If you’re not familiar with the Acts 29 network, it is a coalition of churches that are bound together under the leadership of its president, Matt Chandler.
According to its website, “Acts 29 is a diverse, global community of healthy, multiplying churches characterized by theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation.” Yet, what you’ll get with any Acts 29 church is anything but “theological clarity.”
Last year, The Dissenter broke the story that a major Acts 29-affiliated megachurch in Australia was openly promoting transgenderism from the pulpit. In a recent sermon by Guy Mason, one of the pastors of City on a Hill Church in Melbourne, Australia, the pastor preached:
Christians can and must lean into the rights of those who identify as transgender. The Christian philosopher Edith Stein explained, whoever is near us and needing us must be our neighbor. The love of Christ knows no limits. It never ends.
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So if that means advocating for better health care and social support, if that means creating space for gender-inclusive bathrooms and policies that acknowledge a person’s humanity and inherent value, if that does mean thinking through complex questions around sports or the particular and unique struggles of the trans community face when it comes to healthcare and domestic violence and homelessness.
Of course, this godless compromise and unbiblical promotion of sexual immorality in the name of Jesus and His bride doesn’t sit well with most Bible-believing Christians and has caused several churches to disassociate from the network. In recent letter published online, Pastors Chase Davis and Matt Patrick of The Well Church in Boulder, Colorado, have announced their disaffiliation from the Acts 29 Network due to theological concerns.
The pastors stated that the direction and leadership of the network, including the promotion of women preaching and transgenderism, went against biblical truth and the network’s distinctives. They also expressed concerns about the sudden firing of the Director of Global Partnerships and a lack of clarity on how their required annual giving was being used. Despite repeated efforts to raise their concerns with the network’s leadership, including vice presidents and regional leads, the pastors were suddenly removed from the network without warning or explanation.
“We have been glad to partner with like-minded churches and have experienced great joy from the friendships and brotherhood in the network,” the two wrote. “However, due to various concerns with the direction and leadership of the network itself and its effect on our church-planting efforts in Colorado, our elder team has been praying and reevaluating our relationship with Acts 29.”
“We have also become alarmed by systems within Acts 29 that have led to things like women preaching and the promotion of transgenderism within Acts 29 churches,” they continued, “which go against both Acts 29’s distinctives and biblical truth.”
“We are not alone in our concerns around these theological issues. Other churches have recently left the network because its leadership has not provided clarity on such matters.”
The pastors emphasized that their disaffiliation from the Acts 29 Network would not affect their ministry in Boulder, as the network is a church-planting parachurch ministry and does not offer oversight to local congregations. They also stated that they had established an oversight board for The Well Boulder and The Well Collaborative to provide better accountability and collaboration in their church planting efforts.
The pastors’ departure from the network follows similar decisions by other churches that have raised similar concerns about the network’s theological direction. In his recent letter, Justin Buzzard of Garden City Church highlighted concerns about a lack of financial transparency and stated that as the Acts 29 Network became less clear and transparent, they felt a conviction to become more clear and transparent.
The Well Church in Boulder, Colorado disaffiliation from the Acts 29 Network highlights a growing trend to disassociate from irresponsible and unbiblical church networks and much of the same is happening within the Southern Baptist Convention. These networks claim to exist to further the cause of the gospel, yet, most of them only serve to provide jobs and income for their employees and operate under that pragmatic notion. We should be delighted to see these compromised networks breaking down and churches getting back to independence and local church ecclesiology that is only accountable to the local congregations that support them and, ultimately, to God.