We formed a Rising River Media, a non-profit publishing and media company, to provide publishing resources oriented toward the organic church community with an emphasis upon discipleship and the Kingdom of God. In that spirit, Gale has been working on a children’s book (pre-teens) entitled Alex’s Amazing Kingdom Adventure with a wonderful story and 21 original pastel illustrations spread over forty full-color, 8X11 pages. The illustrations are nearly done (only 6 more to go) and we are about to move into the layout and composition phase. While we have worked behind the scenes over the past year to produce the book out of personal resources, we are at a point where we need to ask for help to get this project across the finish line. For this purpose, we have established a GoFundMe Account to raise money for this project. Our goal is to raise $7,500 to cover our expenses as we work to get the book finished, into print and available to order (plus some marketing). We want to ask for your help and support to bring this project to completion. Your gift will be GREATLY appreciated. And everyone who donates via our GoFundMe campaign will receive an autographed copy of the book when it comes available!
A Time To Invest In The Future Of Organic Church
I believe that as practitioners of organic church we have a responsibility to help whet the spiritual appetites of our kids and grandkids for spiritual truth. As I have been writing a series of books on discipleship and the Kingdom of God, I have realized that one of the critical things we need to do is to communicate the reality of the Kingdom of God to the next generation. Alex’s Amazing Kingdom Adventure is our contribution to that effort. Gale and I hope you will join the effort and help us make it a reality.
Follow Our Progress!
You can follow this work-in-progress and see the process of creating a children’s book here. We will keep you updated on both our progress and the process of turning this book idea into reality!
In the interest of full disclosure, I have a dog in this fight. And that deserves a brief explanation. I have personal experience with how The Shack and the feel-good universalism it promotes (see below before you react) have destroyed individuals, their faith, their marriages, their ministries and their house churches. Ideas have consequences. That includes sloppy theological ideas masquerading as kleenex consuming therapy. In response to those experiences, I wrote a book on Universalism entitled All Dogs Go To Heaven, Don’t They?: Biblical Reflections On Christian Universalism and Ultimate Reconciliation.
Just when I hoped that The Shack might have gone away, it is back with a vengeance, this time as a movie. Sigh. Honestly, I would have been very content to avoid the book, the movie and the controversy, had it not been for a couple of things. For starters, I am somewhere between amazed and appalled at the disturbing number of Christians on social media, blogs and websites who openly gush about how wonderful and “powerful” the movie is. O.K., we’ll come back to that. But what pushed me over the edge and prompted this newsletter is the fact that the principle author of The Shack, Paul Young (it was co-authored by Wayne Jacobsen, who sued Young over authorship), has now published a non-fiction book, entitled Lies We Believe About God, in which he clearly states his theological beliefs. And (drum roll please), yes, he is a confirmed and committed universalist. Surprise. What had previously been denied and hidden is now revealed for what it is. There’s more aberrant theology in Young’s belief system which he lays out in this new book. In an eye-opening article entitled “What Does The Shack Really Teach? “Lies We Believe About God” Tells Us,” reformed blogger Tim Challies has done a review which paints a fairly disturbing picture for anyone who takes orthodox theology seriously.
I’m sorry, but this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. A few years ago I purchased and read Burning Down The Shack: How The ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions, by James B. De Young. The author is a life-long graduate-level bible scholar who has known Paul Young personally for many years. De Young reveals all of this in the first 26 introductory pages of Burning Down The Shack (an Introduction entitled “The Story Behind The Story”). In those 26 introductory pages, we discover that Paul Young, the author of The Shack, was someone deeply conflicted in his faith who had begun questioning many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity and had embraced a form of Universalism known as Ultimate Reconciliation. We also learn that friends of Paul Young reviewed the manuscript of The Shack, were appalled by the Universalism he was promoting and had urged Young to “tone it down.” This was, perhaps, the part of the story that grieved me the most – the idea that all along the way there were those who knew what was happening early on and did not do more to stop it (or at least expose it). Now, 20,000,000 copies later, here we are having to deal with what I can only describe as a cancer growing within Evangelicalism that has the potential to kill the message of the Church (see “The Suicide Of Christian Theology” below).
