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It is interesting that you guys say this sort of trick has been a feature at mass evangelism crusades for a long time now. I was unaware that this is an old trick. I presume Billy Graham and others? I wonder if Wesley, Whitefield, Moody, or others admit to ever using this sort of pragmatic device to induce responses?
| 2014/2/22 10:29||Profile|
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It was Charles Finney who first devised "new measures" such as designating the front pew as the "Mourner's Bench", or asking repentant sinners to stand, or come forward, or remain after the service. These measures were "pragmatic," certainly, but at least they weren't tricky. Some critics said that these tactics were manipulative but - and this is what set Finney apart from our mass evangelists - he and his co-workers would individually counsel every person who remained after the meeting, and help them pray through to salvation.
Booth and Moody did the same thing. They had altar calls, but volunteers would deal with every penitent individually. They did not herd them to the altar, have them chant the Sinner's Prayer, pronounce them "saved" and send them home.
Billy Sunday is really the father of mass evangelism. He would have the "converts" file down the center aisle and shake hands with him. So one became a Christian by shaking hands with Billy Sunday. Have you heard the term "Sunday Saint?" I used to think that referred to people who were "saints" on Sunday but lived like hell the rest of the week. But no, it was a pejorative term for Sunday's converts, who were notoriously unconverted-looking!
I do not know what methods Wesley and Whitefield used, if any.
| 2014/2/22 10:55||Profile|
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Another word for "trick" is deception. And deception is LYING.
Boy, I guess the pressure is pretty great these days to produce numbers and keep the money coming in.
Being "in water" (baptism) has never equated to true salvation. One must be "in Christ" and that will always bring true salvation.
He that is still "In Christ" at the end, will be saved.
I can see why this makes you sick, Jimmy. Congregations should confront these types of things and not go along with them. Otherwise, leadership will think they can get away with anything. The next thing he tries will be even more insane. We hurt each other by not speaking the truth and consequently we are hurting the whole body. Your Pastor should confess the truth about what he was doing and apologize or else he should leave and if he doesn't, I would.
It is up to the members to hold fast to the Head, not to blindly follow another "member".
Please let us know how the Body handles this. The leadership has proven incapable of handling it.
| 2014/2/22 11:18|
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For those of you who care and have been following the controversy, especially via Facebook and blogs, In today's sermon today at Elevation Church, Steven Furtick said the 15 volunteers in the news coverage aren't "plants," but are people who already expressed interest in being baptized beforehand, and who were selected to show people who responded where to go in response to the call for baptism. They were people looking to be baptized too. He said he's too afraid of God to resort to manipulative tricks. And in response to the media coverage, he has called for another mass baptism service tonight. While pastor Furtick didn't address all of my concerns regarding this controversy, he did satisfy enough of them. I am thankful for the dialogue that has taken place, in and outside the church. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the church.
| 2014/2/23 11:35||Profile|
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.…Jude 1:3-4
| 2014/2/23 13:27||Profile|
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Something.very troubling here. It is as if the ordinance of baptism has been cheapened.
| 2014/2/23 17:01|
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I'm a be reluctant to post this, seeing that it is your (Jimmy's) local church, but I had a good look at the website and I suppose I'm a bit surprised you attend this place Jimmy.
This whole thing with the baptisms does not seem out of place with the way everything else is presented on the website. It's just a natural progression of the 'spirit' of that church. I'm not judging the people (I don't know them) or even the teaching, which may be OK, but just what is presented on the website as the 'shop window' for this church.
It looked a lot like a new brand of Hillsong churches with a youth pop culture, particularly the worship being loud pop concert style. Also it centres around the personality on one man very much. I did not see many older folk in the congregation. I don't know that they would really fit.
Is this really what the church is meant to be? Has the Christian faith and church now become a commodity and brand to market with a franchise growth opportunity for others to buy into the brand across other cities?
Maybe I'm just getting too cynical in my old age, but I been around a long time and experienced all types of churches and have never liked these pop culture style churches (even when I was young rebel). There is much too much soulish manipulation in the atmosphere of such places.
Sorry Jimmy, I don't intend to offend you, but it's just how I see it.
| 2014/2/24 9:20||Profile|
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Every now and then, I'm a little surprised I go there too. It's not what I would really look for in a church. Then again, I've never really been part of a church over the years that met the "what I'm looking for in a church" criteria.
I primarily go because when my wife got married, that is where she's been going before I was even in the picture. Since my wife lived on the other side of town (35+ miles away) before we got married, I had to leave my other church, as it is about a 40+ minute commute from where I live now. The church is literally just down the street from us, and we could literally walk to it if we wanted to do so on any given Sunday.
However, since becoming a part of this church, I've discovered there are a lot of truly good Christian people that go, who sincerely love the Lord, and I feel a witness in my spirit with them. I've known a few people to get saved at this church, and some of its growth is definitely in bringing new converts to the Lord. There is a few things that happen at this church that I don't particular care for, and think some of the practices are definitely carnal, instead of relying on the spirit of God. This "spontaneous baptism" practice definitely alarmed me at first.
There are actually quite a few older individuals in this congregtation. It definitely seeks after a younger crowd, many being 20 and 30 somethings. And it get's a lot of those. But, there is a pretty good mix of people at the church. My in-laws, who are in their 60's, attend this church, primarily due to the fact that this church renewed my wife's walk with the Lord prior to my meeting her. A few Sunday's ago I saw a woman who looked to be in her 80's respond to the invitation to receive Christ.
My philosophy of picking a church has always had less to do with "where I would want to go" and more-so "where I find myself planted" through my intepersonal relationships and the proximity of the church to where I live.
| 2014/2/24 10:19||Profile|