Saturday, June 30, 2007

Trendy Pastors


The men pictured above are all pastors of "churches" (in some cases, I use the term loosely) that appeal to "seekers" or what I call "emergent" types. They have lots of similarities, i.e. casual dress, haphazardly-styled or no hair, some don't appear to be happy, most are tanned (maybe their church is close to a beach), none of them are over forty, and none of them own a tie. (That one preacher/pastor guy is pretty muscley, too.) EDIT: 07.01.07 - I have been informed be a concerned reader that one of the pastors IS over forty. He should know better, then.

Some other things I've noticed about these "trendy pastors":

  • They really like to use the word "relevant."
  • It's more trendy/relevant to refer to themselves as "Christ followers" rather than "Christian" or "Believer."
  • They seem to have an aversion for anything "old" or "traditional."
  • They "give talks" rather than "preach sermons."
  • Music Ministers don't like to be called Music Ministers...they are "Minister/Pastor of Creative/Christian Arts."
  • On one church's website, the pastor wrote: "God began to burden my heart with the need for a dynamic, innovative, multicultural church, where people could learn God’s truths in relevant and creative ways..." (emphasis mine). Honestly, I've always thought that a church that faithfully preached the Word of God, WAS "dynamic" and "relevant."
  • One pastor wrote on his blog: "Every movie has a great sermon." Silly me, I thought the Bible had some pretty good sermons in it.
  • One pastor commented: "I think it's funny that we meet in a movie theatre that's showing Knocked Up." I think it's sad he thinks that's funny.
  • One church's website proclaimed they were "the cool church." Groovy, man...if I'm looking for a place to trip!
  • One pastor noted: "Knocked Up is a great movie." I hope he's kidding.
  • One church's website, announcing their upcoming sermon series on "sex" proclaims: "God wants you to have great sex." One of the sermon titles for the multi-week series is entitled: "Leather, Whips, and Whipped Cream." Oh, brother.
  • Churches are now referred to as "campuses." I guess using the word "church" isn't "relevant."

I guess I'm just old fashioned. I still think that faithful preaching will accomplish exactly what the Word says it will: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

49 comments:

Baxter said...

"Lord! Come quickly!"

JoeMartino said...

My friend, actually some are over 40. Just wanted to help, where I could

Joel Maners said...

You have to have a cookie duster if you want to be "relevant."

;)

-Joel

Anthony said...

All that might seem troublesom, but are they reading their Bible and loving Jesus? I have written an article on a similar subject called An Effective Church.

If you go to a church that is preaching Jesus and they have a loving community and it's obvious that God is working through that church, and you doubt the sincerity of the congregation anyway, there's a problem. For instance, you don't like a particular aspect of the church, be it the worship or how the greeters greet, or their manner of dress, etc. Maybe you say to yourself, "Yeah, they might be christians, but I don't see how," you have to also ask yourself the following:

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:10

Baxter said...

I agree, Anthony, we are not to be men pleasers. But, I believe that the concern is when "churches" or "believers" continue to conform to the patterns of this world rather than to Christ. Where He isn't regarded as HOLY! You know, Moses was not aloud to enter the promised land because he did not treat God as HOLY. If I see mature sisters or brothers dressed in a way that is provocative or sensual, or a way that would call attention to themselves rather than Jesus, I have to think that there's a problem. If the "focus" of a church to just be the "cool church", rather than the "stuffy one", I think there is a problem. I think this post is meant to be more about honoring God by loving righteousness and hating wickedness rather than whether or not a preacher wears a beach shirt or a tie. There really is a principle here. IMO

Keith said...

Anthony:
I agreee with your comment re: salvation; it's ALL God. Not Jesus + "something..." ("An Effective Church")

Just to tag off "Baxter's" comments here--there seems to be more of an emphasis in "pleasing men" rather than pleasing God in many churches today. Things like taking surveys to determine what people DON'T LIKE about church and then changing things to accomodate the survey, giving away Harleys/houses/etc., cancelling services so the congregation can go see "Evan Almighty" together (really happened--click here)...the list goes on and on.

You state: "[if a church is] preaching Jesus and they have a loving community and it's obvious that God is working through that church..." If you asked some of these pastors, they'd tell you those things are happening. However, having listened to some of their sermons, I note that they are quick to point out God's love for men, that Jesus can make your life better, etc., but they avoid mentioning God's wrath in dealing with sin/sinful men. Many equate a church that is growing in numbers as a church that is being blessed by God. That's not always true. You can pack a lot of people in by offering the right "christian entertainment."

It's not so much about a certain style of music, but rather worshipping God and preaching Christ crucified according the Scriptures. Jesus referred to this as worshipping "in spirit and in truth" (John 4) First Corinthians 1:21 says: "God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save those who would believe." God didn't prescribe trendy music, pastors giving "talks" rather than preaching, dramas, casual-come-as-you-are dress codes, etc. in order to save people. He commands us to simply preach the Word, which is sufficient to save all by itself. These pastors think God needs their help to be relevant when in fact He does NOT!

