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Steve Newell

It has occurred to me that Rick Warren's focus on "changed lives" is no different from the "speaking in tongues" focus on many Pentecostal churches. The focus is on some external proof that God had done something in that individual. In the case of "speaking in tongues", many view this a proof of some type of superior Christianity. If one doesn't have the gift of speaking in tongues, they are a "second class" Christian.

Likewise with "changed lives". If one doesn't have some type of life transformation does that make them a lesser Christian? There are many Christians whose lives are not dramatically changed by God.

There is an assumption that the change if for the better. If one experiences suffering as part of the Christian life, does that Christian a second class Christian?

Whenever we use our own lives or the lives of others as the proof of Christianity, we will eventually be disappointed. The only life that we can look to is the life of Christ and the life that we have through his death, burial and resurrection for our sins.

This view of changed lives is very much in line with the Theology of Glory as compared to the Theology of the Cross.


I really appreciate the way that you are going about breaking this theology down. When you say that CPM is a theology of "DO", I'm wondering if this is the same as Rick Warren telling the story of his father on his deathbed repeating over and over, "Gotta save one more for Jesus". Warren told this story at the recent forum at the National Cathedral.

I'm looking forward to more posts on this topic to better polish an apologetic, because (as you know) there are many in Orange County that really like the whole Purpose Driven stuff and are not receptive to any critique of PDL.

Morris Brooks

You really nailed it.

Steve in Au

Very well put, Chris; Bravo! You need to be widely published on this topic to let all know of the next heresy coming down the ailse!


so... if this material and formal principle is incorrect, what is the ideal? Also... I would say that the material and formal principle you stated is not unique to the CPM. I'd say 95% of all southern conservative, evangelical Baptist, Methodist and the like would hold to this view of material and formal principle.

I grew up in the south and I've heard this theological perspective from many preachers/pastors.

by the way... Steven Furtick and I went to college together and did some ministry together.

I enjoy the blog! I'm a former hospital administrator. I now work with Homeland Security in DC.

Mike Ratliff

Thanks for this Chris.

Quote: This is a theology of “DO”. This is not a theology of what Christ has “DONE”.

I remember back in 2004 when I went through the Purpose Driven Life book, doing the 40 days, that by about day 12 or so I became convinced that the whole process was to get people to "DO." However, having grown up a Southern Baptist this just seemed to be more of the same old stuff from every SBC pastor I ever had. It is as if their whole focus is to get everyone to "DO." There is very little just coming together to worship God and just appreciate and love Him while preaching the real Gospel. It is all about "change" and "do."

In Christ

Mike Ratliff


Since the law ("do") is written upon our hearts, and "doing" is our default position, it is natural that 'religion' go there.

The gospel is something altogther different. It is the "done" answer to the question, "what ought we do?"

That is why (I believe)JESUS INSTITUTED THE SACRAMENTS. That we could recieve something tangible, OUTSIDE of OURSELVES, that we could rely upon for the assurance of our salvation.

Without this external Word, you subjectivize and internalize everything into emotions("feel"), and actions ("do"). (rock music, testimonials, biblical priciples for living,)

Jesus knew full well what would happen if left to our own devices, where we would go for our assurance of salavation...ourselves.

I believe the ideal priciple for worship and doing church is the priciple of Word and sacrament. This keeps Christ and His work FOR US, at the center (at all times) and pushes that old, evidence seeking, divinity coveting Adam to the periphery where God's law (rightly preached in it's fullness)can kill him off, and where the gospel (rightly preached, without any strings attached(no now you must's)) can raise the new woman or man.

I believe your assessment of these types of churches is correct, Chris.

It is evident in the so-called non-denominational churches (they are really Baptists in theology, their people don't even realize that fact - so the deception has worked) that are near me. Their focus is on Bible as rule book and people as players in the religion("doing") game.

Great post Chris! Sorry for rambling on a bit -


Chris Rosebrough


I do not think or believe that the material and formal principles of this movement are the Biblical ideal. Sadly, I know from personal experience that the fruits of this theology are hypocrisy, self righteousness and despair. In a Theology of "Do" there is no real assurance of salvation and the message of 'Christ Crucified for Sinners' gets obscured and covered up by all the strategies that are being taught that a person needs to apply to please God.



I agree with you 100%. My question is what is the ideal material and formal principles?

Chris Rosebrough


I could give you the standard Lutheran answer. But, for the sake of discussion let me give you the answer put forward in the most ancient creed of the Christian Church. This creed can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. It says:

1Cor. 15:3   For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

So let's work with these principles.

