SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH REPENTS - RENOUNCES PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH AND RICK WARREN'S PROGRAMS
from James Sundquist
In spite of the fact that once a church has tasted of Purpose Driven teachings and programs, it is quite rare that a church then repents and reverses course by renouncing Rick Warren's programs. There are exceptions, and here is one refreshing recent example outlined in a letter from a deacon and his wife. He has been a member of his church for 59 years and his wife 44 years. The account of their anguish, however, is not uncommon, as it is typical of letter after letter that both Southwest Radio Church and I have received, whose churches have been hijacked by the Purpose Driven movement. This letter is a wonderful success story of how, like Esther in the Bible [who] stood up for her people, two brave saints stood in the gap and saved their First Baptist Church in Iuka, Mississippi. And how did they do it? WITH MUCH PRAYER AND BY SPEAKING UP AND REFUSING TO REMAIN SILENT!
March 27, 2006
Dear Mr. James Sundquist,
For my husband and I to be having any problems whatsoever in our church was absurd, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, it was there…something was amiss, but we just could not identify exactly what was wrong, but we knew it centered on our pastor. My husband is a mild mannered, Godly man, has always gotten along well with people and is the most humble person I have ever known…he is a deacon in our church and has been a member there for fifty-nine years, and I for forty-four. When we first met this man, I felt a keen sense of 'uneasiness'. In retrospect, it is easier to identify now.
At first, he seemed okay, though I didn't vote for him. Most of the congregation seemed to like him. It was not long though that I started picking up on odd things. He soon started a series of sermons on the spiritual gifts. One night after one of these sermons, my husband and I went to speak to him as we normally did, and I told him that I had enjoyed the sermon…that, in fact, he had preached on my spiritual gift that night, discernment. He looked at me…no, he looked through me and said that he knew that was my gift and that he knew I could see straight through him. I stood there, not stunned at all…but knowing that the two of us had connected on a plane that was frightening. Agreeing with him, I turned and walked away. I knew then there were problems ahead... After that, things began to happen to my husband and me.
We were singled out and mistreated by this man. This was very hard for us to comprehend and had no clue as to how to deal with it. He caused trouble for us off and on for the next two years. His anger, evident from the pulpit was enough cause for us to leave. His counsel was, of course, not something we would have sought out during a time of need should we have needed it. Actually the need did arise notably during deaths in our family when we should have been comforted, but we were again treated very badly.
He tried to get rid of us in numerous ways. He was trying to turn people against us and in some instances was succeeding in this attempt. These were some of the most traumatic times of our lives. He attacked us personally from the pulpit…he started rumors about us. Simply put...we were targets. All this time, there were things going on in our church independent of the personal attacks on us. Things in our church were changing…slowly at first. Things like…we were no longer voting in the new members; they started a church oriented class led by the pastor; we didn't know exactly when this happened. There was no invitational hymn played at the close of the service anymore. He went to two Sunday morning services, the first being different to the second. People from smaller area churches started coming and joining our church, which was hurting the small churches…they are dying out. The music was changing…there were more praise and worship teams and new choruses being organized and more emphasis put in that area, especially in the first service. We sang less and less from hymnals and more from a projection screen…Powerpoint. More recently, the music has gone to more of a 'hard rock' Christian style being played through the sound system on DVD…and loud. Too loud. In the midst of all this, the pastor continually did things to us that would have caused most people to leave, but we stayed. Other members were leaving and we have since learned they were treated in much the same manner we were. But, through only the Grace of God, and sheer determination, we remained steadfast…and held on. In the meantime, he 'buddied up' with some…it was evident that the 'buddy system' was in place. The buddies were compromised mostly of "new" members. I kept thinking to myself and discussing with my husband that he was 'brainwashing' people. I would sit in church and look at everybody and could see people developing a tremendous fondness for this man…I remember I kept thinking of Jim Jones and David Koresh. And then, he would throw darts at us. The status quo were overlooked and mistreated. Slowly, the buddy system was formed and it was these people who were being put on the committees. We have in place today the same people, over and over, on committees. It was easy to see that a coalition had been formed…and the entire control of the church was by the hands of a select few people, or core, and the pastor. It reached the point that committees were selected from existing committees. I saw 'flattery' being used on members by the pastor to get them to fall prey to his manipulation. Most of the church staff itself had fallen into this seductive snare of the enemy. Right in the middle of this, this pastor resigned and left our church. However, his long time confidant, friend, and seminary classmate, who we had allowed to be brought into our church, stayed and continued the same mission and agenda. This man continued to make personal attacks from the pulpit as recently as yesterday. He told the people, seventy and over, from the pulpit yesterday that the music was about to change…that the young people deserved to listen to the loud, contemporary music they liked and that it might be in their best interest to bring ear muffs with them to the services. He has continued the vision.
In the midst of all this, through much prayer, I started to research…trying desperately to find out what was wrong. I turned to the Internet. Month after month, after entering various things in the search engines, I kept coming up empty. I really had nothing concrete to go on. Finally, the pastor formed a committee to look into long range plans. I put this into the search engine and came up with an article that gave me some insight into the problem, but still not enough. Then, some of the 'key leaders' called a special business meeting to introduce a new way of doing business…introducing church team ministry, a new concept. 'Change - a new way of doing things' became the norm in our church. The old way of handling the church just had to go they said. So, I entered 'church ministry teams' into the search engines…and I hit pay dirt. I continued on with this search and found the problem…the purpose-driven church movement. There was no doubt about it…that was it. I continued in my search…totally at a loss as to what to do about this. By this time, there were others involved with my husband and me. Though they were few, these newly formed allies were strong in the faith, convicted and steadfast. I continued looking and started running across various articles…and found James Sundquist' website:
which led me to Southwest Radio Church: http://www.swrc.com and listened to the interviews and James Sundquist interviews and I found his book. I ordered two of these books, because I knew my husband and I would have to have one apiece to read. I contacted James through his email available on his website and started a correspondence with him. I was so thrilled that a man we had never met was so willing to help us through some of the worst turmoil we had ever encountered. We talked with him by phone as well. He has counseled us, prayed for us…he has been there for us. He has supplied our needs…I should say he led us to The Resource who would supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (as the words to the great hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness go "All I have needed thy hand has provided!") and we learned through James' book, his interviews, his website, and his articles. God truly lead us to James Sundquist. Our minds started clearing because we started realizing what and where the problem was; it became obvious what we would have to do. We confided in these other few people who had come on board. We met…we prayed. God answered our prayers. After another vicious attack yesterday morning from our pulpit, our deacons came together. Last evening they knelt as a whole at the altar of our church. Our church is beginning a healing process as I write this now. Praise God. Although the process is ongoing, a decision was made to remove and never allow any of Rick Warren's material in our church, nor any material of this nature from any source. An amendment to our church bylaws is forthcoming which will reflect this decision. We will also be passing on the results of our research to family, friends, and anyone out there who is crying out for help or that we know that is under a similar attack from the Purpose-Driven Movement.
I cannot say enough good things about this God fearing man, James Sundquist. He is, beyond any doubt, a God called man bearing witness to the discernment ministry for our Lord. My husband, the others in our group, nor I can ever thank him enough for his interest and his contribution to our efforts in stopping this horrible movement from becoming a permanent part of our church. God bless James Sundquist is my prayer.
Charles & Nena Jones