— Sean McDowell (@Sean_McDowell) September 23, 2017
If one says the name Colonial Hills Baptist Church (Indianapolis, IN), then you might remember having seen the 20/20 news report about the church’s publicly blaming/shaming and shunning a statutory rape victim, while failing to properly report her perpetrator. Chuck Phelps was the presiding pastor at that time, and he still is the senior pastor. If you think the church bettered after the debacle, then you are sadly mistaken.
Colonial Hills recently brought on a new international ministries development consultant, who is associated strongly with the cult known as Falls Baptist Church (FBC) in Menomonee Falls, WI. Matthew Barfield, also a VP at IPM, recently spoke (February 19, 2017) at FBC’s annual Faith Promise Giving special meeting, and his sermon is a proper example of what a cult leader sounds like when demanding money.
One can listen to the audio recording HERE, if FBC will not remove the recording. I provide a correctional critique of his “sermon” below. The text of his message is Matthew 26. [See also John 12, Luke 7 & Mark 14]
>>Barfield’s sermon is not bringing out of the text what is there, but he is using the text as a platform to preach his own talking points… which include some self-given accolades on his mastery of language(s) and ministerial exploits.
- The full context of the biblical account is not focused on Mary’s gift or on the doctrine of giving (contrary to what Barfield’s sermon leads one to believe) but on her great love for and belief of Jesus. Mary knew that she had been forgiven much by Jesus; and she was moved to loving action, due to her believing Jesus’ death would be soon. That was a thing even the Disciples themselves did not believe at that time. Ironically, the disciples were the ones misfocused on the gift and “giving,” just like Barfield.
- Mary had been a prostitute. Would many churches like FBC or Colonial Hills allow a suddenly repentant prostitute to give the result of her “wages” to Jesus, let alone command that she be remembered all over the world for it? Jesus did.
- “She did what she could” to Barfield means she sacrificed greatly in her gift giving. Contextually, it means nothing other than, A: this was a pre-purchased supply, out of what she already possessed, not what she did not have; B: Mary could not prevent His death, but she could honor His death!! She did what she could.
- Mary’s anointing Jesus was indeed costly as Barfield notes, but the modern-day equivalent would be to give Jesus embalming fluid. That’s shockingly practical & not exactly flattering. The act sent a poignant, albeit worshipful message. The ointment Mary poured out was used in ancient days to keep stink of death down, but she used it to anoint Him before His death. In contrast, the Pharisees and disciples did not believe; and so, they did not offer to customarily wash & dry Jesus’s feet. The context draws great attention to this contrast. She believed He would die, so she anointed Him is burial ointment. They believed he would not die as Messiah, so they gave Him no common courtesy at all. The only application to be drawn from this context is that disbelievers today still refuse to give Jesus honor… not that believers must give extravagantly, to prove they are truly believers.
- Mary was giving directly to Jesus’ physical body. Mary was NOT giving to fund missions or raise the budget via “faith promise” (pledging what she did not have on “faith”). In fact, Jesus rebuked the Disciples (particularly Judas) for making the suggestion that the money should have been used for the “Jesus mission fund.” [It is doubly ironic that Barfield is raising funds for missions. He is more Judas than he knows.]
- Jesus clearly states the purpose of the passage, when He commands that Mary should be remembered for what she did, after saying she did it for His burial (v. 13). In contrast and in illogic, Barfield charges the audience to give, or they may not be a true believer. If they truly believe in Christ’s return, then they should give extravagantly in light of Jesus’ return, just as Mary gave extravagantly (in light of His death). There’s nothing like a cult leader telling people to give, or else they may not truly be a believer (i.e. headed for Hell & damnation); and by the chance they are a genuine believer, then they certainly won’t have rewards in Heaven unless they give like Mary—extravagantly.
>>Barfield—with his many appeals for “surrender”—creates (as a cult always does) a false dichotomy between the sacred & the secular, between “the ministry / mission field” and a secular profession… which—in reality—leads to the discontent Barfield describes as a common thought pattern among clergy, when people are not giving enough to missions. Instead, missionaries should just hold “tent-making” jobs like the Apostle Paul.
>>Barfield’s allusion to 2 Corinthians 8 and the example of the Apostle Paul receiving gifts from the Corinthians vs. Macedonians is stretched beyond the context. The context is DISASTER RELIEF for fellow churches to relieve the suffering of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:4). It was a one-time offering asked to be received… not an every year or even every month or week collection. In fact, the Bible never commands the New Testament believer to give a tithe. The passage actually teaches that churches are supposed to note when other churches have endure peril, and then, seek to relieve their plight by whatever means possible. More importantly, Mary’s gift (Matthew 26) was also a 1 time gift… not an annual thing.
>>Barfield forgets verses 12-13 of 2 Corinthians 8, which state believers should give out of what they have AND not give in a way that causes themselves to be in need… which also happens to make Faith Promise Giving unbiblical.
>>Barfield directly implies—near the end of the sermon—that if someone does not give like Mary, then he/she does not love Jesus the way He loves us… and is on the side of Judas. That is a twisting of the Scriptures!
