Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Biblical Philosophy of Pastoral Ministry (Ecclesiology)


A pastor’s soteriology will guide his ecclesiology. His understanding of salvation will inform his understanding of the church. If a pastor’s view of salvation is truly evangelical then he will view the church as a gathering of the saints, those who have been regenerated by the Spirit through the Gospel, who need to be matured in the faith and equipped for service in a hostile environment.[1] On the other hand, if a pastor’s view of salvation is not truly evangelical, especially if it is a form of Pelagianism, he will view the church as a gathering of sinners who need to be evangelized through man-centered means that either compete with or compromise the Gospel. A soteriology that is not truly evangelical will make it impossible to structure a church with sound ecclesiology. An inadequate soteriology will misguide ecclesiology in every instance. Several examples should be mentioned to support this theory.

First, an inadequate soteriology will cause the church to be structured to become a gathering of the unchurched rather than its biblical purpose of being structured as a gathering of the saints for their equipping. For those with an inadequate soteriology, any means available that will successfully “impress the unchurched” can be utilized to attract and attach the unchurched to their organizations. This is what Robert Schuller called “the human needs approach.”[2] Most churches that utilize these types of means categorize them as “seeker-sensitive services.”[3]

Seeker-sensitive services are designed to gather a crowd of attenders. After the unchurched have been attracted by the services designed for them, then they are to be attached to the organization. Rick Warren said, “Once you’ve gathered a crowd of attenders you must begin the important task of forming them into a congregation of members. The crowd must become a church . . . . Assimilation is the task of moving people from an awareness of your church to attendance at your church to active membership in your church.”[4] The manner that this is accomplished, according to Warren, is by communicating the value of membership.[5] He said, “The way you motivate people to join today is to show them the value-for-value benefits they will receive in return for their commitment.”[6]

According to Warren, church membership offers people what they are hungering for, “fellowship, community, and a sense of family.”[7] He said, “This ‘longing for belonging’ provides the church with a timely opportunity. Positioning the church as an extended family, as ‘a place where you are cared for,’ will strike a sensitive chord in many lonely hearts.”[8] So Warren’s philosophy is that people are to be attracted to the church through designing services that are “attractive, appealing, and relevant to the unchurched,” then communicating to them the “value-for-value benefits they will receive in return for their [membership],” and finally attaching them through a “required membership class.”[9]

Conspicuously missing from Warren’s means of attracting and attaching people to the church is the Gospel. In its place are seeker-sensitive services and the promise of “fellowship, community, and a sense of family” through membership. The required membership class then is utilized to accomplish a fraudulent marketing technique known as bait-and-switch. The hidden cost of “trusting Christ” is not revealed as a requirement for membership until the required membership class. Warren said:
If you are a church that targets the unchurched, you need to include a clear explanation of salvation in your membership class because you will have many people who want to join the church who are not believers! We always explain that trusting Christ is the first requirement for membership, and we have people who commit their lives to Christ in every membership class.[10]
In this way, church membership can be viewed as producing genuine believers through what appears as the true evangelical means of the Gospel. Concerning church membership, Warren said, “It identifies a person as a genuine believer.”[11] However, attaching people to the church through bait-and-switch tactics hardly guarantees genuine believers. 

Obviously, Warren’s soteriology serves as the foundation upon which his ecclesiology is built. He views the church as a gathering of sinners who need to be evangelized through his means that either compete with or compromise the Gospel. This approach may make good counterfeit Christians but will not produce a regenerate church membership. In Transformational Church, Stetzer and Rainer said, “Making well-adjusted and well-behaved unbelievers is not the aim of Christian mission.”[12] This structure will retard rather than enhance regenerate church membership.

Second, an inadequate soteriology will misguide ecclesiology by causing the church to be structured in a manner that disciple-making (equipping the saints) is reduced to movement of assimilated members through a few strategic programs. When the church is structured toward assimilating the unchurched through ineffective means then its disciple-making process must omit the elements of genuine Christian discipleship that safeguard the end product. This is done to retain the assimilated members. In particular, the elements that are omitted are growth in sound doctrine, growth in discernment, and growth in defense of the faith. Growth in sound doctrine is primary and foundational in discipleship.[13] Sound doctrine enables both discernment and the ability to defend the faith. However, sound doctrine is not endured by unregenerate church members.[14]

In the place of growing in sound doctrine, discernment and defense of the faith, aspects of equipping the saints that safeguard the end product of biblical disciples, processes designed to help members become more effective in promoting and perpetuating church growth philosophy (inadequate soteriology and ecclesiology) are substituted. Equipping the saints is reduced to teaching others to reproduce themselves in the church growth enterprise. One is considered an equipped Christian in the church growth enterprise, not because he or she is sound in doctrine, has discernment concerning false teachers, or is able to take an immovable stand for the truth, but because he or she is fully committed to reproducing his or her self through the church growth processes.

Those fully committed to church growth processes and are making progress in their movement through them are considered healthy disciples. Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger said, “Simple church leaders have designed their simple process with movement in mind. The ministry process moves people to greater levels of commitment—with ever-increasing levels of discipleship.”[15] As long as the simple process does not omit sound doctrine, discernment concerning false teachers and defense of the truth, essential aspects of biblical discipleship that will prove to be detrimental to the commitment of unregenerate members, then there should be no argument of its effectiveness in making healthy disciples. However, most authors of church health and church growth books omit these essential aspects altogether in their strategies for church health. For instance, Rainer and Geiger gave an example in Simple Church where the definition of a mature disciple by a church considered “growing and vibrant” was so simplistic that nothing about it would imply the essential aspects of discipleship. The pastor’s explanation of his definition of a mature disciple was, they said:
First, someone loves God. This first step is the most basic and essential aspect of discipleship, but it does not end there. After someone enters into a love relationship with God, he or she begins to love others. The person commits to grow in community with others. After loving God and others, the natural result is to serve people. And the process continues. It is ongoing.[16] 
Also Stetzer and Rainer in Transformational Church, a book about measuring church health by measuring how well a church is making disciples, omitted the essential aspects of discipleship. Their measurement is accomplished by determining success in three categories: (1) discern, (2) embrace, and (3) engage. According to Ephesians the equipped saint embraces sound doctrine, can discern false teaching, and is able to engage in spiritual warfare against the enemies of truth.[17] One would think that Stetzer and Rainer’s three categories would address these essential aspects of biblical discipleship, but that is not the case. By discern they do not mean the ability to discern false teaching and false teachers but the ability to discern the culture. [18] By embrace they do not mean embracing sound doctrine but embracing vibrant leadership, relational intentionality and prayerful dependence.[19] By engage Stetzer and Rainer do not mean engage in spiritual warfare against the enemies of truth but engage in worship, community, and mission.[20]

Omitting the essentials of discipleship taught in Ephesians removes the safeguard for church health and empties the disciple-making structure of its power. All that is left is a form of disciple-making incapable of making biblical disciples.[21] The criteria for determining success in making healthy disciples and having healthy churches are not based on fidelity to the essentials of discipleship taught in Ephesians but on the numbers of people attracted, attached and assimilated through an incomplete structure for disciple-making. Church health then is determined by church growth and not fidelity to God’s Word concerning ecclesiology. The ability to “reproduce” becomes the quintessential mark of church health. This philosophy overlooks the truth that dangerous, diseased, and useless organisms can be prolific in reproduction.

Third, an inadequate soteriology will misguide ecclesiology by causing the church to be structured in a manner that guarding the church from both inside and outside corruption is neglected. Discernment between good growth and bad growth are not factors for consideration in churches that have an inadequate soteriology and misguided ecclesiology. Since these churches are structured in a manner that disciple-making is oversimplified and its essential elements omitted, the goal is not quality growth but quantity growth. In an interview where he was asked how his church stayed healthy when they brought a lot of unhealthy people in, Rick Warren said:
I've read books that emphasize, "You've got to reinforce the purity of the church." But Jesus said, "Let the tares and the wheat grow together, and one day I'll sort them out." We're not in the sorting business. We're in the harvesting business. We do get a lot of unhealthy people at church, because society is getting sicker. But Jesus demonstrated that ministering to hurting people was more important than maintaining purity. When you fish with a big net, you catch all kinds of fish.[22]
This philosophy obliterates church discipline, repudiates biblical separation, and invalidates sanctification. Also, since the goal is assimilation (harvesting) without any concern for either genuine regeneration or church purity (sorting), preaching sound doctrine with reproof, rebuke, and exhortation through expository preaching is necessarily replaced by preaching without sound doctrine in order to entertain and please assimilated, unregenerate church members.[23]

Sound doctrine that guards the church and maintains its purity, its health, is seen as too divisive and too negative for the “positive only” philosophy of those with an inadequate soteriology. In May, 2005 at the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle conference on religion, politics, and public life, Rick Warren addressed what he called misconceptions Americans have about mega-churches, discussed his book The Purpose Driven Life, as well as current trends in the evangelical movement. Concerning current trends, Warren said:
You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther and then Calvin was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be about behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds; I think this one will be about deeds. I think the first one was about what the church believes; I think this one will be about what the church does.
The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together. Now, you're never going to get Christians, of all their stripes and varieties, to agree on all of the different doctrinal disputes and things like that, but what I am seeing them agree on are the purposes of the church. And I find great uniformity in the fact that I see this happening all the time. Last week I spoke to 4,000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries. Now, that's wide spread. We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers. They're all there together and you know what? I'd never get them to agree on communion or baptism or a bunch of stuff like that, but I could get them to agree on what the church should be doing in the world.
And the way I expressed it is that the Bible calls the church the body of Christ, and what's happened in the last 100 years is that the hands and the feet have been amputated and the church has just been a mouth, and primarily it's been known for what it's against. It's been known for what it's against.[24]
Instead of maintaining fidelity in doctrine that divides Rick Warren called for eschewing sound doctrine and defense of the faith in favor of unity under the umbrella of non-divisive deeds. However, in Ephesians 6:11-12 equipped Christians are told six times that their duty is to stand against the opponents of the truth.[25]

A “positive only” philosophy of ministry overlooks the dangers facing the church and fails to guard it. This is in opposition not only to the recorded method in the Bible but also to the practices of those in the first century. For instance, Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthians to rebuke them concerning a few self-willed and headstrong people that had stirred up dissention, strife, and jealousy.[26] Of the dangers these men posed, Clement wrote, “For we shall bring upon us no common harm, but rather great peril, if we surrender ourselves recklessly to the purposes of men who launch out into strife and seditions, so as to estrange us from that which is right.”[27] Also Ignatius of Antioch in Syria was concerned for doctrinal purity concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. Ignatius was concerned with two heresies. One was the heresy of Docetism. Docetism affirms the deity of Jesus but denies the humanity of Jesus.[28] Ignatius challenged that heresy in several of his letters.[29] Two was the heresy of Judaism. Judaism not only denied salvation by grace but also denied the deity of Jesus. Ignatius challenged this heresy also.[30] However, a misguided ecclesiology will cause the church to be structured in a manner that guarding the church from both inside and outside corruption is neglected.

Consequently, an adequate soteriology will properly guide ecclesiology causing the church to be structured in a biblically faithful manner. Properly guided ecclesiology will be in contrast to misguided ecclesiology. Properly guided ecclesiology will cause the church to be structured as a gathering of the saints for their equipping; will ensure that disciple-making is not oversimplified; and will guard the church’s health.

First, a sound soteriology will properly guide ecclesiology by causing the church to be structured as a gathering of saints for their equipping rather than a gathering of unbelievers for their assimilation. This is not to say that these churches will do nothing to reach people but that they refuse to make the church into something the Lord Jesus did not create it to be—namely a mission. Robert Schuller’s philosophy that “the church must die as a church and be born again as a mission”[31] will be rejected outright in favor of the divinely inspired definition of a church.[32] This means that the services will not include man-centered, seeker-sensitive sermons or activities but instead will include God-centered, saint-sensitive sermons and activities. The outreach of the church should be something other than an attempt to attract people to the church through dishonest bait and switch tactics. The outreach of the church should mostly be accomplished by saints sharing the Gospel, standing against the schemes of the devil and destroying faulty speculations about God.[33] The focus of the services should be on grounding the saints in sound doctrine and not turning assembly time into an outreach event. Outreach events have their places but are not to interfere with the focus on grounding the saints in sound doctrine during assembly times.

Grounding the saints in sound doctrine is serious business for churches with sound soteriology. They understand that the Word of God is an indispensable means to salvation. They also understand that not everyone who professes to have been regenerated by faith in Christ is necessarily regenerated.[34] Another serious aspect involved in grounding the saints is the understanding that there is an enemy seeking to infiltrate and destroy the church through counterfeiting activity.[35] This is why those that understand these things structure the church so that the saints are not stunted in their growth nor seduced by doctrines of demons. As John Piper said, “The salvation of the elect is not automatic. It happens through God-appointed means . . . . It is the job of the pastor to labor so that none of his brothers and sisters is destroyed.”[36] Part of that pastoral labor is to see to it that the church is structured so that it is focused on grounding the saints through its services. Instead of engaging in “doctrinal minimalism and methodological pragmatism,”[37] faithful pastors ground the saints in sound doctrine. Piper said, “[Eternal security] is a community project. And that is why the pastoral ministry is so utterly serious, and why our preaching must not be playful but earnest. We preach so that saints might persevere in faith to glory.”[38] The only kind of preaching that will accomplish that goal is not a “meatless diet of salvation messages” but “all the Scriptures.”[39]

Not only will the church be structured to ground the saints in sound doctrine, faithful pastors will take personal interest in watching over the souls of those allotted to their charge. They will “take heed to all the flock.”[40] Giving an exposition of this phrase to an association of pastors in the seventeenth century, Richard Baxter said:
It is, you see, all the flock, or every individual member of our charge. To this end it is necessary, that we should know every person that belongeth to our charge; for how can we take heed to them, if we do not know them? We must labour to be acquainted, not only with the persons, but with the state of all our people, with their inclinations and conversations; what are the sins of which they are most in danger, and what duties they are most apt to neglect, and what temptations they are most liable to; for if we know not their temperament or disease, we are not likely to prove successful physicians.[41]
Baxter suggested accomplishing this task by personally catechizing every member from house to house. So faithful preaching from the pulpit and faithful teaching from house to house should be part of a pastor’s ecclesiology that has an adequate soteriology. “After the Bible, the church roll is the most important book in a pastor's study.”[42]

Second, an adequate soteriology will properly guide ecclesiology by causing the church to be structured to ensure that the disciple-making process is not oversimplified. The disciple-making process will be much more complex than movement through church programs that omit the essentials of biblical disciple-making. The hard parts of discipleship that safeguard the disciple-making process will not be omitted in the church’s structure. Eugene Peterson offered a much needed warning about those who would simplify the disciple-making process. He said:
The simplifiers, however well-intentioned they are, are the bane of good pastoral work. The spate of inspirational-testimonial religious writing that seems to find such a ready market in the Christian community is an instance of such well-intentioned simplification that results in later complications. The stories are not honest. They are written under the direction of a market-oriented editor, not to tell the truth of Christian conversion and growth, but to tell the one part of the truth that will appeal to the element of spiritual sloth in every Christian that wants to skip the hard parts of discipleship.[43]
Instead, the church will be structured to ensure that the hard parts of discipleship, growth in sound doctrine, growth in discernment about false teaching, and growth in the ability to defend the truth against its opponents, will be incorporated. As Peterson said, “It is not the pastor's job to simplify the spiritual life, to devise common-denominator formulas, to smooth out the path of discipleship. Some difficulties are inherent in the way of spiritual growth - to deny them, to minimize them, or to offer shortcuts is to divert the person from true growth.”[44]

A church structured to ensure that the hard parts of discipleship are incorporated into its ministries will have to include more than just a form of the functions of the church but actually fill the form with its biblically intended content. Rick Warren has identified five purposes (functions) of the church: (1) evangelism, (2) worship, (3) fellowship, (4) discipleship, and (5) ministry.[45] There is no disagreement with Warren’s form (five purposes) but there is with the content he ascribes to those purposes.

The first purpose of the church, evangelism, will primarily be go and tell not come and see.[46] The gospel message is to be taken to the culture and not the culture brought to the church. Church members are to “go and tell” and not just invite people to “come and see.” The “come and see” model removes the need for the biblical equipping of the saints, turns assembly time into performance time, and replaces evangelism with marketing strategies. The “go and tell” model is the biblical model for church. In order for its members to engage in evangelism, the church must be the equipping place of the saints preparing them to battle for the truth in a culture that is anti-truth.[47] Needed then is not an approach to evangelism that compromises with the culture in attempts to reach it through seeker-sensitive services of cultural relevance but an approach to evangelism that has contact with the culture on its turf in order to reach it through biblical fidelity. Proper tension between contact with the culture and separation from it should be the goal of evangelism for both the salvation of souls and the glory of God. After all, the trinitarian nature of ministry dictates that evangelism is about being sent to people who do not and will not seek after God.[48] Concerning the trinitarian nature of evangelism (mission) Stephen Seamands said:
[Mission] is derived from God’s triune nature, from the sending of God, and should be grounded primarily in the doctrine of God, not the doctrine of salvation or the church. According to Scripture, God the Father sends the Son . . . the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit . . . and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit send the church into the world.[49]
 The church’s evangelism should primarily be go and tell not come and see. 