Material Principle: Christ Crucified for our Sins.

Formal Principle: Sola Scriptura (But with the understanding that the primary story of the Scriptures both OT and NT is the redemptive work of Christ in human history and that the Bible is NOT primarily a guidebook for living.)

I think that there is further support of this Material Principle found 1 Cor 2:2 when Paul states, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

What do you think?


Isn't "do" what every religion excepting reformation-style Christianity holds? Those who sacrificed their children to Moloch were doers. Those who follow the law in Judaism are doers. The pharisees were doers. Muslims are doers (Mecca, Ramadan), and its suicide bombers do it for their reward.

Doing isn't necessarily bad. I'm still learning, though, and doing does not seem at all the way to salvation.


I think you totally nailed it Chris. Very good post.



I am sort of confused. I believe that the only way one can be saved is by believing that Jesus Christ bore my sin on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day. However, I also believe that once someone becomes a believer they will change. Every life that Jesus came in contact with and believed was changed....Christ lifts us out of that sin.....No, I dont do things for my salvation, in fact it is not I that does anything, but Christ in me. Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing of our minds....I don't know.....I personally know some of the people at the conference and I know they believe that believing in Christ is the only way to salvation.....but Christ does change us doesn't he? I mean, am I to believe that Christ would have me say a prayer and then nothing? I think it is meant for us to grow...to live an abundant life(not by world standards)....to become Christlike.

So, if Christ changes us after we become believers, than He is changing lifes....isnt that how we can show the fruit of the Spirit, by what Christ is doing through us? Our salvation comes from what Christ DID, but we continue to grow by what Christ is DOING through us?

Steve Newell


If there is no visible change in a person's life, is that mean that that individual is not saved? Can Christ be changing a person in ways at are not visible to us? Is the change have to be what we consider good? If a person suffers for the Gospel of Christ, is that a good change? If a person is rejected by their family, is that a good change?

Just remember, the sheep never knew that they were doing "good works" until they were told. What I may consider a "good work" is a sin to God and what I consider as nothing could be a "good work" by God.


Found this very up to date bit of Pragmatism from "the movie pastor" Dave Anderson. This is not only unbelievably tacky and plagaristic, it's an abomination....


1) Jesus is a Monster?

2) Energize YOUR life? Through what... Christian Yoga?

Sorry, but on Easter Morning I'll be worshiping a Risen and soon returning Savior... it's not about me or anyone else getting energized.


Not to be out done...

Dateline North Atlanta...

Jesus is......

a Rock Star ???


Angela Ventry

This definitely seems to refer back to Old Way living, Old Way thinking, not the New Way of the Spirit. It is still a very works based mentality, follow the principles of A and the results will be B. It is no different to me than the "Prosperity Gospel"-give and you will have blessing; if you are having difficulties in life, it is because you are not giving enough, doing enough, etc..
Once again, this works based mentality negates the power and grace of the cross.


Steve, Angela

No, it does not have to be a visible change....it is a heart change. My desires have become His desires. Everyday I have to die to self! Everyday I have to pick up my cross and follow Him! I think you are thinking change by worldly standards, I am thinking change according to godly standards....If that means my parents disown me, then oh well, I have a heavenly father.....I believe if God called me say to China, then I get arrested and imprisoned for the rest of my life, which is suffering according to wordly standards, then I would be ecstatic!!

You see the change we experience after receiving Christ is not about prosperity, it is not about what God can do for me.....It is about me becoming more Christlike, about me dying to self, about me doing the will of the Father(and I can not do any of it, but Christ through me)....and if that entails suffering and persecution, then bring it on because this life has nothing for me!!



Nice comments. Quite a few "me's". And I know you qaulified them by adding the, "I know I can't do any of it, but Christ through me".

It still sounds like the onus is on you, however. So much "me" talk ("It's about me becoming more Christlike...")

Christ commanded that we baptise and that we partake of Him in His supper (I believe), so that the onus would be on Him. The focus is on what He does.

The "me" part of is the inspired doing that the Spirit brings about in us. And frankly, Frankie, it's actually better when we are not aware of it. Otherwise, if we are thinking about it(because of the me focus), our motives would be truly tainted with some form of 'self', and the work is just another filthy rag offered up to God.

In my mind, that is the danger in law preaching. You know biblical principles, and the like. You create despairing people, self-righteous people, or phonies.

