Monday, April 30, 2007

Car Wash Christianity

Sunday April 29th, 2007 was the last day we will call ______ ______ Baptist Church home. We have decided to call it quits and to never attend services there again due to what I believe is the flat out whole sale of the church over to the Seeker Sensitive Movement. I'm sure it started out very subtle with the study of the Purpose Driven Life and the 40 days of purpose, but just over a year ago I started to noticed some changes, like a new slogan that states "WE EXIST FOR NON-MEMBERS", all of the Bibles & hymnals have been removed that made way for a jumbo screen to be the central focal point and a constant bombardment of contemporary 7-11 songs, you know seven words repeated eleven times in order to stir up your emotions. The pastor constantly saying on Wednesday night services "you will hear things on Wednesday nights that you won't hear on Sunday morning." Why does he say this? Or "if you only have one hour to give I would rather you give it in a small group." Is he for real? All the sermons on Sunday became geared at healing relationships, or how to be a better you, and 10 steps to something I am told I am missing in my life, or the gospel according to the barbecue grill or some other funny little sermon, never about the Holiness, Mercy, Grace, Wrath, Judgement, or Justice of God or the Deity of Christ and I can't tell you the last time I heard the word HELL or Repent on a Sunday morning. They slapped a cool new multi-color paint job in the sanctuary that really sets the mood for entertainment, it looks more like a movie theatre now that plasma TVs are plastered everywhere though out the church. And money seemed to be a popular topic in the announcements every other week, and be sure to come and join in the conversation about the 'quirky' sermon you just heard, as though someone was going to add some theology to the gospel according to the grill. Add in a worship minister with rock star like credentials and a band to back him up who says "God is not concerned with putting his stamp of approval on your worship" and the next thing you know the new invitational hymn is Desperado by the Eagles, and then top it all off with a $10.00 CAR WASH with FREE Valet Parking as you attended Sunday school class and worship service while eating your complementary donut and drinking your free cup of coffee while you are entertained with the spiritual counsel of the rock-star followed by the comedian. And they have the gall to call this church?

Sorry I can't take it anymore!!!


Mike D. said...

Hey John,

I sympathize with you, Brother. It seems like many churches are running headlong off the cliff of "relevance". True saints are beginning to starve because the pastors that shepherd their flock are leading them into the desert.

I attend a Baptist church in my city, and although our pastor hasn't jumped onto the Purpose Driven Life drivel, I've noticed a subtle change regarding his sermons. Yes, he still says the "S" word (sin), but the emphasis on Christ's holiness and judgment of that sin is usually watered down if present at all. Sermons entitled "The Journey Within: Finding a Happiness That Lasts", or "The Journey Together: Removing Relationship Roadblocks" are the norm now. We're going through Ecclesiastes now, but not verse by verse. Instead, it's how to answer life's tough questions--like, "How can I be happy?" Our pastor has also said that if you only have one hour, go to Bible Study--I'm wondering if we're on the cusp of starting car washes as well!

I'll be praying that you find a new church home--one that is dedicated to glorifying the Holy Name of Jesus!

Mike D.

John Brown said...

I wonder if this comment will be allowed in full. It will be polite. It will be cogent. It will even be spelled correctly. Mostly at least. But most every anti Purpose Driven site I go to is moderated and posts must be "approved" before posted. Now I hazard to guess that most pagans are not cruising these sights and we don't have to worry about too many four letter words. Of course that being said, one who would ally themselves with you went berserk on me last night in a meltdown and started cussing and was banned from a notoriously lightly moderated Christian website where all viewpoints are welcome but not cussing and he was banned. Goes to show we all have our extremists. But bottom line, makes me wonder why these sites are hesitant to offer unfiltered thought.

I came to this site through Ingrid Schluter's highly dramatic and quite frankly deceitful Christian Research Net site. More about that in a minute. But I read this blog here and am not sure what to make of it. Is it satire. Did the writer really live a church that is exactly what is described? Did their church REALLY have the Eagle's Desperado as an invitation hymn?

See, I really doubt that that happened. If it didn't, you are guilty of spreading a false witness. And if that did happen, it did not happen because Rick Warren is for it. If he was, it would happen at his church. I have been a member at his church for 21 years. NEVER has anything like that happened at Saddleback. Nor has valet parking or free car washes while you go to church or Sunday school. But by mentioning his name and "Purpose Driven" in the same story you are unfairly accusing him of guilt by association. You obviously don't like the guy. Fine. But deal with him based on truth and accuracy. He gets a lot of slander heaped on him because of things people do in the name of PD that is not in any way the methodology taught in Purpose Driven Church conferences or the PDC book. I know it goes with the territory of being a leader that you get the arrows in the back but you are a Christian and should strive for better.

