Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Truth in advertising? "Church" changes name, removes cross

A Michigan church formerly known as Christ Community Church has decided to change its name to C3Exchange, and to remove its cross.

The pastor-thingie, "Rev." Ian Lawton, explains that these elements were making the influx of (presumably unrepentant) Jews, Muslims, homosexuals and atheists uncomfortable. Something had to change, and since they wanted to accommodate the organization to the current crowd.

(Does he still call himself "Reverend," or is that a reporter's slip? Isn't that an offensive term? It certainly is doubly inappropriate.)

Another Christian organization leapt to take over ownership of the cross.

My first response was to be appalled, and wonder how much self-parody one group of people is capable of. Has Lawton even read Mark's gospel, particularly the eighth chapter? Galatians? Gospel of John? Hello?

But then I found International Aid CEO David Wisen's response persuasive. In effect, he said Great, if they've stopped proclaiming the real, living, divisive Jesus as Lord and Christ, they should change their name and remove the cross. Exactly.

Which then led me to wish that many Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and other churches would either plunge themselves into thoroughgoing institutional repentance - or follow suit.

Truth in advertising is a good thing... though apostasy, and sealing congregants' doom by withholding the very message they need to hear, isn't.


SolaMommy said...

Hubby and I (shamefully) used to belong to a church that changed its name from Emmanuel Baptist to _____ ______ Community Fellowship b/c they thought people weren't coming b/c of the "Baptist" part.

Lynda O said...

Yes, at least they're being honest, so that believers will know what to expect and stay away. Reminds me of a local conservative baptist church in the mid-90s, that suddenly went off the deep end into pentecostalism / the Pensacola outpouring -- after a while they changed their name from "xxx road baptist church" to "new life" (or some such words) "community church."

Starbuck said...

Oh man.. This is saddening and maddening. Liberalism is leaving the taste of bile in my mouth.

I almost hate to use the old saying of, "signs of the times". But there seems to be an apostate really digging its grips into the churches in the USA.

Or, shall I be corrected. Please.. someone correct me?? Can anyone?

Mesa Mike said...

I used to go to an EFCA church that played down the affiliation with the EFCA because the pastor thought that the 'E' part would turn off potential visitors.

I see all kinds of churches doing this kind of thing these days, removing the word "church" from their name and instead calling themselves something like, "Family Life Center."

DJP said...

To be clear, I don't as much care if churches take a denominational name out of the title, depending on the motivation. Feh for denomination-names, as Turk might say. If they figure the community totally doesn't get what Baptists are, and thinks primarily of polyester and unBiblical rules and so forth, that's one thing.

But they took Christ out of the church-name, because Heis offensive. That's major.

Al said...

I heard Os Guinness last week and he was talking about a dinner he had with a RC Bishop.

The RC Bishop was giving Os a tough time about his denominational (Church of England I think) scandals, sodomite priests and all that. Os told him that everyone has their Borgia Popes, to which the Bishop slammed him. Even through all the scandal of the Borgias Rome never denied the Trinity or the common creeds of the Church. CoE has Bishops that do both and they are allowed to stay.

Not commenting on Rome's faithfulness here, but it seems that if you have scandal (and who doesn't) the only hope of a return after a fall would be holding fast to the faith once for all delivered to the Saints. If you abandon Christ then the outward signs of your Christianity will and should fall.

al sends

The Squirrel said...

Can you say, "Laodicea?" I knew you could...


My verification word: "ditioni". I didn't know Rush Limbaugh had his own pasta...

JackW said...

It’s been reported that the most common use of abandoned churches in Europe is to turn them into mosques.

That and this tend to make me …

… cross.

Barbara said...

Nah, that's not Laodicea. The Laodiceans were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. These folks are cold, and at least they're honest.

But I look at the celebratory faces on their website and my heart weeps.

witness said...

I am no longer surprised (but I am saddened) by things such as this, but I see it as proof for the hastening Day of our Lord.

IOW it is going to continue to get worse, but it is left to us to remain faithful in the face of it.

Chris said...

Starbuck: you used two appropriate terms to describe it: "saddening and maddening." This shift is indeed both of these!

