***DISCLAIMER – I RECEIVED THIS BOOK AS A GIFT TO REVIEW***
Someone recently asked me if I would do a biblical critique on Galen Woodward, former senior pastor at Citizen Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I found that his following was not as high as subjects of previous “profile” posts (Max Lucado, Joseph Prince, Todd Smith, Henry Seeley, Richard Rohr, ARC [Association of Related Churches] and the late Henri Nouwen). Therefore, I politely declined his request. However, I did mention that I would review a book of Woodward’s, no problem. This gentlemen proceeded to buy and send me a copy of Woodward’s 2014 book Changing Church: It’s Never Too Late. Because this gentleman bought me the book (a first for me), this review will be on the heavier side in terms of length. The reason for this is twofold:
- I want this gentleman to get his money’s worth for sending me a book for review.
- The book is (spoiler alert) so problematic that I do want to take time to show its various issues.
Right away, I raised an eyebrow when looking at both the endorsements on the back cover and the author of the foreword. The back cover shows five people who endorsed the book. I only recognized one of the names. That one person I recognized, though, was Kevin Gerald, a Bible-twisting narcigete who is both not biblically qualified as a pastor and known as a “cheap Joel Osteen knockoff.” Ed Young Junior (henceforth referred to as Young) wrote the book’s foreword. He, like Gerald, is not biblically qualified to be a pastor, for Young twists God’s Word, obfuscates about his private jet and hates little churches (48 minute mark). While his foreword was not as problematic as Jentezen Franklin’s foreword for a book by Brian Zahnd, I’m already cringing because from the immediate impressions, it does not appear Woodward has much discernment.
In the introduction, Woodward makes it clear that his book “is written for four groups of people: Pastors, leaders, church volunteers and church attenders — in other words, for Church People” (p. xvii). I have zero problems with Woodward’s identifying his audience. However, I see the premise of his book as problematic. First, he uses no Bible verses in his introduction. Second, he transitions from Isaac Newton’s laws of motion into the “workings of the local church” (p. xviii). I’ll let Woodward explain (pp. xviii-xix; anything bolded is done by me):
Isaac Newton discovered three laws of motion that certainly apply to leading any organization.
1) The natural state of an object is at rest.
2) A moving object must overcome resistance.
3) Motion produces friction.
It sounds like he was describing the workings of the local church. In leading a long-established church, leaders will constantly face these same three challenges: natural inertia, resistance, and conflict.
>Inertia is a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. This is when a church or business has stopped growing and has come to a complete standstill.
>Resistance is the refusal to accept or comply with something: the attempt to prevent something by action or argument. This is when employees or church members become disgruntled with a new direction, openly spreading negativity about the new vision, the direction, and the leader of the organization.
>Friction is a force that holds back the movement of a moving object. This is when people of an organization or church will rise up with violent opposition against leadership, which leads to a strike, a mass walk-out or church split.
Thousands of well-established traditional churches are trapped in a state of rest, remaining the same size for many years with small impact in their community. Something has to change but the moment you lead a significant change you will be met by resistance and friction.
Leading change is what few leaders are willing to do.
This is why there is no shortage of discouraged leaders pastoring well-established churches that have found themselves trapped by deep-rooted traditions. The common consensus of most leaders is the belief that change causes too much disruption and it’s not worth all the resistance and friction they will face. That’s why eighty percent of churches across America are two hundred or less in attendance. That statistic should make every Christian grieve over the weakness of the Western Church. So many long-standing congregations have found themselves ministering to the same people week after week, year after year, and my question is, why would any of us think it’s OK to allow our church to remain in a state of rest? The answer, there are few leaders willing to take on the task of transformation in the established church because of the strong opposition they will endure through the process.
Based on NASA’s own website, it appears Newton’s Laws of Motion pertained to aircraft, not the church. Furthermore, it appears Newton was both an anti-Trinitarian and one who affirmed the Arian heresy. Needless to say, Woodward has quite a shoddy foundation, for he misapplies Newton’s Law of Motion to the church, an institution that has nothing to do with Newton’s Law of Motion.
If the Newton debacle wasn’t bad enough, Woodward seems to think that churches with 200 or less in attendance is a bad thing. High attendance numbers do not automatically mean that a church is orthodox. After all, consider that as of 2013, there were 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world. Roman Catholicism is a works-based religion that is absolutely hostile to biblical Christianity. As of 4/4/2020, the Mormon population topped 16.5 million people. Mormonism is a false religion that, like Roman Catholicism, is absolutely hostile to biblical Christianity. If high attendance is such a good thing, then one must conclude that both Roman Catholicism and Mormonism are valid because of their high attendance numbers. Obviously, those two false religions are not valid. Woodward’s premise, once again, suffers.
