Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More on the Sports Churches and the Churches that Sponsor Them, Plus a Little Bit of Doctrine

Previously when talking about the Sports Church, I've been relying on an article from a secular newspaper.

It's probably a good idea to visit the Sports Church's own website.

It turns out that there are two Sports Churches - Mike Unverzagt's church in Vancouver, and another one pastored by DJ Rabe in Snohomish. The latter church meets on Monday nights. (I guess it's an "Are you ready for some JESUS?" kind of place.)

The Sports Churches themselves are connected to two "The House" churches in the two cities of Vancouver and Snohomish. Here are the underlying beliefs of the Snohomish church:

Our Beliefs

About God:
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and are one God. ( Genesis 1:1,26,27 , 3:22 ; Psalm 90:2 ; Matthew 28:19 ; 1 Peter 1:2 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 )

About Jesus Christ:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday to earth to reign as King. ( Matthew 1:22,23 ; Isaiah 9:6 ; John 1:1-5 , 14:10-30 ; Hebrews 4:14-15 ; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ; Romans 1:3-4 ; Acts 1:9-11 ; 1 Timothy 6:14-15 ; Titus 2:13 )

About the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer spiritual gifts when they are saved. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily. ( Acts 1:8 ; 2 Corinthians 3:17 ; John 16:7-13 , 14:16-17 ; Galatians 5:25 ; 1 Corinthians 2:12 , 3:16 ; Ephesians 1:13 , 5:18 )

About the Bible:
The Bible is God's Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs about living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without error. ( 2 Timothy 3:16 , 1:13 ; 2 Peter 1:20-21 ; Psalm 119:105 , 160 , 12:6 ; Proverbs 30:5 )

About Human Beings:
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God's creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin". Sin separates us from God and causes many problems in our life. ( Genesis 1:27 ; Psalm 8:3-6 ; Isaiah 53:6a ; Romans 3:23 ; Isaiah 59:1-2 )

About Salvation:
Salvation is God's free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin's penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith. ( Romans 6:23 ; Ephesians 2:8-9 ; John 14:6 , 1:2 ; Titus 3:5 ; Galatians 3:26 ; Romans 5:1 , 10:9-10 )

About Eternity:
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence. ( John 3:16 , 14:17 ; Romans 6:23 , 8:17-18 ; Revelation 20:15 ; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 )

In addition to Essential Beliefs, we uphold the following:
In Non-Essential Beliefs, we have liberty. Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters…Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls…So then each of us will give an account of himself to God..So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. (Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22 NIV)

In all our beliefs, we show charity. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (I Corinthians 13:2 NIV)

Just for fun, let's compare this with the belief statement of Lakewood Church (of Joel Osteen fame):

WE BELIEVE…the entire Bible is inspired by God, without error and the authority on which we base our faith, conduct and doctrine.

WE BELIEVE…in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to this earth as Savior of the world.

WE BELIEVE…Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again.

WE BELIEVE…water baptism is a symbol of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

WE BELIEVE…in the regular taking of Communion as an act of remembering what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.

WE BELIEVE…every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus by obeying God’s Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ.

WE BELIEVE…as children of God, we are overcomers and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us.

There are some similarities between the two belief statements. Both belief statements mention the Trinitarian nature of God. Both mention that the Bible is without error. Both mention sin, faith, and forgiveness.

Now Osteen also talks about "experienc[ing] the abundant life." Of course, I like Paul's definition of abundance:

Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Oh, and by the way, notice that Pastor DJ likes to quote from the...um...playbook.

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