A Review of Alvin Jennings’ 3 Rs of Urban Church Growth

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[Note:  This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts  page.]


 In 1981, a brother in Christ, Alvin Jennings, owner of Star Bible Publications, Inc., wrote and published a book titled, 3 R’s of Urban Church Growth. This book raised many eyebrows, including those of the venerable G.K. Wallace. Brother Wallace wrote a withering review of some of the major errors advocated in this book, charging that it contained elements of Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, Crossroadsism, and Sommerism.1 Jennings promptly wrote a response in which he offered no apologies for the content of his book and denied that he advocated any such doctrines in it. His response also admitted the following:

A few respected brothers have recommended the book be withdrawn from circulation…. We have prayed much about this and have decided to continue to make it available, at least until someone can prove its concepts to be untrue.2

The truth of the matter is that at least one brother had begged brother Jennings not to publish the book to begin with after reading and evaluating the material in manuscript form.3 It is regrettable that Jennings refused to heed his warning. It is more regrettable that he could not see that brother Wallace’s review, although brief, constituted a devastating expose`. One is reminded of the behavior of Rehoboam in response to his counselors—he listened only to those who agreed with him (1 Kin. 12:1–14). Just as Rehoboam’s decision produced division among God’s people, Jennings’ decision to publish his book and defend it against justifiable attacks has furthered division in the kingdom.

Brother Jennings was not content to publish this version of the book. In 1985 he published “an expanded edition” of his book titled, How Christianity Grows in the City, adding 63 pages of content. He was apparently so encouraged by the sales of his original book that he thought every preacher and elder in the church would surely want a copy of the new book. Accordingly, he “borrowed all the money he could and mailed a copy to all the churches [15,750] in the USA.”4

In the cover letter (dated July 10, 1985) enclosed with this unsolicited mailing, he asked each recipient to please send the book back or send him $3.00 to pay for it. I did neither. I knew I was under no legal obligation to do so; postal regulations are clear on this point concerning unsolicited “junk mail.” Nor did I feel any moral obligation to do either since I had not ordered the book in the first place. Having familiarized myself with what he was advocating from reading his first book, I did not feel disposed to write him and thank him for it. So I just kept it. From his own statement, it appears that some 14,647 others did likewise.5

This enlarged edition of the Jennings book has five more chapters than its predecessor, plus an expanded “Epilogue” and “Forward” and a “Dedication” page. The book is dedicated (in part) as follows:

To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Boston, Massachusetts, together with the evangelists, overseers and deacons, I dedicate this little volume, How Christianity Grows in the City. It is to you above all others of my acquaintance who have effectively implemented the biblical concepts of local church organization, every-member evangelism at home, and world evangelism abroad.6

Chapter 16 is titled, “How Christianity is Growing in the City of Boston.” It consists of 12 pages of unmitigated praise for Kip McKean, the principal disciple of Chuck Lucas, who has now surpassed even his former master in his despotic influence.

The major thrust of the Jennings book is to advocate substitution of house churches in place of church houses and we will review such contentions in some detail.

Some Good Things in Jennings’ Book

By no means is everything in How Christianity Grows in the City bad or erroneous. There are many good, even excellent, emphases in the book. For example the author begins by emphasizing the priority of reading the Bible, our final and only authority. Further, the book correctly points out that a matter of religion must be more than merely practical; it does not really “work” unless it is Biblical. The avowed aim of the book is to improve and increase evangelism among the Lord’s people. Brother Jennings makes a strong appeal for respect for God’s pattern in every way and points out that a given practice or program is not right merely because it seems right to some or because it attracts great crowds. Chapter 3, “Christianity Grows When Christians Are Added,” is a fine study of the way one becomes a Christian. (This material first appeared as a tract, presumably written some years before the author adopted his novel “house-church” views. It is lamentable that he has not remained as faithful God’s Word concerning God’s pattern of organization for His church as he has for His plan of salvation.)

