In part one of ‘The anti-movement movement’ posts, I showed how Chris Rosebrough had badly misunderstood or misrepresented the meaning of movement – in opposition to other evangelical writers who understood that even the Martin Luther inspired Protestant Reformation was essentially a movement.
Consequently Rosebrough has created a misleading idea that an institution could not also be a movement. The chookwatchers, seemingly without researching these claims, republished Rosebrough’s main thrust against movements.
In this part of the posts, I will highlight a loaded passage used as an introduction to the post presented by chookwatcher, in which he asks the question of modern churches:
‘Are they a pastor or a leader? Are they a movement or a church?’
Well, of course, like Rosebrough, chookwatcher has concocted a premise which is misleading.
Why isn’t a pastor also a leader? Why isn’t a church a part of a movement of churches? Why are the chookwatchers making the erroneous suggestion that pastor and leader, or church and movement are mutually exclusive?
Oh no! Fuhrer is German for leader!
Having convinced themselves that they must have a valid point, determining in their own minds that, for some unspecified reason, a pastor cannot be a leader, and a church cannot also be part of a movement, they go on:
‘As a result of this unusual growing phenomena, the role of pastor in these movements has often been diminished while the role of fuhrer/leader has been heavily emphasised. What is often portrayed instead of a pastor is an infallible, prophetic, totalitarian visionary-like-leader emerging from within the mass to lead the “movement”.
To criticise the leader is to criticise the movement – and no where is this philosophy taught in the bible. Nor is this taught how to do church.’
‘Fuhrer/leader’? Isn’t ‘fuhrer’ simply German for ‘leader’? Still, today, long after WW2?
What point is chookwatcher making here? Well, of course, this is throwback to chookwatcher’s ridiculous, persistent and unsustainable theory, passed on to him by Rosebrough, that certain megachurch leaders must be fascists (fuhrers) and part of Rosebrough’s highly contrived theory that there is such a thing as Christian fascism.
Which is why chookwatcher throws in provocative words like ‘totalitarian’ to describe church leaders.
Wasn’t Luther, being a German speaking gentleman, a ‘fuhrer’ or leader of what became the Protestant Reformation? Remember that Rosebrough is a Lutheran pastor in his day job when he isn’t being an irate pirate plundering charismatic preacher’s sermons.
Is Chris not the ‘fuhrer’, or ‘leader’, of both his Lutheran church services and his pirate radio station? Isn’t chookwatcher the chief moderator, administrator, owner and therefore ‘fuhrer’ or ‘leader’ of his five, or is it six, or seven ‘discernment’ blogs?
Making it up as he goes along
Further, fuhrer chookwatcher makes this astonishing claim – ‘What is often portrayed instead of a pastor is an infallible, prophetic, totalitarian visionary-like-leader emerging from within the mass to lead the “movement”.’
This is absurd, and completely made up. There is not a shred of evidence provided or even available to back up this scurrilous accusation. It simply isn’t true. It is a made up piece of jargon to tag onto a failed theory.
I have already outlined the understanding of the role of a pastor according to these churches in part one of this post, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with being ‘an infallible, prophetic, totalitarian visionary-like-leader emerging from within the mass to lead the “movement”.’
As I said then:
‘There is no misunderstanding amongst other evangelicals about the role of a pastor. He is the overseer of a local church – a flock of people, responsible and accountable before God for the spiritual welfare and wellbeing of the congregation, called and separated by Christ to train and equip the Church for the work of the ministry, to grow in Christ, and to build one another up in love.’
Chookwatcher goes on, ‘To criticise the leader is to criticise the movement – and no where is this philosophy taught in the bible. Nor is this taught how to do church.’
This is a nonsense statement. It has no rational meaning.
Criticising leaders is common, even amongst those who are part of the local church or movement. Anyone who has spent any length of time in a local church knows this.
Being critical of a leader isn’t exclusive to those groups of churches who consider themselves part of a movement. It’s Ok to be critical in the sense of being constructively critical, as long as it doesn’t become a lifestyle. We need to be Berean. Denominal church leaders face criticism. Institutional church leaders face criticism. Institutional church pastors face criticism. It goes with the territory.
Some criticism is useful. Everyone is advised to measure everything ministered from the pulpit against scripture. It’s perfectly acceptable if we question what is being said, and have to study it out for ourselves. Healthy.
Some criticism, however, is merely moaning and groaning. It happens everywhere.
The problem the fuhrer chookwatcher has is that he’s apparently had such a stinking attitude about the churches he has been to that he doesn’t know that the average church goer is generally very blessed in his or her local church and has a genuinely good and healthy relationship with his or her pastor and the other members of that local church.
This is mainly because they don’t have a critical attitude, have spent quality time with those people, are not superstitiously negatively suspicious of everyone, and, most importantly, pray for them expecting their prayers to be answered.
Plus they have studied enough scripture to know that we are called to walk in love with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
In fact, the non-critical member of a local church that is part of a movement is more likely to have been taught very well how to go to church, how to conduct themselves in church and outside of the church, and how to be a mature follower of Christ, wherever they are.
That is why well taught local churches and movements grow, because we understand that according to Ephesians 4:15-16, we, ‘speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.’
They also understand that to walk in the Spirit is to walk in love.
A full time life-style self-promoting critic would struggle with this, because they would only see the faults in others, especially leaders, and would have to justify their attitude by coming up with ridiculous ideas like ‘Christian fascism’, ‘fuhrer/leaders’, ‘totalitarian visionary-like leader’, ‘institution vs movement’ etc..
Der Herr ist mein Hirte
Having something real to criticise and put right is one thing, but when you stoop to making things up simply to create a narrative that isn’t in line with reality you are really tempting Christ if you claim to be acting under His leadership.
I’ll leave you with this:
Psalms 23 Der HERR ist mein Hirte, mir wird nichts mangeln. Er weidet mich auf einer grünen Aue und führet mich zum frischen Wasser. Er erquicket meine Seele. Er führet mich auf rechter Straße um seines Namens willen. Und ob ich schon wanderte im finstern Tal, fürchte ich kein Unglück; denn du bist bei mir, dein Stecken und Stab trösten mich. Du bereitest vor mir einen Tisch im Angesicht meiner Feinde. Du salbest mein Haupt mit Öl und schenkest mir voll ein. Gutes und Barmherzigkeit werden mir folgen mein Leben lang, und ich werde bleiben im Hause des HERRN immerdar.
‘Er führet mich auf rechter Straße um seines Namens willen.’ Which translated from the German means, ‘He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake’. I guess that would make the Lord my ‘mein fuhrer’, then, if I was a German speaking person.
Prejudice is a dreadful thing.