Updated: Sep 24, 2019
As was expected, as soon as the news that someone who attends the infamous CAMPUS Church in Murray, Utah was checking Christian churches in Utah for Biblical adherence, the misinformation and the lies started putting on their shoes.
And boy, can they run fast.
These are some of the lies and unfair accusations that have been swirling around the internet (and probably elsewhere) about Check My Church over the past few weeks. And here is our response to each of them.
Is Check My Church Biased?
As we've explained a few times now, Check My Church is not completely unbiased. Yes, we admit that. After a lengthy and critical discussion with one of Utah's pastors, we decided that we should clarify our biases. So here they are again:
We have a strong bias in favor of the authority and superiority of the Word of God over the words of men. Because of this bias, we will critique a church that has verse by verse studies through the Bible differently than a church that does topical sermons. This is because topical sermons do not feed the flock the Word of God, but the words of the pastor and whoever else wrote the sermon. Churches and their pastors should be feeding the flock and preaching the Word, not tickling ears. (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 15:4; Rom. 10:17)
We have a strong bias in favor of worshiping God alone. As a result of this bias, we will not critique churches that turn their worship service into a big, glamorous show as favorably as we will critique churches which choose to keep their worship about God alone. Not the performers, the equipment, or the show. Just God. We will also critique churches who make money and material more important than they should be. We serve God, not money. (John 4:23; Luke 4:8; Matt. 22:37)
We have a strong bias in favor of the Gospel of Christ and Christian liberty above the laws of men and their legalism. Because of this, any church that attempts to insert men, rules, and laws between the individuals in their congregation and God will receive a poor rating from CMC. There is one mediator between man and God, and that is Jesus Christ, and He set us free. (Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; 1 Cor. 6:12; Gal. 5:1)
As far as everything else goes, such as doctrinal differences, music style or genre, denominational affiliations, and so forth, we do not allow our personal preferences in these areas to affect our rating of churches. All Christians will have their own unique take on these things, and none of them have any bearing on whether or not the church is feeding the Word, worshiping God alone, or preaching the Gospel.
Regarding our supposed bias in favor of Shawn McCraney and CAMPUS Church, I'll get to that in a minute. That accusation needs an entire category of its own.
How Important is Physical Attendance?
Currently, since Joe and I are living in Idaho, checking churches in Utah obviously makes physically attending these churches impossible. We are going to be moving down to Utah in the next few months, God willing, but for now, all of our checking has solely been through online research and the input we receive from local churchgoers in Utah.
How do we check churches without physically attending them?
We talk to the church staff and their pastors, if they don't stonewall us, and ask a list of questions to find out more about how their church operates regarding memberships, requirements for members, financial issues, handling doctrinal differences, discipline of sin, etc...
We listen to at least one online sermon from within the past 30-60 days to make sure our assessment is of their most current teachings and sermon structure. If we can't find an online sermon, we will postpone the check until we can physically attend one.
We watch the online worship service if it is available. If not, we will refrain from making any judgment about the worship service portion of the check until we can physically attend one.