Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Repeating Pentecost?

THIS leaves me utterly speachless.

4 Easy Requirements!
Get it all done in one day!
Be a part of history!



kevcyp said...

It's amazing that of the "Eight Reasons to do this", none mention eternal life. But hey, the class is one hour shorter than normal!

rsimmons said...

I wonder if I can get my oil changed too?

Todd Pruitt said...

Full service life change! Get it all done in one day!

threegirldad said...

Well, I already have my Reserve A Spot In Heaven All Access Travel Kit, so why bother?

Todd Pruitt said...

Is this bad theology, bad biblical interpretation, hubris or all three?

Mainline Mom said...

I understand your distaste for the whole salesy pitch, but I'm not sure I see the bad theology here...except that I'm still not sold on "believer baptism only". Strikes me that I'm exactly the sort of person they're after with this call. I certainly would call it hubris though.

Dave Rogel said...

Bad theology:

Exceeding the maximum number of color and formatting changes that would be considered tasteful for a 40-line blog entry:

(I think there also may have been a few too many exclamation marks, but who's counting?)

Doug said...

Hubris?. . . struck me a little self promoting, so yeah on that one.

Bad biblical interpretation, don't know that anything was overtly interpreted. Did you see something that was interpreted?

Bad Theology? Okay, define what bad theology is. I know that you mention The Shack and John Eldredge qualify in the BT area. what is the BT in this arena?

Todd Pruitt said...

Bad theology - Doug & M.M. - A second Pentecost?! Do words mean ANYTHING anymore? Was Pentecost simply about adding 3,000 to a church? How seriously does Rick Warren expect to be taken? Is Pentecost just short hand now for getting bigger by 3,000?

Bad Biblical Interpretation - Doug, everyone interprets the Bible. We interpret everything we read. The question is whether or not our interpretation is sound. Clearly Pastor Warren has some trouble with Acts 2. I also am troubled by his quick and easy steps.

Hubris - shameless self-promotion. Be a part of making history?

Todd Pruitt said...

Speaking of sloppy theology...

What exactly does "open your heart to Jesus" mean?

Doug said...

Wasn't the Feast of Harvest considered the Day of Pentacost? So, if there is a significance to the fact that Christ accended and the "church" began on the Pentacost, the soul "harvest" began that day with 3,000. (The harvest is plenty, the workers are few. . .Luke 10:2)

It seems to me that perhaps more churches should perhaps promote the Pentacost with celebrations and baptism.

It seems to me that rather than be some theology that was good "back then" but has no relevance today isn't that "good."

Is it bad to draw attention to the day of Pentacost by doing something inherently "church" oriented?

I believe it was MM that mentioned "sales pitchy" which I agree tends to give this a bad overall spin.

Is it possible that 3,000 people could make a decision to follow Christ on March 28, 2009? Yes.

Should it be more like 300,000 after 200 years. . . probably!

Would that be a bad thing? No.

Or should we interprete that they will be making "false" decisions that day?

Is it that cut and dry and I am just missing it?

rmc said...

It reminds me of the time I saw Barney the Christian clown riding up and down the aisles on his unicycle at a church on Easter Sunday as part of a promotion to get more people out on Easter. I remember thinking as I sat there, "if only my Catholic relatives could see me now." Of course, anyone can criticize, and until we are experiencing the kind of genuine church growth that is occurring in many places in our world as a result of unity and prayer evangelism, people will turn to all kinds of things looking for an answer.

Todd Pruitt said...


In answer to your first question: No.

Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit was imparted to the people of God. It was the launching of God's new people the church. It wa an entirely unique event. It is, I believe, appropriate to celebrate Pentecost for the same reason we celebrate or observe Christmas and Easter. We do so to be reminded of what God accomplished through those events in redemptive history. I hope it would sound ridiculous to all readers of this blog for me to say that we are going to repeat Easter.

No one is saying that Pentecost is not relevant today. You are, it seems to me, calling for a false choice. Pentecost is entirely relevant. But Pentecost was an historical event the effects of which we still are blessed with today. But it is either theological ignorance or wanton hubris to say that we are going to repeat Pentecost.

Pentecost was the work of God entirely. Indeed it took everyone by surprise. It was not a prepackaged marketing device. It should certainly not be used to promote the reputation of a pastor or the influence of a particular congregation.

Is there any biblical model that even remotely looks like the handfull of easy steps outlined in the advertisement? What exactly does "open your heart to Jesus" mean? Is it a reference to the New Birth? Anyone familiar with what Jesus said about the new birth in John 3?

Harley A. said...

I don’t demonize him, and I really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but so much of what he does comes across as megalomaniacal and self-promoting. He’s using the Pentecost motif (and worse, the conversion of souls) to promote and lionize Saddleback. A celebration of a church milestone is not wrong but the way he’s going about this is offensive. The only meaningful parallel I see him making with Pentecost is numerical. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing the message that day won’t sound much like Peter’s sermon at Pentecost.

Todd Pruitt said...


Well put.

For the longest time I have given Rick Warren the benefit of the doubt but it gets more and more difficult to do that.

His seeming reduction of Pentecost to numeric growth is absurd. That goes back to my original point that this promotion is bad biblical interpretation.

Dave Rogel said...

Not to overemphasize the issue, but let's also not forget Dave 4:23 which states:

"Wert thou to record in a scroll five words of the prophets, yea, shouldst thou see them bear a mark of exclamation one time or two but no more. Endest thou not the five with three." (KJV)

This verse has traditionally been interpreted as saying that a maximum of two-fifths of written sentances should end in exclamation marks, and either Warren is disregarding this verse, or has invented his own interpretation.

Todd Pruitt said...


I agree that the color, formatting, and punctuation errors border on the heretical.

toothdoc said...

The "8 reasons" scream out the motive: 1)I'm teaching 2) I'm baptizing 3) You'll get free 4)You'll get free. . .Are those reasons to join a church? Ephesians sure would be shorter if Paul had simply asked Jew and Gentile to unite together in a corporate body b/c he (Paul) was going to be teaching a class.

Todd Pruitt said...


I noticed the same problem. Pastors and congregations must fight against having a cult of personality. As a pastor I can relate to the temptation. The "join on this particular Sunday and you will have the priviledge of actually meeting me" is troubling. What is additionally troubling is that I can relate to how tempting this can be.

Doug said...

An interesting dicussion to be sure.

Seems as if our comments are earnest, sarcastic and pointed. All at the same time.

I don't know Rick Warren. I have not read his book. I have listened to him give a talk in Atlanta, two years ago.

His message back then seemed very genuine, but with the rest of you, seems his blog comment is not the most "humble" attempt. Motives are questionable, or at least could be questioned. As a pastor he is held to a standard above which God will address at his appointed time.

That leaves me free to address my own weaknesses and inconsistancies. There are plenty of them and they seem to surface every day in one way or the other.

I am glad that Rick Warren is passionately trying to impact the Kingdom of God. I will let God silence him if he is doing it wrong.

I am equally glad that Todd Pruitt is willingly working each day to further the kingdom of God.

Blessings all!

Dave, check my punctuation :-)