18 March 2006

Three more miscellanies at week's end

by Phil Johnson

  1. Gilbert Bilezikian, chief engineer of Willow Creek's seeker-sensitive approach to building megachurches, sounds like he's ready to make the jump to the "emerging" bandwagon. (ht: Scott Wagoner via Scot McKnight). Bilezikian's pessimism about "the church in the West" sounds like an echo of pollster George Barna, who recently told Christianity Today that the church is "a step and a half away from extinction."
         If you tried to name the five people who have done more than anyone else to shape theories of ministry and church-growth philosophy over the past 20 years, Barna and Bilezikian would both be near the top of the list. Today's shallow, pragmatic, non-doctrinal, biblical-in-name-only "evangelicalism" and its high-gloss approach to professional showmanship and superficiality is the legacy of ideas these men have foisted on the evangelical movement for two decades or longer. They have helped steer the movement to the precipice of total disaster. So between you and me, I don't think they're in the best position to be giving churches and pastors advice about where we ought to go from here.
         Unfortunately, however, I think this is what's on the horizon for the evangelical movement.
  2. This morning in my e-mail in-box I had an appeal from someone out there who is urging me to help him start a campaign that he is convinced will solve all the major spiritual crises of our day. He writes, "Spiritual leaders can help create a sense of the sacred by teaching about the benefits of reducing light pollution. Simple 'win-win' steps to reduce light pollution will result in a profound, positive alteration in our relationship to the earth and heavens: Seeing a star-filled night sky will help restore a sense of wonder and awe—and increase spirituality—for us, our children and our children's children."
         I did my part: I forwarded the message to Barna.
  3. The hit counter on Frank Turk's other blog passed the 100k mark yesterday. I know that, because Darlene was visitor 100,000. No prize for that, other than the always-fascinating and fun-to-read content on the blog itself. Plus, she got the following picture, which is actually clipped from a photo she took with a digital camera, because she did not know how to do a screen capture.

PS: I'm doing some maintenance work on the blogroll today, deleting blogs that have become more or less inactive, and revamping the order where necessary. If time permits, I'll try to add a few entries today, too.
    A few of my favorite blogs are now dormant. I hate to delete them from the blogroll, but I'll reserve their place for when they return to posting. Chief among these would be Kevin Bauder's blog, "Let's Be Serious." I'm encouraged by the fact that the blogtemplate is still active, but I have removed the entry until the blog becomes active again, which I hope happens soon.
    And in a less serious but still vital category, I really miss the enigmatic Deathrow Bodine. His place of honor awaits him in our blogroll if he ever resurfaces.
Phil's signature


Rebecca Stark said...

How cool is that! 100,000 and she has a pic of it!

Even So... said...

Yeah, J.Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma is saying the same stuff. Check out the talk he just gave to some Pentecostal leaders and my response, point by point. He says we need a shift, which I call "shifting sand".


Why do we listen to these guys? (because we are bored with the Bible, I guess...)

Even So....

thearmoury said...

Phil -

It's important to stay a step ahead of these guys -
The SeekErgent Movement


yo said...

Sounds to me that Bilezikian is right on. Does the church resemble an over-institutionalized corperation?

I mean, Phil, your church and Willow Creek aren't far apart - both are over filled with people clamboring to see a celebrity pastor, all of whom are convinced that they are doing church the "right" way - Willow Creek preaches fluff and MacArthur preached doctrine, but both lack much hint of self-criticism.

Bilezikian's legacy is a huge part of the problem, but it sounds like he's becoming somewhat critical of himself ... and lest we forget the Apostle, a bad legacy does not make one's message illegitimate.

Keith said...

Bilezikian made an interesting comment in the article: “Christ did not die just to save us from our sins, but to bring us together into community." Isn't Rick Warren the one that is supposed to be "bring[ing] us into community?"

Phil, on an unrelated note, if you ever need some help raising funds for a building program, etc., looks like the Tulsa World has stumbled on a sure-fire method.

chamblee54 said...

