Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Why are so many churches following the purpose driven seeker-sensitive movement? I’ve seen several Southern Baptist churches go down this path as they seek to find ways to draw people into their churches. I’ve attended a few Southern Baptist Churches over the years, and I have family who have been in the SBC for decades. I’m not picking on the SBC only, but I will use it as my foundation (simply because I am familiar with it) to ponder why so many of churches have adopted Rick Warren’s way to grow a church. As I pondered, observed, read, and talked to many people who are involved in churches that have became purpose driven, I realized the true problem lies within the church leadership. These pastors and elders are the ones driving this shift. I believe the bulk of the problem falls upon the pastor because many members are just following his leadership. I’ve talked to many members who have good intentions and they are very sincere in their beliefs. So just to be very clear with everyone reading this blog, my main emphasis in on the church leadership. I do feel members of the church are responsible for speaking out against errors. I’m not giving them the pardon because they should be following the Berean example found in Acts 17:11. I believe many of these people are deceived by the lure of church growth. They buy into the belief of  “the end justifies the means” in order to spread the name of Jesus. With all that being said, I believe the answer to my question is a simple answer that is offensive and blunt because it hits the root of the problem. The answer is money.

Most of the churches that adopt Rick Warren’s methods to grow:

  • Pastors/elders from these churches are worried about money. They worry about how to pay their salaries, benefits, and bills.
  • These churches are centered around numbers. They are obsessed with numbers and memberships. Church growth is all that matters to them because they look at growth as God’s blessing.
  • More people = more tithes (See: Tithing ). Money is the driving force moving these churches toward the purpose driven seeker-sensitive movement.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)

10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I believe many churches fall prey to Rick Warren’s poison because their eyes have fallen away from Jesus. They are being held captive by their own goals now as they gaze upon numbers and tithing instead of sticking to God’s way for growing the Kingdom of the Lord. They look around and compare themselves to these seeker-sensitive self-help centers, envying their numbers each week. This envy leads to making changes from within the church to compete with these new “hip” and “cool” modern day worship centers. The closer these churches draw to mimicking these seeker-sensitive self-help centers, the farther they remove themselves from sound doctrine and sola scriptura. This transition leads to a church that looks and acts just like the world, the only difference being the church adds the name of “Jesus” and “worship” to everything.

Some signs of a purpose driven takeover from within the church:

  • The church starts looking into marketing schemes.
  • The church starts heavily promoting the pastor’s vision vs. simply teaching the whole council of God.
  • The use of non-offensive terminology to replace words like  “sinner,” “Hell deserving,” and “total depravity”  in order not to offend sinners.
  • When your pastor starts talking about “life change” and how “Jesus wants to change your life” will lead to the false life change gospel that depends on yourself rather than Jesus Christ.
  • The formation of life groups as a way to kick start volunteer service and getting people to come to church.
  • Less focus is on Bible study and more focus on reading self-help topical books by Christian authors.
  • When your church starts sending out pamphlets advertising an event or guest speaker vs. promoting true discipleship.
  • When your church goes into debt for a worship leader, new big screen TV’s, spends money on billboards, pays for big name speakers, etc. instead of helping those who are poor and/or in need.
  • When your church starts looking at every body as an investment vs. a child of God.
  • When your pastor starts quoting Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll, and other problematic leaders from the pulpits.
  • When your church starts doing sermon series based on relevant issues to help with today’s problem (series that are designed for the un-churched) vs. deep sermons designed to build up the body of Christ.
  • When your church starts programs on financial freedom, yet the church is still in debt and still spending money it does not have.
  • When your church starts placing heavy emphasis on music and worship while down playing deep Bible teaching from the pulpit.
  • When your pastor/elders start speaking against discernment and only wanting to focus on unity and love.
  • When you pastor/elders turn a blind-eye to doctrinal errors taught by many leading Christian authors like Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, etc. all in the name of church growth.

I feel one major problem that causes a church to accept the purpose driven dogma is putting too much emphasis on numbers. No church should be sending memos suggesting that the church needs to grow by “X” members this year and we would like to see “Y” baptisms take place. We should 100% depend on the preaching of the Gospel of Christ while depending on the Holy Spirit to draw people to Himself. We should be content with what the Lord gives us and not play a numbers game. I’m not saying that we should do nothing. On the contrary, I’m saying that we need to do more via the Bible’s outline and not Rick Warren’s business model. When we start looking only at numbers and dollar signs, then we are treading on dangerous grounds.

