TAGS: Church Growth Movement, praise and worship, hymns,
contemporary Christian music, Jeff Sharlet, Harpers, megachurch, Donald A McGavran,
missiological movement, Fuller Theological Seminary, Peter Wagner, John Wimber,
Institutionalized Church, Early Church, John Dewey, The School and Society, Outcome Based
Education, dumb down, Stalin, Michael Horton, Ron Enrod, Ron Rhodes, CK Chesterson
The Rules of Engagement - Seeking the Truth
In unmasking the phantoms that haunt
us today, we will find that there are numerous players and errant philosophies that need
to be considered. This will take us on a long and perhaps difficult journey at times. Many
tend to embrace challenges while others shy away from them. Yet I would encourage everyone
who seeks after truth to read on. For though the nature of the Holy Wars will take some
time to unveil, an understanding of the causes of the turmoil that we witness in our
churches today will ultimately produce healing.
The subject matter of this book is specifically about separating
truth from error. This requires an honest look at all the facts. None of us enjoys it when
our belief systems are challenged and this journey has not been an easy one for me to
pursue as well. But after years of ministry I eventually came to a point in life where I
had to take an honest look at where I was heading. This resulted in an arduous task that
involved over 25 years of extensive research.
At times this exhausting quest for truth became so disheartening
that I wanted to give it up. Uncovering falsity is an arduous task for everyone as the
truth of Scripture hits us all right between the eyes, as it did me. But we can be certain
that God will reward those who have undertaken the goal of seeking after that truth.
I have undertaken this project in the hopes that others may share
in the benefits of this research into biblical truths as they have played out in history
and in the writings of the great leaders of the church over the last 2000 years. I am
convinced that a candid look into our situation today as it relates to the church in
history is imperative if the church is to rise out of the mire of falsehood to learn to
worship in spirit and truth. So as you continue on, it is my prayer that you will
ultimately arrive at conclusions that aim to build up rather than tear down. It is my hope
that together we can uncover exactly what is at the bottom of our Holy Wars today in order
to ascertain what can be done to arrive at a lasting peace.
Growth at All Cost
In our trek towards the truth of the
matter we need to begin by investigating the marketing of religion phenomena
that Jeff Scharlet described in his article. As we look into church history we find that
this movement initially came out of the observations of Donald A McGavran while he served as a missionary in India. As a result of his studies McGavran
started the Missiological Movement as a pragmatic approach to planting and nurturing the
growth of churches while founding the Institute of Church Growth. His whole approach to growth was
based around adapting the church to the surrounding culture. Later Fuller Theological
Seminary through such personas as Peter Wagner and John Wimber did much to popularize
McGavrans Church Growth principles.
In his book Leading Your Church to Growth Peter Wagner wrote:
"The Church Growth Movement has boldly asserted that not only is church growth OK,
but is the will of the Almighty God." Consequently we find that within the core of
the modern Church Growth Movement lies the notion that growth is the greatest good and
anything that leads to growth is therefore good. Growth first! is the call of
Church Growth advocates today. And this is regularly interpreted to mean getting more
people and more money into the InstitutionalizedChurch.
When considering this growth
first pronouncement one needs to take into account that there has been no time of
greater church growth in history than the expansion of Christianity as witnessed in the
Early Church primarily through the ministry of the Apostle Paul. When you look at what
Paul did in the Book of Acts and what he said in his epistles, therefore, you should
expect to find the most effective formula for growth and the model that the church should
follow today. Yet when you read and observe these accounts in the Bible, you will not find
the emphasis on growth first that we witness with modern Church Growth
advocates. Rather the life and writings of Paul place a specific emphasis on ministry,
evangelism and morality.
For that reason, the growth first philosophy of the
Church Growth Movement today does not find its source in the Bible. Rather it is the
humanistic philosophies of the world that lies behind the movement. And in the humanistic
world, this growth first philosophical system was introduced by an
evolutionist named John Dewey. While breaking away from his philosophical predecessors
Dewey determined that there are no moral absolutes. He resolved that man is good no matter
how bad he is as long as he is seeking to be better than before. In other words, good can
be equated with growth.
Accordingly, the adherence to growth as the greatest good is a
secular worldview that was first promoted by a philosopher who sought to find meaning to
life outside the confines of the Christian worldview. And many in Christendom have adopted
Deweys growth philosophy as their mantra.
Dewey was an educator and devoted a
large portion of his life seeking to institute his philosophy in the educational system. In his
highly influential book, The School and Society,
he formulated an educational theory based upon his evolutionary-based growth philosophy.
In this work, Dewey developed a method and curriculum in the schools in which the child's
growth became the central concern.
