Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What About the Met Church?

Photo from the Met Church's website.
Acts 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 “Met 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. They want everyone to know where they stand, so that others can assess their teachings. It is important that we reference the primary sources, as we have done below, for the sake of accuracy. We must never prejudge anyone or treat anyone unfairly.
We must also remember that 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.
If any leaders of the Met Church should find any inaccuracy in this post, please comment below so that this material can be corrected or clarified.
Read about the Met Church by following these links to the church’s doctrines and practices.
Now let’s note various statements that are made on these web pages and then offer comments and Scriptures in italics.
Bill Ramsey: “The Met began in my heart in 1987 when I felt God was calling me to minister to people who, in the past, would have never entered a church. I wanted to reach people through an energetic service with contemporary music and practical messages that people could apply to their every day lives. At that time I was the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, and I knew God was calling me to a new vision and adventure. So, on August 11, 1996, I launched Metroport Cities Fellowship (The Met) in the auditorium of Carroll High School in Southlake. Our vision was to reach people living in the Alliance corridor, which developers were calling the Metroport area.” 
“The Met ministers to over 3000 people each week and over 6000 people call The Met their church home.”
The Met was begun by founding pastor and now Senior Pastor Bill Ramsey, who was formerly the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Fort Worth. He felt God calling him (in an undefined way) to minister to the unchurched. He currently leads the executive team at the Met Church.
There is no overall description of the church’s leadership on this page, but there are references to various teams, executives, and staff members. These include “pastors” – both male and female – over various areas. One woman is the Executive Adult Pastor. Another woman leads as the children’s pastor. A third woman is the Worship Director. I could not find any references to elders, deacons, or evangelists, at least not using those biblical terms.
I did not see any reference to the Bible’s teachings on male spiritual leadership in 1 Tim 3:2 or Tit 1:5-6. Nor did I see any mention of the Bible’s teachings on women’s roles given in 1 Tim 2:11-15 or 1 Cor 14:33-35.
“We believe salvation is a sovereign gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe man is justified by grace through faith apart from works (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:4-5 & 2:8-10). We believe all true believers elect of God, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever (Romans 8:1, 29-30; John 10:27-30).”
The Met’s statement does not mention repentance or baptism as necessary expressions of faith for the forgiveness of sins. See Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1-4.
The words “sovereign gift of God … elect of God … once saved … kept secure in Christ forever” identify the belief that one who has come to Christ cannot choose at any future point to leave the faith, fall away, and be lost. He or she does not have the free will to do so. This belief has its roots in Calvinism. See Heb 6:4-6.
“We believe Christ instituted the ordinances of baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper, both of which are to be observed by believers until He returns (Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26). We believe by water baptism a believer is publicly identified with his Savior and that infants of believing parents may be dedicated to the Lord but should not be baptized until they can personally articulate their faith and the purpose of baptism. We believe the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death, the elements being symbols of His body and blood. We believe every Christian has a right to partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper but that participation must always be preceded by solemn self-examination.”
The Met’s statement declares the purpose of baptism by immersion to be one’s public identification with one’s Savior. No specific Scripture is noted in support of this idea. In the Scripture that is noted – Matt 28:19-20 – Jesus Himself says that baptism is a necessary step for one to be made a disciple. The New Testament also teaches that baptism is “into Christ” and “into His death” (Rom 6:1-4) and that by it one is “clothed with Christ” (Gal 3:26-27). Saul of Tarsus was told to “Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
On the matter of baptism also note this:
“We believe God the Holy Spirit is a person who restrains evil in the world and convicts men of sin. He also regenerates those who receive Christ as Savior, baptizes them into the Church, the Body of Christ, indwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts on each one, and fills those yielded to Him (John 16:7-11; John 3:8; I Corinthians 12:4-11,13; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18).”
Here the Met Church’s website notes that the Holy Spirit “regenerates those who receive Christ as Savior, baptizes them into the Church …” The idea seems to be that there is first a “Spirit baptism” that is separate from water. At this point one comes into the church; one is saved and sealed and cannot ever be lost. Later on there is to be a “water baptism,” to take place on the first Wednesday of the month, to identify oneself publicly with Christ (see below, under “1st Wednesday”).
The New Testament teaches that there is only one baptism (Eph 4:5) and that the one new birth (“regeneration”) involves both water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5; Tit 3:5).
“We believe the souls of believers in Jesus Christ do, at death, immediately pass into His presence, and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body at His coming for the Church, when soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory. We believe the souls of unbelievers remain after death in constant misery in Hades until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the millennium when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord (Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:11-15).”
The Met’s mention of “the millennium” refers to a belief in a one-thousand-year physical reign of Christ on earth in Jerusalem.
“First Wednesday is designed to bring our church together for corporate worship and have a special time to rejoice together through the celebration of Baptism. This is also when we come together as a church and take the Lord’s Supper and spend time in corporate and personal prayer. Every service at The Met is designed to connect you with God but at 1st Wednesday we focus less on teaching and extend the time of worship to provide an environment for you to worship God and spend more time with Him.”
The Met’s statement indicates that baptisms take place on the first Wednesday of each month. It also notes that the Lord’s Supper is observed monthly on the first Wednesday.
According to New Testament teaching, those pricked in the heart and convicted of their sins are to repent and be baptized immediately for the forgiveness of those sins. Never in Scripture was a baptism delayed, because it was considered essential and urgent. See Acts 2:36-38; 8:26-40; 10:47-48; 10:47-48; 16:30-34.
According to New Testament teaching, the church was (and is) to observe the Lord’s Supper – the breaking of bread – on the first day of the week. See Acts 20:7.
Once again, the purpose of this post is to help answer people’s questions about the Met Church by referencing that church’s own materials and responding with biblical texts and teachings. Only God’s Word is perfect. Our only goal is to understand it better and follow it more closely.
May God bless each reader as we all seek to serve the King of kings.