Practicing Discernment: Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California

A discernment exercise, this is an Evangelical Free Church website to study. This is Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California. Study the website and examine it. Would you attend? Or would you bolt and stay away

“Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.”

Edward De Bono

“To live is to think.”

Marcus Cicero

That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

Acts 17:10-12

Today I have another church for you guys to practice discernment on. The point of these posts is to get people to think critically and ask hard questions. When you look at a church website what do you see? Would you recommend it? Would you show up?

Taft Avenue Community Church is an Evangelical Free in Orange, California. It is led by Bob Burris. Look at the website and write below as to what you see. Would you attend? Any red flags about this church? What does the website show you about this place? One of the goals I have at this blog is to get people to think for themselves and think critically.  That said, enjoy your time on the website. 


16 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment: Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California

  1. I would go to this church.
    I think it is sad that a statement such as theirs on Marriage Gender and Sexuality even needs to be made but I would presume that where they are located there must be many hostile to the biblical roles of men and women that God set forth in the Bible. I appreciate that they took a stand. Something too many Christians are shying away from in the name of pleasing all matter of men (and women) rather then boldly defending what God has set forth. If there is something on this site “not quite right”, I think I missed it.


  2. “Shock & Awe” wasn’t that the name of a bombing mission?
    No, I wouldn’t go there. “Church planting is urgent!” “Devotion Session #3
    The church is under the spiritual authority of the pastors/elders.”


  3. Ack! Even when I was a churchgoer, this would have been a big NO. Right on the front page “Shock & Awe”, a post about extreme biblical literalism, another about fear and obedience. What I didn’t see? Anything about supporting each other, or helping the community. And that’s just the front page. I clicked on several other pages, and found a huge emphasis on “we have it exactly right and you must believe all this without question” and no emphasis on “love thy neighbor”.

    What I’m seeing is the general attitude of “What we have been doing isn’t working to keep people from leaving religion. So what we need to do is more of the same, but do it harder.”


    • “What we have been doing isn’t working to keep people from leaving religion. So what we need to do is more of the same, but do it harder.”

      Double Down and SCREAM LOUDER, like the USSR during its declining years. The system was crumbling, and their response was “Increase Political Consciousness”, more control, more propaganda, etc. (We dodged a plutonium bullet with Gorbachev & Reagan; in every SF future history from the start to end of the Cold War, the only way the USSR went down was in an all-out global nuclear war.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No, I would not go to this church.

    I perused their beliefs and came across this statement about the Holy Spirit,

    “We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt.”

    The statement is incorrect; the Holy Spirit does not convict the world of its guilt. As explained in
    John16:8-11, the Holy Spirit will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

    No need to continue reading their website.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yikes! What did else did I not see here??? Im hoping it was because I was reading late at night and on my phone. Gm370 and Ubi Dubium, thank you for pointing out these things. I dont like the thought that I didnt discern the things you all did here. But Thank you. See…the body at work helping one another. For the rest of my life I think I will be visiting churches, continuing to learn and never joining a one. Oh how I yearn for heaven when we all can see clearly and every agenda is in line with the Father.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes! What did else did I not see here???

      And combined with your handle, your first comment up top sounded like a True Believer blinded by his loyalty to the (Divine) Cause. An attitude I encountered all too often among The Chosen Ones when I was in-country. And that Eagle has encountered all too often among abusers and justifiers/enablers of abuse.


      • Oh my goodness Headless Unicorn Guy! Abuser and justifier/enabler of abuse because I didn’t see something on a web site the first time i read it late at night on my phone??? For heavens sake, I didnt say i was joining the church! So I wouldn’t visit…alright? Be nice. HA!


  6. Think I will pass. I clicked on the favorite sites/blogs page and all boxes are checked for a CalvinIslam church. See below..

    Sites and Blogs we follow:
    Acts 29
    Desiring God
    Evangelical Free Church of America
    The Good Book Blog (Talbot School of Theology’s Faculty Blog)
    The Gospel Coalition
    The Resurgence
    Strands of Thought
    Tim Challies Blog
    Together for the Gospel

    Liked by 1 person

  7. They seem to be well-intended, just maybe not able to connect all that well to people who don’t agree with them.

    Short answer: No, I would not attend there; but that’s because that my doctrinal positions differ from theirs.


  8. Ok, nevermind about well-intended. Some of this stuff sounds downright cultish imo.

    “Gospel community forms in the context of ordeal and mutual love. It could kill you, but if it doesn’t, it makes you stronger.”


    I take issue with the term “ordeal”.