The saddening image of that crane hoisting the cross out of its place made me think of the God-fearing men and women of yesteryear who must have celebrated with great joy the installation of that once-Christian church and it's representative cross.

If a random unbeliever happened to pass by the former church and saw this construction project taking place, perhaps he or she would think the structure of the building was somehow compromised--maybe retrofitting or merely a cosmetic makeover. Nope. Not external, but darkly internal and spiritual rot of apostates' hearts, aided and accelerated by Satan's plan to destroy truth.

DJP said...

Chris, yes; I had the same thoughts about the founders.

Starbuck said...

Thanks Chris. I agree with your statement. And I also agree with Witness' statement. It is going to get worse...

My worry is, will Christians be decieved into this? Are they being being decieved into this now?

And the ultimate question,.. Seeing that these people aren't stupid but are doing a "not wise" thing. Could I be sucked into something like that? Have I been decieved already?

how would you know if you were decieved or not?

Sorry.. I'll go away now..

Paula said...

If I hadn't looked it up myself, I'd have thought their Staff Page was right off the Sacred Sandwich. [bolding mine]

Ian Lawton, Executive Minister and Theological Inquiry

Ian originates from Australia... Ian’s story is that of one man’s deep mission to nourish the spiritual nature of humanity.

It has been an interesting journey since Ian was ordained as an Anglican Priest in Sydney, Australia, in 1994. Sydney is one of the most conservative Anglican dioceses in the world. Ian never fit into that church culture, as he was always more interested in connecting with the people who don’t go to church; the homeless people, the broken people, the creative people, the liberated people, the recovering people, the inquiring people, the family people, those who put their humanity before their ideology. These were Ian’s people. He met them in pubs and on university campuses, in gyms and at school picnics. He stood alongside them at protests and bar lines. He just didn’t see them in church. Ian always believed that he could create the type of community that met the needs of this church alumni.[???church alumni???]

Ian worked on Sydney’s inner city streets and saw the reality of human suffering first hand. He sought a spirituality that made a difference in people’s lives. Ian went on to complete a second degree in sociology.

In 2000, Ian left Sydney to find a more open place to explore a relevant and evolving theology. .. Bishop John Shelby Spong then convinced Ian to come to the United States to lead an emerging group of progressive Christians in Michigan.
...Since moving to the U.S. Ian’s sense of sacred has broadened to embrace all things. Ian has taken up meditation and Zen training which have helped to remove any tendency to divide the world up into good and bad, holy and profane.

And their description of "Alternative to Church as Usual" (I don't even know what half of this means):

Inclusive grace moves us to embrace all with unconditional love and gracious acceptance, celbrating ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation.

We are a diverse, creative community
in background,
in faith perspective,
in public expression;
a blending of all the great spritual traditions.

We find a window to God in the face of jesus
and also in the quest and insight of other faiths;
seeking dialogue and mutual enrichment in our pluralistic world.

Please join us as we strive for greater justice and peace in the world inspried [sic] by Jesus and social activists through the centuries who challenged the sttus [sic] quo.

Join us to be the change we wish to see n the world [Ghandi?], respecting earth’s patterns, and honoring wellness in its many forms.

We are a community of open mind and warm heart, valuing the rogressive [sic] unfolding of theology, where all are encouraged
to honor their minds,
live their in minds,[???}
live their questions,
and embrace inner peace.

We invite all to join us in this exciting adventure of humanity.

Whatever it is, it ain't biblical Christianity.

David Rudd said...


This church is right down the road from us. It's a former RCA church (Kevin DeYoung's bunch), but has been apostate for at least two decades. Their last "pastor-thingy" went to great efforts to bring many of the "Jesus Seminar" smart guys in.

While their story is only hitting the national scene now, they lost their "lampstand" a long time ago...

Halcyon said...

The comment section for that article is a hoot. No sooner did people begin disagreeing with the church's decision that the "mind your own business" chant began to ring out (from the open-minded and tolerant universalists, of course).

Verification word: "weerve" [wur - vee], noun: a sensation of nausea and bewilderment caused by random revelations of irrationality

BwayneM said...

