Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:1-4
The Rock Church in San Diego is the church home of Miss California, Carrie Prejean. A look at their website gave me the impression that like so many megachurches, The Rock is more of a social club and community service centre than a church. Other than prayer and worship, almost none of the offerings mentioned on their ministry page have anything to do with Jesus Christ or His gospel.
What statements can be found regarding doctrine are Biblical, if lacking in detail, at least concerning the Bible and the Godhead. However, the emphasis of The Rock is very much on works, especially those that transform society. From The Rock’s A.R.M.Y. page:
What's the A.R.M.Y?
Pronunciation: \'är-me\ | Function: noun | Definition: a body of persons organized to advance a cause
We're an A.R.M.Y. of doers... The Rock Church wants to make a difference in people's lives. You can help change the world!
Jesus wants you to listen to His call. He's calling you to DO Something. He wants to transform people's lives -- but He needs an A.R.M.Y. of believers united and trained and committed to do it. Signing up for the Rock A.R.M.Y. is simple, but it means signing up for a way of life. Why? Because it involves Accountability, Reaching the Lost, doing Ministry, and being wise with Yo' Money.
Here’s some of what The Rock Church has to say about accountability:
It's all about ACCOUNTABILITY
An Accountability Relationship is engaging in a one-on-one relationship that allows you to grow through the challenges of life with someone, while holding each other accountable to serve the Lord and others.
No more slipping in and out of the crowd on Sunday mornings! Being accountable to at least one other fellow Christian is crucial to growing in the Lord. That means you need a Partner to hold you accountable to pray, study the Word of God, worship every week, participate in service, and be a good steward of your resources.
If there’s anything in the New Testament that says "Be ye accountable to at least one other person," I’ve missed it.
Evidence of The Rock’s works-based view of righteousness can be found in its emphasis on numbers:
In 2009, The Rock Church is committed to providing 600,000 DO Something hours of city-transforming ministry service hours to the county of San Diego and the world.
Here’s what you find when you do visit IdoSomething.org:
161,882 service hours completed in 2009
27% towards goal of 600,000
In 2009 the Rock Church is committed to providing 600,000 DO Something hours of city-transforming ministry service to the county of San Diego and the world.
Log Your Hours! After volunteering in your community, record the # of hours you did here or by text message.
Tell us what you did and what God did through you. (Also, upload your photos and videos!)
If this isn’t doing one’s alms to be seen of men, I don’t know what is. Why the emphasis on numbers? I suspect that this church has been influenced by Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven paradigm, which in turn reflects the influence of management guru Peter Drucker, who was very much of a mentor to Rick Warren. Berit Kjos comes to mind as someone who has provided much useful information on the influence that Peter Drucker’s management philosophy has had on churches (go here and the links contained therein for information). Using Peter Drucker’s methods, growth and productivity must be measured quantitatively. How do you measure growth in faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ? It’s pretty hard if your idea of righteousness is rooted in correct doctrine. However, in order to fit into Mr. Drucker’s paradigm, you must have an observable quantity of something that you can measure, hence the emphasis on works. You can keep a record of number of hours spent in community service; an increase in this quantity is then taken to be a measure of one’s "spiritual growth." The church’s view of righteousness has now become works-based, and if it continues in this direction, it will result in a "church" composed of Pharisees. As for the emphasis on community service, if you read the Gospels you'll see that the multitudes loved Jesus when He performed miracles for them--but they hated Him when He started proclaiming doctrine.