A Charismatic Primer Part 4 – The Outreach Top 50 (#11-15)

Good day all, time for the next installment in the series!

We’ve looked at the New Apostolic Reformation, the Outreach Top 50 #1-5, as well as the Outreach top 50 #6-10, so now we’re on the next 5 churches on the Outreach Magazine top 50.  For those who may forget, the Outreach Top 50 #1-5 post has a little glossary on it to define the categories that I’m using in this series.  As a reminder, those categories are Prosperity Gospel, Charismatic, Continuationist, Practical Cessationist, Committed Cessationist and Reformed Charismatic.  Let’s look at #11-15:

11.  Gateway Church – Pastored by Robert Morris. Morris is a somewhat tame continuationist (i.e. John Piper, etc. ***read the updates below***), but he’s definitely open about:

11a. Tongues, as in this sermon or this sermon (they generally play up the angle of tongues being a prayer language).

11b. The doctrine of subsequence (meaning that the baptism of the Spirit is separate from either the indwelling or filling of the Spirit, as well as subsequent to the indwelling of the Spirit, and that baptism is marked exclusively by the act of speaking in tongues).

11c.  Prophecy here as well as here.  The church also teaches prophesy classes. (though their definition is essentially “being an encourager”).

11d.  The presence of miracles as a part of “true”, Spirit-empowered evangelism (With Mark 16:15-18 being the supporting text…sigh…but I address this in a future post because it comes up again and again.).

11e.  Hearing the voice of God for making decisions (that video also contains several testimonies of “healings” that are…well…yeah).  Not exactly “man born blind” sort of stuff, but the end of that video shows a pretty tame time of “healing” and “miracles”).

11f.  Spiritual gifts, and here’s a shorthand definition list of spiritual gifts that they use.

11g.  The church also uses this Spiritual Gifts test (as many of the megachurches apparently do).

General Idea – Gateway Church is a probably a continuationist church, though I haven’t done enough study to say confidently that they’re not a charismatic church.  They’re fairly tame, but they’re definitely not reformed charismatics nor practical cessationists.

***Update from  November 18, 2013 – I’ve recently come across more stuff from Robert Morris and have learned that he teaches both prosperity gospel ideas and positive confession, and I’ve also run across his nutty teaching on tithingI’d say now that Gateway is a whitewashed prosperity Church, along the lines of Lakewood Church in Houston.***

***Update from Jan 16, 2015 – I’ve recently run across this:

Also, I’ve found some interesting stuff.  Read this short post and watch the two short video clips.

Then watch what Robert Morris says about Jack Hayford.

And watch what Jack Hayford then says about Robert Morris.

Apparently God needs Morris’ permission to act and Hayford jokingly suggests that Morris is the fourth member of the Trinity.

It’s pretty clear that these guys are theologically missing the fries from their happy meal.  They may not be barking out loud, but they’re barking mad.

It’s pretty clear that Gateway is a blatant prosperity Church. ***

12. Calvary Chapel of Ft Lauderdale – Pastored by Bob Coy.  Coy is a Calvary Chapel fellow, so he’s definitely on the “tame” side of the Charismatic movement.  He openly addresses:

12a.  Tongues (check out this and this).

12b. Baptism of the Holy Spirit here (Coy claims that John the Baptist wrote the book of Revelation in this one…let’s just say that he’s in no danger of ever being published by Brill).

12c.  Prophesy (check out this).

12d.  Spiritual Gifts.

General Idea – Calvary Ft Lauderdale, like all Calvary Chapels, is a continuationist church that is possibly on the borderline of being a practical cessationist church.  Also, like all Calvary Chapels, they’re definitely not reformed charismatics; anyone who accuses a Calvary Chapel pastor of being reformed gets shot on sight.

13.  Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque – Pastored by Skip Heitzig.  Skip is even tamer than Bob Coy, but he’s still a typical “Calvary Chapel” continuationist.  He’s says almost nothing on the issue (that I can find) except that he has preached through 1 Corinthians and has towed the typical Calvary Chapel line in that series (i.e. he’s just like Bob Coy).  Nothing too goofy, and certainly nothing new.  I could go through all the stuff, but Calvary Chapel was started by Chuck Smith and they pretty much are still run by Chuck Smith with a firm hand.  Chuck Smith’s teaching on the Holy Spirit and Spiritual gifts is here (scroll down and there’s a 2-dozen part series on the Holy Spirit), and there’s not a whole lot of deviation within the Calvary Chapel movement (since Smith is basically their founding “apostle” and all).

General Idea – Calvary Albuquerque, like Calvary Ft Lauderdale and all Calvary Chapels, is a continuationist church that is possibly on the borderline of being a practical cessationist church.  Also, like all Calvary Chapels, they’re definitely not reformed charismatics; anyone who accuses a Calvary Chapel pastor of being reformed gets shot on sight.

14. Christ’s Church of the Valley, of Peoria, Arizona – Pastored by Donald J. Wilson.  This church doesn’t have enough information on their website to make any sort of guess as to where they stand.  Their doctrinal statement gives me little reason to believe that their anything less than practical cessationists.

15. Eagle Brook Church of Centerville, MN – Pastored by Bob Merritt. Eagle Brook has several resources on:

15a.  Sign Gifts (watch this short video. Also on that page are 1 page info sheets on Tongues, Prophecy, Healing and Miracles)

15b. Leadership offices (watch this short video.  Also on that page is a 1 page info sheet on Apostleship)

15c. Word of wisdom, gift of discernment, gift of knowledge (watch this short video.  Also on that page are 1 page info sheets on word of wisdom, gift of discernment, gift of knowledge)

15d. Here is one of the only sermons on Spiritual Gifts from Eagle Brook (from teaching pastor Jason Strand – Start at 11:00 mark in the video for the definitions of the gifts).

General Idea – If you want an example of a church that would model the practical cessationist position, this would be the one.  If you listen to their definitions of terms, they’re cessationists…but they’re also not wanting to limit the Holy Spirit so they take an “open” approach to spiritual gifts.  From the sounds of it, you’d never catch twenty people ranting in “tongues” in the Sunday service and you’d never see anyone barking/laughing/in a trance at this church.  You’d probably get ushered out if you pulled out a fish-shaped tambourine and started dancing up and down the isles (I’ll pick up a fish-shaped tambourine and let everyone know next time I’m in MN visiting my inlaws).

So, that’s #11-15.  Several churches that, until now, I had never heard of (but apparently have a significant amount of influence).

I hope that was helpful and informative for everyone, and just so you know, #16 on the Outreach list is NewSpring Church (Perry Noble).  That may prove interesting…

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Priming the Pump for October” Unger

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16 thoughts on “A Charismatic Primer Part 4 – The Outreach Top 50 (#11-15)

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  2. Based on Robert Morris’s book The Blessed Life, I’d say he promote the Prosperity Gospel. He would deny this (and essentially does in his book). He certainly isn’t as blatant as the TBN, so I would call what his book teaches as “Prosperity Gospel Light.”

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