Christianity Today - Jubilee 99 - Willow Creek AssociationBill Hybels and the Willow Creek Association trains people and sells resources to churches imitating their rediscovered, ancient Pattern. Most charismatic-musical mass movements now used to jump-start dead churches appear to be a blend of Christian themes and commercialism. According to Revelation 18 this will be the end-time paradigm of the Babylon form of religion. Does it bring in the crowds? You betcha!
However, the trend of hard sell evangelists may spell tragedy for those who put themselves on display rather than endorse the bloody, crucified Savior Who didn't dance in church or to the clergy He outlawed once for all.
Because numbers are the only real test at "job evaluation time" in many churches, we can understand how people endowed with a mind-manipulating charisma can increase attendance and some may even enhance real spirituality. However, the methods of Jesus and the Apostles never appealed to the unbelieving masses who wanted to kill them rather than worship God. We can be concerned, therefore, when "change agents" turn all the way back to Babylon for their new "paradigms" sold in new wineskins as "intoxicating" or "exhilarating" wine.
We must admire Bill Hybels of Willow Creek, and movements like Jubilee 99 which promote their methods. However, it does not come from the Bible and stands opposed to the overwhelming evidence revealed by the Spirit. The Biblical church has never attracted the masses but has always attracted judgment and persecution. Indeed, if we will live godly in this world we "will" be persecuted
Our right to object begins when the methods are sold to others. These denounce their old brothers and become an agent for the new revivalistic effort resulting in the division of brother against brother and the break up of productive and peaceful churches.
Excerpts From Christianity Today
"Recently Idea Spektrum, a German evangelical news magazine, published reports chronicling the decline of the charismatic movement in Germany. Thus, the Willow Creek church-growth program has become the primary post charismatic hope of many German evangelicals. Christianity Today
This data no longer exists. As a response to my request for information: 1.04.05
...unfortunately we donīt have the article that you refered to. Of course: this article dates back many many years. A lot of great things have happend since then due to Willow. In fact, this February we have the Leadership Summit from Willow over here. 11.000 folks have registered already for that. That so many pastors and church leaders come together to learn about biblical leadership in the church, is staggering for us.
Gotthard Westhoff Willow Creek Germany
Von: Kenneth Sublett [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Gesendet: Dienstag, 4. Januar 2005 05:09
Betreff: Christianity Today Article
Charisma or grace in the Bible speaks of power to become what Christ wants us to be. However, Charismatic as applied to Christianity today means "out of your mind" or, as in Corinth, "mad, insane" a total loss of control. Paul wrote:
If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 1Co.14:23
Paul used the invasion of the tongue-speaking enemies of God in Isaiah 28 when he said that tongues were a sign to unbelievers. That is, when we ignore the Word of God He sends strong delusions from people speaking a language which cannot be understood. Paul compared musical instruments to the insanity of pretend-speech proving that God was making you sing, dance and "bark like a dog."
Mad is from the Greek:
Mainomai (g3105) mah'ee-nom-ahee; (to long for; through the idea of insensate craving); to rave as a "maniac": - be beside self mad
When David praised with music he was clearly boasting of himself. He was perfect in all of his ways and that is why the Lord loved him:
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 2S.22:21
Nothing in history is clearer than the fact that charismatic, musical, dancing, drama worship is the first and most dangerous form of legalism. It attempts to force people into the presence of God or call God into the temple. This is really Ceremonial Legalism
David's praise is similar to the raving madness in Corinth as their songs and sermons came out of their own "spirit" as they bragged about how God loved them and had given them a gift.
Halal (h1984) haw-lal'; a prim. root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be clamorously foolish; to rave; causat. to celebrate; also to stultify: - (make) boast self, celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (- ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feign self mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of praise, rage, renowned, shine.
Lucifer got his name from this human practice of trying to shine before others to keep them from God and His Word:
Heylel (h1966) hay-lale'; from 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star: - Lucifer.
While music sounds "exciting" and "spiritual" it has always been the most powerful way of oppressing people.
That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! Isa 14:4
Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm (maggots) is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. Isa 14:11
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isa 14:12
When we want to "preach the gospel" don't we import someone who can be worshiped so that people will attend? Isn't the talent to be worshiped so that some of the worship spills over onto the prime pastor? In the CD article the motive is clear: if we can demonstrate what a real Christian is all dressed up, talented, rehearsed, wired-up, swaying in step, clapping hands singing "Lord, Lord" the secular seekers will say: "Surely God is with you."
but rather with the living portrayal of dedicated Christians."
"Yet Eggers is worried that liberals may only accept the methodology and forms of this program. He says nothing can change "unless content is changed; the gospel must become a matter of the heart." Christianity Today
Of Willow Creek and imitators: If the prospects get hyped up with the drama music (and they will because of endorphins) they might become Complimentarians or rise to the next level of the group. However, only after the female elder's creed about female leadership has been inculcated and is subscribed to, may one meet the standards of conformity and become a member.
