Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What about the Gateway Church?

Ac 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Recently several people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have asked about the teachings and practices of the Gateway Church. Such questions are important, and they deserve accurate answers. As Christians we must examine current religious teachings in the light of Scripture. By doing so we reaffirm God’s authority, learn and correct our own beliefs where needed, and speak the truth in love regarding error. We are accountable to God to stay in the Word and to challenge the church, our youth, and the religious community to do the same. 2 Tim 4:1-5
The best way to know for sure what other people think, believe, and teach is to have them speak for themselves. Without judging or questioning anyone’s heart or sincerity, we must look objectively at specific teachings and compare them to those of the Bible.
Thanks to the Internet these materials are often publicly accessible. Churches of various types publish doctrinal statements for the express purpose of making others aware of them. It is important that we reference these sources, as we have done below, for the sake of accuracy.
Remember: not every person who attends services at a particular church necessarily agrees with that group’s published beliefs. Many who attend may not even be aware of all the group’s beliefs. Be careful not to assume. Let each person speak for himself or herself.
According to Wikipedia, “Gateway Church is a non-denominational charismatic* Christian church located in Southlake, Texas. In 2013, Outreach magazine named Gateway as the 8th largest church in the US. In 2013, the church averaged 23,831 in weekly attendance, with 39,513 attending over Easter weekend, saw 4,775 salvations, and 1,428 baptisms**. The church currently conducts 22 weekend services at 5 locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. An affiliated church plant called Gateway Scottsdale opened in Scottsdale, AZ, in August, 2012 … The church is home to the Christian recording artist and Dove Award winner Kari Jobe, who works as a worship pastor.”
*Charismatic - supporting modern-day tongues-speaking, faith healing, and other miracles.
**See below for an explanation as to why there are more “salvations” than baptisms.
According to Gateway, “Because salvation is afforded through Christ’s work on the cross, water baptism isn’t necessary for a person to be saved*. However, water baptism is an association with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It symbolizes the death of the old man and the resurrection of the new man in Christ. Baptism is a command for believers modeled by Jesus through His own baptism and is a necessary step of obedience for continued growth in Christ. It is not necessary for church membership, but we encourage all believers to be water baptized after salvation.”
*Gateway does teach that faith, repentance, and confession via the “Sinner’s Prayer” are necessary for salvation, but not baptism. See below.
Apparently water baptisms take place once a month at each campus for those previously “saved.” Those requesting baptism are to pre-register online. http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/water-baptism/celebrate-baptism
Gateway describes baptism as an outward sign, like circumcision, of a pre-existing covenant relationship with the Lord. Many important Scriptures are quoted, but no connection between baptism and the forgiveness of sins is stated. http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/water-baptism/what-does-bible-say
According to Gateway, “You receive Jesus Christ by believing in your heart that He is the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind and by confessing with your mouth your love and commitment to Him. These two responses constitute the act of receiving faith (Romans 10:10).”
By responding to God from their heart with words similar to those below, one can be saved. “Oh, God, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and I have fallen short of what You expect. I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I receive Jesus Christ, Your Son, as my Savior and Lord. Thank You, God for saving me from eternity without You. Amen.”
“Romans 10:10 tells us that by believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we are saved. We encourage every believer to give open testimony of their love for God and their faith in Jesus Christ, His Son.”
The Bible says,
Mk 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Ac 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Ac 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
1 Pe 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Can I Lose My Salvation?
According to Gateway, “No believer can presume on God’s grace or His goodness by choosing to live after himself or his own desires. After all Christ did for us, we are encouraged and admonished to passionately pursue Him and to bear much fruit (John 15:8). For those who have received Christ and who evidence the Holy Spirit’s fruit in their life, we affirm that their salvation is eternally secure.”
The Bible says,
1 Co 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Heb 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Gateway streams its weekend worship services live. Instrumental musical performances are common, and it is not unusual for women to lead in various aspects of the assembly. To see Gateway’s services online, follow this link to watch.
According to Gateway, “To get involved [in worship], you must go through a video evaluation if you’re interested in ministering by singing in the choir (GWC), singing as a background vocalist (BGV) or being an instrumentalist for one of our platform ministry teams.”
The Bible says,
Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Gateway has eleven “Senior Pastors,” including “Founding Senior Pastor” Robert Morris*. Another key leader is the “Lead Executive Senior Pastor.” All “Pastors” are men; this group is different from the church’s “Elders.” Gateway Church believes “the Senior Pastor should be the leader of the Eldership and should set the agenda for each meeting. In the event that the Elders of Gateway Church reach an impasse with a decision, the Elders will appeal to the full Eldership of Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas.”
*Robert Morris is also an Overseer of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and an Apostolic Elder of Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas.
There was no reference in the online documents to any deacons, ministers per se, preachers, or evangelists at Gateway.
The Bible says,
Ac 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Php 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons …
Role of Women
According to Gateway, “We believe in the value of women in all aspects of ministry with the exception of those areas that exercise governmental authority within the church … We believe a woman can teach and lead within any of the vast array of ministry roles and positions as long as she demonstrates a biblically-qualifying lifestyle. She must also submit herself, along with other servant-leaders, to those leaders God has placed in positions of governing authority, specifically, the Senior Pastor or the Elders of the church. We believe that the positions of Senior Pastor and Elder are (because of their governmental responsibility) reserved only for men. With the exception of these two positions, we consider all ministry positions and opportunities to be open to women.”
The Bible says,
1 Ti 2:11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Tongues, Miraculous Healings, and Other Miraculous Gifts
According to Gateway, “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are divided into three categories (1 Corinthians 12:7–11): Vocal Gifts—tongues, prophecy and the interpretation of tongues; Knowledge Gifts—word of knowledge, word of wisdom and the discerning of spirits; Power Gifts—healing, faith and miracles.”
“The Apostle Paul encouraged us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 14:1. Although the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to every person who receives the Holy Spirit, they are only activated by faith. If you do not want to demonstrate a gift, God will not make you. If you desire His gifts but don’t understand them completely, He may bypass your mind and give you a gift, but it will always be based on your desire.”
“We believe the gift of tongues has a dual purpose as outlined in the Scriptures. When coupled with the gift of interpretation, it provides encouragement, comfort and exhortation to the congregation of believers. When used in prayer, it also provides personal edification for the believer and heavenly unction for prayer concerns that we lack words to adequately express (1 Corinthians 14). As a prayer force, it adds a new dimension to our partnership with God.”
“God’s purpose is for every one of His children to be filled with the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus’ own life. We cannot reduce this experience to a simple formula. In fact, we are talking about the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. To receive, we simply go to our heavenly Father in an attitude of faith and ask.”
“Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and He wants to fill His children. Through experiencing the nine gifts and the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, we can effectively share the love and power of Jesus Christ to many people. We can also find the power to overcome many temptations, trials and tests in this life.”
The Bible says,
1 Co 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know clearly, even as I have been clearly known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Eschatology (the Last Things)
According to Gateway, “We believe Jesus Christ will return to earth personally and visibly according to the promises in Scripture. His return will be for the purpose of establishing His absolute governmental rule and authority on the earth. Christians are exhorted to be watchful and obedient until His return. While there are many viewpoints concerning His second coming, we believe Christians should look for His return with great anticipation while obediently pursuing the mandate of the Great Commission. At His second coming, the righteous who have died and are now with Him will be resurrected and rule with Him.”
The Bible says,
1 Th 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Additional Sources:
Cory Collins

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