CrossPoint Church, which has multiple house church locations in Provo, Taylorsville and other areas in Salt Lake, was highly recommended to us by one of our friends. So needless to say, we went into this check with high hopes and great expectations.
Unfortunately, while there are many positive things to note about this church, it still falters in many of the same areas that most other churches we’ve checked do. Let’s not waste time complaining about it though. Let’s check this church.
The website for CrossPoint Church, which you can go to here, is unlike many if not most of the other websites we’ve visited for churches, especially recently. The reason I think is because the church itself has a unique format compared to the rest, and as a result, the website format follows suit.
The first thing you see when you go to the website is a picture of a house’s front door, and the message which gradually appears on the screen of “Imagine a network of biblical communities, each a point of light in its respective neighborhood, forming Kingdom constellations across the entire state of Utah.”
Scroll down and you see what we can assume is their mission/vision statement, and here it is (emphasis mine):
“Be a Part of Something Meaningful
The lifestyle of the early Christian church, their love for God and for each other, was countercultural (Acts 2:42-47). So much so they were accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6)! That's a far cry from what many modern churches are known for, and perhaps even from your own church experience. We've asked God to lead us into something more meaningful. In response to our prayers, He has given us a new vision for our future.
Over the next five years, we will turn fifty neighborhoods upside down for Christ through the formation of biblical communities, organized as a network of house churches, committed to obeying the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) and fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
Intentionally meeting in homes allows these communities to maintain a size where meaningful relationships can develop and mutual discipleship can take place, a simplicity that requires minimal overhead or programming, and a style that emphasizes full participation and shared responsibility. In this way, the spiritual cancers of indifference, spectatorship, and consumerism are combatted, and instead each believer is enabled to identify and develop his or her spiritual gifts and to make a unique contribution to what God is doing in Utah. Come be a part of something meaningful!”
While I have to applaud the concerted effort this church has put into avoiding the rampant consumerism and spectatorship that way too many churches in America today have created in their church environment, there are still some red flags to be wary of here.
“The lifestyle of the early Christian church,” was in an entirely different environment, time, and context than the Christian Church today. We are not called to replicate other people and what they did in the past. We are called to replicate Christ Himself. As soon as we make other people and their traditions the focal point for our faith, mission, or vision, we create a form of legalism to the standards and rules of those people.
“Intentionally meeting in homes allows these communities to maintain a size where meaningful relationships can develop and mutual discipleship can take place…” This is the same language used to get Christians to join small groups within their respective local church, and it’s a red flag because relationships with other people and “mutual discipleship” usually leads to putting people and what they think between you and God.
Accountability, sin discipline, and condemnation toward Christians who don’t obey what the church believes to be Christ’s commandments is the perfect recipe for a legalistic disaster. While fellowship with other Christians and healthy relationships with other believers is a wonderful thing, we have to be careful not to put anyone else between us and God. When it comes to our faith and our relationship with God, it’s between us and Him, and no one else. Period.
“...a simplicity that requires minimal overhead or programming, and a style that emphasizes full participation and shared responsibility…” While the house church format certainly reduces the need for so much financial support and therefore eliminates the “need” to pressure Christians to give so much, the mention of “full participation” and “shared responsibility” is another red flag. Like the previous statement, this one suggests a level of legalism by pressuring service to the church. Why not let the Spirit lead people to serve, participate, and support the church in whatever way He believes they should? This constant and incessant pressure from churches for Christians to serve them contradicts the yoke of rest that Christ has given us.
“...the spiritual cancers of indifference, spectatorship, and consumerism are combatted, and instead each believer is enabled to identify and develop his or her spiritual gifts and to make a unique contribution to what God is doing in Utah…” Once again, I love the effort to combat consumerism, but many if not most other legalistic churches avoid consumerism to a fault as well. On the other hand, most consumerist and money serving churches try to be very gracious in order to combat legalism, and attract more members to their church. If this church was more gracious and without so many red flags of legalism, I would love it even more, but right now it just seems to be a uniquely formatted legalistic church.
Let’s move on.
Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and you can see the home church location for the church and the church’s contact information, but that’s it for the homepage.
