A CRITIQUE OF MISSION-SHAPED COMMUNITIES: MARK STIBBE AND HOLY TRINITY CHURCH LEICESTER
The Mission-Shaped Community agenda at Holy Trinity Leicester has been pioneered as a programme since September 2009
The model for Holy Trinity’s mission shaped communities originated with Mark Stibbe. Stibbe was previously the vicar at St Andrews Church in Chorleywood for twelve years, leaving in 2008 to establish The Fathers Heart Trust. He is also a prolific writer and a conference speaker and apparently very well thought of by many Christians. However, before joining many others who go into ecstasies about Mark Stibbe, perhaps a few checks should be made.
Stibbe has been associated with many questionable people from a biblical point of view. He co-authored a book with Gerald Coates and RT Kendal called By Their Fruits in 2001.
Gerald Coates theology throws up a number of concerns: He denies the infallibility or sufficiency of scripture. He is proven to be a false prophet. He stated that the March for Jesus was a prophetic act which claims the ground for God by shifting the spiritual powers that have been allocated in the nations..... (Gerald Coates,March For Jesus,p. 131)
The Rapture idea is ridiculous...One has to conclude that the secret rapture theory may be evangelical, but is nonetheless unbiblical. It is a grotesque idea- the rapture may be a most agreeable doctrine for cowards, but it is nothing better than wishful thinking and must be relegated to the area of myth and fantasy” (Gerald Coates,What On Earth Is This Kingdom. 36)
* Though the timing of the rapture of the church is the subject of some debate, there are clear Biblical references confirming the rapture of true believers: John 14/1-3; Acts 1/9-11; 1 Corinthians 15/51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4/16-17.
RT Kendal supported the failed revival at Toronto and aligned himself with homosexual alcoholic Paul Cain of the so called Kansas City prophets and also Maurice Cerullo who was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 10 2005 on three counts of filing false individual income tax returns; he is also criticised for dubious fundraising practices. In fact Stibbe was very much part and parcel of the infestation of false teachers who descended on Toronto and was closely involved with convicted homosexual paedophile and adulterer Todd Bentley. Stibbe promoted the so called ‘third wave’ Toronto ‘blessing’ at Chorleywood. He went along with the heresy of Bentley’s so called ‘healing angel’ named ‘Emma’ amongst other questionable manifestations.
Stibbe’s prophetic interpretation of Ezekiel 47 to fit Toronto was an extraordinary claim - this makes him a false prophet since no revival has taken place, only shame and disgrace. Some very interesting articles to read are:
When Todd Bentley was exposed Stibbe wrote:
I wrote and expressed my concern for Todd many months ago – on Day 40 of the outpouring in fact – because I sensed there were some major issues that he needed to take time out to address. Sadly this warning came to nothing. We must understand that high-profile, charismatic leaders are often wounded, flawed people. We mustn’t put them on a pedestal and idealise their character because of the potency of their charisma.
Stibbe is undoubtedly a very clever man who deliberately makes vague open ended statements without actually saying anything specific. If we have concern over ‘some major issues’ then further action is needed if our warnings are unheeded. It was Stibbe’s responsibility to take these concerns further and go public when he had the opportunity to do so for the protection of the flock. Stibbe has managed to extricate himself from the situation in many people’s eyes. His vague ‘sensed concerns’ perhaps indicate that he had other interests to consider.
Rev Dr Mark Stibbe should declare the millions he is set to make from his Todd Bentley franchise. Trevor Baker in Dudley where Stibbe endorsed Todd has taken over £1 million and set for £5 million at The NEC in September. Stibbe like Charismatic Anglican leaders in the late 1970s may defect to become one of CP Wagner's 240 Apostles to rule the earth. Todd is one Apostle and June 23 in Lakeland saw the depth of organisation of the Apostolic Alignment publicly knighting him. www.churchtimes.co.uk/blog_post.asp?id=58565
Many people from different churches attended Stibbe’s Leicester conference hosted by Assemblies of God Trinity Life Church in 2011. They were each relieved of £20 for the dubious privilege of hearing him speak about the Father Heart of God. Stibbe actually charges money for speaking at conferences, but this is not the pattern of Jesus Christ and the apostles. By default this practice of charging money for the (so called) gospel excludes many people that God specifically wants to bless i.e.the poor.
