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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Warren’

Contra C.S. Lewis: Why 1 Timothy 4:10 Does Not Endorse Religious Pluralism Heresy

Posted by Job on January 1, 2011

Recently, due to a confluence of circumstances, the kids and I had a block of time that had to be spent at a movie theatre. Due to my, er, conservative tastes, the only viable options were Megamind (part of the Hollywood campaign to promote subversive ideas by attacking concepts of virtue and decency in the minds of our young, but that’s a whole other story), Tron Legacy, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The little ones – and not so little ones – wanted to see Tron Legacy, but I chose the Narnia installment (which will be the last to be made into a film) because of its Christian elements and themes.

Result: much better than expected. The script was far from perfect, but the action and effects were great, and the Christian elements were far more frequent and explicit than expected, which made for a  rousing good time for all. In my exuberance, I was ready to immediately abandon my mixed feelings about C.S. Lewis and his Narnia works and borrow my neighbor’s volume set and begin reading at the first opportunity.

Now as God’s blessings had it, the first opportunity would have been the next morning. As a result, I decided to spend the evening before doing a little research on the Narnia series on Wikipedia for a preview. I am not one of those who fears “spoiling the ending by knowing what will happen in advance”, preferring instead to know what I am getting into when I undertake reading a novel or watching a movie. And in this case, boy did knowing what I was getting into paid off.

The reason is that at the end of the very last of the series of 7 books, “The Last Battle”, C.S. Lewis, the famed Christian apologist and scholar cherished and beloved by millions of Christians worldwide, and whose works are referenced and quoted by many prominent Christian pastors and leaders and used in a great many of the seminaries and Bible colleges that train future such leaders, uses the devout pagan false god worshiping character Emeth to make an aggressive endorsement of the “many paths to heaven” religious pluralism heresy popularized by those ranging from John Hick, Billy Graham, and the Vatican Council II (now of course my position is that Roman Catholicism is a wholly other and false religion to begin with, but thanks to a long line of people from John Wesley to Billy Graham, Roman Catholics are now accepted as Christians by most evangelicals, which means that their doctrines increasingly influence Protestant thinking). Aslan, the allegorical Jesus Christ figure in Narnia, gives Emeth entrance into heaven because he accepted Emeth’s loyal – indeed fervent – devotion to the demon Tash as service to him. Lewis promoted the popular modern heretical abomination that “good people” who faithfully worship false deities are actually worshiping the one true God whether they know it or not … that those who worship YHWH in ignorance through false religions will receive the same reward as those who worship God openly. This was even inconsistent with the contents of the Narnia books themselves, as the religion dedicated to this demon had corrupted Emeth’s entire culture, people and nation.

But wait. There’s more. Aslan also allows entrance into heaven those who did not worship him, but merely obeyed the laws of Narnia (as Narnia’s laws were based on knowledge of Aslan). So, in addition to “you can get to heaven by being a good demon worshiper”, Lewis basically endorsed the “all good people go to heaven regardless of worship or personal faith” doctrine, which is essentially an endorsement of both Roman Catholic doctrine (salvation is conferred by being a member in good standing with the church) and  modern state-church doctrine. May I remind you that C.S. Lewis was on extremely good terms with the Roman Catholic Church, and a member of the Church of England.

Basically, C.S. Lewis held the position that Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross is applied to all good people regardless of religious practice. Lewis, typical of pluralists and universalists, interprets “I am the way and none can come to the Father except through me” to mean that Jesus Christ alone was the One who secured salvation regardless of faith in Him, and not that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Again, C.S. Lewis’ beliefs are not hidden in a corner. They are in the Narnia books, read by millions of Christians who profess conservative theological beliefs. And Narnia has defended his views as expressed in “The Last Battle” in a number of writings and media interviews. Naturally, these are not what the many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who love citing Lewis refer to, and it is not what the many evangelical and fundamentalist seminaries assign their students to read. That the folks who tread in these circles esteem C.S. Lewis merely because he is counted as a theological conservative on certain matters (i.e. inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible and the virgin birth, deity, atoning death, resurrection and literal return of Jesus Christ) and oppose theological liberals when they believe basically the same thing on the vital issue of who gets to go to heaven can be nothing other than an indictment of the scandalous condition of the church today … a church that many believe is on the precipice of the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. What else can be said about a Christian climate that continues to revere  C.S. Lewis, Rick Warren and Billy Graham, sponsors such efforts as Evangelicals and Catholics Together, Mormon outreaches, and the Manhattan Declaration (signed by a number of prominent Christians including Al Mohler, which is no surprise as Mohler is on the board of James Dobson’s Focus On The Family).

