Monday, February 27, 2006

Church and Culture


OK
I got an email from somebody I don’t know, who has never walked into our spiritual community, telling me that the way we use music in our community is wrong. Specifically the use of ‘secular’ music is wrong. So this got me thinking: No, not about ignorant people…that will be a different post (UGHH there goes that inside voice…)

Today celebrities serve as cultural prophets and religious philosophers. More often than not, a famous actor or actresses will have a great influence with their religious beliefs on the average person. Recently, Kanye West, after winning 3 Grammys and being on the cover of Rolling Stone as Jesus, said that if there were a "revised gospel" he should be in it . . . In his later 20’s, West is one of the most popular and polarizing artists in music today. And while he's sold more than 4 million albums to date, he is as known for his outspokenness as he is for his hit-making ability. Not only is he compelling, but also so ridiculously brash, and yet so irresistibly entertaining.

Celebrities like West find that since the media scrutinizes their lives and practices, their words are magnified to the general population. Leonard Sweet says, “The best way to defuse the principalities and powers of postmodern culture is not to escape from it, but to learn its language, master its media, and engage it on a higher level.” The church has failed to master the media. In his book Carpe Manana, Leonard Sweet’s message is that the church’s presentation, which consists of the medium, style and language, must be culturally driven in order to be relevant. The message does not change, but the medium and style must.

Marshall McLuhan is considered by many to be one of the chief theorists of mass communications in our time. A practical ramification of reading of McLuhan is that one first must notice and accept the fact that the world is rapidly changing with the advent of technology; and that means that the church must be aware of that change. Not only must the church be aware of it, it must be involved in it. As the world changes, the church must be willing to change as well. This change can happen in many different forms, but according to McLuhan, the form is not what is important. The church must remember that what is important is the message that we are trying to get across to the rest of the ‘global village,’ namely the gospel. We must not focus on the means or process, but rather on the substance of what we have to offer.

Almost certainly in today’s society one can observe that there it is a genuine openness to spirituality, and that this is all magnified with the utilization of media. But here lies the confusion. Famous celebrities who claim they are ‘Christian’ talk about God or Jesus while promoting a lifestyle that is directly opposed to Scripture and the very teachings of the God they say they serve. Celebrities want to thank God and Jesus from award podiums, but often the same artist has won the award for a song or movie that may demean women, promote violence or glorify sexual promiscuity. It is not uncommon to hear Christian terminology used by celebrities without grounding it in Scripture or in the person of Christ. With spiritual hunger and awareness on the rise, books about spirituality like Deepak Chopra’s Conversations With God are being promoted by television hosts such as Opra Winfrey, yet there is no Biblical foundation to any of this spiritualism. There are new definitions being allocated to established theological and spiritual terms by these new cultural prophets and teachers. Thus what one finds is that there are confusing messages being sent to the spiritually hungry emerging generations who are learning these theological terms and ideas, but have ended up defining Jesus very differently than the Bible does.


Thoughts?

48 comments:

Adriano10 said...

Hello

I will quote this from Soulpastor and comment on it: "Thus what one finds is that there are confusing messages being sent to the spiritually hungry emerging generations who are learning these theological terms and ideas, but have ended up defining Jesus very differently than the Bible does."

My Question is why can't the church be a figure in the media, or how can we be less "corny" and actually appeal to people. Harsh Yes, the Truth, Denfinetly. No wonder people get the wrong message, they dont even know the right one, and no one that does know it says anything. And those in the media, Christians that is, are feeding wrong messages too, queue some Pat Robertson quote.

Theres a reason why Kanye West, Oprah, and others are so big is the fact that they get their message across, whatever that message may be. People look up to these modern day "Prophets" And why not? They have no "God" to look up too, he doesnt exist in the media, unless its some right wing stupid comment from a one Pat Robertson!

This kinda brings me to the Islamic reaction to those pictures of Mohammed. At least the Muslims take their religion seriously, we laugh at movies like Bruce Almighty, and Saved, Christians barely ever care about what is being portrayed in the media about them, or at least you dont hear about it. Extremist or not, these people take pride in what they believe and have faith in it.

Soulpastor, not many people care what Lenord Sweet has to say, hes not really relevant to non christians, and even to christians his message is to far feteched for conservative Christians who dont want to enter the sinful world of the media. Well his messages may work in some cases, your not going to see the majority of people engaging what he is preaching. He offers solutions to problems, but his solutions are problematic in themselves, they need to have a way to get Christians involved, and for them to step out of their comfort zone. (He [Sweet] was in the paper a while ago promoting a Ipod Shuffle attachment that you could wear around your neck that looked like a cross, now thats corny, no one will wear that, its not even cool.) <----- and you think that is relevant, ha! what a joke.

Im not saying i have solutions to these problems, i dont want to see the church sell out, even though we are starting too. (pentecostals at least) But if we dont sell out then we will just be boring, and wont appeal to anyone.

This quote "Not only is he compelling, but also so ridiculously brash, and yet so irresistibly entertaining" just exmplifies the fact that Kanye West is entertaining and this gives him a victory in itself, because now we rather listen to him then a 2000 year old book. Same goes for Oprah, which is watched every day by millions, even christians, who rather take advice from her then the 2000 year old book.

My solution is to make the Bible relevant again. So that it takes its righful place as bigger than the media, so its message resounds and is more entertaining that Kanye West.

This post is all over, but i think that it remains on topic.

Thoughts?

SoulPastor said...

Hey 10

PLEASE GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!
Yes, Leonard Sweet was featured in the local paper, BUT he was NOT PROMOTING IPODs IN THE STYLE OF A CROSS! He was encouraging churches to get onto the IPOD highway and engaging culture!

Secondly, before you comment on what somebody is preaching(ie Leonard Sweet) make sure that you have read or studied some of their work. Seriously!

Little Worshiper said...

I watch Oprah because she cares. And that's probably why most people watch her. She's real, she's outspoken, and she deals with real issues. The Church struggles to do the same but with Biblical grounding. What Christian besides mother Theresa has given so much to help the world?
I agree, we need to help people see that the Bible is relevant. It's just that we talk about it using words hardly any one understands and forget to explain why it's relevant for our lives. Some pastors and Christians are doing this, but many are not. So the world sees the Bible as just a bunch of rules someone is trying to impose on us. I think the struggle is... how do we help people see that the Bible is the word of God and that it makes sense for our lives?
As far as using secular stuff ... i say, use it. If you're going to speak to non-christians they won't relate to our mushy love songs to Jesus. The other night at our youth meeting we saw the music video of Broken Home by Papa Roach, heard songs by Death(f?)Lepord, and then watched a portion of "the passion of the Christ." Non-christians could relate and yet we let them know about Jesus.
Showing people that you believe in God and having your lifestyle show it is key in helping people see it's more than just believing God exists.
It was mentioned that we need to use what the postmodern culture has and then take them to higher levels... so how do we do it when we're still so modern minded?
And as a side note, Sweet did not support the "cross ipod." it was merely placed at the bottom of the article, not connect to the main article. I agree, it's super cheezy but the companies will capitalize on our "christian" stuff cuz' people unfortunately will buy it!

Adriano10 said...

