Concerns about Matt Chandler’s The Village Church

I happened to visit Apprising Ministries website today and when I spied a post about Matt Chandler and The Village Church what I read troubled me greatly.

First, Silva pointed out the covenant for membership at the church. Pretty common these days, but I have yet to be convinced that such covenants are Biblical. James 5:12 says, “Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no, or you will be condemned.” Covenanting with a church even with pure motives puts a person under condemnation later when they fall short of their promises — as practically every person will.

I visited The Village Church website for myself to view this covenant document myself.

Silva did not get into the biblical or unbiblical nature of covenants. Rather he went on to examine what The Village Church is requiring of its members and was particularly concerned about the requirement of “spiritual disciplines” which you can see in the second bullet point below:Those words also got my attention. Silva continued: “The issue now becomes what is meant by ‘practice of spiritual disciplines.’ After-all, it could simply mean practicing what’s commonly referred to as the means of God’s grace e.g. in Acts 2:42. It wouldn’t automatically mean that Matt Chandler and his elders are telling their covenant members that they must practice spurious CSM.” (Silva uses CSM as an abbreviation for Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism)

Silva found the answer in the membership section of TVC’s website devoted to Frequently Asked Questions where Dallas Willard’s definition of spiritual disciplines was praised and his and Richard Foster’s books were recommended.

How sad to find that Chandler’s church is not only endorsing books about contemplative spirituality, but actually requiring its members practice “spiritual disciplines. Pastor Gary Gilley lays out the reasons such practices are unbiblical in this article (and exposes Foster’s many theological problems). I pray that Chandler and others in The Village Church would be awakened to the dangers of these mystical practices.

Related articles:

101 of Contemplative Prayer - from Stand Up For the Truth

Richard Foster, A Celebration of Deception – Critical Issues Commentary

Biblical Silence vs. Mystical Silence – Do Not Be Surprised

Related books:

A Time of Departing - Ray Yungen

About Julia

Here's what you might like to know about me. My name is Julia and I'm a Christian. I love the Bible and, much less importantly, a good steak. My goal with this site is to share the truth of scripture with believer and non-believer alike, and to specifically encourage believers to study and know the Bible, and warn them of false teachings in and around the church. Romans 1:16-17 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith."
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4 Responses to Concerns about Matt Chandler’s The Village Church

  1. rorycbyrd says:

    Okay, I am not 100% sure why you needed to write about the Village Church and the method it uses when it comes to their churches “membership.” I do not go to that church nor have I ever heard of it, but who are we to judge the “covenant” that folk’s in that community of believers enter. “Let the one who is blameless cast the first stone” It is not our place to point out what is wrong with other churches. If they are alive and bringing people into a saving knowledge of Christ, then we should be supporting them and championing their cause….that being said, I respect your opinion and you have every right to that opinion, but bashing the bride of Christ over what you believe to be bad methodology, in my opinion, is just not good.

    Upon further examining of what the Village Church “means” (quotes because only they know what they meant) I feel like when they address “Spiritual disciplines” it is really pointing folks to those scriptures they listed. If you look at just Ephesians 5:1-21, you can see that “spiritual disciplines” are things like leading a holy life, that is free from sexual immorality. Things like, “nor should there be any greed…” These types of things is what I believe they meant.

    But thats the beautiful part of life, right? We are all entitled to our own opinions and beliefs. It is how we were created, and therefore is how we live. Hope I didn’t come across as rude…just wanted to reply to what I saw.

    Thanks.

    • Julia says:

      Thank you for your question. My intention in writing about The Village Church was my sincere desire for believers everywhere not to be led astray into mystical practices (such as the practice of “silence” advocated by Foster). The membership covenant came into it because it explicitly requires that church members agree to practice spiritual disciplines (in addition to Bible reading, prayer and fellowship).

      My opposition to membership covenants is a general one. I disagree with the practice and have yet to have someone share a compelling Biblical argument for such covenants with me. If someone would like to do that I am happy to listen and consider it. I agree there are many pragmatic reasons for such covenants, but the Bible and not pragmatism is supposed to be the ruling authority in the life of every believer.

      As for the spiritual disciplines if you read the FAQ page I linked it is obvious the practices are not as you suggest “leading a holy life, that is free from sexual immorality. Things like, “nor should there be any greed…” These types of things is what I believe they meant.”

      It expressly delineates the teachings of Willard and Foster on the spiritual disciplines. I am attempting to warn people that what Willard and Foster are teaching are unbiblical practices. So it is extremely concerning that a church would be requiring those under its care to swear to practice unbiblical “disciplines.”

      I hope that answers your question.

      God bless!

      • rorycbyrd says:

        Absolutely! Thanks for the reply! I am glad you have educated opinions. It is a real breath of fresh air as opposed to some people who simply post opinions that aren’t grounded in facts or research.

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