Saturday, March 24, 2007

CULT vs. CHURCH Part 1


I have an acquaintance, Perry Noble, who recently posted regarding churches, like his, being accused of being cults. I will link it here. When I read his post I laughed because recently a “church without a name," in our town (I will save the name to protect the guilty), labeled The Rock Church as a cult. Those tricksters! They called us on the phone, talked with one of our pastors and inquired about many statistics regarding The Rock Church. They asked questions about service attendance, statement of faith, youth ministry philosophy; frankly, we thought they wanted to get to know TRC and would use the information positively. We were wrong!

Here's how it played out: The pastor did a series about “churches in Monroe.” We were not the only church “featured” in this very important end-times topic. However, two weeks were dedicated to The Rock Church while other churches only had one—I feel special. :) When I first heard it I laughed, thinking no way another church, preaching the same Jesus Christ I know, would accuse TRC of being a cult, but after further inquiry, I confirmed it. I called the pastor to ask about it. Guess what? No call back.

Have pastors around our nation really reduced themselves to series about other churches, instead of topics like Jesus Christ, salvation, spiritual growth, the Holy Spirit? I mean with 660,000 souls in Snohomish County and only 1/4 of them attending church, some churches are now preaching about each other? I know, how about a series on UNITY, AGREEMENT, ACCUSATIONS, LOGS AND PLANKS! I mean seriously, am I missing something?

Or no wait, I do talk about other churches. My bad. I talk about how unity, helpfulness, agreement, working together and love are the ultimate statements of church life and that our church must speak highly of all churches. I should send the pastor of the “church without a name” a copy of that message. Or wait…maybe not! What I should send him is a box full of “cult stuff.” :) Let’s see, what can I find, snakes—hmmm—a potion to speak in tongues—oh, what is this, grape juice and a book on meteorites. SHUT UP already!

Seriously, I looked around for “cult stuff” at TRC today and can't find any. All I can find in this church are Bibles, Disaster Relief Supplies, tools to reach teens for Christ, children’s ministry leaders, 2 Community Improvement awards, 2 Community Caring awards (we get another this week), dedicated staffers, happy kids, enthusiastic volunteers, interns, people ministering to the addicted, business professionals living ethically, three giant boxes of “Thank you” notes, testimony’s of life change, a wall of 1,000 names we are praying over to be saved, a fish tank, and Mike, our Communications Director who never sleeps. Should I go on to tell of the vision, mission, message of TRC? How about the 5 people who received Christ for the first time in their life last Sunday, or the 158 people who have found Christ at TRC this year? Does any other church care, that we give benevolence totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars away ever decade? Seriously, missions in Mexico, India, and Africa? What about minsitry all around the NW?

No wait, hold on, I found something; we have a "culture." SO, that's it: Faith, Passion, Relationships, Excellence, Integrity, Generosity, Order, Worship, Prayer, Word, and Creativity. It is our "culture" that is being I get it? Or maybe I don't? I thought the devil was suppose to attack the church, not other churches? Oh yeah, the religious attacked Jesus, and they went to church, they will attack us.

Frankly, I have heard this “cult accusation” before and I know where it comes from. It comes from a place of pain and insecurity on behalf of the accuser. Sadly, lives that have been following Christ will be severed because of careless opinions. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. We are not wrestling against another church or even another pastor, we are wrestling against an enemy who hates us. It is always a good time to pray.

This accusation against TRC is so ridiculous I am doing a BLOG series on Cults vs. Church: How can you know the difference? Check Perry’s post out as a first installment.