Should you join Saskatoon Christian Centre?

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Should you join Saskatoon Christian Centre?

Post  Live and Learn on 24/02/10, 10:38 pm

I have decided to address this post to those of you reading who may be thinking about joining Saskatoon Christian Centre. I hope to use Biblical guidelines to help you know what to look for, and some questions to ask while you are considering your decision. This post will likely be long as I am quoting most of Matthew 23 (to read it all: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matt%2023&version=MSG ).

The following may seem like a lot to consider before attending a church, but they will quickly make it clear to you: you are not to attend this church; you are to commit to it. If it seems like I am asking you not to trust them or to not take their word on things, I will point out that you will be required to regularly attend 3 services or more per week for two years, and take an intensive membership class before you will be deemed trustworthy enough to hand out a bulletin or clean a toilet at SCC. I am not commenting on whether or not the two year process is proper, I am just saying, they take a long time to prove you worthy of serving, don’t hesitate to use that time to prove them worthy of leading.

Before you go to SCC (or any church), try doing this: Think of 5 or so of the most reputable churches in Saskatoon and write down the name of the pastor of each. Add Saskatoon Christian Centre & Pastor Keith Johnson to your list. Meet with each pastor, ask him about the other pastors (by name) on your list. Now, cross off any on the list that do not meet the criteria set out in 1 Timothy 3:

(verses removed for sake of space – see Biblegateway.com for entire passage)

Leadership in the Church

1-7If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of... Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.

Instead of other pastors, you may define “Outsider” as people in the marketplace, former members of SCC, members of other churches, next-door neighbors – however you define it, go ask those people what their experiences with pastor Johnson have been – Is he well thought of (that is, is he qualified to even be a leader)?

If pastor Johnson meets the above criteria, then read Matthew 23 before you go to SCC services.

Matthew 23 {My comments in [ ]}

Religious Fashion Shows

1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses [at SCC the Bible WILL be taught…and the single correct interpretation will be explained to you]. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer. [It is polished, but are they sincere, acting with integrity? This is what you are seeking to discover, and it is difficult. If you do not listen to people who have gotten out of SCC or if you never have a ‘confidential’ meeting with any of the leaders – you can be there for years, and never know…trust me].

4-7"Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.' [Go to an SCC service, the Academy (CCA) Dinner Auction, CCA Graduation, a CCA basketball game, or even the church picnic, and take note of where pastor Johnson is sitting and see if this verse applies. Also, while you are there, ask some congregants where “Keith” is and note their response. They will not know to whom you are referring, or they will reply to the effect of, “you mean Pastor Johnson.”]

8-10"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. [These verses are written to you, does SCC seem like a place where you can obey this passage and remain in good standing with leadership of the church? If you are not sure, go ask pastor Johnson to comment on these verses and see if it makes sense to you]
Frauds!

13"I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either.
15"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.”
23-24"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? [Go to several services (especially when pastor Johnson is preaching) and decide: which do they emphasize more, tithing or compassion?]

27-28"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds.” [When you go, you will likely be impressed with the “excellence” – the whole thing is very polished, you just need to decide what is beneath the skin].

33-34"Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It's on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse. [Ask around and see if you can find anyone who has tried to correct pastor Johnson and then see if that person has been welcomed (allowed) back into the church (without first repenting to him for his/her rebellion)].

A few final thoughts/questions:

- At altar calls, they are adamant that getting saved “is not about joining a church (SCC).” So, ask them if leaving SCC in the future (without pastor Johnson’s approval) is equivalent to leaving God (ie. Backsliding/rebelling).

- Ask for the names of 5 former SCC members who still live in Saskatoon that you can call for character references (keep in mind, Keith Johnson has pastored SCC for nearly 30 years). There are about 200 – 400 adult members who have left SCC and are still in Saskatoon. Therefore, 5 positive references = 2%.

- They preach that any church that takes in people who have left their previous church without their former pastor’s permission is “harboring fugitives.” That is, when someone leaves SCC to go to another Saskatoon church, that church is harboring fugitives (sinning) – it is a big deal. Take note of if they phone your previous pastor before they allow you to join SCC.

- You will be asked to repeatedly confirm that “God called you to this church.” The question is this, why is it that at whatever spiritual maturity you are at currently, they trust your ability to hear from God on the matter, and yet, after 5, 10, 20 years, of learning and growing under their ministry, you cannot hear from God that it is time to leave? What growth took place if you go from being able to hear God’s voice yourself, to needing a man to tell you what He is saying for your life and the lives of your family? Is this the growth you want?

Well, may God bless you in whatever you decide. I hope this does not dishearten you in your pursuit of God. In fact, I hope it gives you confidence in knowing that God set out in His Word what you should be looking for and what you should be wary of. Don’t “turn off your brain” don’t “turn off your emotions.” This is not just about Saskatoon Christian Centre, there are other churches in every city much like it. Trust God. Seek God. Love God.



Last edited by Live and Learn on 24/02/10, 11:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Italics)

Live and Learn

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Experience

Post  free2Bme on 25/02/10, 12:07 am

I agree that it is wise to find out what the reputation is of the leaders in SCC; also, to find out what other people's experiences are with them. YOu can't argue with a trail of bad experiences...

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