While CrossPoint Church has made clear efforts to avoid consumerism in their church, they still appear to push giving to an extent. Their Give Page is worth noting.
What we typically find with churches that don’t serve money is a give page that has no Scriptural references, no justifications, and no arguments for giving whatsoever. It’s simply a page where you can give, no guilt tripping or manipulation in sight. It’s what I expect to see with legalistic churches, but CrossPoint hasn’t followed that pattern.
The first statement on their Give Page reads:
“In giving us Christ, God showed the extent of His generosity. Now, because of Christ, we can be generous. Generosity then is not the result of having an abundance, but the overflow of a grateful heart (Luke 21:1-4).”
Just as with all the reasons the Bible gives us to be generous and give, this isn’t untrue information, but how it’s being used here (to compel giving) is a red flag. Our giving should be led by the Spirit and between us and God, not out of guilt, compulsion by a church, or manipulative language used to make us feel ungrateful if we’re not giving.
The next paragraph on the Give Page is much less concerning:
“At CrossPoint, your generisty helps meet needs. As a network of house churches, CrossPoint essentially has no overhead expeditures. There are no mortage or rent payments, no utility costs, no ongoing maintenance expenses, and no paid staff. Each week we not only have the privilege of giving, but of deciding within each gathering how to distribute those gifts in order to meet needs within our church body, care for our community, and fund those taking the Gospel beyond Utah!”
This answers some of our questions in the Questionnaire, and it certainly means this is not a money serving church in the end, but I still don’t like it when churches compel giving the way this one has in the first paragraph of this page. I wouldn’t say it was out of money serving or greed, however, but rather legalism.
The only other page on this church’s website worth mentioning is their blog. CrossPoint Church’s blog lays out fairly clearly what their aim is as a church. They even have a post detailing their five year plan, and within that, there are a few things worth paying special attention to:
In their “Foreground Vision” one of their goals was to: “Have everyone read Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. Every new attender will be given a copy to read.” To find out more about this book I bought the audio book on Amazon and am currently listening to it as I write this. Once I’ve finished I will update this church check with any red flags or things worth mentioning, but the only red flag I see here so far is the level of obsession this church appears to be showing toward the house church model overall. It apparently came as the result of Francis Chan’s book. While that by itself isn’t really a bad thing, we have to wonder how far this idea is being taken. Are all other church models unbiblical and apostate? Are Christians who gather in larger groups simply spectators, irresponsible, and consumers of a church system that Jesus doesn’t approve of? I don’t know. We’ll have to dig more and find that out.
In their “Midground Vision” it reads: “Full Participation and Shared Responsibility: Every member of each house church has begun living as a disciple and moved away from being a mere spectator or consumer. This move is evident in part by 1) the identification and use of spiritual gifts, 2) having read through the whole Bible with someone, 3) praying for neighbors and neighborhood daily, and 4) having introduced someone else to the body.”
So they are actually making legalistic standards for Christians to follow in order to show that they aren’t spectators or consumers in the church. The problem with this is that it completely defeats the freedom and authentic love that Christians have through Christ. When things like this are compelled and delegated by men/churches, they become works of the flesh done out of legalistic efforts, rather than the natural Spirit-led love and obedience that comes as the result of being filled with the Spirit. This is just more evidence that this church is legalistic.
As far as the website itself goes, there isn’t much else to talk about. You can read their other blog posts to get an even better idea of what this church is all about, but I found a lot more content worth talking about on their Facebook Page, so let’s move onto that.
Here are several Facebook posts that have been made on CrossPoint Church’s page over the past year that I would consider to be red flags:
From Dec. 19th: “64% of professed Christians think that the Great Commission (cf. Matthew 28:18-20) is optional (Barna, May 2018). That's not going to be said of us!”
The Great Commission and whether or not it applies to Christians living today is a topic of some debate. The fact that this church believes it is applicable to Christians today is not the concern. It’s the legalistic language here that it’s “not optional.” What do they mean by that?
May 2nd FB Post: "Thriving churches have the Great Commission as the centerpiece of their vision, while dying churches have forgotten the clear command of Christ." ― Thom S. Rainer
First, I’m not sure what a thriving church looks like in this church’s estimation, or a dying church. Does that depend upon how many members a church has, how strictly its members obey the church’s standards and requirements, or something else?
