Linux caesar-rodney 3.2.61-grsec-modsign #1 SMP Tue Aug 12 09:58:26 UTC 2014 x86_64
8 Marks of a Dangerous Church | InFocus
Reviews

About the author

avatar

Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@teaminfocus.com.au.

26 Comments

  1. avatar

    RoSeZ

    Firstly, I like the logo thingy… =P

    Secondly, I was absolutely inspired by the patriotic theme of remembering and honouring Australia running through today’s Australia Day post! =P

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Alen

    Where’s the 9th mark? :D

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Steve Warren

    Over the past few years I have taken to wearing Rivers shirts over tee shirts, is this a sign of dangerous influence? Or am I just getting old?

    But on the serious side, there are some churches where you feel a tad uncomfortable if you’re not wearing long pants and a tie. Heaven forbid turning up wearing thongs. (flip flops for the uneducated )

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Alen, Ok. Yeah. I suppose it was slightly Deveresque. =P

    @Steve Warren, True. I don’t think it’s as much the dress itself as the legalism that *might* be behind it. Thanks for the thought.

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Al

    “Mark 9” might be a segue way from 1,2,3&7 – Respond to all challenges with “You’re sinful/.
    i.e.
    When challenged (biblically, in love, etc) the easy response is to dismiss it as coming from a spirit of bitterness, sin, rebellion, refusal to submit to authority, toying or meddling in new evangelicalism/emergent movement, etc
    Instead of carefully considering prayerful feedback, anyone that disagrees is told to “not touch the anointed” or similar.
    There’s a level of insecurity that can’t handle questioning of any kind. Thus the need to restrict reading, disdain education, refuse questions and not share the Eldership.
    In this environment unity is replaced by conformity, differing opinions, thoughts, reading list threaten that conformity and are treated with suspicion

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention 8 Marks of a Dangerous Church » InFocus -- Topsy.com

  7. avatar

    Robert Apps

    Steve Warren,

    thankfully all I wear is rivers too so you are safe.

    leadership wearing rivers is one mark of a trendy church.

    RA

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Al

    I agree with the Rivers “mark”.
    My previous Senior Pastor wore Rivers shirts, and now I’m a F/T Lead Pastor I get to wear them too – even when I preach – which I know makes me really cutting edge and borderline emergent – but hey I like the thrill of living dangerously

    Al.

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Lydia Meldrum

    Not sure about your article, seems what you’re really trying to say is bathed in synicalisim. I don’t think your comments relate as much to a “church”, as to the individual “pastor” of the church. And men are certainly not perfect. Pastors, like any man(eg. husbands, fathers, bosses, leaders), can be pron to over-control, pride and other such distructive things that can sometimes come with the power of authority. I think this has been a problem since time began and will continue to be a problem as long as sin is around. The solution remains not in ranting and raving about the problem, but in focusing on how to handle, in a Christian and Biblical manner, such an oppressive issue.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Hey Lydia,

    I totally agree that men are sinners and will continue to be. That’s why accountability is simply not optional in the local church context. Where sinners are willing to put themselves in structures that hold them accountable to the body, the sin nature is held in check. Where accountability is avoided, particularly in the leadership, a church becomes dangerous in a way that not only can be avoided, but must be avoided.

    The context in which I wrote these points was that I was burdened for some friends who are caught up in the Jehovah’s Witness cult. These points are the things I was observing in the JW’s over about six months of watching.

    I feel kind of like the kid throwing rocks into a dark yard. When the dog starts yelping, you know you’ve hit home. If these things are found in Fundamentalist churches, it is to our shame.

    I’m not content to brush it aside in the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I’m certainly not content to brush it aside in our churches.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  11. avatar

    Apo

    Couldn’t help but be suprised by the similarities between what you’ve written and the cult systems of the world from “The Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin.

    1) “The belief systems of the cults are characterized by close-mindedness. They are not interested in a rational cognitive evaluation of the facts. The organiszational structure interprets the facts to the cultist, generally invoking the Bible and/or its respective founder as the ultimate source of its pronouncements. Such belief systems are in isolation; they never shift to logical consistency. They exist in what we might describe as separate compartments in the cultist’s mind, and are almost incapable of penetration or disruption if the individual cultist is completely committed to the authority pattern of his organisation.”

    2) “Cultic belief systems are characterized by genuine antagonism on a personal level since the cultist almost always identifies his dislike of the Christian message with the messanger who holds such opposing beliefs. The identification of opposing beliefs with the individual in the framework of antagonism leads the cultist almost always to reject the individual as well as the belief, a problem closely linked with close-mindedness and one that is extremely difficult to deal with in general dialogue with cultists.”