To avoid the snare of purpose driven seeker-sensitive gimmicks we should:

  • Depend on the preaching of the pure Gospel.
  • Always practice discernment and examine our beliefs with the scriptures.
  • Only use the methods promoted by the Word of God for spreading the Gospel.
  • Make disciples of new Christians and teach them how to spread the Good News.
  • Not worry about our numbers.
  • Understand we are not to be a mirror image of the world with “Jesus” attached to everything under the sun.
  • Not worry about money because the Lord will provide as He sees fit to provide for His people.
  • Not have a church that is in debt because a debtor is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

Please feel free to comment and add to this list. I know other reasons are applicable, but I believe that money is the root problem that causes many churches to sale out to the purpose driven false gospel.

Discernment is telling the difference between right and almost right

1 Cor 5:1-13 An unpopular teaching by today’s Christian standards

When does worship become sin?

The Seeker-Sensitive Purpose Driven Church for the Carnal Nature of Mankind

Proverbs 22:7 (New American Standard Bible)

7The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

It’s so easy to get into debt, but so very hard to get out of debt. It seems our country and culture revolves around credit which has become a major problem for America and the church. We have been conditioned with the “buy now and pay later” mentality instead of living within our means.

I heard Christians say,”God has blessed me with X, Y, and Z“. Did God bless you with actually owning “X,Y, and Z” or did you borrow the money to buy these products? God does not bless us with debt, we curse ourselves with debt. The only thing that God did was bless you with the ability to acquire “X,Y, and Z“. This is a major problem within the church today and one of the leading reasons why the church is failing to help the poor. When a church goes into debt for whatever reason, then the church must pay the lender back first before anything else is paid. Because of debt sometimes the church must tell needy families that the it cannot meet their needs due to a lack of funds.

I believe many Christians and church leaders squander God’s blessings by getting into debt. Christians need to learn to depend on God for everything. Pastors and the church leadership should depend on God to meet their churches needs without taking out loans.

Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

25 aFor this reason I say to you, 1do not be bworried about your 2life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26   “aLook at the birds of the 1air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27   “And who of you by being aworried can badd a single 1hour to his 2life?

28   “And why are you aworried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

29   yet I say to you that not even aSolomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30   “But if God so clothes the agrass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? bYou of little faith!

31   “Do not aworry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’

32   “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for ayour heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33   “But 1seek first 2His kingdom and His righteousness, and aall these things will be 3added to you.

34 “So do not aworry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will 1care for itself. 2Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I’s easy to worry when we face uncertain times. It’s easy to worry when we are jobless and when we have a family to feed. If we seek God first, then He will provide for us through many different methods. The one thing that He did not promise us was riches. The Lord provides us with what we need and not our every want. I believe that the Lord enables people to have more so that they can help people who are in need. If a Christian knows of a another person’s needs and hordes his/her wealth, then that Christian is not doing what God has enabled them to do. The cancer of worry can lead to envy, and envy will lead to greed. The Gentiles Jesus spoke about were always seeking self gain by their own power. When we fall prey to worry, it will lead us to a point where it will rob us of being a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7 because we are too focused on ourselves instead of focusing on Jesus.

Let us be mindful with all our blessings and always be willing to help our neighbors when they are in need. Let us always seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first; let us always be mindful to the Holy Spirit and how God is working in our lives.

Jesus told us, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So why worry? Jesus also provided us comfort, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we focus on God, then we will see how all our trials are just temporary in the life of eternity. These hardships are overpowered when we see Jesus and His glory. We will praise God for all His blessings and use what God has enabled us with to be a blessing to someone who is in need.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (New International Version)


Generosity Encouraged

1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.


aMatt 6:25–33: Luke 12:22–31

1Or stop being worried

bMatt 6:27, 28, 31, 34; Luke 10:41; 12:11, 22; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7

2Lit soul

aJob 35:11; 38:41; Ps 104:27, 28; Matt 10:29ff; Luke 12:24

1Lit heaven

aMatt 6:25, 28, 31, 34; Luke 10:41; 12:11, 22; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7

bPs 39:5

1Lit cubit (approx 18″)

2Or height

aMatt 6:25, 27, 31, 34; Luke 10:41; 12:11, 22; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7

a1 Kin 10:4–7; 2 Chr 9:4–6, 20–22

aJames 1:10, 11; 1 Pet 1:24

bMatt 8:26; 14:31; 16:8

aMatt 6:25, 27, 28, 34; Luke 10:41; 12:11, 22; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7

aMatt 6:8; Phil 4:19

1Or continually seek

2Or the kingdom

aMatt 19:28; Mark 10:29f; Luke 18:29f; 1 Tim 4:8

3Or provided

aMatt 6:25, 27, 28, 31; Luke 10:41; 12:11, 22; Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7

1Lit worry about itself

2Lit Sufficient for the day is its evils

When I came across this blog How to know if your church isn’t spending enough on missions from Defending Contending it proved yet again how the seeker-sensitive slogan of “excellence and relevance” is a like a whore. This ideology will literally take Christ’s commandment to help the poor and turn it upside down. Instead of using money to help people, fund missionaries (in the case of these so-called churches this is a good thing), and showing the love of Christ, this ideology creates an idol of worship called the church building .

