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Should we bring unbelievers to Church?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    But,I don't measure a church's success by numbers(churches started or converts)...I measure it by seeing its biblical faithfulness.

    I'm sure Rick Warren is an extememly nice person and a wonderful christian. Noone is saying otherwise.

    Molly
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I see no reason that you should apologize for being different from something I've observed. Though perhaps not clear, that was meant as only applicable to persons/churches that "begin" with objections to certain methodologies, programs, etc., AND hold an Arminian or much-modified Calvinistic viewpoint. A quick reference for that paradigm - many churches of the ABA modifying their Landmarkism and objections that they carried to "SBC methodologies" to further their missions, evangelism, and church planting causes (though many would still be a long way from some of what is discussed in this thread). Having a background in the ABA and having studied its history, I've personally observed their case of "soteriology trumps ecclesiology".

    Anyway, I expect you would agree that it is generally true that people/churches fall in a direction on these kinds of issues (e.g. inviting unbelievers to church, seeker services) relative to their soteriology.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Rick started a church in his home. Now it has 28k on a Sunday. Amazing.

    He codified the Bible's teaching on "purposes" of the Great Commandment and Great Commission. His Purpose Driven Life, Purpose Driven Church, etc, has grown so large that they have formed a separated 501c(3) non-profit organization, so as not to over-burden the church staff.

    So the two groups are intrically linked but two different organizations to help the ministries function.

    I worked with the International Institute in Dallas as Dean of the college and grad school. It was similarly linked, but with different staff and different purposes, than Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools.
     
  4. All about Grace

    All about Grace New Member

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    I can agree with this to some extent.
    At the same time, I maintain that you will find "seeker" type churches/pastors who are all over the scale in their soteriology.
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    SBC, while there is really no data or research to which we can go to prove or disprove the point, one is still left with taking the opinion that it is generally true or that it is generally not true. I'm not sure what to make of your answer of agreeing to some extent.

    I have no disagreement with you that "you will find 'seeker' type churches/pastors who are all over the scale in their soteriology". Arguing against that never was my point. If you look at the whole range of Baptists in America, the majority fall into the "2-pt modified Calvinism" camp. In this group, with the exception of some who tend toward "primitivism" in their practice, some "old time" missionary Baptists, and some whose fundamentalism and/or landmarkism are the driving factor, you will probably find very few that object to modern programs, parachurch ministries, and on & on. There are some "true" Arminians (such as General & Free Will), and while some of these type churches tend toward "primitivism" in practice, very few among them object to modern programs, parachurch ministries, and whatever it takes to win the lost. I would say the "Calvinistic" Baptists (including Reformed, Sovereign Grace, Primitive, Old Regular, etc.) would be the most varied or inconsistent lot, though I still would conclude that a majority of them would object to much of what modern programs have to offer. The tricky factor in quantifying this might be the many Southern Baptists who have "Reformed" in their soteriology, while this has had little to no impact on how they view methodology.
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    What you are suggesting is a copout. I have heard your argument over and over. If numbers are not important than why read Numbers and Genesis and call them inspired. Biblical faithfulness will be measured in quality and quantity. It is both. The average person sitting in the pew in most churches never wins one person to Christ in an entire lifetime. How do you call that faithfulness? That is the opposite of numbers.

    Anyone who sets out to disciple others will make disciples. Obviously some more than others. Some places will be harder than others.

    Name for me one person who has been faithful and who never led another to Christ and who never disciped anyone.

    What you are perpetuating is a myth. It is American nonsense perpetuated by those who promote a make me feel good religion without any diligence and work.
     
  7. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    You do not understand what I am saying...that's okay...I'll explain again.....


    God grows His church by us(the believers) going out to share Christ with a lost world. We shpould be obedient to this commission if we are believers. There is no excuse for a believer to not be ready to give an answer. We should share Christ in the marketplace,schools,homes...anywhere we have a scope of influence. God draws people to Himself through our obedience to Him,they are saved and desire to be with other believers,so THEN they come to church. The new christians are then equipped(by men at the church who teach) to go out and share Christ and His great gospel with other lost souls.

    Let me add,I am fine with unbelievers coming to church,(for the upteenth time)we just do not make everything *for* the unbeliever. I do not agree with a seeker sensitive worship service.

    Chuck Colson(I didn't know where he stood) even spoke about the dangers of this on AFR Wednesday(I believe). I'm not saying anything that many evangelical are not saying....We have read many articles,books by very credible men who warn against this...it is definetely not Molly's ideas....we feel it is scriptural and need for concern.

    Molly
     
  8. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    Actually,a copout is when you bring your lost friends to church and expect your seeker sensitive worship service to do the job....it is our responsibilty,as believers,to know the Word,so we can share the gospel and help those who need a saviour. If we are not doing this,we are disobedient to God in our personal walk with Him.

    Once again,it is okay if you do bring a lost friend to church,but if we were doing what Christ told us to do....we would not be having to make church attractive and *relevant* to people who do not know or love God.
     