Secondly, this statement seems to almost idolize the idea of spreading the gospel, as too many churches these days tend to do. Just as C.S. Lewis said, “...There have been some who were so preoccupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.” And that’s the red flag here. Spreading the gospel is important, yes. Not more important than Christ Himself.
All in all, we can’t give the website review a thumbs up because of how many red flags of legalism we ran into, but at the same time, we have to commend CrossPoint Church for seriously avoiding consumerism and money serving in their church.
As with most other churches, unfortunately, CrossPoint decided not to answer the Questionnaire. We tried contacting them through their website, direct email, and on their Facebook Page.
It wasn’t until one of our volunteers reached out to pastor Logan personally on Facebook that we finally got our answer.
So, let’s see how well we can answer these questions ourselves.
1. What is your church's official position on tithing?
There isn’t anything on their website to suggest that they preach tithing, nor any sermons that we could find that preach it either. The problem we’ve discovered is that like many other churches, this one still strongly encourages, if not downright requires, giving to the local church.
As previously mentioned, they use Scripture to pressure giving on their website. Their house church model certainly prevents money serving and consumerism from taking over, but it doesn’t seem to keep this church from strongly encouraging giving to them as a part of their “sharing responsibility” and taking “full participation.”
Additionally, while they don’t seem to preach tithing per se, they have some sermons focused entirely on the topics of giving and money. The sermon series of Practice What You Preach, Practical, Stewarding Life, Faith To Change The World, and possibly even more than I was able to find on their website, all have one sermon within the series that focuses on money in one way or another.
So while they don’t appear to preach tithing, they do still pressure giving in a few different ways.
2. Does your church have a particular set of rules or requirements that members must follow or abide by in order to retain their membership status with the church?
I couldn’t find anything to suggest that this church has official memberships or agreements for members to sign in their local church. However, it does state on their Blog that they do have certain expectations of church members:
“...Every member of each house church has begun living as a disciple and moved away from being a mere spectator or consumer. This move is evident in part by 1) the identification and use of spiritual gifts, 2) having read through the whole Bible with someone, 3) praying for neighbors and neighborhood daily, and 4) having introduced someone else to the body.”
While this is nothing compared to a full blown membership agreement or contract, it still suggests requirements and expectations of church members.
3. Are you transparent with your church's financial information? How much does your church bring in through donations and tithing, and how is that money distributed?
While this church explains openly that following the house church model prevents them from needing nearly as much financial support from its members, we still couldn’t find any actual financial information on this church, and since pastor Logan stonewalled us, we have no idea how transparent the church is with its members, or anyone, regarding their finances.
4. Which denomination does your church align with the most, if any?
Their Facebook Page lists them as a Baptist church.
5. Is your church's pastor available for other questions or comments regarding the church, its doctrines, etc.?
Unfortunately I can’t give a good answer for this because I was completely ignored when I tried to reach out to this church. I suppose if an individual Christian were to attend this church in person, the pastor may answer questions or accept comments, but since I couldn’t get him to talk to me, or answer my questions, there’s no way of knowing that for sure quite yet.
6. How is your church's doctrinal flexibility and tolerance? If a member has a disagreement with the pastor or leadership on a certain doctrine, how is it handled? Does the church change its position on doctrines fairly often, if at all?
Since this church is associated with the Baptist denomination, I can’t imagine they’re very flexible with certain doctrines, but since our Questionnaire was stonewalled and we couldn’t find any information regarding this on their website, we can’t answer this question either.
7. Does your church require that its members be baptized? What is your church's official position on baptism?
I saw no signs of required baptism for membership on the church’s website, and Baptists don’t typically believe in baptismal regeneration, so I think it’s safe to assume that this church practices baptism without requiring it for members.
8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like in your church.
I actually couldn’t find anything on the website describing what a typical service at this church looks like. Although they operate more like a group of small groups/house churches rather than one big group that meets in a building, I think it would be safe to assume that church services still proceed like the typical Christian service with a period of worship followed by a message from the pastor.
I’m sure there is a lot more back and forth between the pastor and the congregation in this setting, however, and possibly more discussion between people before and after the service.