Great perspective Dan! If they aren't preaching the Gospel, the Cross needs to come down ... and the name of the "church" needs to be changed as well.

Paula said...

Honestly, I don't now how anyone could sit through one of these "services" and take it seriously. Check out the bulletin from their Father's Day "service".

Musical selections include "Lean on Me" and "I'll Be There," complete with a shout-out to the Jackson 5 as well as a montage of "Knocking on Heaven's Door" and "Imagine" for the offering.

There is a scene from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and a beautiful, encouraging agnostic quote from Bart Ehrlman.

There's a nice "Prayer to an Evolutionary God" too.

It ends with this lovely affirmation:

"Say to yourself: I make meaning in my life with love and kindness. Heaven is within and around me."

Praise God they took down the cross! It's only by God's grace that "church" (and thousands of others like it) are even standing. If they only knew what an affront their behavior is to God, they would be terrified. Their removal of the cross might rightly be viewed as an act of self-defense (as if)!

GZimmy said...

It reminds me of a local United Methodist church that advertises themselves as a "Reconciling Congregation" (read pro-homosexual) in spite of church law that forbids them to do so. I used to be very much against their flouting of church law, until I realized that when they advertise themselves that way, it lets all the faithful Methodists know that's the church to stay away from. So I say, let'em call themselves a Reconciling Congregation if they want.

Barbara said...


Forgive me, but here for a minute, I'm gonna sound like the Georgia girl that I am:

Sweetie, bless your heart.

Somebody over at Pyro just commented a little bit ago on Dan's post on assurance, and in it the commenter said that the language of "assurance" is something that he genuinely doesn't understand. You have just punctuated it with an example of the battle and questions within a soul. How do you know that what you believe is true? How can you know for sure that you won't be a living example of 1 John 2:19?

That's something that comes through the testimony of the Holy Spirit. What do you really believe? Who - or what - do you trust? Certainly our own wisdom will lead us astray - how do we know that we're following the Truth?

Well, for one thing, Jesus tells us to pray "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." We dare not presume that in our own strength we could ever stay in the grasp of God, but He promises to keep His own and to lead His own into all truth. And if there is one thing that I do know, it is that our Father is faithful. We have His word, the seal of His covenant promise, and the testimony of God Himself that He will keep His own. We see that these folks have apostatized (sp?) and its terrifying to think that that could happen to me. Where does that idea drive me? Deeper into myself, or deeper into the arms of God?

He promises that He will be found by all who seek Him. Jesus says that people can't even come to Him unless the Father draws them, and whoever comes to Him, He's not going to cast them out. The Father and the Son have this wonderful thing going and by their amazing grace and sacrifice they have opened up the gates of Heaven to all who would enter in by the way of Christ and that cross. Trust Him, rest in Him, seek His heart, seek more of Him, and He will not lead you astray. He is jealous over His own and remember this too - Jesus is the one who leaves the 99 to go and get the 1 and bring them back. If He lets you go, then you were not His. Romans 1. But I stand here as one who had gotten so far away that I couldn't proclaim a cross as saving anymore either - and then He saved me.

That blood that He shed? It cost Him dearly. If He envelopes you in it, He's going to keep you.

This might be awkwardly stated, but I hope it helps.

Chris said...


Yes, the cloud of witnesses, as it were, always seems to be my among my first thoughts whenever I see, hear, or read about cases of apostasy. What would they think or say? What kind of reprimand would they have for these spiritual thugs who have crept-in and utterly robbed a congregation generations later of the very truth that established the ministry?

Maybe the founders come to mind because any of these occasions quickly brings to mind a picture of a linear line that has come to its terminal end; then, the next logical step would be to look at the opposite end of this linear line and noting the sharp contrasts? Perhaps the saddening, maddening, and greatly disturbing reality of such incidents forces me into consoling myself and providing a reminder that such and such a church, college, publisher, ministry, etc wasn't always what it has tragically become. Despite the frequency of this stuff, each and every story is just as disturbing as the last.

