Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. -- 1Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
These pages have long sought to expose the heresies infecting the church today as a result of purpose driven teaching. Pastors being raised up today are taught Warren theology first and foremost. Under the rubric of saving as many for Jesus as possible, Rick Warren has taught generations how to grow individual churches without growing the kingdom by a single person. That may sound harsh but the truth often is. The bible teaches us that only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man and the first thing sacrificed on the purpose driven altar is the Gospel. And serious discussion of sin and repentance is put aside in the blind ambition of having the unsaved come back to the church and attend regularly. Perhaps the poster child pastor of the sugar coated purpose driven gospel is Joel Osteen. Pastor Joel is on record as saying he does not think people need to be reminded of all they do wrong (sin) and instead he chooses to encourage them. The true Gospel however is equal parts rebuke and encouragement. Yes we can preach "I do not condemn thee" but not without saying "go and sin no more."
This brings us to pastor John Gray, who was raised under the guidance of Joel Osteen and remains on the payroll of Lakewood Church even though he now has his own pastorate. It was recently reported that Gray gave his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini as an anniversary present. The controversy that ensued was blown up by Gray himself who showed zero humility in defending a bad decision. That decision however Gray still insists was his to make and correct. Based on how he was raised to pastor I understand. The purpose driven model makes John Gray a CEO, not a shepherd. In defending it, Gray even asked when people thought he should be allowed to live his best life -- a reference to a Joel Osteen book. I have heard both sides of this argument for a month now but now we see there may have been more behind this story than we were first led to believe. It seems that John Gray was unfaithful to his wife and that this almost led to their divorce. At the end of the day, his wife Aventer stayed and Gray felt the need to buy her an automobile that less than 1 percent of the world could ever dream of affording. Defend that as long as you like but listen to the "sermon" linked above, given by Gray recently. Let us reason together to see inside how a purpose driven mega church pastor thinks.
"This is your pastor. This is Aventer Gray (calling his wife up to the pulpit). I bring it up because people see this (forced fake smiles). What they didn't see was for the last two years we weren't sure we would even make it. This is what the people saw (smiles). But they didn't see the tears at night. They didn't see the times when one of us was sleeping on the couch (Aventer mockingly points at John)." -- John Gray
We joined the clip towards the end of the service when Gray felt compelled to "confess" to his new congregation. Considering the amount of news being generated that he had been unfaithful this hardly seem like a heroic decision. As we see even here, this seems more like an attempt at public relations and to throw the focus off of the simple fact that John Gray decided to be sexually unfaithful to his wife, period, full stop. There are however a few other considerations here. Aventer Gray is NOT their pastor. This is a phenomenon we see in many modern Pentecostal and purpose driven churches. That wives are automatically granted the status of pastor simply by marriage. The bible outlines criteria for elders and pastors and one is not deemed such by such carnal standards. The second point here is the admission by the Grays that they were simply lying to people while their marriage fell apart. I guess that is not overly surprising but the hubris displayed by John Gray here is astounding. This is again the product of purpose driven thinking. As a CEO, John Gray does not view his marriage as the business of his flock. He is mistaken. One cannot lead people in God's church regarding sin and righteousness who is so morally compromised. Gray's responsibility was to step down immediately and seek help. Not in restoring his ministry but in restoring his marriage and his walk with God. This would not happen however because in the purpose driven world the primary consideration is to protect the brand first. Lastly in this opening snippet we see the arrogance of his wife, almost gleefully pointing to John to make sure people knew that he was the one on the couch. This arrogance would only grow as we moved on in this confession.
"We had to keep smiling because even though we were struggling and even though I was failing as a husband I was already in front of the people and the people can't receive my brokenness because where do leaders go when they bleed? Because sheep don't do well with blood so I had to bleed alone. And what's strange is I traveled the whole world and the Holy Ghost showed up and people got saved." -- John Gray