Thursday, 22 January 2015

An example from Edmonton of a community service centre masquerading as an evangelical church

Another backlog item:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
II Corinthians 6:14-17

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
I John 2:15-16

At the top of Glenn Chatfield's blog The Watchman's Bagpipes is found this quote from A.W. Tozer:

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

The following article, which appeared on page 5 of the Summer 2014 issue of the Oliver Community League Newsletter in Edmonton, is an excellent example of some of what Mr. Tozer--a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor--was warning about (bold in original):

Plans for a new Church in Oliver

By Barry J. McLeod--Community Church Strategist

In the spring of 2012 we made the decision to leave the suburban reality of our lives and begin to search for a home in the neighbourhoods closer to the core of Edmonton. We landed in the Oliver area and immediately fell in love with its dynamic and vibrant nature. We feel we live in one of the best neighbourhoods in our city and want to play our part in ensuring that those bragging rights stay in place. One of the ways in which we will engage towards that end is establishing a new church ministry in this area.

The role of faith based organizations and institutions in participating in community building and life should not be overlooked. People of various faiths and religious backgrounds are often motivated by an innate sense of the need to add value to the neighbourhoods in which they find themselves. Volunteerism is the lifeblood of any great neighbourhood and people of faith should see themselves as not only having a part to play in the success of their own organizations but should look to serve with their neighbours to ensure the flourishing of our communities and beyond.

Our family of Alliance churches has a long history in the Edmonton area and we feel that it is time to re-establish a work in the heart of this neighbourhood. With this in mind we are currently preparing and making plans to begin public services sometime in the fall of this year.

As we begin this process we desire to engage the public as much as possible to learn and listen to the heartbeat of our neighbourhood. What do people care most deeply about? What are their views about what makes a community flourish? What are the burning issues and causes that capture their attention? And how might a new community of faith add value?

In starting this new work there is a deep philosophical perspective that informs our actions and attitudes. We are convinced that our faith calls us to be active participants in helping to make the place we live not just a better place to live but the best possible place it can be. We believe that this must start with a listening stance as opposed to telling one. Faith and a spiritual perspective may provide the answers that some people and even communities require to flourish but only in hearing and understanding can any of us suggest possible solutions.

If you would like to engage us in any way as we make plans to start this new church in our community we would love to hear from you. The easiest way to reach us is by email or you can follow the twitter. Our deep desire is to see a church established that is entirely cognizant of the fact that it is a privilege to partner with neighbours, other faith based organizations and any group who seeks to improve life for all in our community.
The perceptive reader will notice that in the article above the words "neighbours" or "neighbourhood(s)" are mentioned eight times, and "community" or "communities" are mentioned seven times. However, "faith" isn't defined, and there is no mention at all of God, Jesus Christ, or the gospel.

To "start with a listening stance" shows that this is an effort of man and not of God, and can hardly be called a Christian church. The true church of Jesus Christ doesn't begin with a listening stance toward the community, but with a stance of proclamation of who God is and what He has done:

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20

I'm a resident of Oliver, and one of the neighbourhood's distinguishing characteristics is that it seems to contain a disproportionately large number of sodomites and lesbians. There are several mainline churches in the area, at least one of which--Robertson-Wesley United Church--has adopted a "listening stance" toward the sodomite/lesbian "community" to the extent that, like its parent denomination, the United Church of Canada, it actively supports this "community"'s perverse agenda. The last thing we need is an "evangelical" church to do the same.

You could substitute the words "community service centre" for "church" and "community service" for "faith based" in Mr. McLeod's article and it wouldn't change the meaning; if anything, it would make more sense that way. Such is the social gospel.

HT: The Watchman's Bagpipes


  1. Thanks for the HT :oD

    In Cedar Rapids, IA a huge number of churches have gotten together and formed a movement called "Serve the City."
    Note that they take an O.T. passage for Israel as their justification for existing.

    Besides the obvious, one of my problems with this group is that it unites conservative churches with those which have very aberrant - and often bizarre - teachings; I complained about this once to our pastor when the advertisement for the StC projected during announcements was from one of the most aberrant assemblies in town, and I asked how it was good to promote that particular assembly with its false teachings. I was shrugged off. One of their goals is to "sensitively share the gospel" with everyone in the county. I always thought we PREACHED the gospel rather than "share" it. "Sensitively" can run the gamut to soft-soaping like Joel Osteen to selling people that going to church will fulfill their needs.

    What we have seen is much need and suffering with members of the church being ignored while they reach out to the community. Gal.6:9-10 says that we should take care of those in the body FIRST. As long as we aren't taking care of those in the Church, we have no business trying to take care of those outside the church.

    I see a lot of "market-driven" mentality in the project. Not that there isn't good in it, but the program itself is misdirected.

  2. You can't get away from it. I checked that Cedar Rapids site, and the verse in question is Jeremiah 29:7, the biblical context of which involves the Israelites about to be sent into exile in Babylon.