Lastly, I will only mention this as an example because this is the way I was directed to your site. You are not guilty of it but perhaps your readers can benefit from an example of the insidiousness of internet deceitfulness that is commonly spread on the internet.

Yesterday on Christian Research Net Ingrid Sclueter headlined a news story that:

"Angelina Jolie, Kay Warren Launch New Purpose Driven Children Campaign"

Please note the "Purpose Driven" portion of the headline. Purpose Driven is a 301c ministry registered to Saddleback Church and Rick Warren and as such cannot be used by anyone else. Accordingly, one reading this headline would assume that RW has started a new ministry and has asked Angeline Jolie to be a part of it. Jolie has considerable baggage and does not live what we would consider a Christian lifestyle. Thus, Schlueter is trying to make RW guilty by association with with Jolie.

But what is the truth. The truth as reported in the Christian Post is that this campaign is from another ministry (GSA) that has no ties to RW and was started in 2003. Kay Warren has endorsed what they are doing because they are taking care of kids whose parents have died of AIDS. This is blatant dishonesty on the part of CRN. I would urge you and your readers to be very circumspect in what they read and hear.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be heard. I would politely ask that although lengthy my post be printed in full if possible.

The Bororean said...

To John Brown,

John it did happen this way it was a two and a half year ordeal, I'm not spreading a false witness everything in this article was either said or done at church. My Sunday school teacher called me Sunday after worship and was so furiours over the car wash ordeal that he is stepping down as teacher and pursuing a new church home as well. My goal is not to smear the church we left that is why I didn't name it, my only goal was to vent my frustrations so close friends and family may know some of the exact things me and my wife have been dealing with. You can read previous articles where I slowy address some of these same issues as they were taking place over the past six months.

The Bororean said...

In light of John Brown's comments I have been convicted to remove Rick Warren's name from the article. I do not know if Mr. Warren would approve or disapprove of the things that are going on at the church mentioned and I do not want to falsly align him with such behavior and I thank Mr. Brown for his insight in this matter and ask him to please pray for me in this area of my life. However all the changes I mentioned in the article didn't start until the church went through the 40 days of purpose study and that is not to say that was the reason the church made all the changes. Also Mr. Brown denied that the song Desperado by the Eagles was used as an invitation hymn; it will even shock him when it was used, Easter Sunday 2007! I called it the favorite hymn because so many people just thought it was so cool and awesome, they loved it.

John Brown said...

John, Thank you so much for your graciousness in printing my long response to your blog and for amending it to disassociate it from Rick Warren. You are to be commended for your fairness and character.

Like you, I have a real problem with using a secular song like Desperado as an invitational song. It sounds as if the people were pleased with the thought of the "rebelliousness" of using such a song because of it's "coolness". I'm not sure if I am articulating that well but I'll use another analogy.....getting into the "coolness" or "rebelliosness" of casual attire at church just because you can do it. Don't get me wrong. I wear jeans to church all the time and sometimes shorts if it's quite hot. But I do it because it is what I do, not because it is a "rebellious" thing to do. I have gone to a church for 21 years that it is the culture to do so and it is not "sticking the finger in the eye of society" to do such. We can't worship the culture.

I really don't have a problem with sermons that deal with day to day issues that people deal with in the "world" or in the "culture" however as I think such things were exemplified by the Sermon on the Mount and by Paul's message on Mar's Hills. But we need to always make sure that we preach the message of Christ crucified and it is because of His sacrifice we are saved and not because of our good works or own goodness that we are saved.

I can assure you as a product of growing up in an independent, fundamental, Baptist background that Warren adheres to the historical fundamentals of the faith. Admittedly the methodology is not the same as the church of our grandparents but the message is no doubt the same. That being said, we have to pay for our donuts and our coffee, but only to cover the costs. ;>). No car washes. No constantly asking for money. No valet parking. Rather, we focus on service. Each member is encouraged to attend one service and volunteer to work in another service. We do have small groups of course. We also have a 26 week curriculum on the 11 basic doctrines of the church called Foundations. Yes, typically the services on the weekends will be more basic than what occurs more in depth than in in small groups, on campus classes during the week and Foundations. That is not unusual for many traditional churches that gear their Sunday morning churches to salvific services and then more doctrinal and member-oriented services on Sunday night and Wednesday night.

Again, thanks for letting me share. I have often done so on blogs that are linked to Ingrid Schlueter's site. I don't get paid to do so. I haven't drunk the Kool-aid. this is just kind of a hobby for me because I kind of understand her culture and want the truth to be told.

qeylar said...

I think you should name the church. This is getting so ridiculous and pervasive, there is no excuse for this kind of nonsense to be going on in the name of Christ. They should be publicly marked per 1 Timothy 5:19-21, 3 John, etc.

qeylar said...

