter Wagner almost made the New Paradigm Hall of Fame as a “Father” of Outcome-Based Religion, but his credentials fell short of those of McGavran and Schuller. Additionally, he makes no such claims for himself. However, Dr. Wagner sports some very impressive credentials in his own right:
· He possesses multiple degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary.
· He served a 28-year tenure as Professor of Church Growth at the Fuller Seminary School of World Missions and worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Donald McGavran.
· He was the originator of the “Third Wave of the Charismatic Movement.” This was the infamous “signs and wonders” movement which began in the early 1980s.
· He co-instructed a class at Fuller with the late John Wimber, “Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth.”
· When this class disbanded, Wagner and Wimber put their theories into action. Wimber left Fuller and founded the charismatic Vineyard Christian Fellowship which grew to over 500 congregations nationwide. From the Vineyard Fellowships sprang the ecumenical Promise Keepers organization as well as the infamous “Laughing Revival.”
· In 1998, Wagner founded Global Harvest Ministries and the Wagner Leadership Institute. The Institute was founded to meet the needs of those who were leaders of the “New Apostolic Reformation.”
· The Leadership Institute features New Paradigm Instructors like John Maxwell.
All of the above certainly qualifies Dr. Wagner for induction into the New Paradigm Hall of Fame. Dr. Wagner must be viewed as the premiere Charismatic member of the Hall of Fame, and his influence and association with other members enables the Charismatic arm of 21st Century Evangelicalism to wield a profound influence on the very thought processes of Outcome-Based Religion.
Dr. Rick Warren is the leading “poster child” of the New Paradigm Church. Warren holds a Doctorate in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the pastor of Saddleback Community Church just south of Los Angeles. He is best known for his best-selling books, The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life. Though Saddleback Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist convention, the name “Baptist” is not publicly associated with the church so as not to create a stigma that may keep “seekers” away from the services. To this end, Warren boasts that Saddleback is a “church for the unchurched.” Rick Warren has done more than any other single individual to not only build the New Paradigm Church, but also transition all of evangelicalism to the outcome-based paradigm.
Bill Hybels is founder and pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. Hybels is characterized on the same level as Rick Warren in a leadership role of the New Paradigm Church. Bill Hybels began his ministry in 1973 as the “Jesus Freak” leader of a youth group entitled Son City. The approach of Son City was to adapt the environment, music, and the message to the culture of the students they sought to reach. Therefore, the group was perfectly geared to the “college scene” of the early 1970s. They portrayed Jesus as a “bearded rebel with a cause from 2000 years ago.” Son City developed a pragmatic relationship between their programming and the student’s response. 42
More than 9,500 churches around the world are a part of the Willow Creek Association. And last year alone, more than 100,000 local church leaders, staff, and volunteers – from member churches and others – attended one of our [Willow Creek Community Church] conferences or training events.” 43
Those churches who succeed in building a mega church are training thousands of pastors in the new paradigm methodology. Whether or not these pastors, in turn, succeed in building their own mega church, they are bringing outcome-based teachings home to their flocks.
Dr. Jerry Falwell is the renowned pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is also the founder and Chancellor of the Liberty University. Dr. Falwell was the founder of the Moral Majority, is known by the general public as a rabid Fundamentalist, and deserves the respect of all for his personal character that is beyond reproach of even a hostile media. Though Dr. Falwell still calls himself a Fundamentalist, many (including this author) would disagree. Over the last 25 years, he has steadily moved from the “left wing” of Fundamentalism and crossed the line into the “conservative” wing of the New Evangelical camp. This move can be traced by his acceptance and endorsement of contemporary Christian music, his having many New Evangelicals—including Billy Graham and Tony Evans—speak on the Liberty University campus, and the move of the Thomas Road Baptist Church into the Southern Baptist Convention.
This leftward movement alone, however, would never have qualified Dr. Falwell to join the highly-esteemed ranks of those such as Ockenga, Graham, McGavran, and Schuller. Dr. Falwell made the New Paradigm Hall of Fame with only one major event: In 2003, the annual Liberty University Super Conference headlined one man—Rick Warren. At this conference, Dr. Falwell’s sponsorship allowed Dr. Warren to indoctrinate over 10,000 pastors from around the world in the principles of Outcome-Based Religion in his “purpose-driven” pastor’s seminar.
Dan Southerland is the pastor of Flamingo Road Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is also the founder of Church Transitions, Inc. and the author of Transitioning, Leading Your Church Through Change. He used his experience in transitioning Flamingo Road from a 300 member traditional church to a 2000 member new paradigm church in building his proven concepts of change. His book stresses the conveyance of God’s “vision for the church” from the pastor to the church membership. He also stresses that the pastor’s vision of church growth is God’s vision.
In addition, Pastor Southerland holds the same low opinion of the deity of Jesus Christ as does Rick Warren. He states in his book that Jesus took time to braid a whip to drive the money- changers from the temple--- “…probably to have time to calm down and choose his words.” 44 It occurs to this author that the incarnate God would not need to resort to braiding a whip to “calm down and choose his words.” Why would anyone even assume that the Creator of the Universe would ever need to “calm down,” and would not the words of the Omniscient God be chosen from eternity past? Southerland’s very statement lowers the holy character of Jesus Christ to the level of sinful humanity.
Does an individual who holds this view of Jesus Christ need to be teaching any other Christian on any religious subject? Yet, he travels extensively, presenting his church transition seminar to hundreds of churches across the country, and certainly has earned his place in the New Paradigm Hall of Fame.
