Published by Andy Neckar
P.O. Box J Hico, TX 76457
Vol. 7, Number 2, March-April. 2001
Inside This Newsletter
1-There's A New Faith In Town #1
2-There's A New Faith In Town #2
3-There's A New Faith In Town #3
4-There's A New Faith In Town #4
THERES A NEW FAITH IN TOWN
(Information from Associated Baptist Press)
In the music world, a group called "Ancient Future" is making a splash with a sound that blends modern rock and jazz with ancient tribal rhythms from Africa, Asia and South America.
In the world of the church, promoters of "ancient-future" faith are making a splash with a theology of worship that blends early Christian practices with a postmodern culture.
Ancient-future faith, according to Robert Webber, founder of the Institute for Worship Studies and professor of worship at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Ill., blends first-through-sixth century traditional worship with the culture and practices of today.
"The pattern of the classical or ancient Christian era was that of mystery, community and symbol," he writes in "Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World." "The postmodern model is rediscovery of mystery, community and symbol."
Webber says this breaks down into a more active role of the congregation when it comes to participating in worship, creating a multi-sensory experience with banners, pageantry- (show-ritual-ceremonial), movement and reciting classic Christian creeds and prayers.
Many church planters and worship leaders working with postmodern congregations agree with Webber's assessment.
"Many people today are looking for a more sensual worship, and by that I mean a worship that engages all the senses," said Dieter Zander, co-author of the book "Inside the Soul of a New Generation." "The Reformation stripped away everything that would distract from the central message," he said. "They removed the icons, the tactile (perceivable-physical) elements of worship so hearing the message was the only sense engaged.
"Young people today surround themselves with sensual experience, and that is how worship was meant to be," he added. "Things that are not dependent on words, using the things that God has put around us--these things need to be brought back into worship."
[Editor] Folks, The Roman Catholic Church did this very thing many centuries ago. They have the pomp and all the physical trappings/frills incorporated in their church services. The organized churches of today that call themselves Protestant, New Testament churches, and the Landmark Baptist churches that call themselves the successors of, not the apostle Peter, that is reserved for the RCC, but they go back even further to successors of John the Baptist are into sensual religion.
These churches stimulate the BODY, the PHYSICAL realm of the person. The SPIRITUAL realm is forsaken for the bodily feelings. The modern day church caters to the BODY rather than the SPIRIT.
They say the Reformation stripped away everything that would distract from the CENTRAL MESSAGE. They say that HEARING the message was the only sense engaged. They want THINGS that are not dependent on WORDS.
Folks, words of the WORD is the central message of the gospel of salvation and the doctrine of Christ for discipleship after salvation.
How can folks be saved if they have nor HEARD WORDS, and how can they HEAR WORDS without a preacher SPEAKING WORDS? (Rom 10:14)
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Jesus Christ has the WORDS of eternal life. (John 6:68)
Nowhere does the Bible speak of Christ having the special effects of eternal life. The Bible doesnt speak of teaching a ritual dance, performing a drama, and entertaining the flesh with rock/jazz and rap carnal music as the doctrine of Christ. The doctrine of Christ is needed to grow the Christian in spiritual faith. It is needed to support the Christian in his spiritual walk. The modern church doctrine grows the physical feelings. It stimulates the physical senses. It replaces the Christian Cross with a Carnal Fuzzy Feel Good Sensation. I used to get that same sensation from alcohol before it got the best of me.
The MODERN church practicing the ANCIENT faith will get the best (be overcome) of it PERMANENTLY.
THERE IS A NEW FAITH IN TOWN # 2
Ed Stetzer, director Nehemiah Project church-planting center at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has compiled new rules for successful postmodern churches and worship services:
He says that people want something mystical-magical-supernatural and spiritual. Too often, postmoderns feel they're meeting an alien culture when they encounter evangelical Christianity, Stetzer says. He says its not the job of the unchurched postmodern to enter our culture. It is our job to invade theirs. In other words, the lost in sin should not be expected to make a change, it is the job of the church to change and CHANGE it is doing.
Stetzer says that churches should worship experientially, while Christ says we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23) The Nehemiah Project church-planting center at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky. says, postmoderns want to experience God. They want to FEEL God. They want to MEET God on familiar, informal, personal, relaxed terms. BUT, the Bible teachers that people are to FEAR God.