From Objectivity To Subjectivity
The co-author and publisher of The Shack is Wayne Jacobsen, whom I heard speak at a conference several years ago (after the book but before the movie). Jacobsen is an excellent and polished speaker whose talks affected me in several ways. First, listening to Jacobsen helped me understand the origin and appeal of The Shack. Jacobsen is a “story teller.” His approach to nearly everything is “I’m not here to tell you what to believe, I simply want to tell you where I am on my personal journey.” In this regard, he is an example of the Postmodern approach to truth which is to communicate personal truth by telling personal stories which embody those truths. While this approach can be both disarming and endearing, it also has its downside. Hence, The Shack. The challenge of this Postmodern approach to truth is its tendency towards “He who has the most heart-wrenching story must also have ‘the truth’.” In short, personal subjectivity has become our new “epistemology” (theory of how we know): “It spoke to me, therefore, it’s true.” So, label this first impact upon me as reiterating “the triumph of the story” in communicating truth. If it’s a good story, then it must be “true.”
Jacobsen’s second impact upon my own thinking was to highlight the growing move away from objectivity toward subjectivity in theology. In the space of one “all-too-short” generation (namely, mine), theology has gone from being “objective” to being “subjective.” Let me explain. Theology, as it is being conducted at the grassroots level today, is no longer about those objective truths which you and I believe about God. Rather, theology is now about how that objective “truth” makes us “feel” about God. Theology is now all about me (the “subject”), rather than about God (the “object”). If the “truths” I profess to believe about God make me feel good about God and about other people, then those “truths” must really be true. Hence, Universalism becomes “true” because I no longer feel bad about God sending all those nice people to hell. And I am no longer forced to give difficult answers (like, “yes”) when someone asks me if I think they are going to hell without Christ. And how better to communicate those “make me feel good” truths than through heart-wrenching stories in which everyone gets what they need (or at least what they want), and no one receives anything bad (like “punishment”). So, label this second impact “the triumph of subjectivity” in determining truth. After all, the universe really does revolve around me. My happiness is God’s highest goal. Joel Osteen (and a host of others) told me so.
The third impact of Jacobsen’s talks was to remind me of “the triumph of therapy over theology.” Many of Jacobsen’s writings are best described as “therapeutic stories” in which deeply wounded, conflicted and/or confused people find themselves in conversations with others about their relationship with God. And the conversations take on the flavor of therapy sessions in which good theology takes a back seat to a good story and therapy (“How does that make you feel?”). Mind you, now, I have NO aversion to counseling or therapy. But that isn’t what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about here is the current trend toward treating an entire generation of believers as victims in need of therapy (the term “snowflakes” comes to mind), rather than as sinners in need of redemption, repentance and the in-filling of the Holy Spirit. For me personally, the high point (or low point) of this “triumph of therapy over theology” came in Jacobsen’s first talk when in one fell swoop he declared that the whole idea of “the fear of the Lord” was an Old Testament concept which does not appear or apply in the New Testament. I could only respond by reminding myself that this news must have come as quite a shock to Ananias and Sapphira who were struck dead out of the holiness of God for the sin of lying to the Holy Spirit, with the result that “great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things” (Acts 5:11). Hmmm. Not a very “therapeutic” moment. More like a theological moment in which the Church rediscovered both the holiness and the fear of a God Who doesn’t take sin in the lives of His people nearly as lightly as we do.
Abraham Was Wrong (And So Are The Universalists)
Therapeutic efforts designed to “apologize” for God’s seemingly harsh behavior remind me that, all too often, like Abraham, we misunderstand the moral universe which we profess to so clearly understand (See Genesis 18:25ff). Abraham adamantly claimed to know that there were no less than 10 righteous people in Sodom, and that God had obviously misunderstood the situation and was about to perpetrate a great moral evil by judging the innocent along with the wicked. Abraham’s mistake was threefold: 1) He claimed to understand reality better than God did, 2) he assumed that God was “unfair” and had no plan for saving the righteous, and 3) He was unwilling to trust the God he claimed to know. In the end, Abraham was wrong. He misunderstood the moral universe he claimed to understand. There were not 10 righteous in Sodom. God did have a plan (something about Angels and getting out of Dodge). And Abraham learned a valuable lesson in the difference between “believing” in God and “trusting” Him. Those who promote Universalism don’t trust God’s goodness in rightly judging the moral universe and doing the right thing when it comes to judgment and punishment for sin.