Other members of the New Paradigm Hall of Fame include:
· Bob Buford - Founding Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation
· John Maxwell - like Rick Warren, holds a Doctorate in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
· Carl F. George – directs the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth and is professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary
· Lee Strobel – Teaching pastor at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Community Church and formerly a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
· Brian Houston – Senior Pastor of the Hills Christian Life Center, Sydney, Australia and head of the Assemblies of God movement in Australia, author of the book ‘You Need More Money’, and other egocentric publications.
· Ashley Evans – Senior Pastor of the Paradise Community Church, Adelaide, South Australia, Dominionist, co-founder of the Family First political party in Australia and ‘self-potential’ guru, along with his wife Jane who likewise has an affinity for pandering to the ‘felt needs’ of ‘seekers’.
Fuller Theological Seminary
The Protestant Reformation was intended by the reformers themselves to be nothing more than a reforming or restructuring of Roman Catholicism. Hence—the Lutheran Church (as well as all of “Protestantism”) was born not as a premeditated act of separatism, but rather, by default.
The church organizations birthed from this action were then based on many of the fundamental principles of the Word of God, but fell short of compliance to the Word of God on other doctrinal issues and organizational issues that retained the errant teachings of Catholicism (infant baptism, for example). These remaining issues were key factors that separated these bodies from the more conservative, biblically-based Anabaptists and other groups, who were never part of the Church of Rome.
As new generations of Protestants arose, rationalism and relativism began to infiltrate the seminaries and agencies of what became the mainline Protestant churches. When these thought processes eventually deteriorated to overt Modernism, Fundamentalism as a movement was born. The Fundamentalist movement of the early 1920s initially began as a movement to reform the mainline Protestant denominations, but the Fundamentalists who fought those battles ultimately discovered the only biblical course of action was one of separation from error. (II Cor. 7:14)
Fuller seminary has now become the most prolific facility in harboring and producing the members of the “Evangelical Left” with “Third Way” theology—a blending of evangelical, charismatic, and Catholic teachings that result in a radical centrist philosophy. While one could argue that the ‘Classical Orthodoxy’ Dr. Ockenga sought to restore was, in essence, a synthesis of reformed Catholic and Evangelical teachings, the infusion of charismatic beliefs has taken what was, at best a questionable belief system over the edge to complete infidelity.
How is this not exposed as a complete paradox? How can such contradictions co-exist? The answer is quite simple: the “Christian” population of western culture has forsaken the “old paths” of the Word of God and is blindly accepting any lie that sounds religious while not tampering with their lifestyle.
All traces of fundamental theology are slowly disappearing from evangelical circles as the methodology of Outcome-Based Religion that espouses cultural relativism in a predominantly post-modern culture of tolerance engenders serious issues:
· The suppression of strong doctrinal teaching in order to appeal to the broad-based culture will lead to an absence of adherence to, or belief in absolute truth.
· The absence of absolute truth undermines the absolute teachings of the Word of God.
· Thus, Evangelicals are “painting themselves into a corner” by accommodating the cultural norm.
· For once accommodation to one error has been made; the step to the greater and more serious error is more easily traversed than was the accommodation to the initial error.
In our concluding report we will address the issue of how to survive the New Paradigm Church as a true believer, and with an appeal to leaders and pastors who have unwittingly travelled down Rick Warren’s candy coated road to apostasy to turn around and come back to God. Don’t miss it.
In His Everlasting Embrace,
Moriah Ministries Australia
1 Warren, Rick. The Purpose-Driven Church Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p.281.
2 Warren, Rick, “Purpose-Driven Seminar”, 1/98, (As quoted by Dennis Costella)
3 Costella, Dennis, “The Church Growth Movement”, Foundations Magazine, Mar.-Apr. 1998. P8.
4 Southerland, p. 127.
5 Lucarni. P. 77.
6 Moritz, Fred, Contending for the Faith, Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC, 2000, p.104.
7 Burns, Cathy, Billy Graham and His Friends, Sharing Press, Mt. Carmel, PA, 2001, p.52.
8 Personal Letter found in the “Billy Graham File,” Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. Used with permission of Dr. Bob Jones III.
12 “Billy Graham File”.
13 Wagner, Peter. Understanding Church Growth, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1970, p.ix.
14 Ibid. p.viii.
15 World Goodwill Newsleter, New Group of World Servers, Lucis Turst, NY.
16 McGavaran, Donald, Understanding Church Growth, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1970, p.156.
17 Wagner, p.x.
18 McGavaran, Donald and Arn, Win. Back to Basics in Church Growth, Tyndale House, Wheaton, Ill, 1981, p.11.
19 Koester, Robert. “The Law and Gospel in the Church Growth Movement”, Dakota-montana Pastoral Conference—September 18-19, 1984.
21 Scherer, J.A. “The Life and Growth of Churches in Mission”, International Review of Mission, 60/237, 1971, p.131.
22 Source Unknown
23 Burns. P.113.
24 Pritchard, G.A. Willow Creek Seeker Services, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 2001, p.51.
25 Ibid. p. 51.
27 Ibid. p. 53.
28 Burns. P. 119.
29 Ibid. p. 113.
30 Ibid. p. 114.
33 Ibid. p. 115.
34 Pritchard. P.54.
35Burns. P. 121.
36 Ibid. p. 116.
37 Pritchard. P.54.
38 Christianity Today. 11.18.02. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/012/1.42.html
39 Warren, Rick. The Purpose-Driven Church Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, Flyleaf.
40 Ibid. p.58.
42 Pritchard. P.53.
43 Ibid. pp. 229,274
45 Southerland, Dan. Transitioning, Leading Your Church Through Change, Zondervan Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI, 1999, p.135.
· Outcome Based Religion, Purpose, Apostasy and the New Paradigm Church – by Mac Dominick. This is a book we highly recommend for purchase – at around $20 AU we guarantee it will be an investment in your spiritual well being.