I guess my memory was wrong about the article in the paper, i saw it on the same page and thought it was connected.

Soulpastor i know what Sweet says, hes a futurist, but his solutions are to radical for the typical christian, and this is the reason they dont work in the typical christian society. If it did then the church would be entertaining, and just as much as Kanye West. His message is only getting out to Radical Christians, and others who are seeing if they can buy into his theories. But most of them arent realistic, and would need a backing of many christians that are willing to step out of their comfort zones. From what i gather its hard for some christians to read their Bibles everyday (even this is turning into a comfort issue), so how can we do something more demanding and more complex?

The FACT is we need more realistic methods, and we need more willing people. Until then we will have to sit second fiddle to people who seem to "care" more, like Oprah or West, and why should we be first, we do nothing to help our cause but preach on how people should get out there and do more and more and more and more. Whats the point when what we are doing isnt effective, its like a job at Mcdonalds, a dead end.

In response to a comment from Little Worshiper. I cant see Oprah caring anymore if she took a massive pay cut, or if her ratings went down. I guess buying cars for people helps keep ratings up, maybe the church should do this, every member gets a new car. Realistic, no, effective, for sure. The thing is that these are just methods used to help her keep her popularity up. It makes her look good. If the church did this it would make it popular, but you wouldnt get "real" believers. People going to Oprah shows expect something from them, a prize of some sort. Or at least they hope for it. If this happened at church, after money ran out for prizes there wouldnt be a church.

We need realistic appraoches to the media, and those could include talking to people in community, making known issues and discussing them. Community could play an important role in this.

younghands said...

OK I promised myself I wouldn't post today because I don't have time, but this one is just too good to pass up on.
To make the Bible more relevant we don't have to change it we have to live it. You know why we are not succeeding in bringing people to Jesus, is that was never our mandate. Our mandate was to bring Jesus to the people. You want to make Jesus exciting for people live it out. I know that this is kind of high-jacking the your post. But who really cares if we have voices in the media. I think that as soon as Christian becomes famous that there is a tension between self promotion and Christ promotion. Mother Teresa got media attention because she took Jesus to the streets of Calcutta and never sought to be famous but to love.
I will never forget what David Nasser said at YC in Edmonton a couple of years. 15 000 youth worshipping God and he said that if this was any other group of youth rather than a church group that the media would cover it live. He went on to indicate that the reason that the media didn't care, is that they were tired of Christian rallies that didn't result in any change. He went on to say that if we wanted media coverage next year, that we should go and live out our faith and change our communities and our world.
To me the most relevant thing that Sweet said, other than the one way thing, was that we need to be a GOOD church or a Get Outside Of Doors church.
When you leave church on Sunday do not worry about who you will bring back, worry if you are taking Christ out with you. He is the attractive one not you and not me and seriously not soulpastor, lol.
I wonder, (realize this is a thought and not a proposal,) if we closed every church in North America for 1 year, would more people come to Christ or fewer. Would people be more likely to live their faith 24/7 without the habit of 1-2 hours on Sunday?

kenny said...

Oh man...another good post. I was impressed with the comments. Younghands....I commend you. You said pretty much what I was going to say. People are dissillusioned by "church"...why? Because they see ineffective people attending. They see people who walk in and walk out...and never as much look outside their box. I talk with a friend of mine who is not walking with God...and he tells me "why should I? Here are people who's lives never really change. They go to church, then live a self centered life. They never give past their tithe, they don't live a faith worth entering into." So basically he stays out of the church. I think we can have media galore...and I love it. But I love it more when I see peoples lives transformed. When I see people radically giving...even beyond their means. I love it when I see people going out of their way to care for the global village. Who form community groups (aka housegroups) to encourage and bless one another...and then take that encouragement out into the community and world. How are we impacting the people around us. Do we put our kids in private christian schools...shelter them...or do we get them out into the world to be witnesses of God? Do we build huge churches or do we church plant? Media...ya, it's good, but what about people who are just getting by, who do not have food on their table, who live in such poverty...and we want more media...we want to keep up? What happens when a person in utter poverty comes to our church...and sees flashy lights...the best of the best...and then goes home hungry. I look at the housechurches in China...and there is an outpouring of the spirit and thousands of converts...I don't think they are trying to keep up with media and try to be relavent...they are just trying to stay alive...and live whole hearted for God. Sometimes I have been to churches where I cannot hear the person beside me singing. I long for that. Sometimes I long for a lone guitar player...leading in intimate worship. Maybe it is just me...not sure. But sometimes less is more. Little Worshipper, there are many thousands and thousands of people in the world who are impacting the communities they live in. In our city we have Harry Lehotsky who is the voice of the inner city. Who is caring for the outcasts...trying to make a difference. He is in the media! There is Crisis Pregnancy Center who have been the voice of the voicesless children for years...and they are in the media...making an impact, saving hundreds of babies. There is New Direction and House of Hesed who are bringing the hope of restoration of sexual wholeness and care for the sick in our city. But the workers are few. These 3 organizations are faith based. That means they rely on people to give. Some do...but I think it is time for the church community to step up to the plate. You want the media to see us, then stand up! Be risk takers, be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Just a bit more food for thought. Sorry if this was all over the board!
I guess if we want the spiritually hungry to look at our lives and want what we have...then we better be living it.

filletofsoul said...

Soulpastor...
Your post covered a few topics, but I would like to respond to the celebrity endorsement part. It is true that Jesus may be defined very differently in the media than what the Bible says. Other religions have also faced that same kind of misrepresentation. Take Kabbalah for example; sure Madonna has made Kabbalah popular but is it worth it? Take a look at this article:

Jerusalem - Word that Madonna’s upcoming album includes a paean to a 16th-century Jewish mystic has prompted the rabbis who guard his legacy to accuse the pop idol of sacrilege and hint at divine punishment.

The “Confessions on a Dance Floor” collection includes a song titled “Isaac” -- in reference, entertainment media say, to Rabbi Isaac Luria, founder of the Kabbalah school of mysticism which counts Madonna, 47, as one of its devotees.

The custodians of Luria’s tomb and seminary in the northern Israeli town of Safed accused her of breaking a taboo.

“There is a prohibition in Jewish law against using the holy name of our master, the Sage Isaac, for profit,” the seminary’s director, Rabbi Rafael Cohen, told the Israeli newspaper Maariv on Sunday.

“This is an inappropriate act, and one can feel only pity at the punishment that she (Madonna) will receive from Heaven. The Sage Isaac is holy and pure, and immodest people cannot sing about him,” he said.

Catholic-born Madonna, famed for her racy lyrics and on-stage antics, has drawn frequent censure from ultra-Orthodox Jews who say her embrace of Kabbalah debases their religion.

Deemed especially provocative was Madonna’s music video for “Die Another Day”, in which she wove phylacteries around her arm, a custom usually reserved for Jewish men, before escaping from an electric chair on which Hebrew letters spelling out one of the 72 names of God appeared.

“This kind of woman wreaks an enormous sin upon the Kabbalah,” said Rabbi Yisrael Deri, caretaker of Luria’s tomb.

ilikeyellow said...