I'm not sure if it is happening here in the Tulsa area, but I've read stories of "churches" having "Bible study" at their local Hooters in order to attract the "un-churched." Give me a break--I don't think ANYBODY is showing up a Hooters for a genuine Bible study.

My two-cents.

Anthony said...

Keith, you said:

" ... I've read stories of 'churches' having 'Bible study' at their local Hooters in order to attract the 'un-churched.' ... "

I think it would take some seriously creative justification to defend that.

But let me ask you point blank. What is the purpose of the gathered assembly (aka going to church)?

nacotaco said...

I am a church goer of TCC [the cool church] my pastor David Mcallister the 2nd picture has 7 kids 21-9 and Preaches God, Jesus and the bible, what he looks like didn`t even enter into my mind.. How he makes the bible understandable thats what its all about! I can see God , know God, hear God, love God............why do you want to tear down christians? I found the comments because an article was written in the newspaper http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/190018.php about being gay and the lifestyle being unacceptable to God. Your comments were on the search of msn between the vile remarks of people commenting of being christian and etc....I was so happy to find a your christian blog....and it wasn`t...I have found Christ a year ago so I am new about God`s teachings. Why would you tear down before you even look into what the churches are teaching instead of relying on what they look like to condemn them, even I know that the devil is a roaring lion looking to kill steal and condemn....I follow Jesus and read the bible every day the church follows Christ and its ok if there are different ways they get the message out there. I am disabled with kids and leaving the house is difficult but going to church to hear about my God I never want to leave.........I listen to christian radio 88.3 am every day 7-5 I don`t want to miss anything in my search for God. The Pharisees were angry with Jesus because he didn`t fit with what they thought he should be.....I`m so disapointed.....

Keith said...

Anthony: You asked: "What is the purpose of the gathered assembly (aka going to church)?"

The Church is comprised of Christians/believers/those who have been saved by grace alone through faith alone. God adds people to the church (Acts 2:47). No amount of marketing, style of music, etc. can produce saving faith—only God saves. As 'the Body/Bride of Christ", we are commanded to be part of a local assembly (Heb 10:24-25) (Note: I realize that sometimes, people are physically hindered from doing that; I trust that God deals with situations according to His good and perfect will.) The purpose the "church gathered" is:

--Worship God. This is the main thing. We do this through prayer, singing of "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), "reading of Scripture…" (1 Tim 4:13)

--"Exhortation and teaching" (1 Tim 4:13) Instruction as to how we should live—what we should look like. See James and 1 Peter. We are then equipped to go out "into all the world, making disciples…" (Matt 28:19-20)

--"Stimulate one another to love and good deeds" (Heb 10:24-25). Encourage each other as we strive to live as "salt and light" in the world.

I don't see the early church, as described in Scripture, as a place that is designed to attract / be a hangout for the unsaved. That doesn't mean unsaved people are not welcome—I want unsaved people to come to our church so they can hear the Bible preached, witness the Holy Spirit in the lives of our members, etc. BUT, the corporate worship should never be compromised for the sake of those who may not be comfortable, etc.

The "Church" is not a country club. The goal of the church should never be to look like the world for the purpose of attracting those who have no desire for the things of God. God will save those He intends to save. He has chosen to use us, to allow us to be part of that process as we witness to others, invite them to Church, live our lives according the Word; He does not need us to be clever. As I've already said: it is God who saves. He saves when His Word (the Gospel) is faithfully preached, supernaturally piercing and changing the heart of those He has chosen to save.

You didn't ask, but I think a "biblical church" should:

--Have a high view of God.

--Have a proper view of Scripture

--Emphasize preaching/teaching of the Word. I personally think expository preaching is the Biblical "style" of preaching. Context, context, context!

--Have a sound, stated doctrine

--Engage in Biblically centered worship. Consider the following: "But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself; and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations, and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way, not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures." (Regulative Principle)

Obviously, much of what I've said DOES NOT fall in line with the current trends, i.e. seeker-sensitive, "Willow Creek/Saddleback" model, "trendy pastors".

Keith said...

Nacotaco:
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to hear that you've come to Christ and that you're reading the Bible. I'm also sorry to hear that you are not able to attend church due to your disability. God knows your heart and your desire to be in church.

I'm sorry you feel what I say is "tearing down christians." I'm just making observations, filtered through my understanding of God's Word. Consequently, I take exception (nothing personal) to your statement: "its ok if there are different ways they get the message out there." I think God is very specific as to how He is worshipped and how His message is conveyed. Again, see 1 Corinthians 1:21. Whenever Paul went to the synagogue, he reasoned with his listeners from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2). He also told Timothy to "...give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" (1 Timothy 4:13). Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:16 -- "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." No video, no skits, no clever programs, no "cool church." Just God's word, faithfully preached.

I've spent some time looking at the "cool church" website. I see a lot of "how God can make your life better"; I don't see much talk about sin or God's wrath, obedience to His Word, etc. What does that mean to have a "better life?" Does that mean we won't have any more problems, that we'll be healed of all our diseases, that we'll always have plenty of money, etc? I don't read anywhere in the Bible where God owes me or has promised me a "better life" here on earth. What He has promised is eternal life in heaven with Him. Of course, that message isn't as "cool" to some people.

