There is an epidemic movement which has infected even the
most conservative denominations and seminaries, which began in
the United States more than a decade ago, and is now being manifested
throughout the Church globally. One of the founders of this seeker-friendly
movement is Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willowcreek Church
in the Chicago area.
REMOVE THE CROSS
The Ten Commandments have been removed from being posted in Public
Schools and now we are reaping what we have sown children
shooting children consciences seared like a hot iron.
Similarly, now the seeker-friendly philosophy asks the Church
to remove the symbol of the cross. Of course, you dont
have to have the symbol of a cross in a church for it to be fervently
evangelical or God-fearing. It has much more to do with the REASON
the cross is being removed the theology and philosophy
behind this epidemic movement.
BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THIS WORLD
This seeker or sinner-friendly church growth movement
theology suggests that the Church needs to be conformed to the
image of the world. But the Apostle Paul writes that we (and
the world) are to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans
12:2). Christ is a rock of offence to the world and we are trying
to make Him appealing. Decorate and disguise Christ and then
you can reach unchurched Harry and Mary and draw
people into the Kingdom? Entertain people into repentance? Whatever
happened to the scriptural commandment come out from among
them, be ye separate? (II Corinthians 6:17). Christ was
willing to become publicly humiliated (not decorated), scourged,
disgraced, shamed, pulverized beyond recognition for us. But
the seeker-friendly movement seems to suggest that we have to
apologize for the gospel in order not to offend anyone. The Church
in Smyrna was one of only two churches in Revelation which Christ
commended and had NOTHING against. Why? Because they were faithful
even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10). These saints were
willing to be (and were) martyred. At the end of time we see
again saints who loved their lives not unto death
(Revelation 12:11). In fact, even in the Twentieth Century there
have been more saints martyred than since the foundation of the
Church. Christ commends Christians for overcoming this world
by the blood of the Lamb, not by some clever marketing plan or
felt needs. This whole theology is a reproach to
Christ and the persecuted and martyred saints throughout the
ages! And again, Hebrews 11:37-38 tells us that the destitute,
persecuted and mistreated saints of this present world, the world
was not worthy of them. Paul says earlier: For I am not
ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and
also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).
REMOVE RELIGIOUS WORDS
When Bill Hybels started his church, he vowed not to use religious
words, suggests that we need to remove religious words
in our efforts to reach the community. Well, it is with these
very Biblical religious words that we confess our faith. What
religious words used by every major and minor Prophet in the
Torah and by Christ and His Apostles would you suggest we remove?
It is with these very Biblical religious words that we praise
His Holy Name. Heaven and earth are hung by the [religious] word
of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus used religious words when he
called forth Lazarus from the grave. The halt, the lame and the
blind went bounding through the streets with religious words
after being cured by Jesus or the Apostles. Religious words are
precisely what Noah preached to them that all perished in the
Flood because they did not fear God and hearken
unto his words. Religious words are what Jonah preached to turn
120,000 people (the entire population of Nineveh) to repent...repent...another
religious word. These Ninevites were not only not post-Christian
era, but their culture NEVER heard the Gospel or had any
Biblical form of religion. There was NO modification of the message
or methodology simply because they were unchurched, but Jonah
used the very same message in that age and nation as we need
in this present age and every nation, and that message is simply
Repent. And guess what? It worked!! Gods Word
was NOT defective and did NOT return void!
Born again is a religious word. But Jesus said Except
a man be born again, he can NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven
(John 3:3-7). Jesus used this religious word, so why shouldnt
we? How do you carry out the Great Commission without using religious
words in Scripture to proclaim the Gospel...another religious
word? Saved is a religious word directed to every
tribe and nation to the ends of the earth to every generation
throughout the ages. And, once again, what does the Bible say?
Whosoever believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, even on His
name shall be saved (Acts 16:31).
Jesus used religious words in the Sermon on the Mount, whose
audience was both churched and unchurched Harry and Mary. Same
message for both audiences!!! Religious words were spoken at
the upper room at Pentecost. If it is good enough for the 120
who started the church in the First Century, it is good enough
for me in the 21st Century. Are we now to go into all of the
world and preach the Gospel (of repentance unto salvation and
fear God and give him glory) without using religious words!?!
CHRIST BUILT HIS CHURCH IN THE RIGHT ZIP CODE?
Market research tells a church planting committee what Zip Code
to target then build your church. But Christ would
have built one of his churches in the worst Zip Code. The Willowcreek
theory paper on small groups (and this epidemic philosophy) further
states that, There was a time in the early 50s that people
could build small groups completely around the disciplines of
Bible study and prayer. Once again, if this discipline
was good enough for the early disciples and founding fathers,
it is good enough for me. When Jesus overturned the money changers
tables in the Temple in righteous anger, He said My house
shall be called a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). We are
not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful and
holy. If a church remains at three people or becomes 3,000 that
is Gods problem. The Scripture does not say seek
the fellowship (or church growth movement) and I will supply
the light. It says seek the light and I will supply
the fellowship. But if we walk in the light, as he
is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (I John
MAKE SURE YOURE A PLEASING (CONTAGIOUS) CHRISTIAN
Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Ye adulterers
and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world
is enmity with God? James 4:4. In the Book of Revelation,
the Church of Pergamos was condemned for its marriage of the
world to Christ. Christ commended the saints who loved
their lives not unto death. So much for a politically correct
church whose doctrine is Tolerance. In II Corinthians 2:14-16,
Paul says that our procession is a stench of death to world who
is perishing, but a pleasing fragrance to the Lord. Paul counted
himself (and the other Apostles) scum and refuse to the world.
