False Ecclesiology and a Quest for Cultural Relevancy: How the Loss of Sound Doctrine is Destroying the Church in America

Introduction

In March 2013, Salon.com, a progressive American news and opinion website, published a prophetic article entitled How to Turn a State Liberal. Within this article, they provided a nine-step plan on how to convert a state like Colorado, historically grounded in conservative and Christian principles, into a Progressive Utopia. 1 Unfortunately, the 2018 mid term elections proved Colorado is not just turning liberal, but it is also becoming socialistic and borderline nihilistic. For the first time in American history, an openly homosexual man, Jared Polis, ran for governor and won. Governor Polis is now living with his husband in the governor’s mansion in downtown Denver. Polis is also openly a socialist and has plans for an extraordinary expansion of government within Colorado by providing things such as single-payer healthcare and free, state-run childcare. How did Colorado get to this point where the government has replaced the family? Colorado has been called the nation’s political bellwether for “as Colorado goes so goes the country.” How can the church stop this deterioration of Christian values nationwide?

Within the Salon.com article, the author argues that organic, grass-roots uprisings are to be praised for the destruction of these conservative and Christian values, which had dominated the Colorado political scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s. 2 However, an examination of church life in Denver suggests this fundamental transformation of Colorado’s values has more to do with the failure of Colorado’s churches in maintaining sound church doctrine than the success of these progressive, grass-roots organizations. In fact, the nationwide embrace of progressive principles has more to do with the failure of American churches than any political initiative. 

It is not surprising cities like Chicago and Seattle continue to circle the progressive drain when you have a fundamental breakdown of church doctrine in megachurches such as Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC), Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), and Mars Hill Church (MHC), and some member churches of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The recent report on sex abuse over the past 20 years published by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is also evidence of a breakdown in church discipline and structure. This paper will address how sound church doctrine has deteriorated over the past forty years and has been replaced by the social gospel, the resulting marginalization of the church, and finally, how unbiblical worship practices, such as contemplative prayer, may be the underlying reason for the failure of American churches. 

Background

According to a 2007 report by the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development, there has been a startling drop in church attendance nationwide since the 1980s.

God’s marvelous Church has become culturally irrelevant and even distant from its primary purpose of knowing Him, growing in Him, and worshipping [sic] Him by making disciples! This is evidenced by what is going on in our culture and in our church. Most of the statistics tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop, with some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their leadership. And now over half way [sic] through the first decade of the 21st century [sic], we are seeing the figures drop even more! 3

As reported by the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, the number of church buildings being built year-to-year has also seen a dramatic decline since the 1990s. According to United States Census Bureau and some denominational data, the institute reports the following statistics:

·Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to over 1000 new church starts!

·There were about 4,500 new churches started between 1990 and 2000, with a twenty year [sic] average of nearly 1000 a year.

·Every year, 2.7 million [sic] church members fall into inactivity. This translates into the realization that people are leaving the church. From our research, we have found that they are leaving as hurting and wounded victims of some kind of abuse, disillusionment, or just plain neglect!

·From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the USA declined by almost 5 million [sic] members (9.5 percent), while the US population increased by 24 million [sic] (11 percent).

·At the turn of the last century (1900), there was a ratio of 27 churches per 10,000 people, as compared to the close of this century (2000) where we have 11 churches per 10,000 people in America!

·Given the declining numbers and closures of churches as compared to new church starts, there should have been over 38,000 new churches commissioned to keep up with the population growth.

·The United States now ranks third following China and India in the number of people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever increasing “unreached people group.”

·Half of all churches in the US did not add any new members to their ranks in the last two years. 4

What is the cause of these disturbing statistics? Is there a difference in numbers between mainline liberal Protestant churches, Catholic churches, and evangelical churches? According to research conducted by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, there is a vast difference in how these different denominations have fared over the years.

