Spiritual growth? There’s an app for that

The folks from Leadership Network are into innovation in a big way. And they have something shiny and new. It’s called Monvee.

Remember, Leadership Network is the organization that helped infect the church with the twin blights of Seeker Drivenism and Emergence Christianity. Leadership Network has marketing clout, and knows how to use it. Monvee could be huge.

One of the problems with the Church Growth Movement’s seeker-driven approach to mass-producing disciples is that it has largely failed to consider how to make disciples who are growing into spiritual maturity in Christ. When the most mature members of your own congregation tell you that they are ‘not being fed’, there’s a problem. And when the mainstream media writes that ‘megachurches like Saddleback are market-driven, with transcendence not on the menu’, and worse, describes you as the ‘butt end of Christianity’ using the words ‘bland, cheerful, dull’, the scary prospect of irrelevance beckons. And with irrelevance comes that worst nightmare of the Church Growth CEO pastor – stagnant or shrinking congregations.

Monvee is the solution to this problem of stalled Christian lives lacking in transcendence. Market research has uncovered a missed opportunity, and Monvee is the new product that has been created to fill this void.

Monvee claims to be ‘The Future of Spiritual Formation’. This is in itself bad news, because ‘spiritual formation’ is code-talk for Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism. (Be sure to read my good friend Christine Pack explaining how the practices of spiritual formation have their origin in occultic mysticism, then listen to her powerful testimony.) Not content with the damage that it has already done to the church, Leadership Network now apparently wishes to undo the Reformation.

The rather prosaic reality is that Monvee is a website that claims to diagnose your spiritual needs so that it can create a personal growth plan for you to follow. (Monvee also looks like it will be able to provide pastors with the ability to track the progress of those in their congregations who are using it.) In other words, Monvee is simply a software application that is running on a webserver somewhere. But perhaps that doesn’t sound as important as ‘The Future of Spiritual Formation’.

Take a look at this short promotional video for Monvee:

John Ortberg opens by saying:

If you make the inside of the tree right, then the fruit will be good. If you change somebody’s habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, then inevitably the kind of stuff that they do will be the right kind of stuff. But that means I have to step back and ask the question, ‘How is it that those habitual patterns of thinking and feeling get changed?’

Ok, that’s an interesting opening. So, I am now expecting a Biblical follow-on. Perhaps something like the following:

Of course, there’s nothing we can do to change those patterns. We have to be buried with Christ by baptism into death so that, just as He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life in Him. (cf. Rom. 6:4)

We can do nothing! Christ has done everything!

Let us therefore live lives of daily repentance, trusting in Christ’s finished work alone for the forgiveness of our sins, and in His righteousness put to our account. Let us feed gladly upon Christ in the Word that He has given us, speaking the truth in love to one another, that we might be nourished in the faith and grow up in every way into Christ. (cf. Pet. 2:2; Eph. 4)

But no, instead we have this from Bob Buford, chairman of the Leadership Network board:

A worship service isn’t the only treatment. A Bible class isn’t the only treatment. And, uh, a small group doesn’t fit everyone, either. There, uh, what we need is a diagnostic device to find out what the customer needs at different stages in their, their development in the life of faith. And what it looks like we have now is that device.

Notice anything missing? (I’m going to ignore the consideration of worship services and Bible classes as treatment – that’s way too easy a target to bother tackling.)

We need a diagnostic device? Huh? (And no, he’s clearly not talking about the Law of God showing us our sin.)

Where is Christ? Where is the Gospel? Where is the work of the Holy Spirit?

It is truly said that ‘The Gospel assumed is the Gospel denied’. But here with Monvee we have, at the very least, an implicit denial of not merely the Gospel, but also of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This, then, seems to be a Christianity that has no need for the work of the Christ or the Holy Spirit. This is a Christianity that has no need for a Triune God.

Thanks to Leadership Network and Monvee, we can dispense with the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in applying to us Christ and His righteousness. What we are given instead is a set of techniques and resources, a customized ‘growth plan’ for each individual.

I wonder how the church managed for two millennia without this crucial innovation?