You received without payment; give without payment. (Matthew 10/8)
What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9/18)
All this speaks volumes about the discernment of the blind guides (church leaders) in Leicester who encouraged their congregations to attend Stibbe's conference. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15/14)
Stibbe also has links with the heretic John Arnott on his website www.fathershousetrust.com. Arnott whose mentor was Benny Hinn, leads Catch the Fire Ministries, formerly Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, now severely depleted. John Arnott has changed the definition of prophecy by saying that it does not have to be 100% accurate. That must make it ok for Mark Stibbe to prophesy earthquakes in the UK in 2011 then! My Bible says that a true prophet speaks the word of God and since God cannot lie a prophet must speak the truth.
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' -- when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18/20-22)
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7/15-16)
MISSION SHAPED COMMUNITIES
Enough about Mark Stibbe. The mission shaped communities were ‘devised’ by Stibbe so let’s take a look at what precisely they are and how the church is being literally savaged by unbiblical ideas and practices.
The first step in forming an MSC is to find a good cause to support or a common interest to bring people together. At Holy Trinity Church Leicester there are fifteen MSC’s at the present time e.g. Stepping Out –a walking MSC, Greenlight an environmental MSC etc. Each MSC has a name, a clear mission purpose and is no larger than fifty adult members. Led by teams from the church family, MSCs are bringing God's love to different parts of our wider community of Leicester in diverse and creative ways. MSCs meet out in the community in a variety of venues across Leicester.www.holytrinityleicester.org The idea is to gradually form friendships and trust between people so that eventually they will receive the gospel. The underlying lie that is promulgated is that you cannot simply preach the gospel to people in our modern society because society has changed and people will not accept it straight away - but is there anything new under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1/10) Some individuals may very well accept the gospel straight away, though others may take longer – who are we to manipulate and set limitations on when and how it is to happen? The instruction from the leadership at Holy Trinity is definitely not to preach the gospel at all for the first stage of the life of an MSC. This actually was very shocking to me because I had never been instructed not to preach the gospel and it did seem to be a contradiction of God’s word which says we should preach the gospel whether the time is favourable or unfavourable (2 Timothy 4/2). I have given a lot of thought about this instruction not to preach the gospel. I believe the Lord has given me the following:
So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge;for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4/18-20)
The particular MSC that I was involved with for several months was Triangle, a ministry to the homeless and vulnerably housed people of Leicester. Their motto is ‘To love the homeless into God's Kingdom’. Once again there was an absolute veto on telling these people the gospel, the strategy being to show them the love of God practically. Homeless people are among the most vulnerable people in our society and the mortality rate amongst them is very high. The urgency of sharing the gospel was not lost on the apostles, yet HolyTrinity in its 'wisdom' is depriving these precious people the opportunity of hearing about the way of salvation, their most pressing need!
Recent research has shown that homeless people have a death rate six times higher than that of the general population. Researchers said a disproportionate number of deaths were as a result of suicide….. http://www.jimmyscambridge.org.uk
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6/2)
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (John 9/4)
The way we evangelise has been clearly set out in the Bible - it is verbally through the preaching of the word, so why should we need to find other ways of doing it? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. (Romans 10/17)
The failure of the church to bring people in is the reason for the existence of the MSC’s, but why have we failed? Isn’t it precisely because biblical truth has been compromised by the church. Furthermore, the terrible witness and damage done by people like Todd Bentley, Toronto and the money preachers have made a mockery of Christianity. But she has rebelled against my ordinances and my statutes, becoming more wicked than the nations and the countries all around her, rejecting my ordinances and not following my statutes. (Ezekiel 5/6)
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13/35) I didn’t see any love at all coming from Toronto and I certainly don’t see any coming from the selfish money preachers who are feathering their own nests. If the church had been in the place it should have been then we would not be faced with this dilemma.