Worship, the second purpose of the church will be saint-sensitive and not seeker-sensitive.[50] Only those who have been effectually called to salvation through the Gospel can worship God. Worship transforms, edifies, and equips the saints as they behold the glory of the Lord in the Word of God.[51] This will mean that the preaching of the whole counsel of God will be central during the worship service. Expositional preaching will become an indicator of church health. Actually, expositional preaching is the crucial mark of a healthy church that does not avoid the hard aspects of discipleship. Mark Dever said, “The first mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching. It is not only the first mark; it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all the others should follow.”[52] Expositional preaching that communicates sound doctrine is offensive to the unregenerate.[53] However, communicating sound doctrine is the primary means of God for equipping the saints.[54] Worship is not to be emptied of its biblical content by focusing on seekers rather than saints. Since the Sunday morning service is the main service that church members are going to attend then it should be structured for their equipping.[55]

The third purpose of the church, fellowship, will be grounded in a biblical understanding of church membership, and guarded by biblical church discipline. Most church growth books emphasize building relationships especially through small groups. There is nothing wrong with the form emphasized. The problem is with how the form is filled. Instead of fellowship based on the unity of the faith, mutual encouragement and corporate accountability, church growth philosophy substitutes cultivating new friendships based on affinity in everything except the above mentioned characteristics of biblical fellowship.[56]

A properly guided ecclesiology dictates that the church is mostly constituted by a regenerate membership and as such the function of its fellowship must be structured toward their growth, maturity, protection and purity. The assimilation of members through affinity groups that are not based on the characteristics of biblical fellowship fills the form with an unbiblical function and fails to accomplish the intended function of biblical fellowship. Instead of unity of the faith there is affinity of aspirations. Instead of mutual encouragement based on faithfulness to the Lord and His ways there is mutual encouragement in perpetuating church growth principles. Instead of corporate accountability (church discipline) where sinning members are either brought to repentance or excommunicated from fellowship for not repenting there is acceptance of unrepentant members living in unacceptable sin.[57] The mindset of the church growth philosophy is that the church is not in the sorting business but in the harvesting business.[58]

Discipleship, the fourth purpose of the church, will be based on the biblical definition of an equipped saint. An equipped saint is a mature disciple that is sound in doctrine, sure in discernment and strong in defending the faith. Developing mature members involves much more than moving people through a “Life Development Process.”[59] Warren’s Life Development Process, since it omits the difficult elements of discipleship, will produce “well-adjusted and well-behaved unbelievers.”[60] Since church growth philosophy gives lip service to sound doctrine but omits it from its actual disciple-making process, maturity among members is evaluated on their well-adjusted behavior that results from their movement through the simplified track provided for developing mature members. Rick Warren validates this assessment of church growth philosophy. He said, “Maturity is demonstrated more by behavior than by beliefs.”[61]

However, belief determines behavior. In the Bible doctrine always precedes duty. Mature disciples based off their sound doctrine are sure in discernment and strong in defending the truth. These are the things that those with an inadequate soteriology despise. As soon as mature disciples begin to “behave” in congruence with their beliefs and challenge the false teachings of the church growth enterprise they are labeled as immature, carnal, prideful Christians. Warren said, “Some of the most carnal Christians I’ve known were a veritable storehouse of biblical knowledge. They could explain any passage and defend any doctrine, yet were unloving, self-righteous, and judgmental. It is impossible to have spiritual maturity and pride at the same time.”[62] The characteristics that the Bible says should mark mature Christians are considered marks of pride and immaturity by the simplifiers of disciple-making.

