Mega Church Networked: Special Edition

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Tired of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3? Try Mega Church. (Thanks, George Kreger)

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Now lets remember that this is just video game and has no bearing on reality. After all, its just entertainment right?

I am reminded of the famous words once spoken by a wise and all knowing man we all came to know and love....

Homer Simpson.

"Its funny 'cause its true"

"Out of my mind" + the last name Bayly.

These bloggers must be related to the great Joe Bayly. What a wonderful man. Still missed after all these years. He often ate at the David C. Cook lunch room with all of us entry level employees. Nice guy.

I live in Houston. I drive by Lakewood Church on my way downtown via I-59, it is HUGE! I don't like the idea that Joel Osteen's name is plastered all over the building, I thought it was all about Jesus. I've heard him preach, on TV, and it is Christian light. Then I start to think.... God knows what He is doing........people DO get saved in that church.........I think I'll worry about MY relationship with God.
I could worry about Westminster, what would John Calvin do? or OH NO ! a woman over-stepped her bounds!!!

Jack, I'm not sure how that applies. Did you mean to post it under the previous post?

Joseph
The Mega Church Game had a slam about Joel Osteen, and through him, Lakewood Church. While I don't agree with all Lakewood does, they DO seem to preach salvation. I know this blog is about all the doctrine and lofty thoughts of the PCA, but I assure you there will be some Lakewood members in heaven.

When I have watched Lakewood's presentation (it's hardly worship), it's all "10 tips for a better marriage" moralism. No Gospel. They didn't even have time for the usual word-faith stuff.

I am so glad that you made me aware of this new and wonderful game! My staff and I shall have hours of fun visioneering new ways to bastardize the gospel and pawn the truths of Scripture in order to have a cooler, higher impact, fresher, and more thrilling experience on Sunday!

Oh wait...

This week we will be busy with shepherding the flock, teaching the Word, proclaiming the gospel, admonishing the unruly, and encouraging the fainthearted.

Should I laugh or cry when I see this sort of stuff?

Jack (Jumping),

Your post, at least to me, appeared a bit uncharitable. It seemed to be saturated with a predisposition against the P.C.A. That aside, however, your comment of "OH NO, a woman stepped out of line," and a few others seem to give the impression you believe doctrinal matters are "not that big of deal"? If that is not the case, it sure gave that impression. It seemed a not so veiled message of "mind your own business", "just worry about your own walk with Christ." Well, that may be the great "American," postmodern anthem, but the Church is not so constructed is it? We are a world-wide community...and lest we forget; a singular body. The mind cannot ignore what the mouth is saying. We are parts of one another, and if one part of the body is ill, does not the whole body suffer? This issue with Carolyn Custis-James is a very important doctrinal matter in the Church; not just the PCA. Any review of the bible and God's working in the history of the Church, will show that keeping doctrinal purity is of utmost priority for the Holy Spirit. The Church, from its beginnings, has been one of conflict and fighting to keep doctrinal purity. Now, are we so "enlightened" today that these battles are no longer needed?

The Bayly's are Pastors. They shepherd the flock and protect them from wolves bringing doctrinal error, division and the spirit of this age, into the fold. In other words, by calling these matters out, they are being faithful. I for one am thankful for that. It is always easier to take the road of no conflict in this age of "go with the flow-I-anity." However, that is not the example left to us by our Lord is it? Did he wink at scriptural error and take the easy road of no conflict?

We will give an account of how we have handle God's holy, eternal truth. In other words, doctrine. If we take his treasure outside and bury it, believing God's truth divides his church, while only sipping on milk our whole lives, do we honor Christ? Hardly. We treat his word, his sacrifice and his example with contempt.

Brother, I do not know you and it is hard to gage emotion and tone in an email. Perhaps all this has been preaching to the choir? I hope so. If I have mischaracterized your comments, than perhaps you could explain them to set the record straight?
I wish God's blessing be upon you and your household.

Providential Blessings;
Jeff Moore

Jeff,
Don't get your panties in a wad. I just like to stir the pot! I've known pastor Tim for some time, he's a good guy. I DO love reading comments.

Ah, inside joke.
Well I feel a bit strange then..... so.....remember that little epistle I rattled off....yeah, so, erm, don't worry about it. ;-)

I've watched Joel Osteen and he always ends his sermons by telling people how to get saved.

Jack's Pipe: You are correct that most of his sermons are 10 tips for better marriage moralism, however, don't Christians need to hear 'real life' applications they can use in their marriages, finances, etc?

As far as the Mega Church games goes, I linked on to it, and read the responsibilites of having a mega church, if they are accurate, I say I'm glad I'm not a mega church pastor. But, I also thought, if these ARE accurate, what a responsibility men like Joel Osteen take on. We should pray for them to do well in spreading God's word.

Bill K
I agree! I do not attend Lakewood Church, however Lakewood DOES have a place in sharing the Gospel. I know some people that are members of Lakewood and they are mature in the Word of God. Many people that attend Lakewood are members at other churches. One can visit Lakewood and not go to hell! LOL

Jeff--
I appreciated your wise words. As I read your post, the words of an old hymn came to mind - "Be Strong" -- a hymn that I have not sung in many years. The author was Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901).

Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift.
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle, face it. 'Tis God's gift. Be strong!

Be strong! Say not, "The days are evil; who's to blame?"
And fold the hands and acquiesce -- oh shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name, be strong!

Be strong! It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long.
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song! Be strong!

This hymn is in the public domain and therefore may be reproduced.

I can't comment on the eternal state of anyone at Lakewood, but with his unbalanced half-Schuller, half-wordfaith stew, I would never recommend that anyone go there. There have to be 1000 churches in Houston one would be better off attending.