I was at a conference in Edmonton not too long ago. Author Donald Miller spoke there (he wrote "Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality", "Through Painted Deserts", etc). He said he went to a Christian College and asked the 2nd semester students who had just undergone studying the Old and New Testament the first semester, to listen to him as he told of the Gospel and how one can become a Christian. He then said to the class, "Tell me what is missing from this account of the Gospel". Well, the class was silent for a few minutes and then one by one suggestions were made. Yet, no one had the answer. Finally, Donald Miller told them that what he had left out of the Gospel message was Jesus. Wow! Yet, again and again this is the case for so many 'Believers', we leave out the most important part of the Gospel message, the reason we have a relationship with our God, the reason grace exists, and so on. Should I/we continue to leave Christ out and his love, grace, compassion, holiness, and presence, then of course the church will die. Of course Christianity will become a thing of the past. Of course Jesus will be replaced by Oprah (who seems to care more than Jesus?). As one comment stated above, “I guess if we want the spiritually hungry to look at our lives and want what we have...then we better be living it". But, if we aren't understanding who Jesus was/is then how can we live it? So many, including myself, rely on people (such as soulpastor) to TELL us the Gospel, Tell us how to live it, Tell us what we need to do, rather than learning and reading for ourselves. Many of us Christians are so apathetic in our faith, taking so much for granted. We don't read the Bible because it's not as 'relevant' as Kanye West's lyrics?! But, the Bible is only as relevant as our understanding of it. That's why we NEED to read and study God's Word for our self asking God to open our hearts and minds to what is on the pages of this "2,000 year old book" that has stood the test of time. When we discover for ourselves the greatness of God and His inspired Word, even if it's a difficult process involving prayer, commentaries, and dictionaries, then so be it. The more we understand about our Faith then the more passionate we can become about it, the more we can understand how to live it out, the better we can share about our faith in a way for others to understand (and I don't mean in a debate where one fact battles another, there aren't many who are going to come to Jesus due to 'facts' or your sharp intellect). Understanding Christianity means to live it. It means to live out the Gospel, it means the Sunday School answer . . . Jesus. Wow, that was a rant.

SoulPastor said...

Are you sure you are not a preacher?

Lexi said...

We read a pretty good book on this topic in our Youth Ministry Foundations class.

Reaching a Generation for Christ by Richard Dunn and Mark Senter III , published by Moody in the Spring of 1997
ISBN: 0-8024-9348-3

You know what I think would help? A revolving stage. HEH. Seriously now, I agree that we need to become a little more real and a little less ritualistic in the way we do church. Mother Theresa did have the right idea. But the cool effects are neato too.

kenny said...

ilikeyellow...thanks for that...Jesus is often left out. In my return to faith, it has been my quest to know Jesus better, to know the word and ask the Holy Spirit that dwells within me to reveal what it means. It is spending time in the presence, it is being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Everything in this world will fade away, but the message of Christ will remain forever. So ya...thanks...!

Lexi said...

SERIOUSLY NOW, tell me that this Kayne West person is not what is cool nowadays. I just checked out his site and....

You wonder why animals eat their young.

Adriano10 said...

Lexi of course Kanye is cool, his music is catchy, hes got style, flare, class, and to some looks.

He is cool becuase he stands out and tells what is on his mind, things we as Christians back down from, i think we are afraid of consequences of telling the truth :/

If you can show me one Christian that is cool in the media i would be very suprised, and i mean main stream, not Christian stream.

ilikeyellow said...

soulpastor, I am sure I am not a pastor . . . Did I sound like one? Was that bad? Too much? I sure do know how to use a soapbox. Maybe I should get a blog rather than 'preaching' on someone elses?

SoulPastor said...

Yellow!
Enjoy the moment! If you feel called....we can talk!!!!
Welcome and looking forward to your commentary!

SoulPastor said...

THIS JUST IN
The McPassion of the Filmmaker
Rik Swartzwelder didn't like the way churches pitched The Passion from their pulpits a couple of years ago. So the young filmmaker made a biting satire about it—and you can watch it today.
by Mark Moring | posted 03/01/06


Watch this film http://www.themcpassion.com/

Rik Swartzwelder is a nervous wreck—and he's the first to admit it. "Scared to death," he says.

The young filmmaker didn't like the way The Passion of The Christ was pitched from pulpits a couple of years ago, and he feels like the church has gotten way too cozy with the idea of marketing Hollywood movies. So he responded the best way he knows how: He made a movie about it.

Swartzwelder, a Christian, wrote and co-produced The McPassion, a four-minute satire about the way Mel Gibson's film—and others since—became fodder for the marketing machine, which, to Swartzwelder, included churches and pastors making their own sales pitches. Swartzwelder's friend Benjamin Hershleder directed and co-produced The McPassion, described on the back of the DVD cover as, "The greatest story ever told and a fast-food giant unite to deliver the tie-in of tie-ins. While supplies last."

The result is a biting send-up that has Swartzwelder nervous about how it will be received. He's had a few private screenings, and says the reactions have been mixed. He says some filmmakers, college profs, and even a few of his Christian friends are already mad at him, calling his film blasphemous and sacrilegious.

Brian Godawa apparently digs it. Godawa, author (Hollywood Worldviews) and screenwriter (To End All Wars), says, "The McPassion is a New Testament equivalent of an Old Testament prophecy challenging the idolatry of the church in embracing the world in its commercialization. For those who would be offended, The McPassion is tame compared to Ezekiel's sarcastic 'short film' of Israel whoring away like a prostitute in heat in Ezekiel 23. Exegete that!"

You can decide for yourself: The McPassion is available via streaming video at the official website, starting today—Ash Wednesday. And it will run for 40 days—throughout Lent. Yes, the timing is intentionally ironic, says Swartzwelder, who recently chatted with us about the project.


Rik Swartzwelder

How did the idea for this film come about?

Rik Swartzwelder: The original idea came when The Passion of The Christ was being released in 2004. I was visiting my brother in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we visited several churches. And every church we went to, we were basically told from up front that it was our duty, or our responsibility as a church member, to buy a ticket to this movie. Now, I don't have anything negative to say about the film at all …

Just about the way it was pitched in churches.

Swartzwelder: Correct. I thought [the marketing in churches] was an anomaly, but now everyone's trying to do it. Everywhere I turn, people are trying to promote their films within church and specifically within worship. And that gets tricky, I think.

Like you, I heard it mentioned from a couple of pulpits. But I never the word "duty" or "responsibility." I heard, "This is a good movie and we encourage you to go see it."

Swartzwelder: But were you hearing that before the person had even seen it? To me, that's part of the issue. It's one thing if a pastor sees a film and wants to share that with his congregation. It's another thing when you start marketing a film sight-unseen just because you've been pitched it. How can you endorse something up front when you, yourself, have not even seen it?

But a lot of pastors did see The Passion in advance. I saw an advance screening with thousands of Chicago-area pastors. Many pastors were given the same opportunity more recently with End of the Spear. You can't fault Hollywood for marketing their films to pastors and churches, can you?

Swartzwelder: I don't fault Hollywood at all. I have the utmost respect for their ability to market and sell. This is not about Hollywood. It's not Hollywood's responsibility what happens in churches. That's the church's responsibility.

Your press release says test audiences are reacting strongly.

Swartzwelder: True. There was a screening at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Some people loved it, and others seriously thought it was sacrilegious or blasphemous. It's satire, but their concern was that it's unclear whether we're making fun of these religious practices and sacred things—or the marketing of them.

I get satire, and I usually get the message behind it. But I didn't see this as clearly pointing at the church. I saw it pointing to the ridiculous over-marketing of religious things; it looked like a Saturday Night Live spoof. Do you think your message comes through clearly in the film?

Swartzwelder: Well, I wouldn't say it's pointing a finger at the church. I think the issue of over-marketing is something we should be talking about in the church. If someone is offended or angered by the film, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Instead of saying it's a piece to poke fun at the church, I hope it would engage or shock or stir someone to the point of looking at what we allow to happen in church, and let that lead to a discussion.

I'm assuming you're not saying churches should not talk about movies.

Swartzwelder: Oh, heavens no.

OK. If playing a trailer and saying it's your duty to see this film is over the line, then where is the line?

Swartzwelder: I'm not sure I know where that line is. For the first time, there's interesting films made by Christian filmmakers, and we're really opening up doors there. But I think there's a danger of getting so excited about that, that we forget to remember that films, at the end of the day, are products. They shape culture and they're stories, but they're also products that people sell. I'm just hoping to spark discussion about where that line might be. I'm hoping that leaders and pastors can talk about these issues, and we can together find out where that line is.

But man, I'm not saying we shouldn't talk about film in church, or even show movie clips in sermons. This isn't about whether or not films should be used in worship.

How do you feel about churches "using" film as a means of evangelism? That happened in a big way with The Passion, with some ministry organizations saying, "Here's how your church can use this film to bring others to Christ." And it was done again with Narnia in a big way.

Swartzwelder: A huge way. And they're releasing Narnia on DVD in time for Easter, so we're co-opting sacred days for strategic release …

Said the guy who's releasing his film on Ash Wednesday.

Swartzwelder: Yeah, but I'm not making any money, brother. Not a dime. But you're absolutely right. But I just don't where it ends.

Anyway, how do you feel about churches using film as an "evangelism tool"?

Swartzwelder: What do you mean by that?

Billy Graham's organization has been making films for 50 years specifically as evangelism tools; they want people to come to Christ as a result of seeing these films. And even though Mel Gibson may not have made The Passion with that intent, the church still "used" it for that purpose. What do you think about "using" films for the purpose of evangelism?

Swartzwelder: Well, my approach to filmmaking is different. I'm certainly not an expert on the use of film as evangelism. I believe in film primarily as a means of storytelling, and insomuch that sharing a parable can sow seed into somebody, I believe in that. But the approach of showing a film and having an altar call is not my approach. I don't slight it, but I don't know if I'm the best qualified to comment on that. It's sort of a separate discussion, I guess.

Well, sort of. But one reason churches got excited about pitching The Passion from the pulpit was that it could be used as a witnessing tool. You could do the same thing with your own short film, The Least of These.

Swartzwelder: That begs a good question, because The Least of These has been shown in churches. But it was never shown in a church without somebody having seen it first. I just … I don't know, man.

That's okay. You're at least asking the questions.

Swartzwelder: Again, I don't slight churches; I'm not pointing fingers at anybody. I do believe people's hearts were in the right place when they pitched The Passion in churches. We were like dying of thirst in a desert, and finally we had this fire hose. I understand why we get excited and want to promote. But what is the primary purpose of the pulpit? How do we share the gospel in a way that guards the sanctity of the pulpit? I guess I don't fully understand the idea of promoting products from the pulpit. And I think we forget that movies are products made by for-profit entities.

So are Bibles.

Swartzwelder: That's a good point.

And so are any Christian books for that matter, and lots of churches have bookstores now.

Swartzwelder: Well, yeah. But I do think that whatever the purpose of the pulpit is primarily, I'm convinced it's not to be a conduit for anybody's marketing machine. And you can take that wherever you'd like to take it. But I'm sure there are lots of folks that would like to comment on the selling of books or videos or anything at church. My particular axe to grind, obviously, is film.

But you have to hear my heart: I'm scared to death. I had some friends tell me not to make this movie. I stand behind it and I hope it leads to discussion, but I'm not trying to point fingers or really throw stones at anybody. I'm trying to figure it out, and as a filmmaker that's what you do. You create. But I'm scared to death. You can quote me on that.

You've said you hope this film at least gets the discussion going. With that said, who do you want to see it?

Swartzwelder: We're sending about 500 screeners, divided up between key church leaders, the film festival circuit, and Hollywood. So it's three-prong. Plus we'll stream it online for 40 days, and when that's over, we will have DVDs available.

To buy at the website?

Swartzwelder: No, we're not going to sell them.

Why not?

Swartzwelder: You know, even my hypocrisy knows some bounds! I'm not opposed to selling film; obviously, The Least of These is for sale; I'll sell it out of the back of my car. But this particular film is unique.

go here to see the film
http://www.themcpassion.com/

Jordan said...

I haven’t read the comments yet...but... here is a word of my own.
They are everywhere! People who say that they are Christians and live absolutely different ways. We all know that. But what bugs me is how ridiculously out of control it gets. I don't want to offend anyone but I think that I you want to be someone somewhere you at some point will throw the Christian title above your head.
If you don't believe me...
Backstreet Boys have claimed to be "Christians" again don't get me wrong they may be but do they live a life style devoted to Christ? Ahh... Not in my opinion.
More proof about this someone somewhere thing... This is a VERY VERY small list of U.S. Presidents who have used the title Christian. (They very well may be I don't know)
George H.W. Bush - U.S. President
George W. Bush - U.S. President
Ronald Reagan - U.S. President
Jimmy Carter - U.S. Abraham Lincoln - U.S. President
George Washington - U.S. President

We all have our own opinions and that is mine.

Little Worshiper said...

I Watched the McPassion movie and read the interview. I'm neither shocked nor riled up about it. I think Rik makes a good point that people will use Christian things to make money. I don't think it's wrong though for pastors to have endorsed "the Passion" when it came out. It was a powerful film that opened the door to non-christians. So Mel Gibson made tons of money, who cares. At least the gospel is getting out there and the stories are getting out there in a way that's relevant. I think it gets cheesy and unneccessary when we start to buy all those things "portrayed for sale" in Rik's movie ( i realize these things aren't real as of yet). It made me think of when i go into a Christian book store. jesus erasers, pens, pencils, Narnia Bible cover... Come on! But as for endorsing things from the puplit, i think it's fine. What is the "sanctity of the pulpit" anyway?

Stephanie said...

I must say, the disrespect that the McPassion film demonstrated definitely bothered me. And it was supposed to, right? I think the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach is a good thing. When promoting the gospel as a means of getting a profit is portrayed so blatantly like in this short film, it makes it easier to see how that is actually happening in churches. I do believe Hollywood used the church to make money, and that church leadership was duped into promoting it the way they did. I had a number of problems with the Passion of the Christ movie, but I won't go into them here, because I'm probably the only one... However, I am breathing a sigh of relief that I am not alone feeling the way I do about how the movie was promoted.

As a side note, this whole thing reminds me of the verse, Luke 16:8:
"For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light." Yep, I think we got a tad duped.

kenny said...

