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Category Archives: Seeker Sensitive

The pendulum swings

My senior pastor has been doing a series this summer on worship, so this subject hasFoucault pendulum been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. For this reason I was researching worship and stumbled onto an interesting article.

I know that most of us know what the term “seeker sensitive” means when referring to the local church. For most of us with a “high view” of scripture, meaning we believe it to be the final authority in faith and life, have seen the seeker movement as a watering down of the scripture or gospel to make it more “understandable” for the unbeliever. Yet scripture teaches that “the Word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing”. (1 Cor. 1:18) Which means that the seeker sensitive churches are watering down something that the unbeliever is not going to naturally understand anyway.

Today I read an article in Christianity Today Magazine online that throws the pendulum in the other direction. The article quotes a medieval mystic, yes you heard right, Meister Eckhart who states, “to know him (I think he means God) is to know him as unknowable…God’s worth and God’s perfection cannot be put into words…”. I wonder why the Holy Spirit of God spent all that time inspiring the writers of the bible to write about God? The author of the article goes on to say “In other words, God is anything but “meaningful,” “understandable,” or intelligible.” And worship, if it is authentic worship of the biblical God, will, at some level, remain incomprehensible.”

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A pivotal point in evangelism

Just recently I visited a blog site that listed some of the Asahel Nettletonmost recent messages they had listened to. One of those most recent messages was by one of the pastors (Erik Raymond) of my home church, Omaha Bible Church. The message was about Ashael Nettleton and was part of a series of messages called “Giants of the Faith” done by the pastors, elders and some lay leaders of our church. The audio can be heard here. I was curious because I don’t remember hearing that particular message so I listened to it.

Asahel Nettleton was indeed a giant among many of the faith. He lived at a time in history that had seen a great awakening in spiritual revival based on the truth of the scriptures. Nettleton was an evangelist who had great impact in the churches he was invited to speak in. Those churches encountered many conversions. In fact it has been reported that he was responsible for leading over 30,000 folks to Christ in a time when the population of the entire nation was only about 9 million. The uniqueness of those conversions was the large number who remained faithful to Christ. Asahel Nettleton never pastored a church or authored a book, and yet he was certainly been regarded as one of the most successful preachers in history. Nettleton held to the doctrines of grace and the sovereignty of God in all things.

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Questions of context and unity

A couple of Sunday evenings ago pastor Pat touched on a yoked oxensubject titled “Unity That God Forbids” surrounding the text in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. This scripture text addresses the association of believers with unbelievers. Verse 14 begins with:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Like most folks I adopted this verse as one that speaks to potential marriages between a believer and an unbeliever. The verse is often used out of context this way in the evangelical circles. But since I have learned a few things about bible study and the most significant method of biblical study is understanding the context. But this is not the focus of this posting. I will discuss context a bit later in this posting.

Pastor Pat brought us to this passage in order to support OBC’s stance in not supporting the Luis Palau Festival coming to Omaha this summer. Luis Palau is a very popular evangelist in today’s world. He has been called the Latin Billy Graham. I did not know much about the ministries of Luis Palau aside from hearing some of his sound bites on local Christian radio. Pastor Pat and the elders at OBC, as usual, have done their homework prior to yoking up with a certain ministries also involved in supporting the Luis Palau festival. OBC will not participate based on 2 Corinthians 6. We feel strongly that supporting such an event would be unifying with ministries that present an unbiblical gospel. Spiritual purity and union is the biggest concern the church at OBC has with getting involved. The bible clearly teaches us not to be yoked to unbelievers in ministry. (2 Cor. 6:14)The key to deciding who to yoke with in ministry is the gospel. Is the gospel another ministry teaches, a biblical gospel? We know that the gospel taught in many of the churches supporting the festival is not a biblical gospel. Thus the decision has been made that we will not support this festival as a local church.

One other thing I want to mention here is something I found after doing some personal research on the Luis Palau Ministries. What I found does not surprise me in a way since evangelicals have so watered down the gospel message it is unrecognizable. It is a sampling of a recent article or “script” posted on the Luis Palau ministry web site. The one in particular was titled Don’t Hinder the Gospel.  The article is based on 1 Corinthians 9. Whoever wrote the article (it reads like Palau himself is writing it)took this text scripture way out of context. He uses this “do not hinder the gospel” to support the ministry using contemporary Christian musicians  instead of traditional Christian musicians for the sake of the kids who would come to the festival. Thus not to hinder the gospel.

Paul is actually writing to the Corinithian church concerning the way he and his fellow laborers for the gospel of Christ supported themselves during their stay with them. Paul tells them that he did not invoke their right to ask for financial support from the church but supported themselves so that it would not hinder the gospel. The way Palau is using this section of scripture is a huge stretch to say the least. But folks have been using scripture out of context to support their decisions and behavior ever since the scriptures were written, and I suppose they will continue to do so until the Lord comes back for His own.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2007 in context, Luis Palau, Seeker Sensitive, unity

 

a sad day in Orange County


While in California I attended a Saturday evening church service at Saddleback Church. This is the church pastored by Rick Warren of the Purpose Driven Life fame and fortune. I was there with a few of my fellow traveling companions and from the time I entered the building and received my bulletin and message outline there was a very familiar feel about it. First the outline was identical to the outlines provided now in a church I attended for nine years and have since left. The music was pretty good, but the people seemed a bit detached and passive. The message title told me they were in the middle of a series about your worldview. The message was delivered by the man himself, Rick Warren. He looked to have lost some weight from previous pictures I had seen and he was sporting a gotee. The message was going along fine if not but a bit superficial until he said that God made us because He loved us and so we could love Him. (God created us to His glory) Also in relation to God breathing the universe into existence Warren said that it didn’t matter if you believed it took a week or a million years. (I believe in the literal 6 days of creation) He then used the passage in 2 Peter 3:8 out of context to affirm his vagueness with creation that with God one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. Peter is writing this to encourage his readers that God is not slow about His promise. Warren used so many more passages out of context to prove his outline points. The whole underlying theme of the message was you and me centered, it made me sad. It was definitely seeker sensitive and not Christ sensitive. He does not preach about the sovereignty of God by his statements of “God is in the business of turning crucifixions into resurrections”, and that “abortion short circuits God’s plan.” He compared God to Macgyver the TV show because He makes something useful out of odd pieces. The whole experience lef tme feeling like I had been to therapy and not a worship service. How are his members going to learn about the God of Abraham, the God of the New Testament, about Christ and the cost of following Him with this kind of message. While there I kept praying for God to raise up men who would influence the church to a more Christ centered approach, and I will continue to pray for those there.
On a positive note the facilities were very impressive. It was all laid out like a campus with a cafe where you could get coffee (which we did, I don’t think we passed many Starbucks or coffee shop last week) to buildings for training, teaching and a resource for curriculums, and bookstore. It looked like they had much more but I didn’t stray to far. Please pray for Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.