|Historical Timeline Of
The Quail Springs Church of Christ
In May of 1990 Ronnie White and several Quail Springs leaders went to the Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois for a leadership conference. They came back with new ideas about improving the church.
The Willow Creek Community Church is a megachurch in the Chicago area with 26,000 attendees. They have one main church and seven “regional congregations” spread throughout the city. Their slogan is “One church, many locations”. Their size is attributed to certain “church growth” techniques that supposedly can be applied by any denomination.
Willow Creek Community Church
In 1992 a network of “like-minded” churches was set up under their leadership called the Willow Creek Association which now has 13,000 member churches in 45 countries. Although these churches come from 90 denominations, because of the Willow Creek leadership and influence, they have certain common characteristics that identify them as a quasi “Willow Creek” denomination, although this is denied.
They train church leaders from other denominations, including instructions for introducing their methods into existing “traditional” congregations. Trainees are taught a procedure for gradually “transitioning” an existing congregation, which includes instructions for dealing with those who oppose the innovations. They are told that the loss of a certain percentage of the membership who resist change is inevitable and must be expected as part of the price for introducing “church growth” methods. Thus, in effect, they teach church leaders how to take over existing “traditional” churches.
The first step of their method is to change the Sunday service from being designed to edify Christians (which is Biblical) into something that is attractive to secular, unchurched people. This includes using “contemporary” music similar to a rock band. Although it is denied, observers recognize this as an entertainment orientation.
"Worship" at Willow Creek
"Worship" at Quail Springs in 2014
In churches that do not use instrumental music they first introduce a contemporary “worship team” composed of men and women who supposedly “lead” the singing. In practice this degrades the singing of the congregation because many people are not able to sing the “contemporary” songs and others prefer to just listen to the “nice music”. At a later stage the “worship team” becomes a contemporary-style band. This is called “worship” although watching and listening to people play drums and dance around on the stage playing guitars does not comply with the New Testament definition of worship!
The Willow Creek Church is “gender inclusive” and includes women as “elders”. On their website they twist the Biblical qualification that an elder “must be the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6) to “Elders, if married, must be devoted spouses” (http://www.willowcreek.org/en/about/elders-and-leadership/elder-qualifications downloaded on February 27, 2017).
Although their church growth methods are marketed as being doctrinally neutral, the attempt to please the masses causes a watering-down of doctrine and a movement toward including anyone who “believes in Jesus”.
In lectures in Germany many years ago, Rubel Shelly said that he preferred to view the church as an amoeba with fuzzy edges rather than as a circle with a definite distinction between who is and who is not in the church. I personally found the comparision of the Lord’s church to an amoeba as disgusting. In a letter afterwards I reminded him that in Scripture Zion has "a great high wall" and that you are either in or out (Revelation 21:12, 27)!
Willow Creek teaches salvation by faith only, which makes it much easier for them to “make converts” than if they preached the gospel as it is preached in the Book of Acts. On their website they state: “All who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are united with Him as members of His body, the one true church” and “Baptism isn’t a prerequisite for salvation” (Downloaded on February 24, 2017).
Many years ago, a member of the church of Christ asked Billy Graham why he - although a Baptist - did not include teaching on baptism by immersion in his crusades. He replied, “You preach your way and you’ll make ten converts. My way, I’ll make 10,000 converts.” The question is, of course, converts to what? High on the devil’s agenda, in addition to tempting people to sin, is making people think they are saved when they are not!
Willow Creek promotes having one central church with satellite churches throughout the city. Others view this as arrogant and hierarchical. Actually, there is a much larger megachurch in the Chicago area. It has 2.2 million adherents and 346 satellite churches! It is called the Roman Catholic Church.