This is a very relevant and painfully fresh issue for me, as I recently had to leave an adjunct teaching position I had at a once-Christian college after three arduous semesters of witnessing multiple examples of heinous apostasy. By dint of the fact that I was employed at this once highly-esteemed school that essentially embodied all of the good things of true evangelicalism in years gone by (my motive for seeking to teach English there in the first place), I just couldn't reconcile the fact that my being/staying there identified me with what it had become, thus making every step I took from the parking lot to the classroom a silent statement that I was in full agreement with the appalling downgrade that now characterizes _________ university.

I vividly recall the surreal nature of the halls I'd walk through every day: black and white pictures of the godly founders and various manifestations of their high view of God on the walls, juxtaposed with announcement boards parading fliers with every form of postmodern political correctness, new age mysticism, and emergent/liberal theology. I used to think when I saw this: "would these saints of old have ever imagined that their pictures, back when they took them, would ever be mere inches away from postings on the wall that denounce everything they believed? For that matter, would they have ever imagined that the halls themselves, the classrooms, or the campus at large would be committed to enthusiastically undermining so many of the essentials contained in the school's doctrinal statement? My only guess for why the heretics don't radically revise that statement in order to reflect the new reality of the place is this: they wouldn't want to lose those precious alumni dollars they receive from a generation of evangelicals who have gained much materially but have sadly fallen asleep on matters of any spiritual importance.

Christopher Johnson said...

JackW? Not just in Europe. And Dan? I'll see you that and raise you this:

LANGUAGE WARNING: I was really steamed when I wrote it.

Chris said...

sorry about my grammatical bad in at least three places on that last comment. I wrote fast and forgot to review.

I know..."and this guy teaches English?" (-:

Sonja said...

What, C3Exchange doesn't have a labyrinth? What are they thinking?

This is indeed "saddening and maddening" and I appreciate the plain talk that it IS truth in advertising. My city is full of such places.

One of which is a so-called church for G/L/B/TG folks. A friend was in the neighborhood one Sunday and out of curiosity, stopped in. He was yelled at by a greeter for not removing his cap. The greeter was 6+ feet, close to 300 lbs of man ... wearing a pink dress. His curiosity evaporated at that point.

Paula said...

Chris said, "Yes, the cloud of witnesses, as it were, always seems to be my among my first thoughts whenever I see, hear, or read about cases of apostasy. What would they think or say? What kind of reprimand would they have for these spiritual thugs who have crept-in and utterly robbed a congregation generations later of the very truth that established the ministry?"

Our church is bursting at the seams, filled with white-haired refugees from churches that have abandoned biblical preaching for hip, relevant, seeker-sensitive life messages. The senior saints are usually the first casualties to be tossed aside - they're considered expendable. Many of these folks have had to leave churches their families have attended (and built) for generations.

Indeed, it's easy to imagine the "cloud of witnesses" being utterly heartbroken (if that were possible in the the Lord's presence).

Sir Aaron said...

@DJP: I have very mixed emotions. Part of me is sad. But part of me is desirous to see an end to the pretense. I'd just like to see the battle lines drawn up so to speak.

@chris: I've had similar thoughts. I've often wondered; Would our founding fathers have done something differently if they known how we'd end up now?

@Chris Johnson: I enjoyed your article minus the language. Since you've had time to calm down, you could change the language to be more...appropriate.

Paula said... worries, they do indeed have a their youth curriculum section:

"A Movement Activity allows development of the mind-body connection. Movement activities range from parachute play that allow children to identify the communities to which they belong (family, school, teams), walking a labyrinth or emotional freeze tag."

Off to play emotional freeze tag....

lee n. field said...

"IOW it is going to continue to get worse, but it is left to us to remain faithful in the face of it."

OK, I'm game. What if it happens to your church? What if there's no place to go from there?

(No names, no details and I'll hide behind my favorite pseudonym, thank you, but I'm a tad bit worried about where my own church may go. Apostate liberalism isn't the only way to de-Christ a church.)

Barbara said...

