15 January 2008

Preaching the Good News? Part One

by Dan Phillips

Tell me what you can surmise about the church that left the card from which I excerpt this, on my doorstep:
NOTE: if locals know the answer, please refrain for now.

I mean to unveil the truth and develop this Thursday.

Dan Phillips's signature

111 comments:

Gareth said...

That sounds like the Mormons to me!

DJP said...

Let me just say at the top of this thread what I thought and should have said about Phil's last post: what a great post. So incisive, well-written, deep, clear, thought-provoking. It started me reflecting about how fundamental the Biblical teaching of depravity is to all else. Weak anthropology/hamartiology is what leads to getting atonement wrong, soteriology wrong, Bibliology wrong, ethics wrong....

Plus, where I'm going with these two posts dovetails perfectly.

dac said...

gareth wins the prize

lee n. field said...

Not a lot to go on. Hmm.

I would tend to say "nondenominational evangelical lite", but really, you can see this in a lot of places.

Mr. Harmless said...

Yeah. That's ridiculous. To think that faith in Christ could help you with family issues! What a joke. I can't believe that a church would put that out.

Mr. Harmless said...

crazy mormons.

Johnny Dialectic said...

What the card says is, of course, true.

So the question is, to which church does it lead? And what will be the message THERE?

VcdeChagn said...

That sounds like the Mormons to me!

Sounds like a church I used to go to.

I found out this Sunday that our worship leader (why does worship always have to be music, anyway...isn't it ALL worship?) went there as well...and more recently.

Amazing how many people I know have been to this church before. It is, of course a typical happy feel good purmergent church..with over 1000 members.

Just for Frank: I left this church a long time ago, and probably should have stayed there to work out some of the issues.

Just for Dan: My (almost) 2 year old son saw your picture with the sword and thinks your Jesus. I told him you weren't....

stratagem said...

I'm going to go with Word/Faith, or Joel Osteen type Christians. "Your best life now"

Don Fields said...

I would go with "evangelical lite." Of course Christ does help us with all of our problems, so the card isn't all wrong, but they left out the best and most important news that faith in Christ will bring forgiveness of your sins. And once we are forgiven and changed, relationships will greatly improve.

DJP said...

VcdeChagnJust for Dan: My (almost) 2 year old son saw your picture with the sword.....

Oh... oh, my.

Glad you were there to correct the misidentification.

(Picking jaw up off floor....)

Mike Riccardi said...

There can be a number of things that type of mailing/tract means.

It could mean, firstly, that the church/organization doesn't understand that man's greatest need is not resolved personal or family relationships, but instead a Savior who saves them from the wrath that their sin against a holy God deserves.

It could also mean that they understand this in some vague way -- or at least they say they understand this -- but they "know" that people won't react well to such a blatant hit and run statement... that they'll be offended, and so they lead with something else. You may hear rationalizing statements like, "Besides, if we can't get them in the door, we can't preach the gospel to them!" This is your classic seeker-sensitive, come-to instead of go-out philosophy of evangelism.

It could also mean that they believe strongly in a point-of-contact between the church and unbelievers -- and that there needs to be some sort of pre-evangelism that ingratiates the church to the people before they can actually get to the point. This is the philosophy of, "They like Jesus but not the church, so let's be a people that they like first, then they'll like Jesus." (Disclaimer: No shot or allusion to Dan Kimball intended.) This also misunderstands the nature of depravity, as it is only the church who truly likes Jesus (cf. DJP's 12/24/07 post), so the first point on the agenda is to get them saved. That's the only way they'll like Jesus. And we know that we can't get them saved; only the preaching of the gospel does that. So with that proper understanding, we wouldn't lead with felt-needs or social issues, we lead with the good news, that always begins with the bad news.

It could be any of these things. It could be all of them. I suppose it could also be none. That was my shot at it.

Scott Shaffer said...

Whomever it came from, they probably don't get the gospel message. Think about it, you get an opportunity to summarize the gospel in one or two sentences on a postcard and you mention family relationships?

Just about any group that pretends to be a Christian church could make that statement: JW's, Mormons, etc. But, it is just as likely to come from a church that has bought into the Saddleback/Willow Creek seeker sensitive model of evangelism.

Spatulaguy said...

Sure, faith in Christ can help you resolve personal and family challenges, but it requires qualification. First, it will not help resolve all personal and family challenges. Second, it can, and will, cause as many, if not more, challenges than it helps resolve.

My guess it's a church that selling Jesus-in-a-bottle (Having problems? Take Jesus twice a day until the problems are gone!).

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. -2 Cor 2:17 (emphasis mine)

TheoJunkie said...

The card is from a post-modern emergent church that is presently aspiring to attract a few more 30-somethings.

dkyle said...

If by "church" you mean NOT the "Church", I would believe them to be a group of people who do not know what the true gift of God entails. I really hate how some can take what God really offers and just make it so... well, small.

Put me down for Mormons, or a PD church.

odmorale said...

I think it's sad that someone went through the effort of leaving literature, but literature that has no urgency.

D.L. Moody for the rest of his life regretted telling his congregation to think about his message and come back and make a decision later.

As most know, many never had that opportunity because they died in the great Chicago fire!

I guess whoever left that tract Dan believed that your soul could wait!

centuri0n said...

The font tells me it's the new Mormon press pack.

The "theology" tells me nothing.

jazzycat said...

They are focused on temporal concerns rather than spiritual and salvation by human decision rather than grace.

Al said...

Frank has an unfair advantage... He may be the only one here who gets "press packs." There ought to be a law.

al sends

Garet said...

Sounds like a great majority of evangelical churches that by default preach an existential prosperity gospel.

threegirldad said...

"Truth Restored," anyone?

It's all over the place where I live, except my doorstep (so far).

Daryl said...

Gotta agree with Spatulaguy, this certainly doesn't square with Matthew 10:34. " Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.I have not come to bring peace, but a sword"

DJP said...

I really appreciate y'all who are engaging with this in the spirit I'd hoped.

I may do two more posts on it instead of just one.

maritus imperfectus said...

From the excerpt, it seems that the church is focused on people and their immediate needs, rather than a focus on who Christ is and the root of the family problems: sin.

Daryl said...

Perhaps they should have said "Faith in Christ MIGHT help you with SOME of your family and personal problems, then again it might not..."

centuri0n said...

Here's the thing about this blurb: it's actually true. I mean, the Gospel is the solution to culture, right? A man who is new, a creature second-born, will be a better husband, yes?

But what's at stake is not your family. What's at stake is God's judgment of you, and you're problem isn't that you're a bad dad and therefoire a sinner: it is that you are a sinner, and being a bad dad is one example.

DJP said...

LOL, Daryl; now there's an arresting presentation.

:^D

Daryl said...

Dan,

Glad you liked it. But that's the problem, isn't it? We want an "arresting presentation" so badly that we're tempted to, shall we say, adjust the message a mite, to get one.
P'raps we should trust God to do the arresting and be happy with our job of delivering the court order.

DJP said...

Well, I'll certainly say that I am in no way opposed in principle to finding different ways to communicate the same truths. We went over this in The Chan Affair.

If the Bible really is our guide, we must affirm that not all presentations must be the same length and in the same setting, covering all the same truths in the same order and in the same way.

But certainly, if you're aiming at a brief and arresting presentation, you've got to think through what emphasis you're going to highlight, and what impression you'll leave.

Daryl said...

"If the Bible really is our guide, we must affirm that not all presentations must be the same length and in the same setting, covering all the same truths in the same order and in the same way."

Point taken. I often forget that.

DJP said...

Yep. Point we all need to take.

When anyone says, "Has to be Law first," I say, "Oh, right. Like with the woman at the well."

And then when anyone says, "Has to be grace first," I say, "Oh, right. Like with the rich young ruler."

donsands said...

