A church called "The Journey" was brought to my
attention by a friend and since I was not familiar with this "brand"
of churches, I went online to see what I could find. My search through
cyberspace led to a discovery that this is a growing phenomenon with
many churches sharing the word "Journey". One church in particular
caught my eye. The list of orthodox doctrinal beliefs on the website
was obviously just window dressing. The quote from emergent Erwin
McManus that flashed across the masthead was a dead giveaway. It
didn’t take long to see that "The Journey" is not the narrow way of
the Bible, but a treacherous road full of potholes and stumbling
Leaders on the Wrong Path
A profile of the church staff reveals the dangerous
path they are navigating, a journey that will lead both them and their
followers right over a cliff to their spiritual demise. The leadership
was asked when they began their own personal spiritual journey – most
listed a particular date when they accepted Christ. However, the
worship pastor, who must be a bit confused, said his spiritual journey
began at birth. It also seems a bit strange that he would choose Bruce
Springsteen as his favorite musician. "The Boss" although a great
talent, does not even profess to be a born-again Christian, and has a
track record of infidelity and broken marriages. Shouldn’t a leader
promote someone more in keeping with biblical principles?
Next they were asked to name a book they had
recently read. The head pastor listed Night by Jewish author
Elie Weisel. There is certainly nothing wrong with being informed of
the horrors of the Holocaust, but to endorse a book that glorifies the
human spirit seems inappropriate for a Christian pastor. The assistant
pastor had just finished Velvet Elvis by emergent pastor, Rob
Bell. A staffer in charge of children’s education listed Purpose
Driven Life by Rick Warren.
When they were asked to name a hero, several drew a
blank. How sad when the Bible is full of heroes! Wouldn’t you expect
church leaders to list some giant of the faith or maybe the Lord
Jesus? One did name his mother and the head pastor does have a hero.
His name is Hiro Nakamura, a fictional character on the TV series
‘Heroes’. Hiro has the ability to manipulate space and time, in other
words he engages in physic phenomena and possesses powers unique to
God. The assistant pastor couldn’t think of a hero and then on second
thought threw out Rocky Balboa as a possibility. The worship leader’s
hero is Superman and he expounds on the greatness of Superman’s
powers. How tragic when Christian leaders consider man-made characters
as most worthy of their admiration.
None of that Old-Fashioned Religion!
The youth program is touted with the slogan "This is not your
Grandma’s church!" as if that should be avoided like the plague. This
breeds an attitude of disrespect and contempt for their elders. I
shudder to think what other "values" they are teaching the youth.
Drinking from a Tainted Well
The real kicker was an event for the men of the
church called "On Tap". The "requirement" for attending this group is
to be over 21 and "a person who wants to think or at least think about
thinking and have a beer and some suicide wings with other guys" at a
local restaurant. Great! The church is promoting alcohol consumption
as the manly thing to do. What kind of message is this sending to the
boys in the church? Quite by coincidence, after I had discovered this
"wonderful" ministry, I noticed that a fellow discerner, Ingrid
Schlueter of Slice of Laodicea had highlighted another "beer ministry"
by a Journey church in St. Louis. Ingrid states so well, "Church is
to come together for the purposes of singing the praises of the Lord
by redeemed souls, hearing His Word read out and then preached. It is
not for discussions of postmodern art, racism and global warming and
suds. Church should not require designated drivers."  [Also see
"NOT Your Grandma's Church" for more details on this trend.]
The Journey – A Movement
Journey groups are located from coast to coast. They are eclectic
in that they are apparently free to choose their own way of doing
church. It is not clear if they are connected. Some have women
pastors, some are Willow Creekers, some are affiliated with
denominations, some nondenominational. Yet there seems to be a common
thread - elements of emergent and purpose driven philosophies,
psychology, and mysticism. Emergent authors are widely promoted.
Journey Churches have descriptions in common: "cool", "hot",
fun-fun-fun and more fun. Experience is at the forefront. One group
has a summer activity called "God on Film". One of the movies on the
schedule is a new release from the makers of the blasphemous "Bruce
Almighty". This one is called "Evan Almighty" God is robbed of His
deity, and portrayed as an elderly black man.  The Church seems to
have lost its reverence for God and His holiness - a perilous path.
Beware of The Journey.
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 16:25
Highly recommended reading:
From Which Well Are You Drinking?
Exposing the Dangers in the Emerging Church Movement
By J. David Winscott
Foreword by Pastor Chuck Smith
Short 44 page booklet