Those three types of people are in every church on the planet, so don't get me wrong. No one church has a monopoly on it. But where the onus is on 'us' and what 'we' should, ought , or must be doing, in the Christian life, you have these outcomes in far greater prevalence and magnitude.

The so-called non denominatioal denominations are a classic example. They have these poor people on so many ladders that it makes their heads spin with dizziness from the heights.

The theology of the cross keeps our feet on the ground and gives us the freedom to be what God made us to be, humans. The wings, or whatever we'll get later, will be just that...later.

The difference in attitudes and focus may be subtle, but the devil is in the details and he is always looking for chances to shift our focus from 'Christ' and His work, to 'us' and our work.

Thanks Frankie! God bless!

- Steve

Steve Newell


At times, I don't know if my heart is changing. I see the sin in my life and know that I am so far from Christ demands of me through the Law. There are times that I don't really want to pray or study scripture. I'm like Paul as he describes himself in Romans.

I do know that it's God's grace through faith in Christ's deeds for me that I have forgiveness of my sins. The more Christ changes me, the more I am aware of my sin and my need for Christ. I don't see "improvement" but a deeper understanding of how sinful I really a.

If there is any change in my life, it's 100% God since I can not contribute anything to it.



Very well put, Frankie. Spoken like a true, ungodly person.

That's what I am, too. Thanks be to God that He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies us...the ungodly.

Your Brother in Christ,


Chris Whisonant

Seth - how are things where you're at now? Good to see you here.

As a side note, OF COURSE Christ is supposed to change our lives. But I believe we can think of many cases where people's lives have been changed by belief in non-Christian faiths. So, a life change isn't completely where the focus should be.

Dave Anderson (moviepastor)

Hey - I know im taking some flack from those who are more on the fundamental side but Im getting blog hits so its cool. I've tried to say this before - but there is a disconnect between what people perceive from snippets on my blog - and what is actually going on in real life with the real dave anderson and crosspoint church in decatur alabama I dont want to defend them or debate it. I am no where near as articulate or educated as you and many of your readers. I will lose the debate. And I am not here to change your mind.

However, I respectfully disagree with you and some of the things people say about me. Once again I think you painted us with a broad stroke and I for one will not be painted that way. (well I guess I have been but I take exception to it.) I think this is actually a straw man argument - set up a preposition that is not entirely true or accurate and then knock down everyone you set on top of it by knocking out the props that hold it up. I think thats what its called - but Im no debate scholar though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

When I use the term changed life I mean one thing - you may perceive another. Just like when we use the word gay - i may mean one thing (stupid, silly, goofy) - you may understand something else (happy, homosexual whatever).

When I use the phrase "changed life" it doesnt mean behavioral change as a result of hearing self help messages that Dr. Phil or Oprah put on TV - although behavioral change is a byproduct of salvation. It means the old heart of stone is replaced with a new heart. The old is gone - the new has come. We are crucified with Christ in his death. We are burried in the likeness of his death and raise to walk in a new life. We become new creatures by faith alone in the gospel - the death, burial and resurrection. It IS all about what Jesus has DONE - not what we DO. We are saved from a lake of fire and eternal damnation and have assurance of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Thats a changed life. I once was lost - now Im found. I once was dead - now I am alive. Thats what I mean.

My sermon Easter Sunday will be called Monster Energy. Its a title. I could call it Jesus and Virtue if I wanted. I could call it "Healing in His Wings." However, Monster Energy helps me dialog with people who dont know the bible and use that as a starting point to talk to them about who Jesus is and what He did. Much like Paul talking about idols or Jesus talking about water - and then moving to the message of the gospel.

I will be preaching about the woman with the issue of blood who simply wanted to touch the hem of Jesus garment to be healed from an issue of blood - and as she did he felt power (i.e. energy, virtue) flow out of him. And I have no doubt her life that day was changed - by the power of Jesus Christ! I dont completely understand what happened to her - but I do know that the ONLY life that matters is a life IN Christ Jesus and God says if we draw close to him - he will draw close to us - and that we can live a life on this earth that is energized - not by what we do - but by what Christ has done on the cross and his power that works mightily in us.

Someone will probably try and shoot this full of holes and read between the lines and misinterpret this as what you are calling a "Rick Warrenized Gospel." I dont even know what that means. I dont listen to rick or pastor his church. I dont care. This is NOT my intent however. There is NO OTHER GOSPEL than this - That Jesus, the Only Son of God was crucified and died, was burried, and three days later rose from the grave. Thats it. Thats the only gospel - thats good news! Anything else is not a gospel - but doctrine of devils.