God adds the numbers when we do things His way. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2/47)
Another concern over the MSC’s is that they are intended to replace ‘cell groups’ i.e. weekly meetings for fellowship and bible study between believers. Meeting together is vital for believers in the New Testament 'When you come together each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.' (1 Corinthains 14/26) The mix of believers and non-believers makes the above biblical model untenable.
Christianity was never intended to blend in with the world (John 15/19) but to expose its ways by holding up a higher standard of life in God. (John 17/14-17) The word "holy" means, literally, "separated." And the Greek word for "church," ecclesia, means "those who have been called out," or, "the called-out ones." We have been called out of this world and separated unto him. (Romans 1/1; 2 Corinthians 6/17) Jesus prayed that, though we must remain in this world, we should not be of it. (John 17/14-16) Christianity has no business compromising its ways with the systems of man. My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18/36)
not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10/25)
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matthew 18/20)
Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6/14-15)
The Apostle Paul speaks about the hypothetical possibility of an unbeliever or outsider entering the meeting when he is reproving the Corinthians for unruly worship (1 Corinthians 14/24). It was clearly not the norm for groups of unbelievers to regularly attend meetings and be part of the church. We are the 'body of Christ' (1 Corinthians 12).
Evangelism and meeting together are separate activities. We go out into the world to spread the good news of the kingdom. We cannot incorporate 'going out' and meeting together for fellowship.
To focus on peripheral issues is a distraction from preaching the gospel. Jesus Christ and the apostles did not form nice little ‘clubs’ to discuss social issues or to do hobbies – it is totally extrabiblical. Time, money and effort is being put into these distractions rather than doing what Christ told us to do. Satan will do anything to prevent us from fulfilling our commission of preaching the gospel to all creation.
God hates a mixture (Jeremiah 15/19; 23/28; Deuteronomy 21/11) A mixture leads to compromise and dilutes the purity of the truth.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. (Mark 16/15)
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19/8)
proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28/31)
During a meeting of cell group leaders I was very surprised to see a different darker side of the leadership of Holy Trinity. They made it quite clear that they were expecting 'resistors' within the church to come against the establishment of the MSC’s. I felt this was a very unfortunate choice of word since it has sinister associations with Nazism; this word is also a used by Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven agenda; it is also a word used by the New Age Movement. The message the cell group leaders received was that if we didn’t agree with MSC’s then we should ‘get out of the boat’. In fact this is something that I have now done.
It is the minister or pastor of a church who should protect the flock and he should make it his business to test spiritual teachings that are introduced. I can confirm that I personally told John McGinley all my concerns about Mark Stibbe and the MSC’s and I also communicated them to him by email. My ‘interference’ was very unwelcome and I was asked the question: Who do you think you are to police us? My answer to that question is that it is every believers responsibility to speak out against error and wrong teaching - the Bible backs this up (1 Timothy 4/1-2,6; 2 Timothy 2/15-18; 1 John 4/1) Even Paul the Apostle was willing to have his doctrine tested (Acts 17/11). I do not think I am anyone in particular apart from the fact that to leave something like this unsaid would be sin (James 4/17).
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7/14)
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2012 - MARK STIBBE STEPS DOWN AS LEADER OF THE FATHER'S HOUSE TRUST
The following announcement has been made on the Father's House Trust website:
On the 6th September Mark Stibbe stepped down as the leader of FHT by mutual agreement with the leadership.
Mark has made a decision to enter into an inappropriate relationship with someone other than his wife. Mark recognised that this made his position at FHT untenable, and his actions are ones that the leadership could never condone. (fathershousetrust.com)
UPDATE OCTOBER 2012: THE ORDER OF MISSION - NEW MONASTICISM AT HOLY TRINITY
It has recently come to my attention that the leadership at Holy Trinity are now foisting onto their poor members New Monasticism. The 'Order of Mission' is being promoted by Mark Stibbe's friend Mike Breen. How very sad and concerning this is.
MIKE BREEN AND THE ORDER OF MISSION HERESY: