Friday, July 29, 2011

Preview on my critique of The Crossing's beliefs....

In a prior post titled, The ABC's of "Doctrine" I explained the word "Doctrine" as it applies to Christianity. I talked about church "doctrinal statements", and gave as examples some actual church doctrinal statements for you to examine yourself; both biblical and deceptive. If you haven't read that post yet, then it might be a good idea to read it and review the examples given before you follow my critique of the ten doctrinal points of The Crossing church.  

First some background information. I found their doctrinal statement, not in print form, but in the sermon archives available on The Crossing church website. Crossing leadership refer to their doctrinal statement as, "Our Beliefs" in the I Love My Church video that was filmed on 8/15/2010 in front of the congregation. It entails a discussion of  The Crossing church, touching on five themes,
It is a "What The Crossing Church is all about" kind of discussion. There are four people involved in the discussion; pastor Eric Dykstra, his wife and pastor Kelly Dykstra, Jason-pastor of the Zimmerman campus, and Tom-pastor of the Big Lake campus. What I want to focus my attention on now, relevant to the discussion of Christian doctrine, is the theme of,  "OUR BELIEFS".

They had posted a list of The Crossing's beliefs on the video, ten bullet points in all, and they briefly explained each point, one by one. I have looked for this particular statement of beliefs on The Crossing website and I didn't find any kind of doctrinal statement whatsoever (that should alert you right away that something isn't right). The closest they come to any kind of doctrinal statement (and this is a stretch that would make any pair of pantie hose blush!) is "The Code of the Samurai", which is unbiblical, sacrilegious garbage about "Our master Samurai Jesus". "The Code" is a list of The Crossing's values. There are eighteen Crossing Church values in all, and after I critique the The Crossing's ten doctrinal points, I will then eviscerate all eighteen points of "The Code".

And to be honest, I have never attended The Crossing church, so I don't know if they have any  literature available to visitors that explain their doctrinal positions, maybe they do? I also have to consider the fact that this video was filmed about a year ago; perhaps there is now a more comprehensive doctrinal statement available, I don't know. (if anyone could help  answer these questions, that would be much appreciated!).

I have watched the video and have written down what The Crossing believes, word for word, in the ten point list below. As I go through each point (it will take weeks to cover all ten points) I will write the doctrinal point under scrutiny, I will then add their  word for word commentary  given by the participants of the discussion group ("commentary" meaning their explanation of that belief).

Then I will give my critique of each particular doctrinal point combined with The Crossing leadership's commentary on each point. I will use Scripture and the The Law of Non-Contradiction as necessary to verify or challenge The Crossing's beliefs.

But first, before I tackle all ten doctrinal points one by one, I want to give my impression on the entirety of their doctrinal statement as a whole, what they affirm as, "Our beliefs". Take a sedative and wait for it to take effect before you start reading....

We believe...        
  1. The Bible is God's word and totally accurate. It is our final authority. 
  2. The Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
  3. People are made in God's image, but we sinned and messed our lives and our life with God. 
  4. Jesus is God, virgin born, perfect and our leader. He died for our sins as our substitute and physically rose from the dead and is presently alive someplace. 
  5. Anyone who asks Jesus to forgive their sins and lead their life is freely given eternal life. 
  6. Jesus is physically coming back to earth soon. 
  7. A real heaven and a real hell. Jesus followers go to heaven forever, everyone else goes to hell forever.
  8. Baptism is not optional. Every Jesus follower needs to be dunked because Jesus was dunked and told us to get dunked. 
  9. Our church is free from all outside interference and is responsible to God alone.
  10. We believe in all the flavors of God's church, not just certain denominations. We will partner with any church regardless of brand name to depopulate Hell.  
Compared to a real Bible believing, Gospel preaching church's doctrinal statement, this thing is a spiritual catastrophe from beginning to end (as I will explain later)! It looks like it was written on the back of a napkin at McDonald's the day before the video shoot!