It's a human-centered pragmatic church. Sounds like Rick Warrenish perhaps.

witness said...

I believe we should allow Holy Scripture to dictate our approach...

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. ~James 4:6

Perhaps Law to the proud and Grace to the humble would be a first step.

Theophilus said...

It reminds me of a group of well-meaning but misled Christians that tried to win others to Christ. They (unknowingly) were salesmen who wanted to make Christianity palatable. They pitched 'the gospel' in terms of temporal benefits (one might say side-effects) of regeneration: marriages restored, prayer for healing, restoration from 'broken-ness' of various sorts and fashions.

These same people, if confronted with a seemingly well-adjusted and happy sinner would be flummoxed to explain why HE might possibly NEED GOD. (They would doubtless pitch Heaven's benefits, rather than say he's dead in his trespasses and in need of a Saviour.)

It could be such a group of temporal-focussed believers with a low view of the Gospel's true force and merit.

Then again it could just as easily be a liberal denomination, or Mormons, or J.W.'s etc.

Whatever the case, they believe that Christ is to be gained for the benefits, not principally for the fellowship with almighty God.

Strong Tower said...

I am going to be real baaaaad.

This is somewhat of the typical appraoach of Southern Baptist Churches that I am familiar with. We are talking again about bait and switch and pragmatic approaches to the Gospel tend to take the lead among SBC.

Then again, I would have to agree that this has become the default method among the mainstream evangelicalism, what ever main may mean.

Jugulum said...

"This is the philosophy of, "They like Jesus but not the church, so let's be a people that they like first, then they'll like Jesus." (Disclaimer: No shot or allusion to Dan Kimball intended.)"

You know, Kimball has forever destroyed our ability to talk about people liking Jesus or people not liking the church without apparently implying something about his book.


So here's a question:

Granted: That the blurb chops out sin & judgment & salvation from the Gospel, changing the focus from Christ to "felt needs". Blech.

Granted: That not every gospel presentation need be the same length, cover the same things, in the same order, etc.

Is there any merit to suggesting that our gospel presentations could do with more emphasis on the restoration aspects of the gospel? It's not as though we can just assign those aspects to "the consequences of salvation". The fruits are part of the gospel, in some senses. The present- and future-tense parts of salvation.

Daryl said...

Just a thought...

Maybe I'm splitting hairs here but it seems to put forward the idea of faith as the thing that does the thing, rather than Christ being the one that does the thing.

Kind of like encouraging people to drum up some faith as compared to trusting in Jesus.

pfg bloghostess said...

Synergistic approach to God in circumstances that warrant being rescued...in the temporal sense as a tickler to snagging folks on the eternal sense? Calling card from (?) specifically? Only faiths that have canvased(word?)in our neighborhood over and over and over again are Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses seeking those "not students of the Bible" to help good folks be introduced to "study" and "their publications". Your side of the country might be more progressive(?) with structured evangelism so am interested in the answer as it just might eventually spread this way. Like you commented, missing the mark on the foundation leads to a ripple effect unto further doctrinal chaos that unfolds in living chaos.

Joyce

pfg bloghostess said...

btw, similar wording has been read on an independent fundamental Baptist church(with a salvation of syngerism rather than monergism lean) sign: "The Word of God will change your life".

It's been here.

stratagem said...

Gotta agree with Spatulaguy, this certainly doesn't square with Matthew 10:34. " Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.I have not come to bring peace, but a sword"

(inanity alert): Is that why Dan is holding that sword in his avatar? :)

DJP said...

One of MANY reasons.

Libbie said...

Oh, that's a sword. I thought Dan was struggling with an oversized dangly earring.

Daryl said...

O come now Libbie, that couldn't be an earring, Dan's a Christian...

Mike Riccardi said...

I'll be honest with you, when I first looked -- and I mean first like when I didn't know these guys from Adam -- I thought it was a bowling trophy. The shirt from this far away kinda looks like a team bowling shirt, no?