I believe in the theological task of the Church. Our task is to help people think right thoughts about God, and so to avoid both idolatry-of-the-mind on the one hand and deception-of-the-heart on the other. I believe in the importance of therapy to help people come to terms with the heartbreaking issues of their lives. But more than any of these, I believe in the trustworthiness of God. In the dark night of the soul – in the miry pit of destruction which the Psalmist knew so very well (Psalm 40:2) – when cute stories, doctrinal formulations and therapeutic preaching all fail, I can reach past “easy belief” into the realm of fervent trust in the God Who is objectively there and subjectively trustworthy. I trust Him.
Talking to Postmoderns about doctrine elicits the same response as my mother elicited from me when she tried to explain the benefits of Castor Oil. Needless to say, this postmodern allergic reaction to doctrine explains why thinkers and theologians like Francis Schaeffer are all-but-forgotten while books and movies like The Shack represent the new Evangelicalism. We have gone from “theology” to “therapy.” But visceral reactions not withstanding (“take a box of kleenex with you when you go to see The Shack”), the question remains: What about truth? What about doctrine?
If you don’t like the word “doctrine” simply substitute the word “teaching.” How biblical or “orthodox” is your doctrine, and why should that even be an issue? Before you answer, consider the following. According to a survey of 35,000 Americans by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 57% of people attending Evangelical Churches responded that “Many Religions Can Lead To Eternal Life”. According to Chuck Colson, the people at Pew conducting the survey were so surprised by the results that they re-did the survey and got the same results. They then asked another question, “Do atheists go to heaven?” 50% of Evangelicals responded “Yes.” Colson described this as “the total abandonment of truth.” And that is why this generation of professing Christians is gushing over The Shack. Welcome to that generation which Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias described so well when he pondered how to reach a generation of people who “listen with their eyes and think with their feelings.” Welcome to “The Shack: The Movie,” a prime example of listening with one’s eyes and thinking with one’s feelings.
Creeds or Chaos?
In 1948, British author and apologist Dorothy Sayers wrote Creed or Chaos? Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (Or, Why It Really Does Matter What You Believe). Sayers argued exactly what the title suggests, namely, the critical importance and unavoidable nature of doctrine in the life of the Church (the book is available on Amazon.com). And, yes, that includes house church. Simple house churches are not exempt from the theological task of teaching right doctrine. We see this in Acts 2:42 where the early house churches devoted themselves to “the apostles teaching.” We all desire “the simplicity of Christ” but sometimes that simplicity must be doctrinally explained. Alan Hirsch’s observation that the creed and message of the early church was “sneezable” is a brilliant observation: “Jesus is Lord.” But it wasn’t long in the life of the early church before questions arose about who this Jesus really was, particularly in relation to Jehovah. Was Jesus God, or merely god-like? Was Jesus “of the same substance” or was He “of like substance” with the Father (the difference between homoousios and homoiousios). Was He co-eternal with the Father, or merely the first of God’s creations (Arianism). Was He the ghost-like phantasm of Docetism, the created demi-urge of Gnosticism, or the incarnation of the second person of the God-head. As a result of these questions, the first 4 “general councils” of the Church (Nicea -325, Constantinople-381, Ephesus-431, and Chalcedon-451) dealt with these very issues and produced confessional creeds which remain among the most succinct statements of Biblical belief every penned.