In July, I wrote a blog called The work of the Church and helping the poor that deals with this issue. What I fear is that many traditional churches will look upon these apostate self-help centers for the carnal nature of mankind, and want to mimic their programs instead of simply preaching the Gospel. I fear our churches might start flirting with these twin whores! If we look upon the fruits of “relevance and excellence” we will see great wealth, great numbers of members, and a very successful business plan. If we are not careful we might become charmed by the lure of these two harlots.

The best thing we can do is have nothing to do with these types of self-help centers called churches. It is my prayer that we stay true to the Word of God by helping the poor, funding missionaries, helping each other, and not wasting money on “fluff” while our communities suffer. It’s really shameful when the church will spend millions upon millions of dollars per year to keep the programs running( light shows, high tech services, etc…) while people in the community are going hungry!

See http://defendingcontending.com/2009/09/01/how-to-know-if-your-church-isn%E2%80%99t-spending-enough-on-missions/ for some pictures of these shameful churches that bring reproach upon the name of Christ. I’m sure the CEO’s of these non-profit organizations are not in need of anything unlike so many people in America.

I just found out a friend lost her job, which is not uncommon considering the current direction of our government and economy.

From pondering this, I began to think about the purpose of the work of the church outside of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My thoughts drifting to how we, as a church, worry too much about things that do not matter in the light of eternity. It’s a shameful testimony for any church to spend money on things the 1st century church would have never dreamed of having while ignoring the homeless, poor, and people hurting in our community. These 1st century followers of Christ were called Christian by people observing their sacrifice, good works, and helping the poor. I want to go over some of my thoughts and I sincerely hope that it shames some people into dropping all the “fluff” from the church and truly look at what Jesus wanted us to do.

Luke 3:10-14 (NASB)
3:10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”
11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

I am by no means a Pharisee or legalist, I just want to start off by making this statement. I was not raised in church and what I see is disturbing. I see churches spending millions on childrens’ buildings, spending millions on new buildings, spending tens of thousands of dollars every Sunday on excellent music and fancy light shows, worrying about the new stain glass windows, debating the new carpet, spending money to print nice service guides, preaching on wearing Sunday’s best, taking up funds for a new gym, pastors making hundreds of thousands of dollars, etc…,but what about the outreach to help the poor? I’m not talking about token outreach programs like filling food banks a few times a year, etc… I’m talking about taking a serious step to show the community the love of Jesus in deed. I know what some may be thinking about me, but that’s alright because you may be the person who needs to hear what I am saying. It’s shameful that we sat in nice air conditioned buildings every week, spending the donations to the church to make us comfortable, and getting all bent out of shape if the AC breaks Sunday morning when it’s going to be 102 in SC, BUT we never stop to think about the family about to be evicted and hungry. We never think about the mother on the street pondering sinful acts to feed her child. So many times, we set up our religion, as a token of care by saying ,”but we have list to show these people where they can get help, we work with charity groups, etc…” I SAY SHAME ON YOU! SHAME! Instead of depending on private groups outside of the church to provide this help, why do we not pick up the pace? Are we really following Jesus when He said that if we have two coats to give our brother one? Did Jesus say anything about this person in need being a member of our church? Did Jesus say to petition the government for help? Did Jesus say to depend on other charities for help? No, Jesus told US to GIVE!

I know not all churches are guilty of what I have written. I personally have received and witnessed many blessings from Christians and their churches to those in need even when they never knew the people in need personally. This is the work of the church, and being on the other side of need has taught me the truth behind Jesus’s words and actions. So please, if you are one of these people who strive to help the poor this blog was not for you. This blog is for the churches that worry about excellence, expensive services and turning a blind-eye to the greater things they could be doing with their wealth instead of blowing it on junk that does not breath a single breath of life. What about spending that money on people instead of the light show?

Back to my friend, it really pained me to see her suffer and knowing there is very little I can do for her. It pains me even more to know the church she attends could easily help her and many others “IF” they would stop worrying about the needy twin whores of excellence and relevance instead of following Jesus’ example to truly do the work of the church and help the poor. These twins bring shame upon the name of the Lord because they lead the church to a place where Jesus never wanted it to go.

May God have mercy on America where we neglect his people all because we are too worried about the service, the AC, the music, the light show, the carpet, our dress standards, our nice big expensive buildings, our gyms, our printed hymn books, our in church coffee shops, etc… while the poor suffer! May God convict us all. In America, we do not know what it means to suffer as a church and I pray that God wakes us all up before He says,”enough is enough” and we all feel how displeased God is with us for our selfish actions.

James 2:14-21 (NASB)
2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?