:o)

DJP said...

tsk

Jesucristo rescato a Ernesto said...

I think it could be anything dan, but i will vote it's a Mormon tract.

So here's a question:

Granted: That the blurb chops out sin & judgment & salvation from the Gospel, changing the focus from Christ to "felt needs". Blech.

Granted: That not every gospel presentation need be the same length, cover the same things, in the same order, etc.

Is there any merit to suggesting that our gospel presentations could do with more emphasis on the restoration aspects of the gospel? It's not as though we can just assign those aspects to "the consequences of salvation". The fruits are part of the gospel, in some senses. The present- and future-tense parts of salvation.


I Agree with you about sharing the fruits of the Gospel, but only after Law and Grace have been presented and the person is seen as convicted of Sin by the Holy spirit, in order not to get into the Theology of this tract.

SolaMeanie said...

Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

The Doulos said...

I think it comes from your local assembly of Therapeutic Moralistic Deists. Which is to say, it could be almost any evan-jello-cal church you can imagine. Or possibly the Mormons, they're into a big push now of "Truth Restored" with answers to life's great questions. I doubt that it would be from a Methodist or other liberal mainline church, since the card actually refers to "faith in Christ."

So to paraphrase Mr. Spock - "Captain, the evidence is inconclusive to reach a definitive conclusion."

Marie said...

The church does not have a clear understanding of the Gospel, or else, it presents a diluted & vague version of it to the outside world.

Challenges? What's that mean anyways?

stratagem said...

Actually to a bumpkin like me, it looks like Dan is churning cream to make butter.

SolaMeanie said...

No, more like chumming the water ala "Jaws." LOL!

Kim said...

Having been saturated with Mormon teaching when I was a teenager to the point where I changed my mind about joining three days prior to my baptism, I would say it sounds very Mormonish.

However, it could be something said by other groups as well. Lots of groups "evangelize" through the family.

stratagem said...

If you can guess Therapeutic Moralistic Deists, then can I guess it was the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Stammering Christian Worm-Farmers?

DJP said...

You guys are great.

Strong Tower said...

Pool cue!

Scottj said...

It is almost too much to go on, except that it does appear in a lot of church promotions lately. In the right context, it is not a false statement. Of course, in the right context of a Biblical Gospel message, it is also true that Faith in Christ can open up a whole new set of personal and family challenges that may never be "resolved" to the satisfaction of family members.

stratagem said...

So true, Scottj. Maybe on the flip side of the card it should say in small print: "Disclaimer: if your family members are islamic extremists, faith in Christ may result in their killing you."

Puritan said...

"Faith in Christ can help you resolve personal and family problems" Is that a rare manuscript of Matthew 10:35-36?

"For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household."

My first thought was 'Mormon', but we don't have to go as far as the cults, that could be a lot of "christian" churches.

AbrahamKonda said...

jehovahs witnesses?

Mike Leake said...

Sorry if this comment posts twice:

It will certainly be telling if this is from Mormons. This says something about the "gospel" presentations of today when we cannot discern it from those of the LDS.

ReformedMommy said...

Given that I am right now in the midst of a painful, protrated conflict with a close (Christian)family member, what I read is:
1. I might not have faith in Christ
2. My family member might not have faith in Christ
3.Both of the above
4. What they're saying is a lie because I still have this conflict, so maybe I just need to move on and try something else....

But given this experience, I think I can guess (and hope) where Dan's gonna go re: the convergence of Phil's (awesome) post yesterday and this one. Type faster....

wordsmith said...

I haven't had any run-ins with LDS, so that guess wouldn't necessarily come to mind. My first thought was seeker-creeker megachurch pragmatic Sunday-morning group therapy.

Josh said...

My guess is that someone invented a machine that could read the mind of almost every evangelical who has attended church in the last 50 years and tried to witness and this statement is the product.

