I'm sure that there are some Bodies of Believers that have/are making some changes within their churches that are not pernicious. However, as this article points out, there some alarming changes that they, as an organization, have produced in their "format" to remove basic tenants of our faith, and wanting to give a dangerous "facelift" to the GOSPEL. This is what I thought made this article worthy of passing along.
I ask God to HELP US to be able to distinguish between the holy and the profane. In Jesus' Name.
How Can You Tell?
In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in America, and in other countries, have changed from a traditional New Testament church model to a contemporary Purpose Driven model, many with sorrowful results.
Contrary to Purpose Driven Church porponents, millions have been leaving their churches after the change occurred.
It is important that every church member know if their church is targeted for a Purpose Driven Church takeover.
Initially, a small clique of church staff, possibly including the pastor or a new pastor, plans the change without telling the rest of the church membership.
Church Transitions, an associate of Saddleback Church in California, trains the clique initiating the change in eight published steps. The church membership is not to be informed of the transition until the fourth step. After the sixth step in the process of change, if there are some in the church who voice concerns, the following is suggested:
1. Identify those who are resisting the changes;
2. Assess the effectiveness of their opposition;
3. Befriend those who are undecided about the changes;
4. Marginalize more persistent resisters;
5. Vilify those who stay and fight;
6. Establish new rules that will silence all resistance.
This means the church membership is not told until it is too late to make a difference. In other words the members either accept the changes, or leave the church, which they may have served and given to build.
Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life has stated: "When you reveal the vision to the church, the old pillars are going to leave. But let them leave...they only hold things up."
Dr. Warren is right in one way. It is the senior members of the church who do indeed hold a church up and keep it from falling into apostasy. While some PDC initiators may not implement the full PDC format, generally these are the signs indicating that your church may be targeted for a Purpose Driven Church format:
1. Change in music to a contemporary rock style.
2. Removal of hymn books; eliminating the choir.
3. Replacement of organ and piano with heavy metal instruments.
4. Repetitive singing of praise lyrics.
5. Dressing down to casual attire.
6. Eliminating of business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons, etc.
7. The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.
8. A repetitive 40-day Purpose Driven Church study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community, or the world, begins.
9. Funded budgeted programs are abandoned, or ignored, with ambiguous financial reports made.
10. Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may even be eliminated.
11. Sunday School teachers are moved to differnt classes, or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.
12. The name "Sunday school" is dropped and classes are given new names.
13. Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be moved from both the inside and outside of the church building. The pulpit may also be removed.
14. In accordance with Dr. Warren's instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.
15. Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.
16. The decor, including the carpets, may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.
17. The word "church" is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a "campus." Denominational names may also be removed.
18. An emphasis on more fun and party sessions for the youth.
19. Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations at the close of the services.
20. The elimination of such words as "unsaved," "lost," "sin," "Hell," "Heaven," and other gospel verities from the pastor's message.
21. The reclassification of the saved and lost to the "churched" and "unchurched."
22. The marginalizing, or ostricizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven program.
23. Closed meeting between the pastor or chosen staff members without any reports made to the general membership.
24. Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program, or who may have left for another church.
If your church is in the initial stages of change (music or the first 40-day program), your church could be saved by talking to other church members, and with activist intervention by 10-20 percent of the membership. If nothing is done at this early stage, then by the time the program advances to step four, there is little that can be done except look for another church. Your church has become a Purpose Driven entity in association with Saddleback Church of Orange County or Willow Creek of Chicago.
You must educate yourself, and others, so that you can mobilize the membership to effectively resist. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7).
Dr. Warren in his world peace plan has stated intentions of sending one billion Christians into the world to eliminate human problems. The number one characteristic of a cult is a messianic, charismatic leader.
Purpose Driven Church books are published by Zondervan, one of Rupert Murdoch's many properties, including 175 newspapers and international television and satellite communications, including in China. Various reports indicate he is building his third wife, Windi Deng, a 22,000 foot mansion in the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Dr. Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: "The word 'fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920's called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity."
The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are:
1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.
2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.
3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
4. Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.
5. The literal second coming of Jesus Christ.
Are we to believe that Christians who hold to these basic foundational doctrines of the Christian faith are narrow and legalistic? According to the New Testament definition, those who believe otherwise are not Christians.
To start a Purpose Driven Church or change to one with the full knowledge and consent of the membership is one thing, but to practically steal a church from Christians who have given and served to build it without their knowledge or consent is quite another.
Don't be fooled by the Saddleback website. You don't catch many fish unless you have a look-alike bait!
This article is used by permission, and was taken from a tract published by:
Box 100, Bethany, OK 73008