Rom 3:9-18 speaks of people ALL under sin. There is NONE righteous. There are NONE that understand and seek God. They have ALL gone out of the way and ALL have become unprofitable. There is NONE that does good. WHY? Because there is no fear of God before their eyes (v.18).
Christians are to perfect their holiness in the FEAR of God. (2 Cor 7:1) They are to submit to one another in the FEAR of God. (Eph 5:21) The FEAR of God is the beginning of wisdom. (Ps 111:10; Prv 9:10)
This director of this Southern Baptist church planting center says that churches are to appreciate and participate in ancient patterns. "Postmodern leaders are spellbound by the ancient-future faith of the past," he said. "There is a new interest in ancient things: Gregorian chants, Celtic Christianity, ancient art, etc. -- Experience visual worship. Paintings, banners, candles and other imagery can help share the gospel message, he said. "In the postmodern age, truth can be expressed in images illuminating biblical truth."
The Bible says that Gods Truth can only be effective by hearing, not seeing. We are to preach the Word, and as in my case I read the Word. I READ the WORD. I HEARD the WORD that I READ, and I BELIEVED the WORD, and I was SAVED by the HEARING of the WORD.
1 Cor 1:22-23 For the Jews require a SIGN, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we PREACH Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Stetzer teaches that the church must connect with technology and use that technology in worship. (visual and audio aids). But since when did the gospel of Christ need the aid of mans fleshly wisdom. (2 Cor 1:12)
He says that, as postmoderns see that faith produces service, the validity of the faith is proved. A wonderful outlet for this is to engage postmoderns in mission work. Folks, this is how the church is falling away from the faith ONCE delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) The church is sending out CARNAL, WORLDLY, LOST SINNERS to preach another gospel to their OWN KIND.
HERE IT IS FOLKS. Read it and weep.
Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, (modern church planters) hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
THERE IS A NEW FAITH IN TOWN #3
What does the church of the future look like? According to some church leaders, it mixes sixth century liturgy with alternative rock, monastic visual images with high technology and early Christian traditions with postmodern culture to create a blend that is drawing a whole new generation of people to the church.
"Something is definitely beginning to happen, and God is doing something new," said Dieter Zander, founder of ReImagine, a non-profit evangelism/church-planting group in San Francisco. "What's going on seems odd to the church because it's outside the lines of what the church has been doing." But several observers insist that even the most traditional of churches can't afford to ignore this blend of ancient traditions and today's technology.
According to Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission, 5,000 "Generation X" churches focusing on alternative, postmodern worship have been planted in the United States, and church-planting experts say the numbers are increasing steadily.
In Louisville, Ky., the Sojourn Community is an example of a new church coloring outside the lines of mainstream congregations.
Senior Pastor Daniel Montgomery said Sojourn began last year in an attempt to reach people who were falling through the cracks in more mainstream churches.
"Our focus is those with a postmodern mindset, the 'cultural creative,'" he said. "People who tend to reject hedonism, materialism and cynicism. They are crying for something authentic." Sojourn mixes postmodern, narrative-style sermons with film clips, and traditional liturgy with alternative rock and iconography to create a unique worship experience that is attracting 80 to 100 people a week since the church's inception last September.
"For example, we recently had a baptism service where we dimmed the lights and used a DVD player to show images of icons from the classic Russian film "Andrei Rublyov" while the baptism was going on," Montgomery said.
"Our musicians can rock out, but at the same time we use a lot of the traditional hymns. And we may use film clips from films like 'American Beauty' to illustrate a point in a sermon, yet we follow the traditional liturgical calendar."
In Lynchburg, Va., senior pastor Jim Baucom of Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church started a Celtic worship service on Sunday mornings for the young adults in his church who were craving a different style of worship from what was offered in the church's regular contemporary-style service.
"A lot of the folks who have come into the church have been left with a hunger for a more contemplative worship experience," Baucom said. "In particular, the Gen-Xers who have come in to the church have asked for something very traditional, and they don't mean Second-Great-Awakening Baptist. They mean ancient." At the service, worship leaders wear traditional medieval vestments, the service is candlelit and Celtic Christian prayers, poetry and imagery are mixed with guided silences and a brief sermon.