All of the aforementioned concepts are ones with which every lover of the Truth will heartily concur. However, the very presence of these true concepts mixed in with the deadly errors in the book make the book all the more dangerous to the unwary and uninformed. The basic truths in the beginning of the book tend to disarm the reader and hypnotize him into accepting what the author says when he shifts from those fundamental truths to his speculations and the dangerous conclusions drawn from those speculations. It is similar to the peril of a student who attends a Christian college in full trust of its loyalty to the Bible and is thereby disarmed in regard to theistic evolution taught by one of the “Christian” professors.

If brother Jennings had only been content to follow his own advice on respecting God’s pattern, not binding where God has loosed, and accepting the Bible as his final and only authority, he surely would never have advocated several the things that he advocates in his book. The good things in this book do not begin to compensate for the errors it promotes, any more than a pinch of sugar can compensate for the poison in a tablespoon of strychnine. Scriptural ignorance, spiritual gullibility, and the desire to embrace anything that is new or that will attract numbers of people prevails in the Lord’s church (including many elders) in our day. These factors combine to make this book exceedingly dangerous.

Miscellaneous Harmful Teachings in the Book

Jennings’ faulty method of building his case

The book is filled with terms of supposition. Such expressions as “possibly,” “it is evident,” “it seemed,” “usually,” “it is clear,” “probably,” “likely,” “it would appear,” “presumably,” “supposedly,” “Could it have been?” “Could it be?” “Must we conclude?” “multitudes estimated,” “this may have been,” “reasonably assumed in most cases,” “seems to emerge,” “most unlikely,” “seems to have been,” “it would seem,” “it is improbable,” “it would not be unreasonable to assume,” “did not seem,” “perhaps,” and “it is obvious” are found. Some of these terms are used several times.

Often brother Jennings uses the device of asking rhetorical questions that imply his fabricated conclusion:

Must we conclude that the greatest roadblocks to our reaching out to the world, as well as to our own people already in the fold, somehow must lie within the “institutions” or “forms” or “structures” of our cogregations?7 

After doing all of this “supposing,” “perhapsing,” and “assuming,” the author then treats his assumptions as if they were absolute facts. It is upon the “basis” of his “assumed facts” that he draws his conclusions concerning elders in a city, congregations in a city, house churches, local church autonomy, church buildings, and such like.

At times brother Jennings does not bother to use a term indicating he is merely offering an opinion—he just states that a given matter is so and expects his readers to accept it. For example, he says of the Corinthian church: “It was at that time [of the first epistle] a church consisting of thousands of Christians in a city of 700,000 population, according to the best information available.”8 Note that he doesn’t tell us what the source of his “best information

available” is. Another careless statement is the following: ”…later throughout the book of Acts it is clear they [the apostles] and the disciples met specifically for prayers and devotions only in private homes of fellow Christians.”9

Yet another case in point follows:

How could Peter get all “the flock” of 50,000 sheep, more or less, together in Jerusalem at one time and place to feed them and tend them on a regular daily or weekly basis? Obviously he worked in conjunction with all the overseers, but he personally had a particular care and concern for the smaller group whom he knew more intimately, meeting daily and/or each Lord’s Day [sic] in a private dwelling.10

Several such statements are presented as facts, which are no more than one man’s opinion or guess. Yet, just such “evidence” is about all that is offered for the case the book tries to build.

Harmful teachings concerning congregational autonomy

It is obvious from reading the New Testament that there was no hierarchy in the apostolic church. Each congregation was bound together in fellowship because of the “one faith” (Eph. 4:5) which they held in common. The same things were taught “everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). While they freely worked together in helping the helpless and preaching the Gospel, they were independent, self-governing bodies. This is discerned from the fact that each group of elders/bishops/pastors was to exercise oversight over its own “flock” (Acts 20:28).

The New Testament pattern shows that each church was to have a plurality of elders with authority only over a single congregation. Gospel preachers have often stressed the wisdom of God in this plan so that if one eldership becomes corrupt and the congregation apostatizes, it has no power to take others with it. A corrupt hierarchy automatically corrupts all of those under its power. The “Jennings Plan” provides for just such a “domino effect” of apostasy, and the Boston church is now putting it into practice.