My job as a sinner bound for hell is to repent and believe and when I do I am changed and pass from death to life. I am saved - by grace - through faith - and not by works so that I cannot boast. It is the "power" (energy) of the gospel, and the Word of God and the holy spirit that works in us and changes and transforms us into the image of Christ so that we can do his work on this earth. My work is to preach the gospel and to do that I have to have someone who will listen.

That is the message I teach and preach. I wish I was better at it - however I am "ignorant and unlearned" and I dont speak eloquently in a demonstration of my own power - I just try and speak in a language my culture can understand. I start where they are - and get them interested by talking about things they already understand - and then I lead them to the greatest story ever told. It is my opinion that this is an argument about methods and striving over words that has no effect and no eternal value and we would be better off glorying in the fact that Christ is preached. Thats in the bible you know ;-)

I personally know a few of the men at the conference and I believe they would also take issue with your broad stroke characterization of what you saw - and the responses of some of your readers.


Steve N.,

Help me to understand this (as Dave Anderson just posted, I may be misinterpretting your post). You wrote "The more Christ changes me, the more I am aware of my sin and my need for Christ. I don't see 'improvement' but a deeper understanding of how sinful I really am." So is it ok for me to continue sinning as long as I have a "deeper understanding of how sinful I really am?" Wasn't part of Jesus' message "go and sin no more?" That sounds to me like Jesus asking us to "do" something. I don't believe that there is anything that I can "do" that will save me, but I do believe that, because of that salvation, Jesus is asking me to "do" some things. Faith without works is dead. There absolutely should be a change in my life. Isn't that what Paul was saying in Galatians 5:19-26. Doesn't he say "if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Again, those sound like things we "do." Yes, I am still a sinner saved by grace through faith and I mess up sometimes, but I should always be desiring to be more and more like Jesus and desiring to put aside the desires of this world.


Steve N.,

You are correct. Jesus did say go and sin no more.

He also said ," Be perfect". He also said, " Whoever does not get rid of everything they have, cannot be my disciple."

I'm not doing too well. How about you?

We'd better get busy...and do better...and divest... and get our walk to match Jesus' words, or we're really not much in the way of being Christians.

- Steve



I believe you meant to address me, not Steve N. My point wasn't to say that I'm always going to be perfect in my following of Christ's ways. Does that mean I shouldn't "do" anything at all? I get the impression from some of these posts that some people think we should just sit back and grow deeper in our understanding of our sinful nature and that we are never supposed to "do" because, after all, we are saved by grace and so there is nothing we can do to become more saved, so lets just spend our days contemplating and never doing. I don't believe that was ever what Jesus intended by his teachings.




So I guess your trying to say that by borrowing successful marketing campaigns (Monster/RockStar), movie themes ("movie pastor") and soft core porn enterprises (girls gone mild) we can get the attention of the lost? Oh...Sure we get their attention.

Since when was our role to grab lost souls attention in the first place? Going out and engaging them in the highways and bi-ways YES I understand! And No, it's not JUST a title. Words have meaning. The words you are using are words of the F L E S H. Someone who is lost and comes to Church hopefully has the HOLY SPIRIT dealing with them not because they are being drawn by our cuteness, comedy, cleverness or slick appearance.

Dave, I have asked a number of Pastors and have been totally dodged every time.... But when did a worship service become THE MOMENT of evangelism instead of a time for believers to come together to simply worship Christ and be immersed in his Word ? What book , what chapter and what verse?

-Jud Epting

Chris Elrod

Jud - I know you didn't ask me...but I'd like to take a shot at answering your question. First I wanna make sure exactly what you are saying. Are you suggesting that evangelism should NEVER be a thought when preaching God's Word in the context of a Sunday worship service? Again...I'm just trying to get some clarification before I answer. I wanna be specific...you've been dodged long enough.


Well, if you are right Doug, you'd better get busy. Like me you probably have a lot of stuff you need to give away, and a lot of old folks in hospitals to see, and a lot of prisoners in jail to vist. Better get hoppin'.

When I focus on grace I do (un self-consciencely). When I focus on doing, I do nothing but focus on my performance.

Preaching that focuses on doing (most preaching today) creates self-centered, self-focused, self righteous , or self despairing Christians.

I see it all around me. You may be different and that's great, God bless you, but most people can't handle law preaching.

Thanks Doug!

