23 October 2006

the JFI issue

JFI stands for jesus freaks international, the movement that i work with here in germany. i'd like to just give a small impression of what is going on right now, and ask y'all for prayer.

there is another movement in germany called "wort und geist" ("word and spirit") out of röhrenbach (thats in the bavarian forest, near where i first lived in germany). w+g is an extremely charismatic movement with a rather heavily slanted teaching. i havent heard enough of their sermons to state my opinion of them here. anyway, w+g has started to split apart the jesus freaks. the church in nuernberg split, leaving one third of the freaks, the church in hannover completely withdrew from JFI, (their pastor being morti- my regional leader and insurance agent). other groups are fairly sure to follow suit. we are lucky in bremen, that our group hasn't been affected. one w+g guest speaker came and tried to cause an upset, and the first person to stand up and say something back to him was our shyest member! after her, the others got up, too, and began correcting what he said that did not match the Bible, and calling on him to apologize for derogotory remarks.

the origional jesus freaks church (and also my "home" church in germany) closed. they got to the point where there were only 45 members and about 20 attending (bremen has 23 members), down from several hundred when i lived there. they realized that the church just wasnt going forward, and that a feeling of depression was bogging them down. the elders decided it was time to back up, release the members to other churches, and wait on God. i pray that they start anew in a few months, because i know many of those 45 won't feel comfortable in other churches. this break may end up as strengthening, but it sure looks dark. also alot of the hamburg freaks are good friends of mine. (this is where i had my internship..)

in the blog world there are alot of negative vibes going around concerning JFI and our elders. most of it is just a few frusterated people, but they are spreading hurtful comments, rumors, and half-truths. there are alot of hurt feelings and many rash words being typed. again, several of my friends are getting critisized heavily.

a konzil has been started to deal with questions troubling the movement, and to look for answers. i think they are asking the wrong questions, but its a start. it is being done in a very diplomatic way: every freak group is asked to handle the questions in small groups and send representatives to a regional meeting. after three regional meetings (one for each question), representatives from the region and the regional leaders will be sent to the main-konzil to meet with the elders of JFI. the questions are
1. what is a jesus freak
2. what are we- movement, denomonation, or network?
3. what should leadership look like?


At 11:03, Blogger Kelly said...

It's always so important as a church, as a Christian, to pay close attention to what you say and teach to make certain it is acurate and true.

If you start believing even one thing about Him that is not true and goes against who He really is, you stop really worshipping Him, and start worshipping some other "mythical" God who does not exist. This is the job of the church and of its leaders to help everyone in their "flock" know acurately WHO God is so that they can worship Him and serve Him and praise Him and pray to Him properly. This is why we should not ever say that we worship the same God as the Muslims. We do not. We both say that we worship the "God of Abraham", but their beliefs of who He is are different from ours. Therefore, we do not worship the same God.

If a church is coming in and teaching false doctrines (especially about primary issues: i.e. the trinity, the deity and humanity of Christ, etc.), then they are not Christians!! It doesn't matter what they say otherwise.

At 16:30, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

i dont think it is possible to not believe in some false things about God. i mean, we cannot fully comprehend Him, and therefore are always missing out on part of who the true God really is. but that doesnt mean we are believeing in a mythical God, it means that we are still learning to know Him better.

and i don't believe in a "properly" in that context.

i dont know where the part about the muslims came from.. i didnt say anything about them, and that isnt an issue for the Jesus Freaks or for W+G.

do you know about this W+G? have you read about them or heard their sermons? i do consider them a christian church, but i think their focus is a bit misplaced. that being from the little that i know.

what i do know is that several people who i have known for years, respect, have learnt from, and who are friends, have gone to W+G.

At 17:01, Blogger Kelly said...

It's true that it is so easy to believe in some false things about Him. But, my point is that it's sooooo important to make certain that we adhere to scripture and not to an ideal.

When I say that one has to be careful to worship God "properly", maybe a better way to say it is that one needs to try to be acurate in one's worship.

To steal an example from this class that Dan's been teaching at church on Sun. mornings :
One should not thank The Father for dying on the cross for our sins. He didn't do that. The Son, Jesus, did that. It's a common mistake that many of us make by accident sometimes when we pray. Likewise, we should not thank Jesus for dwelling in our hearts. That's the Holy Spirit. This example is talking about the doctrine of the Trinity, but the important point is that, when we pray or worship to God without addressing Him properly or keeping our stated beliefs about Him in the context of scripture, we either are or we are risking an action of prayer or worship to a false God who doesn't actually exist.

I guess here's another example : One can not worship God and refer to God as a "She" during said worship AND be a Christian. The bible does not teach us that God is a "she", but that God is masculine, a "he". We see that in God "The Father" and in God "The Son".

As for the Muslim comment: A lot of people go around today saying that the Christians and the Jews and the Muslims all "worship the same God". It's not true though. We don't. I wanted to use that as an example of being "proper" in worship. I'm not trying to talk about whether one should raise his or her arms, bow on his or her knees, or stand, etc.. I'm not addressing whether it needs to be in a church or if it can take place in the rain, huddled next to a dirty, cockroach filled dumpster. That's not what I mean by "Proper worship". I simply mean that, as Christians, we need to be as careful as we can be that what we say is not, in fact, heresy.

