What Kind Of Church Do You Attend?
By Contributor: Mark Reynolds
What kind of church do you attend? Do you know? I don’t mean do you belong to a Lutheran, Baptist or non-denominational church. I am asking a deeper question that goes far beyond what denomination you hang your hat on. What is at the core of your church and who and what does it hold its associations with, people, groups and other pastors. Is it a bible believing, teaching and preaching church and does it make sure that the associations it has are the same? Or, does it claim to teach the bible and preach the Word of God while holding associations with new age gospel light preaching organizations.
If you are like me you go to church on Sunday and sit in the pew and worship and listen to a sermon and fellowship and volunteer in your gifted area. You may attend a bible study before or after and do some midweek activities and everything seems fine on the outside. You may never even know that your church is going toward this non-biblical new age style until one day you look around and everyone is wearing the Rob Bell glasses and listening to a feel good message instead of hearing Jesus preached from the pulpit.
The Willow Creek Association is a big hint that your church may have some serious issues. What is the Willow Creek Association? As you may know this organization was founded by Bill Hybels who is senior pastor at Willow Creek Church. He currently sits on the board of directors and speaks frequently at conferences held by the WCA. WCA President Santiago (Jim) Mellado describes WCA as follows: "Since 1992, the Willow Creek Association has been linking like-minded, action-oriented churches with each other and with strategic vision, training, and resources. Our desire is to serve local church leaders in building biblically functioning churches that reach increasing numbers of lost people, not just with innovations from Willow Creek, but with God-given breakthroughs with widespread potential from any church in the world. The WCA is a not-for profit ministry with more than 9,000 Member Churches from 90 denominations and 35 countries. They represent a wide variety of sizes, denominations and backgrounds, and are ministering in every corner of the world. As they pursue their own unique, God-given vision for ministry in their community, Member Churches confirm a shared commitment to Christ and a passion for reaching lost people."
Now that we have established the history of the WCA lets look at what is exactly wrong with their views and teachings. They Promote ecumenism (one world religion) and praise the Roman Catholic Church who advocates idol (Mary) worship. Hybels is part of the unbiblical Church Growth Movement that effectively puts ‘people-pleasing’ and a soft self-esteem message ahead of the true Gospel of Christ. Christians need to be careful and discerning in utilizing any Willow Creek material. Hybels advocates the use of modern marketing methods. Those methods are employed in order to discover what people want. They then structure programs to make individuals feel comfortable in church, so that they have an enjoyable experience without feeling guilt or shame. This is not what the church is for. The church as defined by the Bible in Acts is for the believers. Seekers are welcome to hear the Word of God preached in any setting without argument. Seekers however, are not the reason to design a church model. When this model is followed the result is a “soft gospel” presentation with an atmosphere of glitz and entertainment; incorporating drama, humor and pop music. Failing to give an honest and true presentation of God’s glory. Leaving no room for the Gospel as the main message.
In his book Honest to God, Bill Hybels seems to advocate the idea that the gospel for men should be presented as a relationship with a neutered Jesus Christ avoiding “mindless misinterpretations of masculine identity”. Going this route the man has no responsibilities to lead his family as Christ led the church. He further advocates that the gospel for the women should be presented offering freedom from the submissive role outlined in the bible. Allowing her to “satisfy her need for inner security” dismissing the security of following Christ and the leadership He established for her. Needless to say, Willow Creek adopts the unbiblical practice of accepting women as Pastors which goes against Federal Headship outlined in 2 Tim 2:14, Titus 1:5 and Ephesians 1:5.
Who your church associates with is as important as who you associate with in your own life. You want to make sure your associations are pure and in accordance to God’s Word. We as members of a church are responsible to hold our church leadership accountable to the associations that they keep. Measuring those associations to the Word of God and not some popularity contest. Make sure that all groups that your church leaders want to hang their hats with are Biblical. That they teach the TRUE Word of God. That they abstain from the “gospel light” movement where everyone is loved by a blue eyed blond haired surfer jesus. A jesus they created that never would get mad at anyone or hurt someone’s feelings ignoring the Jesus who is.