- Steve



No No NO! I'm not saying evangelism can't happen at church. I'm just sayin' that When We go meet corporately as believers it's time to WORSHIP JESUS in Spirit and in truth. If someone is there, doesn't know Jesus and falls under the conviction of the Holy Spirit then great. Biblically speaking we gather to worship and to be equipped FOR evangelism.

The CGM churches I came out of EVERYTHING filtered through the idea of the pastor's sense of "style". About every three months it was time for a service to "re-cast" his "vision". It was made very clear that if you don't like this "style" then you should probably leave. The first one of those churches I watched as people of ANY DEPTH slowly left until there was hardly anyone left with any kind of discernment or maturity. It was like a spiritual daycare center. I got out when a Dyanetics Study was established. Likewise the last church I left was discussing a Yoga/ Bible Study group and had a cell groups reading "velvet elvis" If you are a Christian don't know the author of that book is hurtling towards apostasy then you aren't paying attention. A whole lot of people are not paying attention.

Having said all of that. Most of the people at both of the seeker churches I described were not UNCHURCHED before going to these churches. They were coming from mainline denominations looking for the Burger King experience (Have it you're way) which the seeker format goes well out of its way to accommodate. The down right craziest thing I ever saw was the church surveying people to find out what would make the church "better" and the idea of bringing in "secret shoppers" to evaluate.

Chris, I'm guessing from reading you for a while that you and yours aren't like these examples.

Adam Roe

Pastor Anderson,

While I'm sure you probably at this point feel a bit like a pinata, I would like to make an observation that might explain why we Lutherans are so rabid about the things that are said and practiced in worship. In your post you state:

"However, Monster Energy helps me dialog with people who don't know the bible and use that as a starting point to talk to them about who Jesus is and what He did. Much like Paul talking about idols or Jesus talking about water - and then moving to the message of the gospel."

It may help you to understand that for Lutherans any benefit a non-believer might receive in worship is of an entirely secondary concern. We do not conduct worship with evangelism in mind, but instead view worship as the place in which Christ feeds believers with the preached Word and His Body and Blood. As we understand it, once a believer is fed by the means which Christ has promised to nourish His believers (John 6L52-59), then the believers will go out and evangelize. In short, worship is focused entirely on believers, and those believers will then become disciples. When we read the sermons by Jesus, Peter, and Paul, etc...we notice that they're not engaged in worship. They're engaged in evangelism. Worship, even in the New Testament, is set aside specifically for the benefit of believers. Evangelistic preaching is set aside for evangelism. They are not the same. This is not to say we take measures to exclude non-believers, but we do not change the language, tone, or focus of our service for the pagan. The service isn't for him. It's for the faithful.

This point is also why Lutherans hold the Sacrament of the Altar as the high point of the service. Whereas the trend has gone toward a pulpit-centered service, Lutherans keep the baptistery and altar at the center of the sactuary, and the pulpit off to the side. We believe that even sanctification is entirely a work of Christ, as affected through the work of the Eucharist. It is for this reason that we say Christ is doing all the "doing" that really matters in the service. In a Lutheran service, the pastor brings people to repentance through the preaching of the law, and then gives them the sweetness of forgiveness through the preaching of the gospel...and it all comes together at that high point in the service; the moment we receive Christ's true Body and True Blood on our lips. This conception is different than the evangelical understanding, in that the pastor doesn't view his role as that of the exhorter, but instead as the deliverer of God's promise. Whereas a Baptist minister will teach on principles, Lutherans ministers preach on what has been done for the believer in Christ, and how the promise of forgiveness is delivered today, through the sacrament.

That, for Lutherans, is where true spiritual life is. Our entire service focuses on Who Christ is, what he has done for us, and what He continues to do through us in His means of grace.

I mention all this because I think it sometimes seems to those outside the Lutheran faith that we're against progress, and that we're not open to evangelizing. This isn't the case at all. We merely recognize that true progress comes when we let Christ do in us what He has promised to do through the sacraments. When the believer receives the benefit of Jesus' Body and Blood, he WILL go out into the world and bring others in when God delivers men who have ears to hear.

God bless you, and thank you for coming to this blog to dialog.

Blessings in Christ,
Adam Roe


Chris Elrod,

I actually WOULD argue that evangelizing the non-Christian should never be the purpose of preaching in the context of the Sunday morning service. Delivering God's promise of forgiveness to the faithful should be the purpose; a promise that is delivered through the Word preached rightly and our Lord's Body and Blood. If the pagan has ears to hear such a message, then that's wonderful. We do not, however, concern ourselves with what the non-Christian thinks he needs. We focus instead on how God promises to feed the faithful. As mentioned in my post to Pastor Anderson, worship is for the believer. Evangelizing is what the believer does outside of worship. They are not the same.