"It offers a multi-sensory religious experience, and focuses on the mystery of God," he said. "A lot of the people who come to our service don't want to think God is all-knowable. They want something that will capture the enormity of who God is." The Celtic service draws between 150 to 200 worshippers every Sunday. "Many of the mega-churches we know today, as well as contemporary worship and the praise and worship-style choruses, were born of the 70s and the Jesus Movement," said Zander, former pastor of New Song Church in Covina, Ca., considered by many to be the first Gen-X church in the country.
Smaller churches find it easier to adapt their style than mega-churches, which have the constraints of size and budget, he added.
"Small churches have the freedom to ask 'What if we try being who we are where we are? What if we try ministering where we are?' "Mega-churches have a lot of pressure to continue being mega-churches," he noted. "Part of what happens in a mega-church is they have to continue playing to people's needs to garner the numbers and financial support they need to stay huge."
Ed Stetzer, director of the Church Planting Center for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, agreed that smaller churches have the advantage if they want to start reaching the postmodern generation.
"If a small church is strictly traditional, for example, they can skip the contemporary phase and go straight to the ancient phase," he said.
"It's harder to make the shift from mainstream traditional to contemporary than it is to make the jump from traditional to ancient/modern, because the ancient worship style incorporates elements familiar to many traditional worshippers."
Stetzer, who currently is writing a book about postmodern church starts, said he believes the church of the future will include this ancient/future worship and outreach. "Now contemporary worship is becoming the new traditional worship, and it was radical 20 to 30 years ago," he said. "I don't know what worship will look like 100 years from now, but I do think this new style of worship will come alongside of what is already there, but not replace it."
[Editor] The next phase of the great falling away is taking place. The first phase was from traditional to contemporary and the second phase will be from contemporary to ancient.
The faith once delivered to the saints is going the way of Roman Catholicism. This is what dialog with other faiths can do. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Is the Christian Church converting the False Church? Who is converting whom? A LITTLE leaven leavens the WHOLE lump. (1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9)
THERE IS A NEW FAITH IN TOWN # 4
(Associated Baptist Press)
Hidden among the tattoo parlors, piercing salons, trendy restaurants and alternative music stores in the Highlands district of Louisville, Ky., is an art gallery that is taking the idea of "seeker service" to a whole new level.
The gallery, Aslan's How, is the evangelistic outreach ministry of Sojourn Community, a young, postmodern church.
"We believe that the arts need to be cultivated and fostered," said Daniel Montgomery, pastor of Sojourn.
The fledgling church, which is supported by the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, opened the gallery in November 2000 as a way to build bridges within the community.
"We are trying to build a non-sectarian venue with this," Montgomery said. "This isn't a Christian art gallery. It's an art gallery run by Christians." Despite the distinction made by Montgomery, hints of the gallery's Christian leanings abound. Its name is taken from C.S. Lewis' classic children's allegory, "The Chronicles of Narnia." The gallery's first exhibit was "The Florence Portfolio: Sacrifice," a group of 20 etchings by six artists with Christians In Visual Arts.
"We had a good response," Montgomery said.
Though the gallery had no shows for the past two months, it has planned six months of continuing exhibits throughout the spring and summer. Future shows range from Jewish artists to a collection of works by members of the Sojourn congregation.
"This is essentially an evangelistic outreach," said Montgomery. "We are trying to build bridges with our community by connecting to them where they are." Besides the art exhibits, Sojourn members also use the gallery to host film and philosophy discussion groups that are designed to attract non-Christians.
"We have people from New Age, Roman Catholic, Unitarian backgrounds, you name it," he said. "We discuss everything from 'Citizen Kane' to 'Magnolia', and we always ask 'What are the spiritual implications of this film?'" With the Christian and secular equally blended together, Montgomery admits it is hard sometimes to know where to draw the line at deciding something is "too secular" for their particular evangelistic vision.
"We have a hard time setting limits sometimes," he said. "There isn't another place like this as far as we know, so we don't have a frame of reference for this." The blurred boundaries have resulted in some distrust by both Christians and non-Christians.
"Some Christians have an idea of what evangelism should look like, and some non-Christians already have an idea of what Christians are like," he said. "What we want is to break down barriers on both sides, and by breaking down the stereotypes allow new life to emerge."
[Editor] This article says it all. This article voices my comments. This article condemns the project it promotes.