9. How many people do you have on staff at your church, both paid and volunteer?
While I couldn’t find any information on exactly how many people they have on staff for this church, it does state on their website that they don’t pay any of their staff. Everyone works on a volunteer basis.
10. What is the pastor's educational history?
I didn’t see any information on the pastor’s educational history on the website or his Facebook Page.
11. How does the church discipline its members with their sin?
While we couldn’t find anything regarding sin discipline on the website, this doesn’t mean they don’t have a protocol in place for this. The red flags of legalism all over the website suggest that they probably do, but we can’t know for sure until we’re able to get some answers from pastor Logan, or someone else from this church.
12. How is the pastor compensated (income, benefits, bonuses, etc.)?
The house church model at this church as well as the mention that they have zero paid staff suggests that the pastor may not even receive compensation, but I don’t see that he has any other means of income listed on his Facebook Page, so I don’t know this for sure. We won’t know unless pastor Logan decides to answer this for us.
13. What is the size of your church and any other space the church owns for meetings and church services?
This church doesn’t appear to own any buildings or space for meetings and church services except for their Provo building, but it’s possible that they’ve gotten rid of it as well. We don’t know for sure. Their five year plan includes getting rid of all buildings and space to practice the home church model.
As for congregation size, we may not be able to make a fair estimate. While their Facebook Page shows over 1,000 likes and follows, their website shows that they have four house church groups. Based on the Facebook likes we could guess a few hundred members, but that would make each house church group over 50 people large. That doesn’t sound right to me.
My guess is with the elimination of their building came the loss of some of their members. Based on the number of home church groups and the assumption that each group holds 15-20 people, they probably have a total of about 80 people.
In conclusion to the Questionnaire, since we were stonewalled, we couldn’t answer many of the questions ourselves due to a lack of information on the church website, and the legalistic red flags we’ve found in the process, we have to give it a thumbs down.
We were unable to find any video or audio recordings of this church’s worship services, so we won’t comment on the worship service this time around.
To listen to the same sermon(s) we’re referring to here today, go to CrossPoint Church’s Talks Page here. We listened to a few sermons from pastor Logan, but for this check we’re going to zero in on the “Full Participation” sermon from November 24th.
Let’s get to it, church checkers!
Is the sermon topical or a verse by verse study through the Bible?
I’m a little surprised that this church does topical sermons. Being a more legalistic and small congregation that puts a lot of emphasis on being Biblical and completely devoted to its teachings would naturally lead to much more Bible-focused sermons.
It’s possible that like Discovery Christian Community, this church’s sermons are still very Biblical, but the best way to feed the Word, in our opinion, is to study it contextually, verse by verse.
Is it Biblical? How frequently is the Bible used? Is it interpreted in context or twisted to fit the narrative of the sermon?
I don’t think this sermon is biblical. While the Bible itself is used frequently and some of the Scriptures used are referenced on the website for online listeners to see, the overall message of this sermon isn’t biblical, and whenever the Bible is used, it’s quickly grazed over without any actual contextual studying going on.
There are tons of references in Scripture, but all are cherry picked and interpreted to fit the message of the sermon, rather than studied and understood in context.
1 Cor. 12:12-26
2 Tim. 3:16
Matthew 28 (The Great Commission)
What’s at the heart of the sermon? The Bible, the gospel, God, Jesus, or something else?
While the importance of the Word/Bible is emphasized for a period of time within this sermon, the overall heart seems to be all about being active and in service to the local church.
And rather than actually using the sermon to study the Bible verse by verse, as is expected of church members individually, pastor Logan spends a lot of time talking about how important it is to read the Bible and why, but never actually does that with his congregation himself.
To me, it’s akin to a school teacher telling his students how important it is to learn the things he’s supposed to be teaching, but then never actually teaches it, only to send the students home with tons of homework to figure it out for themselves.
The meat of this message is clear: If you’re not active and serving in your local church, you’re just a spectator. A consumerist Christian looking to absorb and be served, but not to serve others. That’s the attitude I’m sensing here, and it’s very legalistic in nature.