Blessings in Christ,

Steve Newell


So have you become "perfect" or "sin no more"? On my own, the answer is no. However, I have Christ' imputed righteousness before God so what God sees is not my sinfulness but Christ's righteousness. I cannot stop sinning since I cannot stop being a sinner. Yes, there may be a time where I will not engage in a sin, but there times where I commit a sin without even realizing it. That's way I confess that I sin in thought, word and deed and by what I have done and what I have left undone every Sunday with hundreds of other sinners on Sunday morning and millions of sinners around the world. Then I hear the words of my pastor of the forgiveness of my sins and I rejoice in what Christ has done for me.

I am both a Saint and a Sinner. This conflict will remain until my death. This a paradox.

It's the I am more sinful than I can ever really know. My sinful nature will always down play how sinful I really am. I do desire to be transformed to be more Christlike. But I must be realistic that I am a sinner and I cannot change this fact. If I see improvement in one area, I see how bad I really am in another area. There may be improvements that I will never see. Paul deals with this in Romans.

BTW, Christ does not need my good works, my neighbor needs my good works. Out of faith comes good works but the good works are for the benefits of my good works. I may even do good works without ever knowing it. My good works adds nothing to my salvation or my position towards God, but it is a response to what God has done through Christ for me.


Steve N,

"So have you become "perfect" or "sin no more"? On my own, the answer is no."

No one, I repeat, NO ONE is claiming to be perfect or not sinning!!! I do not understand why you do not understand that. Christ changes us, He transforms our minds, He enable us to do good works! You keep using Paul as an example...Was Paul the same person after his conversion as he was before? Did he continue to attack christians and try to destroy the name of Jesus? The answer is NO!! When he became a believer he changed! Christ changed is heart....Paul did not "do" anything, but Christ through him. No one is saying we are now righteous (our righteousness is like fitlthy rags) but Christ is grooming us to be more like Him. Before your conversion did your sin convict you? I would say not. The Holy Spirit convicted you of your sin, you repented and now you let the Holy Spirit work through you. Now, when you see sin it convicts you. You do not enjoy it. You want to stop doing it. But can you? NO!! Christ does a work through you and gives you strength to overcome temptation...do you overcome temptation everytime? NO!! Because we are still of the flesh and have our "own evil desires." That is where dying to self comes in!! I have to die to myself EVERYDAY!!! I can not use the fact that I am a believer to permit me to keep sinning. I still sin, but through God's grace, mercy, strength, He will help me overcome. I will never be perfect in this life and neither will you, but Christ is changing you and it is for the better (again, this does not mean by WORLDLY standards).

Faith alone saves us from our sin, but as a result of that faith I will grow!! Take the example of a mustard seed. If a mustard seed receives proper soil and proper nourishment, what happens? It grows up to be a mustard tree, like that from which it came. The same with us. With the proper "soil" and "nourishment" we become like the One we come from.

I hope you have a great day Steve, God Bless!

Dave Anderson (moviepastor)

you know its sort of funny - it seems to me that the same people who say a "worship service" is for believers and not for evangelism appear to be the same people who criticize me and say you should always be preaching about hell and repentance which are very evangelistic.

There is NO way we will come to an agreement in this forum. For those who want book chapter and verse for why we do what we do on Sunday - show me your style and methodology of worship service on Sunday morning in the bible and I will show you mine. Much of the bible is "Descriptive" - not "prescriptive" when it comes to worship. I happen to think you can do BOTH and not EITHER/OR in a Sunday Setting - Evangelize AND worship. In fact Psalm 40:3 is where I will start.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Authentic worship draws unbelievers BECAUSE the Spirit is involved...Anyway....

As for Monster - think about the woman at the well. What was the starting point? Water. Thats what the woman wanted. Thats where the dialog about her sin started. Go into a convenience store and look in the beverage cooler. What is the one thing that has grown more than any in the last few years. Energy Drinks. Its what people want. There is a buzz about it. Thats where we are STARTING. Not where we are finishing. This is not FLESH. This is old fashioned Jesus at the well evangelism brought into the 21st century. We WILL talk about Sin, Repentance, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Word of God, and Mission of the church - we just happen to think we can use the language of our culture as Paul did in Acts 13 and redeem the cultural icons of our day for Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.

We will never see eye to eye on HOW - can we agree on WHAT?