I don't understand "pastors" that think they need to re-invent worship/church. They jettison all the "old hymns", ignore/set aside the teachings of the early church fathers, do everything in their power to make sure "church" doesn't look like "church." I have a friend that attends one of those types of churches. He says, "we're just a swimming pool and a tennis court away from a country club." That's sad.

Anthony said...

Thanks Keith.

Baxter said...

Thanks, Keith. You ARE a thinking man. And I appreciate hearing the truth. You know, I used to teach a Sunday school class for "little ones". I really didn't want it to be about "cute little" bible stories, I really wanted it to be SIMPLY the Word of God. So, I began in Genesis and would make my own activity and I would share just what the word said short excerpts paraphrased in a way understandable to their age (and they get a lot more than we sometimes give them credit for)and then a short little thing for them to do, to give them a little reinforcement. I really enjoyed that time and was delighted that they were just getting scripture--no bells and whistles.

2 Tim 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Michael said...

i'm not sure clothes make you trendy nor do they infer reverence for that you worship.

we have a call to modesty (1 timothy 2) and that is subjective to the heart of the believer.

i take some exception with lovejoy being on the list as he frequents our blog and teaches against church entertainment. i will look more closely but our communications have been worthwhile.

but enough about who is doing it wrong in your eyes...who is doing it right? i think putting your own church out there would be refreshing, so it can visited, etc.

i think our culture has hit the rub of relevance versus worthiness. the traditional mainline churches still leave people with a feeling that they have to be worthy to walk in and they have to change themselves before they get there...not one of us is worthy and god meets everyone where they are in their sinfulness.

the relevance movement is an overcorrection to the worthiness movement. some call this holiness but it comes across as "doing" for god, which is bogus. the holy spirit would never lead someone to make others feel like "less" with dress, knowlegde or action.

intersting post though.

Keith said...

Michael:
Shawn Lovejoy got thrown in the mix because:
- He was linked from another "trendy pastor's" blog
- He has that "look" that says: "hey look at me, I'm not traditional."
- Mt. Lake sounds like a lot of new church startups where it ain't a church until we get the Starbucks in the lobby.
- He recommends authors such as Brian McLaren
- Mt. Lake website states (attender's comment): "I didn’t leave church feeling guilty" (God forbid that should happen!)
- Website statement: "The church is to serve people like Jesus served people." I was under the impression that the church was the gathering of believers for the express worship of God and equipping of His people to GO OUT.
- I'm a little leery of churches in this day that grow from a handful of people to 2000+ in a short period.

Just a few things. Doesn't make Shawn a bad guy, I guess. At least I didn't find any videos of him lampooning baptism or cursing as some of the others pictured have been known to do.

re: my church? We are a reformed, Calvinistic, evangelistic, Southern Baptist Church. Traditional in worship style. Pastor preaches what many would classify as "verse-by-verse" (we are in our 13th week on the SECOND of the 10 Commandments on Sunday mornings). We teach the love of God right along side His holiness and His wrath for sin. Bethel Baptist Church

No "MTV" style videos, skits, stage props, etc. Just a man of God, teaching the Word of God (Heb 4:12).

We don't have a Starbucks.

Baxter said...

Keith, check out the John MacArthur radio program for today (July 10, 2007).
It's "relevant".

Keith said...

The "wide" versus the "narrow" roads. Not a popular topic I would imagine for the "trendys."

Keith said...

Probably nit-picking here, but reading back through this thread, I noticed "Nacotaco" attends "the cool church" and says: "[my pastor] preaches God, Jesus and the bible,...he makes the bible understandable...I follow Jesus and read the bible every day."

When I checked out her blog profile, under "Favorite Books"-- the Bible isn't mentioned. Hmm.

Just thought that was curious.

moreofhim said...

I have one word to say - AMEN!!!

Floating Axhead said...

Obviously you are making some generalization about these guys.

The problem is when anything, whether its being trendy or holding onto human-made traditions, becomes more important than what we have been commanded to do.

In response to Keith being leery of churches that grow to 2,000 in a short period of time, remember Acts 6:7 that says "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalum increased rapidly...

It's a lot easier to spread the Word today, so we shouldn't be surprised by this at all.

Keith said...

Floating Axehead: I figured someone would jump on the Acts 6:7 bandwagon. Two comments:

(1) According to Acts 2:47-- "And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." (Just because a church grows by leaps and bounds, DOES NOT always mean God is blessing. I could pack a church by simply charging $1 admission and giving everyone a beer and a sandwich--the trendy pastors/churches would really like the "beer" part.)

(2) J. Vernon McGee once said: "Sometimes the majority opinion simply means you've got a lot of fools gathered in the same place." (Along the same line as above. There are WAY more Catholics in the USA, but they STILL GOT IT WRONG. Just because you've got a large congregation--I hesitate to call some of them churches--doesn't mean you're "doing it right.")