The Suicide Of Christian Theology
Does “doctrine” matter? Do “creeds” matter? Of course, such things matter and the role of leaders is both to teach “the apostles’ doctrine” and to explain the implications of good and bad doctrine for the life of the Church under their care. And as a teacher and a leader within my own sphere, I have an obligation to point out that the Universalism of The Shack and those associated with it, represents the suicide of Christian/biblical theology or belief. First, if Universalism is true and everyone ends up in heaven regardless of what they believe in this life, then doctrine truly doesn’t matter and it doesn’t matter what you believe. The “new” Universalist mantra is, “Jesus is the only way to God, but there are many ways to Jesus.” Sorry. Good try, but no cigar. In other words, you can be a Christian, a Mormon, a Buddhist, a Satanist or anything else you choose, because ultimately it doesn’t matter. There are many ways, all of which lead to Jesus, and you’ll end up in heaven regardless. If that is true, then who cares what you believe! It doesn’t matter! Anyone failing to understand Universalism as the suicide of Christian theology really doesn’t understand the nature or the implications of Universalist doctrine. Second, if Universalism is true then it represents the death of biblical morality and ethics. There is no reason to live by Biblical morals (even though Jesus would like for you to) since how you live in this life is ultimately unrelated to whether or not you are going to heaven. Everyone eventually gets there, regardless of how they lived in this life and regardless of what fruit (if any) they produced in this life. Third, if Universalism is true then it represents the death of evangelism and the gospel message. In the words of Universalist Clark Pinnock (paraphrasing someone else), “The good news is . . . there is no bad news.” If Pinnock and other Universalists are right, then there is no good news to share because any “good news” of salvation presupposes the “bad news” of hell and eternal punishment. And finally, if Universalism is true, then it represents the death knell of missions for the Church. Why should anyone (i.e., the Taylors, the Careys, the Livingstons, the Stanleys, the Elliotts and countless others) risk life, health and material comfort to take non-existent good news to people who are going to be saved anyway, regardless of any mission or message. Doctrine, you see, really does matter.
Creeds Versus Deeds
A healthy organic church will actually spend comparatively little time on doctrinal issues, whereas an unhealthy organic church will consume itself over such issues. I find myself grieving beyond words when I see organic church discussions bogging down in doctrinal disputes over things ranging from the need to observe Jewish feasts to Universalism. People who want to turn organic church into a debate over the meaning of aionios kolasis (“eternal punishment”) in Matthew 25:46 completely miss Jesus’ point, namely, that the goats who experience “eternal punishment” do so because they failed to demonstrate their faith through such “Kingdom deeds” as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, befriending the stranger, visiting the prisoner, etc. This is also true of those wanting to turn simple house church into an “end-time eschatology study group”. How do I know? Simple exegesis, my dear Watson. Matthew 24 – 25 embodies one long discourse. Jesus begins the “Olivet Discourse” with a discussion of eschatology (“the end of the Age”) and ends the discourse with the “end of the age” separation of the sheep & goats. Tell me something. Based upon this extended passage, which do you think Jesus would be pleased to find you doing when He returns; studying the Left Behind series, watching The Shack, or feeding the hungry. When you figure it out, let me know which night you’re available to come down and feed the guys at the men’s shelter.
Welcome to the penitential season known as “Lent.” For those unfamiliar with the Liturgical Calendar, on the Western Calendar this year Lent extends from Ash Wednesday, March 1 until Thursday, April 13. Traditionally, Lent has been a season when the Church – both individually and corporately – reflects upon its own sins and failures in preparation for celebrating Christ’s substitutionary death for sin on the cross (Good Friday) and His victory over sin and death in the resurrection (Easter). Let me pause to emphasize BOTH the substitutionary death AND the victorious resurrection. There is a trend afoot in marginally evangelical circles to disparage the substitutionary aspect of Christ’s work and to emphasize His victorious work. But, alas, as ol’ blue eyes used to croon about love and marriage, “Let me tell you, brother, you can’t have one without the other.” To separate the two, or to disparage one at the expense of the other, is to destroy both.
In our age of seeker friendly messages and services, evangelical Christianity finds itself in a conundrum when it comes to Lent. We want to celebrate a penitential season without being either penitent or repentant. We want to celebrate the victory of Christ’s resurrection without personally reflecting on how our behavior necessitated the events which put Christ in the tomb. When Rembrandt painted his “Raising of the Cross” (c.1633) he sought to capture the moment when Christ’s executioners raised Him on the cross. But the face of the lead executioner hoisting the cross is that of Rembrandt himself. It was his sins which necessitated this event. That’s what Lent means, reflecting upon the role our sins played in the events we now celebrate. Unfortunately, in today’s seeker-friendly, “offend-no-one” environment, the call to reflection and repentance has not simply fallen on deaf ears. It hasn’t even been proclaimed. We want to arrive at Easter morning without having to reflect upon our part in the events of Good Friday.
But there’s more . . .
