TrueNorth members admit sins of church

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As First Friday vendors unpacked and local musicians tuned, Jay Armstrong lugged a confession booth through the street.

He had picked a spot for the booth far from any church, settling along Broad Street in front of Midtown Threds. This is no ordinary confession booth, Mr. Armstrong explained.

"We, the church, have been a bad representative of Christ," he said. "If people are going to see us as genuine Christians, we have some confessing to do."

Mr. Armstrong is a member of TrueNorth, a contemporary church that started in North Augusta in 2004. When members learned their pastor, the Rev. Steve Davis, titled his latest sermon series "Confessions of a Christian church!" they decided to take the title literally, remembering the book Blue Like Jazz , written by Donald Miller in 2003. The story tells of a reverse confession booth -- a place where church members confess to the public all the church has done to warp or distract from the heart of its message.

"People think we're judgmental, hypocritical, intolerant, anti-homosexual, convert-crazy, and sheltered," Mr. Armstrong said. "For the most part, they're right."

He wishes it wasn't so. "I just don't think that's what Christ stood for," he said.

That's essentially what he and TrueNorth volunteers said when they sat in the booth.

"I am not here for you to confess, but rather to confess to you about the church. I am sorry for how we have failed the world," volunteer Bob Bodie told anyone who entered the booth.

"For so long, we've worried about life after death, but most people are worried about life until death. Christ talked a lot more about the kingdom now than the kingdom then," Mr. Armstrong said. "We totally missed that boat. And we're sorry."

Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (56) Add comment
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iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 10/04/08 - 06:39 am
0
0
Wackos

Wackos

Riverman1
82158
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Riverman1 10/04/08 - 07:09 am
0
0
I saw that booth and thought

I saw that booth and thought it was a porta potty.

Does_it_really_matter
1
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Does_it_really_matter 10/04/08 - 07:23 am
0
0
If you have to read from a

If you have to read from a script, how sincere is it? I don't recall using a script the last time I talked to God....(which was this morning and he wanted me tell you all, "hi")

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/04/08 - 07:26 am
0
0
People are serious about

People are serious about their religion. Now wackos are judging them for not judging others. We're supposed to get older and wiser, but too many just get older. TrueNorth doesn't fall under one of the denominational umbrellas of the usual list of "accepted" churches, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

areyoukidding
1
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areyoukidding 10/04/08 - 08:06 am
0
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PT - WHAT IS YOUR POINT.

PT - WHAT IS YOUR POINT. JUST VERBAGE TO SEE YOUR PRINTED WORD. The point of the booth is the church is spending too much time judging others. I guess you fall into the getting older but not wiser group.

Tim Walters
1
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Tim Walters 10/04/08 - 08:29 am
0
0
Watch out these People will

Watch out these People will be the new county commissioners

trying to understand
0
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trying to understand 10/04/08 - 08:41 am
0
0
TrueNorth may seem like

TrueNorth may seem like wackos, but that is only because the "Christianity" that many people practice is corrupted. Many of the things that we are taught and teach are not in the Bible at all. Many Christians have culturally based phobias, yet Jesus preached his message to both Jews and Gentiles, saying that we are all brothers. The foundation of Jesus' message is "love". We should love our fellow man, love ourselves, and love our God. If we would open our eyes to that, we could look at ourselves and see that we ARE judgemental, anti-gay, etc. We we are not judges, God is. The problem is that we want everyone to be the same, but God made us individuals. What if Jesus had been like every other Pharisee; would he have been able to change the world? People will never be able to hold the exact same views about most things, but we can and should agree with and focus on Christ's core message, regardless of our parent faith.

thisnthat
0
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thisnthat 10/04/08 - 09:08 am
0
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I have never attended this

I have never attended this church so I can't comment on its views, extreme or otherwise. I can say that every time I come across a teen wearing a True North tshirt they are kind, polite, and helpful. In fact, I noticed their behavior and appreciated their example long before this article. I don't know what they are preaching, but I can tell you that the teens I have come across in the area not only "talk the talk, they walk the walk." Must be doing something right.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 10/04/08 - 10:01 am
0
0
The first comment is probably