The progressive schools that came out
of Deweys efforts emphasized this concept of growth or progress above the
assimilation of content. Therefore, as long as the student is moving forward in this
educational scheme, it does not matter what has been actually learned. There are no
educational goals other than growth, so no one has to get to any particular point within a
specific time frame. In the educational community today this methodology is called Outcome-Based Education and it has dominated
many of our public schools for decades now. As this growth philosophy has inundated Americas educational system we have seen
learning dumbed down to such a point that kids cannot even pass the simplest of
In the same manner Deweys
growth as the greatest good philosophy has taken over many churches. In their
zeal to become like the world in order to expand we have witnessed church leaders dumb
down everything from theology to music to the same deplorable level that our schools have
descended to. The inclination today in many Christian circles is to put uneducated pastors
in our pulpits and unlearned musicians at the forefront of our church services.
The laity are begging for
substance, wrote Michael Horton in The Agony
of Deceit. They are often more anxious to deepen their faith than their pastors
are to help them deepen it. So today few of our young Christians really know their
Bibles and few can appreciate the profound lyrical statements that are found in hymn
liturgy. Few understand the attributes of God, so hymnology that speaks at this level
escapes them. Many dont even understand the nature of salvation nor do they hear
about it in many modern worship and praise song texts. Indeed, Deweys growth dynamic
has demonstrated itself to be the instigator of ignorance in every corner.
In creating a
communist society in Russia, Stalin was
primarily after the minds of the kids and he got to them by putting together a compulsory
educational system that rendered children ignorant of the truth.
Likewise Dewey has dumbed down our mandatory schools to such an extent that our
Constitutional freedoms are being slowly eroded by liberalism as we slowly but surely put
on the cloak of Stalins socialism simply because the current uneducated populace of America does not understand the Constitution.
In the same way, because of Deweys ever so popular growth at all cost
theories that have mesmerized ambitious pastors, much of the church has been dumbed down
while inhaling every bit of bologna that blows through the door. Consider the
vulnerability that the CharismaticChurch has to every wind and doctrine such as
the Shepherding, Word of Faith and Inner Healing heresies and youll have adequate
evidence of that fact.
Cult Expert Ron Enrod declared,
People today are spiritually starving. Western society is now almost totally
secularized little satisfaction for spiritual hunger can be found in its
institutions. Even the Christian church, in many cases, has lost sight of the meat and
drink of Gods Word. The result is that many who hunger and thirst for
righteousness remain unfilled, craving food but not knowing where to find it.
. . . How urgently we need a return to biblical literacy in
the church! wrote Ron Rhodes in The
Culting of America.
The biblical illiteracy of this
nation is truly abysmal, Rhodes concluded, And worse, the
religious profile that emerges of the typical American Christian at least in terms
of Bible knowledge is nothing less than frightening.
expectations for peoples lives have become watered-down with cop-out catch phrases
such as God is not through with me yet being fostered to explain the fact that
Christians continue to live in sin. Peter admonished: But as He who called you is
holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am
holy. (I Pet -16 MKJV) Yet when many pastors speak of holiness these days
it is in terms of the unattainable rather than the way we should live. In the same manner
sin has become far more tolerable in the church because it is not expected that
parishioners attain a certain level of saintliness. As long as they are at least
progressing, no matter what sort of lifestyle they lead, everything is viewed as being OK.
At least the person is on the right track.
Chesterson declared, We do not want a church that will move with the world. We want
a church that will move the world. However, it has played out just the opposite in
much of the ContemporaryChurch.
In a real way Christianity has been dumbed down through Church Growth strategies in order
for the church to relate to the people who have been left intellectually bankrupt by
Deweys educational system. The church has lowered the bar to become dumb for the
sake of ministering to ignorance. Its a self-perpetuating full circle of mediocrity
that rolls down the path leading to even more ignorance and endorsed sin as time passes.
And John Dewey is at its head.
communist party first came into power, they proceeded to create a nation-wide system of
education. After the revolution in 1917, primary and secondary education were made
compulsory. In October of 1918, the Soviet government instituted the Unified Labor
Schools, designed to lay down the principles of military atheistic and political
education, strong polytechnical alignment, coeducation, instruction in the native tongue,
and the training of teachers in a manner that would insure that the ideologies of the
Communist Party were carefully conformed to. Likewise the Russian schools began to see
themselves as the place where morality ought to be taught. They wanted to create moral
individuals who could be productive in the society the Communists envisioned.
By using eisogesis
(superimposing a meaning onto the text) instead of exegesis (drawing the meaning out of
the text) wrote Ron Rhodes in The Culting of
America, a Marxist interpreter could, for example, so skew the meaning of the U.
S. Constitution that it would come out reading like a socialist document. Cultists and
Word-Faith teachers have done the same type of thing with the Holy Scriptures. They have
so skewed the meaning of the biblical text that it comes out saying something entirely
different than what was intended by the author.
Stay Tuned for More!!!!
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