Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How Deep Do You Plant A Church?

“When the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy;

when the Romans got it, they turned it into a government;

when the Europeans got it, they turned it into a culture;

and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business.”

―Biblical Scholar, Dr. Richard Halverson

There's many reasons to plant a new church here in North America. The number one reason I hear is that the need to plant churches is from Jesus' essential call to plant churches. First of all, there is no essential call from Jesus to plant churches, secondly there's only one church - the church that Jesus built, the one we call the Body of Christ
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus didn't plant a church in a suburban neighborhood alongside four other churches, and he didn't insist that the lead guitarist become the worship leader for each congregation, He said (and put my first point in motion):
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)
To start let's look at four very important words here and then we'll circle back to planting churches. Those words are Church, Hades, Disciples, and Nations. Church is not a building where the worship band has their light show and kicks off their concert series, it is not a series of buildings that funnel money to the denomination head office. The word that Jesus spoke we translated to 'church' is ekklēsia (ἐκκλησία) and that means "a group of people". Jesus could very easily have said "I will build my team" and maybe that's what He really did say. Let's go with that: Church = Team because Jesus sure didn't mean "Let's put up something with decent acoustics in the auditorium and plenty of office space."

The next word, Hades, was not just a place (Hell) but it also means the person who is in charge of the underworld; Satan. In other words, He chose us to be on His Team to stand against Satan, and we know from Revelation that we will be enlisted to fight in the final battle (1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 19:11-21)

Jesus wants us to make mathēteuō (μαθητεύω) which . Mathēteuō is translated to disciples, which are followers, someone who follows the instructions of Jesus. Sorry NAR, He didn't say to make apostles, prophets, or profits, He said we are to make followers of His instructions so they can join Hist Team. And finally Nations - He didn't or mean "countries" or other forms of governmental description, He used the word ethnos (ἔθνος) from which we get our word "ethnic" and it means the same thing: a multitude of individuals of the same nature. He wants representatives of all ethnic groups to be on His Team. 

In other words, Jesus told us to talk to people, to share His word, to teach and encourage them, to make them followers. It is out of the followers that churches are built. This is the biblical model, "it is evangelism that results in disciples, who covenant together to be and function as the local expression of the Body of Christ." (source) We are not ordered to build churches, Jesus built the church, it's His choice who shall join.

I've seen this quote on the internet, it was said by Timothy Keller:
A vigorous and continuous approach to church planting is the only way to guarantee an increase in the number of believers, and is one of the best ways to renew the whole body of Christ.
The ONLY way? One of the BEST ways? Are you saying that centuries of missionary work were a waste of time? Let's look that up in the bible, which book would it be in; Second Hesitations? First Opinions? How about First Assumptions or maybe the Book of Capitulations?  Let me take a look at Fox's Book of Martyrs and see if there's a category for Church Planters... Didn't I just mention that it is Jesus who selects who may play a part on His Team? It's not up to us, we spread the word, then we let the Holy Spirit convict their hearts.

Setting sarcasm aside, I'm having problems trying to set incredulity aside. Why are buildings, worship teams, and denominations required to increase the number of believers? Two years ago, Christianity Astray Today reported that the Southern Baptists were the church plant happiest denomination of all with 500 new churches in 2016 taking in more than $11 Billion Dollars yet the SBC lost almost 78,000 members that same year, baptisms are at a 70-year low, while Sunday worshipers are at a 20-year low. As Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has put it: the SBC “is in the midst of a decline that shows no signs of either slowing down or turning around.”

Will dropping a brand new SBC church next to every existing SBC church fix that? The acolytes of the Church of Church Planting tell me that it will, at least their plan shows that it will.

In an attempt to go deep into the heart of Church Planting and see where their heads are at, I took a look at the Baptist Missionary Association of Mississippi Department of Missions and Revolving Loan Fund website to see their targets for Church Planting. The BMAMDMRLF is targeting Albany, Philadelphia, Columbus, and even Diamondhead - ok, to be fair, they're all in Mississippi, all 34 cities are in Mississippi, but does Mississippi need 34 more Baptist churches? When you think "Mississippi" does a shortage of Baptist Churches come to mind? Wouldn't they be better off with 34 more synagogues?
“The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.”
When researching this article I thought I had exhausted my resources and was getting ready to hit the Publish button when I stumbled across the above quote. It was typical Church Plant Rah-Rah I've been stumbling across for the weeks I've been kicking this article around, but this quote actually kicked off the whole Church Planting Mania decades ago, so this time I checked the origin of this quote. When I saw it my blood ran cold. It came from the book that the whole church planting is not only derived from but named after: Church Planting For A Great Harvest © 1990 by C. Peter Wagner

This is the book and this is the quote that 30 years ago started the whole "skip the disciples, let's plant churches" movement. All over the internet when this quote is repeated in hushed, awed, reverent tones, and the name of its author, C. Peter Wagner, is referred to as 'visionary' and a "missiologist". But not in this blog, in this blog we refer to C. Peter Wagner as a blasphemer, a heretic, a false teacher, a false prophet, and the former CEO of the greatest factory producing the greatest amount of blasphemy and heresy on earth: the New Apostolic Reformation.