The truth is that there isn’t that much difference between the beliefs of C.S. Lewis, who is treasured by so many conservative Christians, and the publicly stated beliefs of Barack HUSSEIN Obama. (Yes, Obama proclaims that he believes in the virgin birth, deity, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.) Yet one they embrace and the other they despise? Then again, since so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians continued to support George W. Bush even after he stated that the Bible is not literally true but was merely good moral instructions (the position of the deist Thomas Jefferson), that Muslims and Christians worship the same god, and that this god (whoever he is) told him to invade Iraq, and that Billy Graham told him that some people are “born Christian” … well I guess it would have take finding out that C.S. Lewis supported the Democratic Party and Billy Graham becoming a Democrat for prominent Christians to turn on them! One must look at the church, look at the Bible and shudder at the judgments in store for the church of this generation!

Now the verse that C. S. Lewis used in his writings to defend his pluralist position was 1 Timothy 4:10, which reads “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Lewis and his band of gospel-denying heretics interpret that to mean that God saves “good people” whether they believe or not. The problem: even if you are willing to discard everything else said in Biblical revelation in order to make that single verse the head of all scripture, that isn’t what the verse means. If God is the “Saviour of all” according to Lewis, then His salvation isn’t pluralism (all faithful adherents of their religious traditions get saved because all religions contain enough of God’s revelation to save) or works righteousness (all good people go to heaven) but universalism (everyone goes to heaven regardless of belief  or works). So, in addition to Lewis being internally inconsistent in his Narnia universe by claiming that it was possible to be good, faithful and moral by following a religion dedicated to a demon, and which religion had made the nation given over to worshiping it corrupt and evil, he was inconsistent with his interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:10 by claiming that “Saviour of all” means “Saviour of all good/religious people” instead of “Saviour of all” which is what it plainly says! So, we have a fellow who goes on record stating that a Bible verse doesn’t mean what it plainly says (even according to his own fashion) and he still gets to be regarded as one of the greatest Christian minds of the 20th century? Ok … fine … so who’s the second greatest? If this is what it takes to be regarded as a great Christian mind, what’s the point? What is the benefit? Where is the profit! It would be far better to be regarded a rube, simpleton and dullard by the likes of these people!

So, as 1 Timothy 4:10 plainly cannot be used to support pluralism, we can reject Lewis out of hand and move on to what the verse seems to endorse, which is the universalism of a long line of heretics dating back to at least Origen. Now I must admit: I was stumped. (No great shock or issue there, for after all I am an amateur, not a professional pastor or theologian!) And when I did an Internet search on the matter, I didn’t find much. I guess all the professional pastors and theologians out there had better things to do than properly exegete/interpret/explain a verse that is very commonly abused by universalism heretics! What are some of those things? Oh, I don’t know, how about praising C. S. Lewis and telling their congregations to go watch the Narnia movies and buy the books without bothering to warn them what Lewis really believes and his books really teach … about how it really is no better than Harry Potter? Research shows that most evangelicals believe that “all good people are going to heaven.” Oh, gee, I wonder why?

Fortunately, the excellent The Highway ministry was up to the challenge. A link to their presentation of why 1 Timothy 4:10 does not teach universalism is below:

An Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 4:10

The main excerpt:

A. This is the correct interpretation. It is found by making a thorough study of the term “Saviour” (in both its noun and verb forms1) in the context of the chapter, the epistle, the New Testament and the Old Testament.2 The final phrase “specially of those that believe” clearly Indicates that the term is here given a twofold application. Of all men God is the Saviour, but of some men, namely, believers, He is the Saviour in a deeper, more glorious sense than He is of others.
This clearly implies that when He Is called the Saviour of all men, this cannot mean that He imparts to all everlasting life, as He does to believers. The term “Saviour,” then, must have a meaning which we today generally do not immediately attach to it. And that is exactly the cause of the difficulty. Often In the Old Testament, the term meant “to deliver — (verbal form) or deliverer (nominal form)” — both with reference to men and God (cf. Judg. 3:9; II Kings 13:5; Neh. 9:27; Ps. 25:5; 106:21). Also, in the New Testament, reference is made to the Old Testament where God delivered Israel from the oppression of Pharaoh for He had been the Saviour of all, but specially those who believed. With the latter, and with them alone, He was “well pleased” (I Cor. 10:5). All leave Egypt; not all enter Canaan.” POINT: In both the Old and New Testaments the term “Saviour” is often used to speak of God’s providential preservation or deliverance which extends to all men without exception. (Cf. Ps. 36:6; 145:9; Matt. 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts 17:25, 28.) Moreover, God also causes His gospel of salvation to be earnestly proclaimed to all men without distinction; that is, to men from every race and nation (Matt. 28:19). Truly the kindness (providence or common grace) of God extends to all. But even the circle of those to whom the message of salvation is proclaimed is wider than those who receive it by a true saving faith.