In the light of what Bob Buford and others say in the video, take another look at John Ortberg’s opening words:

If you make the inside of the tree right, then the fruit will be good. If you change somebody’s habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, then inevitably the kind of stuff that they do will be the right kind of stuff. But that means I have to step back and ask the question, ‘How is it that those habitual patterns of thinking and feeling get changed?’

Is not the underlying assumption here, borne out by the rest of the video, that we each have within us the ability to change our ‘habitual patterns of thinking and feeling’? What we need, then, is to discover and apply the right kind of techniques to bring about this change, thus making ‘the inside of the tree right’. We need a growth plan, a programme. We need Monvee.

Take a look at this complete transcript of the video, and tell me whether I have misunderstood the message that it conveys:

JO = John Ortberg, author ‘Faith and Doubt’
BB = Bob Buford, Buford Foundation & Leadership Network
TW = Tom Wilson, CEO Leadership Network
JW = Jud White, Central Christian Church
MF = Mike Foster, xxxchurch.com founder
MB = Mike Breaux, author ‘Identity Theft’

JO: If you make the inside of the tree right, then the fruit will be good.

JO: If you change somebody’s habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, then inevitably the kind of stuff that they do will be the right kind of stuff.

JO: But that means I have to step back and ask the question, ‘How is it that those habitual patterns of thinking and feeling get changed?’

BB: A worship service isn’t the only treatment. A Bible class isn’t the only treatment. And, uh, a small group doesn’t fit everyone, either. There, uh, what we need is a diagnostic device to find out what the customer needs at different stages in their, their development in the life of faith. And what it looks like we have now is that device.

TW: I think that this Monvee’s going to be an innovation that’s gonna take the Church, uh, in the next century in, on into a whole new level.

JW: To me, it’s a, a remarkable idea that we can customize a growth plan for each individual that would want it. That would be open to pursing and going after it.

MF: And, the idea that I could take a really quick assessment, a really easy assessment, that Monvee’s going to understand how I think, and how I feel, and how I like to learn, and then create a plan for me. That’s exciting, and that’s what I want as a person. Uh, because, again, the desire is there. It’s just I gotta figure out the pathway. And a pathway that works for me.

MB: And I think as, as people start to find that it’s ok to walk with God in the way that He has wired you up, that you don’t have to do this as much as this. Uh, I think it’s going to be revolutionary for people.

JO: It offers the possibility of getting beyond what most churches do, which is, we try to mass-produce disciples of Jesus. And disciples of Jesus cannot be mass-produced, they have to be hand-crafted.

Monvee is built upon the assumption that it is possible to train and discipline a tree to think and feel in a particular way, and that this process will then make the tree right inside so that it produces good fruit.

There’s a term for this belief that we have the innate capability to become righteous, that we can obtain right moral standing before God by applying the appropriate disciplines to our lives through our own efforts.

That term is Pelagianism.

Pelagianism was condemned as a heresy by the Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Pelagianism denies original sin, the Biblical doctrine that we are dead in our sins and completely incapable of becoming righteous by our own endeavours. Pelagianism denies that, in our state of utter helplessness, we need Christ and His righteousness applied to us through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Based on this promotional video, I rather think that I detect the putrefying stench of Pelagianism emanating from the rotting foundations of Monvee.

Let me be clear. I am not here asserting that John Ortberg, or anyone from Leadership Network, actually holds Pelagian doctrine. But they certainly might like to re-examine the innovations that they are introducing to the church in the light of the historic, orthodox Christian faith that is set forth in the Scriptures. And they might wish to think rather more carefully about what they say and how they say it. Right now, they are not sounding as if they are orthodox.

Finally, I do agree with John Ortberg’s closing comment, that ‘disciples of Jesus cannot be mass produced, they have to be hand-crafted’.

But that statement leaves me slightly puzzled.

Monvee offers a growth plan that is churned out automatically by a piece of software based upon your responses to a standardized set of questions. How is that anything other than an attempt to mass-produce disciples? What, exactly, is hand-crafted about this approach?

No, the Church doesn’t need Monvee.

Rather, we need to abandon the failing seeker-driven megachurch model. We need a return to an age of sound doctrine, where each elder assumes personal responsibility for each sheep under his care.