Church history indicates that the earliest departures from the Truth came in the matter of church organization. Those early departures finally led to the papacy of Roman Catholicism. The Jennings book attacks local congregational autonomy. Furthermore, the fruits of those who are applying his scheme to the ultimate show this clearly. Whether or not it was intentional, brother Jennings has structured a plan of hierarchy similar to that of the Roman Church. G.K. Wallace well described this feature of the “Jennings Plan”: “There is now among us an effort to restructure the church by setting up an organization patterned after the Roman Catholic Church.”11

In describing the churches in any given city today brother Jennings correctly says: …all functions are conducted within the framework of the completely autonomous, independent, self-governing congregations. This separateness has been tenaciously guarded and held as part of the biblical pattern.12

In connection with the above statement he also observes that financial matters are handled strictly on a congregationally independent basis. However, instead of agreeing with these Scriptural practices, he denies that there is any resemblance between them and those that prevailed in the Jerusalem church, pontificating instead that no city of the New Testament “seemed” to have a plurality of independent congregations, but that every Christian in a given city was under only one eldership.13 This, of course, is fully in harmony with the Scripture as long as there was only one congregation in a given city. However, as I will later demonstrate, brother Jennings insists that there were multiple congregations (“house churches”) in each city, all of which were under one eldership, thus denying them their Scriptural independence and autonomy under their respective elderships.

His suggestion that all of the money from the several congregations in a given city must be placed in the hands of a single “Metropolitan Eldership” is a further attempt to destroy local church autonomy. The summary of the dream of the “Jennings Plan” for the metropolitan church as it relates to autonomy is as follows:

To sum it up, the treasury and elders will be one in the urban area. Elders will allow and encourage assemblies anywhere and everywhere that men may gather in the name of Jesus. Congregational autonomy will begin to fade within the city, and individual congregational growth consciousness will give way to the overall growth of the urban church with all its congregations regardless of their place of assembly.14

Could there be any clearer indication of one’s abandonment of God’s pattern of autonomy for the church than this statement?

Harmful teachings concerning the eldership

The entire Scriptural concept of the eldership has come under severe attack from various ones among us in recent years. Many have denied that elders have any authority in the local church, making of them mere pious figureheads. Others have denied that the qualifications given through Paul by the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1) are to be given any consideration in selecting elders. Brother Jennings now comes along with yet another perversion concerning elders—one which would take the church back to the rise of the papacy.

A previously quoted statement from Jennings serves to demonstrate the way he begins his tirade against the Scriptural concept of elders by subtly planting doubts:

Must we conclude that the greatest roadblocks to our reaching out to the world as well as to our own people already in the fold, somehow must lie within the “institutions” or “forms” or “structures” of our congregations?15

It becomes clear from further reading in the book that the author includes the Scriptural concept of the eldership in his congregational “structures” that constitute “roadblocks” to his plan. He is right in one respect—faithful elders will indeed withstand the efforts of his restructuring plan for the church. Jennings realizes this and thus insists that they must be cast aside as hindrances.

What is the restructuring plan brother Jennings has in mind? First he asserts that there were not several independent, autonomous congregations in any given city in the first century, but that every Christian (whether 10 or 10,000) in said city was under one eldership.16 He advocates that to appoint elders in every city meant to appoint elders in every church, therefore. Further, he opines that there were many small congregations meeting in private residences in the various cities and that if we would duplicate these today “under the ‘shepherd- like guidance’ of a deacon, pastor, evangelist, or teacher, it would seem to be a step in the right direction.”17

Sometimes he advocates that an elder (a “pastor,” as above) be over each of these small churches, but he is also content for deacons or evangelists (as above) or “spiritual men” to “shepherd” these little flocks, or for a “teacher” to have responsibility in one of these small units in a residence.18 As earlier documented, he argues that Peter could not have served as a shepherd of 50,000 sheep, so as to tend them on a daily or even a weekly basis, so he “obviously” tended only a small flock meeting in a private dwelling.19

