Purpose Driven Pastors and Martin Bashir??

Wow so after the local news, Nightline comes on with that creepy Martin Bashir guy; but instead of shadowing Michael Jackson he’s interviewing Rick Warren and discussing the “Purpose Driven Outbreak.” It seems Nightline is a bit behind the times on this I suppose but interestingly enough, I was surprised at how candid they allowed Warren to discuss faith and doctrine on national television.

The controversy stemmed from the case that in spite of it’s widely translated message and philosophy that many churches seem to be adopting, there are some congregants that are resisting this form of ‘doctrine’ and passing it off as merely Church Pop-psychology. Now, I didn’t get the chance to TiVo this and go back and confirm my memory, but I recall them doing a great deal of justice and giving Warren the chance of setting up the background of the Purpose Driven philosophy and how he didn’t really ‘come up with it’ but certainly did make it famous. He even touched on the 5 ingredients of the Purpose Driven dealio.

Then they showcased a church that apparently is losing ‘older’ members because ‘they aren’t even blending hymns into their modern songs, in fact they don’t even regularly do hymns much anymore.’ Interviews were held by the disgruntled gentlemen who left because of the change in preaching and singing style as well as the pastor. They even interviewed Rick Warren on it and I found it poignant.

Warren made comments along the lines that, you can certainly be Biblical and not relevant in today’s culture. You can even be relevant and not at all Biblical. It is his desire to do both. When questioned over whether churches split over his book and ideas and what that meant: Of course it saddens me to know that people have left or experienced pain over this teaching, but the Church is going to have to decide whether they will make a name for them or a name for Jesus Christ.

Great stuff! What a fine line that is. Being relevant AND Biblical at the same time. We walk that line every week at our church. Trying to keep in mind what it’s like for a first time visitor to River and what they’re thinking/feeling/seeing and also not setting aside who we are and what we’re all about: which is celebrating Jesus, growing closer to likeness of God, and fellowshipping with others who desire the same thing. Let’s face it, that’s sometimes unsettling to an unbeliever or a visitor. So it is a delicate balance. I suppose I think the Church has some ground to catch up on in regards to being relevant. I think all too often we rely on the Biblical aspect of things which people already come to expect when they come to church.

But our culture isn’t what it was when my Gramps was going to church in his 20s. You have students who educate themselves with degrees from colleges in Philosophy, Religious Studies, Psychology and such that aren’t dumb and may not even believe in a god much less God. They’ve been hammered by religion from parents who say one thing and live out drastically different lives than what they speak. You have, especially in the South, this prevalent passing on of Church Tradition even it’s an Easter/Christmas deal and is nothing other than a duty or obligation to fulfill. I don’t think that the Billy Graham style of preaching cuts it anymore. I think there’s a shift that we as a church must make to stay current with the ebb and tide of culture. I believe we need to be out in front of culture. Out in front of the changes leading culture to the next stages and discussions. The teachings of Christ aren’t confined to one style of preaching or worship. It transcends culture and classes. Its not confined to particular language or ethnic group. I think its important not to forget those things when all of a sudden ‘style’ doesn’t match up with tradition. It’s our call to GO and that’s a movement not a station. I think relevance plays a big part in our authenticity of what we say we believe.

I just pray I’m this ballsy when I’m 80 years old and not complaining because the Pipe Organ is back ‘in’ and they’ve gotten rid of the drums and electric guitars!

Martin Bashir

His lil eyeballs and furrowed brow just creeps me out!


13 Responses to “Purpose Driven Pastors and Martin Bashir??”

  1. March 8, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    One thing to be cautious to avoid is that we do not get to zealous in our efforts to be relevant, realizing that being “relevant” in South Louisiana will look different than being relevant in Boston, MA.

    If you look back about six hundred years to Switzerland, there was a movement within the church to be more relevant. One leader of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland at the time was Huldrych Zwingli, who believed that the Roman Catholic church had gone way too far in focusing on instruments in worship, and in some cases too far in focusing on music in general.

    The organ in particular was denounced by leaders of the Reformed churches, as being a prominent example of what they meant by the corruption allowed into worship by the Roman Catholic Church. Zwingli recommended that a better use for an organ would be to sell it and give the money to the poor. This Reformed aversion to musical instruments, first adopted by Zwingli, became at times a sticking point preventing cooperation with the musically rich Lutherans.

    Zwingli clearly was concerned with more than just music, seeing as how he died in a war with the Protestant parts of Switzerland fighting against the Roman Catholic parts of Switzerland. Yet I think we need to always understand that there are essentials about our faith that are far more important, and relevant, than being relevant, particularly in a cultural sense. If we can agree on those essentials — and agree, then, that other items for discussion are more like icing on the cake than the cake itself — then we can move on to talking about being culturally relevant.

  2. 2 Jim
    March 9, 2007 at 7:00 am

    One potential solution to the dilemma of remaining relevent to a culturally & socioeconomically diverse population while maintaining firm commitment to the foundational pillars of our faith: 24/7 Worship Services. I do not find strong indication in scripture that modern worship music or organs or hymns or unison scripture reading or chanting is suggested by Jesus as being necessary for worship. When did stained glass come in? It would be great if we had a progression of services beginning at about 7:30 am with a quiet reflective prayer vigil, moving along the continuum to a choral like hymn and reading service at 9:00, carrying over to a Fire and Brimstone sermon at 10:00. 10:30 would pick up with the more standard scripture message sermon with some blended worship songs / styles.

    The afternoon kicks it up a notch with a 2:30 Soul Revival which progresses to a 4:00 pm Rockin Post Modern / Mosaic style discussion sermon.

    Toward the end of the day we all give each other some lovin and retire to group stuff.

    So really what we need is a Church Van to take us to all the various sanctuaries around town to make this happen. I make a motion we campaign for a Church Van.

  3. March 9, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Jonathan you’re absolutely right. Being culturally relevant looks different depending upon what culture makes up your congregation. So, being relevant in a church in Southern Louisiana will even look different than perhaps even a church in Northern Louisiana. What bugs me is that the Church is the last to move. You see it in music, and we can talk about praise and worship or we can talk about it on the radio, you see it in architecture, you see it in its approach to connecting with one another.
    But I think the thing that will keep us from being overzealous is that balance of Biblical AND relevance. What that exactly looks like, I think might be slightly different than what our dear friend Jim described…”Toward the end of the day we all give each other some lovin” SWEET LORD JIM! HAHAHAHA

  4. March 9, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I think a bus would be more relevant than a van 😉

    It is sad that churches tend to be responsive to cultural changes (and oftentimes just downright slothful when it comes to change at all), instead of actually pushing the culture to change — which does NOT mean getting all political and forcing people to do certain things through legislation. That’s not what I mean at all. I’m talking about when individuals, as a group, start doing something some way that others pick up and start doing the same way. Eventually a culture changes. We need churches — all as a part of the Church — to be on the cutting edge of societal change as well as on the rear end, so to speak, so that we can reach out to the broadest possible audience.

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