Consider Richard Baxter, the Puritan pastor:

Concerning his time in Kidderminster, Baxter would write that ‘there was about one family in a street that worshipped God and called on his name’ upon his arrival; whereas ‘when I came away there was not past one family in the side of a street that did not do so.’ Baxter promoted a vigorous and personal pastoral ministry among his flock. He regularly visited them in their homes and personally catechized whole households until he was ejected from the Church of England in 1662 because of the Act of Uniformity. Though he would continue his preaching ministry, he would never again have pastoral charge over a congregation.

Richard Baxter and the Multi-Site Movement, www.9marks.org

Richard Baxter took a genuine ‘hand-crafted’ approach to making disciples. He believed that pastors should give personal attention to each individual in their flock.

Monvee might have ‘hand-crafted’ pretentions, but its boast is nothing more than the deceptive claim of an over-active marketer’s imagination.

I think, therefore, that I shall decline this particular innovation. I am instead going to stay with historic, orthodox Christianity. It has served the church well for nearly 2,000 years, and I am confident that I too can do no better than to trust alone in Christ and Him crucified. And I have the treasure of his pure and holy Word to feed me. Sola scriptura! Sola fide! Sola gratia! Solus Christus! Soli Deo gloria!

21 thoughts on “Spiritual growth? There’s an app for that”

    1. Welcome, pastorboy! Thank you for weighing-in on this. You did a great job there. I loved the correct emphasis on what we and the church are for – you round out a number of points that I don’t cover, and I’d encourage everyone to listen to what you have to say.

  1. This is shocking. “Disciples of Jesus have to be hand-crafted”? Okay, yes that is true, but hand-crafted by Whom? Am I wrong in thinking this Monvee thing is basically attempting to be a prosthetic Holy Spirit?

    It makes sense – let’s say you wake up one day and find that your congregation (or you yourself) has no power to overcome sin. You start to worry that this perhaps means you (or your congregation) are unregenerate. You can see that your “faith” isn’t producing works. So instead of crying out to Him for mercy, and asking Him to save you, you create a man-made, digital version of the Holy Spirit that tells you what you want to hear. This new Friend a.) doesn’t convict you of sin b.) doesn’t require you to worship it c.) doesn’t hold you to any kind of standard and d.) creates a spiritual growth plan for you that is based entirely on your own desires and comfort-zone. What could be better??

    He’s right when he says this is going to take Christianity to a whole new level, but what he doesn’t realize is that it is a much lower, hotter level. 🙁

    1. Tiffany, thank you for visiting and leaving an insightful comment! I think you have it in one – this is a substitute for the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. And the more I read about Monvee and John Ortberg’s related ‘The Me I Want to Be’ resources (seriously, that’s what they’re called), the more I rather suspect that they are also a substitute for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

      With regard to question of who is supposed to be hand-crafting disciples, I understand and agree entirely with the thrust of your point.

      Having said that, given that Jesus told his disciples to ‘go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you’, it isn’t out of bounds for us to talk about the role of the Church in making disciples. Yes, the Holy Spirit brings about change in our lives through His sanctifying work – our spiritual growth into Christ is entirely His work and none of ours. But part of the means that God has ordained to accomplish this is the proper care, feeding and instruction of the flock with the Gospel by the pastors/elders that He has appointed as overseers of the Church.

      One of the big problems with so much of the Church Growth Movement is that it has abandoned the idea that elders should be responsible for the doctrinal instruction of the flock (as Jesus says, ‘teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you’). That’s why I went back to Richard Baxter as an example of what proper care, feeding and instruction looks like.

      Anyway, you make great points! Thank you, and please stop by again 🙂

  2. Hi! Thanks for responding to my comment. Your response was clarifying. I have a tendency to drive home just one side of a point, without being fair – especially when confronted with something so ludicrous! So I appreciate your pointing out that we do actually have a call to make disciples.

    It’s amazing how prevalent the tendency to despise the Holy Spirit is. I think even in the most Bible-centric churches, people tend to gloss Him over. Maybe it is a reaction to the Pentecostal movement? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s that we dislike the tension created by the idea that we do the work (as in make disciples) but God does it through us by His sovereign will and foreknowledge.