Dave Anderson


I have dodged you in personal email and on my blog because you have come to me in a very offensive attacking posture demanding answers of me like I owe you an explanation for things I say. If you want to have a dialog - I suggest you change your tactics. See my previous post for why I think worship and evangelism go hand in hand. To me the ultimate act of worship is evangelistic in its very essence. The first time the word is found in the bible is in the context of sacrifice (abraham and isaac) which is a forshadowing of christ being crucified. When I lay down my life for Christ - I am laying it down so he can live through me and he said "I came to seek and to save that which was lost" - Not "I came so believers could gather to worship me alone and then go evangelize those that dont belong in a church service" My whole life - my worship - my service - is at the very heart of the message of the cross - that Christ died for sinners - not saints. I think we are looking at two sides of the same coin. Lets turn it up on its edge and look at both sides at the same time.


Adam you stated:
Whereas a Baptist minister will teach on principles, Lutherans ministers preach on what has been done for the believer in Christ, and how the promise of forgiveness is delivered today, through the sacrament.

Forgive me if I am unaware of the Lutheran doctrine, but are you saying the Lord's Super or Baptism is a means of recieving a piece of God's grace in the Lutheran church? Are these things, what I call ordinances, "Sacred" in Lutheran doctrine?

Jason Curlee

I originally found this blog as I was bringing together bloggers discussing the Evolve Conference into one feed.

The humorous thing is that this whole concept and discussions seems only to prove one thing. I might add that the one thing is very contrary to what this post is supposed to be proving.

We are making the scriptures and church to be what we want. Obviously from the comments that are for the post it is apparent that they are so argumentative and debating to prove that "they" are right.

Now I will be the first to say that my "sytle" of preaching...whatever that means is to be relatable to people to help them understand God's Word and what He has done for our lives. It is also evangelistic in that I am making a case for a person who is far from God to repent and turn their life around. It also is targeted to a believer to depend on and trust in God for every area of thier lives.

Obviously this country has some stated problems that revolve around the topics that are put forth in a Material style. I do believe that Christ is the answer for that. Paul also stated that we must renew our minds.

It is curious though that no one made any point that the orginal church targeted non-believers. Is that to say that they are wrong and you are right? Isn't this trying to prove your theology or approach contrary to the whole point you are trying to make?

Guess the point is I really don't see any point that you are trying to make. I really only agree that bashing David Anderson only goes to prove that it is ridiculous to even be posting about all of this.

In the end these men are doing this for God and for Christ and they are preaching Christ...just not the way "you" see it. So does that now make "you" better.





I'm sorry you took it that way.

I do realize in my life that there is a line between anger and righteous indignation. I am getting to the point of realizing that I start of in the latter and often move to the former and cross that line.

I am PASSIONATE about these issues and yes, I guess I do a little screaming and ranting sometimes but at times you have to do that to be heard behind the walls your leaders build. In the two church plantings I came out of there were invisible reinforced walls between the leadership and people who had LEGITIMATE questions pertaining to matters of theology and methodology. The attitude, and I've even had a pastor say this to me is ... "You can't influence me if we don't have a friendship relationship"

Now think about that for a moment.

How can a pastor think like that and even verbalize that? Is he actually building a friendship relationship with everyone he speaks to on Sunday morning? Of course not, it wouldn't even be possible in a small church. According to his logic they shouldn't give him the time of day.


Heidi Sue

JASON CURLEE: "It is curious though that no one made any point that the orginal church targeted non-believers."

Did the church as a gathered congregation target non-believers, or did the church as those sent out into the world target non-believers?

And how does 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 fit in?

(This really isn't a loaded gun... I'm genuinely curious)

Adam Roe

Hi Mark,

...are you saying the Lord's Super or Baptism is a means of recieving a piece of God's grace in the Lutheran church? Are these things, what I call ordinances, "Sacred" in Lutheran doctrine?

The Lord's Supper and Baptism are both sacraments in the Lutheran Church and we believe that God's work in both sacraments delivers the forgiveness of sins by creating life (faith) in dead hearts. So, yes, the sacraments are sacred in the Lutheran Church because of what we believe God does in them. He forgives sins and creates life.

Blessings in Christ,


Hi Adam,
Thanks for the reply. I will say respectfully that I disagree with this doctrine, but I've been wrong before, so may I ask what scripture is used to support this? I guess it makes me think that if indeed these are sacred and it delivers "forgiveness of sins" would that not be taking away from what Christ did on the Cross? Would a person that has never been baptised or participated in the Lord's Super be excluded from Christ's forgiveness of sins even if they had repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives? I guess this sounds uncomfortably Roman Catholic to me.


