I’ve sat on this for a couple of days, but I have to write something about all the attention that Valley View Christian Church has gotten in the past week. In case you haven’t heard, Harriet Miers was a member of the church for over 20 years. Since she’s unknown to the national media, they’re looking for anything they can find to write about her. One of the things they’ve discovered is her longtime involvement in church.
There have been numerous articles written about Ms. Miers, and at least 300 have made some mention Valley View. Mostly the articles have just mentioned that she was very involved and that it’s a conservative Evangelical church. There has been one article, however, that focused almost all of its attention on the split that the church has recently gone through. The L.A. Times published an article entitled Church Changes Led Miers to Join a Splinter Group . In it, there are a number of claims made that I would like to address.
The following statements are personal opinions and are in no way official views of the church or its elders.
The first statement that I took offense to was this:
The dispute is one over style, but it has political undertones too. Some of the more traditional members of the church fear that its effort to be more contemporary could dampen its emphasis on social issues, including its teachings against abortion and homosexuality.
While I have no idea how any logically thinking person could make this jump in logic, my biggest issue is that VVCC has always, and will always hold biblical truth as authoritative truth. One of the values in our Mission, Values, Strategies, and Measures that was officially adopted by the church’s elders in April 2005 states this well. It reads, “We value biblical preaching and teaching because the Bible, and the Bible alone, is Godâ€™s infallible, inerrant Word in written form and the supreme source of truth in all things.” This is one of the ten values that will shape us in the future as a group of believers. We will not bow down to cultural pressure to ignore parts of the Bible just because they’re difficult or not culturally acceptable. We are a Bible-believing church and we will continue to be no matter what style of worship we have in our weekly worship gatherings.
Another statement that is not correct reads: “Much of the money that had been spent on foreign missionary work, the elders decided, was to be routed back into the church itself.” Let me just give you some statistics. In the annual budget for 2003, missions was alloted 23.4%. In 2004, the percentage was 23.2%. In 2005, missions has been budgeted 25.1%. I’ll let you come up will a conclusion, based on the objective statistics, as to whether or not we’ve turned our backs on missions.
Here is a statement in the article that contained a completely false fact:
[The elders] brought on Barry McCarty, a charismatic and influential minister. This summer, they wanted to make McCarty the church’s senior minister. But according to the church’s bylaws, such a move required a full vote of the congregation. The elders sidestepped the bylaws by creating a new title, naming McCarty “lead” minister. [italics mine]
Not true at all. Barry’s title has been “Preaching Minister” since he was hired and that title has not changed. The elders have asked him to lead the staff for now. This is not unusual. The previous Senior Minister served as Interim Senior Minister for about one and a half years before he was voted on by the congregation. There has to be someone serving as the point person during transitions until a permanent leader is decided on by the elders and then taken to the congregation. They have not violated the by-laws in any way.
There are other statements that upset me, but I’m not going to comment on them. My hope is that level-headed people will be able to see through the rumors and gossip that has now become national news and see that the elders of Valley View are indeed godly, trustworthy people.
It’s been sad to me to see the group of people leave. I will miss many of them dearly. I hope that God can use them to reach people that have never had a relationship with Jesus that would not have come to Valley View otherwise. My prayer for Valley View is that we will be strengthened through these tough times in order to accomplish a great work that I believe he has for us to do.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).