    I like your blog, I will definitely be back. 🙂

    I hope you’ll take a look at my site as well. I’m a songwriter, and my goal is to support others like me who see their musical gifts as something given by God primarily for their local church (I’m not condemning music biz types, but I do think it’s the healthiest route for any Christian musician). My site is still pretty new, so I haven’t quite got the Mp3s up to listen to. But you can listen here too, if you feel inclined to: http://www.reverbnation.com/tiffanykimballwismer.

    *You can edit out this personal stuff if you want 🙂

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Tiffany, thank you for a great response 🙂

      I think you’re right that there is a tendency in the wider Western church (I’m not qualified to speak of the church elsewhere) to downplay the role of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that I have a definite answer as to why that is. I think your suggestion might well be part of it – in fact, I am sure it is. I think also that there is simply a lot of ignorance over exactly what His role is, as set out in Scripture.

      I have spent a number of years past in Pentecostal and soft-charismatic circles, and I rather think that the emphasis there (at least, it used to be, when I was among them) tends to be on the Holy Spirit as the one who gives spiritual gifts, and perhaps as the One who indwells and ‘enables us to live a holy life’ (obviously, I would now want to nuance any interpretation of that latter statement!). The Holy Spirit’s sovereign work in regeneration and sanctification is thus often overlooked. It was only when I started seriously reading and listening to Reformed and Lutheran theologians that I began to grasp how immense a role the Holy Spirit plays. People forget that Calvin is often thought of as the theologian of the Holy Spirit!

      I should probably qualify what I said about the church making disciples. Although we participate, I’d assert that it is God alone who is initiator of the work (causing and enabling us to do it), and that He alone is the one who makes it fruitful. He is everything. We are nothing. All the glory is His, for we are His workmanship in Christ. I did not mean in any way to deny that God alone is the one who works salvation and sanctification in our lives. As Paul said:

      ‘Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.’ (1 Cor. 3:5–9, NKJV)

      It’s probably better to read that snippet in its wider context, but I think you’ll understand the point I am trying to make.

      I also think that there is a tendency to downplay (or outright deny) the sovereignty of God in all matters of our life and faith, and the overlooking of the work of the Holy Spirit is probably partly due to that. Our sinful nature doesn’t like the fact that none of us deserves anything than God’s fierce wrath and His eternal condemnation. It doesn’t like the fact that God sovereignly chooses whom to save and whom to pass over – not based upon anything we do, but merely according to the good pleasure of His perfect will. And our sinful nature doesn’t like the fact that we can contribute nothing to our salvation (apart from our sin!), and nothing to our sanctification.

      Our new regenerate nature, however, clings to these precious truths – at least, if we have been well taught! The work is all of Him, and none of us! But, as we see in Rom. 7, the two natures are at war with each other in this life, and we struggle daily. That struggle points us constantly back to Christ, to trust in His merits alone for our salvation and sanctification. The reality of the struggle causes us to give up any pretentions to our own ability to make ourselves holy or to live a holy life. Instead, we trust in Him alone and seek Him daily to work in us by His Holy Spirit to cause us to live in a way that brings Him glory.

      Now, concerning your website – thank you for the link! I’d love to take a look at it, and I shall look forward to doing so properly in the very near future. I shall certainly listen to what you have available as well. I think it’s great that you are using your God-given abilities to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ and to glorify Him. Paul exhorts the Ephesians to speak ‘to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. It sounds like you’re putting that into practice!

      Peace and grace to you in our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

  3. Okay one more post and then I’ll stop. I just have to know – has anyone tried the “Monvee beta” thing? I just went to the Monvee website (I won’t honor them with a link) and there’s a free trial that you can register for. I’m morbidly curious but probably not curious enough to actually sign up! Has anybody explored the inner-workings of this thing? What is it like?

    1. My friends the Sola Sisters have found quite a few bits and pieces relating to Monvee elsewhere, but the ‘free trial’ seems to require a code from John Ortberg’s The Me I Want to Be book. There’s also a separate page where pastors can sign up, but I don’t qualify for that (and I’m not prepared to be dishonest for the sake of conducting research).

      What I have seen thus far, though, makes me more confident of the things I have written in this article, not less so. I am, of course, willing to correct anything I’ve said if evidence to the contrary arises! One thing is absolutely plain, and that is that John Ortberg has been drinking deeply at the well of Dallas Willard and Henri Nouwen – this is not a good thing.