Evangelicals are the one Christian group to have grown numerically and almost retained their population percentage, now at 25%. A growing majority of Protestants are now Evangelical, [sic] and half of all Christians now identify as Evangelical [sic] or born again [sic]. Liberal Mainline [sic] Protestantism unsurprisingly continues its fast decline, dropping from 18 to under 15%. Catholics dropped from about 24% to 21%. 5

What are the steps that the evangelical churches are taking to remain more relevant in our culture today than the liberal, mainstream Protestant churches and Catholic churches? What should evangelical churches avoid in order not to follow the same path as WCCC, HBC, MHC, and some member churches of the SBC? History has shown that evangelical churches are more likely to maintain proper ecclesiology and are less likely to embrace movements that historically have not been the role of the church. The embracing of the philosophies of multiculturalism and social justice appears to be a common denominator amongst failing churches in America such as WCCC, HBC, MHC, and some member churches of the SBC. Another common denominator is whether or not churches espouse styles of worship based in mystical practices such as contemplative prayer. 

Churches need to avoid worship practices that have the potential to introduce demonic influences into the church and any theology and/or philosophy that replaces the saving work of Christ as the solution to the world’s problems.

The Quest for Contemporary Relevance Will Only Lead to Irrelevance and Marginalization

The quest for contemporary relevance has led it [the church] down the path of increasing irrelevancy and marginalization. The evangelical church is on the brink of becoming another of the many social, do-good agencies whose purpose has to do with helping people to more fully enjoy [sic] this life while neglecting the implications of eternity.6

Dr. John D. Hannah is the department chairman and Distinguished Professor of Historical Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. 7 He hits the nail on the head with this statement within/from his book Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine. Within downtown Denver, Colorado, there are countless mainstream, liberal Protestant churches that have closed or whose buildings have been converted into small theaters or community centers. The church buildings that have not been converted are riddled with graffiti and appear to be a place for squatters rather than worshipers. Is this not the marginalization of the church with which Hannah is concerned? Many of the liberal churches that remain open in downtown Denver lean in the direction of Unitarianism and/or Universalism and are more likely to embrace the teachings of the New Age rather than the sound doctrines of historic Christianity. Their focus is more on liberation theology, social justice, interfaith dialogue, and ecumenism and less on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 1:15). Unfortunately, Denver’s churches only represent where the church in America as a whole is going, and how sound ecclesiology has been replaced by postmodernist thought. This eroding of sound teaching within the church is leading to the systematic destruction of America and something needs to be done.

Christ is Replaced as the Head of the Church

Many liberal leaning churches in America today no longer have Jesus Christ as the head of their church, but rather, are directed by the fleeting narratives of multiculturalism. One week, the revolution of choice is feminism and the “#metoo” credos, and the next week that revolution is replaced by one of seeming greater urgency. They look for unity in diversity; but they will never find it, because the only true example of unity in diversity lies within the relationship of the Trinity. 8

Government Replaces the Role of the Father and the Church

The focus placed on social justice by many American Churches has replaced God the Father with the government as the provider of all things; therefore, it is not surprising the father figure has been replaced in the home as well. This has led to increase in gun violence by teens as most mass shooters of this age have grown up without a father figure.9 This subsequently leads government to provide stronger gun control laws and a loss of our Second Amendment constitutional rights. Has Lyndon Johnson’s government-run War on Poverty raised scores of people out of poverty since it was introduced in 1964? In reality, it has only led to the breakdown of the African-American home with government now replacing the African-American father. 10

Government tries to fill the void as people are leaving the church and, thus, the loving embrace of the Body of Christ, because they have been injured in some way by the leadership or fellow members of the church. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to the Catholic and liberal Protestant churches. Evangelical churches are plagued with this problem as well, especially when you examine the recent bullying and intimidation that has occurred at HBC. 11 The leadership of James MacDonald at HBC has been focused more on the “love of money” (1 Tim 6:10) 12 than the love for his congregation. MacDonald’s errant ecclesiology was not based in loving, Bible- based discipline performed by the priesthood of believers (Matt 18:15-17); it was characterized by punitive decisions within a small group of church elites. 13 This kind of abuse turns people away from the fellowship and support the church is meant to provide, and it leads people to depend more on the government for financial and social support. The late Robert L. Saucy, a biblical scholar and Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Talbot Theological Seminary, clarifies it this way:

