That seems to be the mantra I’ve been living by the past two Sundays I’ve spent in Atlanta. First it was North Point. This week it was The Church of the Apostles. It is an evangelical Anglican church, though other than the kneelers on the pews, and a somewhat more formal liturgy for the Eucharist, you’d never know it was Anglican. The founding rector is Dr. Michael Youssef.
My mom wanted me to check it out, so I did. Around 3,000 members, a parking garage, a polished/produced worship band and massive amounts of people dressed their best. I was definitely the only person with jeans and Rainbow sandals. Anyone else ever been to this church? Thoughts?
Just a few things:
Dr. Youssef began his sermon talking about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and said that he has just created the 2nd Law of Christian Dynamics, and this is how he summarized it: "In a believer’s life, a believer in Jesus Christ, for him, things always go from disorder to order, from the pit to the highest hill, for obedient children of God, they are always moving from glory to greater glory, from power to greater power and strength; they may be some hard times, but things are always progressing, always moving forward, always getting better and better." Yah, let’s just say that I, and I’m sure many others, have some SERIOUS issues with that. There was no qualification after that statement, no "I’m not saying you’ll never have any problems as a Christian…." — it was a straight out, "If you’re a Christian, life gets better and better."
A church that desires to "be in obedience with the biblical directive" and one whose "convictions are based upon the Word of God, not secular argument" obviously has limited roles for women in ministry (children’s ministry, other women’s ministries, etc.). When Dr. Youssef was preparing for Communion, a whole pack of men started to walk forward and I’ll guess there were probably 20-25 men behind him, surrounding him in a half-circle. I was just overwhelmed by the image of male dominance that was being presented…please don’t turn this post into anything discussing 1 Timothy or women in ministry, because I’m not having that conversation again now – but I don’t see HOW women can sit through a service like that that is SO male-focused and dominated…
I’m always torn between wanting to acknowledge that "obviously" this church is doing something that’s reaching a couple thousand people in the Metro Atlanta area, while I also have some serious issues with the theology and way of "doing church" they are committed to. I just know that it’s not a church I could attend, or ever work for. Tonight I think we’re going to check out a Vineyard contemporary service at 9.30pm – I’m sure it will be very different…