So I’m online, perusing my favorite online message board, and someone reminded me of these guys I first saw over 15yrs ago. The Power Team! What show of force! What men…wait, there’s also a woman! Ah ha ha ha ha ha. No kidding, I remember seeing them years ago at some church function somewhere, and then later at school. Several years later I remember seeing them at another megachurch around here. Anyway, this reminder on the Puritanboard piqued my interest so I googled the ol’ Power Team and was suprised (yet, not surprised) by the garbage I saw and read. Let me make a few observations:
This is all from their website found here. Okay, let’s just mention the given: Of course they’re semi-Pelagians! Of course they’re not Calvinists. But, despite all that, even if I were still Arminian, I think I would have major beef with these guys (and…um…lady). They make some outlandish claims concerning church and “kingdom” growth that sound like politician promises. Just ridiculous!
On the front page banner we read, “One of the most Powerful, Impacting, and Effective presentations of the gospel in the World!” Oh, my! This could be a long post! Let’s see of what their “Gospel Presentation” consists (in their own words, mind you). From the FAQ section on the Power Team website, this question is posed:
What happens at a Power Team Crusade?:
Each night features 90 minutes of illustrative sermon, Christian drama, and revival, as The Power Team communicates Biblical truths & scripture utilizing explosive and stunning feats of strength like: breaking baseball bats like twigs, bending horseshoes & steel bars, crushing concrete walls, rip phone books like pieces of paper and many other incredible power demonstrations.
Firstly, I have a grammatical question. What if the first part of the statement were a sentence by itself. What would it mean? Each night features 90 minutes of illustrative sermon. Huh? Maybe an an would be helpful here. By the way, I’m sincerely not trying to mock, I just have a difficult time with poor grammatical structure (Yes, feel free to go back and correct all of my grammatical errors. I will, if need be, write retractions of each and every one). So, a typical night with the Power Team consists of a so-called sermon, Christian drama, and revival. The only thing I can really make sense out of that first statement is that there will be possible dramas/skits. Concerning the term revival, how do they define it? Who knows.
How do these “licensed & ordained ministers” (again, their own words) communicate “Biblical truths & scripture”? Not by preaching per se. No, their primary means of such is described as “explosive and stunning feats of strength”. This is a stark contrast from several instances the Apostle Paul alluded to concerning his ministry and preaching (All quotes from the English Standard Version, my emphasis added).
1 Cor 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
1 Cor 4:9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
2 Cor 10:1 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds...9 I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present…17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
I know that immediately, some of you may say, “Well, Josh, I don’t think that they’re (the Power Team) trying to boast of their strength, etc., but rather use it as a tool to evangelize.” Well, although on the surface it may seem so, I believe they unwittingly do the former, not the latter. Why? Because of their outlandish claims. Let me just present a few from the site:
“Our METHODS are proven” OUR NAME… A COMPELLING ATTRACTION. Experience how The Power Team name draws crowds, and see why we rank second, only to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in number of salvations over the past 25 years! Several churches actually doubled in size after hosting a Power Team crusade!
They boast of their secular popularity:
PLUS: The Power Team is appealing to both the secular & Christian communities.
People recognize The Power Team’s many features & endorsements including:
- “Walker, Texas Ranger” with Chuck Norris
- ABC, NBC, CBS Sports, CNN News
- WB Network, ESPN
- ET (Entertainment Tonight)
- People Magazine
- USA Today
- Saturday Evening Post
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Endorsements by over 100 Governors, Senators, & Congressmen
- 40 countries around the world/50 Denominations
- Over 25,000 school assemblies
Now, something’s wrong with this picture. Is the Law of God appealing to lost, sinful mankind? By no means! From the context of the very passages I just quoted from Paul we read:
1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Yet, the Power Team boasts of their “methods” and says that their “methods” are “proven”. Do you see the problem?! The have invented “methods”!!!! This is will-worship, plain and simple, whether they know it or not. Another quote concerning their “success” rate:
You will see between 500-10,000 respond to the messages, with between 50% of responders being over the age of 21.
I need the :banghead: smiley. This is sickening. I mean, I’m almost tempted to put this on the same level of Joel Osteen’s drivel. Their arrogance knows no end, and yet, they probably don’t even realize their own arrogance! They believe that churches need their help, not the Sovereign Lord’s help. Let me just provide a few more quotes concerning this arrogance of which I speak:
In the churches we visit, growth results, First and Foremost in God’s Kingdom, then to the local church. The average church in the last several years has exceeded their normal income growth curve by 18-23% after sponsoring a Power Team crusade.
The Power Team can provide you with all of the support you will need to guarantee a successful crusade in your community!
Notice their mission statement and notice who is capturing the hearts for Whom. Apparently, Christ needs our help to capture hearts. This is so backwards. It is the Sovereign Lord Who captures and changes hearts. We merely proclaim His message.
“Capturing Hearts for Jesus!”
“To reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ which an ordinary church meeting or event cannot. Drawing people through the use of performing visually explosive and spectacular feats of strength by incredible athletes who share with them the life-changing message of the cross.
This is from their “Beliefs” section:
Believe in the eternal security of the true believer, but our focus is not a presentation of doctrine, only a simple presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…
Is not the “simple presentation of the Gospel” one also of doctrine?!? From whence does this “simple” presentation come? It had better come from the DOCTRINE of the Scriptures! If one does not present the doctrine of man’s depravity and transgression of God’s law, then he cannot persuade a man he’s worthy of only hell. If a man is not persuaded of that, or that he’s guilty of breaking God’s law, then what would the purpose be in repentance and faith? Notta!
A message from the President of the Power Team:
Although many competing strength-type ministries continue to pop up all over the country… one thing, one very important thing has stayed consistent over the years for The Power Team and that is RESULTS!
Is this Finneyism? Yes. Does this give a false sense of security to thousands upon thousands? Absolutely. This is the sad state of Evangelicalism today, hence the title of my post. Evanjellyfish. There is so much more junk on the website, but to be honest, I’ve wearied myself with just these few examples of the ignorance of mainline Evangelicalism. O, God, help us!