It does contain a few important nuggets of Truth, but there is absolutely nothing to indicate that a seminary educated, Gospel preaching Bible scholar wrote it. There is not a single Bible verse referenced to support their beliefs. It is sloppy, incoherent, confusing, incomplete, misleading, and inaccurate. On the basis of this doctrinal statement alone I would stay far, far away from this church! 

But, if you don't know anything of genuine Christian doctrine, that is, you are biblically illiterate, then how would you ever know my critique of The Crossing's beliefs is even accurate?  I would like to offer you some suggestions and some reliable resources that will inform you of biblical Truth.
  • Read the Bible! Both old and New testaments. It will be up to you to decide what to read, how much to read, and when to read it: just read your Bible! And use a good bible translation. I use the ESV, the NASB, the NKJV, and the NIV. Beware, as there are some very poor translations out there.

  • Get a good study Bible. The John MacArthur Study Bible is a fantastic learning tool. It provides full commentary on particular verses and passages, explains Bible passages that are difficult to understand, and does so in a way that is is clear and concise. I don't agree on everything John MacArthur teaches; specifically his dispensationalist theology and his young earth interpretation of the Bible. But all his other theology is rock solid.   
  • Learn the principles of biblical interpretation called hermeneutics.  
  • Pray to the Christian God and ask Him to reveal Truth as you read His Word. Ask him too, to grant you discernment in evaluating and critiquing the teachings and beliefs of Christian leaders and your Christian friends.
  • If you must leave the church you are in, then find a good Bible believing church home that preaches the Gospel. If they are truly a Christ centered, Gospel centered church, you will be under gentle, loving  leadership approved by God that will keep you from straying into the dangerous waters of false teachings. If you need help in this area, contact me!   
  • Listen to, read, and watch  material from reputable Christian theologians, scholars, preachers, and thinkers. This will really help to give you a broader understanding of God's Word. After I became a Christian, I was so hungry for biblical Truth I was constantly reading piles of books and listening to sermons in my car. I was fortunate in that, as a baby Christian, my brother Mark helped guided me to solid Christian teachings. 
  •  Be careful about what you read and listen to. Don't just go into a Christian bookstore and buy a book you know nothing about unless you have the tools of discernment already in place. Christianity is largely trivialized in America; just visit any well known Christian bookstore and you will find all kinds of Christian junk for sale. It is very sickening. 
     What follows are a list resources I know are reputable. If you trust me, and I understand "trust" is hard to come by, start out here. Listen, read. and watch the suggested materials, and you will be well on your way to a more discerning and biblical state of mind. You can also check out my blog roll, as there will be blog posts there available from reputable Christian pastors and thinkers.   

    Solid Food Media is the the teaching ministry of Redeemer Bible Church. Expository and topical preaching at it's best by RW Glenn.

    Drive By Theology is a collection of CD's that you can buy and listen to on your way to and from work, or wherever. RW Glenn and Todd Friel get into some serious Christian theology (doctrine) and have a good time doing it! Great teaching AND great fun!
    I have listened to many sermons and read many books by theologian and teacher  R.C. Sproul. He is a very intriguing character with great personal anecdotes, will make you laugh, and is a true Christian thinker and intellectual with a philosophical bent.     

    John Piper of Desiring God ministries. This man is a master at God's Word. A great mind who cranks out great books and preaches great sermons. [I am at a loss as to why Piper is reaching out to Rick Warren though] He shepherds Jesus' flock at Bethlehem Baptist church in downtown Minneapolis.

    John MacArthur of  Grace To You is a preacher and teacher of a large congregation in California. He is brutally honest, crystal clear, and unapologetic in his delivery of God's Word. He is a prolific writer and preacher. As stated before, I disagree with him on Eschatology (he's a dispensationalist) and the age of the earth (he's a young earth creationist), but on everything else, he is right on the money!
    Know What You Believe is a Christian classic written by Paul Little. It is a concise, easy to read book that covers all the basics of Christian doctrine. 

    The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul is a book that is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the holiness of God. This book will make you think twice about a cavalier, irreverent attitude toward God, as demonstrated by the leadership at The Crossing church.

