Controversial preacher Rick Warren was to speak at the Desiring God National Conference in the USA. The invitation to Rick Warren by John Piper caused great concern to many reformed believers.
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Leaders who defected from the Episcopal Church completed the formation of a conservative branch of Anglicanism in North America Monday by ratifying the constitution of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), reports Charisma News Online.
The document was signed during ACNA’s Inaugural Provincial Assembly, which drew some 800 participants to Bedford, Texas, this week. Pittsburg Bishop Robert Duncan, who on Wednesday will be installed as the group’s first archbishop, said the formation of ACNA reflects a return to orthodox Christianity that is happening both within the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and beyond.
“Our God is up to something very big, both with us and with others,” Duncan said Monday. “The Father truly is drawing His children together again in a surprising and sovereign move of the Holy Spirit. He is again re-forming His church.”
On Tuesday, Saddleback pastor Rick Warren addressed the assembly, encouraging them to love one another but not the world’s values, the Associated Press reported. Other non-Anglican participants include Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church, the Rev. Samuel Nafzger of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. The assembly ends on Thursday.
The formation of ACNA, said to represent some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes, is the latest response to liberal moves within the Episcopal Church that culminated with the ordination of an openly gay bishop in 2003. Since then, roughly 200 congregations have left what had been the only U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, ACNA leaders report.
Most of the defectors, including several charismatic parishes, have aligned with conservative dioceses in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, where Anglicanism is experiencing the most growth.
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Report from the Christian Telegraph
According to newspaper reports in Australia, an American Baptist pastor has created a website promoting his latest gimmick, Puresextucson.com. Pastor Jeremiah McDuffie created the website to promote a series of sex sermons and issues related to Christians as a consequence of sex.
According to McDuffie, he wants people to know that God wants them to have good sex and that he wanted to begin an open dialogue on the subject. He has also sent postcards to promote the sermon series and website to some 35 000 homes in Tucson, Arizona.
The Element Community Church is hosting the sex series and the flashy website introduction points you to the church website for more information.
The idea of teaching God’s people about the right place of sex in their lives is something that has enormous merit. However, it is the gospel that remains the vehicle for bringing in the elect, and faith and repentance the means of gaining salvation in Christ alone, which are gifts of God’s grace.
By promoting sermons on sex, McDuffie and the Element Community Church may very well get a large number of people along to their church and even gain a number of people that will continue to attend. But will they gain the unsaved for Christ by doing so? Again, it is the gospel that God uses in bringing salvation to the elect and not a series of sermons on sex. Having a whole group of people hanging around the church simply because their interests have been titillated will do nothing for their well being and may in fact cause great harm to the church itself.
Sadly, this exercise of the Element Community Church would appear to be just another gimmick in the American church as is typical of the Church Growth Movement. Browsing the church website would also lead one to think that the Element Community Church has drunk fully at the Church Growth Movement trough and imbibed its tragic spirit.
Indeed, the church website has a link to McDuffie’s Blog site, in which he actually praises Rick Warren, one of the founding fathers of the modern church growth movement.
I have a confession to make ~ I haven’t been regularly attending church for quite some time. Why is that? Is it because I no longer believe or is because I have imbibed the modern idea that Christians don’t have to go to church? Neither is the case.
There is an element of social fear, the fear of going to a new church and getting ‘mugged’ by so many who want to make you feel so welcome, which a good number undoubtedly do want to achieve ~ however, it is my belief that a good number of the overtly obnoxious are somewhat superficial in their practice of ‘niceness.’ My experience has been that the ‘niceness’ is generally short-lived and is quickly followed by suspicion, jealousy, etc.
But the main reason I haven’t regularly attended church is my inability to find a church that satisfies my strong desire to find a ‘Biblically sound church.’ I describe myself as a ‘Particular Baptist,’ which isn’t a way of saying I’m better than everyone else, but that I have a name that describes my belief system and differentiates my beliefs from many other ‘Christian’ sects. Because of this somewhat ‘narrow’ belief system it is difficult to find a church I can be happy with.
Now there are a number of churches that would describe themselves along similar lines, however, practice falls short of what they define themselves to be ~ and to a degree this is true of all of us that profess Christianity. My problem is that I can’t seem to get close to a church that comes close to my belief system, without betraying some vital element of it.
I will never embrace the practice that sees a church cater to those who are unbelievers in the meetings that are meant for worship and the building up of the elect to the extent that everything is aimed at the unbeliever ~ there is a widespread practice in the church today that sees that which would bring unbelievers into the church as that which dictates the policy of church worship ~ it is popularised by such people as Rick Warren (and there is more to it than that).
Of course my viewpoint is largely regarded as being outdated and is far from popular. I am quite happy to leave these groups to their own devices, having failed to successfully warn churches of their tendency toward this type of thing before. Yet it disturbs me greatly that so-called ‘Reformed’ churches are chasing after this very sort of thing, while still claiming such men as Charles Haddon Spurgeon among those that have gone before them. Such downgrade practices have been seen before and these men battled it at great personal cost.
My friends, men like Spurgeon would be appalled to see the practices of the churches in this regard today and would distance themselves from any sign of unity with such groups. Such pious claims of reaching the unconverted by becoming like them is not what Paul had in mind when he said he would become all things to all men and the sooner the church understands this the better off it will be and the greater will be the number of true converts entering the church.