(In other words been there done that - ashamed that I have - but I have)

CalvDispy said...

I always thought Dan had that King Arthurish look to him.

stratagem said...

Another potential card that could be left on doorsteps:

"Would anyone seeking their 'best life now' through Jesus, please report to the Colosseum for a brief update"

Strong Tower said...

Bring on the lions-

Then again human candles brings a whole new meaning to, Let your light so shine..."

threegirldad said...

Mike R: I'll be honest with you, when I first looked -- and I mean first like when I didn't know these guys from Adam -- I thought it was a bowling trophy.

I thought it was a rifle...

Hadassah said...

I'd say its a typical big church, with lots of programs, attractive members, some of who are actually believers, but starving to death spiritually. We gots lots of them round here.

Beth said...

Mike R...

I also thought it was a trophy...

I didn't click on the photo for a while...but until I did, everyone time I saw the picture I kept wondering...What's the deal with the trophy??

Sorry Dan...

Hadassah said...

Seriously, I just visited a women's Bible Study recently and learned that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me...like walk for 20 mins a day, and take breaks to breathe deeply and relax, and eat foods that are nutritious. I wanted to cry.

witness said...

I would have to ask in all fairness though, since what you posted of the card's message is an excerpt, we really don't have enough to make an accurate assessment.

Let's be fair and wait until we can see that statement in it's context. Maybe the Gospel is presented and this statement is supporting it.

But.... probably not.

REB said...

My first reaction is a church that is possibly Pentecostal, definitely seeker-sensitive, and possibly emergent. We expect this kind of dribble from those three groups.

But I'm going guess it is coming from a conservative Baptist outfit. I'd find that to be disturbing evidence that the enemy is making inroads everywhere, because discernment has been neglected and forgotten in the organized church.

Strong Tower said...

REB-

Inroads? I would say outroads.

2 Peter 2; 1 John 2:19

It is really not likely that the enemy sets up a we hate Jesus stand on the corner and attracks business.

Generally, it is from within that the attacks begin...IMNSHO

stratagem said...

Good point Fozzy.

Bill said...

I would have to say that it could be any number of churches within reasonable driving distance from my house...
:(

Bill

chris said...

I never like looking at excerpts and using them to evaluate a notion. Hitler can come off looking fantastic if you ignore all the racist stuff, and Paul can look like a misogynist warmonger if you ignore all of the other stuff that contradicts that. Heck, even Doug Pagitt can avoid sounding like a heretic if you ignore the majority of what he's saying...

Part of me is sure that DJP is messing with us and it's from HIS church.... and another part of me suggests that's ridiculous and it's from the Devil himself... Guess I'll have to tune in next time, same Dan-time, same Dan-channel

odmorale said...

I think this should challenge us all to look at the materials given out by our own local churches.

I think my church is solid, but they just recently did a survey for everyone who attends, member or not, on how the church could improve.

does that seem to you bloggers like a step in the right direction?

DJP said...

LOL, Chris

Messing with Minds Pole to Pole Since 19XX

maritus imperfectus said...

odmorale said: I think my church is solid, but they just recently did a survey for everyone who attends, member or not, on how the church could improve.

does that seem to you bloggers like a step in the right direction?


It depends on what the improvements are related to. For instatnce, seeking input on ways to improve distribution of resources to those in need can be very helpful. Often those who need the resources, or those who have helped with distribution in the past, can provide insight into ways to improve.

If the questions were more 'seeker' in nature, then the survey was prolly not a step in the right direction.

For what its worth . . . . I would have voted for a pool cue. At first glance, I thought 'how cool is he, a pool table in his library'. Upon further review, I repented of my covetousness for no reason! :)

DJP said...

You don't think it's cool that I have a sword in my library?

beachbirdie said...

It's totally an evangelical church that really does mean to preach the Gospel. They're just using a different hook to accommodate their new flavor of bait...

puritanicoal said...

This blurb reminds me of WOTM's lead-in: "God has a wonderful plan for your life? Define 'wonderful.'"

