“A Whole New Species of Church Is Emerging”

by Tamara Hartzell
In the Name of Purpose

There is a “Christian” book that epitomizes the current path of the counterfeit Christianity, which is emerging as the old faith crumbles away. Although there are many such books published now, Growing Spiritual Redwoods by William Easum and Thomas Bandy1 provides a clear illustration of the “new way of thinking,” and has been acclaimed as “perhaps the best book about church transformation.”2

Bill Easum is “one of the pioneering pastors of the church growth movement,” and is “one of the most highly respected church consultants and Christian futurists in North America.”3 Tom Bandy “consults with congregations for church growth and transformation,” and “congregational and denominational leaders regard Tom as one of the leading thinkers and writers today.”4 The two joined forces to form Easum, Bandy and Associates, which consults “with churches of every size and culture” and links “countless” leaders through “one of the largest religious interactive websites in North America.”5

In spite of the blatant (New Age) New Spirituality in their book, Growing Spiritual Redwoods has received high praises by men who are popular leaders themselves in today’s Christianity. Rick Warren, Lyle Schaller, and Leonard Sweet–whose own books are self-evident that he has fallen for the (New Age) New Spirituality6–have given this book the following endorsements:

“This may be the most significant study book for congregational leaders published in this century.”–Lyle Schaller (Growing Spiritual Redwoods–front cover)

“An epoch-marking–if not epoch-making-book. For a church living off of checks that reality won’t cash, this book is like an acid bath accounting from the bank examiners. There is no better audit of the collapse of the Christendom era, and no better audition for how to do ministry in the new world, than this one.”–Leonard Sweet (GSR; back cover)

“Every passage of this book contains spiritual nuggets of truth that can help your church to grow healthy and strong.”–Rick Warren (GSR; back cover)

In addition to this glowing endorsement, after he wrote The Purpose Driven Life, Growing Spiritual Redwoods was given five stars in one of Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox newsletters for 2003.7 And on Easum and Bandy’s website under, “What Christian leaders have to say about Tom Bandy,” the following praise by Rick Warren is still posted (more praise by Leonard Sweet and also by Brian McLaren is included there as well):

“‘I try to read everything Tom Bandy writes. He is always thought-provoking and helpful.'”–Rick Warren 8

According to Tom Bandy, “a whole new species of church is emerging.” This emerging church is “not a machine”–“preoccupied with theological purity, ideological correctness, and behavioral conformity”–but “an organism.” This “organism” “worships differently, thinks differently, and depends on an entirely different kind of leadership.”9 This “new species of church” is the “Spiritual Redwood” growing in the midst of the diverse, cultural “forest” (GSR; p. 21). Click here for endnotes and to read this entire chapter from In the Name of Purpose.

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