BTW, his wife appears to nearly be the co-preacher there. Every service I've seen, she has a prominent homily.

Jack (pipe)
You are so right. I do not go there, and there are hundreds of great churches in the Houston area. I just think there is also room at the table for Lakewood. As far as women having a place in the worship service, there is alot of them in Romans chapter 15.

There ARE a lot of them. LOL

Jumpin' Jack and Bill K.,

I simply do not understand your seemingly unfavorable attitude toward the teachings of Scripture regarding how God wants us to worship Him and what His Word says about women's roles in the church. I know that you (Jumpin' Jack) posted a brief response to Jeff's post, but then as you have continued to post, it has seemed more clear that you ARE taking issue with those who oppose Lakewood. Either you or Bill K. stated that "mature Christians" attend Lakewood and that there is room at the table for Lakewood, because at the end of every message, the gospel is presented. Does it then follow that it's okay for churches to present whatever song and dance they feel like presenting during the service, as long as they give a gospel message at the end? Does it then matter what the Bible says about ANYTHING outside of John 3:16? If some of the congregants DO get saved at Lakewood, then what?? How are they discipled or directed or encouraged? Are they exhorted to "follow their hearts" in all life's issues, or are they taught to actually see what the Bible says about it?I know it sounds as if I'm being sarcastic and facetious, so forgive me if I'm coming across this way, but all too often, I see this attitude of "oh, leave that church/person alone in the content of what they're saying or preaching...as long as they get to the gospel sooner or later." But then, what does the gospel entail? Is it just the "red letters" in the Bible? Or does it encompass everything that God commands? (And I'm not implying here that we are saved by our works.)
What if a pastor were to completely re-route everything that Paul or James wrote and then at the end, give complete homage to what Jesus said? That would be absurd. I believe that that is what is happening at many churches (and I will be so bold as to include Lakewood in this). The hardness of hearts will buck against what God's Word (in Whose revelation we can even get a GLIMPSE of the person and deity of Christ Himself) says, because it makes us uncomfortable and doesn't line up with our every day, pop culture lives. But when it comes to what Jesus can give us, we are the first ones in line and protest whenever people attempt to redirect those in rebellion back to truth.

"Hey, people are still being saved there. Who are you to judge?" ... or something like that ...

Let's say a mother fed her child only candy and defended her actions thus: "Hey, he's still living. So what's you're problem?" Would you buy that?

Let's try not to think in binary for a moment. The issue is not necessarily whether they are saved or not, that is, not whether they are alive in Christ, but whether, so being alive, they are actually heathy and being fed food that is nourishing; not just that which tastes good and allows them to keep living.

For this argument, there are more possible considerations than "saved" and "not saved."

Boy..... Islamic mulas have nothing on you hardliners LOL Take it easy.......... I'm not in favor of the doctrine, or lack of it, at Lakewood Church! All I'm saying is..... people Do get saved there even if YOU don't like it. To quote Rodney King " Can't we all just get along?"

Whoa..! Rodney King?? I must be wrong...who can argue with that?

Rebecca
I knew you would come around. LOL

Rebecca:

I just get tired of seeing Christians/churches nit pick other christians/churches.

Here in Toledo, we have a church called Cedar Creek. Its somewhat like Osteen and his crowd. For the last few years I've been told by other Christians what goes on at Cedar Creek and what the do and don't do in worship. I've been there several times (invite from family member) and found that most of the things other Christians have said about the place, just flat out aren't always true. For example, there are plenty of examples in the Bible of drums, cymbals, etc being used in worship. Are we now so 'mature' as Christians that we dare not use anything other than an old hymn book and piano, while we peer down our noses at the churches who use more modern music?

You mentioned we suffer from the attitude of "oh, leave that person/church alone in the content of what they're saying or preaching."

Well, I say yeah! Leave them alone! I watched Joel Osteen the other night and I learned through the scriptures and teaching he used that I need to not be so quick with my tongue and be more considerate of my wife. So, what's wrong with that?

Also, how can anyone question if people attending a church [other than our own] are being discipled or directed after they are saved? I have to believe there are people in EVERY church, big and small, who are not be directed or discipled to the maximum potential.

I say, follow what you believe God is telling you to do and where to attend church, and let Him deal with others on where they attend. I believe God leads certain people to certain churches to reach them, and He probably doesn't nit pick quite as much as we do.

"I just get tired of seeing Christians/churches nit pick other christians/churches."

Amen, brother. And you know where they get it, too. It's their stone age hero Paul. I mean the guy went ballistic over circumcision, he told people how their gifts could and could not be used, he even bragged about having withstood Peter to his face. (And I haven't even mentioned his cave-man views on sex.)

Sure, Jesus had a riff about whitewashed tombs and dead men's bones, and he cleared a temple or two violently, but does that give these people license to imitate the non-passive actions of the author of their faith? It's ridiculous.

All together now:

"It only takes a spark to get a fire go-ing . . .

I sometimes get a little glazed over with the whole motivational speaker style of preaching that Osteen portrays. However if one would watch their services online they would see times of fellowship, anointed worship, times of prayer and repentance, and always an opportunity to accept Christ as savior. The televised messages are edited for time. Go online and check it out. But despite it all...is it really a crime to tell people that God wants to bless them, to prosper them, and to be with them no matter what? I guess I just don't see the problem with that. Indeed there is the issue of sin and Hell...but salvation through Jesus frees us from hell, and gives us eternal life. Eternal life starts now, not when we reach Heaven. So why wouldn't God want his children to be happy and prosperous?

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