Time for the fifth installment in this series. So far, we’ve looked at the New Apostolic Reformation, the Outreach Top 50 #1-5, the Outreach Top 50 #6-10, and the Outreach Top 50 #11-15. We’ll now go through #16-20. which includes 2 churches of interest:
16. NewSpring Church of Anderson, South Carolina – Pastored by Perry Noble. Noble isn’t much of a theologian and he’s a fairly soft on the charismatic issue (most likely due to his Southern Baptist affiliation). Still, NewSpring does have some official stuff about:
16a. The Holy Spirit (including tongues and spiritual gifts)
16b. Spiritual Warfare (the sermons series is here, and the first 2 sermons deal with much of the theological questions).
16c. Spiritual Gifts (there’s this. Not much, but something).
General Idea – NewSpring is another church that would exemplify the practical cessationist position, though they’re not openly burning bridges one way or the other.
17. Community Bible Church of San Antonio, Texas – Pastored by Robert Emmitt. This church doesn’t have enough information on their website to make any sort of guess as to where they stand, but their doctrinal statement gives me little reason to believe that they’re anything beyond practical cessationists, if not committed cessationists.
18. Prestonwood Baptist Church of Plano, Texas – Pastored by Jack Graham. This church has a doctrinal statement that includes a full subscription to the Baptist Faith and Message, and as a Southern Baptist Church they’re practical cessationists, if not committed cessationists.
19. Family Christian Center of Munster Indianna – Pastored by Steve Munsey. This church was quite influential and used to be of supreme interest, being one of the largest overtly prosperity gospel churches in the US (meaning they held nothing back and basically were examples of all the craziness that non-prosperity teachers mock), but there’s not much to say now that the church is facing foreclosure due to hundreds of thousands of dollars of past-due bills and mortgage payments. If Robert Schuller has taught us anything, it’s that once a church gets into $500,000 (or more) of debt, it flounders for a while but usually doesn’t recover. Regarding the actual teaching, the church doesn’t actually have any real doctrinal statement on their website at all (which should tell you something)…so you have to be a little resourceful to find out about them:
19a. Well, I found a video of a Sunday morning service, and this is Steve Munsey on a fundraising show (surrounded by a bunch of people going berserk in “tongues” hacking the Old Testament to bits, and “prophesying” a prosperity message). You can only imagine what level of “depth” is normative for this church.
19b. Here, he simply goes nuts and says things that nobody understands about tongues.
19c. There’s also this video, which has more problems than I can actually document. Munsey is happy friends with Benny Hinn, he’s into numerology, he apparently knows on what day of the year the rapture will happen (but not which year), he prophesies nonsense, he claims to know the inner workings of the angelic realms, etc. Here are some of his highly mistaken teachings on the atonement, which he also discusses in the video linked above, in his own words.
19d. In this video, he tosses a whole bunch of standard prosperity gospel boiler plate statements and claims that God wants your tax return in order to bless you (and cannot bless you until you give it to him).
19e. In this video, he talks about a whole lot of absolutely bizarre and stupid things (like an overt prosperity gospel using metaphors that nobody understands, or his continual penchant for numerology, or that God ministers to people by the zodiac, or getting a roller coaster in their church…no, serious. Watch the video…if you can stomach it [also, I’d recommend Bezel333’s youtube channel; lots of interesting and solid stuff on there]). He says a whole lot of bizarre prosperity gospel teachings and other simply stupid things in other videos like this one, or this one.
19f. Here he posts a mediocre article on fasting by Jentzen Franklin (#24 on the top 50), which tells you a bit about both Munsey and Franklin’s circles of contact. I wouldn’t play some sort of “guilty by association”, but it’s interesting that Munsey isn’t quoting people that I would respect as any sort of biblical scholars. Also, it’s interesting that the trailer video for the conference mentions money more than anything else…
19g. Family Christian Center holds a yearly youth conference, and I’d recommend watching the trailer video here. Notice what he talks about, and then notice the video of the previous conference…what is going on at that conference? The only thing you see in the video is moshing and hand waving, and the only group on stage is a worship band. No preacher or preaching. No prayer warriors or prayer. No bible teaching or open bibles. Nothing beyond what you’d see at any secular rock show.
General Idea – Munsey is the stereotypical prosperity gospel nutcase who runs a church that is more or less a live theater show every week. He’s an endless reservoir of horrific theology, scripture twisting, and complete nonsense. He’s a TBN staple, and shows up everywhere (or at least used to), and if a picture is worth a thousand words, this basically sums up his theology, exegetical abilities and general ministry:
20. Crossroads of Cincinnati, Ohio – Pastored by Brian Tome. Their FAQ’s say that they most closely identify themselves with “The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America”, so these guys aren’t exactly high on the radar when it comes to charismatic issues. Their doctrinal statement says that “we believe in the diversity of gifts given by the Spirit for the common good of the church and that they are operating today”. If they’re anything but practical cessationists, they’re not exactly waving a flag about it…in fact, a look over their recent sermons makes me wonder if they teach any serious doctrine at all (07.29.2013 – God is like a Venture Capitalist? 07.22.2013 – God is like a Street Fighter?).
So that takes us up to #20 on the Outreach Top 50. One more post and we’re half way there. Two more posts and we get to the church that everyone is waiting for…but I won’t say who that is yet.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “I’d throw out the baby, the bathwater and the tub” Unger
I’m sorry. That picture was just too good to not waste on a cheap joke. I’m a weak man and I loathe prosperity preachers.