Finally, notice that Woodward makes no biblical argument whatsoever anywhere in his introduction. While he does cite Scripture in the book, he (spoiler alert) twists basically every single passage he cites (examples to follow). He cannot biblically substantiate his belief that somehow it is not ok for churches to minister to the same people week after week, year after year. In fact, the biblical mandate for pastors is to shepherd one’s flock, not grow it. While there is certainly nothing wrong with growing a flock, that is far from the emphasis (if even an emphasis at all). Consider Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21:15-19 (NKJV):
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
Jesus tells Peter three times to feed/care for His sheep. He makes no mention of growing the sheep. Instead, Peter is to feed them.
There are other texts to consider. One is 1 Peter 5:1-4 (NKJV):
5 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Once again, the emphasis is on shepherding the flock among the people, not growing the amount of sheep.
The third text I consider here is Acts 20:17-38 (NKJV). Please be aware that it is the apostle Paul speaking beginning at verse 18:
17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21), states to his audience to shepherd and protect the flock. Nowhere in Scripture will you find a passage in which Jesus chastises people for having a church that does not feature an expanding attendance. The premise of Galen Woodward’s book absolutely fails. For that reason, the rest of his book fails.
To demonstrate the fact Woodward’s Changing Church absolutely fails, I do a bit of a flyover tour over some of the chapters in his book. Since someone purchased this book for me, this will be a bit of a “chapter by chapter” format. I won’t give equal space to all thirteen chapters, but the space I give is warranted. The review won’t focus on general weaknesses, recurring things or the like. Think of this as flying over a big garbage dump (what this book is) in which I point out stuff along the way.
CHAPTER 1: THE “BRUTIFIUL” SIDE OF MINISTRY”
The aforementioned false teacher Young influenced both this chapter’s title. Woodward states the following on the bottom of the second page of this chapter (p. 3):
I want to tell you a story about a dream. All of us have a dream but I wonder why is it that some dreams come true while many others never become more than a fleeting fantasy…Whether you are a business person, church leader, church volunteer, pastor, or someone still figuring out their direction in life, I want to assure you that your dream is not too elusive or too far out of reach. I believed time had passed me by and wondered why my dream had not come true. I want to share my story with you so that you can discover, just like I did, that your dream is right around the corner.
This is utter nonsense. Furthermore, it does not preach well to the person who might be dead in a week. My friend Steven Kozar recently did a video exposing this whole “dream” concept. Specifically, it’s the “dream destiny burden.” Heretics like Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren and Chris Hodges are some of the front-runners of this unbiblical “dream destiny” nonsense.
The book of Jude (which I show in full here), does make mention of dreamers, and it’s not a favorable mention (NKJV; emphasis on verse 8):
1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
As I am about to show, Woodward is one who rejects authority (biblical authority specifically). He obviously places much value in dreams. Sadly, he does not place much value in the Word of God.
I mentioned Woodward rejects authority. He does so via affirming women pastors. Consider these words (p. 4; any bolding I do is done by me unless otherwise stated):
I graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and eight months later I married my beautiful wife Kay. I was 23 and she was 19. We had just become youth pastors in Albuquerque, New Mexico….In the next few years we saw incredible growth….Twelve years later our senior pastor took another position and we were voted in as the church’s new pastors.
You’ll notice that that word “pastors” is plural, not singular. God’s Word forbids women pastors (1 Timothy 2:9-3:13 and 1 Corinthians 14; Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio also offers insight from his review on Jory Micah, someone who doesn’t believe women are to be kept silent in the church). When consulting the text of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, pay attention to the fact that the very next chapter goes right into the qualifications of a pastor. How can a woman be a husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2)? Finally, consider the following two paragraphs from GotQuestions.org’s article on women pastors (said article being the first hyperlink in this paragraph):
Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and helping/serving. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.
Women definitely play a vital role in ministry. However, being pastors goes beyond the role given to them in Scripture. Consider that I am at page four of this book (about 3,300 words into this review) and I’ve observed many issues with Woodward’s book. This is not good.
Earlier, I mentioned Woodward twists basically every single Bible passage he cites. He also twists some of the narratives in the Bible without verbatim citing them (compare pages 7-8 with 1 Kings 3:16-28). In this chapter, I look closer at his twisting of Luke 6.
What’s kinda scary about this twisting is the context of this twisting. Before Woodward mentions Luke 6, he tells a story of a traveling evangelist named Johnny Jernigan (p. 9). Jernigan apparently came to town and he, after completing a “four-day revival”, agreed with Woodward to preach every other Sunday with Woodward at Woodward’s church for about several months (p. 9). These months apparently featured, among other things, opposition from Woodward’s church (regarding the evangelist’s alleged unbiblical preaching), a miraculous healing of a fellow named Dan, and Woodward’s own uncertainties regarding whether or not God would see Woodward through Woodward’s situation (pp. 10-14). Woodward then says the following (pp. 14-15)
Meanwhile, back at the church, everyone was excited for Dan. It seemed to dampen the disgruntled church people and their agenda. They were happy for Dan but they were angry that it happened during the revival that they so hated, and under my leadership with which they were in such opposition. It actually fueled their anger and they began to plot against me.