I made the "generalizations" based on the blasphemy and coarse language I read/saw on some of the "pastor's" blogs.

luvvom said...

14"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
15"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.(AM) Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and(AR) the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

terriergal said...

Ya know, call me ignorant, but I would love to have the ID's on these pastors...?

Keith said...

Terriergal:
Rather than modifying the post, here's the list of "pastors." I could not find the name of the last guy. I found him linking from Dave Anderson's site, I think. Anyway, left to right:
(first row)
-- Dave Furguson
-- David McAllister
-- Ed Young Jr
-- Tim Stevens
(second row)
-- Dave Anderson
-- Scott Hodge
-- Shawn Lovejoy
-- Unable to verify

For something that will really curl your hair, check out Scott Hodges "baptism" video here.

Julie said...

Serious abuse of quotation marks.

Not owning a tie means...not owning a tie. That's really about it. If there's an insistence that not owning a tie means something, then what does owning a tie mean?

I'm assuming that a Veggie Tale tie wouldn't count. I own a couple of ties. I'm a woman, though, so that'd be another post, with quotes, I imagine. "Woman."

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Interesting. Chris Lyons over on his Emerging Church "info" blog says of Keith's post:

"For those of 'discernment' who have a critical eye on these pastors, the danger is twofold: first, in minding the planks in their own eyes before worrying about the specks in these pastors’ eyes; secondly in finding the actual discernment required to differentiate between method and message before choosing to criticize."

Well first of all, what Keith is doing here is helpful actual discernment, so Chris can just go ahead and say discernment and not "discernment" (quotes).

Then he warns of planks in the eyes of people like Keith. Sort of an ironic statement coming from Chris who runs a watchdog site that watches the watchdogs. Let's see if I got that straight, he doesn't like watchdogs, so he has become one, in protest, hmmm.

Next he places an artificial restriction on Keith's discernment, insisting that it must only apply towards relevance that impacts the message and not just the method. But is that true? Can't there be a problem with the message delivery all by itself?

Here's what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Isn't Paul essentially saying here that he chose not to employ brilliant ideas in bringing them the Gospel? Rather he was determined to deliver the message in a straightforward simplicity, relying on the power of God to make the message effective and produce growth.

So do we have a basis for questioning pastors that deliver a message in a way opposite of Paul? Some such pastors don't rely on the Holy Spirit the way Paul did, and instead do the opposite of Paul. They rely upon the man made "wisdom" of gimmicks, that go right down to the detail of their trendy appearance, speech patterns, props, etc. What's wrong with doing what Paul did, by just delivering the message in a simple straight forward way without all of the worldly relevance.

Anyway, nice post Keith. Keep up the good work.

iggy said...

Wow...

It seems to judge people by there appearance is not enough...

then i read this...

"On one church's website, the pastor wrote: "God began to burden my heart with the need for a dynamic, innovative, multicultural church, where people could learn God’s truths in relevant and creative ways..." (emphasis mine). Honestly, I've always thought that a church that faithfully preached the Word of God, WAS "dynamic" and "relevant."

In this quote I noticed you are against a multicultural church?

And yes, if these men are faithfully preaching from the Word of God they are being relevant and that is the point. It seems that you missed that.

God is relevant... He is relevant in all of our life... including our sex life.

It seems that you compartmentalize you faith and see it as something you do... while I took a second to look over these guys sites and noticed it is something they live.

In all they do, they do it unto the Lord.

Luther stated "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly."

It seems that these men boldly believe and you mock their faith in God.

I also see that you know these men's motives and their hearts.

I recall the words of Jesus stating that "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him `unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him `unclean.'" interestingly I see these men looking at their world and seeing Jesus... while you look at your world and see ways to judge others.

I also see that you do not care to actually reach people with the Gospel. If one needs to be Minister of creative Christan arts... what difference does it make? I think that many churches today have people who do more than just music... so they have a different title... and how is that so unbiblical?

What I see is that without any real proof other than you looking at a website you slander these men by insinuating they do not teach God's word. Have you gone and visited them? Have you even bothered to go to them as the Bible mandates if you see them in sin?

For all the "Crimes" these guys do in your eyes I see that there is one worse one I do see. That is that you talk a lot of how the church and word of God should be taught, but by your words and actions I see you care little that one follows those very words.

I am not judging you heart... but your own words here. It seems the verse you use you miss that in it, the Word is living and active... that means is goes outside the church buildings walls. I only see that you desire to keep it in that building. God's word should and works best as you live it out... as you trust in it as Jesus leads.

For you to be more concerned over "casual dress" seem very non relevant to the faith I live and see from God in Christ.


iggy

Keith said...

Julie:

Sorry about the "serious abuse of quotation marks"...oops, I did it again!

I was quoting the statements/terms some of the pastors made or used. I thought that was the correct thing to do when quoting.

The "tie" comment was just another means of pointing out what I saw as a casual approach the pastors seem to be so proud of. Wearing or not wearing a tie isn't the issue so much as the attitude they portray.