This is a comment I posted earlier today at Purgatorio, but I feel it applies to what you are saying here about modern evangelism (and your endorsement of Frank Turk):
Could it be that the story of the tower of Babel is really about religion?
God, for whatever reason, has used religion to keep man divided and squabbling among each other. Remember, this is the same god who makes earthquakes and disease, as well as flowers and puppy dogs.
Looking at the conflict that is caused by religions...sunni vs shiite, catholic vs protestant, babtists vs everyone else... is this the work of a "kind and loving" god?
Of course, if you think that your ideas lead to life after death, does that makes the conflict that your beliefs cause worthwhile?

Phil Johnson said...


Dude, you will not believe this, but the church featured in the Tulsa World article you linked to is the church where I attended, sang in the choir, etc. during my junior high and high school years, before I became an authentic believer in Christ.

Even in those days (late 60s, early '70s) they were doing seeker-sensitive stuff. My experience in that very church is precisely what convinced me that conforming the church to the world is a total and complete spiritual dead-end street.

Wow. Thanks for the link.

Rick Potter said...

Thanks for the link to the sheep jumpers. I've combined something Francis Schaeffer said and intend to use it in my SS lesson this week.

"Those who object to the position that there are good, adequate, and sufficient reasons to know with our reason that Christianity is true are left with a probability position rather than a proposition. At some point and in some terminology they are left with a leap of faith. This does not say that they are not Christians, but it means that they are offering one more probability to twentieth-century relativistic people to whom everything is only probability. They are offering one more leap of faith without reason (or with the severe diminishing of reason) to a generation that has heard a thousand leaps of faith proposed in regard to the crucial things of human life. I would repeat that what is left is that Christianity is a probability.
Of course, faith is needed to become a Christian, but there are two concepts concerning faith. The two ideas of faith run like this: One idea of faith would be a blind leap in the dark. A blind leap in which you believe something with no reason (or, no adequate reason), you just believe it. This is what I mean by a blind leap of faith. The other idea of faith, which has no relationship with this, none whatsoever, is that you are asked to believe something and bow before that something on the basis of good and adequate reasons. There is no relationship between those two concepts of faith."

Francis Schaeffer: The God Who Is There

Aaron said...

I guess this is as good of a spot as any to try to strike this match...
Any of you pyros know anything about and/or would like to comment on this reurgence site featuring John Armstrong and Mark Driscoll. Warnock has linked to them favorably.

Look forward to hearing from any of you!

Terry Lange said...

In my opinion, I think that Bauder's blog is dead and not to be resurrected. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Gordon said...

Hope your wife is recuperating from her surgery ok.

Anonymous said...

I've done a little online reading up on C. Peter Wagner in the past (New Apostolic Reformation, www.wagnerleadership.org) and noticed Barna was on his board. I'd rarely given Barna a second thought, but seeing him and even Elmer Towns (!) associated with Wagner sent chills down my spine. Then it all clicked! Wagner says he "does ministry" according to sociology rather than theology, so who better to have on your team than the chief "christian pollster"?!

Be afraid, be very afraid, then turn your eyes back to Jesus where they belong. Jesus "does ministry" by doing everything that proceeds from the mouth of God, not the general public. Go and do thou likewise!

yo said...

Everybody does sociology and ministry together. How could they be "all things to all people" if they didn't? It's no mistake that MacArthur teaches the way he does - it has to do with his setting, in particular, the fact that Southern Californians are ultra fad driven; they need truth as distilled as possible. But don't think that's the ministry for everyone, everywhere, and don't downgrade sociology and elevate theology, because everyone does both.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve said...

Evil and the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church. As Paul told the Roman Church the Lord uses His Bride to continue to crush Satan. Thank God for the Church militant.

Lead on oh King Eternal.

TulipGirl said...

On reachind the 110K mark. . .

From the screenshot that *was* captured, I'm wondering if Frank really does read Gen-13, or just likes to use their images?

driz said...

Test all things.. While Barna’s opinions may be controversial, his research is accurate. Those who remain chained to man-made religion will properly fade from view, as those who seize the Mars Hill moment grow in vitality and relevancy, for Christ's sake, to a rapidly emerging culture.