I have not seen the McPassion film as my computer does not get it! But firstly, I loved the Passion. Regardless of how it was promoted...who said what...who made money off it...it freakin touched me. I did not watch it until the summer of 2005. When it was released, I refused to go to it...because it was a "Christ" movie...and I was pretty far away from "Christ". So I did not hear about Pastors promoting the movie. So when I rented it, I had already "come home". So I wanted to watch it. So ya, again, regardless of whatever else, it moved me to a sobbing mess on the floor. In awe of Christs shedding of blood...for me! I am a visual learner...I love creative ways to express my faith and in watching the movie, it gave me a visual perception of the agony of the cross, the sacrifice that happened...and okay, people said...it was too bloody and too violent...if you research crucifictions of that era...you will realize that the movie could have been WAY more graphic and more disturbing to watch. There is a scripture somewhere which talks about God using even unbelievers to promote His truth. So someone made money on it and it was promoted on pulpits...big deal.
We have cd's, dvd's, books, self help devotionals and alas...Bibles ( which should be free for anyone) the list goes on of what is sold via the pulpit.
Can I throw out another thought here for discussion...What do people think of the movie End of the Spear and the main actor on the film is openly gay? Will that be a hinderance to the film and how it is promoted and seen by the church and or our world or will it make no difference at all?
Thoughts?

SoulPastor said...

Kenny...
Great Post...
For an interesting read go to
http://emergentvoyageurs.blog.com/478437/

johnniecomelately said...

Soulpastor... who has the time to care about what the church's think anyway? It's time to get off of our church pews and get outside the doors - into the streets, into the market place, into Hollywood... back to the "each one - win one" mentality. (And on a side note, once you have won then... disciple them!) Even if Kanya and Opra are offering spiritualism without substance. Even if Hollywood duped some pastors and priests, manipulating them into promoting their film, for their own gain. These Non-Christians... I like to call them Pre-Christians, live their lives according to what they think is right... no matter what we think about them or how much of a problem we have with them. They do not yet know the truth! 1 Cor. 13:11 "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

I think it's worth noting that so many of these folks seem to be on a spiritual quest... seeking truth.

It's time (I'm preachin to myself now...) to get out there and boldly communicate God's love in an appropriate manner - GODS LOVE, and not God's condescension!

And so what if a couple of pastors or priests promoted Hollywood, the Passion was a good thing that brought attention to the suffering of our Lord, and his love for mankind. Swartzwelder needs to wake up... fact is that the pulpit has been used as a promotional tool for as long as I remember. We promote our values, families, government, community projects, schools, social events, charities, music, entertainment, technology (the list goes on.)

As for adriano10's comment about the Islamic reaction to the Mohammed photo's... we Christians have been there and done that! I think the Christians invented the revolution many years ago.

Mark said...

The McPassion...

From some of the reactions, I get the impression that I was supposed to not find it funny. Is there some reason for this? Because, frankly, I was nearly on the floor laughing.

Stephanie said...

Kenny, that was powerful. Thanks. I needed to hear that. I'm glad that the movie touched hearts and brought people back to God.

I had written a post earlier this week, and instead of posting it, I accidentally deleted it. So, I'm going to attempt rewriting it...


This may be outside some people's comfort zones, but please, just see if it's in context in Scripture or not. Just because it's not comfortable, doesn't mean that it's not God.

John 10:38 - ...believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.

John 14:11 - Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

Acts 2:22 - Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs...

Romans 15:18,19 - I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done - by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit.

John 14:12 - ...anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

I am not a thrill-seeking, miracle-hungry fanatic. However, I do see in the Bible that signs and miracles are something God uses to put a stamp of authenticity on the words of His people. It wasn't just Jesus who said this. Paul said the same thing, and Jesus said we should be living it out too. I have seen miracles. Big ones. Broken ankle healed instantly. Man going paralyzed healed, instantly. I've seen gold appear. I've seen a diamond appear in my hand. I've seen a woman drop about 50 pounds instantaneously. These things make your mouth drop. They make you take a second look, that's for sure. But here's the sad thing:

I've only seen miracles within the walls of church. I think it's time to bring the message, with validation, to the people outside the church. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have obeyed the Lord when He told me to do something outside the church. I can't count, however, the number of times He has told me to go talk to people.

I'm not saying that I am an obedient person who is practising what I preach. I'm not being hypocritical by telling you to do something that I am not doing. I'm saying I see it in the Bible. Do you see it?

Of course, the most important part of the whole thing is LOVE. I Corinthians 13. If we do the rest, but we don't love, we're just a horrid racket to the world we're trying to preach to.

I John 3:18 - ...let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Did Jesus get the local celebs to promote His cause? Did He rent the local Collesium for a rally? No. He just talked and demonstrated the power of God to the people that surrounded Him. And yes, I would say He influenced the world. He expects the same as us.
I think if Christians did what they were supposed to, we wouldn't have to depend on Hollywood to deliver the message that we are all supposed to carry wherever we go.


Kenny said in an earlier post, "They don't live a faith worth entering in to". Wow. Exactly.

Stephanie said...

Oops, I made a mistake. In the second last paragraph, I said, "He expects the same as us." I meant, "He expects the same of us."

ilikeyellow said...

Stephanie, you are so right on! Love. What a wonderful concept. And who better shows the true meaning of love than Love Himself; God. Three in one. Jesus. Again, if we (Christians) live who the person of Christ is, fully understanding him, we will love. We could not help ourselves but to love. We will love regardless of who a person is, where a person is at, what a person is doing in their life. I am not saying we will ignore sin. Of course not. That is not love. But we will speak with love. Is this easy? Heck no! That's why we must look to Jesus DAILY, seeking to know him more and understand what we can of who he is/was on earth and trying to be that person. Imagine a world where Christians loved and showed that even to one family who did not know Christ? Sure this idea is not new, it's from basic Sunday school again, "Share the Gospel with one person, disciple them, and then they'll do the same and then in so many years everyone will know the Lord". This leads me to ask, does Oprah show love? It's been mentioned that she seems to care? And I am sure she does. But does she love like Jesus? Maybe. Maybe she's actually a good example. Maybe she's got a good understanding of who Jesus was/is. But, does she know who he is now in her life? Possibly, I am not here to judge her. But, what is for sure, millions of people believe in her and her care because they can see it, they can recognize it. So, me being the average person, more accessible to the average person, am I showing care, demonstrating love in a way that one will wonder what is my driving force? Where one would want to spend time with me each week (let alone 5 times a week for an hour interrupted by commercials). Where, should someone ask, I can express that I am a Christian? Hmmm . . . I sure hope so. And more so, do I love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as I am commanded to in John 13:34-35? It's harder than loving those who do not profess to be a Believer, I grant you that. But I try and I fail and I try again. Because I know Love and I want to show Love.

SoulPastor said...

So what do you make out of this one?

check out this site...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11567350/site/newsweek/

Jordan said...