Thankfully, the Bible does not teach anything close to “Faith Promise Giving.” In fact, the New Testament believer is never instructed to give a “tithe.” Rather, the Bible teaches free-will & joy-filled giving to those who are in need, but not in such a way as to put the giver in need. There may be ocaisions where disaster strikes and sacrifices are warranted, so that others may have food and shelter and clothing; but to state that extravagant giving is expected regularly by God… or, to say that one may not truly believe if he does not give extravagantly… is sheer cult tactic by a cult leader.
The following links provide both a PowerPoint presentation and audio recordings, which walk the student through the book of Micah. This 2,757 year old book overflows with societal relevance and prophecies that guide our present-day faith and inform our worldview in light of current events.
This Worship Guide is not meant to create “traditions of men” but merely to make it easy for individuals and families to worship well during the week we celebrate our Lord’s sacrifice and resurrection.
The reader will note that I hold to a Wednesday evening Lord’s Supper and a Thursday crucifixion. This is not meant to be controversial on my part, but it is the best reconciliation I can make with the scriptural data that contradicts Roman Catholic tradition (as handed down to Protestants).
Passion Week / Holy Week Worship Guide
Sunday – 9th: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Application: Declare the King, and Rejoice!
[Activities: Decide to be someone who lends yourself and your goods “for the Master’s use.” Decide to believe the Master prepares supply for His work ahead of time (ex. Donkey colt). Anything to do with Palm branches, Learn the meaning of “Hosanna!” Remember true leadership is first humble (ex. Jesus’ riding on the colt of a donkey). Stay with friends.]
Monday – 10th: Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem, Curses the Fig Tree & Purges the Temple of Crooked Religious Leaders/Merchants
Application: Reflect on true worship and fruitfulness.
[Activities: Think of ways to make it possible & easy for the outcasts and poor and spiritually abused/overburdened to worship freely. Anything to do with figs and fig trees; Remember that God is not done with Israel (analogous to the cursed Fig Tree), according to Romans 11. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the Lord’s Prayer. Stay with friends.]
Tuesday – 11th: Jesus Occupies the Temple and Refutes the Pharisees / Teaches Prophecy.
Application: Allow the Master to occupy your heart with His Living Truth.
[Activities: Learn Jesus’ teachings that combat the Pharisees. Give to the needy; Give yourself to God; Give back to governments what they create. Reflect on the cursed fig tree and being full of faith. Reflect on not perverting the Good News by Religious Law, disbelief and Traditions of Men. Consider the prophetic future and God’s plans for humanity; be ready & hopeful. Stay with friends.]
Wednesday – 12th: Jesus observes Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover and Institutes His Supper. He observed the last Passach (Passover) on evening of, due to Jerusalem pilgrimage allowance; He instituted Lord’s Supper/Lord’sTable/Communion as a commemoration of the New Covenant in His blood, seeing the next day He would be the prophetic Passover Lamb to take away the sins of the world.
Application: Remember that Jesus was betrayed by one of His own. Remember the all the Disciples forsook Him. Remember He did this all joyfully and with Thanks, and the Lord’s Supper commemorates His death and resurrection “until He comes again.”
[Activities: Observe communion and foot washing. Sing Psalms, Hymns & spiritual songs in the open air. Stay with friends. Watch and pray well into the night, commit to complete devotion (i.e. love with heart, soul, strength and mind; Deuteronomy 6) and faithfulness to Jesus; resolve to keep the faith, no matter the cost.]
Thursday – 13th: Jesus endures 6 trials, scourging and crucifixion. Passover lambs slain from 3-5pm.
Application: Recognize Jesus as The Lamb of God, who are away our sins.
[Activities: Remember Jesus’ 7 sayings (and their meaning) on the Cross. Read Isaiah 53 and the Gospel Crucifixion accounts and Psalms 22 & 103
- “Father, forgive them…”
- “Today…with me in paradise”
- “Woman, behold thy son…” [darkness: noon – 3 pm] Honor mothers.
- “My God, My God…”
- “I thirst”
- “It is finished”
- “Into Thy hands…”
Also, an earthquake happened, and the graves opened and the Temple veil rent. Read Gospel accounts of this & the Book of Hebrews. Jesus taken off the cross at evening and hurried by sundown (start of Jewish new day).]
*1st Night in Tomb*
Friday – 14th: Jesus being in the grave, the Romans seal the tomb at Jew’s request. The women would have prepared anointing oils / spices on this day.
Application: There is a time to grieve; and even Jesus’ enemies fear His Resurrection.
[Activities: Learn about wax seals on paper and objects… and how they represent authority. Read Book of Revelation, wherein Jesus opens the seals. Learn about anointing oils and spices. Learn about / practice good bereavement ministry.]
*1st Day & 2nd Night in Tomb*
Saturday – 15th: Jesus still in the grave. Rest (Shabbat)
Application: Remember that God is at work in every circumstance, which means we can rest/trust in Him…even in the darkest/loneliest times. He has completed all the work, and He gives life and opportunity for sustenance.
[Activities: Take off from work but do remember to do good. Do trust-building group/family activities. Honor Fathers.]
*2nd Day & 3rd Night in Tomb*
Sunday – 16th: Resurrection before Dawn (very early in the morning the women came, He already was risen just as He predicted more than 3 times).
Application: Recognize the prophetic aspect of “Feast of First Fruits.”
*Arose on the 3rd Day*
[Activities: Worship & Declare the Risen Messiah/Savior; Read 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4]
OTHER RESOURCES: (On the Holy Week Timeline and Harmony of the Gospels)