In Luke chapter 6 Jesus has come on the scene with a new vision and direction for His church. He was using new methods that had never been seen before. Huge crowds were gathering on the outskirts of town, sitting on the hillside to listen to Him, instead of gathering in the synagogue. He taught creatively, using dirt, bread, children, animals and everyday experiences to make his point. It was a paradigm shift of ministry. He was doing things that had never been done before. The teachers of the Law hated Him for it. He was disrupting two thousand years of synagogue (church) traditions.
So they invited Jesus to teach in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law were looking for a reason to discredit Him. They knew He would do something unorthodox and hopefully they could expose Him as a fraud. They were right. As Jesus was speaking, He looked up and saw a man in the back of the room with a shriveled hand. He stopped in the middle of His teaching and called for him to come to the front of the synagogue. Jesus told him to stretch out his hand and the moment he did his hand was totally healed. The Pharisees and teachers immediately responded, not by singing the praises of a miracle-working God, but by declaring that He had broken the Law. He had healed on the Sabbath. In Luke chapter 6 and verse 9, Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it? He was showing them the idiocy of their legalism.
But they were furious and then began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus. They went out and plotted His destruction.
It is alarming to me that church people can be this spiritually blinded.
God shows up in the midst of their religious gathering; they see a man healed before their very eyes and all they can think about is how badly they hate Jesus for messing with their traditions. I’m convinced that there is nothing worse than a crowd of angry church people. I want to clarify myself: I’m not referring to fully devoted followers of Christ. I’m talking about “religious people.” I’m talking about the church people who have created their own agenda. These were the people who were constantly confronting Jesus.
I’d like to show the Luke 6 passage he referenced in its fuller context. Did Jesus in Luke 6 come with a new vision and direction for His Church? We shall see. For context, I show Luke 6:1-49 (NKJV):
6 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”
3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” 5 And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
6 Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. 8 But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” 10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself;and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
For you have received your consolation.
25 Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend,hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus nowhere makes mention of a new vision and direction for His church in any part of Luke 6. Furthermore, the word “church” is completely absent from the Gospel of Luke. Woodward is not telling accurate information about the Scriptures. You’ll notice he has added stuff that does not appear anywhere in Luke 6 (especially in the more relevant text of Luke 6:1-11).
Notice the words above that I bolded. Woodward tells a story about a revival under Woodward’s leadership that the church people supposedly hated. They also were angry about it. These same church people plotted against Woodward.
Woodward then transitions into talking about Luke 6 (clearly not telling it accurately). Woodward explains how Jesus healed on the Sabbath. The Pharisees got angry (or furious). They plotted Jesus’ destruction (Woodward’s words).
Think of the implications of this parallel. If one was to compare Woodward’s story with the telling of Luke 6, who would the angry church people represent in Woodward’s story? They would represent the Pharisees.
Who would Dan represent? He would represent the man in the back of the room with the shriveled hand (“withered hand” in NKJV).
Nobody was angry at either Dan in Woodward’s story or the man with the withered hand in the Luke 6 passage. However, people were angry with Woodward in Woodward’s story. People were angry at Jesus in the Luke 6 passage. By stating that the angry church people plotted Woodward’s destruction like the Pharisees plotted Jesus’ destruction, Woodward is basically stating he is Jesus. This is both absolute subtle blasphemy and disgustingly narcissistic. There is only one Jesus, and Woodward is not it. Neither am I.
Now, perhaps my parallel is a stretch. That’s a fair assessment. Nevertheless, consider the issues I’ve already found up to just chapter one: Woodward approves women pastors, Woodward twists God’s Word (at minimum he can’t tell Bible stories accurately), Woodward promotes the stupid “dream destiny” false doctrine, and Woodward misappropriates Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion by applying it to the church. At this point, it would not be a shock if he had a God complex of some sort.
CHAPTER 2: MINISTRY AND WARFARE ARE SYNONYMOUS
In this chapter, Woodward twists 2 Kings 2 and rips other verses out of context (pp. 21-22, 25, 28-29). He also explains the concept of the religious spirit as Satan’s greatest weapon (pp. 21-26). He gives his own (unofficially) 11 signs of a religious spirit. I say “his own” because he doesn’t back any of them with a biblical text. Here are six of those eleven as well as the paragraph that immediately follows the eleven (pp. 24-25):
…believes it has the right plan and direction for the church.
…is on a mission to tear down what it believes is wrong.
…believes it does not need to listen to leadership because it can hear from God itself.
…immediately notices what is wrong with people or the church, rather than looking for what is right.
…loves to gather people for food and fellowship but always finds time to cast concern and doubt upon the church leadership.
…often says things like, “The Pastor doesn’t preach the Word” or “The church’s priority is not right” or “I’m just not being fed” or “If I were in charge…”…
…This behavior flies in the face of Biblical authority and leadership. This spirit is extremely prideful and wants to hide behind a religious facade in order to divide people and take control.