Some quotes from the sermon:
“...We worship best when we worship with other believers...” - Billy Graham
I totally disagree with this statement. Our worship to God is not dependent on other people at all. It doesn’t matter if we’re alone or with other believers. Worship is between you and God. Not you and other people. This puts something besides Jesus between you and God, and it’s not okay.
“...the function of the local church is to make disciples.“
That is a function of the local church, but it is not the function of the local church. The local church has many functions, but the most important one is to glorify, serve, and worship God. If we’re not doing that, what good is making disciples to our church going to do? If your church is legalistic, materialistic, or in any way opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples is a complete waste of time.
If your church is truly in service to and for the glory of God, then discipling will happen naturally as the Spirit leads and guides individual Christians by the power of God. This pressuring Christians to disciple when they’re not being led to is just another example of how local churches pressure and compel Christians to do works in their flesh. It contradicts the freedom and liberty of Christ, which operates by the Spirit within us, not compulsion from outside of us.
“Let’s do better this week. Call someone, text someone, say hey, have you read it?...We’re not trying to shame people. This is what’s important this week…”
While I can certainly agree with, and champion pastor Logan’s views on how consumerist Christian churches have totally missed the point and focus of the local church in many respects, I couldn’t disagree with the conclusion of that observation more unless tithing was preached.
The heart of this message is not about our relationship with God, the Word, the Gospel, or our love for God and others. It’s all about pressuring the individual Christian to serve the local church and do the work that the church deems as important.
Pastor Logan basically shames the congregation for failing to do their Bible reading over the week, although he does admit to failing as well, and then urges them to do better the following week. Again, it’s as if a school teacher expects his students to learn without actually teaching them anything, sending them home with tons of homework to figure out on their own.
Were you fed the Word of God, or the words of men?
The words of men. While the Bible was quoted very frequently throughout the sermon, it wasn’t studied, read, or taught contextually. The Bible is held up to be extremely important and pushed on people to be studied and read all the way through, but the sermon itself is much more about this church and its pastor’s ideas about the local church and how Christians need to serve it rather than teaching the Word itself.
In conclusion to the sermon, we have several problems here. The pastor’s pressures on the congregation to serve, work, and study the Word while at the same time neglecting to that himself in the sermon was one. The message is ultimately legalistic in nature and lacked severely in substantive Bible teaching.
It also pushed a few ideas that aren’t Biblical at all, such as the quote from Billy Graham about how we “worship best when we worship with other believers,” and the notion that unless you’re serving your local church somehow, you must be a spectator, consumerist Christian with a weak relationship with God and no interest in serving Him.
There were just too many issues with this sermon, guys. It’s a thumbs down.
While CrossPoint doesn't appear to have official membership agreements, at least not based on what we've seen on their website, they still show signs of having them, as well as pressures to keep everyone in their church "responsible" and "participating." This suggests both membership requirements as well as pressure to serve the church.
Additionally, while we don't see outright tithe preaching here, we did find some pressure to give to the church on the website as well as some other signs that this church pressures giving.
Lastly, the sermons we've listened to all suggest legalism through shaming congregates for failing to follow the church's/pastor's ideas of what it means to be a good Christian. For example, not obeying the Great Commission as a requirement and command of Jesus Christ to all Christians is a "sin" according to pastor Logan Wolf.
As a result of all of this, we had to put them far to the legalistic end of the Grace Scale.
There was a single mention in pastor Logan's sermon that we checked that he believes Christians must hold to specific political positions, but this is all we noticed regarding politics, so we put them slightly to the right on the Political Scale.
Scandals & Controversy
We didn't find any scandals or controversial information regarding this church during our research, so we have nothing to report here for now!
While CrossPoint and pastor Logan came highly recommended by a trusted friend, there were too many problems to ignore here.
Pastor Logan stonewalled the Questionnaire, not even obliging us with a response. We had to have a friend ask him for a response, and just like so many others, it was 'no.'
There were so many red flags of legalism that we were expecting a sermon more steeped in the Word, as legalistic churches tend to do, but the sermon didn't teach the Bible very much, or contextually.
All in all, the legalism, the stonewalling, and the lack of Bible teaching in the sermon itself led us to the a final rating of Not Recommended.