  4. It’s as if they’re saying ‘what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked; so let’s do it some more!’
    Their ‘god’ seems to need sooo much help. I believe I’ll stick with the real Triune God and His Word Alone.

  5. I am a member of one of these “Mega-Churches” and this past weekend they pitched this Monvee thing. Without knowing what it was, and given more than a little bit of info on it other than it is a tool for spiritual growth, I must admit I was excited to see what it was. Then we are told about the psych profile business used to fine tune our spiritual growth tool. That initially didn’t make me to suspicious. After all, my church is a God fearing, Christ loving, tough on sin, …yes, ‘seeker’ church. But, then we are told the tool will cost us $40 ea. And, that we are a BETA site. Why wouldn’t our church offer a growth tool to us free of charge? Or at least at an extremely low cost (as in just high enough to cover some extra cost the church may take on). Immediately warning bells went off and I knew I needed to find out more about this.
    I have found everything on Monvee from its a government organized conspiracy to control our minds to a perfect new tool to help people grow in their faith. This article is the best I’ve found so far. Thank you for shedding light on this. I think you’ve described my suspicions to a ‘T’.
    It appears the creators of Monvee, and those using it, feel a need for some reason to use something other than Christ, the Spirit of God, and the Bible to further a person’s spiritual growth.
    My personal experience is that the best tool for spiritual growth is not a web-based piece of software, but rather individual disciplines and real relationships with believers navigating their way through scripture together, praying together, and supporting each other.
    Thanks for your insight.

    1. Ben, thank you so much for commenting and sharing your first-hand experiences. I’d love to hear from you again if you find out more about Monvee over the coming weeks as your church runs with this.

  6. While I’m curious about Monvee specifically (as a church leader in my local, smaller church) I’m more curious about how the church can correctly use technology in the digital age to further peoples individual discipleship walks. Lets face it, the local ma and pa churches do NOT appeal to the mainstream in society. The traditional church model (including the mega church format, now a step behind current generations) incorporates the “feed me” format of learning, which does not function in ANY type of personal growth and education model for the digital generations. Why do younger (and older, tech capable people) people read books or even watch full length television shows when they can interact with online programs and apps and engage personally (or seemingly personally) with those programs?
    The truth is, the age of the internet has created both social and educational networks for everything successfully, except perhaps, true disciples on a journey towards a better understanding of God and their relationship with him. I’ve been personally charged for sometime in coming up with an educational hub for personal spiritual growth that ISN’T limited to a singular dimensional portal of guided regular feedings. My hope is that Monvee could be that, though I’ve not been able to see it in practice yet either.

    The younger generations have no obligations to their local churches, and with the inability to be the type of charismatic and pragmatic, yet challenging sources of knowledge that younger generations can find elsewhere, local churches will continue to fail until they adapt their methods (not their message, just their methods) in which they reach the masses.

    My hope would be that Monvee would create a custom recommended path for you, but STILL give you the freedom to explore your own personal journey in a dynamic way, rather than a static way. Help Christians identify their weaknesses, but give them a multilayered path with multiple sources of learning that they can explore on their own, at their own pace. It IS possible to let the holy spirit into the digital world, but the system has to be set up correctly and intentionally to make that happen.
    Once I know for sure whether Monvee does this, I’ll know whether to recommend it to our church and denomination, or whether I have to continue in my struggle to find or create something as a better alternative.
    One thing I know for sure is that while more and more people are leaving their churches and faith at record numbers, more and more people are still searching for God, as one of the top 10 google searches continues to be the question “Who, what or where is God?” For that reason, it stands to reason that the correct minded, hearts-in-teh-right-place people need to create a portal for that knowledge. Obviously there is no simple answer, and no absolute right answer. But there can be a “right” journey towards that answer, if such a place could be created.

  7. Unfortunately our church has bought into the Monvee “experience” – we’ve been having a sermon series based on “The Me God Wants Me To Be,” and they’ve been selling the packs at $50 a pop ($100 for a couple). (We are about to join this church after several years of searching, but this throws up some red flags).