    We have enough issues to deal with outside the Church, most notably, risk of persecution. If “Gospel community” is responsible for killing people — rather than the world outside the Church — then what we have is not the Church, but a destructive cult. And killing people does not strike me as a loving thing to do.


  9. I have several other concerns, but the one that really gets my goat is the emphasis on mission.

    Here’s the problem with that:

    In my experience, using ministry as a vehicle, with the focus on mission, often results in the mission replacing God as the object of worship. I find that folks who adhere to this notion will tend to use people and ministry as disposable tools to go after dogma, power, authority and positions, all the while thinking that they are obeying God. In my experience, it’s about staying busy in the “mission”, rather than being able to relate to normal people.

    And the most disgusting thing about this attitude? Value will be placed on dogma over the spiritual and socio-psychological health of congregants.

    In my opinion, MISSION is NOT the answer. Loving God AND people is.


  10. What is a Christian?

    First thing I note about “True Christians” is that they seem to fail to recognize that it takes time for folks to get from point A to point B in their faith walks (1 John 2).

    I found their list of expectations of Christian attitudes and behaviors — while biblical, from the looks of it — to be unrealistic. It really seemed to me as if they were expecting Christ to have already perfected us. That bothered me.

    If I were in a church like this, I’d be asking:

    “How long will it be before they expect me to keep up appearances and lie when talking about authenticity?”

    “How much can I avoid these people, so that I can deny them access to my private life and personal thoughts?”

    “How do I stand up for myself and not allow these people to control me?”

    “Why am I here, when I could be attending a church that would view me and my contributions in a more positive light?”


  11. Inerrantism

    I don’t believe that the “Fundevangelical” interpretation of the Bible is without error. Therefore, I am not an inerrantist and would not fit in that well at this church.


    Having studied the complementarian-egalitarian debate a bit, I am basically an egalitarian. So, I would not fit in that way, either. I just hope that the church treats women well, and that the females who are there, have a sincere desire to honor God by submitting to complementarianism. I can respect that. What I object to is egalitarian females being forced into complementarianism against their will. When it is done against their will, then, in my opinion as an egalitarian, it is a demeaning, cultish form of control / enslavement.

    Knowing God via the Bible

    I disagree with this church over us knowing God pretty much only through the Bible. I believe that we need the Bible AND interaction with people, so that we can keep things in perspective. I keep in mind that in Jesus’ day, the religious leaders knew the Law well, but with their studies, they had distanced themselves from the common people — and lacked respect and compassion for people as a result.


  12. Spiritual authority

    It was unclear to me what their expectations were in terms of authority and control over members’ thoughts, behaviors and lives.

    It was further unclear to me what their expectations were in terms of church discipline. Which situations would warrant church discipline? Do they have an appeals process? If so, how does it work? Is anything legally-binding? When would they use excommunication? Would someone who was excommunicated be allowed back into fellowship once certain requirements were satisfied? Would leadership or others gossip about members under discipline or who have been excommunicated? Do they discriminate against women in church discipline / excommunication proceedings?

    Also, what do they mean by “spiritual authority”?

    Do they practice covering theology?

    Is this some sort of “Mandate of Heaven” or “Divine Right of Kings”?

    I thought Jesus taught His disciples NOT to exercise authority over people (Matthew 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-45, Luke 22:24-26), and I thought that this thought was also passed on to church leadership (1 Peter 5:3). So, I am confused by the term “spiritual authority” seeming to apply to people who are not to exercise authority over others.

    Also, the church is incorrect to say that “There were no outsiders involved in the leadership of any indigenous churches.” Paul and his apostolic workers migrated among many churches and did not necessarily have one “home base” church. They were, in a way, “outsiders” when compared to local leadership. Not only that, but the fact that Paul would ask the Roman church to receive the deaconess Phoebe from Cenchrae (Romans 16:1-2) and that (I believe) there were also other situations in which Paul would ask a church to receive this or that worker, would suggest that there was a sense of collaboration among churches and possibly church leadership in New Testament times. So no, I don’t buy the “no outsiders” thing.

    Frankly, it would seem to me that they are trying to make a case for God having granted them alleged authority over other people, while simultaneously trying to justify having no real accountability for their authority figures.

    For the record, that’s what cults do.

    So, no, I would not want to attend this church. Not my cup o’ tea. ; )


  13. I have known Bob Burris, the senior pastor for almost 20 years. He is a cruel, heartless and narcissistic deceiver. He leads a cult in Orange, California and please stay away from this “church” and especially the day care center where innocent children are lead like sheep to e slaughter. Bob Burris practices authoritarianism and forces all to pledge their personal and financial resources to him. He is a liar, and an evil person. He is far from “saved”. He will be judged severely by the master on that glorious day of His return.

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