Although the believer is taught to cast his own cares upon the Lord (1 Pet 5:7; Phil 4:6), this does not relieve him of the responsibility of sharing the cares of other believers. As one member of a human body cannot help but be affected by the condition of another, so the members of the body [sic] of Christ are to share with each other their suffering and rejoicing (1 Co 12:25-27). There are no separated individuals in the church, which is His body. 14

The universal church is meant to represent the continuing presence of Christ on Earth; 15 and yet, many people never experience Christ because of aberrant and abusive churches. If the offended person remains a Christian, they will often try to walk on their own and miss the opportunity for harmony and corporate edification within the Body of Christ.

Sound Biblical Teaching is Replaced by Multiculturalism and Moral Relativism

Half of Christian millennials believe it is wrong to evangelize the non-believer. 16 This is because this generation has grown up imbibing the messages of multiculturalism and diversity, which makes acceptance (as opposed to true tolerance) the highest value. 17 However, the universal church is meant to transcend skin color, nationality, culture, and language, rather than to be consumed by it. 18 Scripture also instructs us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19) and to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet 3:15). 

Many Christians today do not believe in absolute truth despite Christ making the absolute statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Postmodernism teaches we are all the product of our cultures and no individual culture is better than another because our individual truth is based upon our individual background. This is a logical fallacy, because this belief in cultural relativism is an absolute truth to those who believe in it. The universal church is called to be a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17) and not to live in our old ways; we are to “get rid of the old yeast” (1 Cor 5:7) and become a new batch ready to be fashioned according to God’s will. World-renown philosopher and Christian theologian, the late Francis Schaeffer, summarizes the problem of moral relativism with this observation: 

If there is no absolute moral standard, then one cannot say in a final sense that anything is right or wrong. By absolute we mean that which always applies, that which provides a final or ultimate standard. There must be an absolute if there are to be morals, and there must be an absolute if there are to be real values. If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions. 19

Expressing Submission to God via Communion and Baptism are Replaced by Health andWealth Theology

The blood of Jesus Christ saves us individually, but we are sanctified as members of the Body of Christ when we participate in the ordinances of communion and baptism. Our public display of submission to God reflects the unseen, hidden disposition of our hearts for we have died to our old selves and have risen anew in Christ. However, certain Christian leaders, such as Joyce Meyer and other Word of Faith teachers, have decided church size and popularity are more important than sound theology. They teach we can become prosperous, healthy, and totally “free of sin” once we accept Jesus as our Savior. This contradicts 1 John 1:8 that states, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Being “free from sin” is biblical, and it means we are no longer slaves to sin once we accept Christ. Sin is no longer accounted to us, but we can still choose to sin. However, being “free of sin” teaches that we are fully sanctified and we live our lives without sinning, which is not Biblical. This false teaching can lead people in the church to believe that as long as they are part of a big “forgiven” group working together for a good cause, they are okay, which is the main reason the church is irrelevant in America today. Who needs the church to do good things?

A “Symphony of Praise” 20 is Replaced by a Clamor of Chaos

The first twenty-three verses of the book of Ephesians is a grand doxology praising the saving work of Jesus Christ. The universal church is called to be a “symphony of  praise” that mirrors the love and grand purpose that Christ has given to us. 21 Our relationship with Christ gives us direction and order. However, outside of Christ, this “symphony of praise” turns into a clamor of chaos. Like the paintings of abstract expressionist and modernist Jackson Pollock, the human life is equated to chance paint droppings on an unstretched raw canvas. 22 There is no purpose and, thus, no hope.