Chris Rosebrough


Forgive me for jumping in here.

I used to be an evangelical and for much of my Christian life believed that Baptism was something I did to show the world that I had made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Everyone I knew believed that. It seemed like a reasonable explanation. But there is a problem. The scriptures don't actually teach that.

One of the 'principles' I adopted when I began my theological studies was the principle of 'Sola Scriptura'. In fact, this is the Formal Principle of the theology I subscribe to. This principle basically states that ALL Doctrine and ALL Theology is formed by the clear teachings of the scriptures alone.

In other words, opinions, rationalizations and traditions that contradict the scriptures are wrong.

More than likely you hold to this principle. With that being said I would invite you to read a short PDF pamphlet that I've written on the subject of what the scriptures teach regarding baptism.

I must confess that when I came into Lutheranism I came KICKING and SCREAMING. I didn't want "them" to be right about Baptism and the Lord's Supper. In fact, when I first tried to 'take on' my Lutheran college buddies about this subject I was 100% convinced that the Bible was on my side. But the more I looked at what the scriptures actually teach on these subjects the more I realized that I had merely believed and passed along someone else's 'opinion' about baptism that I had learned from pastors I respected.

My advice to you, as someone who has been in your shoes is this.

1. Pray for God to open His Word to you on this subject.

2. Resolve in your mind that your allegiance is to God's Word and not the traditions of men.

3. Open God's Word and DIG IN. Do NOT just scratch the surface on this issue but WRESTLE with these texts.

4. Focus your attention to answer ONLY ONE question so that you are not distracted by other periphery issues. That ONE question is "What does God's Word Say Baptism Does?"

I assure you that if Baptism is something that WE do to show the World that We've Accepted Jesus then you will clearly see that in God's Word.

But, if God's Word says that Baptism is God's Work and that it delivers promised gifts such as the forgiveness of sins then it will say that.

Here is the link to what I've written on Baptism. I look forward to hearing back from you on what you'll discover.


Steve Newell


Please read my two postings on Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.



Please consider that over the course of nearly 2000 years and at present, the majority of Christians believe that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are a means of Grace. If you read many the early church fathers, their understanding of both Baptism and Communions is the same as Reformation theology.

Since I was raised in the SBC, I viewed baptism and communion as something we do not as something God does to us and for us.


Chris & Steve,

Isn't Baptism still a work that we do? That goes back to the steps "WE" need to "DO" to be saved. Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"

Neither passage mentions baptism. It seems to me from reading the pamplet that when we are baptized we are entering into a covenant with God. I agree that it is not just a "symbol", but like circumcision it is a covenant agreement.

Thanks for challenging me both of you.

Steve Newell


First, when we look at a specific passage, we must look at the entire book by which the passage is from. For example, prior to John 3:16, Jesus states that one must be born by water and the spirit. This is reference to Baptism. Likewise, Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born again. No one chooses to be physically born and one can choose to be born again. This is by God's grace (see Eph 2). You appear to placing the focus of John 3:16 on the Christian and not on the Christ. Our ability to believe in a gift of God just as faith is a gift of God.

In Romans 10, Paul writes that our ability to profess Christ as Lord is the result of hearing the Word and it is the Word of God that gives us the ability to process Christ. Only those who are saved can make the statement that Christ is Lord.

Please go through all the passages in the New Testament that reference baptism and see that Holy Scripture has to say about what Baptism is and what Baptism does.

I'm looking forward to your findings.

Chris Rosebrough


Go back and work through the verses. All of the promises attached to baptism are things that God does. In baptism God washes away our sins, buries us with Christ, raises us with Christ, and circumcises our hearts. So I'm not seeing how baptism is a 'work that we do'. That's like saying that the 5000 men who showed up to hear Jesus preach should get partial credit for Jesus' miracle when and He multiplied the fish and loaves to feed them.


Chris and Steve,
Thank you both. I am going to read these links, read corresponding scripture and pray on it. I'll let you know my thoughts. I will say at this point that I do not believe that Baptism is exclusive to a "showing the world" although for the early church Jews it was and could have cost them their lives. I think of it more a matter of one's heart, mind, and life being washed in the blood of Christ and made anew in Him for eternity, but let me take a look at what you provide. Many thanks!



I think Frankie makes a good point, read Hebrews 10:22, comparing the Old with the New. The "pure water" is not a baptism but the Holy Spirit purifying one's life - by God's word.

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