At 17:05, Blogger Kelly said...

OH yea. I almost forgot...

I know nothing about the W+G movement you speak of. All I know is that you say it is heavily "slanted" teaching that allowed at least one member of your church in Bremen to tell one of their guest speakers that he was speaking counter-doctrinly (is that a real word/term?) All I know is that that sets of DANGER sirens in my head...

"Danger Will Robinson. Danger..."

At 09:37, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

God is the ideal!

worship should be honest.

i still disagree that mistakes can mean praying to a false god. sure, we should know the trinity and what each part did for us. but if we get confused or are too young in faith to know the difference, that doesnt mean its automatically a risk for idol worhip. remember, God looks at our hearts. He knows when we say things incorrectly, what are heart is saying. in your example, God knows the trinity is confusing and if we thank Jesus for living in our hearts, that we are praying to Him, and just messing up the first name.. it'd be like if someone called for eugene while you were living at your parents, and they meant you. your dad knows that you are also eugene venechanos, and he will let the person talk to you, not say hey man, gotta call a different number.
wooo.. your "God is masculine" thing is also iffy. very baptist. yes, i use the masculine to talk of God, to set that straight. but i dont really think you can place gender on Him. after all, he created man and woman in His image. also, we see feminine characteristics in God. so.. who cares if someone decides to say she? its a bit odd and confusing, but it wouldnt cause me to say the person isnt a christian, but rather to ask them WHY. a friend of mine, for example, never uses the singular to talk about God. he says "they." hmm. and how about someone who says "God the father, son, and holy spirit...she is my salvation." hmm? ok, i dont think we should all start saying she, i just think its absurd to say that means the person is not a christian!

i agree that we dont worship the same God as the muslims. but thats not the topic here.

ps: the guest speaker was not a pastor of w+g but rather a member of a non w+g church who listens to alot of w+g sermons on mp3. i dont know where his comments came from directly, how much is from w+g and how much he added.

At 10:44, Blogger Kelly said...

What you are saying worries me a lot. You're actually saying it is alright to refer to God incorrectly. It's not. If you are a young Christian, the mistake is not the same as if you know better. Even then though, people should correct that young Christian as soon as they are able to stand it so that they are not praying to a false God.

I don't know where you are picking up on these "feminine characteristics" of God. I haven't seen a single one. I'm not trying to be some sort of "macho" "men-first" kind of person here, but I really don't see a single piece of scriptural evidence for calling God a "She".

As for the Trinity, I'm not sure how I would address the subject of calling God a "they", but my gut instinct says that it is wrong. the whole doctrine of Trinity (one of the MAJOR things that makes us Christians and not something else) is that there is only one God and yet he is three persons. I'm not sure if calling Him a "they" is right or wrong though. Maybe that is sketchy, but I think I would not encourage it.

It's very important to learn about and understand the doctrines that we, as Christians, adhere to. If we refuse to accept one, we're not a Christian. If someone comes up to you and says, "I am a Christian, but I don't believe that Christ was both man and God", then they are not a Christian and they are a lier. You should correct them. If someone comes up to you and says, "I'm a Christian, but I believe that God the Father became God the Son, and then became God the Spirit" then that person is also either not a Christian (and thus a lier) or needs to be corrected.

This is not about sounding judegmental here, but if you are going to say you are a Christian then you need to adhere to its basic beliefs. The same kind of principle applies in worship. If you are going to worship God and you know enough about Him to know better, than don't do so incorrectly. He knows when you know. I'm not saying an accidental step deserves hard treatment and punishment, but if someone is repeatedly doing it wrong or is claiming to believe in something wrong about God, then they need to be corrected.

At 16:45, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

i am not saying its ok to purposly refer to God incorrectly.. i am saying that how we refer to Him doesnt change his status as God.. our mistakes dont make Him a false God- it makes it our mistake.

like i said, i wouldnt call God a she, either, but i do see God as having both the stereotypical masculine and feminine characteristics. for example, that he is nuturing. thats typically female. or that He is soft, gentle. (yes, He can also be quite the oposite.. thats the male side).... why do you keep trying to lock God into a box and limit Him to the masculine? He isnt human, He is above the seperation that we have.

oh, the friend who says "they" to God uses the singular. it breaks the grammatical rules, but technically works from a theological standpoint..

i still disagree that you can say someone isnt a christian off of one of those statements. that they are wrong theologically, yes, i agree. that you should correct them, also, yes. but you cant say they are not christians. i mean cummon, how many dominations would we have to declare as nonchristian? there'd be no one left if for every slightly different theology you declare them to be nonchristian.

At 16:47, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

why is there no responce to what my post was actually about?! that JFI is having trouble, and needs prayer? this argument is getting dull... or does anyone want to at least chime in??

At 14:18, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

to Gods feminine side...

isaja 66:13 & 49:15
Mat 23:37/Luke 13:34)


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