I hit that link. I think that the idea of a "CHRISTIAN" (Notice the emphasis) video game is actually pretty dumb. I say dumb because this game is under the label "CHRISTIAN" I tell you; I can't image walking into Blockbuster game section and seeing "Racing, Shooting, Sports, Christian video games." But what I do find cool is that it is showing people what a mess it would be to be left in those end times. Which leads me to my next point.
Why let someone play something that we are trying to avoid later on in life? You play lots of NHL on your PS2 and you get "addicted" to it. Why get "addicted" to something that is going to happen? Do you want people to live out this game like kids try to live out there dreams of playing NHL?

Adriano10 said...

As an avid video game player, im talking like Avid, u name it i got it sort of thing. I would say that the game in the article would SUCK. Many reasons such as no name game developers, terrible story line, and its just sounds corny, and unoriginal.

No one wants to play a game that you kill the anti-christ. There are games such as Halo, Doom, F.E.A.R. and others that are much better graphically, gameplay wise, option wise, story wise.

In response to Jordans comments, if you get "addicted" to the substance, the message of the video game then you should put the game down. If your addicted to the gameplay, the fun of whatever u do in the game, then thats ok. But you cannot take the game seriously to the point where you would get to into the story that its not good for you.

Its like people trying to say blame Grand Theft Auto (a video game) for people stealing cars and beating the hell out of people. If people are that stupid and actually do what is done in a video, then they shouldnt pick up the controller. ITS A VIDEO GAME, not real life, some people are jsut to stupid to understand this.

But the moral of this story is Christian games will never be good becuase there are limits on what they can do. Whereas the secular gaming community has no limits so they can make what they want.

Imagine if a Christian game was Teen or Mature rated, that would stir some conterversy.

"Im sorry sir, you cannot buy this Christian game becuase you are not old enough to play Christian games." <---- the reason why it will never work for Christian games. For video games to be good they have to be rated at least Teen, unless it is a sports game. Sad but True.

As a gamer i would like to see games stay the way they are, and not introduce christian games. It will make us look bad, and stupid. They've tried before and royally failed, no point in trying again.

ilike yellow said...

When I saw Donald Miller speak in Edmonton he also talked about how we Christians can get so sucked into a Christian bubble. First he stated that within 6 months of becoming a Christian most no longer have non-believing friends. Then he talked about 'the big Christian bubble' . . . we have Christian parents with Christian kids, who go to Christian school, and hang out at their Christian friends house, and go to Christian youth events, we buy our Christian books, and go to Christian movies and Christian coffee shops, and on Christian vacations, etc. . . And guess what?! We can now go to a Christian Office Depot (in the USA). And as Donald Miller said, "Thank God, 'cause we don't want to put secular staples in our holy documents". No one wonder when randomly surveyed it turned out that Americans are secondly afraid of Serial Killers and firstly Evangelical Christians.

ilikeyellow said...

And now we have a Christian video game!? I have no words. . . .

Adriano10 said...

When you put all those traits together, such as books and firends and those things you get one Sheltered person. I went to a christian school that fit the example you gave Yellow and my goodness the lack of things these people knew was unreal.

I think the message when we becomes christians is that we have to get rid of every aspect of our old lives. If i did that i wouldnt have a life, i would be a hermit. I didnt stop reading different books or listening to christian music, some but definetly not all. I kept friends becuase then you can minister, and some you cant but they are still your friends.

I already commented on the video game, just another way the Christian community is trying to shelter rather then reach out, its a shame really. No wonder people dont want to give their life to God, your basically selling your soul and you get a boring life in return, or at least thats the conception.

filletofsoul said...

adriano10...
I don't think that the Christian community is so much "sheltering" Christians with all these games etc. as someone has discovered how to turn a profit.

Adriano10 said...

It's not just gmaes Fillet, its books and toys and magazines and other products, not just video games, there arent many christian videos games because there is no want for them.

I think individual people shelter others from the outside world. Just pick up the magazine Plugged In. These products are made as alternatives to secular ones which i dont agree with, Christians cant compete with the everchanging secular market, we dont know our niche. All we do is copy something that is cool now and alter it to make it 'Christian', this results in a stupid looking product that no one wants becuase the original was cool, not the adaptation.

And if Christian communites dont shelter then why do we always condemn video games, and music and basically anything that is cool. Its only till recently that some people are trying to adapt to the secular world, but most still condemn it and shelter themselves from it.

johnniecomelately said...

As I read through the posts it seems that there is no way to make some Christians happy. We don't want a Christian video games - because of what? Are we worried that the quality will be lacking - therefore make Christianity look bad? As believers, we need to quit thinking of ourselves as 2nd class citizens and work towards changing the mindset of those who paint us all with the same brush. We are not all radicals who refuse to support anything that doesn't begin with "Jesus".

We must realize that we can't suck and blow at the same time - wishing that we were more prominent in the market place, while condeming those who are trying to be inovative, even suggesting that all they want to do is cash in on the Christian market. We need to support them and hope they make a killer profit from our churches and congregations, so that they can improve their crafts and can become competetive leaders in the marketplace. Lets go out and buy this video game even if we think that it may be inferior to some of the stuff that we already own. Lets support the Christian guys who are doing more than me... at least they are trying.

Gibson, LaHaye, Lyndon may not be on the radical rights christmas list, but at least they seem to care!

Webster describes "CARE"... (to)have regard or liking (for.) Sounds like Jesus' commandment: to love. 1 Cor 13:13. Fact is that most non believers won't care about how much we know until they know about how much we care.

Deut. 28:13 "The Lord will make you the head and not the tail. If you pay attention the commandments of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top and never at the bottom.

So what if some actors guild, news agency or government official ridicules us. We need to change our attitude towards oursevles before we will change their attitudes towards us.

The Christian life is a great life... live it to the fullest!

Now after ranting... I feel a whole lot better.

kenny said...

I would like to rant now. It does feel good to do that ever so often.
One of the one BIG concerns that I wrote in my journal when I came back to God, was I will not be a boring Christian.
It scared me to a degree...because it is easy to get into that rut...like what ilikeyellow said. That was good. There are a lot of Christians who for the sake of safety and protection live in the burbs. Kids go to private school, everything in their life is Christian.
Then when someone asks me "what do I do with my friend who says they are gay?" If we did not shelter ourselves, we would honestly be able to answer that question ourselves. I tire of the sheltered christian who is so far out of the loop that they don't know how to relate to other people, especially non believers. I knew someone who got to know people only to save them...he had no genuine love for that person. It was like he wanted notches on his belt.
So we talk about supporting Christian industry and games and all that material stuff. What about ministry? Do we support ministries in this city. There are many to choose from. There are lots that are faith based...which means they rely on people to support them financially. Why do these ministries have to send out support letters? So let's support these people who are on the front lines.
The Christian life is great. I think it is awesome to give of ones life to the very act of loving others. Being in the world but not of the world. Meaning...the world does not define us, this is not our home. So what does it mean to live the Christian life to the fullest?
Ponder?

Adriano10 said...

Jonnie, people will not support something thats corny, and thats what christian video games are. The problem with them is that they try to exhalt God and lack what a video game needs to be successful. These developers are looking for a quick fix and a way to have a God in a video game. The reason it doesnt work is because people arent looking for God in video games, rather they want a good gaming experience, and until we find a way to make the gaming experience more than "Love Jesus" then we might have a good chance.