From time to time all of these elders of the small residential flocks are to meet together, for indeed, they are the eldership of the metropolitan area. (Brother Jennings does not make it clear whether or not those who are not actually elders, but who nonetheless provide “shepherd- like guidance” for the house churches, are to be included in the meetings of the actual elders. Perhaps he hasn’t decided yet for us.) Of course, all of the money collected in these small, non- autonomous flocks is to be brought to and controlled by the one eldership of the city. He states it for us succinctly:

To sum it up, the treasury and elders will be one in the urban area. Elders will allow and encourage assemblies anywhere and everywhere that men may gather in the name of Jesus. Congregational autonomy will begin to fade within the city, and individual congregational growth consciousness will give way to the overall growth of the urban church with all its congregations regardless of their place of assembly. An occasional public meeting of all the saints in the city in the largest hall available will afford opportunity for fellowship, encouragement, evangelization and edification.20

Let the reader remember that elders have oversight only over the congregation of which they are members and in which they serve (Acts 20:28). Paul appointed elders in every church, referring to the congregations in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (Acts 14:21, 23). Notice also that the New Testament pattern requires a plurality of elders in each congregation. We conclude the following: (1) one elder cannot serve alone over one or more than one congregation; (2) an eldership cannot serve over more than one congregation. Brother Jennings misses the Scriptural pattern “coming and going.” He would place one elder (or someone who could give “shepherd-like guidance”) over each house church (he calls these “congregations”) and he would then place all of the congregations in a city under one “metropolitan eldership.”

It is unmitigated assumption to state that there were several congregations in each city of Crete and that the charge to appoint elders in every city (Tit. 1:5) was equivalent to a pattern for a single eldership in each city, regardless of how many congregations may exist therein. When the charge to Titus is understood against the backdrop of Paul’s practice in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch and against his statement to the Ephesian elders, one of the following must have been true: (1) There was only one congregation in each city of Crete (it is mere assumption to teach otherwise), or (2) if more than one congregation existed in any city (Jennings’ assumption), Paul was charging Titus to appoint a plurality of elders in each of those congregations.

The one-man pastor system over a church—with “super pastors” or elders over each of them and their congregations—is a throw-back to Roman Catholic hierarchy and is the worst kind of heresy. Yet, this is what our brother seeks to fasten upon the Lord’s church.

Another error that brother Jennings asserts is that elders cannot delegate any of their teaching responsibilities to others, but must personally do all of the teaching in a congregation.

Where does the scripture tell elders to hand their teaching job to someone else: And where is the pattern for an evangelist to do his principle [sic] work pastoring in the pulpit of an existing congregation? Are not these some of the traditions we have developed that need reevaluation?21

He hammers on the same hobby again in the following:

There is only one reason that the scripture requires that an elder be “apt to teach” and that is so he can teach. He must feed the flock and train them. Evangelists and teachers may instruct, “reprove, rebuke, and exhort (2 Tim. 4:2), but the elders are to feed, nurture, and train.22

This is the doctrine of the late Daniel Sommer, which was picked up and somewhat modified by W. Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett in the 1950s and turned into their false distinction between “Gospel” and “doctrine” and from which they sought to support their opposition to fully-supported preachers working with a congregation. It is amazing that brother Jennings does not realize that he is parroting errors that were ably exposed many years ago. Surely, our brother does not believe that elders must personally teach every class that is taught and preach every sermon that is preached. Yet, this is the implication of his statements.

With all the rules brother Jennings makes for elders and with his gushing praise for the Boston Church of Christ, it would seem that he should answer a few questions for us.

  1. If elders cannot delegate any of their teaching job to someone else (per Jennings’ claim),23 then how can the two Boston elders possibly do all of the teaching needed for over 2,500 members?
  2. If the Jerusalem elders could not handle all of the teaching that needed to be done for the several thousand members by bringing the church together regularly, how does it help the problem to argue that they did their teaching in various house churches—unless there was a “real elder” (not just a man who could give “shepherd-like guidance”) for each alleged house church?24 Further, if the two Boston elders cannot do an effective job of feeding the flock in regular assemblies, how can they possibly do it any better in their 50+ “house churches”?
  3. Why cannot brother Jennings see his contradiction in first claiming that elders must do all of the teaching themselves and then claiming that it is necessary to make use of evangelists, deacons, and teachers for teaching in house churches—and praising Boston for so doing?