Ministry, the fifth purpose of the church will be more than discovering spiritual gifts and meeting human needs so that “Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.”[63] Ministry does include discovering and using spiritual gifts in the body of Christ and meeting needs in the world. However, the work of service (ministry) that is described in Ephesians also involves spiritual discernment, spiritual loyalty, and spiritual warfare. The purpose statement for ministry in Ephesians is not so that “Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate,” but so that the saints will no longer be tossed by waves and carried by winds of doctrine from the trickery of men utilizing deceitful methods.[64] This truth repudiates the teachings of Rick Warren. Warren said, “Our job as church leaders, like experienced surfers, is to recognize a wave of God’s Spirit and ride it . . . . The more skilled we become in riding waves of growth, the more God sends.”[65] Genuine spiritual discernment among the saints would guard the church from being driven by the wrong purpose of the church. Discernment regarding false teachers and their teachings also implies spiritual loyalty which is explicitly taught in Ephesians. Biblical ministry requires that the saints be separate from and not participate with the enemies of God.[66] Biblical ministry requires spiritual loyalty. But biblical ministry also requires spiritual warfare. Since there are enemies of God disguised as His servants,[67] seeking to compromise and corrupt the truth by infiltrating and influencing the church with their secretly introduced destructive heresies,[68] biblical ministry also requires spiritual warfare.[69] Eugene Peterson was correct when he said, “Pastoral work takes place in an environment of hostility. There are times in history when it is overt; other times when it is covert; always it is intense. The pastor who does not know that is unfit to be a guide in the life of the Spirit.”[70]

An oversimplified process that omits the difficult aspects of disciple-making is deceptive and dangerous. The end result is a form of disciple-making emptied of its biblical content with unbiblical church growth philosophy substituted in its place. This means that the church will not be guarded from either inside or outside corruption and that the battle for truth will not be a priority in these congregations.

This means that measuring the health of the church will have to include more than its ability to reproduce church members that have the form of disciples without the function of disciples. Without the safeguarding biblical content of disciples being sound in doctrine, sure in discernment and strong in defending the faith, church members cannot be classified as healthy disciples no matter how prolific they are at reproducing themselves.

Third, an adequate soteriology will properly guide ecclesiology by causing the church to be structured in such a way that it is guarded from deception, danger, and defilement from both inside and outside influences. The church will be structured in such a way that its evangelism is dependent upon and confident in the unadulterated Gospel, its disciple-making is not oversimplified so as to omit the hard aspects, and its influence is preserved through alertness and church discipline. This will guard the health of the church. Sinning members will be disciplined and either brought to repentance and restoration or excommunicated for being unrepentant.[71] Factious men will be rejected after being warned.[72] And false teachers and their teachings will be exposed for the sake of the saints.[73] The church with a properly guided ecclesiology will guard from start to finish the disciple-making process. Focus will not be lost on producing genuine disciples that are sound in doctrine, sure in discernment, and strong in defending the truth. The purity of the church will be the priority of the church. A properly guided ecclesiology will cause the church to be structured in a manner that guarding the church from both inside and outside corruption is maintained. One’s soteriology then will either misguide his ecclesiology or properly guide his ecclesiology. Soteriology is the foundation upon which ecclesiology is structured. One’s ecclesiology will affect his eschatology that serves as the apex of the entire foundation and structure of his pastoral ministry philosophy.