Kenny i like your comments, i do not want to be boring either. Before i became a christian i watched other christians and their lives were so dull, they knew nothing of the world, and i could not even converse with any of them becuase of their lack of knowledge, Heck most of them couldnt even answer my biblical questions. It was like i couldnt even own a nice car or sometihng worth more than 100 bucks becuase then i was being possessive and materialistic. I agree the christian life can be great, but only if we are attuned to the secular life as well. I also agree that ministry needs to come before making a video game, we as christians have a hard enough time getting people out to events and getting volunteers, and already we are trying to go in another direction without continuing down the first path. I also believe people dont give to a church because they dont see it going in any good direction which would support the claim that we are trying to dabble in so much. Its like pizza dough, u spread it more and more to make it fit all over the pan, only to find that where you began on the pan, there are holes forming because you stretch it so much. I think we are neglecting the beginnings and striving way to hard for the end.

The christian community is selling out, we are! We are trying to appeal to everyone, and we are failing misearbly, in the eyes of non christians as well as Christians. What happens if we do sell out! I come from a Lutheran background and my church never had these problems, it seemed that the people their were dedicated to giving, time and money. Now that i attend a pentecostal church, its much different. I find the pentecostals as the leading authority in the "selling out" process.

Thoughts?

SoulPastor said...

Hey 10
Just what do you mean that the pentecostal church is the leading authority in the selling out process?

Adriano10 said...

The pentecostal church is trying too many ways to make church appealing to the masses, whereas more traditional liturgical churches are doing fine with the amount of members they have.

The lutheran church i attended before i changed churches pulled in 3K a week from 100 people or less at 1 service. That is far more than the church i attend with 2-3x the people.

The pentecostal church seems to have to beg people for money, they have such an emphasis on reaching out, which isnt a bad thing, but they try to much. Pentecosts try to be the cool christians. We try all sorts of methods to bring new people into the church and try to "SELL" church in a cool looking package so more will come. Church is not meant to be sold, its a choice for people, and it shouldnt need flashy signs and other ploys to get people to come.

If people cant come to church because the specific church doesnt have these cool things, then they dont need to come to church at all.

But all i see is the pentecostal church trying different methods to appeal to mostly youth, by making it look cool to come to church instead of coming to church for the real reason, which later they find out and leave the church anyways because it was only a ploy to get them in. People judging the book by its cover i guess.

Highlander said...

Those last comments kind of remind me of my Grandma. She has been a prayer warrior for over 80 years, and even though she has gone through hard time and great loss, she is and always will be a faithful Christian.

Why do we need to change?

We sang that song for the last 40 years and it was good enough then so it should be good enough now!

We need to old fashion days back since they were so great!

These are just a few of her thoughts on where the church is going today. She would not be happy in the least to sit in a service that my family would enjoy, and I wouldn't want her to. We are at a different place in our spiritual walk and that's OK.

Make sure that you don't confuse Selling Out with trying to be relevant. In a service that make Grandma feel uncomfortable, I have seen my 10 year old soak things up like a sponge.

As a father, this is not selling out; this is the greatest thrill around!

SoulPastor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SoulPastor said...

A-10
I had to pull my response only to edit it to be more politically correct!

So here is the PC version:

A-10
Your limited experience is showing.

You said: "The pentecostal church is trying too many ways to make church appealing to the masses, whereas more traditional liturgical churches are doing fine with the amount of members they have."

That is why traditional churches are closing there doors faster than you can cough and the fastest rising group of churches is the Pentecostals!????


You said: "The lutheran church i attended before i changed churches pulled in 3K a week from 100 people or less at 1 service. That is far more than the church i attend with 2-3x the people."

Really, and you know that for sure? BTW how much was your tax receipt this year?

You said: "The pentecostal church seems to have to beg people for money, they have such an emphasis on reaching out, which isnt a bad thing, but they try to much."

Reaching out to a hurting world is trying too much? Circle the wagons!

You said: "Pentecosts try to be the cool christians. We try all sorts of methods to bring new people into the church and try to "SELL" church in a cool looking package so more will come."

Only Pentecostals try to be cool! I am sure glad Baptists, Mennonites, Anglicans and even the Alliance are not! Actually, the majority of Pentecostals that I know are not "trying" to be cool! (Of course there are some who just naturally are!)

You said: "Church is not meant to be sold, its a choice for people, and it shouldnt need flashy signs and other ploys to get people to come."

Finally we agree on something!

You Said: "But all i see is the pentecostal church trying different methods to appeal to mostly youth, by making it look cool to come to church instead of coming to church for the real reason, which later they find out and leave the church anyways because it was only a ploy to get them in. People judging the book by its cover i guess."

This is where your experience is limited. Be careful when you paint with a whole brush. There are many different works/different denominations doing a great job [with different methods] at reaching people for Christ and others who are just plain struggling. Don't be the one judging a book by the cover, because...the bookstore is huge and you are standing in the kids section!

Adriano10 said...

ok soulpastor

You said: "That is why traditional churches are closing there doors faster than you can cough and the fastest rising group of churches is the Pentecostals!????

Untrue, the only reason pentecostal churches may be growing is the fact that there is to many of them popping up everywhere with limited members and lots of church hoppers that make them seem big. Liturgical churches die becuase the elders in them do the same, youth in most churches is declining, therefore know one to take over when the last generation dies. Pentecostals, and baptists and these churches are trying to move away from Liturgical based and more into whats cool instead. THIS IS WRONG. What has lasted for 1900 years, then in the past 100 we have to change the setup, just another form of conforming too others and then selling out.!!!!

"The lutheran church i attended before i changed churches pulled in 3K a week from 100 people or less at 1 service. That is far more than the church i attend with 2-3x the people."

Really, i do know this for sure, i went to this church for 17 years, dont be jealous now!

You Said. "Finally we agree on something!"

THANK GOD! lol

My experience in more liturgical churches shows that the people in pentecostal churches are less faithful when it comes to the downfalls of churches. In fact many people in the new age churches (pentecostals that are trying to be cooler then other churches) leave the church when there are problems in it, instead of fighting through them becuase they are lazy and they want church on a silver platter.

Soulpastor, out of the 300 members in the church u pastor at, how many of these are acutally members, who actually give and give lots. Yes i agree that i dont give much of anything money wise, i do however give alot of time, i try to make up for it in other ways where i can. But for a church that has only around 100 a sunday to be rackin in that amount of cash its outstanding adn the faith is good. Before i left my old church we raised 120000 in one year to pay for the new organ system. Agian dont be jealous soulpastor.

I think it is wrong for these new age churches to be trying different methods that dont work as well as old liturgical ones. 2000 years of experience is plenty in my eyes and it worked well up till now.

SoulPastor said...

A-10

I WILL RESPOND IN CAPITALS- I AM NOT YELLING AT YOU!

I said: "That is why traditional churches are closing there doors faster than you can cough and the fastest rising group of churches is the Pentecostals!????

Your response: “Untrue.”

TAKE NOTE: Factual response : Fasting growing denominations are:
Pentecostal
Baptist
Calvary Chapels
Christian Reformed
Church of God in Christ
Evangelical Covenant Church
Evangelical Free Church
Vineyard
Christian Missionary Alliance

You said: "The lutheran church i attended before i changed churches pulled in 3K a week from 100 people or less at 1 service. That is far more than the church i attend with 2-3x the people. Really, i do know this for sure…” THAT LAST SENTENCE IS MY POINT.

