Archive for the 'Mike Corley' Category

Mike Corley recently took on the SBC’s initiative to be better stewards of our environment.  Let me first say that I have a growing respect for Mike and his willingness to go where other ODMs are not.  However, this article and radio broadcast left me scratching my head with confusion.

On air, he reads the initiative and agrees with everything, including the scripture used to back up the movement.  There was not one thing that he said was unbiblical or even off base theologically. In fact, the only negative thing he could say about it was that they referred to those who follow Christ as “Christ followers.”  So all in all, you would think that there was little cause for concern.   But, he continues by saying that he has “great concerns as to why this environmental move has taken place in the SBC.”

He makes a strange connection between this initiative and what he calls “hyper-arminianism.”  He defines this as “the implied or distinct teaching and mindset that God cannot save someone without that person’s agreement or allowance. “  Mike never makes the argument for the connection between this move to go green and this theology, so I am not too sure how one’s view of election would affect a biblical argument for caring for the earth.

He then takes the opportunity to rag on Rick Warren and LifeWay, the SBC publishing company –once again, giving no connection to the green initiative.  It seems that his basic premise is that are were bigger issues for the SBC to handle.  But it looks like he just took advantage of the situation to promote his opinions on the denomination, Rick Warren and what he calls the “money-driven practices of LifeWay”

He closes his article with a very strange comment

“But why not spend time and money on clearly defining the Gospel and preaching that Gospel, rather than doing the popular “green thing”.  It may make good conversation over a pumpkin spice latte, but it’s not the Gospel.”

First off, the SBC is known for its evangelistic focus.  While I am sure that Corley would say that Southern Baptists mostly produce false converts, not too many denominations can touch them in the amount of money and energies spent on reaching the world for Christ.  Therefore, the amount of time and money spent on drafting up this initiative is a drop in the bucket compared to that given to preaching the gospel.  If they weren’t doing the latter, the argument might hold up.

Second, there are lots of issues that are “not the gospel’:  Church discipline, modesty, homosexuality, abortion, divorce, idol worship, and spiritual disciplines to name a few.  Does that mean these are reduced to simply good Starbucks conversation topics too?  No.  Being good stewards of the world that God has given us is no different.       

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Looks like the story is all in what we choose to report.  So, which is the truth, ODMs?   Is Driscoll the raving heretic or the reforming pastor?

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Made of fail!

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Once again, Mike Corley gives us a fair and balanced discussion on the issues that most ODMs address.  Here, rather than make blanket claims about this ministry, he actually goes and visits them.  I know it is a novel concept — open and honest conversation over the issues.  His trip to St. Louis to visit with Jonathan McIntosh seemed very productive.  They discussed the controversial Theology at Bottleworks event, essentially doing church in a bar.  And, while he certainly does not agree on all the issues, he has gained an understanding of why and how this church does what it does.  For example, he realized that no one was throwing beer back and getting sloshed.  He also experienced first hand a true postmodern culture, and the difficulties that come with ministering in that context.

It is a hard thing to admit you’re wrong, especially when you make a living off of showing the world who is wrong.  It is even harder to change in a culture that despises change and clings to tradition.  Please listen to Mike’s show here, and support what he is doing.  I think that we can once again all learn from this man’s ministry.

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I just wanted to give Mike Corley kudos for his new tone in his work.  This article was a shining example of how we all should treat people that are different than us.  I hope Mike’s new ODM style catches on with his peers –and with many of us.

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Mike Corly, who I will call one of the few friendly ODMs, recently went to Seattle to find out more about Mars Hill Church. Now I know what you are thinking, “There’s a novel concept –actually going to meet with the people you have differences with before you criticize.” Here’s Mike’s thoughts on his trip. I think it would do the ODMs some good to follow Corley’s example and make an attempt to connect with the people they say are destined for hell.

**UPDATE**

Direct from Mike Corley:

I read your piece on the site and wanted to say thanks for the kind words.

There were a few points I have noticed have been mentioned in the comments that I wanted to respond to. I dont know if you would like to post them as an update or prefer that I post them as a comment, but you can let me know.