  9. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    Another point to ponder....when numbers is the measure of success,a church will try whatever works to bring in numbers...when biblical faithfulness is the goal,a church many not accept every new church growth idea,but then God receives the glory because things were done God's ways...man can not get credit for man's ideas being successful.

    Another point...pragmatism can lead a church down a road that may have not been the intentions at first,but because numbers aremore important,things happen there that may not be good for the church. It kinda blinds people of biblical faithfiulness,because they believe if people are coming and being saved,it MUST be okay...this is not true and can be a false test as to what is biblical.
     
  10. All about Grace

    All about Grace New Member

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    You said before that you saw nothing wrong with having evangelistic events. So you need to correct yourself here. You do not believe in the frequency and time that some have evangelistic-geared services. As I have repeatedly shown, this is not a theological or scriptural issue but a methodological one.

    Again Molly. You misrepresent the truth here. For someone so concerned about being biblical, you sure don't mind distorting reality.
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    Personally I accept very little of the church growth stuff. Most of the time it is an easy quick fix. Making disciples takes lots of personal time with new believers. It is hard work. It takes preparation each week for each person you disciple. Jesus did not call us to make converts, but disciples. That is biblical faithfulness.

    The reason people are not coming to Christ is not because the gospel is not potent enough. It's because to many Christians lack boldness and/or are to lazy to share their faith. The reason Christians are not making diosciples is because tro many leaders don't have a clue what to do. Just take a look at the early church. They didn't have a Sunday School and sermon once a week. They were making disciples.They were about the business of showing the new believers how to walk by faith as Jesus showed them by experience and teaching.

    I sat in church services being fed up with religious nonsense until I met a man who was dead serious about walking with God. He spent about four hours each week with me teaching me to read the Bible, memorize scripture, how to pray, how to share my faith and to meet together to discuss the Bible study. I am doing that same thing today because of Him. How many Christians do you know that will invest that much time with another to help them know God. Thirty three years later both of us have been pastors and still discipling people. We are still walking with God. About once a month we talk on the phone. Because of his diligent obedience my life has been radically changed for time and eternity. That's what it's all about.

    If every believer in the church today would disciple one person, in about two years we would have churches that doubled in size or new churches planted.
     
  12. Pluvivs

    Pluvivs New Member

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    Unless you have disciples like Mark, Demas, Alexander the Coppersmith, and Judas.

    -Pluvivs
     
  13. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

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    I guess it depends on what one considers church growth. My cousin's church (not Baptist) has some 12,000 members. They've had roughly that same number of members for the last 15 years or so. In that same amount of time, my own church (baptist) has grown from a few hundred to several thousand. Does that mean my church is giving more quick fixes than his? I would say no, having seen both. I think many comments (both pro and con) about church growth are most often generalizations. Each case and each church is different.
     
  14. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    I guess it depends on what one considers church growth. My cousin's church (not Baptist) has some 12,000 members. They've had roughly that same number of members for the last 15 years or so. In that same amount of time, my own church (baptist) has grown from a few hundred to several thousand. Does that mean my church is giving more quick fixes than his? I would say no, having seen both. I think many comments (both pro and con) about church growth are most often generalizations. Each case and each church is different. </font>[/QUOTE]More numbers may or may not mean church growth. It may mean more babies still nursing who have been sucking on milk for many years and like it. What I mean by church growth bologna is those who peddle a quick fix. We know that the chruch grows most in areas of persecution. That is not a quick fix but a unity and commitment to Jesus.

    It is not about how many come to church or how many mickels and noses but about true disciples.

    How many church growth seminars talk about the cost of following Jesus? When we quit worrying about our jobs and reputation and put it on the line with Jesus then we can be called a true disciple.

    I think Barna said it well in his book.

    From the book Growing True Disciples by George Barna , pages 128 - 132


    Let's Be Real

    Truthfully, while disciple-making must be a priority for you, by whatever means you select, you must enter the process with your eyes open. What happens when you make true disciples - not just students or group members, but real zealots for Christ?

    Peoples lives change
    The collection of disciples - the true Church - gains favor with the world.
    Society is changed by the disciples.
    Society experiences turmoil as a result of the Church being true to God's truths and commands.
    Disciples are persecuted.

    Making disciples and being a disciple is not a complete joyride. Disciple-making is not the answer to every cultural problem that exists - in fact, an effective discipleship process may create new tensions and animosities within the culture as God's principles clash with Satan's principles in the battle of spiritual kingdoms. But the hardships that arise as a result of engagement in disciple-making are no excuse to avoid or minimize our devotion to the process and its outcomes; in fact, they are an indicator that the Church is being the Church. As long as the battle between good and evil persists, we will not experience a peaceful, loving, wholly satisfying society. However, while being avid, passionate disciples of Jesus Christ will not bring about the perfect society, the thrust to be true disciples is the answer for each of us, individually, in the quest to become pleasing and honorable people in God's eyes.