Okay. I had to google "emotional freeze tag". Not much out there on the subject, but a dance troupe has directions for the game for their 2nd-graders:

Emotional Stillness
The game is similar to action and stillness. Call out an emotion and hit the drum for stillness.
The students must be still in silent shapes that they feel represent that emotion. When the
drum says “action,” they must move through the space portraying that emotion. You determine if they can make sounds or interact with each other. The game continues using a
variety of emotions. Challenge students to move spine when traveling, be aware of others in
the space, use pathways etc.

After the game is done, they can then practice writing checks to their therapists.

VcdeChagn said...

Off to play emotional freeze tag....

How long do I have to stay frozen for "shocked and slightly dismayed?"

It's nice when the wolf sheds his sheep coat and bares his fangs.

PS-Hit submit once and got a 404, please delete this one if it's a duplicate :)

bp said...

If 3C stands for (C)hrist (C)ommunity (C)hurch, And Exchange cuz they're on Exchange Street, they should call it 2CExchange and drop Christ off their title along w/the cross. Or even better: 3CExchange4NewAge

Paula said...

Barbara....I couldn't resist either and googled 'emotional freeze tag' myself and came up with the same description. Turns out that comes from my home state of Ohio....from the Ohio Department of Education ACADEMIC CONTENT STANDARDS FOR DANCE!!!! Yikes!

Ohio 8th graders should be able to:

1. Identify and demonstrate key movement characteristics of different cultural dance styles.
2. Perform and discuss social and traditional dances of early America.

Back in the day we merely had "aerobics" and leg warmers in gym class to contend with (and Olivia Newton-John's 'Let's Get Physical' blasting on the cassette player).

(Sorry for the detour DJP!!)

Andrew said...

There's another word beginning with 'C' I wish they'd remove from their website: 'conscienceness'. Is that for word verification?

Mark B. Hanson said...

The third C probably now stands for "Coffee". Free-trade, of course!

Joshua Cookingham said...

Just found this video of Joseph "wrong" er...Spong, commenting on how C3 will be the ONLY church that has truth in the coming

~Mark said...

Y'know, after appointing Muslims to several high offices, dramatic increases in violence and the recent sex scandal, I'm convinced that there is something very ugly happening in Michigan. I know, these things happen elsewhere, but there such a concentration there!

Barbara said...


I just have this image of a beatnik performance art bar, the jazz drums beating behind William Shatner as he poetically calls out emotions for them - as they move about in a slow, snaky "spine movement" - to stop and display.

That's just kinda creepy.

Paula said...

Barbara said, "I just have this image of a beatnik performance art bar, the jazz drums beating behind William Shatner as he poetically calls out emotions for them - as they move about in a slow, snaky "spine movement" - to stop and display."

And I think it's going to be a long.....long....time. I'm the Rocket Man....

Do you remember when DJP posted that? ROTFLOL!!!

DJP said...

I do.


Mark | hereiblog said...

“We honor the cross, but the cross is just one symbol of our community,” Lawton said.

Mr. Lawton, which community is that?

DJP said...

The Community of the Terminally Befuddled?

Barbara said...

Yup, but I was thinking more in terms of the drums behind his Palin rendition (which Dan also posted). Flute (or whatever that thing is) and all.

Joshua Cookingham said...

GAH! Just relized I called him, "Joseph" not "John" Wow, I'm tired.

Solameanie said...

I can just imagine a typical worship chorus there:

Row, row row your boat, gently down to Hell. Merrily, merrily, merrily merrily, life is really swell.

bp said...

What I can't imagine, is the conversations taking place in a church like this. I mean, wouldn't the muslims, at least, be trying to convert the others? And why would atheists want to be at church (ANY church), anyway?

MJ said...

There's not much more that needs to be said on this topic but I'm just going to say two things. First of all, how sad this made me and yet how ridiculously funny it is to think of these people blindly singing their vacuous songs while patting themselves on the back about how inclusive they are. Ending your "service" with an "Earth, Wind and Fire" song indeed. It beggers belief.

Second, my home church (which isn't huge), is growing. New people every Sunday and the vast majority of them young couples with small children. Why are they coming? Sound doctrine and expository teaching. This stuff is creeping in everywhere and they are fleeing it.