Saucy argues, “Christian worship is the work of life as service to God” and “true worship is the sincere expression of devotion to God.” 23 However, an observation of American churches today would suggest service to ourselves and devotion to justice is Christian worship. The New Age and other religions and cults have permeated our churches and teach that Jesus did not save us from sin; He simply removed the barrier preventing us from becoming part of God. Many churches are more likely to host a self-help seminar that teaches us to embrace our inner divinity rather than recognize our need for the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. Many of these same churches teach that being “social justice warriors” aligns us with the “cosmic energy” we need to recognize our divine nature. 

From where did these false teachings come? Many people within the New Age movement, who have channeled spirits via Buddhist Transcendental Meditation, report that these spirits have given them guidance on how to reach their divine nature. Many of these same spirits claim to be the spirit of Jesus Christ. Is it really Jesus telling people these things? Could it be an evil spirit; or could it be a person was deceived or lied about getting guidance, which would make them a wolf in sheep’s clothing? A further examination of the Scriptures and the worship practices of failed churches such as WCCC, HBC, MHC, and some member churches of the SBC may be able to shine some light on this question.

Contemplative Prayer: An Examination of the Root of Four Failed Churches

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3, italics in original)

Within this epistle, the Apostle John is warning against the growing heresy of Gnosticism in the early first-century church. According to the founder of the Contemplative Prayer movement, Catholic Universalist Fr. Thomas Keating, contemplative or centering prayer is “a very simple method in which one opens one’s self to God and consents to his presence in us and to his actions within us.” 24 This type of prayer is based in pseudo-Gnosticism and is equal to that of Buddhist meditation; in that, the practitioner releases any distractions caused by thoughts or emotions and simply “waits for God.” 25 Keating believes, “Christ annihilated the dichotomy between matter and spirit,” 26 which is also called “monism” or “pantheism.” He also believes “contemplation resolves all dichotomies.” 27 If contemplative prayer is based in heresy, then why are so many evangelical churches including it as a proper method of prayer?

The common link between Bill Hybels of WCCC, James MacDonald of HBC, Mark Driscoll of MHC, and some member churches of the SBC is contemplative prayer. Hybels and Driscoll have both recommended books by Keating and all three have recommended books by other Catholic mystics. Interestingly, “sexual spirituality” continues to be a growing subject of interest within the contemplative prayer field and, according to Lighthouse Trails Research, much of what has been published by contemplative evangelical leaders is actually:

. . . a disguised version, perhaps at an infant stage, of New Age tantra [sic].

Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and sects. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love making to enhance sexual experiences.

If Christians begin to incorporate their contemplative proclivities with their sexual lives (a Christian version of tantric sex), the results will be devastating to the church, and we predict sexual perversion will be more rampant than ever. Why? Because if the altered states of consciousness are truly demonic realms (as we believe they are) then tantric sex is another venue of the hidden darkness that Jesus spoke of [sic]. 29

Hybels, MacDonald, and Driscoll have all recommended books authored by Gary Thomas 30 who is a teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church of Houston (a member of the SBC), a speaker on marriage for Focus on the Family, and a fellow proponent of contemplative prayer. Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage introduces readers to Mary Anne McPherson Oliver, who says in her book Conjugal Spirituality that the Upanishads [Hindu scriptures] and writings of the Tantra should be the moral theology for Christian couples.31 Is it any wonder, then, that Hybels and leaders at the Second Baptist Church of Houston all have been accused of sexual misconduct/assault and perversion? 32

WCCC, HBC, MHC, and many member churches of the SBC also have fallen for the false social justice narrative, which teaches it is the role of the universal church to fight God’s battles for Him. This is in stark contrast to the life of Jesus that was characterized by teaching people about the nature of God the Father and our need for a Savior. Jesus said, “I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). He never fought or spoke out against social inequities such as slavery and, in fact, the Bible instructs slaves to obey their masters (1 Pet 2:18). The only time Jesus possibly ever was outraged about something was when the moneychangers were price-gouging people who were looking to purchase animals for sacrifice in the temple. It is also likely Jesus ran the moneychangers out because they were taking the space where the Gentiles were allowed to worship. 33 He was clearly more concerned about the role of the temple (i.e. the church) in worship than any social problems of the day. 