The first comment is probably the same comment that the Pharisees and Saducees in Jesus' time on earth would have uttered; the second one surely is a tongue in cheek comment to be taken with a grain of salt; the third one reflects exactly the attitude for which that particular church is trying to confess. There are really very few churches today that reflect Jesus' message to visit those in jail, take care of orphans and widows, feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Maybe this one in North Augusta is doing that; at least they know that the church has failed humanity in so many ways and they are confessing that to the public; the first step toward correcting wrongs is admission that wrongs have been committed. If you want to know about a church that IS following Jesus' commandments on a large scale, look up The Dream Center in Los Angeles and Free Chapel in Gainesville GA. I'm sure that there are probably other churches in the area that are doing things on a smaller and local scale that reflect God's mission. The church with the "reverse confessional" seems to understand their failings, be willing to admit those failings, and teach the congregation how to live.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 10/04/08 - 10:58 am
0
0
When religious fanatics snap

When religious fanatics snap it can be horrendous. I wonder if there is a glory hole in that booth?

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 10/04/08 - 11:06 am
0
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patriciathomas ...I think

patriciathomas ...I think that you just drove the nail into the coffin. when you said, " TrueNorth doesn't fall under one of the denominational umbrellas of the usual list of "accepted" churches," Yes there are many cults out there so buyer beware!
Fringe groups like TrueNorth, Mercy Ministries and Bible Deliverance Temple are accidents waiting to happen to uninformed victims/consumers.

Farful
7
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Farful 10/04/08 - 11:17 am
0
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ditto....wackos

ditto....wackos

deekster
24
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deekster 10/04/08 - 11:27 am
0
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It is "twisted mockery of

It is "twisted mockery of confession". I'm struck by the obvious inclusion of "homosexuality" as one of the things the "True Believer" is "hung up on". Why did they not list drunkenness, glutiny, fornicators, adulterers, liars and thieves. They have excluded homosexuality as a SIN. Just a churches where the leaders practice adultery or stealing from others. Or t he rich churches that never regard GREED as SIN. All of these "new age" religions that cater to a single segment of the population are all attempted to bypass SIN, REPENTANCE and REDEMPTION. True the organized church has failed. But a "revival" of the message of Christ would cost all of them money and influence. Just pick your "stique". No I don't know how to spell it. True repentance is agreeing with GOD that your action is SIN. The Bible clearly tells us what GOD considers SIN. Do you consider these things SIN. If not, stay home and read " Seven Habits of a Sucessful Man", and don't concern yourself with GOD. GOD is a god of Love and that Love and Compassion is expressed to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ.

austinb
0
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austinb 10/04/08 - 11:30 am
0
0
All of you, well most of you,

All of you, well most of you, criticize the church for judging people, and not accepting people. Now they try to apologize and you just try to find another thing to slam them on. Open you eyes. Take the opportunity of the church humbly branching out to you. Don't dwell in the past, step into the present and accept this church's apology.

glbry
0
Points
glbry 10/04/08 - 11:31 am
0
0
I don't think loving people

I don't think loving people as they are and admitting that the church has hurt some people qualifies True North as a cult.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 10/04/08 - 11:32 am
0
0
The only mission of the

The only mission of the church is to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel". Read Peter's sermon in Acts 2. Baptize converts. Care for widows and orphans. Continue in the faith, looking for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. NO commissions for Cathederal, Schools, Self Help Ministrys.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 10/04/08 - 11:59 am
0
0
If you believe the Word, it

If you believe the Word, it does the judging of yourself and others. Jesus went to the sinners but never said their sin was okay. All sin leads to death. Eternity is much more important than the here and now. Christians weren't told to please the world but to change the world by telling the truth of the Word. Sometimes the truth makes you feel good and sometimes bad.
If I feed and clothe you without telling you how to get to heaven I have given you temporary comfort but not eternal comfort and have done you no good. The Word doesn't say to tolerate sin and being tolerant is not an asset to our character. We are to be in the world but not of the world. Jesus used signs and wonders to draw the world and not entertainment.

ljtn
0
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ljtn 10/04/08 - 12:11 pm
0
0
Unfortunately, a lot of these

Unfortunately, a lot of these comments are proving the point of the reverse confessional booth!

sonic_imperial
0
Points
sonic_imperial 10/04/08 - 01:32 pm
0
0
TrueNorth Church is

TrueNorth Church is definitely not a cult, in fact far from it. For more info on the church, check out http://www.truenorthchurch.com/

DeborahElliott2
4
Points
DeborahElliott2 10/04/08 - 01:57 pm
0
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Has anyone ever seen