I made the trip to Seattle at my own expense for the sole purpose of meeting and interviewing Mark Driscoll, for a book I am writing on the Emergent Church, but also to see for myself what Mars Hills is all about and to try to understand Mark’s ministry. We visited for about 2 hours which included an interview that was video taped by the MHC staff. I will be given a copy of the footage and Mars Hill will keep a copy as well. We will release the video in DVD form when production is completed, and we will feature portions of the audio on the radio program and online. I have come to appreciate Mark’s ministry, although his methods may be unorthodox in some ways. After meeting him I realized we have a lot in common and I hope to work with him again one day.

One comment was made about my expectations of visiting Mars Hill, mentioning lack of scripture reading and sitting in the dark. These rumors were sent to me by readers and listeners, and were not my statements, nor did I believe them before attending the services at MHC.

There also statements attributed to me regarding Mark, taken from a post on my blog dated June 26, 2007. The quote is actually that of Phil Johnson and not myself. I simply posted the Johnson quote on my site.

Lastly, I am writing a reflective piece on my personal meeting with Mark now. But I wanted to share that I have been harsh in the past and jumped to conclusions in some instances when I should have been more compassionate and merciful, and patient perhaps, before making judgements. I have been convicted of this, repented and asked for forgiveness. I will be the first one to my feet in the defense of the Gospel, and sometimes with a assertive tone or posture. But God help me not to do so with a mean spirit or proud attitude.

I think we could all learn something from this ODM.

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In this article posted at The Expositor, Nathan White of Strange Baptist Fire writes about the evils of Christmas plays in the church. Here are his three basic premises from the piece

  • What can be better for our souls than the preached Word?
  • What can be better for those outside of Christ than the clear proclamation of the gospel through the preached Word?
  • If preaching was completely sufficient to minister and save in scripture, who are we to say that it is now supplemented, at times, by better things? Has market research replaced biblical revelation?

In classic ODM style, he accuses –well, just read this

It certainly must be noted that drama in worship is most often employed by seeker-sensitive, Arminian ministries, in an apparent attempt to evangelize…But it must be emphasized that the preaching of the word, the very proclamation of Jesus Christ, is simply not good enough, according to this logic, to attract a wide audience, and so the Christmas play is employed to bring in those who wouldn’t otherwise darken the door. Christmas plays do not offend, they do not divide households, they are generally warm and fuzzy at a very family-oriented time of year, and so they provide a great impetus for the numbers-driven mindset. (emphasis mine)

He then makes a pretty weighty statement to backup

drama in worship, without a doubt, *is* a violation of scripture…God, through scripture, has left drama completely out of His Word and instruction to His Church, and that for an important reason.

There are so many flaws in this article; I really don’t know where to begin. I am not quite sure how one can say that the reenactment of the word of God is any less powerful than talking about the word of God from the pulpit. We are not talking about a production of The Sound of Music, we are talking about a Christmas pageant. There are so many Christmas shows that often hit you over the head with the scriptures, and are very blatant in their message. I always find it ironic that these pastors complain about arts in the church, but unless they get up and simply read straight from the scriptures and say nothing but the scriptures, they too are using an artistic way to preach the scriptures. They decide how to word ideas and concepts, they choose illustrations, and they craft how we perceive the scriptures every Sunday. It is arrogant to say that only what they are doing is preaching the Word of God, when 75% of the words they give are their own.

Do we labels something as bad or heretical if it does not offend or divide households? That notion is completely asinine, but is all too common among the ODMs. If it brings people together to enjoy the story of Christmas, then it must be wrong. If no one leaves the place offended, someone messed up. And, to argue that something is inappropriate for worship simply because it is not mentioned in the scriptures is not exactly the best logic. Most hymns would be out of the question if we are going to go down that route. But, did Jesus not tell stories as a means to communicate biblical truth? It seems to me that story-telling is one of the most important elements in theatre arts.