The past few years have not been particularly kind to the Evangelical Church in America and the West. Recent surveys have shown a marked decline in Christian self-identification (in spite of valiant attempts to spin the numbers in a more favorable light). Militant atheism on both the academic and the grassroots levels is on a noticeable rise. And the recent national election has suggested a genuine sea-change and cultural shift away from traditional conservative (yes, even Judeo-Christian) values of historic proportions is currently underway. The response of the Evangelical Church has, for the most part, been to deny that anything is amiss, or that they (we) are in anyway responsible for the current state of things. As the late Michael Spencer adroitly observed, Evangelical Christians seem to believe – indeed, they insist – that “their ship is listing to one side because it gives them a more interesting look at the iceberg” (Michael Spencer, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back To Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, page 23).
The last thing the Evangelical Church wants to do is to admit failure in its mission and calling. We assume that such an admission would mean that Jesus has somehow “failed.” It never occurs to us that our activities may not be His activities and that the failure of our programs in no way reflects any failure on the part of Jesus or the Kingdom. Could it be that we are the ones who have failed and not Jesus? Is it possible that we are the ones who have failed to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to call men to repent and believe the good news? Is it possible that we as the Church need to repent of flawed means, flawed methods and a flawed message? Is it possible that we need to repent of thinking too much of ourselves, our gifts, our “church,” our programs and our abilities, and of thinking too little of Jesus and of our need for His fresh empowerment to do the impossible? Is it possible that we need to repent of trying to co-opt and promote the political kingdoms of men rather than preaching, teaching and pursuing the Kingdom of God as we were told to do? Is it possible that we need to repent of preaching “happiness” when we should have been exhorting people to pursue that holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)? Feel free at this point to add your own “possibilities” for repentance.
This is the purpose for a penitential season like Lent. It is a season to examine ourselves. It is a season to confess our anger and our judgmentalism toward a culture which seems determined to ignore or reject our message. Jesus’ message was rejected by the culture of His day, too. They didn’t just reject Him. They crucified Him. But He didn’t respond with anger or judgmentalism. He responded with forgiveness toward His executioners, and with the fresh empowerment of the Holy Spirit for those who trusted and obeyed Him (after all, Easter makes Pentecost possible). As we enter the Lenten Season, perhaps it is time for us as the Church to reflect upon our genuine spiritual failures of message, method and of personal character which have brought us to the place in which we now find ourselves, and to remember that the journey to Easter morning and the victory it embodies first leads us through Good Friday, the terrible price paid for our sin, and the promise of forgiveness offered by a dying Savior. Seeking forgiveness for profound personal and corporate failure requires profound humility on our part, even a sense of spiritual desperation. But such humility and desperation make the victory of Easter morning that much more meaningful . . . and personally “sweet.”
In the history of spiritual awakenings stretching back over the past 250 years of Church history, God has NEVER sent revival or spiritual awakening to either a church or a people who were satisfied with themselves, their condition, or their own gifts and abilities. Spiritual desperation is the necessary precursor for God to move in spiritual awakening and revival, and even to bring in an end-time harvest. So long as we believe we can do it ourselves, why should He act to confirm our pride and hubris? God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
And that brings us back to where we started. Welcome to the penitential season known as “Lent”. May you find it to be a season of profound reflection, repentance, and renewal. And may you, like Rembrandt, find your own face among those whose sins and failures placed Christ on the cross. It makes Good Friday more personally meaningful, and the victory of Easter morning personally “sweeter.”
Welcome to Volume 2 of our series on biblical discipleship and the Kingdom of God!
In the Kingdom of God, discipleship is a relationship and a journey, not a fill-in-the-blank workbook and DVD set. And They Dreamt Of A Kingdom is a series of books examining Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of God and the discipleship lessons He taught His own disciples. What better place to discover the true meaning of discipleship than walking alongside Jesus and the twelve!
Discipleship and the Kingdom of God were at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. But today’s Church is failing to teach the Kingdom or to make disciples who can reproduce their discipleship in the lives of others, opting instead to train worker-bees for Church programs, rather than disciples of the Kingdom. This book is different.
