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. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Discernment When “Church Shopping”

This past Sunday, while out to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in a nearby small town, we saw a sticker on a car which said, “Infuse Church.”  Of course the words weren’t posted that way — they were in a block sort of with letters going across and down so you actually had to look at it and think about what it said.  Curiosity got the best of me and I have now looked them up on the Internet.  WOW.

When you are looking for a church at which to worship, it would do you good to look at their Internet site to see just what they have to say about themselves.  Sometimes they don’t say enough to tell you really anything about them except perhaps a generic doctrinal statement.  Other times you can get some real red flags!  Our local “Infuse Church” is one of those “red flag” assemblies which should be avoided.  Let’s take a look.

On the home page we find “What to Expect.”  
we promise joining us on Sunday will be a fun and enjoyable experience”. Really? That’s what the assembly is for, to have a “fun and enjoyable experience”?!? While we may have some enjoyable experiences during fellowshipping, fun and enjoyment is not the purpose of the assembly.

Come dressed to impress or shorts and a t-shirt, whatever is comfortable.”  While there is nothing inherently wrong about not being dressed more formally for assembling with other believers, especially when there are people who can’t afford good clothing, tradition has led to being dressed as if you are going before an important person — i.e. coming before the Lord in worship should make one want to appear respectful, not slovenly; and it’s not about trying to impress any one..  Any “church” which suggests slovenly appearance is acceptable is one to avoid, in my book.

“Be Ready For… To Laugh and have a good time.” Again, this sounds like they are more interested in partying than they are about learning about doctrine or the Bible.

Be Ready for…some breakfast and coffee.”  When an assembly we previously attended began spending their income on breakfasts, that was one of the things which really bothered us.  There is no excuse for people to come to church looking to be fed before the service, looking for donations to buy them their meals, etc.  This is nothing but more party atmosphere.

Be Ready For… Good Music.”  By that they mean a raucous band with “contemporary” music and songs usually devoid of much doctrine and usually all about feeling good.

Look at the video and you will see that you can expect a “relevant” service. “Relevant” is a buzz-word often associated with the emergent movement. Then you see the concert atmosphere of a service.  And just what is “Outlandish Love”?!?

Now click on “Who Are We?” Several red flags appear:

Husband and wife “pastors.”  Obviously of the liberal bent, totally ignoring Paul’s teaching about only men being elders in the assembly.

Infuse is a new church with a motto of Imperfect People, Outlandish Love, and Real Faith.”  Very emergent sounding. “We believe the church is a place for imperfect people…” Um, no, the assembly is for “imperfect” Christians only.  While non-believing “imperfect” people may show up, they are not the purpose of the assembly.

Scroll down to “Our Vision” and you see:
To make churches that unchurched people love to attend.
Who are “unchurched people”? Usually this refers to unbelievers, but I may be wrong here.  We NEVER are to make our assemblies attractive to non-believers.  They also say that “church should be a place where all people love to attend”— HELLO! “Church” should NEVER be a place unbelievers love to attend; if they really love it there, then they aren’t being confronted with sin.

Under “What We Believe” I see a few not-so-clear/confusing things, but one thing stands out under “Church,” which says a purpose of the church is to “serve the world in order to fulfill the last command of Jesus.”  This sounds like the social gospel; nowhere in Scripture are we told to “serve the world.”  Jesus last command was to go and make disciples, not “serve the world.”

Click the next button, “Engage With Us” and find that there are lots of programs, but not much explanation. Scrolling down you’ll find “Ownership (Infuse 101)” and learn that they don’t have a membership, rather they have “Ownership.”  Sounds pretty “relevant,” doesn’t it?

Then we look at “Giving.”  Interesting response to questions about tithing: they are correct that the Christian doesn’t tithe, but then they tell you that you MUST give a percentage that raises with income!  Not everyone is able to do so, especially on the lower income scales.  The church has no business telling people what to give except that they are not to give “grudgingly or under compulsion” (2 Corinthians 9:7), yet this assembly is compelling them give a certain way.

With all this, do I really need to listen to any message?  No.  There may be good messages but the foundation of this assembly is sand.  It is “fun” focused, programs focused, seeker-sensitive, with an unbiblical leadership.

These are things you look for when seeking an assembly at which to worship.  Use discernment.


Eternity Matters said...

The websites do make it easier to identify bad churches. My youngest daughter was at a summer ballet camp years ago and looking for a church. I said to avoid any with rainbow flags. I was half kidding, but sure enough, one of the nearby churches had one. Of course they were as false as could be. She then found a good church to visit :-).

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

There are actually quite a few in the Iowa City area with rainbows on their site. Not surprisingly since Iowa City is sometimes jokingly called "San Francisco East."

Anonymous said...

I think American church culture is paralleling the education system. "Relevant" is the word that must describe teachers' lessons; according to the progressive powers that dictate to schools, we must make everything relevant to children and teens because they know better than adults. Classes must be filled with activity, movement, and FUN!Everyone should enjoy being there, and if the stuffy, quiet, goody-two-shoes don't like the raucous atmosphere, they are the ones who will have to adjust. We've offered free and reduced lunch since I can remember, but now, kids show up in the morning and are served free breakfast, too. Educational policy makers and theorists have an insatiable craving for buzzwords and lingo and new strategies; churches have followed suit. It makes sense that people are now structuring churches in the same way, since they spent their childhood in this environment.

Jack Morrow said...

Also, beware of churches that use names such as "Infuse," that sound trendy, but don't mean anything.

I never heard of Symbis marriage assessment until I saw it on the Infuse Church site. Click on the link for that, and then look at the names recommending it. The credentials of the people running it have to do with secular media appearances, there are no links to the studies that it's supposedly based on, and there's no mention of Jesus or the Bible.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Jack,

Yes, you are so observant on that score! I didn't even bother noting that, with everything else about that church being so wrong.