Willow creek (Part IV): An earthly kindom
It becomes increasingly difficult for well-meaning Christians who support the church growth movement to taste the poison in the candy they consume after having acquired such a sweet tooth for it through habitual exposure and indulgence. It has been my experience that these sugar addicts who so passionately defend the seeker-service almost always overlook and/or minimize it¹s humanist origin, diabolical doctrine, unholy alliances and closed-door tactics. By contrast, I have yet to hear of a single conservative congregation that openly voted to join the Willow Creek Association and pay consultants those astronomical fees to re-invent their church. Most of us simply learn from alternative sources that our once conservative church now belongs to a liberal organization that is in partnership with the federal government and United Nations promoting humanist values and ecumenical ideologies through already implemented programs we know little or nothing about. As strange as it may seem, staffers outside the senior leadership circle of CGM churches don¹t even know enough about Willow Creek to answer the most basic of questions from concerned members. That in itself should alarm anyone whose church belongs to Willow Creek or Saddleback.
Because each church that embraces the seeker-sensitive formula is at a different stage of transformation, it is impossible to accurately assess the whole movement by simply observing the people and progress of a single congregation or staff. One has to thoroughly research the origin, background, philosophy and agenda of those leading the movement to properly evaluate it. In addition, it must be studied outside and away from Willow Creek and Saddleback’s own propaganda and pitchmen in order to ascertain it’s true agenda. Even then, without the discernment of the Holy Spirit, all of the research in the world won’t make a blind man see.
Those who shoot from the hip to passionately defend Willow Creek and Saddleback are often frustrated rock musicians and performers who have spent a lifetime seeking their own glory. When they become a Christian, instead of giving up their lusts and worldly pursuits for the cause of Christ they instinctively begin searching for some way to graft their talents and tastes into the church in order to gain notoriety, credibility, gratification and the support of fellow believers. They deceive themselves into believing that just because they do it, enjoy it and it draws a crowd, it must be holy and therefore suitable for service. Again, these are well meaning folks who simply confuse faith with feelings. And as many of us know, our emotions can be VERY deceiving and self-destructive. Essentially they try to link their carnal world to their Christian life to legitimize it before the eyes of men as if a good performance was a true affirmation of faith in Christ. Liberals in particular have a hard time grasping the idea that faith is not an emotion and spiritual gifts are not talents. They have yet to understand that God chooses to glorify Himself not through our strengths, (talents, abilities, wealth, education, influence, etc.), but rather through our weakness. Why, because OUR strengths and talents glorify us,not God. (Ref: 1st Corinthians 1)
Using our talents and abilities to accomplish even the most honorable of goals and charitable ventures for the most part glorifies the flesh. However, when we forsake OUR strengths and yield to God’s strength, He then empowers us through His Holy Spirit to accomplish those miracles in life that our human strengths never could. That’s how mountains are moved, seas are parted, arks are built, Goliath was defeated, Lazarus was raised, demons are cast out and souls are saved unto eternal life. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in the 3rd chapter of Philippians for those with the courage and faith to read it. This little known spiritual truth is so discerned and empowering that those outside the faith cannot understand nor comprehend it.
You see, Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days in the desert trying to get Him to use His own strength, power and influence to gratify, glorify and ultimately save Himself. Instead, Jesus chose to deny Himself and humbly become weak in the flesh to the glory of God the Father thereby applying the Almighty¹s power and strength necessary to live a sinless life and perform great works. By becoming weak in the flesh, He became strong in the Spirit in complete obedience and humility before God the Father.
God expects no less of those who profess Christ. Unfortunately, applying one’s own strengths, talents and resources to grow the church is not only a key concept and marketing strategy of Willow Creek and Saddleback, but is an integral part of CGM’s modus operandi.
The church growth movement is also about building a kingdom on Earth through those church/government partnerships I mentioned earlier. The goal is to make these mega-churches the very focal point of every community around the globe where social programs can easily be implemented and managed, like government agencies and tools of the state. How soon we Christians forget Jesus telling Pilate before his flogging and crucifixion: “My kingdom is not of this world”. It therefore leads one to the next logical question. Who are Willow Creek and Saddleback building this kingdom for the coming antichrist?
Could we actually be witnessing the birth of the Apostasy? I think those who truly know the Lord Jesus Christ and have studied carefully the books of Daniel and Revelation with a healthy Christian worldview have very legitimate suspicions about the church growth movement.
As we see all of this wealth, power and influence coming together in a vast merger of government and religion under the direction of the UN, I would ask you to look at the temptation of Christ as described in Luke 4:1-13. Focus for a moment, if you will on what Satan said to Jesus in the second of the three temptations in verses 5-7.
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
Notice who it is that gives men great power and glory on Earth and what is required of them to obtain it. More importantly, notice that Jesus never disputes Satan¹s claim. Furthermore, if Satan did not have the authority to give such power and glory on Earth, it would not even be a temptation. I suspect some are getting chills right now especially those of you who support the church growth movement of Saddleback and Willow Creek.
“Beware lest anyone spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
A wealth of additional information about the church-growth movement is available
upon request from Paul at his Mail address below.