Harmful teachings concerning pay for teachers

Jennings must have felt the need to pad his when he wrote his chapters concerning pay for teachers. He guesses that the reason that so few have been teachers of the Gospel to their fellow men is because those being taught have not paid their teacher. I had always thought that, while both the Lord and Paul taught that the laborer is worthy of his hire and they that proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9: 3–14), the dedicated disciple would teach whether or not he was paid for his effort. Indeed, in this very context, Paul declared: “For necessity is aid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (v. 16).

It would be more understandable if brother Jennings were advocating support from one’s brethren who are taught, but his idea is that alien sinners should be expected (and even asked) by their teacher for support. How unlike the Lord, who never sought a shekel from those He taught. How unlike Paul who worked with his own hands to provide his needs in Corinth and Ephesus so he could teach and preach (Acts 18:1–4; 20:33–34). How unlike those noble preachers described by John who went forth for the sake of the “name, “taking nothing of the Gentiles” (3 John 7).  

Can you imagine the reaction of those whom one is trying to teach the Gospel of Christ when the end of the lesson comes and the teacher begins telling the non-Christian student he has to pay for his teaching? If we have difficulty getting sinners to hear the Gospel without charge, what difficulty would we have if we charged them for it? Let us remember that the church (not the world) is the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). I do not recall hearing a more ridiculous and unscriptural idea than this, that teachers of the Gospel must exact money from alien sinners to pay for their teaching.

Harmful teachings concerning house churches

I have purposefully left this section till the last for emphasis because it is at the heart of the heresy advocated by brother Jennings. It first needs to be pointed out that he builds his case for multiple house churches on two faulty premises: (1) misuse of Scripture and (2) sheer assumption. He misuses Scripture by taking the few references that mention congregations that met in a certain person’s home and from that making the assumption that the church in every New Testament city was made up of house churches. After dozens of statements of assumption (“perhaps,” “it seems,” etc.) about early brethren assembling in their houses, he suddenly decides he has proved his case and he blurts out his assumed conclusion as if it were law and Gospel: “It is a matter of biblical and historical significance that the church in these first centuries assembled in several homes of its members.”32 He then proceeds to urge that his scheme be employed in every city.

None can deny that congregations met in homes in some cases in the first century (e.g., Rom. 16:5). It is also freely admitted that there is nothing inherently wrong with a congregation’s doing this now. In fact, many large congregations began by meeting in the home of a Christian family. Further, in many areas of the world where the Gospel has just begun to be preached and the cause is weak, congregations are meeting in homes at this very hour. It will continue to be so until the end of time. However, it is quite another matter to pontificate that this is part of the New Testament pattern for the church in a city—which is the whole purpose of the Jennings book!

Jennings tries to build his case for the necessity of multiple house churches in Jerusalem by throwing out huge estimates of the size of the church there. In at least two separate places he postulates that the number of saints in Jerusalem was between 50,000 and 100,000, according to “various historians” (unnamed and uncited).25 (Ironically, one of these estimates is given immediately after the following statement: ”…there is no way to determine how many Christians there may have been in this city [Jerusalem] by the time the book of Acts was ended.”26 Presumably the age of miracles has not ceased—brother Jennings is twice able to give us numbers in spite of there being no way to determine them.)

After engaging in pure guess-work that 50,000 to 100,000 saints were in Jerusalem by the end of Acts (c. 63 A.D.), he then dogmatically states that this leaves ”…no doubt but that homes were utilized for regular Lord’s day meetings…” because ”…it would have been virtually impossible to have accomodated [sic] the throngs any other way.”30

I am quite willing to grant the numbers that are mentioned in the early chapters of Acts (2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1; 7). However, it needs to be remembered that within a short time of Pentecost (likely no more than one or two years)27 these numbers were reduced to almost none as Saul of Tarsus launched a wave of persecution following Stephen’s death, which persecution drove all but the apostles out of the city (Acts 8:1). Even if we should grant that as many as 20,000 composed the church by the dispersion, they still could have assembled easily in the courtyard of the temple. (In fact, since about 3,000 obeyed the Gospel on Pentecost, it is quite likely that several thousand more than this were assembled for the sermon preached on that day (Acts 2:37-41).