The “pastors” in the seeker-driven movement often don’t preach the Word, so it is possible to not get fed at the churches in that movement. In fact, I learned more in 18 months of listening to the program Fighting For The Faith (henceforth referred to as F4TF) than I did in a decade in the seeker-driven movement. However, according to Woodward, if you say such a thing, it is a warning sign of a religious spirit. No biblical text says the nonsense he spews, though. His rhetoric reminds me of behavior from such “pastors” as Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and Mark Beeson (among others) in the important documentary Church of Tares.
CHAPTER 3: THE C3 MIRACLE
In this chapter, Woodward tells a story of how he and a small group of people traveled to Fellowship Church (pastored by Young) for what is known as a C3 conference (pp. 41-45). Recall how I stated that Woodward’s book was published in 2014. Recall also how I stated that Kevin Gerald was the major name of all the endorsers of this book. While Woodward does not state this outright, I believe he was talking about the 2012 C3 conference. If I am right, here was the lineup of speakers for that event:
The event obviously has Ed Young’s name written all over it. Kevin Gerald is also on there. Furthermore, consider the names of the other heretics on this list:
- Steven Furtick (Runner-up in the 2016 “Worst Easter Sermon of the Year” contest for F4TF & rightly referred as the “king of the narcigetes”)
- Stovall Weems (a works-righteousness liberal)
- Carl Lentz (Word-Faith heretic and morally disqualified “pastor”)
- Steve Kelly (narcissistic false teacher and winner of the 2014 “Worst Easter Sermon of the Year” contest for F4TF)
- Buddy Cremeans (narcissistic blasphemer)
- Steve Munsey (scam artist)
- Terry Crist (blasphemous, vision-casting Bible twister)
- Judah Smith (blasphemous, irreverent Bible-twister)
Needless to say, this is bad. This is all bad. Sadly, Woodward essentially gave both the whole conference and Fellowship Church his stamp of approval by calling the “church” “one of the most cutting edge and creative churches in America and had a congregation of about twenty thousand people” (pp. 42-43). Woodward would call a board meeting to share with the board members what he experienced at the conference (p. 45). He was also prepared to share “our new church vision” (p. 43). Woodward states on two occasions that God gave him this vision (pp. 44-45). This is blasphemy because God would not give a pastor a vision for a church based on what happened at Fellowship “Church”, for Ed Young, the engine behind both the C3 Conference and Fellowship “Church”, is not biblically qualified to be a pastor.
Even if I am wrong about this conference being the 2012 one (and I could be wrong since the year is not stated verbatim), Woodward still has major discernment problems (more on that later).
CHAPTER 4: GOD HELPS ME! I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!
In this chapter, Woodward once again rips Bible verses out of context. Furthermore, he quotes from the heretical and blasphemous “The Message” paraphrase (pp. 52, 55, 59). I wrote an article on this herephrase. Here are some noteworthy paragraphs:
When doing research on this topic, I came across the word “herephrase.” It’s a word I found from listening to a program known as Pirate Christian Radio (a SOLID Bible discernment program dedicated to comparing stuff said in the name of God to the Word of God). A herephrase is a “paraphrase of the Bible that is heretical.” Pirate Christian Radio states that “The Message” is a “very popular example of a herephrase.”
The next logical question to ask is, “How is The Message translation a herephrase?” According to Lance Goodall in his book Hellsong, the Word “Lord” appears no less than 7,970 times in the King James version of the Bible. “The Message” uses it 71 times. That is a huge difference. In fact, the ratio of usage between the two translations is 112:1.
Furthermore, in the New Testament, “The Message” NEVER directly honors Christ as Lord. “The Lord Jesus” occurs 118 times in the King James version. “The Lord Jesus Christ” appears 84 times, but neither phrase (NEITHER) appears in “The Message.” Apparently no other translation makes such an omission. Goodall goes on to say that Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus) never referred to Jesus as Lord either (ouch), but that’s for another day.
What’s the big deal about omitting “The Lord Jesus” and “The Lord Jesus Christ”, you ask? Well, salvation is found in nobody else but Jesus (Acts 4:12). Because we have all sinned (i.e., broken God’s law; see Exodus 20:1-17) and fallen short of God’s perfect standard, we cannot save ourselves and inherit the free gift of heaven (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-9; Matthew 5:48). God had to solve the sin problem because He is a merciful and loving God but also a just, holy God who must punish sin (1 John 4:8; Exodus 34:7). He solved that problem by sending Jesus Christ, the infinite God-man (or God in human flesh), to die on the cross and rise from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase a place in heaven for us (John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 53:6; 1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 1:21; John 1:29). According to Blue Letter Bible, the word “Lord” comes from the Greek word “kyrios” (from the root word kuros), which means, “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.” When we trust in Christ alone for salvation (via the gifts of repentance and faith given to the believer, per such texts as 2 Timothy 2:22-26 and Romans 10:5-17), Christ becomes our Lord. To omit that title from Him is tantamount to contradicting what God’s Word says about him. It’s basically to strip Him of His deity.