Although social justice warriors may have hearts that overflow with love for the downtrodden, the Bible also explicitly warns, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor11:14). Therefore, could it be possible the focus on social justice at WCCC, HBC, MHC, and some member churches of the SBC is rooted in demonic influence? If these same churches are enmeshed in the teachings of people like Fr. Thomas Keating and Gary Thomas, then it is certainly possible that contemplative prayer has led to a non-biblical ecclesiology. The idea of social justice sounds nice on the surface, but it is based in atheistic, Marxist thought. The LORD says, “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense” (Deut 32:35), so why do we feel we need to look to non-biblical forms of justice? The result of the churches’ involvement in social justice is that God is diminished rather than magnified (the real purpose of the universal church), and it becomes more consumed with its own empowering people with temporal solutions rather than equipping people with God’s eternal solutions. When it fails to satisfy, people leave the church and look elsewhere. Is not Satan’s message that we can “be like God” (Gen 3:5) and fix our own problems outside of God?

Conclusion

The 2018 mid-term election results in Colorado are only a reflection of a larger problem here in America: the total irrelevancy of the church. As John D. Hannah pointed out, the church has become nothing more than just another one of the many “social, do-good agencies whose purpose has to do with helping people to more fully enjoy this life while neglecting the implications of eternity.” 34 The focus on social justice by the church in America is a false ecclesiology and suggests it is more important for us to help pull one out of poverty then it is for us to help pull one out of hell. Didn’t Jesus ask us “for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). We as Christians are called to love and serve one another as the Body of Christ, but not at the expense of teaching the need for Jesus as our Savior. For how can the hearts and minds of America be transformed without Him?