But some have now made the churches become a pleasing aroma to
the world, but a stench to the nostrils of the Lord.
OH FOOLISH AMERICANS, WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU?
What we need in the United States is a New Reformation. A New
American Revolution. As the Prophet Jeremiah preached: Thus
says the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the
old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will
find rest for your souls (Jeremiah 6:16). But what
we hear today is this is the 21st Century! This sinner-friendly
theology like the Church of Pergamos has married the Bride of
Christ to the unholy world which has a form of godliness but
is bankrupt in spirit. This spiritual harlotry God will judge.
This epidemic in the church has given birth to the Church of
Laodicea (neither hot nor cold) whom Christ will spew out of
his mouth. It is time to trust the Gospel. It is time to trust
that Gods word will NOT return void! If I be lifted
up I will draw all men unto myself (John 12:32). And how
was He lifted up? He was lifted up on the cross. It is time to
get back to preaching the cross and Him crucified.
Except for the shedding of blood, there is NO remission
of sins (Hebrews 9:22, Hebrews 10:18)...oh no...another
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth]
not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin (Romans
All Scripture is profitable [including every religious
word in the Scripture) for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly
equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). Note
that Scripture is sufficient for the PERFECTION. What is lacking
in perfection? Note too that a man of God will be thoroughly
furnished....not partly....not mostly....but THOROUGHLY. Again
what is lacking? And doesn't "all" mean all? And doesnt
every good work mean every good work? If Scripture is sufficient
for every good work, what kind of work would you want to be performing
Not using every word (religious word) of Scripture renders us
and anyone we teach spiritual cripples unequipped to do the work
of the ministry and lacking the full armour of God to fend off
the fiery darts of the enemy and fight the good fight of spiritual
warfare and run a good race. That is the true Gospel. Oh foolish
Americans, who hath bewitched you? This seeker-sensitive theology
is not the Gospel of Christ, but a theology of apology. It is
a faith without armour, incapable of withstanding the fiery darts
of the enemy. It is a fleet of boats in a sail boat regatta,
when what we need are battleships in formation for a spiritual
war against the principalities. What we need are spiritual World
Trade Centre tragedy fire-fighters who are running up the stairway
to Heaven who brave the Gates of Hell that none would perish.
Repent while God is still giving you a season to repent!
© 1999-2002 ROCK SALT PUBLISHING 551 VALLEY ROAD, PMB
UPPER MONTCLAIR, NJ 07043 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
QUESTIONS FOR CHURCHES CONSIDERING BECOMING WILLOWCREEK AND OR
RICK WARREN THEOLOGY CHURCHES:
1. Does Bill Hybels believe in using Psychology in the Church?
2. Does Bill Hybels believe in using Personality Testing in the
Church such as Briggs-Meyers and Shape's Kiersey-Bates Temperament
Test, based on Carl Jung)?
3. Did Bill Hybels state on any national media or in any of his
books: "I vow not to use any religious words when I start
4. Does Bill Hybels support Robert Schuller and speak or preach
at his Church?
5. Is Robert Schuller a mentor to Bill Hybels, and has had him
speak at his leadership conferences?
6. Does Bill Hybels believe that Robert Schuller is a heretic
and false teacher?
6. Does Bill Hybels endorse Alpha Course?
7. Does Willowcreek support the United Nations?
8. Does Bill Hybels support Rick Warren's teaching?
9. Does Bill Hybels install and promote AA type 12 Steps Programs
at his church?
10. Does Bill Hybels endorse Celebrate Recovery?
11. Did Bill Hybels make a statement "Christ's salvation
is equal trade for worth focus on unsaved Harry's worth?"
12. Does Bill Hybels have different services for Churched Harry
& Mary than the Unchurched Harry & Mary?
13. Did Bill Hybels make a statement which, in effect, said "Unchurched
have rejected church but not necessarily God?
14. Did Bill Hybels make a statement which, in effect, said this
generation is different from all past generations?
15. Invite false teachers to speak at his church, such as Islamic
16. Signed Evangelicals and Catholics Together (etc)?
17. Install female pastors?
18. Did Bill Hybels make the following statement: "I don't'
think fear, as a tactic, really moves people toward faith these
days. So, tactically, I think there are better way to interest
the uninterested in the claims of Jesus Christ."
19. Did Bill Hybels make it clear to any interview on the national
news that he had removed the Cross from the sanctuary or defended
20. Does Bill Hybels support James Dobson's statement that the
answer to low self-esteem is high self-esteem?