In light of the parallel I drew between Woodward’s story and his horrendous of Luke 6, is it any shock that Woodward would cite such a blasphemous “translation” in his blasphemous book?
CHAPTER 5: IS THERE JUST ONE “CALEB” IN THE HOUSE?
In this chapter, Woodward basically admits to being a vision-casting leader (p. 73). He certainly is not a pastor. He also engages in narcigesis with Caleb in Joshua 14:10-12 (pp. 79-81). Narcigesis is a combination of the words “narcissistic” and “eisegesis.” “Narcissistic” refers to love of self. “Eisegesis” refers to reading into a biblical text stuff that is not there. Narcigesis involves a reading of self into the biblical text. The book of Joshua is a historical narrative. We are not Caleb in the story. While I could go into detail on that or even Woodward’s stupid twisting of 2 Samuel 23:11-17 (pp. 83-83), I focus more on his inaccurate view on consuming the Word of God. Here are some notable quotes:
Let me ask you a question. Do you know of people who are longtime, faithful church attendees who are critical and hateful? The fruit of the spirit is not evident in them. They are people who have been Christians for many years and who seem to find the bad in everything. I’ve given this much thought and this is what I’ve come to believe: The Word of God has literally rotted inside of them. They have been sitting in church for thirty, forty, and fifty years and have made their Christian experience all about church attendance. They sit, soak and sour. For years they sit in a pew and soak in the Word of God. Over a period of time, they sour on God’s Word. It’s when religion overrides transformation and it becomes a pharisaic spirit. The Word of God rots on the inside of them because it wasn’t intended for us to hoard and stockpile. The Word of God was given to us so that it might be given away.pp. 76-77
My question was, “Why do we focus so much of our energy on stuffing ourselves with more and more of the Bible, when so many people have never heard or simply don’t understand it?“p. 78
The writer of Hebrews tells us that anyone who has tasted the salvation of the Lord and yet considers it a common thing, tramples the blood of Christ under foot. That’s a serious offense. We are not to take the words of Christ and turn them into self-consumption.p. 79
I’ve already cited a number of texts that show how pastors are to feed/shepherd the flock. Recently, I reviewed a book by Nate Pickowicz called How To Eat Your Bible. Here are some Bible verses that promoted loving God’s Word via eating the words (or as Woodward would put it, stuffing ourselves with it). Here are those verses (NKJV):
Your words were found, and I ate them,Jeremiah 15:16
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
3 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.
3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness…
…10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.Ezekiel 3:1-3, 10
How sweet are Your words to my taste,Psalm 119:103
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Eating God’s Word does make sense. Therefore, the concept of self-consumption (or stuffing ourselves with the Word) is not a bad thing. Either Galen Woodward is out of his mind or the authors of Scripture are out of their minds. Who will you believe?
CHAPTER 6: A STRANGE NEW CULTURE
In this chapter, Woodward spends much time talking about recruiting a new ministry staff for his vision. He eventually gets to talking about the four vital characteristics for great team members. Of course, he does not cite a biblical text to back these characteristics. He does, however, put a bit of emphasis on the vision. What I do is cite characteristics 2 & 4 in this quote:
2. A Strong Work Ethic – We simply rely on people having the sense of responsibility and inner drive needed to complete the work. These leaders are passionate about Christ and people, and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the vision. They do not have a 9 to 5 workday mentality, but have the passion and excitement to get a job done … even if it takes working until 2 a.m. because they are committed to the cause.
4. Loyalty – It is imperative, in any organization, that team members be dedicated to the vision, organization, senior leadership and the team. As a pastor, I am committed to stand by staff members who have fallen spiritually and morally, doing my best to restore them. But when it comes to disloyalty, which is biblcially classified as rebellion, they are fired with no opportunity to return. Disloyalty is the deadliest of all sins and one that all of us will deal with as church leaders. No one likes to believe it can happen to them, but it will. No one is exempt. Even God experienced disloyalty when Lucifer rebelled. Jesus experienced disloyalty from Judas. I’m sure King David was completely taken by surprise when Absalom, his son, took up arms and marched against him to overthrow his throne.
I can’t think of any other sin that is so destructive and divisive in the body of Christ. By all means, keep loyal people close and immediately detach from anyone with a trace of disloyalty.pp. 101-102
Notice that the loyalty is to the vision, not biblical fidelity. Furthermore, Absalom’s attempted overthrow was actually a fulfillment of what the LORD said when the prophet Nathan told David that the sword would never depart from David’s house (see 2 Samuel 11:1-18:33). This is simply more evidence that Woodward does not know his Bible.
