Are Churches Being Deceptive?

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Are Churches Being Deceptive?

Post by Homer » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:11 pm

The churches of the various denominations once made no effort to conceal their distinctives, proudly displaying the name of the denomination they were part of. You might not know whether some of them were of a liberal persuasion or conservative, but you had a general idea of their distinctives and practices. This long standing practice seems to be fading fast. Everywhere you look churches are adopting names that give no indication of where they are doctrinally. Most recently a huge Assembly of God in this area has become "Hope Church". We ran across some friends yesterday who have begun to attend a relatively new church in a nearby town called "Life Bible Church". A careful search of their website revealed they are charismatics of some sort. Another family we know has been looking for a church. They had attended a "Valley Life Church" and being curious I checked the website of the church. There was no clue of where their doctrine might fit so I listened to a sermon on the website. During the hour long sermon there was no clue of denominational alignment except that the speaker cited as authorities five different people. All five were Calvinists. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Anyway, what do you think of this trend? An attempt to deceive and gather unsuspecting members? An attempt to downplay their beliefs? An attempt to promote unity among various churches? It seems to be a trend that is accelerating.

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Re: Are Churches Being Deceptive?

Post by mattrose » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:38 pm

I don't think it is an attempt to deceive (at least not in the VAST majority of cases).

I think it's mostly the result of churches buying into marketing philosophies. It has probably been statistically demonstrated that people are more likely to try a church with a fresh sounding name than a church with a traditional denominational label. Churches are re-branding to accommodate this reality.

Of course, that is not NECESSARILY a bad thing. If a 'name' gets in the way of someone attending... and there's no Scriptural reason to preserve the name... why NOT change? I, myself, do believe the church is overly interested in market research and branding and whatnot (as opposed to slow and methodical disciple making), but that doesn't mean there aren't some insights to be learned from those fields.

A little over a year ago I planted a church within a church. The original church's name is Lockport Wesleyan. We created a Sunday evening service. We could have just called it Lockport Wesleyan PM Worship Service. But we ended up calling it The Refinery. Sometimes a fresh name fits well with a fresh expression of the Kingdom.

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