Just to be clear, hitting your thumb with a hammer and in your pain shouting an expletive that requests God to damn your hammer is not blasphemy, saying that you did something wrong because God told you to do it, is blasphemy. Something like "God gave me the power to cause that hammer to hit your thumb" is blasphemy. And saying something equally as stupid such as "God gave me the power to pronounce the end of Mad Cow Disease in Europe, so therefore I am an Apostle" is clearly blasphemy and that's exactly what C. Peter Wagner said, and he strutted around until his death in 2016 wearing the mantle of Apostleship that he did not earn, that he was not qualified for, and which he proudly sold to anyone for $450 (couples discount = $650!)

I should have known, I should have seen it from a dozen miles away. I noticed all the kingdom talk when Church Planting was mentioned but I didn't make the connection. The NAR is purely dominionist and they love the word Kingdom, the word Kingdom falls from their mouths like saliva from the chops of a starving dog and they use it just about as wisely as that starving dog would:
"When Jesus came, He brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth." (C. Peter Wagner)
What is the New Apostolic Reformation?
…NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation. … It is like Grape Nuts – it’s not grapes and it’s not nuts. It’s like Christian Science – it’s not Christian and it’s not scientific. Well, the New Apostolic Reformation isn’t new, it isn’t apostolic, and it isn’t a reformation. But it is a rapidly expanding movement being generated by some of the same old troubling false teachers and false leaders that have been around in Charismania for decades, always dishonoring the Holy Spirit, always dishonoring the Scripture, always claiming miracle signs, wonders, visions, dreams. ~ John MacArthur
One of the foremost expositors of heretical movements attacking the Body of Christ is a wonderful Christian sister named Amy Spreeman
Perhaps the churches you and your loved ones attend don’t adhere to these titles or offices of modern-day apostle or prophet. However, leaders and members could unknowingly be learning about some of the NAR’s unbiblical practices. In fact, a growing number of mainline denominational and non-denominational evangelical churches have done just that, adopting some of the NAR methods without its leaders recognizing the red flags of deception. Many of these practices are seeping into churches of every denomination through small groups, church planting, conferences we attend, or even the books we bring home from Christian bookstores.
The danger is that some of their teachings are true...
Amy knows the NAR, she's written extensively about it and C. Peter Wagner and as an intro to her articles she has given us What You Need To Know About The New Apostolic Reformation, Holly Pivec is an evangelical researcher of cults, sects, and new religious groups, such as the "New Apostolic Reformation" movement and recently written an article on how one of the major players in the NAR (Satan) is being downplayed. Marsha West has provided a "White Paper" on the NAR. And here is Steve Kozar's NAR Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Dominionism, Charismania, and Deception

Personally, I've written about C. Peter Wagner and the NAR here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and it all started here. I've written enough to know that C. Peter Wagner was not just a snake oil salesman, he is personified Eau d' Cobra.

What is with us protestants? We recoil from anything that appears to be from the Roman Catholic Church fearing that it may be tainted with their heresies to the point where we find ourselves doubting if God is powerful enough to raise believers from their midst, but meanwhile a group of self appointed Apostles who wallow in the sewage of hell drop a pile of offal on our laps and we go at it with fork and knife! is that not wrong? no, what is wrong is that when we fail using C. Peter Wagner's plan for dominionism, we go back at it again, and again, and again. (and this is officially my longest sentence)

Try this; the next time you hear about a new church planted, a record number of new churches birthed in an area, or church planting goals reached, just ask the question, “What percent of the members of those churches were just recently baptized by the holy spirit?” And the next question to ask is: "where did the rest come from?" Chances are very, very good that they came from next door, and that, my friend, is called "Sheep rustling", and that's what C. Peter Wagner was looking for. Church Planting has become a sacred cow that could stand to lose quite a few T-bones.

Maybe we can fix this and move away from the NAR model of Kingdom Building Through Sheep Rustling: what would happen if we equipped and commissioned church planters with the task of going to the lost people in the group/community only? There's plenty of folks needing Jesus in the downtown streets of those states that have legalized recreational drugs. Let's start there.

Or, why not stand at the southern border and spread the word to the "migrants" who are illegally flowing across the southern border?  Why not concentrate on feeding the gospel to the multitudes storming in and let them, the rookies on His Team find a store front, or an empty living room, or a clean garage to plant their own church and we can stand by and mentor them the way Jesus asked us to do and the way Paul did it.

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