    I took the online Monvee evaluation – I was very excited about the idea of being evaluated, I like quizzes, I want to grow in my spiritual life… but to my shock and dismay the spiritual inhibitor that I have, according to the 26 quick and easy questions is…”Words that describe your spiritual inhibitor are sexual immorality, impurity, passion, and sensuality. Sometimes those wrong desires can involve misuse of power.” I spent a couple weeks mulling this over, trying to figure out how I, who have only been with my husband, and in fact have often been somewhat a prude, can be considered sexually immoral. Did these photos and graphs that I responded to somehow know that I had been molested as a child, a victim of incest? When I was saved by Jesus Christ as a teenager, He transformed me. He rescued me. He erased my past.

    I wanted to talk to our pastor about it but he refers all Monvee issues to the associate pastor. I wasn’t comfortable talking about this with the associate pastor. I finally told my husband how upset I was about it, and he (who is not an enthusiastic quiz taker) took the assessment. His spiritual inhibitor was as ridiculously wrong as mine was. I know him well enough to see that (we’ve been married 31 years), just as he knows me well enough to know that I was getting “nutted up” about nothing.

    My husband and I wonder: is this a scam? Has our church been “taken in?” by a charismatic salesperson? How many people will believe what this software says about them? How many people will leave the church because of it? How well did the church look into this before buying into it? Did all the elders take the evaluation?

    I’ve been impressed by the biblical foundation of this church. I am surprised that they’ve bought into something which may not be biblically sound.

    There is no way that a 26 question computer evaluation can or should make the kind of judgments this does about someone’s spiritual character. We will be talking to the church leaders about it. The program started about a month ago, I’m hoping that not too much damage has been done.

    1. Thank you for your first-hand experiences, Ann.

      The more of these that I hear, the more concerned about Monvee I become:

      First, where is our needing to be profiled and diagnosed for spiritual inhibiters taught in Scripture? Rather, Scripture speaks of a transformation by the renewing of our minds, as the Holy Spirit applies the Gospel of Christ to us through His word.

      Second, where is the hard scientific evidence that the Monvee tests diagnose anything at all, let alone that its recommendations are useful? I wonder whether you or your Church were provided with any objective evidence supporting its validity?

      The whole thing smacks more than a little of a pursuit of hidden, secret revelation about ourselves through extra-Biblical means. So, I wonder, how is Monvee intrinsically different from various forms of divination, such as astrology?

      Anyway, enough of my musings. Thank you again for sharing your very helpful first-hand observations.

  8. Hi, I am reading this on Easterday in 2016. This morning I noticed our pastor talked in his ‘handout’ he always issues to go together with his preaching named one “John Ortberg”. As I was already familiar with him naming Rick Warren, Dallas Willard and the likes I had some idea of who John Ortberg would be.

    Googling his name soon learned John is the author of books with titles such as ‘The ME I want to be’ and the tempting ‘The life you always wanted’. As I expected.

    But, what really surprised me was the Monvee-method… That’s a new level reached…

    There’s a lot to say about this method and you have done so in this article. After reading and thinking a bit about ‘Monvee’ the question that rose in my head was: what is behind all this? Why do people even create it, invent it, produce it? What kind of ‘need’ is satisfied by realizing Monvee?
    I thought about that for a while and my conclusion is this: it really is a certain-kind-of-pastor thing.
    What kind of pastor then?
    The kind of pastor that really NEEDS to see succes on his hard work, and succes means growth in terms of numbers or visible, noticable devotion.
    And I think nowhere in the Bible God has promised us any succes. That goes for all his followers, pastors not excluded.

    Secondly, it is a tool that satisfies the needs of all those christians that have a similar attitude towards their Christian life: they need to see succes, most likely in their deeds, their attitude and their devotion. They want to ‘GROW’.

    That is what I hear for quite some years now: do you feel the need to grow in Christ?
    Well, there is this course, this evening, this book, this method…

    The strange thing is, when this question is asked, my heart always tells me that I do not feel that need. And while this worries me as so many obviously do feel that need and I don’t, there is always this second thought at the same time:

    their solution always focuses on ME.

    I want to grow in Christ.
    I want to see more devotion in MY life.
    I want to do good deeds.
    I want to be a better ME.

    It is the same thing that worries me in the titles of John’s books: they are about Me, and I do not need ME. I need Christ.

    Heaven help us.

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