Sure, the Gospel may (indirectly) help us to resolve personal and family challenges - define "resolve." For instance, James says to his Gospel-receiving brethren, "Consider it all joy when we encounter various trials . . ." This is a type of resolution of a challenge, in that we take a challenge and consider it a stepping stone of our Christian maturity, and so on...

All of that being said, I have a nagging feeling I am giving the propounder of the blurb too much credit. I think it is a mainline SBC church that has removed "Baptist" from its name within the past 4 years, and now has some cool compound name like "Compassneedle Community Church"

Connie said...

Probably a church that offers lots of 'support groups', 12-step groups, etc. You know, the churches with all the plastic lawn banners advertising all the programs and groups. I fully expect some of them to run out of enough street-front real estate to accomodate ALL those signs!

odmorale said...

It was not about the use of resources and I think something like that would be better if put directly to the membership, not the general congregation, which is lost and saved, members and non.

I'm challenged by this post to be a better guardian of the truth at my local church.

I would have thought it was a pool cue too. and that does look like a bowling shirt with some kind of team logo.

maritus imperfectus said...

DJP: You don't think it's cool that I have a sword in my library?

Yeah, the more I think about it, the sword is pretty cool . . . . (falling to knees in repentance for coveting . . . again)

Jerry said...

New Evangelical Reformed Druids?
(NERDs)

Strong Tower said...

Yeah as long as it KJV-

Tempered, for durability and edge.

4given said...

Promise Keepers

United Church of CHrist

ONA covenant churches that are welcoming and safe communities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians.

???

The Doulos said...

BTW, I now feel a new sense of oneness with Dan, since I too have a sword in my office. It's a replica of Anduril (you know, the blade that was broken, reforged?) from LOTR. Hand-and-a-half, a little over 4 ft long. I even take it off the wall now and then to play with. Nobody has been injured up to this point. Also works well to get students attention when teaching Sunday School classes on spiritual warfare.

DJP said...

Mine is Glamdring!

Those are some cool replicas, aren't they?

SolaMeanie said...

Oh, dear.

The Doulos and Dan have Lord of the Rings swords in their collection. They've been reading Tolkien, an avowed Roman Catholic.

Dan and the Doulos are going home to Rome. I am wearing sackcloth and ashes.

(Joel snickers loudly up the sleeve of his cardigan sweater).

I decided to post that joke as a good natured guffaw at the silliness of how baseless assumptions get started. I could explain myself even farther, but that might get a fight started.

Jonathan Hunt said...

Didn't you miss a bit out?

Doesn't it say in small letters underneath with an asterisk

'Not a guarantee'

pastorbrianculver said...

I could have told you it was the Mormon Church. I was in the church for over three years.

hey, you're not going to baptize dead people are you??

classic movie scene...
"I see dead people." (sixth sense)
classic mormon movie scene...
"I see dead people. Hey kid, you are of age, let's baptize them!!"

Daryl said...

Although, just maybe, we (me included) get a little too smug over how the gospel isn't primarily intended to correct family and life issues...that we forget (as Frank insinuated way earlier) that it really does do those things as well.
I mean, if the gospel doesn't make me a better husband and father in addition to it's primary work of saving my soul, thereby improving my family life...is it really the gospel?

So the excerpt Dan posted could equally be a part of a completely valid and accurate gospel presentation from a doctrinally orthodox/prax church as part of an outreach to their community...Maybe??

The Doulos said...

Solameanie: I don't think it would be possible to actually swim the Tiber while carrying a sword like Anduril or Glamdring. And don't start a fight with guys with swords unless you have one too.

DJP: come on out to Nebraska sometime, and bring your foe-hammer. We'll meet on the field of honor and cross blades for glory. Or... we could just hang out and talk about theology and stuff and compare swords. Either way, I'm cool.

James Kime said...

the doulos is wrong. "Narsil" was the sword that was shattered and reforged into "Anduril".