THIS ARTICLE SAYS, With the Christian and secular equally blended together
They have philosophy discussion groups that are designed to attract non-Christians (Greeks/Gentiles 1 Cor 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
This NEW FAITH IN TOWN is giving the sinners exactly what they want. The church is doling out signs and wisdom. (philosophy) WHY is the church doing this? Because the gospel of Christ is a stumbling block and foolishness to the seekers, because it is not GOD they seek, (Ps 14:2-3) but the wisdom and things of the world.
So, why is the church falling away? Because MAN is using HIS OWN WISDOM after the flesh and HIS OWN STRENGHT after his education, but the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Cor 1:23-27 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Even so, come Lord Jesus. (Rev 22:20)
CHURCHES MINISTERING TO BUILDINGS AND PROGRAMS.
(Religion Today January 9, 2001)
Churchgoers are donating an increasingly smaller share of their incomes. The percentage of income Protestants give fell from 3.1 in 1968 to 2.5 in 1998, according to Empty Tomb, a research group in Champaign, Ill. That means church members gave $4 billion less in 1998 than they would have if they were giving at the same rate they did in 1968. Total annual contributions rose by an average of $202 to $570 per church member, after inflation was taken into account, because incomes also rose.
Most of the money is being spent on salaries, in-church programs, and building-maintenance rather than on outreach efforts such as missions and services for the poor. Donations for external church activities dropped to a 30-year low as a percentage of income, falling below .4 percent, according to the study. Gifts to support local congregations represented 2.2 percent of church members' income in 1998.
The report said that if U.S. church members had tithed, or given 10 percent of after-tax income in 1998, churches would have had an additional $131 billion to help the poor. About 30,000 children die each day, many from problems that would cost relatively little to fix, the authors of the report said. The study, "The State of Church Giving Through 1998," tracked 30 mainline Protestant and evangelical denominations
[Editor] Church members are giving less and yet the less is being spent on salaries, programs and building bigger synagogues. (Rev 2:9; 3:9) This doesnt sound so bad to me. Maybe something will happen to starve the in-house entertainers, skit & drama and dance PERFORMERS into getting a working job. Amen?
A word on the statement that, if the members had tithed, or given 10 percent of after-tax income. A TITHE is 10% of income, and NOT AFTER TAX income.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NEW TESTAMENT TITHING. Please read my articles on tithing on my web page.
CHURCHES STRUT THEIR STUFF
(Excerpts from a Religion Today article-1-9-2001)
The last have become first in Houston. Every Sunday, forgotten and struggling people enjoy a blessing they may never have dreamed of.
People in area drug-treatment centers, shelters, and halfway houses get a free round-trip ride to church in a classy limousine. Seven limos circulate around Houston to pick up 40-70 people. The glamorous vehicles pull up at the centers, and the chauffeur gets out and holds the door open for his unusual clientele. Then the limo heads for Lakewood Church, a vibrant, 15,000-member evangelical congregation.
The discouraged and needy people are in for a tremendous blessing. They attend a rousing two-hour service while their fancy transportation idles outside. When the altar call is given, many of the down-on-their-luck visitors come forward for prayer. After the service they enjoy refreshments and chit-chat with people they would never otherwise rub elbows with. Then the chauffeurs open the doors again
Between the ride, the service and the new clothing, "they feel like a million bucks," Porter said. Most Sundays the limos are out for a total of six hours, costing about $200 apiece to rent; full price would be more than twice as much. Donors help out with the cost.
Finances are tight, but every week the money just seems to come in to meet expenses, Porter said. "It's all from God. Otherwise it wouldn't work."
[Editor] One Thousand Four Hundred Dollars A Week. Folks, that $1400.00 a WEEK just to strut their stuff, but Ill have you know I want no part of their WORLDLY STUFF.
Yep- these down & outers feel like a MILLION BUCKS. They get a TREMENDOUS BLESSING. They get a rousing, exciting, stimulating and fantastic GOOD TIME.
Yep-its all from the god of this world alright. The synagogues of Satan (Rev 2:9; 3:9) are alive and well roundabouts. Doing fantastic I would say.
The GOD of the BIBLE didnt give His Son no place to lay his head, but Hes gonna give a drug addict chauffeured Limo service and entertainment and bring him to repentance? NO. The god of THIS church makes him FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS.
CHRISTIANS, the children of God, have FELLOWSHIP. The Anti-Christians, the children of the devil chit-chat.
You charismatics argue with THAT now. Yes, therere out there on my mailing list all right.
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith-Jude 1:3