Concerning the capacity of Herod’s temple and its courts, the historian Daniel-Rops wrote: “There were thousands of priests to be seen in this wonderful building, and in its courts there were tens of thousands of believers [Jews].”28 Lenski commented as follows on Acts 2:46: ”…the Christians used the Temple which Jesus had honored and which typified him (John 2:19- 21) as they had used it before. Its spacious colonnades and halls afforded them room for their own assemblies.”29 Luke plainly wrote that the infant church in Jerusalem met “in the temple” (i.e., the temple grounds) (Acts 2:46; 5:12). There was ample assembly room for the thousands who composed the church before the dispersion and we simply reject the guess as baseless that there might have later been 50,000 to 100,000 members there. Even if there were, it does not necessarily follow that they had to meet in homes.

Brother Jennings’ “reasoning” reminds us of the anti-immersionists who argue that there was not enough water in Jerusalem to immerse 3,000 in one day, therefore the 3,000 had to be sprinkled. Like them, he produces a fabricated set of “impossible” circumstances and then bases an unwarranted dogmatic conclusion upon them. In the beginning of his comments—in which he insists that the saints in Jerusalem must have met in their homes on the Lord’s day for lack of any one place large enough to hold them—brother Jennings writes: “The New Testament contains very little information about the meeting places of the ekklesia, the church.”31 Sadly, he feels the need to supply us with all of that material the Holy Spirit left out.

What our brother needs to prove if his case is to have any merit at all is that New Testament Christians never assembled except in the homes of members. He cannot do this, and he admits that he cannot. His main “authorities” for his unorthodox plan are a handful of false prophets (including Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho, “Watchman Nee,” and “Witness Lee”).33 He thus has no case whatsoever. Were there not so many brethren so willing to take up with every innovation that someone wants to urge upon the church, we doubt that his book would ever have done anything but rot in the warehouse.


There is much more justifiable criticism that could be (and has been) offered of the things taught in How Christianity Grows in the City, including Wayne Coats’ book.2 In this brief treatment I have shown that it contains errors on the subjects of: (1) congregational autonomy, (2) elders and the eldership, and (3) where and how the church assembled in the first century (and where and how it should assemble now). These concepts are all destructive of the “one faith” in various ways, and faithful Christians will resist and oppose them.

Interestingly, since brother Jennings came out with his book that contains glowing praise of the Boston Church of Christ and devoting an entire chapter to explain how they have implemented his ideas, he has begun trying to put some distance between himself and the Boston people by issuing a “disclaimer” of sorts.35 He claims to have been unaware of the Crossroads cult until about 1981 and only then from “negative” critics “who had not been there.” When he finally found someone “who had been there” (Gordon Ferguson) and who gave the Crossroads Church and Chuck Lucas a clean bill of health, he published his report of same (1983). Then came his commendation of Beyond Crossroads by Jim Woodruff and Understanding the Crossroads Controversy by Robert Nelson (a defense of Crossroads by a member of the Crossroads Church)

Brother Jennings’ company (Star Bible Publications, Inc.) next published Discipling—The Multiplying Ministry, a handbook of Crossroads/Boston Church operations, by Milton Jones. By this time Chuck Lucas had been dethroned in Gainesville, Florida, and Kip McKean in Boston had taken up Lucas’s besmirched mantle of the movement. Brother Jennings had become so enamored with the cult that he wrote a booklet praising the Boston church, titled BOSTON—A Story of Faith, Courage, Freedom and Victory. Finally (1985), he came out with How Christianity Grows in the City in which he highly praises the Boston Church and holds it up as a model for all to follow.

His disenchantment with the Boston Church was brought about in general by the fact that the Boston Church is: (1) practicing “evangelistic authority” and (2) is controlling other churches, but more particularly, because some of the young hotshot evangelists under the influence of Boston came in and took over the “DFW Church” which he had helped to establish according to the blueprint of his book. Personally, we find it almost amusing that he cannot tolerate the harvest of the seeds he planted in his book, when he feels them being personally applied to himself.

