3. Megachurches don't produce real disciples - Start with the basics. What is a disciple? Someone who has decided to trust Jesus as their Saviour. But how do you know whether they're following Jesus? Jesus actually gave us a very practical test that helps us tell. He simply said: "By their fruit you'll recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?" In other words, look at someone's life for the evidence. In this (another) post, I outline in detail why the chief characteristic of a disciple is love, not knowledge. We've falsely defined discipleship in this generation. Knowledge, as the Apostle Paul pointed out, is not spiritual maturity. Knowledge makes you arrogant. Love transforms you. You know who isn't being transformed by love? The critics.
That is odd because the Bible says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, not your heart. In fact that verse says that we cannot discern the will of God unless our mind is transformed! The Bible also says our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful. Yet the purpose driven slop Nieuwhof traffics in always has this carnal call to the heart strings in place of good old fashioned head knowledge of doctrine and the Bible. Why is that? Because things are subjective and easily manipulated within the deceitful realm of our hearts but doctrine is doctrine. We do not replace the infallible Word of God with some grander poetic version of love that tickles our ears but has no biblical foundation. We have not falsely defined discipleship Carey. Jesus defined it in the Great Commission. To follow all that He has taught. That is doctrine by definition. The Bible also teaches that there is no unity in the faith unless it is unity in doctrine. A disciple is not simply someone who loves. That is a patently absurd and biblically inaccurate assessment that relinquishes all evaluation to the realm of the heart. When you instead require an understanding biblically, you now relinquish evaluation to God and what He has said in His Word. Thus I do not have to know nor judge the heart of Carey Nieuwhof. His teaching alone assures me he is a false teacher and within this comment he shows us why.
Remember when I said that Carey Nieuwhof leverages the Bible to prop up his false teachings? Here it is on display. He tries to sell the point that true discipleship is based upon some carnal definition of love but he knows he has no biblical proof to support this. So he mixes in a biblical referent, out of context, and slips in some pure evil from his own wicked heart and voila! He thinks he has made a biblical point. The verses he cites however have a context and you can see it in the key verses for today. Is Jesus talking about how we determine who is a true disciple and who is not? Nope. Not even close. He is actually teaching us how to spot a false prophet or teacher. He is teaching us how to spot Carey Nieuwhof as such. The evidence we look at by the way is not their life but their doctrine! The sad irony here is Nieuwhof uses a traditional atheistic argument -- that assurance of absolute truth is arrogant. No Carey. Your notion that we can love our way into salvation is arrogant because it will result in untold numbers not actually being saved.
4. People don't like attending large churches and 5. Megachurches are unbiblical -- Nieuwhof finishes off with two strawman arguments. Some people do like attending smaller churches and clearly some do not. Nieuwhof references the growth of the mega church and he is right. His confusion is in assuming that this has anything to do with God. As Paul Washer once famously quipped, Joel Osteen is not as much a false prophet as he is God's wrath upon people willing to sit through his sermons. Ouch. It is true though. One of the false underpinnings of the purpose driven model is to use carnal metrics, such as attendance, as an indicator of spiritual blessing. The Bible teaches us that narrow is the way and few are those who find it. The Bible also teaches us that many in the last days will gather around themselves those teachers to scratch their itching ears and say what they want to hear. They will wander off into myths as such. Who doesn't want to hear this is your best life now or that God doesn't care if you sin? The overwhelming support from the world for Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince is not a sign of blessing but of judgment. As for number five, Nieuwhof says:
This is a common criticism of megachurches. People don't like the lights, the structure or "CEO" style leadership. The reality, of course, is that the church has always changed, adapted and responded to changing times. It's so easy to confuse the method with the mission and preferences with principles. The methods change. The mission doesn't. In fact, if you want to jeopardize the mission, never change your method. You'll become irrelevant in a generation. There may be a day where large churches are no longer an effective way to share Christ with others. If that's the case, they'll fade. In the meantime, though, if they continue to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus, why stop them? -- Carey Nieuwhof
Because they are not leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. They are creating generations of false converts who will stand before Christ one day and cry out -- "Lord Lord!" But the issue Carey is not the lights, although disco lighting appeals to the carnality of man. It is not the "CEO" leadership style but the fact that it is unbiblical! Do you get that? But within this final answer, Nieuwhof reveals again the inherent problem in what he believes and teaches. To the purpose driven leadership trainer, it is the mission that is never supposed to change. No Carey, just no. It is the Gospel that is never supposed to change. The Gospel always remains irrelevant to those who are perishing because it is foolishness to them! Until they actually hear it and the Spirit draw them. So congratulations. You have figured out how to convince people who think God is a fool to go to church every week. You have taught them to give you 10% of their money and maybe even volunteer to help out the vision caster. But you had to change the Gospel in order to do these things. You had to avoid speaking about sin and the need to repent. You had to not mention picking up their cross daily and sacrificing their life for the life of Christ. You rebranded Jesus as their buddy and wingman. Their cosm ic bellhop and bus boy. You packaged him and slickly sold him to them with promises of carnal blessings beyond their filthy dreams of avarice. You churched them. It is just too bad you didn't save them.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- September 22, 2016