[1] Ephesians 4:12-13; 6:10-17.
[2] Schuller, Self-Esteem, 13.
[3] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 251-329.  These pages are Rick Warren’s chapters in which he details how to design a seeker-sensitive service culminating in how to turn attenders into members.
[4] Warren, Purpose, 309.
[5] Warren, Purpose, 312.
[6] Warren, Purpose, 313.
[7] Warren, Purpose, 315.
[8] Warren, Purpose, 315.
[9] Warren, Purpose, 253, 312-13, 315-16.
[10] Warren, Purpose, 317.
[11] Warren, Purpose, 313. Church membership does not identify a person as a genuine believer especially when churches are not guarding the disciple-making process.
[12] Ed Stetzer and Thom S. Rainer, Transformational Church: Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations (Nashville: B & H Books, 2010), 16.
[13] John 8:31, continuance in sound doctrine by continuing in the Word of the Lord is the primary mark of true disciples.
[14] 2 Timothy 4:3; 1 John 2:19.
[15] Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2006), 139.
[16] Rainer and Geiger, Simple, 40. In this pastor’s explanation of a disciple nothing is mentioned about the nature of the spiritual battle for which the saints must be equipped.
[17] Ephesians 4:12—6:17.
[18] Stetzer and Rainer, Transformational, 34, 47.
[19] Stetzer and Rainer, Transformational, 71-146.
[20] Stetzer and Rainer, Transformational, 147-216.
[21] 2 Timothy 3:5.
[22] Rick Warren, “Comprehensive Health Plan” in Leadership Journal, 1997,,  accessed April 30, 2012.
[23] 2 Timothy 4:2-4. According to these verses, not only will these man-centered preachers tickle the ears of their unregenerate members but there will also be congregations that are almost if not entirely unregenerate that will rid themselves of true preachers and teachers for storytelling, ear-tickling, false preachers and teachers.
[24] Rick Warren, “Myths of the Modern Megachurch” in Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life, event transcript May 23, 2005, (accessed May 1, 2012).
[25] The version used was the New American Standard Bible.
[26] Clement of Rome. “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians” in The Apostolic Fathers. J. B. Lightfoot. Edited by J.R. Harmer (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1956), 13.
[27] Clement, First Corinthians 14, in Fathers, 19.
[28] Erickson, Christian, 402, 729.
[29] Ignatius, “The Seven Epistles of Ignatius (to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, Polycarp)” in The Apostolic Fathers, J. B. Lightfoot, Edited by J.R. Harmer (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1956), 65, 74, 82-83.
[30] Ignatius, Magnesians 8, Philippians 6, in Fathers, 70, 80.
[31] Schuller, Self-Esteem, 13.
[32] Primarily this is found in the entire New Testament book of Ephesians.
[33] Romans 10:14-15; Ephesians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 10:5.
[34] Matthew 13:3-23 is Jesus’ parable of the sower. In this parable Jesus taught four different responses to the Gospel with only one response resulting in genuine salvation.
[35] 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15; Acts 20:28-31.
[36] John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 107-108.
[37] R. Albert Mohler Jr.,, “Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?” May 1, 2012, (accessed May 1, 2012).
[38] Piper, Brothers, 110-111.
[39] Piper, Brothers, 110.
[40] Acts 20:28.
[41] Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, Edited by William Brown (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 90.
[42] Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, Kindle Edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992), Kindle location 473.
[43] Peterson, Five, 500-503. Peterson’s quote was in the context that pastoral work is a concentration on names because intimacy is not an abstraction but a personalization.
[44] Peterson, Five, 497-498.
[45] Warren, Purpose, 103-106. This is not the order Warren listed the five purposes on these pages but it is the order in which his following chapters that developed each purpose flowed.
[46] Warren, Purpose, 135, 234-235.  Rick Warren teaches that churches are to use the “come and see” approach to capture interest and create desire without any heavy requirements of commitment. After a crowd has been gathered through this approach then the level of commitment is to be slowly increased.
[47] See Ephesians 4 – 6 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
[48] See Romans 3:11 and Romans 10:14.
[49] Stephen Seamands, Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 160-161.
[50] Warren, Purpose, 245-246. Concerning worship, Warren teaches that seeker-sensitive services that “evangelize” the lost should take place on Sunday mornings and another service that edifies believers should take place on a different day of the week.
[51] 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:12.
[52] Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004), 39.
[53] 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
[54] Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 4:6-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
[55] Warren, Purpose, 245-246. Warren said that they use Sunday mornings for evangelism because people still think of it as “the time you go to church.”
[56] Warren, Purpose, 324-327. Warren teaches that building relationships by connecting people to small groups through affinity “in purposes, interests, age groups, geography, or anything else,” is the most effective way to assimilate new members and keep them from leaving the church.
[57] Mohler, “Megachurch,” May 1, 2012, (accessed May 1, 2012). Dr. Mohler’s blog was about megachurch pastor Andy Stanley minimizing the Gospel in regard to homosexuality among some of his members serving at one of his satellite churches. According to Mohler’s article, two men involved in a homosexual relationship are still members in good standing serving the church.
[58] Warren, “Comprehensive Health Plan,” 3.
[59] Warren, Purpose, 336.
[60] Stetzer and Rainer, Transformational, 16.
[61] Warren, Purpose, 337, italics original.
[62] Warren, Purpose, 337-338.
[63] Warren, Purpose, 365.
[64] Ephesians 4:14.
[65] Warren, Purpose, 14-15, italics original.
[66] Ephesians 5:6-11. See also 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
[67] 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
[68] 2 Peter 2:1.
[69] Ephesians 6:10-17.
[70] Peterson, Five, 2112-2113.
[71] 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 serves as an example of a sinning church member that was excommunicated. The purity of the church is to be maintained so that it is not defiled and does not lose its witness in the world.
[72] Titus 3:10 teaches that after a first and a second warning, factious men are to be rejected.
[73] 1 Timothy 4:1-6; Ephesians 5:11.

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