God was pretty specific about how Aaron dressed when he entered the Holy of Holies. His attire, his attitude/demeanor was to be one of reverence and awe of the fact that he was entering the presence of God. I personally think there is a reasonable analogy that can be drawn there.

With a name like Julie, I assumed you were a "woman." Is that so wrong?

On a different note: I like your website. I used to own a graphic design/sign shop. My degree is in Commercial Art. I really like the pen/ink stuff.

Julie said...

Keith,

The problem with demanding a certain outward appearance in church (i.e. not casual, using the Aaron angle for example) is that there are people who don't have the acceptable clothes, who don't naturally wear that, etc. Is it just the pastor's that this is an issue with, or congregants, too? Because I often read, once a writer or blogger has criticized the casual look of pastors, that the appearance of the congregants takes the next hit and that is, in my understanding of Jesus and what he expected of people, as far from Biblical as it gets.

The usual turn of this discussion has, in my past experience, involved someone going to the other end and asking if I then thought it would be OK for a woman to show up in a bikini to which the obvious answer is no, and that taking it to that extreme is disingenuous (since that opens up a modesty discussion). But the casual vs. dressy...I don't see it as applying in anyway to the condition of the heart of a worshipper, which is the main thing.

Julie said...

I neglected to answer your full comment. Sorry.

The quotes thing is in reference not to quotations, but a way (kind of like what Reuters does) in which "things" are put in "quotes" in a "manner" that lets the "reader" know that the "writer" is either mocking or "very" sceptical of the topic.

So when a "writer" puts quotes around "pastor" and such, you let the "reader" know that you really doubt the use of the term pastor. It gets to be a kind of abuse (I used to do it a lot) where you let quotes do the work instead of the words and proof. They are pastors, whether you like them or what they are all about. There is no need for quotes around the word pastor to clue the reader in on what you think of that. Rather, the rest of the post should (and in this case, does) do that.

That's what I meant about quotes. Overuse of quotes gets to be a kind of snarky, sarcastic thing which makes me take the post less seriously, not more. I assume "Hey, this guy has a serious chip on his shoulder" or something like that.

I note that yes, I just used quotes.

Thanks for the compliments on my art. The eagle you drew is lovely as well. I still may disagree with your take on some of these pastors, however. But thanks.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Well, if a nursing home ever opens up right next door to their church, I hope these trendy pastors will also want to be relevant to that age category as well. After all, those folks need salvation too. So if they are ever go over and minister in that new nursing home, I hope they follow through with their "dress relevant to help the Holy Spirit save more souls" concept. To do that, they'll need to have a Mister Rogers outfit in their closet so that they'll fit right in at the nursing home. So the cool pastor with the big muscles in the picture above can wear a button down sweater then, and plaid shorts, black socks, and velcro shoes, maybe even carry a cane, etc. If in fact that's what people are wearing at the nursing home that just opened up next door, then they shouldn't waste the opportunity to go over there and pull out all the stops, when it comes to being relevant to them. More likely these pastors would just say "I'm only called to minister to a certain sliver of age demographic (young folks)" and there again, I can't imagine the apostle Paul ever saying that.

Anyone who says that appearance and methods do not matter - only the message matters, should consider those communion clowns that we've seen photos of on the web; actual circus clowns wearing all of their garb and doing communion, for adults, at one of NYC's oldest churches. Could a clown, under those circumstances, be justifiable as long as their message (or actions) were correct?

The method of delivery becomes a part of the message.

Iggy has an interesting combination of false accusations; first he says "I also see that you know these men's motives and their hearts" and then he makes that category error himself by saying: "I also see that you do not care to actually reach people with the Gospel". Hmm.

Keith said...

Iggy:
Wow, dude! I'm stoked you posted on my blog! Word! Peace out!! (Sorry, my feeble attempt at emergent/relevant language) Anyway, responding to your comments/observations (your comments are in italics)

In this quote I noticed you are against a multicultural church? No. I don't recall saying that. What does that mean, anyway? We have black, Hispanic, white, Korean, etc. families at our church. Are we multicultural? The pastor's statement came across to me as saying: "No one is doing this right. The other churches aren't "dynamic" or "innovative." What makes a church dynamic or innovative? Most of the time I see those terms used, what they are really saying is "fun" or "cutting-edge."

if these men are faithfully preaching from the Word of God Sorry, but I make a distinction in preaching "from the Word" and "preaching THE Word."

God is relevant... He is relevant in all of our life... including our sex life. Yes, but why the "sermon" title: Leather, Whips, and Whipped Cream I read through Song of Solomon and found no references along these lines. The title is obviously designed to illicit an image of sadomasochism, etc.

I also see that you know these men's motives and their hearts. YOU SEEM TO THINK YOU KNOW MINE!

You quote Jesus words: " what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean'", but you don't seem to find any thing wrong with pastor's use of words like "pi**ed off", "fr**kin", etc. I'm guessing that—when used to present the Gospel—those words are OK. Interesting to me that when Peter used offensive language, the hearers disassociated him with Christ.

A final comment (for now--I have a very unloving Sunday School lesson to study). I'm amazed (and a little frightened) when people like Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch say things like: "I believe in God, but sometimes I do ministry as though He doesn't exist." (Source) or “Without apology, I will do whatever it takes to grab people’s attention” (Source) Ministry WITHOUT GOD? WHATEVER it takes? I guess that's why we see things like Harley Davidson giveaways or win-a-new-house or "Beer and Bible" events. Just get them in and hopefully a little bit o' Jesus might spill on them…"them" being the "unchurched" (we certainly wouldn't want to call them sinners. If we did, then we'd be accused of not giving "positive talks"…I think that's supposed to be the same as a sermon, right?)

Keith said...

Julie:
I understand what you're saying. Sometimes people don't have suits and ties to wear...I'm OK with that. As I've tried to communicate, it's about attitude.

I do think it's funny that a lot people that get their BVD's in a wad when someone mentions "casual dress" in church are the same people that wouldn't think of going to a wedding or funeral in anything but a suit. Go figure.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

It's interesting that we have so many Emerging Church Movement people who are upset about posts like this that are designed mostly to address the Church Growth Movement. You often find the ECM guys attacking the pragmatism of the CGM churches, but here they are coming out of the woodwork to defend them instead. I thought the ECM was supposed to be "deeper" than that, deeper than defending the concept of a haircut designed to help save souls. Go figure.

Julie said...

"As I've tried to communicate, it's about attitude."

Then I'm curious as to the posting of photos, which can only determine appearance and not attitude.

From photos, can you fully determine attitude? This seemed to be a post talking about surface things, not attitude or heart issues. Stuff about ties and terms and definitions of such.

Some examples here where you might be trying to touch on something else, yes, but mostly, the talk is about surface, not attitude.

And Jim...haircut to save souls? Where did you get that? Was that a claim one of these guys made, or a funny thing that doesn't help the disucssion when there are two sides looking for off-handed comments to feed on? It's funny, but very probably not helping.

iggy said...

I find it more interesting that some have rationalized their doctrine so that they can judge men by their own standards.

I am glad that God so loved the world and that He came to saved it and not condemn it...

But, I see that we are all sinners saved by Grace through faith and that it is truly folly to think one is higher than the other...

I am no better than any man... Yet, I do not condemn you... but I fear that as I read you and your "friends" that this theology of partiality based on ones own "judgment" of others... cut across the most basic teachings of Scripture...

But again, you have your theology and doctrines to save you.. I will still trust in the Person of Jesus Christ and of the sound doctrine that flows out of Him in the Spirit of Grace and Truth... as opposed to Law and Truth.

Be blessed,
iggy

iggy said...

Jim,

It is because we see through superficial differences and look at these people as brothers in Christ.

As I told Keith elsewhere, I think that it is better that one judges themselves by the standard of Jesus and seek mercy and grace than to judge others by our own standards and preferences…

So, if my hat is on backwards… (which it is in the picture on my blog) : ) I rather be backwards to legalistic theology that gives no grace or mercy and love to others than to be the standard for others. There is only One Standard and we all fall short of Him... I pray you not forget that. even Julie picked up on how superficial you and other "Judge" people by... I mean come on... haircuts? How shallow can one person get as to judge outside appearances when scirpture warns of that... in fact Jesus states some very strong things about people like that and calls them "vipers" and "white washed tombs" now I don't call you that, I am just pointing out what Jesus states about people more concerned about the outside of the cup than the inside....

But, you feel free to judge others how you "fee" and I will continue to believe on Jesus and His Righteousness for me...

Also Jim, please stop talking about me... you know nothing about me and seem so obsessed with telling lies about me at every chance.

Yet, i see that slander and lies are consistent in how many of you see is fitting to defend truth as you see it.

Be Blessed,
iggy

dave said...

I am over 40. In fact Im 46. I dont have much hair - but that means God doesnt have to count so high - how about that. And my goatee is a beard about half the week because I dont like to shave. I did stop dressing like I was still living in 1980 however so I guess that makes me a heretic in some circles because Jesus wore a suit right? In case you didn't notice - Jesus thought everything in his culture had a good sermon in it. But I guess you never read those parts of the bible. I dont have a campus (wish I did) since I meet in a theater - I meet there because I don't have the luxury to sit in a building with pews and a steeple that my grandparents paid for. Lets see - last time I read the bible - the early church didn't meet in one of those either. In fact they borrowed facilities from the Jews - who bu the way were not Christians - and not really excited to have them in their facility. Unfortunately we don't have a Jewish temple here to borrow - so we rent what we can and people who need Jesus come to hear the GOSPEL presented in a way they understand.

Why are you throwing stones at me - you have never met me - i doubt you have ever heard one of my sermons even though they are freely available on the internet - and if you have the courage to call me out man to man - I live in Alabama and I'll discuss face to face anything you want to accuse me of - just make sure you got some bible to back it up cause so far all i've seen is someone who likes to complain about how other people reach people for Jesus. Why dont you grow up and actually live out the scripture including the parts about not sowing discord and causing division instead of spitting out your poisonous venom regarding people who love God.