I have the "Narsil" replica in my library.

Didn't Paul say something in 1 Cor. 7 about faith in Jesus possibly costing you your marriage?

Lori said...

I have a feeling that we will be shocked when we learn who it is. Otherwise I'm not sure of the purpose of the post. As others have noted, it is a typical message for many evangelical churches.Many are closer to Joel Osteen than they realize. So who is it?

Stefan said...

My first impression of the object Dan is holding in that pic was the same one as Maritus Imperfectus': I thought Dan was lounging by a pool table in his library. If you look closely, one of the titles behind him is "How Should We Then Play Pool?," and another is "Civitatis Saloni Billiardi." (With deference to Augustine and Dr. Schaeffer.)

ReformedMommy said...

Given Dan's propensity for messin', I'm beginning to think Chris is on the right track - context is everything (and a favorite matchbox of Pyros everywhere). But given that his question concerned the church that would publish the statement, and not the statement itsself, I'm thinking it's probably a local evanjellyfish church and he's going to use it to expand on Phil's post yesterday. There's that context thing again....

The Doulos said...

james kime: the doulos is wrong. "Narsil" was the sword that was shattered and reforged into "Anduril".

Actually, that was what I meant. Of course Narsil was the original, which was then reforged and christened Anduril. I love the imagery that Tolkien included here - the King's sword, broken in battle to defeat the ultimate evil, then resurrected as the instrument of final victory over the evil one. Sound allegorically familiar?

Regarding the real point of the post - I go back to a quote from Francis Schaffer: "Never present the Gospel as helpful." If we make the focus of faith in Christ as something helpful, useful, therapeutic, etc, we simply represent Him as being an option to choose from among many others to help me deal with my problems and live a better life. Rather than truly presenting faith in Christ as the imperative that the Gospel really is.

ChosenClay said...

Dan,

It sounds like moron, I mean Mormon to me.

P.s. Do you have any more of the men's bible study books? I am interested in attending!

Roger said...

Just seems like a man-centered rather than a Christ-centered church, much like most "evangelical" churches in America today.

--RAS

Lane Chaplin said...

It sounds either Mormon or part of the Sensitive-to-Please-Unbelief Movement. I'm not real familiar with Mormon theology first hand, but from what James White says, neither are caring much about defining what they believe as long as they do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

DJP said...

Clay — I don't have spare copies, sorry. I bet you could get one even at the Christian trinket store in Elk Grove, or Borders; or just order one from online and read over someone's shoulder until then.

Any man's welcome; just come anyway!

REB said...

Strong Tower,

I agree that heresy always comes from within and spreads outward. Our LORD told us about the mustard tree and the woman with leaven, after all. I was thinking of the way the enemy likes to drop the seeds of heresy in every orchard, assuming that a local church can be likened to a miniature of the larger tree.

Strong Tower said...

REB-

Yeah, I have to modify that a bit. I was just rereading Matthew and the parable of the tares.

You're right.

LeeC said...

Not having read the other comments I'd say it was a church that holds a low view of Scripture since Christ promises us persecution in this world if we follow Him, and resolution of conflict in the next.

Jim Pemberton said...

Ok - a lot of comments here i don't have time to read. My thought is that this is a church that thinks they can reach people they don't know anything about with a statement like this. They have to believe that plenty enough people want a solution to their marital and interpersonal strifes and that attaching the name "Jesus" will get their attention.

At this, this church fails to realize that people with difficult relationships more often than not see God as the problem, not the solution. The church also fails to realize that an understanding of our own culpability is more often the problem and the gospel of Christ is the solution. Therefore, it is much more effective, and Biblical, to point out our need for Christ as the solution to our sin rather than focus on subsequent issues.

terriergal said...

I thought Mormon or Purpose Driven/Willow Creek/Seeker Sensitive first thing (hey they may as well be the same thing these days!).

pastorbrianculver said...

I'm sticking with mormons!