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I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

6 July 2009

Again... "Both And... not Either Or"

"I am free. I don't belong to anyone. But I make myself a slave to everyone. I do it to win as many as I can to Christ. To the Jews I became like a Jew. That was to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one who was under the law, even though I myself am not under the law. That was to win those under the law. To those who don't have the law I became like one who doesn't have the law. I am not free from God's law. I am under Christ's law. Now I can win those who don't have the law. To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. I do all of that because of the good news. And I want to share in its blessings."
Paul... from 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (NIRV)

I love some of the stuff that Rick Warren does. Rick was recently a speaker at the annual Islamic Society of North America... and he's taking a great deal of flack for it from Christians.

Again... The Kingdom of God is built with a "Both And... not Either Or" attitude. Here are some of the highlights from a Christian Post article:

"But to his congregation at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, the “Purpose Driven” preacher made it clear that his goal behind every speaking engagement is always the same – for the “global glory of God.”

“I invest my time speaking to groups of unbelievers that most pastors never get the opportunity to share with,” Warren wrote in a recent update to the Saddleback family.

“Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,’" Warren added, citing Luke 5:31. “If you want to have a Christ-like ministry, you have to associate with the people Jesus did - unbelievers!”

“Every time I speak to any non-Christian group, I get criticized by well-meaning believers who don't really understand how much Jesus loves lost people. They are more concerned with their own perceived purity than the salvation of those Jesus died for,”

“For many unbelievers, the barrier to salvation is not the credibility of Jesus but our own lack of credibility and love for them,” Warren stated.

“Of course, this is the foundation text of our purpose-driven evangelism,” Warren stated, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “and as a result, we have baptized over 20,000 adult believers in the past ten years.”

Warren concluded by emphasizing the need to build bridges to influencers in secular culture including those in academics, business, military, sports, health care, media, prisoners, entertainment, other faiths, and government.

“If we are to experience a spiritual revival in our culture and if we want to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission in the world, we must build bridges to all of these, and more,” Warren stated.

“We build bridges of love - from our hearts to hearts of even those who hate us - so that Jesus can walk across,” he concluded. “You cannot win your enemies to Christ. You can only win your friends.”

I love this! I think it's very astute of him to say that most pastors don't have the opportunity to speak about Christianity to a national Islamic group... but he does... so he does! And so would I if given the opportunity! Why? Because we're all people... and we're called to show God's love to every single one. All God's eggs are in one basket. The Church. Christ in me is the hope of glory.

Rick actually gets the chance to do it partially because of Saddleback (and Rick's personal) humanitarian endeavors. It's actually earned Rick the ear of the nation. And good on him! It's also partially because it's part of HIS calling. And most don't get the chance, because it's not THEIR calling! So God bless Rick in his calling! It's not either or... it's both AND!

Blogger, "The Naked Pastor" AKA David Hayward (A Vineyard Pastor from Eastern Canada)... was recently at Frank Viola's “Re-Imagining the Church” conference in Toronto. To drastically over-simplify it... Frank and George Barna have be talking about the coming "Revolution" of the modern church from it's current structure into a more free form situation culminating in a quasi house-church setting. I love what David's analysis was:

"The truth is, I’ve been a part of house churches or house fellowships or whatever you want to call them, as well as the institutional church. In my opinion, you just need to pick which pan you want to fry in. The house-churches have their own peculiar problems just like institutional churches do. But, more importantly, I think both struggle with much of the same issues: power struggles, the prevalence of the principalities and powers, locale, time, relational conflict, authenticity, realness, commitment, money, etc., etc.. In fact, one gentleman gave a presentation of his desire to start a network of house-churches because there is strength, security and safety in numbers, which is just another word for movement or denomination or fellowship. He’s right but, whether he likes it or not, he’s talking denominationalism in its earliest stages."

Interesting to find out The Church... will end up wanting to be The Church... in whatever form it takes. We're ALL called work out our salvation together! I was uncomfortable with the conclusion that Barna and Viola arrived at as well with some of their research and projection. Because it's an "Either or" conclusion. Not "Both And".

Is Rick... Barna... Hayward... Carrol... RIGHT? Heck no! But there are pieces of the house of living stones that we all hold. THE picture is much bigger than an individual's calling or philosophy.

I have a friend whose weekend "assignment" was to go inside Montreal's most prominent strip club to show Jesus to those hurting in the sex industry! This weekend... I went out with a group in a bar-type setting ... to show Jesus to them! There are enough "assignments" to bring "His Kingdom Come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven" to go around!

The answer is... Hear God and Obey. Grow up in our faith, take responsibility for our walk, and GO HARD... remembering to BLESS and SERVE what others are doing too. You need them... and they need you!

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nakedpastor said...

good post. i like frank viola and understand what he's trying to do. o think we need to be more aware of the principalities and the powers as it relates to gathering for any kind of church, fellowship, community or group.

Dave Carrol said...

Totally right about the powers and principalities man... and thanks for the comment David...

I have to admit that I haven't read their stuff (aside from Barna's stats) since Revolution. I LIKED Revolution.

It says some excellent things and goes down some much needed roads... but in the end... I felt like the answer was... goodbye church. their answer was unsatisfying for me

While in practice... many have/will do what they are suggesting when you think about the concept of ONE church functioning like a real body... it includes the institutional church. It can feel like a throw the baby out with the bathwater scenario. And I think Jesus still likes that baby.

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