Just a thought.

iggy said...

Dave,

AMEN! "Lord! Come quickly!"

God forbid we ever preach God's word as relevant today as it ever was... only in the face of the postmodern culture instead of the premodern of modern or whatever these fellows see as relevant... like "haircuts"?!?

I never seen such a fear based theology and faith as i have seen in these people...

May God have mercy on all of us sinners!

Blessings to you and your Dave,
iggy

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Dave:

Yes, I've never met you but you are the MoviePastor.com guy with the raw steamy sex therapy sermons right?
http://tinyurl.com/2rsmbx

Why do we have to know you in order to express any opinions about your public behavior?

True, Jesus didn't wear a 3 piece suit but he also didn't lean on pragmatic appearance gimmicks to help himself seem more relevant to one particular age demographic.

Julie:

What I said was not for the sake of humor only, there is some truth to it, which I address in greater detail here:
http://oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/id.2.pid.732

Keith said...

Iggy writes: "But again, you have your theology and doctrines to save you.. I will still trust in the Person of Jesus Christ and of the sound doctrine that flows out of Him in the Spirit of Grace and Truth... as opposed to Law and Truth." Iggy, being able to know my heart has exposed the "fact" that I am not saved and he is.

Dave: I'm not sure what you're "living in Alabama" has to do with anything, but thanks for setting me straight. No, I have not listened to any of your sermons...no more than you have read through my blog. If you had, you would have realized early on that a dialog with me is a waste of your time. I looked at your links, read several posts and came to the same conclusion. We are on the opposite end of the theological/doctrinal fence. Lord willling, we'll get a chance to meet some day and none of this will matter.

To all commentors: Have a great Lord's Day!

iggy said...

Keith,

I never stated you were not saved... so please do not put those words in my mouth...

Also, are you saying "doctrine does not save you?"

I get accused of that all the time... but with your comment I was wondering if that was your position. It seems that as you were pointing out how "judging" I am you stated that position...

If so, Jim Bublitz will set you straight as he tried with me.

"If you had, you would have realized early on that a dialog with me is a waste of your time."

I agree with this completely... it seems you claim to be a "thinker" but as far as being one I truly wonder how deep you truly go.

Be Blessed,
iggy

iggy said...

BTW Keith,

My standard is Jesus and I in no way see myself as the standard you are claiming of me...

It seems though that when you people run our of sustenant arguments you resort to accusing me and others as saying you are not save...

Please, again, you don't know me, and to slander and lie you do not promote the truth you claim to be protecting...

Now saying that, I see Jesus as The Truth... and truly He needs no protecting.

Do have a glorious Lord's Day,
Be blessed in the knowledge of Christ's great salvation for you.

iggy

iggy said...

btw,

Your take on this verse...

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:10

Seems grossly out of context.

Paul did persuade men, and he did not seek out the to please men... and I see that if one is not in line with YOUR view they are pleasing men in your view...

To me that they do not seek out YOUR approval instead they are doing as God directs them in how to persuade men.

You seem to twist this all around in that they are pleasing men.

The verse that you are quoting in context is Paul talking about Judaizers who tried to get the Galatians under the Law... The "men" that Paul did not care to please were the "religious" leaders that were out to persuade men.

Instead these Judiazers hoped to persuade God in that they were more "righteous" in their religion than the gentiles who found salvation by Grace through faith.

I see that you turned this verse on its head to use it as you did... out of context to proof text and rationalize your judgmentalism... ignoring that James taught Mercy triumphs judgment.

You have made the verse to mean that Judiazers were right and Paul was wrong.

Be Blessed in His great Mercy,
iggy

Keith said...

Iggy:
Do you REALLY mean "be blessed" or is that just a common sig for you similar to "Sincerely Yours" or "Best Regards"...cuz I gotta tell ya, I'm not getting a warm fuzzy here. In fact, your last sentence seems--to me--to imply exactly what you are denying you said. When I read it, I hear: "Keith, you still have a chance. I'm praying you'll be saved." If that really is not your intent, I apologize for thinking so. (It is misunderstandings like this one that reinforces my opinion that the internet really isn't a good place for discussions such as this.)

As I already told Dave and it should be quite obvious to you by now: NEITHER ONE OF US is listening to the other! This is futile! Nothing said here or at CRN Info and Analysis is going to change what either one of us thinks. That should have been apparent around 7:30 CDT.

Thank you for pointing out that I am not a thinker (i.e. "stupid"-"not deep"). I'll take that under advisement and give it all the consideration it deserves.

Keith said...

Iggy:
I didn't quote the Galatians passage. That one belongs to a poster named Anthony.

I'm willing to take a beatin' over something I said, but I ain't taking one for somebody else!

iggy said...

Keith,

Not meaning to give a beating... it was that as i read the way the verse was being used it seem out of context.