You said: “My experience in more liturgical churches shows that the people in pentecostal churches are less faithful when it comes to the downfalls of churches. In fact many people in the new age churches (pentecostals that are trying to be cooler then other churches) leave the church when there are problems in it, instead of fighting through them becuase they are lazy and they want church on a silver platter.”

MY RESPONSE IS: THIS HAPPENS TO PEOPLE FROM ALL DENOMINATIONAL BACKGROUNDS AND NOT JUST ONE.

You asked: “Soulpastor, out of the 300 members in the church u pastor at, how many of these are acutally members, who actually give and give lots…”

My response: I DO NOT KNOW WHAT AMOUNTS PEOPLE GIVE, NOR DO I WANT TO.

You added: “Yes i agree that i dont give much of anything money wise, i do however give alot of time, i try to make up for it in other ways where i can. But for a church that has only around 100 a sunday to be rackin in that amount of cash its outstanding adn the faith is good. Before i left my old church we raised 120000 in one year to pay for the new organ system. Agian dont be jealous soulpastor.”

I AM NOT! BUT YOU ALSO ANSWERED YOUR LAST STATEMENT WIT THIS AND I WILL QUOTE YOU:

”the only reason pentecostal churches may be growing is the fact that there is to many of them popping up everywhere with limited members and lots of church hoppers that make them seem big. Liturgical churches die becuase the elders in them do the same, youth in most churches is declining, therefore know one to take over when the last generation dies.) THAT IS THE POINT….OLDER PEOPLE HAVE MONEY AND KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING FINANCIALLY TO THE CHURCH, THE YOUNGER ARE STILL BEING EDUCATED. SO, BECAUSE YOU LEFT A CHURCH, DOES THAT MAKE YOU A CHURCH HOPPER?

You said: “Pentecostals, and baptists and these churches are trying to move away from Liturgical based and more into whats cool instead. This is wrong.”

I ASK….GIVE ME A CHAPTER AND VERSE! THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES AND METHODS.

You Posted….”What has lasted for 1900 years, then in the past 100 we have to change the setup, just another form of conforming too others and then selling out.!!!! I think it is wrong for these new age churches to be trying different methods that dont work as well as old liturgical ones. 2000 years of experience is plenty in my eyes and it worked well up till now.”

NOW I ASK: WHEN DID THE LUTHERAN CHURCH START? WHEN DID THE ROMAN CATHOLILC CHURCH START? WHEN DID THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH START? Get to know your history….I believe that Luther himself was a bit of a 'new ager' do you not think? Every church is liturgical in some form or another. There is nothing wrong with liturgy. Personally, I love it. But the church must constantly be moving into culture with the message of the Gospel…and not become an island to itself, or it will die. The Great Commission is to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD, not sit in my building! FINALLY: If you have legitimate and informed questions regarding the work I do, I will gladly answer them personally, but not on this blog. This blog is designed to promote thought and interaction without bringing in my personal place of ministry.

Adriano10 said...

Soulpastor

you said :WHEN DID THE ROMAN CATHOLILC CHURCH START? The present roman catholic church organization in Rome was established in 30 A.D.

As far as the lutheran church.
I say: The "Birthday of the Reformation" is often listed as October 31 1517(halloween), when Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church's door. This one i know becuase i attended this church.

I also know the pentecostal church has only been around for 100 years according to the PAOC, which doesnt give it as much experience as the 2000 years of the catholic church adn the 500 years of the lutheran church, both churches which are doing fine themselves.

You said: "The lutheran church i attended before i changed churches pulled in 3K a week from 100 people or less at 1 service. That is far more than the church i attend with 2-3x the people. Really, i do know this for sure…” THAT LAST SENTENCE IS MY POINT.

what is wrong with my last sentence, i do know this for sure as it is posted in the weekly bulletin at church. I havent been there for 2 years, but when i left it was still being posted.

You said: SO, BECAUSE YOU LEFT A CHURCH, DOES THAT MAKE YOU A CHURCH HOPPER?

No i left to start a new church, sometimes i think it was a mistake, other times i dont, but i have been to this church for 2 years running now. Im not changing churches every month, and im not looking for something that will suit me! I dont believe in denominations, we are all one people under god, not under a denomination. Denominations are politics, and considering there is church state seperation, we dont need politics in church.

You said: THAT IS THE POINT….OLDER PEOPLE HAVE MONEY AND KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING FINANCIALLY TO THE CHURCH, THE YOUNGER ARE STILL BEING EDUCATED.

I ask you this, why doesnt the pentecostal church appeal to older people, are we really reaching out to everyone, or just tyring to get young people in to have longevity. It seems old people get the short end of the stick in the pentecostal church, mostly becuase of this attitude "if you dont like it dont come." <-- this is the general attitude of pentecostals, basically we dont need old people. This is the wrong attitude.

The thing i also see with pentecostals is they are so intune with the secular society that they are almost becoming it in word and deed, again just an observation. Pentecostals are my experience, them and Ukrainian catholics and orthodox and lutherans. Ive done it all, i know the history, ill give u my university papers on a couple of these topics. I just dont haev the time to write the history down for you, if u want ill give u links to credible sites with that info.

mytwocents said...

A10,

You seem to be so critical of penetcostals, yet you go to a pentecostal church? If you think the liturgical chuches are getting it right, then you're going to the wrong church. I don't mean this in a rude way, but it seems to me the pentecostal church just isn't doing it for you.

The great thing about the variety of churches is that we can choose the community of believers whose style is most similar to ours...but the message remains the same...or should I say the One we worship remains the same.

As for the lack of appeal to our elders...I don't know how many pentecostal churches you have been to, but the ones I've been to have had plenty.

SoulPastor said...

This is a Closing Response to this Thread

A 10 Thanks for doing some of your history.

You wrote: (I WILL RESPOND WITH CAPTIALS)

”I ask you this, why doesnt the pentecostal church appeal to older people

(ACTUALLY IF YOU DID YOUR HISTORY AND LOCAL GEOGRAPHY, YOU WOULD SEE THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES THAT YOU ARE MAKING REFERENCE TO ARE FILLED WITH ELDERS),

are we really reaching out to everyone, or just tyring to get young people in to have longevity. It seems old people get the short end of the stick in the pentecostal church

(YOU ARE PAINTING A PARTICULAR GROUP WITH A WIDE BRUSH AGAIN),

mostly becuase of this attitude "if you dont like it dont come." <-- this is the general attitude of Pentecostals

(AT THIS POINT, YOU HAVE MADE AN IGNORANT STATEMENT),

basically we dont need old people. This is the wrong attitude.”

BUT AGAIN WE AGREE ON SOMETHING, I HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU...ALL CHURCHES NEED TO MULTI GENERATIONAL.

A….IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH A DENOMINATION, THAT IS YOUR PREROGATIVE, BUT PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS BLOG TO AIR YOUR ISSUES.
PROVERBS 17:28
PROVERBS 18:2

Adriano10 said...
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