Bringing fresh perspectives and insights, the author examines the disciple-making ministry of Jesus and offers Kingdom and discipleship truths in bite-size amounts, like these:
● In the Kingdom of God, the opposite of faith is not unbelief. It is fear. (Page 17)
● In the Kingdom of God, spiritual growth and maturity are the product of spiritual truth experienced over time. (Page 18)
● In the Kingdom of God, discipleship is not about knowledge; it’s about trust.
● In the Kingdom of God, discipleship is about faith working through obedience. (Page 19)
● As disciples of the Kingdom, the God-appointed tasks of today represent our necessary preparation for the greater God-appointed tasks of tomorrow. (Page 46)
● As disciples of the Kingdom, they may be sheep, but the sheep speak for the King. (Page 49)
● To be a disciple of the Kingdom is to value the eternal which we cannot see over the temporal which we can see, and to value a spiritual pearl of great price more than the tangible trinkets of this world. (Page 51)
This book, along with its companion volume, is intended for those who want to understand Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God and what it means to be a disciple of that Kingdom.
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.”
“And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Shelley’s poem wasn’t inspired by politics, but by archaeology (“Ozymandias” was actually a statue of Ramses II) . . . and reflection. Upon reflection, we learn that history makes liars and fools of us all. The great Ozymandias, “king of kings” and feared in his day, is now merely an historical relic and a museum artifact. Like the Kingdoms of this world, he has risen and fallen, just as Scripture predicted would be the fate of all the great kingdoms of men. The rise and fall of the four kingdoms described in Daniel 2 are symbolically descriptive of all the Kingdoms of this world. Their rise and fall are certain, as is their limited significance and duration. It is a lesson that bloviating politicians of all political stripes would do well to reflect upon (O.K, “bloviating” means a style of empty, pompous political speech, popularized by President Warren G. Harding, a master of the technique, who described it as “the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing.” My thanks to Wikipedia.)
It is also a lesson that politically active Christians should spend some time reflecting on, particularly the following two verses from Daniel 2, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this.” (Daniel 2:44-45) Jesus offers all who will believe “a kingdom that shall never be destroyed” and one which “shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end.”
I titled this article “Trump, Ozymandias and The Kingdom of God.” Why? Because, in the current politically charged atmosphere, it virtually guarantees attention. Yep, it’s what you might call a “cheap trick.” Guilty. But I could just as easily have used the names on a long list of modern-day Ozymandias wannabe’s They pop up like political dandelions every election year, crying out for a following and offering their own version of a new “kingdom of men” to be built, complete with monuments. The question that confronts you and me at this moment in time (and at EVERY moment in time, actually) is quite simple: Whose Kingdom are you serving; the Kingdom of the most recent “Ozymandias” or the Kingdom that Jesus offers to all who believe? One will endure forever, while the other, well, not so much. Remember: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN (Daniel 5:25).The days of the kingdoms of men have been numbered. They have all been weighed in the balance of God’s Sanctuary and have been found wanting. God has a different plan and a different Kingdom. As a Christian and a disciple of God’s Kingdom, be careful not to be found on the wrong side of the scales.
Welcome to Rising River Media, a non-profit Christian media and publishing company. Our mission is to produce quality media resources in support of organic churches. We have four basic priorities which guide what we do: 1) To Proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, 2) To Raise up and equip committed disciples of that Kingdom, 3) To Plant multiplying organic churches, and 4) To Serve “the least of these.” We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out the resources we offer. Because we’re continually adding and updating resources, we hope you’ll become a regular visitor.
Maurice Smith is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an alumnus of Campus Crusade for Christ, International ("Cru") and an honors graduate of Denver Baptist Seminary where he also served as adjunct faculty. He is an accomplished author of several books on theology, spiritual awakening and organic house church.
Gale Smith serves as the Artistic Director of Rising River Media. Gale is a graduate of Spokane Falls Community College (AA) and Eastern Washington University (BA – Fine Arts). Following graduation Gale joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ ("Cru"), serving at their International Headquarters in the Art Department as a graphic designer. Gale is an accomplished and gifted artist in a wide variety of contexts and mediums including graphic design, logos, illustrations, water colors and pastels.
Maurice and Gale met and on Cru Staff and have been married now for 38 years. They reside in Spokane, Washinton and have two adult children. Together they coordinate Rising River Media, a non-profit media and publishing company.