American News Commentary
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Vol. 10, No. 25 June 18, 2008 © 2008
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"QUO VADIS?" A PERTINENT QUESTION
FOR THE CHURCH; THE FIRST PART
OF A CONTINUING DISCUSSION
"Quo Vadis?" - a Latin phrase meaning "Where
are you going?" is one version of the question Peter
asked of Jesus in John 12:36,"Whither goest thou?"
The answer to that question from the church in
America today came in recent days from one of the
nation's largest, most successful "mega-churches,"
Willow Creek Community Church in South
Barrington, IL, consistently listed as the second
largest church in America, definitely one of the new
category of "giga-churches." Under Senior Pastor
Bill Hybels, Willow Creek has grown to 23,500
members, and is widely regarded as one of the
more successful church ministries in our nation.
But seemingly almost in direct response to the
query, "Where are you going?" Willow Creek
faced a disturbing result of a study recorded in a
book with the perhaps coincidental title, "Reveal:
Where are you?". The book was co-authored by
Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, Executive
Pastor of Willow Creek church.
Bill Hybels described the findings, "earth shaking
... ground breaking ... mind blowing," and said:
"We made a mistake. What we should have done
when people crossed the line of faith and became
Christians, we should have started ... teaching
people that they have to take the responsibility
to become 'self feeders.' We should have taught
people how to read their bible between services,
how to do the spiritual practices much more
aggressively on their own."
James Patrick Holding, writing in Moody News,
made this comment: "The error of the seeker
sensitive movement is monumental in its scope.
The foundation of thousands of American
churches is now discovered to be mere sand.
The extent of this error defies measurement."
Holding further commented on the problem of
meeting the needs of the people:
* "Taking your church through 'Purpose Driven
Life' won't solve this.
* Reading 'Left Behind' novels won't solve this.
* More contemporary music programs, 'extreme'
skateboard demonstrations, and 'seeker-friendly'
techniques won't solve this.
* Joel Osteen will DEFINITELY not solve this.
* Your average Sunday School materials,
which strain mightily to make passages like
Isa. 42 somehow relevant to the average
working person won't solve this.
* Building a new church gymnasium won't
* Youth programs involving gimmicks and
games won't solve this.
* Passing out tracts won't solve this.
* Dumbing down the sermons even more and
not mentioning sin won't solve this."
The acknowledgment by Pastor Bill Hybels
that something was lacking in one of the most
successful church ministries in America gives some
encouragement to the thought that something
effective might be done to change the situation.
Plus the fact that Frank Page, the retiring president
of the Southern Baptist Convention (America's
largest Protestant denomination) told the annual
meeting last week that by the year 2030 half of the
nation's present Southern Baptist churches could
be closed if the present downward trend continues.
Recognition of the fact that a problem exists is the
first step toward arriving at a solution.
We will continue this discussion in future issues of
this newsletter. Why? Because it is important. Next
week we plan to propose an answer to this problem,
based -- you guessed it -- on the Word of God.
The Homosexual issue simply does not go away.
For example, Norway has become the sixth country
in the world to make same-sex "marriages" legal.
And the new law permits homosexuals to adopt
children, and permits lesbians to be artificially
inseminated. Strange aberrations of God's clear
plan from the beginning of time as recorded in the
Scriptures: "And God created man in his own
image ... male and female created he them ....
and God blessed them and God said unto them,
be fruitful and multiply..." (Gen. 1:27-28)
And that homosexual Episcopal Bishop in New
Hampshire -- Vicki Gene Robinson -- and his
live-in lover stopped de facto shacking up
together after 19 years and on June 7 entered
into a civil union in a private ceremony in a New
Hampshire Episcopal church. Robinson made
ecclesiastical history in 2003 as he became the
first openly homosexual bishop in more than four
centuries of the church.
But even beyond this unprecedented act, is the
report in the London Telegraph newspaper that
two male homosexual Anglican priests exchanged
wedding vows and were "married" in an Anglican
church in England, using the church's traditional
marriage liturgy, with prescribed readings, hymns
and a Eucharist. The term "blasphemous" was
frequently used in speaking of such a ceremony,
with calls for the Archbishop of Canterbury to take
decisive action before the Anglican Communion
becomes completely disintegrated. The Bishop of
London, in whose diocese the event was reported
to have occurred, is said to be investigating the
And just to our North, in Canada, the Alberta
Human Rights Tribunal has ordered evangelical
pastor Stephen Boisson to renounce his faith and
never again express his moral opposition to
homosexuality. Boisson was banned from ever
expressing his biblical perspective on
homosexuality and ordered to pay $5,000 for
"damages for pain and suffering" and to apologize
to the activist who complained of being hurt by
his stated position.
All these happenings at the time -- this week --
when by California Supreme Court order,
marriage was officially redefined, and same-sex
"marriage" became legal in California. This
despite a 61.4% vote of the people just 8 years
ago, establishing by law that marriage was only
between a man and a woman. .
Something to laugh at and ignore as harmless,
and can't happen here? Not any more.
Words of wisdom to think on: ""The tragedy
of life and of the world is not that men do not
know God; the tragedy is that, knowing Him,
they still insist on going their own way."
-- William Barclay
Some Random Afterthoughts . . .
Interesting headlines of the week; they give
some indication of the trends of the times . . .
* "Brace yourself for Fifteen Dollar gas"
* "Iran war likely before '08 election"
* "Social Security for illegal aliens"
* "Poll: One quarter of Brits think Churchill
was a myth"
* "Gas prices up 75% since Dems took over
* "Yawn: UN Imposes New Sanctions on Iran."
* "Home prices continue downward spiral"
The opposition doesn't quit. The ACLU has
announced the largest fund-raising effort in its
88-year history. The goal of the campaign is
$335 million, with $258 million already raised.
The major contributor has been George Soros
who gave $12 million. Executive Director Anthony
Romero cited gay rights, immigrant rights and
police brutality among the issues upon which the
ACLU will concentrate in the months ahead.
And meantime nine of the leading homosexual
organizations have announced their strategy to
redefine marriage in America. In releases they
urge their members not to institute suits, but to
move the gay marriage concept through state
courts and state legislatures. And the release
concludes, "When we've won in a critical mass
of states, we can turn to Congress and the
federal courts." The sad fact is that they are right
about favorable decisions from those two sources.
You may have noticed that this newsletter is
not particularly enthusiastic about the UN. That
viewpoint was strengthened this past week
when the UN Human Rights Council (with such
notable Human Rights aficionados as Cuba, Saudi
Arabia and Sri Lanka as members) has issued a
report saying that Great Britain should renounce
its monarchy, and adopt a constitution. Why the
United States should continue to support this
organization is difficult to understand. It may be
said that there has been no noticeable response in
the form of a resignation by Queen Elizabeth II.
A two century-old lifetime motto: "Do all the
good you can, by all the means you can, in all
the ways you can, in all the places you can, at
all the times you can, to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can." -- Charles Wesley