You should also keep Rick Warren's name in there. This is absolutely in keeping with Warren's approach. He would approve. Read Dan Southerland's book "Transitioning" and see how Rick Warren endorses it.

Also see many many articles on which say the same thing. Rick Warren definitely approves.

Tim Brown said...

mr. Warren has publically compromised the faith many times. He's done it at Synagogue 3000 where he told ORTHODOX JEWISH leaders how to grow their synagogues. He lumped Buddhists, Jews and Baptists all in one heap.

He also, according to the jewish Journal (an Orthodox Jewish web site) said that he is "not out to convert Jews -- he has enough trouble with Christian souls".

I've seen enough of "Pastor" Warren's presentations, books, etc., to know first hand that he will say whatever he perceives his audience wants to hear. He is out to help build "All houses of worship" (notice this is all-inclusive). His goal apparently is to gather all religions together to fight world problems via his P.E.A.C.E. program.

Tim Brown said...


In addition to my previous comment, I would also add my recommendation to leave Rick's name in there as well as name the church.

I've been through what you've been through. Twice. In the past two years. One church adamantly adheres to Warrenism while the other is on its way there, and saying that "it is a Romans 14:4 issue".

Let me also say that I have frequented Ingrid's web site. I've been visiting it for going on a year, starting when it was "Slice of Laodicea". While I would say that sometimes it reads a bit rough, I have never post anything that can't be verified.

As far as John's statement regarding Warren adhering to the fundamentals, I would only say he doesn't do that in public. Pastor Bob DeWaay has dealt with that issue in his series titled "Redefining Christianity". It is a series of MP3 files at Click on "radio series". This is an interview with Brian Flynn, who also testifies to the New Age elements of Purpose Driven. Brian Flynn is a former New Ager.

Thankfully, I've found a church that seems to be more to the center. They preach the Word. The word "Repentance" is heard. It isn't a "seeker" church. And my guess is that it probably has the highest percentage of true converts I've seen in a long time.

i'm thinking of an analogy here. When I was a kid, I learned about how beggars would mark houses so that other beggars will know whether or not a certain place is safe. if it was marked a certain way, a beggar would know to stay away.

I am marking Rick Warren as largely and boldly as one possibly can.

John Brown said...

qeylar said...

You should also keep Rick Warren's name in there. This is absolutely in keeping with Warren's approach. He would approve. Read Dan Southerland's book "Transitioning" and see how Rick Warren endorses it.

Also see many many articles on which say the same thing. Rick Warren definitely approves.

With all due respect, you have no idea of knowing whether Warren would approve or not. But I do know that nowhere can you find him practicing such nonsense. Nowhere can you find him endorsing such nonsense. You obviously do not care for his methodology and I respect your right to that opinion. My point here is only that our opinions are clearly based on fact. Too often in this arena people's opinions are based on hearsay or outright deceitfulness. The burden of proof lies on you to show that Warren endorses these two items mentioned.

PS. I know you can't in the one case because at Warren's church an alter call is not used. You may disagree with the method but again you must deal with the matter based on truth. An invitation is indeed given but to meet a pastor in a different location rather than "walk the aisle during a hymn".

Tim Brown said...

Here's an interesting listen regarding Warren...

Tim Brown said...

Hey, John Brown:

Please pass this on to Rick Warren with a request that he stop naming the name of Christ:

From the Orange County Register:

"Warren says he is pastor to Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. subsidiary publishes "The Purpose-Driven Life" but also publishes tabloid newspapers featuring topless women.

"I don't have to agree with 100 percent of what another person does in order to work with them on the 20 percent that we do agree on," Warren says.

That pragmatic attitude has paid off. Murdoch was among the first to support the PEACE plan, donating $2 million. Other business leaders, such as John Kang, a Saddleback member and tech-industry CEO, and Joe Ritchie, a Chicago businessman and former options trader, donated time and expertise."

R.W. is a disgrace to Christianity and a slap in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the link to the rest of the story:

Rick Jones said...

Wow. I just finished reading the history of my previous church (which is in Cincinnati). We left last month after attending for 9 years.
It is so sad to see church after church fall into the same seeker-sensitive mentality. I had frustration with the pastor but probably more so with the leaders who fall in line with the pastor without question. To question "God's Man" was totally inappropriate and border-line sinful. I downloaded his sermon this week and from the pulpit he made the comment that the deacons are not to question the pastor.
It just keep getting worse.

jhun balanon said...

I'm Jhun Balanon here in the Philippines and I'm thankful to read such blogs that deals with the water down gospel. Even here in the Philippines very rampant are those seeker sensitive gospel, prosperity gospel and most here have deluded faith. I thank God for you. Let us continue to defend God's truth so that we may give Him glory.