Woodward’s elevation of the vision is no different than how modern-day vision-casting leaders treat the vision the receive (allegedly from God). At the 40:20 mark of the important documentary Church of Tares is a snippet of (what was then) the Crossing “Church’s” (now known as Free Grace United) explaining their vision to the congregation. Below is my transcript of the segment. The segment features heretic, cult-leader and false prophet Erik Dykstra alongside one of his campus “pastors” (said campus “pastor” doing 99% of the speaking). I believe the campus “pastor” is Jason Keech, for this photo from the Zimmerman location’s website looks like the dude from the Church of Tares snippet I transcribe:
Campus Pastor: We are united under the visionary. Now, the visionary here is Erik. The Crossing is built on the vision that God gave Pastor Erik. And we will aggressively defend that vision. Now what does that mean, “Aggressively defend that”? That means that we do church the way he wants us to do it. And me as a campus pastor I can’t go up to Zimmerman and decide that I’m gonna preach on Sunday because that’s not the vision that we have for this church that God gave to Erik. And we defend that. When people go, “Well, maybe we should do it this way.” And we’re like, “No no no no no no no no you don’t understand. God gave Erik this vision. We do it this way. Cause, we don’t wanna argue with God, basically, we don’t wanna be like.” You know Erik’s not God, we’re not saying Erik’s God. He’s not God.
Erik: I’m not God.
Campus Pastor: But he’s got a vision from God. And we have decided with our lives that we’re gonna follow that vision and we’re gonna stick to that, and if we ever just decide that we don’t wanna be a part of that vision, then we can go find a church and serve somewhere else. And that’s, that’s ok. We’re not telling anybody that they have to unite under this vision that, that Erik got from God. You can do whatever you want, but we think that it’s a really cool vision. We’re on board with it. And we’re gonna defend it and we’re gonna stick to it.
I can say without a doubt that Erik Dykstra didn’t get a vision from God since he is still a habitual Bible twister (discussing that at length is for another day). Notice though that the visionary basically can’t be questioned. To question the “visionary” is to question God. Is Woodward’s dedication to his vision any different than how Erik Dykstra’s “churches” are dedicated to Dykstra’s vision? Moreover, does the aforementioned parallel I drew between Woodward in his situation and Jesus in Luke 6 sound like much of a stretch now? This is something to think about.
The job of a pastor has absolutely nothing to do with preaching one’s vision. In 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (said book being written to young Pastor Timothy), the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21), gives this exhortation to Timothy (NASB):
4 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
This charge Paul gives to Timothy is a serious one (verse 1). Paul is giving this charge in the presence of Jesus Christ, the only way by which mankind may be saved (Acts 4:12; Isaiah 43:11; John 14:6). That charge is to preach the Word always, reprove, rebuke and exhort with great patience and teaching (verse 2). The job of a pastor is to preach the Word. A pastor is not to preach some vision he allegedly received. In fact, the whole concept of vision-casting is absolutely unbiblical.
This pastor must also exhort in sound doctrine and rebuke those that contradict. In the pastoral epistle of Titus, Paul writes the following in Titus 1:5-16 (NASB):
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
The same themes of exhortation and reproof shown in the 2 Timothy passage also manifest themselves in the above Titus passage. A pastor is to preach the Word, exhort in sound doctrine, refute that which contradicts sound doctrine, and silence the false teachers via a sharp rebuke. There is nothing about vision-casting or defending a vision anywhere in that description. Woodward is, once again, refuted by Scripture.
Chapters seven and eight feature stuff I have already noted at other points in this book (i.e., Woodward’s Bible-twisting, affirmation of dreams, and promotion of his vision that he allegedly got from God).
CHAPTER 9: THE POWER OF NARROWED FOCUS
In this chapter, Woodward provides some important information that tells a bit about the seeker-driven movement. Before I get to that, I want to point out some other highlights. One is his constant idolatry of the vision. Consider the following quote:
The big question in my mind was, how does a church full of churched people attract unchurched people? The first step in this endeavor was to implement a creative team that could help us accomplish this task……For a team of this nature to function properly there has to be great trust and respect. The other crucial element is that there must be extreme confidence between this team and the senior pastor. In many ways they will be creating the environment and setting the culture for the entire church. This is the reason why the church vision cannot be fluid. It has to be set in concrete so that there is no room for any misguided direction. Everyone involved must know the vision, be able to quote the vision, and understand that we live and die by the vision.…We sat in front of a white board, and the first question I asked was, “Why do we exist as a church? Not the church in general, but as an individual church. What’s our unique DNA?”pp. 142-144
What’s being elevated here? It’s not God’s Word. It’s not feeding the sheep. Instead, it involves both catering to the unchurched and idolizing the vision the pastor allegedly received from God. This is not a good thing (especially when the person who allegedly received the vision is a habitual Bible twister like Woodward). Furthermore, notice how he speaks of his own church. This isn’t the catholic (little C) church (part of the bigger body of Christ). This is his own congregation with its own unique vision independent of all other congregations. This is not only cultish and arrogant but also extremely unbiblical (more on that later). Heretic Chris Hodges used similar verbiage in a “sermon” of his that I reviewed as part of my article on the Association of Related Churches (ARC). Here’s what Hodges said at the 13:18 mark of his sorry excuse for a sermon called “Blessed To Be A Blessing”:
But then we’ve been given this beautiful assignment that’s really not for every church. We’ve just been uniquely called to raise up a generation of young leaders to go change the world in a place that we call Highlands College.