If these methods sound suspiciously like the paramilitary Jubilee movements, the German critics take note of where these movements will work:
"Douglass, who has developed the most successful Willow Creek-based church service in Germany, even maintained, "I think this approach is most applicable to the state churches. We have the people, even if they don't attend. We enjoy an incredible edge in confidence vis-āvis the free churches." He cautioned,
"The cost of this approach is hard work and loads of strife with church insiders." Christianity Today
Almost all musical terms in the Bible are related to the panic of war, prostitution, commercial slight of hand or some other act which abrades, seduces or grinds one to bits to gain an advantage. This is why Paul insisted that the "melody" or breaking to bits take place in each individual heart. Ancient paganism was aware that:
"All things come into being by conflict of opposites, and the sum of things flows like a stream. This order, the same for all things, no one of gods or men has made, but it always was, and is, and ever shall be, an ever-living fire, kindling according to fixed measure, and extinguished according to fixed measure. Justice meant a balance of opposites, and hence could be defined as strife.
Heraclitus cited as an example the tension between the string and the frame in a bow or a musical instrument. 'Harmony lies in the bending back, as for instance of the bow or of the lyre... Opposition unites. From what draws apart results the most beautiful harmony. All things take place by strife'." (Parkes, Henry Bamford, Gods and Men The Origins of Western Culture, p. 188, Knopf)
"Then to all mankind He calls out, 'Let every spirit praise the Lord,' because He rules over every spirit He has made. In reality, man is an instrument for peace, but these other things, if anyone concerns himself overmuch with them, become instruments of conflict, for inflame the passions. The Etruscans, for example, use the trumpet for war; the Arcadians, the horn; the Sicels, the flute; the Cretans, the lyre; the Lacedemonians, the pipe; the Thracians, the bugle; the Egyptians, the drum; and the Arabs, the cymbal. But as for us, we make use of one instrument alone: only the Word of peace by whom we a homage to God, no longer with ancient harp or trumpet or drum or flute which those trained for war employ." (Clement of Alexandria, 190AD The instructor, Fathers of the church, p. 130)
Rather than trying a paramilitary approach to soften up the prospects in Seeker models of charismatic worship, perhaps the church would have more luck if it turned the ceremonial legalism in most preaching, teaching and singing into honest teaching the untouched knowledge of the Bible to one another with a lot of post-worship fellowship.
"SKEPTICAL VOICES: Skeptics believe a Willow Creek approach disregards Western Europeans' strong aversion to entering any church service, their suspicion of innovation, and deep fear of sectarianism. Christianity Today
A church in "association" with any other churches has clearly made itself into a brand new sect by rejecting the old. If the old needs to be rejected then becoming a new sect is right. However, it will not do for new sects to call the rest of us "sectarian" in a none Biblical sense. Because of its Division Leaders, indoctrination and necesarry conformity, the red flag does goe up. The assignment of duties makes "once-burned" people nervous where justified or not:
"German Christians usually reject the verification of spiritual gifts and the assignment of gift-based duties, both essential ingredients of the Willow Creek approach.
In Germany, strict church discipline and the thorough congregational organization awaken negative military connotations. Christianity Today
.While the church has the responsibility to preach the gospel and bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ, doing it through demonstrating the superiority of the musical worship team and the drug-induced excitement has no Biblical or common-sense background:
"Many congregations are unwilling to pay the price so that a few stray nonbelievers could be converted and feel comfortable among us," Douglass said. "That's what the church is for, but try and tell that to a normal church board in Germany." Christianity Today
If your brother or sister has a broken leg you don't go seeking a new family. If your wife asserts her right to say that you are wrong you don't get a new wife. And if your church assembly or congregation begins to fail you do not go find the "family of god" or some other thought control family just so everyone subscribes to the same creed about women elders and agree to read from the "one inspired version" which supports your dogma. The Germans understand that:
"Bohlen asserts that a Willow Creek Association for Germany is not in the offing. "Networking is the key word," he says. "We want to support existing churches and help them discover new priorities. We don't want new parachurch structures." Christianity Today
Contrary to the Family of God image which carries strong cult-like images to those who know history, the "church" carries the idea of an assembly of students or disciples of Christ who meet to study the Word without the need to answer to or conform to the understanding of shepherding leaders who might be called "Division Leaders."
Quoted material is:
Copyright(c) 1997 by Christianity Today, Inc/ Christianity Today Magazine January 6, 1997 Vol. 41, No. 1, Page 61
For more information about Jubilee 99, Woodmont Hills and Bill Hybel and Willow Creek Click Here.
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