Has anyone ever seen "Fireproof"? If not, then you definitely need to! It is not just about marriages, it is about relationships!

jajo1012
0
Points
jajo1012 10/04/08 - 02:01 pm
0
0
WOW. I thought this was a

WOW. I thought this was a great thing for that church to do. It was an opportunity for the church (the whole denomination) to confess its own sins (which it certainly is not without). It was all right on point and I give credit to whomever this idea belongs to. And to everyone who wrote negatively about this article- shame on you. You obviously belong to a church full of judgmental, hypocritical, hateful bigots. No wonder you can't understand the good that comes from this story.

steve-o
0
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steve-o 10/04/08 - 02:07 pm
0
0
We have a national election,

We have a national election, a socialist 750 billion dollar bailout of our lending companies, and THIS is what is on the front page of the Augusta Chronicle. What else can I say.

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 10/04/08 - 02:48 pm
0
0
I have a lot of friends in

I have a lot of friends in True North and have attended the Columbia County campus as a visitor. This is a non-denominational, Bible based, Christian ministry. It is FAR from a cult. I can't believe all the finger pointers making all these judgmental statements about the church. Talk about hypocrites...

ljtn
0
Points
ljtn 10/04/08 - 03:06 pm
0
0
the attitude and lack of

the attitude and lack of humility behind some of these comments is the very foundation of the confessional booth. i wouldn't be surprised if most of you claim to be Christians and attend church. this is not about true north church....this is about loving people the way Jesus did. simple, or at least suppose to be. this is not about singling out any one sin but pointing to the fact that sin is sin and it's between us and God. whether you like hearing it or not the church is failing this world and thats the simple reason for the confessional booth. if hearing the truth makes you uncomfortable and if being challenged to live more like Christ is of no interest to you, don't come to true north. all this church cares about is loving God and loving others. simple.

zakt
0
Points
zakt 10/04/08 - 03:15 pm
0
0
As a member and musician at

As a member and musician at TrueNorth I can confidently say that the church isn't trying to go out and be the "controversial" new age church. I think that we have just come to a point where we've realized that the church (in general) have made some major mistakes. I can at lease personally say that it sucks that I have the hardest time showing friends and people I know that God loves them because they have been burned by judgmental and hypocritical "christians." If you are a christian you're called to love everyone like yourself. I really think that's all TrueNorth wants people to know. If you come to the church we just want you to feel loved and to show you God's love. As for being a cult....just don't drink the kool-aid! I kid, I kid.

current bdt member
0
Points
current bdt member 10/04/08 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Sargent Midtown You obviously

Sargent Midtown

You obviously have an obession towards bible deliverance and mercy ministries. everytime religion comes up you bash us. You make me laugh on a daily basis because you are not very smart at all. And we all know who you are now and its sad your life is so miserable that you have to persecute others. "remember the bible says touch not thy annointed one" I would hate to be you when God opens wrath.

itamazezme
0
Points
itamazezme 10/04/08 - 04:42 pm
0
0
just another way for a church

just another way for a church to catch your attention so they can witness to you and draw you into their fold and teach you THEIR WAY. God gave us free will and when your ready He is waiting there for you. to me that is the only genuine way to become a Christian. Once your there thou remember that in all you think, do, and say in your day to day lives is the only true way to witness to others that you are a Christian. Takes alot more effort.

bigfishlittlepond
0
Points
bigfishlittlepond 10/04/08 - 06:06 pm
0
0
I hope that in your judging,

I hope that in your judging, you realize will be judged by the same measure one day.

junebug
0
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junebug 10/04/08 - 08:18 pm
0
0
Reading from a script. How

Reading from a script. How clever. Truenorth is all smoke and mirrors as is most organized religion. Its a money making business and should be treated as such. Bet there is a ATM at the entrance.

Billy D
1
Points
Billy D 10/04/08 - 09:20 pm
0
0
Well, this is just another

Well, this is just another opinion:
There are many diverse opinions on the right way to worship, the right way to believe, and the right way to dress when you go to church (or not). There are many diverse opinions on opinions expressed by others'.
The Point: First Baptist apeals to the personality of people of 1St Baptist, and Bible Deliverance Temple, True North, and Most Holy Trinity appeals to the people that attends those respective churches. Not a jab: I didn't read in the article that First Baptist or any other church (or me) was attempting anything to reach out to a hurting world. At least True north was tyring. Give them a break - and a pat on the back!

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