The Antidote offers challenging biblical, practical and intentional solutions to the ailments of the church identified in Chris Creech’s first book, Toxic Church. Chris brings decades of training and significant ministry experience to this discussion. He has served in the US and Asia and continues to travel widely, offering instruction and counsel to leaders (and others) who hurt and leaders who have been hurt.
As I read The Antidote, two thoughts ran through my mind. The first is from Paul’s tough words to the legalistic churches of Galatia: “How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (3:3, NLT) Our ministry in the church is simply not ours to shape, lead and direct as we desire. It will be fleshly if it is anything other than spiritual.
The second thought was, the local church (which is both organism and organization) must seriously apply God’s clear Truth to its ailments, if it is to survive. That process may take an extended time, but it is required.
Three broad areas of biblical Truth stood out to me in the book. First, when dysfunctional members and leaders have sinned, biblical confession is required. The author makes clear that confession includes (1) identifying the sin and agreeing with God that the sin was fully paid by Christ’s sacrifice, but also (2) identifying the root and motives for the sin. Likely, Creech says, in issues of personal and corporate dysfunction, sin is rooted in the urge to gain the acceptance of people. Chris not only urges us toward the gracious forgiveness of God in Christ, but also to a pathway for understanding the “why” of our penchant toward corporate dysfunction.
A second refreshing biblical Truth: New Testament church leaders must be disciples (Matthew 28:18-29) who disciple and teach others and who are spiritual leaders in other areas of responsibility (home, business and the like). Dysfunction will rear its ugly head whenever disqualified “leaders” take or are given positions of authority.
A third biblical Truth: as individuals, as leaders and as pastoral staff, our identity must be firmly rooted and nurtured as “in Christ.” Acceptance issues, love hunger or filling the primary roles identified in Toxic Church (Hero, Scapegoat, Mascot, Lost Child) flow from seeking our identity from any other source.
This book is a manual for men and women of God who seriously desire to see biblical relationships and ministry again at the heart of a hurting body. Chris offers no quick fixes, but he encourages churches and leaders with treatments which will lay a foundation for renewed health.
Dean studied at Dallas Seminary and earned a Th.M. degree. After seminary, Dean and Patty joined OC International and served in Germany. The purpose was to encourage and equip pastors and church leaders, with an aim toward health and growth in leaders and their people and ministries. Returning to the US after 10 years with OC, Dean joined CDI, an agency focused on serving local pastors and churches. In 1997, he became a pastor in Lincoln, Nebraska and served for 15+ years.
Dean now works both with CBMC on staff and coaches men in life, business and relationships. Throughout his life and ministry, Dean has primarily focused on challenging and equipping individuals to become all God designed them to be. Within CBMC, he works with individual men in spiritual growth and leadership as well as in outreach.