    3) “Almost without exception, all cultic belief systems manifest a type of institutional dogmatism and a pronounced intolerance for any position but their own…”

    4) “In any analysis of the belief systems of cults is the factor of isolation.”

    Reply
  12. avatar

    lumpy

    I think wearing Rivers is less cutting edge and more about cutting costs. What’s to bet that all of those leaders who wear Rivers live in proximity to a Rivers Clearance Store?!
    As long as you tithe the money you save.

    http://www.rivers.com.au/Online_shop.htm

    By the way Rob, Can I have all those shirts that don’t fit you any more?

    Reply
  13. avatar

    Alen

    @Steve Warren, Rivers shirts? Am I missing some kind of cultural trend? :)

    @Al, I remember a sermon on David and how he wouldn’t touch Saul, the direct application being not to touch God’s current anointed man i.e the Pastor. I am weirded out that it is a common enough term for others to know :|

    @Apo, I remember reading that book! :D It kinda freaked me out though :|

    Reply
  14. avatar

    RoSeZ

    Alen, I’ve heard too many messages to count on “Touch not God’s anointed.” I actually thought it was kinda commonplace. Still weird, though. =)

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Steven Mock

    Well, I’ve been waiting all day to weigh in on this one. I, too, grew up hearing preachers rant and rave about “touching the Lord’s anointed.” I specifically remember this in the context of Korah vs. Moses (see Numbers 16). The preachers would declare this passage with such passion, that as a young kid, I was sure the ground was going to open up right then and there and swallow up whoever was causing the preacher so much grief. But it never did. As a kid I was relieved. Now after years of reflection I’ve concluded one of two options must be true: 1) either no one was “touching” God’s anointed or 2) maybe they weren’t really “God’s anointed.” I’ll let you decide. I know which one I’ve concluded.

    Reply
  16. avatar

    Robert Apps

    The Lord’s anointed has just posted:)

    Reply
  17. avatar

    lumpy

    Is this a post Pastor post? Was Steven Mock’s a first Pastor post?
    If we are referring to the incident in the cave with Saul and David, then the context of “touch not etc etc”, could I think mean, “Don’t do him any harm while he’s on the toilet”

    Reply
  18. avatar

    nanabelle

    The original post did seem like it was aimed at groups closer to home than JW’s. I agree you’ll be able to find fault in every church and some will be more devastating than others. That’s why we need to know our Bibles, and our God, so we’ll know what to cast off and what to keep.

    My concern is that we not focus on the negative, and “curse the darkness”, but that we “shine a light in the darkness”, and offer God’s positive solutions, showing the fruit of the Spirit in our reactions and lives. A deep love for God and His ways will be contagious and reach the world around us. CHOOSE, in God’s strength, to not let anything steal your joy. Anything.

    Reply
  19. avatar

    Steve Warren

    It seems to me that very few men in the Bible claimed to be The Lords Anointed with the exception of a few such as David and Jesus, and they never used the words of ‘touch not the Lords anointed’ in respect of criticism or attack on themselves. The ones we hear of who use this phrase when they are challenged or criticised would seem to bear the hallmark of self appointed rather than God anointed men.

    Reply
  20. avatar

    Robert Apps

    David, I have three pairs of trousers now way too big, but can’t afford to ship them to Pormpurraaw, can you collect them?

    Reply
  21. avatar

    Rebecca Davis

    Jason, I’m reading here now seven years later because of your 60 Minutes appearance. I found this page of yours particularly interesting in light of your own excommunication from your brother’s independent Baptist church. You might like to see the “9 Marks” some others have offered, several of which are very similar to yours. Thank you for your good work. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/07/11/nine-marks-of-an-abusive-church-2/

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Thanks for stopping by Rebecca. I appreciate you posting the link as well. That’s a good list of things to watch out for.

      Grace to you.

  22. avatar

    Robert

    Most of the points you mention, and especially framed in the the way they were, look like obvious red flags to truth seekers. I’d be interested to see some scriptures backing up each of your points.

    As I read it I thought “I think he’s talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Not because I think this describes them, but it describes the caricature that some churches paint of them.

    And as I read the comments it turns out I was right.

    So I agree that some of your points are indicators of a bad church, but in all cases an individual or an organisation should have the right to explain the scriptural basis for their ‘style’, if they have such a basis, and let the hearer decide.

    You wouldn’t want a person to turn away from a legitimate church because they read your your byte sized list without considering the complex issues behind them, would you?

    Man

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Robert

      (Don’t know how “Man” crept into the signature. Apologies.)

  23. avatar

    Robert

    And, incidentally, I’m not asking for a debate, I really was just commenting on your post.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2005-2016 by InFocus. Powered by WordPress. Effective News theme by Themelions Team.