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Devotionals

The Poisonous Teachings of the Purpose Driven Church

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828ministries.com H3'ed 5/24/19
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Yeah that sounds like a lot of carnal gibberish. The core "Christian" points he has wrong as well. Under the Purpose Driven paradigm there is no care for the actual sheep. Everything is about the church to come. So the services are geared toward the lost. The sermons are watered down so the lost are not offended. Is the Great Commission important? Of course but it is not the end all. The church is not supposed to go into all the ends of the earth beloved, individual disciples are supposed to. It maters not however if your doctrine is messed up. Africa has some of the worst false teaching churches on the planet and guess why? Because America evangelized them! This is one of the woes Christ spoke over the Pharisees. They traveled across the world to make a single convert and when they do they make him twice the son of hell that they were. The mission of the church is the accurate presentation of the Gospel and it is a mission they are failing at every single day.

"2. Are we focused on unchurched people or on ourselves? So there's a tendency you and I have as human beings. Our natural drift is to focus on ourselves. Not on Christ. Not on others. The gravitational pull of any church is toward insiders, not outsiders. Left unattended, your church will become a place where the preferences of the members trump passion for the mission. There are two primary ways to address this drift: In every decision, focus on who you want to reach, not who you want to keep. Commit to losing yourself for the sake of finding others. I completely understand that people automatically respond with "well what about me and my needs (or the needs of our faithful members)"? I believe Jesus said something about finding your life in the process of losing it. People who focus on helping others and honouring Christ soon discover that their needs are met far more deeply than they ever experienced otherwise." -- Carey Nieuwhof

Wow, that is really bad. The verse about losing our life does not mean we should be neglected in our pursuit of others. It means that our old life, pre-Christ, is buried with Him and we emerge a new creation in Him. Denying ourselves is in relation to Him, not some purpose driven drivel about finding unchurched people. This is yet another of the foundational errors of the Purpose Driven movement. We used to seek the lost, the wretched, the unsaved. People like Carey Nieuwhof have corrupted these terms into a cute catch all that doesn't offend anyone -- the unchurched. The problem of course is when you are seeking the lost you understand their actual state of being -- they are lost. When you seek the unsaved you keep salvation as their primary need. When you warp that into looking for the unchurched you new focus is not on their salvation but on whether they come to your church. No big deal? Consider that when writing to pastors to give them tips on bringing their Easter visitors back the following week, Rick Warren said the following:

"Let them know about your next sermon series. Always either begin a sermon series on Easter or the next week -- and make sure it's a series that meets the felt needs of an unchurched person. Yes, they need the Gospel and a relationship with Christ. You and I both know that's their foundational need, but most people will come to your church because they have a need for friendship, want a better marriage, want to be a better parent, want to feel they're living a life of significance or there may be some other need. When you do a series like that, let Easter visitors know in your letter. It'll give them a reason to come back to your church." -- Rick Warren 2014

This is what happens to the Gospel under Purpose Driven theology. It becomes relegated to something negative that will drive people away. It is true that the Gospel offends and divides but it is still the only mechanism for someone getting saved. The Carey Nieuwhofs of the world however are not one bit interested in saving anyone. They just want them churched. If you want to see what happens to unsaved churched people read Matthew 7:21-23. The pull inward is not gravitational Carey -- it is spiritual because that is how God designed His church.

"3. Has our strategy or approach become dated? What got you here won't necessary get you there. While the mission of the church is eternal, strategy should shift from generation to generation. This day it needs to shift even faster than that. Identifying a dated strategy is easy if you're a new leader who has taken over from someone else. It is much harder when you've led in a context for more than 5 years. The challenge in long term leadership is that the changes that you introduced may have been novel and effective when you introduced them, but it's not 1995 anymore, or 2005 for that matter. How do you tell if you're strategy is dated? When it stops being effective. When you see very few people in the next generation adopting the approach or strategy in question. The mission of the church is eternal. The method is temporary. The challenge, of course, is it's easy to love the method more than the mission. But in the future church, churches that love their method more than they love the mission will die." -- Carey Nieuwhof

No, no, a thousand times no. Our "strategy" is preaching the Gospel, for the reasons already outlined. It does not need to change from generation to generation that is biblically illiterate and woefully ignorant. The same Gospel that saved a fourth century peasant is the same that saved a 17th century poet and the same that saved me. People in the Purpose Driven Industrial Complex will swear that this generation is different and that is nonsense. Andy Stanley recently abandoned the surety of scripture for carnal reasoning with youth because he saw so many go off to college and return atheists. The reason for this abandonment of faith however has nothing to do with this generation and everything to do with not preaching the Gospel. If you send this generation off to college without the indwelt Holy Spirit because you watered down the real Gospel then do not act surprised when the world captures their thinking. Salvation is a supernatural act of God. It cannot be strategized beloved. It is ridiculous leadership trainings like this that lead to pastors preaching about spiritual lessons from Avengers Endgame or following the Warren strategy of not preaching the Gospel for fear of people not coming back the following week.

"4. Are we on top of the constant change in our culture? While you're studying your strategy, you might also want to study culture. It's changing, radically and quickly. I believe when historians look back on our generation, they will see it as a crack in history. We now live in a post-Christian, post-modern world. That's true in Canada. It's increasingly true in the United States. In my experience, many of us in church leadership don't really grasp the enormity of the change going on around us. Change is hard. But irrelevance is even harder. Unimplemented change becomes regret." -- Carey Nieuwhof

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