The verse was the first thing out of the stall... and it was amen'ed and not once did you talk about it and the context it should be used.

I do apologize if I overstepped and said you stated it. I was in error there and again was wrong.

Yet, it seems that the way it was used and then amen'ed was in the view I stated. No attempt by anyone to put it in context was done until I pointed out the context.

And yes I do mean be blessed, I mean it in the way that you are filled in all the grace, mercy and love and truth that is in Jesus Christ. Whatever you read into it comes from your own mind.

Most of all thank you for admitting you are not listening... for that is the most important part of communication.

I am listening and what I hear seems to be a compartmentalized and dualistic religion...

1. we are saved by grace through faith.
2. We are saved, but they cannot be saved as they "look/sing/talk/use the word relevant/have hair/have no hair/ get haircuts/....
3. Of course if someone teaches the word of God, they are relevant, but these guys can't be as they... (now re-read point 2.)

My question was are you saying doctrine does not save you? I am just wanting to know your position as I have stated what you implied and I took a lot of heat from some of the adda boys commenters here so voicing things like "Iggy writes: "But again, you have your theology and doctrines to save you.. I will still trust in the Person of Jesus Christ and of the sound doctrine that flows out of Him in the Spirit of Grace and Truth... as opposed to Law and Truth." Iggy, being able to know my heart has exposed the "fact" that I am not saved and he is."

This to me sounds like you are saying that I am wrong in that you believe "doctrine saves you".

I caught my attention as i stated some here railed against me for saying Jesus saves us and doctrine does not. That the flow of sound doctrine comes from Jesus... while they seem to fight for doctrine coming from the bible which gives us understanding of Jesus...

This cuts against John 5:39-40... but was what some fought for against my view that the only authority the Bible has comes from the Author... and we must know the Author to know and understand the truth He speaks... only then the Bible becomes "Living". But is was told I am wrong on that... and even here a person smeared me as he lied about what I believe.

So, again, do not believe that doctrine saved you?

It is a very easy and modernistic question that can be answered with a simple yes and no... so I am told.

blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

Keith,

If you listen to me i will and am listening to you...

Let's try to converse... in a civil manner i will cut back the rhetoric on my side and put down my "gloves" (LOL!) and really for once think about what we are saying and talking about.

You might be surprised how much we "emergents" have in common with your views and you might be surprised also that we only build on these common views though the language is a bit different... the result is the same.

Be blessed, (in the way i mentioned and have always meant though I am accused of being a smart aleck or whatever... )

iggy

Keith said...

Iggy:
OK. I'm going out on a limb here...against my better judgment, but I'm going.

"Do [I] believe that doctrine saved [me]?" No. The actual saving was done by God when He called me by His Holy Spirit, replacing my heart of stone with a "heart of flesh", enabling me to cry out to Him. He imputed Christ's righteousness to me, covering my sin with the blood of Jesus that was shed for me and all those who would put their faith in Him for salvation. Is that "A doctrine?" Yes.

iggy said...

Keith,

I agree!

So I hope you can see that we are not that far apart.

Now I wonder why some state this is not true?

I am not against doctrine, but I do see a Biblical mandate to test for "man made doctrines"... in that I see that we must take time to question some things.

sometimes some take this too far, yet there is an accusation that "we emergents" have tossed out "truth".

What is missed is a that we have a high Christology which places Jesus as the final authority that give the Bible it's authority.

Jim Bublitz took great offense to this as well as a couple of others I have attempted in engaging.

With that in mind when I see others represented I just get a little upset over that things like style personal preference are taken as doctrines or are made into doctrines.

I do agree that some have maybe gone too far... I do not like foul language as it was how I was raised, but I do not confuse it with being Holy... as my Holiness is from God alone through Jesus and I have none.

Yet, it seems that style and personal preference at times is taken as God's Holiness... and that is a grave mistake to me.

I am Holy because I am in Chirst Who is Holy... period.

I sin, but my sins are not held against me and that drives me to grow more in the righteousness of Christ and forsake my own desires.

We must recognize though that some are not as far down the road... or like Hosea or even Jeremiah, they are following what God is calling them to do.

In that I see great wisdom in the counsel of scirpture to not judge another man's servant.

Now, if one is teaching against the core teachings of Jesus... like works salvation, or that one can add to their salvation in any way apart from Jesus... or that Jesus did not come in the flesh or preach a different Jesus altogether I agree we should unite and lovingly approach that person... if they do not turn back, then we need warn others.

Yet, so much today is not about any of that... it is over things like if the Kingdom was here, is not and will soon come, or had come, is here and will be in its fullness at Christ's return...

To me this is not salvific ideologies yet seem to be the core of the underlining argument that is really happening.

Was Jesus truly the first-fruit and we are to be many Sons of God? or are we just living in a "spiritual" and are here to get people to not go to hell... if so, why the lessons of Jesus to "love your enemies" if our only goal is going to heaven... how many enemies do you think will be there?

LOL!

You say you are a "thinker" and i believe it... so there are some things to think about... I am willing to think on your questions also.

Be Blessed,
iggy