NOTES

  1.  David Sirota, “How to Turn a State Liberal,” Salon (March 20, 2013), accessed February 10, 2019, https://www.salon.com/2013/03/20/how_to_turn_your_state_liberal/
  2.  Ibid.
  3. Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., “Church Leadership: Statistics and Reasons for Church Decline,” Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development (2007), accessed February 10, 2019, http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=42346.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Mark Tooley, “Pew Survey & Lament for Nominal Christianity,” Juicy Ecumenism: The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog, May 12, 2015, accessed February 10, 2019, https://juicyecumenism.com/2015/05/12/pew-survey-lament-for-nominal-christianity/.
  6. John D. Hannah, Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 18. My clarification is in parentheses.
  7. Hannah, “Our Legacy:,” 395.
  8. Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publications, 2015), 209.
  9. Paul Kengor, “Shootings and Fatherlessness: A Clarification of the Data,” Crisis Magazine (March 9, 2018), accessed February 12, 2019, https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/fatherless-shooters-clarification-data.
  10. Louis Woodhill, “The War on Poverty Wasn’t a Failure–It Was a Catastrophe,” Forbes (March 19, 2014), accessed February 12, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2014/03/19/the-war-on-poverty-wasnt-a-failure-it-was-a-catastrophe/#24964fbf6f49
  11. Julie Roys, “Hard Times at Harvest,” World Magazine (December 13, 2018), accessed February 11, 2019, https://world.wng.org/2018/12/hard_times_at_harvest.
  12. New King James Version throughout document. Accessed February 15, 2019, https://biblehub.com
  13. News Division, “Believe in the Baptists: Conquering Social Justice Through the Pews” Pulpit & Pen (February 13, 2019), accessed February 13, 2019.
  14. Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1972), Kindle edition, 480.
  15. Adapted from Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D., “Lecture 6.2: The Church as the Body of Christ,” Ecclesiology Lecture Series, https://moodle.ses.edu/course/view.php?id=2125, production date unknown, accessed February 10, 2019.
  16. Dave Urbanski, “Study: Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism is Wrong,” The Blaze (February 5, 2019), accessed February 11, 2019, https://www.theblaze.com/news/christian-millennials-evangelism-is-wrong?fbclid=IwAR2BpeUWAgup3HvT3eTS0kJjFANN5hlLHiGMYq5LMwPTLLQdRkckrBmqoGQ.
  17. Adapted from comments made by Julie Roys of World Magazine on her Facebook page, (February 6, 2019), accessedon February 6, 2019, (@reachjulieroys).
  18. Charles R, Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1986), 332.
  19. Francis Schaeffer, How Then Should We Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1976), 145, Italics are in original.
  20. Adapted from Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D., “Lecture 6.1: The Church as a Symphony of Praise,” Ecclesiology Lecture Series, https://moodle.ses.edu/course/view.php?id=2125, production date unknown, accessed February 10, 2019.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Francis Schaeffer. How Then Should We Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1976), 194
  23. Saucy, The Church in God’s Program, 3616.
  24. Thomas Keating and Gustave Reininger, “Resting in God: Trappist Monk Thomas Keating Talks About How Centering Prayer Builds a Relationship With God,” Beliefnet (publication date unknown), accessed February 14, 2019, https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/faith-tools/meditation/1999/12/resting-in-god.aspx.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Connie Rossini, “Centering Prayer and the CDF, Part 3,” Is Centering Prayer Catholic? Blog, September 2, 2016, accessed February 13, 2019, http://www.iscenteringprayercatholic.com/centering-prayer-and-the-cdf-part-3/.
  27. Ibid.
  28. “Willow Creek–Contemplative/Emerging Spirituality,” Lighthouse Trails Research Project, 2019, accessed February 14, 2019, https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/willowcreek.htm; “Mark Driscoll Rejects McLaren But Embraces Contemplative,”Lighthouse Trails Research Project, January 12, 2008, accessed February 14, 2019, https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2146; Ken Silva, “James MacDonald Thinks Beth Moore Studies Are ‘Pretty Phenomenal’,” Apprising Ministries, September 21, 2011, accessed February 14, 2019, http://apprising.org/2011/09/21/james-macdonald-thinks-beth-moore-studies-are-pretty-phenomenal/.
  29. “Tantric (i.e., Contemplative) Sex and Christianity–A Match NOT Made in Heaven,” Lighthouse Trails Research Project, June 12, 2015, accessed February 13, 2019, https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17518.
  30. Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360 Leader (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 2009), accessed via Google Books preview on February 14, 2019, https://books.google.com/books/about/Courageous_Leadership.html?id=YxQMTfoAzZcC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q=Gary%20Thomas&f=false; “Mark Driscoll IS a Contemplative Proponent,” Lighthouse Trails Research Project, December 21, 2009, accessed February 13, 2019, https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=1640; Ken Silva, “James MacDonald Thinks. . .”.
  31. “Tantric . . .” 
  32. E.S. Martin, “Systemic Sexual Perversion in Foundation of Willow Creek Community Church,” E. S. Martin blog, August 10, 2018, accessed 13 February 2019, https://esmartinonline.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/systemic-sexual-perversion-in-the-foundation-of-willow-creek-commmunity-church/; Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco, “Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Spreads as Leaders Resist Reforms,” Houston Chronicle (February 10, 2019), accessed February 13, 2019, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-sexual-abuse-spreads-as-leaders-13588038.php.
  33. Phillip Long, “Some Thoughts on the Book of Acts and Pauline Theology,” Reading Acts Blog, November 2, 2014, accessed February 14, 2019, https://readingacts.com/2014/11/02/why-were-there-money-changers-in-the-temple/.
  34. Hannah, “Our Legacy:,” 18.





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