    We cannot help but have a positive impact on the world when we are being Christ-like, even though the results of our life may not always look pretty. Not even Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of Humankind, was loved by all people. If we follow His ways and His footsteps, we should not expect to be loved and accepted by everyone either. But God, the Father of Creation, was completely pleased with the work of the Son - and that was all that mattered to the Son. So Jesus is our model and that is our challenge: to gain the acceptance of the Father, by imitating the work of the Son, through the empowerment of the Spirit. The results that emerge are up to God to disentangle. That is a task clearly beyond our capabilities.

    When you hire people, you study their lives to look for clues as to what they will be like as an employee. When you buy products, you study the contents and reviews to determine which products will provide the outcomes you desire. As you strive to become a disciple and to make disciples, keep your eyes on the substance of the subject, whether it is you or someone whom you are discipling.


    Here's what you're looking for - and, if it's absent, what you are trying to infuse within the true disciple:
    the passion of Stephen
    the joy of the post-Pentecost apostles
    the integrity of Nathanael
    the availability of Mary
    the perseverance of Paul
    the transformation of Peter
    the wisdom of James
    the servanthood of Martha
    the love of John
    the generosity of Joseph the Levite from Cyprus
    the seriousness of John the Baptist
    the studiousness of Luke
    the humility and reverent faith of the centurion
    the evangelistic sharing of Andrew
    the character of Jesus


    None of these stalwarts of the faith (with the exception of Jesus) was a perfect representation of each of the qualities listed here. Each of these individuals stood out for a handful of qualities, and presumably worked on developing other qualities that brought them into greater conformity with Jesus' life. As you study their paths to glory keep in mind that even the models of our faith fell short of the glory of God. By our very nature, we always will; but by God's will, we must not accept our limitations as excuses to give up.

    The real obstacles to becoming a fully devoted, zealous disciple of Christ are not money, time, methods or knowledge. The major obstacle is the human heart. When that changes, all else changes. Jesus frequently reminded His disciples that the problem was not one of knowledge but of character The Pharisees had more religious knowledge than they knew what to do with but they lacked the character to apply it in ways that transformed themselves and their world. Judas spent many months living with Jesus, observing His ways and His miracles, learning timeless and transforming principles directly from the lips of the Master, and yet all of His knowledge and experience could not compensate for a wicked heart. A disciple is a person of Christian character. Just as Paul instructed his young disciple Timothy, if you develop appropriate character, the rest will follow.

    Go, Therefore ...
    Be a true disciple. Go and make disciples.
    And what will it look like, when it works?

    True discipleship produces holistic personal transformation, not mere assimilation into a community of church members.

    True discipleship is witnessed by people who are determined to be a blessing to others - people who are never content to simply accept and enjoy God's blessings to them.

    True discipleship creates Christians who aggressively pursue spiritual growth rather than passively experience spiritual evolution.

    True discipleship spawns individuals who develop renewed lifestyles instead of believers who mechanically check off completed assignments on a developmental agenda.

    True discipleship results in people who are more concerned about the quality of their character than the extent of their knowledge.

    True discipleship builds churches known for their culture of love, commitment and service rather than for their events, information and programs.

    True discipleship facilitates people devoted to a lifelong journey to imitate Jesus Christ, rather than the completion of a short-term regimen of tasks and responsibilities.

    Do you passionately want to become a zealous disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you committed to bring others with you on that amazing journey?

    Discipleship is about complete obedience to the Word of God, driven by a heart that can stand to do nothing less and a mind that knows it pays to focus on nothing less and a mind that knows it pays to focus on nothing else. Can we fulfill this mammoth challenge? Jesus, our mentor, says we can. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these..." (John 14:12)
    If you are devoted to the process of spiritual growth, and to allowing God's Holy Spirit to shape you on that journey, how you end up will bear scant resemblance to what you were when you began the journey.
     
  15. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

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    Uhhh, I think that was the point I was trying to make.

    Church growth and church size don't necessarily mean anything. There are churches weak in teaching that are growing, shrinking, and remaining the same in numbers. There are churches strong in teaching that are growing, shrinking, and remaining the same in numbers. It is typically the human ego that assumes a growing church is weak in teaching, or strong in teaching. An insecure believer at a small church may look at a growing church and assume there must be something wrong with them. Then again, a pompous believer at a large church will look at the small church and think there's something wrong with them. Neither is typically right.
     
  16. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    I absolutely positively agree with everything you have said and I think we are very like minded!
     
  17. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit New Member

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    If anyone has forgotten the first question of this thread, here it is:
    My answer is yes - bring them! Is there a better place for them to be on a Sunday morning?
     
  18. Brod Mon

    Brod Mon New Member

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    I agree with you USN2Pulpit. We should bring them in.
     
  19. crazycat

    crazycat Member

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    Nope don't bring them to church, just let them alone to Grope in the dark
     
  20. Molly

    Molly New Member

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    Yes,we can bring them,but better yet....GO OUT and share Christ with them so they will have the gospel presented to them and they might desire to come to church because they are seeking God...not because they wanted to come to the church carnival.
     
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