Your Church Magazine Article

Subscribe to Your ChurchIf you or your church is in the market for presentation software, Your Church magazine published a roundup I wrote of the most popular packages this month. You can read it here. 

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6 thoughts on “Your Church Magazine Article

  1. Booo! Not as in scary boo but boo, hiss, boo.

    Another example of the church changing to accomidate fallen man ‘s ideas as to the way things ought to be instead of fallen man changing to conform to God’s.

  2. Whoa! I’m crushed – you thought the writing was good though didn’t you? Ok, I’m over it now.

    I see the introduction of media into the church as relatively benign so long as the focus remains on leading people to the altar to meet with God. If, and I have seen this in a number of churches, the production becomes superior to the environment of worship then it’s time to tear it out and start again.

    So the question becomes, why would God be displeased if we read the lyrics off the wall instead of off the page?

  3. BTW, I have an update to this piece and a large article on Church Management Software coming up in the Sept/Oct issue so be sure your Pastor get’s a subscription started.

  4. I just have a problem with the whole church growth, mass marketing, seeker sensitive approach to “church”. But you know, being the Calvinist that I am I kinda think God can bring His elect under the protective umbrella of the New Covenant without the aid of guys with the latest software. Don’t get me wrong, in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this stuff. It’s just that it is an (very Arminian) indicator of the modern church’s notion that that it needs to attract people to the church. Which leads to the watering down the Gospel… which lead to the don’t ruffle any feathers by preaching truth… Church discipline? Forget about it. Butts in the pews.

    You see, when people aren’t really hearing the gospel and they’re at church because it’s something to do and they’re just there to be entertained instead of worship God (in the manner that He has sanctioned) you get a lot of people that are deceived into thinking they are saved (regenerate) just because they walked the aisle, said the prayer, etc when in reality they just found a nonoffensive bandaid at a point in their lives when they (think they) needed such a thing. And then the “Christian” community wonders why its percentages of woes is the same as the worlds. It’s because the (large percentage of the visible) church is the world. There was no new creation, not changing over from dark to light. Just a warm, fuzzy feeling created by a group of people that have learned how to market something in an appealing way.

    BTW, the writing was fine.

  5. Brother, two things. First, the software is a tool just like the hymnal and the bulletin and the fellowship meal. Each of these can be turned into a marketing piece (have you ever been to Saddleback?) or it can communicate the message of Christ’s love for the world. We can’t automatically assume that anything will lead to a slippery slope that ends in a new Lakewood Church.

    Second, though you disagree with Arminian theology, it is unbecoming to continue to use the word Arminian as a pejorative adjective for everything that is wrong with the church. I understand that Calvinists and the Supralapsarian notion of God see two lists, written before the creation, of those God would create to be saved and those He would create purely to be tortured and destroyed. If you’re on the first list, nothing must be done to reach you since God will touch your soul at the right moment and you will be justified. On the other hand, taking that idea into consideration, you must take seriously the Lord’s commission in Mt 28:19-20. He commands us to go and reach His people.

    Have a blessed day at worship.

  6. Obviously I understand that the software is just a tool. That is why I mentioned that “in and of itself” I see nothing wrong with it. The problem lies in what is driving the need for such things. So let’s see if I can tackle this issue and address why “Arminianism” always seems to be a pejorative when discussed by me.

    Within the realm of soteriology we have those that feel that God is absolutely sovereign/monergistic in the salvation of man. Then we have those that feel that the will of man comes into play. Now within these two systems we have (for the most part) a logical out flowing or progression of thought. The (true) Arminian* holds that if one can choose God/salvation of his own freewill then one can likewise reject this same God/salvation. *But then we have that not-so-rare breed of animal that wants its cake and to eat it to. “God will not impinge upon my will in regards to choosing Him/salvation but once the choice is made He will infringe in that He will keep me from falling.” It is this (logical) progression of thought where I believe the problem lies. It is my position that the “invisible church”, the number of people that are truly regenerate or born-again, is markedly smaller than the “visible church”, the sum of all those that claim the title “Christian” or merely attend a “church”. The recent survey that states that close to 80% of “Christians” do not believe that faith in Christ is the only way to salvation is a clear indicator of the problem. While we might not agree on the “Ordo Salutis”, I believe that we do agree that the definition of a Christian is one who has been born-again and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Do we also agree that the (spiritual/invisible) house of God is not divided against itself? Would God tell some of His children that no one comes to Him except through Christ and some he would tell that this is not the case? I do not believe that this is simply a case of different beliefs within a common group. I do believe that the notion of there being multiple paths to salvation is non-Christian thoughts by non-Christians.

    Here is where Arminian progression of thought comes to play. The visible church is full of unregenerate, non-Christians. This is a result of a defective understanding of how salvation works. Am I being “unbecoming” if I state that it appears that many people believe that the “Ordo Salutis” is; 1. Ask Christ to be your savior. 2. God “saves” you? Am I being unbecoming still if I say that by believing that man can resist the will of God in salvific (or any other) matters one is in essence saying that the Holy Spirit is not sufficient in His power to convince sinners of their need for Christ? So now we have a mindset that we must do all that we can to aid God in His attempts to convince. We have brothers and sisters in Christ that believe that all they have to do is get their friend/loved one to “walk the aisle and say the prayer” and they’re good to go in regards to eternity (and then they are confused when the one they “led to Christ” ultimately rejects the faith). By the way, where did this notion of walking the aisle or the alter call come from? I certainly see no biblical evidence for such a notion. I submit to you that it is merely the (pagan) impulse within us to control our god(s). Say the incantation correctly, jump through all the right hoops, and god must perform the required task. But the reality of the matter is that the church is full of people who have done nothing more than walked an aisle and said a prayer. There was no rebirth. There was no removing of a heart of stone and giving of a heart of flesh. They ultimately bear the fruit of seed sown in infertile ground. Once again we are back to my position that the reason that the church does not appear much different than the world in many respects is because it IS the world. This, my friend, is the fruit of an Arminian understanding of how salvation works.

    Since we are on the subject of being unbecoming I want to point out that I have no desire to belittle my Arminian brothers and sisters. I do not think that I am more righteous/pious than they. I have many Arminian friends that are far more gracious than I and who lead lives to be emulated. But I also see what errors in doctrine can lead to (like church growth for the sake of growth) and it is my desire to help the church to become a light on a hill instead of an institution that is merely fodder for all the Jay Lenos of the world. When I make the statements I do about Arminian ideology I do not believe I am being disingenuous or constructing straw men. But I do believe that a straw man was constructed when you stated that I believe nothing must be done for those on the first list, implying that I ignore the Great Commission. It is a shallow understanding indeed of what a Calvinist that is true to the (Reformed) faith believes and turns a blind eye to reality. I believe that “faith comes from hearing” but I also believe that God is merely using this (cracked) jar of clay to accomplish HIS will and therefore all the glory goes to Him.

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