These are twenty descriptions of some Independent Baptist Churches and they are twenty things that I don’t want to have said about Rivers of Joy baptist Church
1. They have been more interested in controlling their congregations than they’ve been in disciplining them.
2. They have done too little expository preaching and too much topical preaching.
3. They emphasized “standards” at the expense of doctrine.
4. They have erected Pastoral Dictatorships rather than emphasizing Godly eldership.
5. They have turned many traditions into near doctrines. (Music styles, Bible versions, Service Schedule, Denominational Tags, etc…)
6. They have classified too many necessary cultural adjustments as theological compromise.
7. They have remained enamored with the “Church Growth Methodology” of previous generations while condemning the church growth methodology of the current generation. (For the record, I think much of the methodology in every generation of the CGM is flawed. But seriously, some folks need to rethink Camp Meetings, Bus Ministries and Tent Revivals in light of today’s cultural context.)
8. They have neglected the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in matters of Worship for fear that someone might think them “charismatic”.
9. They have failed to deal with, admit and repent of the racism that is part of the Southern fundamentalist history and culture.
10. They have forgotten that the enemy is and has always been Satan and not a genuine believing brother across the street, city or country who might share a different view on things like culture, denominational affiliation or associations.
11. They have forgotten how to speak the Truth in love.
12. They have been content in rural areas and suburbs while neglecting the great cities and the broken inner cities of our population centers.
13. They have focused on “doing” rather than “being.”
14. Rather than writing books with sound theological and intellectual arguments and engaging in discourse with others within in the broader evangelical community, they have chosen to simply criticize or attempt to censor those who express ideas different than theirs.
15. They have failed to groom younger pastors, students and young leaders within fundamentalism with patient mentoring and have too frequently driven them away with shallow answers, impatient diatribes or harsh criticism and then lament the fact that they have left for circles of which they disapprove.
16. There has been an iconic approach to leadership in churches, colleges and associations which lends itself to single-generation impact.
17. They have had an out-dated and “Western” approach to missions that has not adapted to a world that is becoming suddenly and irrefutably “smaller”.
18. There has been a subculture of “anti-intellectualism” which considers a broad higher education to be suspect, unnecessary or both.
19. They thought that political activism could/would “save” America.
20. They have failed to practice Biblical church discipline from the pulpit to the pew.