What Woodward seemingly (if not certainly) fails to understand overall is that all people (churched, unchurched, etc.) are born dead in trespasses and sins.
Ephesians 2:1-10 explains:
2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The Bible is clear that people are born dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s being rich in mercy makes one alive in Christ (2:4). Furthermore, it is by grace through faith that one is saved (2:5-9). It is not based on works (2:9).
If you do not believe what Ephesians 2:1-10 states, I would ask you please look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, even if it was small? Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus also said that if you ever get angry at someone, you’ve committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). Just the mere thoughts of adultery and murder make you guilty of the very acts themselves.
Please understand that it only takes one murder to be a murderer, one lie to be a liar and so forth. David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was conceived in sin. Genesis 6:5 states that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. Clearly, man has a sin problem. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Man is in big trouble with God because of his sin. This is more amplified by the fact that perfection is the standard (Matthew 5:48).
Now, some people try to justify their sin by trying to balance it out with the good deeds that they have done. However, if you were to try that in a court of law, the judge would throw the book at you. A good judge would not accept a bribe. He would cast you off into jail. God likewise will not accept a bribe, for there is no partiality with Him (Deuteronomy 10:17; Ephesians 6:9). Revelation 21:1-8 states the following (NASB):
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be anymourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. 7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The Bible is clear that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No adulterer, no murderer, no idolater, no unbeliever (among others) will inherit the kingdom of God (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin has a very serious consequence.
Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to solve the sin problem 2000 years ago (Isaiah 53:1-12). You and I broke the law. Jesus paid the fine (Matthew 26:14-28:20). This means that the judge can do what’s legally right in dismissing your case. He can say, “This person has broken the law, but someone has paid his fine. He’s out of here.” This is good news.
There are two things a person must do. He must repent. This means to turn from his sin (Mark 1:16; Luke 24:36-49; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; Acts 17:30-31). He must also put his trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, 17:30-31; Romans 4:1-25, 10:1-17; Galatians 3:1-14; John 6:26-29). These gifts of repentance and faith are granted by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). If you repent and put your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins and grant you everlasting life (John 6:47). Oh may you know His mercy and grace today if you have never repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Oh would we call all people (churched, unchurched, etc.) to repent and be forgiven. Sadly, that is not a priority for Woodward.
While I absolutely hate using the term “vision”, Jesus Christ essentially did give the vision (perhaps “mission” is the better word) for His church. Nobody else can triumph this because nobody else has ever died and risen from the dead three days later. Furthermore, Jesus Christ is the only way by which mankind may be saved (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Consider the Great Commission passages in both Matthew and Luke.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
The mission is to make disciples of all nations, baptize, and teach all that Christ has commanded. Now consider the Luke account of the Great Commission.
33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”Luke 24:33-49 (NKJV)
The Great Commission involves proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name to all nations. It has nothing to do with carrying out a pastor’s vision. Sadly, Woodward is off mission with his idolizing of his own vision (he didn’t get it from God).
While I could elaborate on Woodward’s twisting of Habakkuk 2:2 (p. 144), it’s really no different than how heretic Brian Houston butchered this same passage in somewhat the same way some time ago at the 1:13:00 mark of this episode). Instead, I wish to elaborate on three more things in this chapter. First, I want to elaborate on a concept known as “dressing for the wedding.” Second, I comment on Woodward’s lack of discernment. Finally, I look at some important “primary source” information about a creative team for a seeker-driven church.
Spiritual growth was automatically producing numerical growth. I knew we had to prepare for greater numbers of people and also be able to sustain that growth. I remember sharing with them something I heard at the C3 Conference in Dallas: “If you are a church of one hundred, then you need to structure and organize like you’re a church of five hundred. If you are a church of five hundred, then act like a church of a thousand.”p. 149
The above text I bolded is synonymous with a seeker-driven concept known as “dressing for the wedding” (11:37 mark). Basically, the seeker-driven “pastors” “dress for what’s coming.” These people live in the future, not the present. Furthermore, it is a “form of management and manipulation by creating a….perpetual financial crisis.” Think about it. If a church of one hundred people structures and organizes like it is a church of five hundred people, think of how much money must be paid for staff, materials and other things to support a church that is prepping for five hundred people when it actually has one hundred people. It’s part of what makes the seeker-driven movement the most expensive way to do church. Moreover (as Rosebrough and Wilken note), it guilts people into jumping on the “madhouse” of works-righteousness to fulfill the pastor’s alleged vision from God. These people basically lose themselves in the community by finding their function (ideal volunteer spot) in the community (said community being united under the pastor’s vision). Moreover, burnout results for the people, potentially causing them to be “disillusioned” with either the pastor or Christianity itself.