His concept of one eldership over numerous congregations in a city contains the seed of one eldership over numerous (indeed, every) congregation in the world that will bow to them. Further, his advocacy of an evangelist over a house church contains the seed of evangelistic authority at least equal to that of elders, now being implemented by Boston in a blatant way. It is both strange and pitiable that brother Jennings, a man who has been preaching for almost 40 years, could not see the mischief in Crossroads cultism to begin with and further, that he would write a book, the implications of whose principles he could not see. We say kindly, but with conviction, that it will take far more than a brief 4-page statement from brother Jennings to dissociate himself from the Boston/Crossroads Movement and to correct the many errors he advocates in his 191 page book.


  1. G.K. Wallace, “The Gathering Storm,” Gospel Advocate (Nov. 19, 1981): pp. 681-682.
  2. Alvin Jennings, “3 R’s Book Reviewed,” pamphlet (n.d.), p. 1.
  3. Eddie Whitten, letter to Alvin Jennings (Feb. 10, 1981).
  4. Alvin Jennings, “Where Do I Stand in Relation to the ‘Crossroads’ Churches?” pamphlet (Sep.30,1987), p. 2.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Alvin Jennings, How Christianity Grows in the City (Fort Worth, TX: Star Bible Pub., Inc., 1985), p. 2
  7. Ibid., p. 43.
  8. Ibid., p. 73.
  9. Ibid., p. 33.
  10. Ibid., p. 93.
  11. Wallace, p. 681
  12. Ibid., p. 54.
  13. Jennings, How Christianity Grows…, pp. 54–55.
  14. Ibid. , p. 7l.
  15. Ibid., p. 43.
  16. Ibid., p. 55.
  17. Ibid., p. 65.
  18. Ibid., pp. 46, 52.
  19. Ibid., p.93.
  20. Ibid., p. 7l.
  21. Ibid., p. 60.
  22. Ibid., p. 93.
  23. Ibid., p. 60.
  24. Ibid., p. 93.
  25. Ibid., pp. 17, 31.
  26. Ibid., p. 17.
  27. Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1965), p. 559.
  28. Henri Daniel-Rops, Daily Life in the Time of Jesus (New York, NY: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1962), p.
  29. R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Pub. House1961), p. 120.
  30. Jennings, Ibid., p. 31.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid., p. 82.
  33. Ibid., pp. 180-181.
  34. For a 235-page expose’ of this book, read A Critique of How Christianity Grows in the City, by WayneCoats (Coats Pub., 184 Hillview Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122).
  1. Alvin Jennings, “Where Do I Stand in Relation to the ‘Crossroads’ Churches?” pamphlet, Sep. 30,1987

[Note: I wrote this MS for and presented a digest of it orally at the Annual Shenandoah Lectures, hosted by the Shenandoah Church of Christ, San Antonio, TX, February 19–22, 1988. It was published in the book of the lectures, The Current Digression II, ed. Jerry Moffitt (San Antonio, TX: Shenandoah Church of Christ, 1987).] 

Attribution: From thescripturecache.com; Dub McClish, owner and administrator.

Author: Dub McClish

2 thoughts on “A Review of Alvin Jennings’ 3 Rs of Urban Church Growth

  1. Alvin baptized me in 1956. I owe my salvation to his teaching and encouragement, along with other members of the C of C in Saskatoon, SK. His works will follow him.
    Leo Regehr

    1. Dear brother Regehr,
      Thank you for your response to my MS on our brother Alvin. I rejoice that you learned and obeyed the Truth through his work. I’ve known him for almost half a century, during which time we’ve lived in the same metropolitan area (Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas). While I admired his evangelistic zeal, I was saddened when he chose a few years ago to support the Crossraods/Boston cult, which cult was responsible for the division of many congregations in several states and the loss of many souls before the movement imploded from its own errors. May the Lord bless your faithful service to Him.
      Yours in the Cause,
      Dub McClish

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