    The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers. While not God's Word itself, it is utterly saturated with Gospel Truth. Very creative and beautiful writings. Awesome devotional material.

    I truly believe that these resources will help you in your understanding of the Gospel, grant you more discernment, and most importantly, strengthen your relationship with the Lord. 



    1. I checked out their site and beliefs. looks like plain old americanized pop evangelicalism, seeker driven, and somewhat fanatical. almost like Joel Osteen on steroids...

      MacArthur Jr... really?

    2. Mike It's far worse than that. Listen to the interview. It's not evangelistic because they don't preach the gospel, they aren't even allowed to study the Bible in their small group, they only review the sermon by dykstra. Crossing is set up to bribe people into coming into their church. badbadbadbad

    3. eeew, that sounds bad. Are you positive that the interviewer is telling the truth and isn't just having it out for the church for some reason. Just wondering, becuase I really thought the church I was going to was godly or whatever, then when it split many nasty things were said, it was a real eye opener! Anyhow, if they are really doing this they do need to be called out, but beware of others words, they could be gossip...

    4. Exposing false teachers and crooked churches is a noble cause, and I appreciate your efforts. Sometimes good churches are labeled fraud while bad churches go unchallenged, though, and I think the Crossing is the former.

      I've been a Christian for 25 years and have attended the Crossing for the last 2 years. I can assure you that I've read my Bible cover to cover and am a broken, humble man doing my best to follow Jesus. The Crossing may look suspicious in that they have high production values and use terminology that is friendly to sceptics and atheists (Jesus is often referred to as a forgiver and leader, which is just a contemporary translation of the church-y words savior and lord), but I whole-heartedly believe that this church is glorifying God and bringing lost people to relationships with Jesus.

      I'd encourage you to attend sometime - get the story from both sides.

    5. Anonymous, First of all, exposing false teachers and crooked churches in not just a noble cause. It is commanded in Scripture that Christians contend earnestly for the faith. It is spiritual warfare against God's enemies, and the consequences of losing the battle in the war of Truth is the difference between Heaven and Hell for people who buy into a lie. The whole of Scripture never endorses an apathetic attitude toward false teachers and doctrine. God will deal severely with those who distort the Truth and cause unwary people to stumble.

      I know you are speaking from your heart, but I must take issue with your contention that The Crossing is a “good” church. Practically everything I have seen or heard about this church does not match up with the Bible, and it is important that the teachings of any church matches up with the Bible, don't you think? Here’s a few examples of how The Crossing defies the Word of God...

      1)The unbiblical and unethical “Code”. 2)The contradiction of authority I pointed out in “Critique of The Crossing Beliefs: Part one and part two. 3)The Crossing’s sermons that are devoid of the Gospel and reek of a legalistic, performance driven mentality. 4)Eyewitness accounts of what The Crossing believe, practice, and their reckless, abusive treatment of people. 5)The foul, sacrilegious mouth of Eric Dykstra, his radical theology, his unconditional call to submit to his authority, and his calloused approach to ministering to those who are supposed to be God’s people. 6) The unbiblical methods in which partners are appointed to leadership positions.

      Are you sure you are reading the same Bible as I am? Because my Bible does not approve of the majority of what The Crossing believes and practices.

      Now if you have an ounce of honesty and common sense, you would admit that these are not signs of a good, healthy church. And these claims can all be validated.

      I cannot deny that you might be genuine Christian, but let me ask you a few questions. 1)If you died today and found yourself standing before God, and He asked you why he should allow you into Heaven, how would you answer Him? 2) Is it possible that you are being deceived by a false teacher and false gospel? After all, even Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons sincerely believe that they are on the side of Truth. Hell will be full of sincere, yet deceived people! 3) Is it at all possible that your understanding of the Bible does not match with what the Bible actually teaches?

      These are questions all professing Christians ought to ask themselves to see if they are in the faith of Christ.

      I don't need to attend The Crossing to figure out if it's a bad church or not any more than I have to smoke cigarettes to realize that they are bad for my health.

      Blessings! Casey