The second thing I comment on is Woodward’s lack of discernment. Here is an interesting quote:
We started sending staff members and teams of volunteers to larger churches and scheduled meetings with their staff members to observe their ministries. We found that everyone was extremely helpful and went the second mile to assist us. We sent people to Fellowship Church to sit down with their media team and to understand their creative process. We sent others to observe the college ministry at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. We sent staff members to Andy Stanley’s North Point Church, to observe multiple services. Our guest services team went to The Potter’s House in Dallas. We also set up phone conferences with staff members across the country to pick their brains. We learned and copied everything we could to help us think differently and on a larger scale.p. 150
I’ve written a book review on a book done by Andy Stanley. He is a liberal false teacher as well as a blasphemer. While Woodward does not name the pastors for New Life Church or The Potter’s House, it is important to know that the “pastors” for those places are Brady Boyd and T.D. Jakes, respectively. Boyd is a hireling (preaching at heretic Robert Morris‘ “church” without rebuking him) and a false teacher. Jakes is a modalist heretic who is outside the body of Christ. Needless to say, Woodward is out of his mind for sending staff members to “churches” that are obviously theologically compromised.
The final thing I analyze in this chapter is the plethora of volunteer opportunities Woodward’s team created “to sustain a future attendance of a thousand people” (p. 152). These teams included but were not limited to (pp. 153-161):
- Teaching Team
- Creative Team
- Logistics Team
- Project Manager
- Service Producer
- Post-Service Process
- Worship Team
- Web Designer
- Social Networking Guru
- Camera Operator
- Sound Engineer
- Lighting Engineer
- Prayer Team Coordinator
- Prayer Team
- Guest Experience Coordinator
- Parking Lot Team
- I’m New Team
- Head Ushers
- Security Teams
Obviously, that is quite a number of positions. Furthermore, this is good “primary source” information to know about the x’s and o’s of these teams, for there may be (if not certainly are) these same types of teams at your local seeker-driven church. What I found interesting was the description for the Sound Engineer (p. 158):
These volunteers work to create the best possible environment for worship and teaching. This includes, but is not limited to, creating an audio mix that sets the mood that the pastor and worship leaders want to convey. They also support the audio needs of everyone involved in a service or production.
In some of my articles, I have noted how pastors use sappy music in sermons as an emotional manipulation technique to create the false impression that God the Holy Spirit is descending on the audience to get people to make decisions of one kind or another. Woodward’s information is important because it’s a tacit admission that pastors/worship leaders do indeed use sappy music to manipulate folk. Now, you might be saying, “But Clint, he said ‘audio mix’, not ‘music.'” This is true, but think about it. If you’ve been to a seeker-driven church that uses music toward the end of a service while the pastor is still speaking (and/or praying), has the music ever been anything but sappy? This is something to think about.
Since Woodward does not verbatim cite any biblical texts in the last four chapters, I only comment on one last thing as it pertains to this book’s content. This comment elaborates on Woodward’s lack of discernment. If this text does not show Woodward to be the clueless hireling that he is, I do not know what will. Here is the relevant text (pp. 201-202):
It’s incredibly damaging when Christian leaders publicly bash other pastors and ministries because we disagree with their methods. We all see this embarrassing feud being played out on Facebook constantly. The pride that oozes out of so many pastors, leaders, and church attendees divides the Body of Christ instead of uniting us together and creating a force to reckon with.
So often we hear people slamming Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Ed Young, and others for watering down the Gospel by calling them “feel good” preachers who provide little substance — when in reality they all are Biblically rock solid and are responsible for bringing tens of thousands into the Kingdom of God. Our problem is that we forget that it takes all kinds of methods and styles to reach all kinds of people. People learn differently.
What Woodward fails to see is that in reality, the ones who teach contrary to sound biblical doctrine (i.e., justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone) are the ones who are causing division (Romans 16:17; Galatians 1:6-8). Warren, Osteen and Young all teach contrary to sound biblical doctrine. Rick Warren is an egregious Bible twister, narcissist and works-righteousness heretic who arguably has caused the most damage to the Body of Christ this century. Joel Osteen is a Word-Faith heretic and hireling. Furthermore, his 2009 Easter sermon won “Worst Easter Sermon of the Year” on Rosebrough’s F4TF program. I’ve already explained why Young is not biblically qualified to be a pastor. At this point, it is abundantly clear that Galen Woodward is a blasphemous and flagrantly rebellious hireling who cares nothing about the sheep (John 9:1-10:21).
Galen Woodward’s Changing Church is theologically one of the worst books I have ever read. How I never heard of him until this year is beyond me. While the book offers some decent “primary source” information from a vision-casting leader, I wonder how much sway Woodward has in modern evangelicalism. Hopefully that sway is getting smaller and smaller by the day, for both this book and Woodward are to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17). May he repent and be forgiven for the utter nonsense he spews in this book.