Thursday, April 21, 2011

Well... I should think they won't be calling again soon...

I receive phone calls and fliers in the mail each and every week that want me to purchase their wares.  Each one promises bigger and better results in training leaders, growing the church, reviving my community, etc.  Anything you can think of and slap a Christian label on, and it's probably already being sold by the case load online somewhere.

This week was no different.  Yesterday I received a phone call from a polite young man who was trying feverishly to convince me to purchase a DVD set recorded at a recent leadership conference.  He said that they realized that travel expenses were too great a cost for many pastors and so they were packaging the entire conference on a DVD set plus study guides. 

It was nothing fresh, it was your typical "leadership" conference.  Just from the description and what I'd already read on this conference online, it is not a Gospel centered conference, it is a church growth conference. 

All that aside, he began to list off the "teachers" featured on their DVD set and I noticed 3 names that I already know that I have very serious theological differences with.  These are not small differences in thinking or even quibbles over methodology but serious concerns over what some of those men teach and hold to.  Among their false doctrines were things like "Carnal Christianity", "Seeker Driven Mentalities", "Emergent Philosophies".  

He asked if I were interested and I told him that I simply wasn't interested because I knew that I would not agree with everything those men held to theologically.  So this sales person informed me that what they are teaching ISN'T THEOLOGICAL.  What?  A Bible conference that isn't theological?  Well, that's just not possible.  Matt Chandler said it well when he said that, "Those who say they aren't a theological type person really do have a theology.  It's just a theology that would have gotten them killed 500 years ago."

So I questioned him and asked if it wasn't theological, what was it?  His response.  "Well, in this DVD set we are trying to teach you to lead your people to be missional."  Well let's not even address how worn out the fad buzz word "missional" is.  That's a whole separate post altogether, but suffice to say that being "missional" isn't a separate category of ministry.  All activity should be "missional" in the true sense.  And being "missional" is to be Gospel driven.  Just saying...

Anyway, I pushed back and asked him how they taught missional principles divorced from theology.  I pointed out that it was impossible for them to come and make any presentation on any subject that would be divorced from their individual theological views.  He disagreed with me, but the reality is... he is wrong.

Whatever your views are on any theological topic, it will influence how you speak on those and any other topics.  The young man told me that they avoided theology and just stuck to the topic assigned.  

So I asked him to consider this, could a Evangelical Christian, a Muslim, and a Buddhist get together and teach a conference on a general topic and be agreeable?  No.  Why?  Because what a Muslim means by "missional" will be RADICALLY different than what I know the Bible teaches and it will be worlds different than what a Buddhist means.

The fact remains, you simply cannot divorce theology from leadership, missional teaching, or any other subject and when you attempt to separate the two, you open yourself up to all sorts of error and false teaching which sadly is typically just a hop skip and a jump from heresy.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Be very cautious around any who would tell you that theology doesn't matter.  Theology is very important.  Now, granted, theology is only useful if it draws you closer to God and spurs you on to obedience to His Word.  Theology is important.  Moreover, SOUND theology is important.  I tried to explain that to this young man, it wasn't in his script and so he then retracted his earlier remarks and said that I could be assured that all of these men were very very Biblical. *buzzer sound here* WRONG.  These particular individuals were not, as mentioned above.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NASB) - Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

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