Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. -- Luke 15:7 (ESV)
Church used to be a much more local phenomenon. Your church was inevitably in your neighborhood. There were rarely outsiders, besides new people from the neighborhood convinced to come to church by their neighbors concerned for the state of their eternal souls. With the advent of social media and the internet however, things expanded, as they did in every area of life. There has been a movement afoot for several decades now. A perfect storm of heresy brewing if you will that has led us to the state we are in now, where the enemy is ready to unleash the apostate church in these end times. Those who refuse to bow the knee to the corporate bastardization of the body of Christ already have felt that unleashing as our cries as watchmen are often greeted with anger, hatred, and mocking. There is nothing new under the sun beloved as this is what Noah experienced as well when he built a boat for a hundred years and it had never rained before.
In 1995 Rick Warren published the guide for pastors to follow him into the abyss known as the Purpose Driven Church. This outlined the new model for what he referred to as church growth. It required a cult of personality preacher who acted as the CEO and vision caster. It required a shift from a church focused on the spiritual growth of the sheep to the carnal enticement of the goats. Lastly, through something Warren dubbed "Blessed Subtraction", the purpose driven church encouraged pastors to drive sheep out of the sheepfold for any disagreement. This combined with the seeker friendly theories of church growth which compromised the Gospel in order to draw the unsaved. Sermons went from an hour and a half to a half hour. Secular music started to seep into worship and eventually newer worship music abandoned any sense of biblical accuracy. Salvation in the Purpose Driven Life was reduced to eight words. The object was no longer to save people but rather to "church" them. To convince them that they were saved in an effort to make them come back the following week. Rick Warren in 2012 penned an op-ed to pastors encouraging them to not preach the Gospel on Easter Sunday so they can give the visitors a reason to come back the follow week. That is the embodiment of how the church is run today.
With these two forces as the foundation, they combined with the emerging New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) at the turn of the century. False signs and lying wonders filled church houses across the land as the Toronto Outpouring of heresy and the Pensacola Demonic Movement were deemed legitimate moves of the Holy Spirit. Places like IHOP and Bethel began to emerge targeting the youth so they could have the next generation believing that barking like a dog or twitching uncontrollably must be from God. This of course led the way for Todd Bentley to pack 15,000 a night into tent meetings in Lakeland Florida to watch him kick people in the face and punch them in the stomach to "impart" healing. The final piece to the demonic toxic stew was the idol worship of America brought to the church from the NAR. The seven mountains mandate heresy would secure the older generation as the apostate church actively seeks and worships the state. The deliverance vehicle for this perfect storm of heresy is the mega church. The mega church allows zero accountability and the aloofness needed for the cult of personality preachers to never get directly questioned. Of course if any serious questions ever arose the questioners would be deemed as agitators and removed via blessed subtraction. The above link is to a recent article from Carey Nieuwhof, who fancies himself a church leadership expert. This is an entire new field that has grown out of the purpose driven church storm. Like the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Nieuwhof mixes utterly carnal leadership practices with a breathtakingly poor understanding of scripture to further the end of the apostate church. Let us reason together through this latest offering, where he gives his top five unfair criticisms of mega churches, which he feels we need to drop.
"When you think of large churches and mega-churches, what comes to mind? If there's one thing I learned from writing about the church, it's that some people hate megachurches. With a passion. I try not to engage the trolls and the haters in the comments on my blog (engaging them just gives them what they want). But I've also noticed that even among normally more balanced and nuanced church leaders, it's easy to take swipes at megachurches. Sometimes I wonder how much of that is born out of envy, a sense of inferiority or simple misunderstanding, but after years of hearing people complain about large churches and megachurches, it might be good to re-visit the subject more intentionally." -- Carey Nieuwhof
Now I have met people who prefer the intimacy of a small church and others who prefer the anonymity allowed in a mega church but I have never met anyone who hated a mega church. Interesting that he admits up front he will only engage in those who agree with him as this is a cornerstone of purpose driven theology. That is the entire point of blessed subtraction. If we disagree we are branded as trolls or haters so that the substance never has to be addressed. Then for the "balanced" people who disagree -- they must be envious. Now, this may be true for some pastors who drank the purpose driven Kool Aid and have yet to find their mega destiny but for others it is simply a matter of calling evil by its name.
"A while back, someone left this comment on about some large church pastors who burned out: Wish these guys would get wise and start obeying Scripture and follow the New Testament model of interdependent churches under presbytery rule with representatives. Of course these preachers get burned out. They've made themselves the lynchpins of megachurches. They should get burned out. It's a bad model of church government on many fronts, and it's actually from the mercy of God that these men burn out. Churches are meant to be small, tightly knit communities, not splashy corporations. You build a monster, you get devoured. Or you become a monster. Burnout of megachurch pastors probably saves souls. Burnout of megachurch pastors saves souls? I wish I was making this up. But I'm not. Somebody actually wrote this. Sigh. Are megachurches perfect? No. But no church is perfect, including small and mid-sized churches. Even on a simple logical level, saying all megachurches are bad is like saying all small or mid-sized churches are bad. It's just simplistic and illogical thinking. And for the record, I'm a fan of small churches--of any sized church--that wants to reach its community. There's nothing wrong with small church. There is something wrong with dead church." -- Carey Nieuwhof