As an actor, it is strange to hear someone say that I cannot worship God with the talents he has given me. I have been using theatre arts as a means to present the truth for years. Many of my friends have come to Christ through shows that we have produced that speak clearly the word of God. I am always puzzled as to why the church today is do hesitant when it comes to the arts. It is ok for a man to give a 45 minute monologue about the scriptures, but to present it in theatrical form or paint it is simply out of the question. We live in a world where a television show is worth a million words, a painting is worth a thousand, and words are only worth pennies. Maybe it is time we rethink how present the Word (please note that nowhere did I say rethink the Word itself).

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(The following is a repost of a August 31 article which may have been accidentally deleted.  Unfortunately, the comments which appeared with this post have not yet been recovered).

Chris L.
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I don’t normally go back and bring up past issues, but you gotta hear this.  Even after he was given hard core evidence here, and in his own comment section, that Saddleback and Rick Warren use scripture and biblical material within the contexts of commitment cards, small groups, campaigns, etc., this radio host refuses to accept that he may have tainted the picture.  He even admits before he begins the segment that his sarcasm will be added for emphasis, and it is amazing the claims that he makes.  I encourage you to take a listen (starting at minute 29:00).  It will give you good insight into the thinking pattern (or lack there of) of these ODMs

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ya know, when I first started interacting with the ODMs I really could understand their logic behind what they were doing. It’s the basic idea that certain key leaders (ie. Bell, McManus, McLaren) were leading large groups of people astray and so they felt they needed to publicly address the epidemic on a large and international scale. I understood their logic, but obviously completely disagreed with what they believed or how they did it. Well, now I am reading more and more articles that have nothing to do with key leaders in the church, but small hometown churches that they disagree with. These websites are turning from a pharasee supreme court to a full blown witch hunt. Sometimes I wonder how many websites they have to go thru in order to make their headline quota for the day. It doesn’t matter how small or uninfluential the ministry or minister is. If they can comb through the web and find it, they are their next Christian human sacrifice on the web. And then when they are called on the carpet by a big name publication like Christianity Today, they write article after article in an attempt to defend their ways.

So I suggest two things:

  1. pray for these small churches that are doing innovative things with the timeless message of Jesus Christ. Pray that they would find their success and identity in Jesus Christ and that attempts to stop their ministry would be hindered
  2. write these pastors. These ODMs usually post the websites of these churches to make an example of them. Turn a wrong into a right and email the staff an encouraging thought. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this and started meaningful relationships with pastors all over the world
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I love reading articles like this one from the watchdoggie blogs. Once again, they have to dig pretty deep for new material to keep their tabloid headlines fresh. First they accuse Rick Warren of “boasting of the grand success of Saddleback.” Of course if Johnny Mac was to write an article about his mega church successes, it wouldn’t be boasting at all, right? Then they attack these five tools Saddleback uses to develop spiritual maturity within their community of faith.

1. Commitment cards

2. Classes based on the purposes

3. Covenants

4. Small groups

5. Campaigns

This website follows up this list with the following response

Whats strangely missing from Warren’s steps is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the Gospel, denial of self, sacrifice, repentance and on and on. In other words, whats missing here is any mention what God’s Word says about maturing as a Christian. Sadly what you can find is Rick Warren’s self-serving, man-pleasing purpose driven lie.

I’m sure that Saddleback does not allow any of those topics to be discussed in their classes. I bet they only discuss how to sit correctly in their comfy chairs and make the perfect latte… nothing about the trinity or the gospel. Also, I am almost positive that I read somewhere that Saddleback forbids their small groups to open the scriptures in their studies (specifically banning the topics of repentance and denial of self). Above all… they would never discuss biblical principles like – oh, say… worship, evangelism, discipleship, missions and fellowship within the five contexts given.

Come on guys… is it really that difficult to find legit material?

**UPDATE**

The author over at Slice decided to chime in with this

This column from Rick Warren on how his church develops spiritual maturity goes a long way in explaining what’s wrong with Purpose-Driven churches. After reading the Saddleback strategy of using “commitment cards”, small groups, “purpose” classes, signed covenants and campaigns, it is clear that spiritual maturity in the mind of Rick Warren is a matter of getting followers to jump through programmatic hoops, not intense study and discipleship rooted in the Word of God.

incredible! Especially after the comment by Dan here showing what Saddleback teaches just in their membership manual.  I really think it is time that “research” be taken out of these guys web names.

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