B. Conclusion. A paraphrase of what Paul is teaching in I Timothy 4:10 is this: “We have our hope set on the living God, and in this hope we shall not be disappointed, for not only is He a kind God, hence the Saviour (i.e., preserver or deliverer in a providential, non-soteriological sense) of all men, showering blessings upon them, but He is, in a very special sense, the Saviour (in a soteriological sense) of those who by faith embrace Him and His promise, for to them He imparts salvation, everlasting life in all its fulness.

A similar conclusion is reached by Pastor John Sampson.

A great deal more could be said to substantiate this idea of a savior, but I think the above would make the point. God provides food (Psalm 104:27, 28), sunlight and rainfall (Matt. 5:45), as well as life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25), for “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God preserves, delivers and supplies the needs of all who live in this world, and it is in this sense that He extends grace to them, saving them from destruction every day they live.

God is also gracious in allowing many to hear the proclamation of the Gospel.

All of these mercies are refered to as “common grace.” It is common only in the sense that every living person gets it. This grace should actually amaze us because God is under no obligation whatsoever to give it to anyone. It can never be demanded. God sustains the lives of His sworn enemies, often for many decades! However, as wonderful as it is, it is only a temporal grace because all unregenerate people eventually die and will face the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

I believe then that 1 Timothy 4:10 teaches that we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior (Soter – preserver, sustainer, deliverer) of all people (showing mercy to all, each and every day they live), especially of those who believe (who receive full salvation from His wrath and everlasting life).

For an alternative explanation, Pastor James White proposes that this verse should have been translated to read “who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe” because “malista” should have never been translated as “especially” but instead “that is”. So, a more smooth rendering “who is the Savior of all people who believe” with the “malista” being for the purpose of placing emphasis on “those who believe”, or highlighting those who have saving grace, in a peculiar language convention of the day.

Primarily, however, Dr. White also states that this verse means that Jesus Christ is the only Savior, but that since only those who believe in Jesus Christ actually get saved, Jesus Christ is even more so the Savior for those. In other words, it is a “from general to specific” literary convention. To employ a comparison example:

“A car is a method of transportation, especially for those who own one.” The fact that you do not have access to a car does not negate the fact that a car is a method of transportation. But for those who actually have access to a car, that car is THEIR method of transportation, making it a method of transportation even more so for them, or making it especially a method of transportation.

Taking that back to Jesus Christ, it means that Jesus Christ is Savior whether a person is actually saved or not! Jesus Christ is Savior, especially for people who get saved! And Dr. White’s interpretation actually does fit 1 Peter 1:13-25. That passage is concerned with Jesus Christ’s being appointed as Savior by God before the foundation of the world. This declares Jesus Christ to be Savior not by virtue of His act of saving people, but rather appointing Him to the office of Savior in an official or general way. To go back to the car example, a car does not become a method of transportation only when and because people are riding in it. Instead, provided that the car is capable of operating properly, it is a method of transportation merely by being a car whether it is ever actually driven or not. More to the point, it is a method of transportation even if it is driven by someone else and you personally never get to ride in it. Why? Because it is a car. Further, it is a method of transportation for all people – in the sense that every human being on the planet could hypothetically ride in it … even if they never get a chance to ride in it, they could hypothetically or potentially do so … even though not everyone actually gets to ride in it!

Another example: a surgeon is a surgeon even if he isn’t operating on anyone, and even if he isn’t operating on you. Why? Because even if he never operates on you, his job, title, duty, is still surgeon. And he is still surgeon for all people in the sense that hypothetically he is able to operate on any individual. Despite the fact that he will only perform a few hundred surgeries in his career, he is still qualified, trained, and able to operate on any person who needs a surgeon. So, he is a surgeon “for all” in a general sense, and the surgeon for people that he actually operates on in a specific sense. From general to specific.

Now both The Highway and Dr. James White are correct. God does save by being provider and sustainer of all in a common grace sense, and God also holds the title, role, office etc. of Savior. However, because Dr. James White’s primary explanation seems to best fit the context and also addresses the soteriology component (and does so without relying on either a minor translation for malista that results in a very odd literary construction), that is the one preferred.

The bottom line is that as there are several ways to interpret 1 Timothy 4:10 in a manner that precludes universalism, the only reason to use it to assert that heretical doctrine (or to use it to assert pluralism in spite of the direct text) is a rebellious heart. Which, of course, is no surprise … while there are certainly exceptions (i.e. ignorance) people generally adhere to heretical doctrines because they are heretics. So, those who use 1 Timothy 4:10 in some attempt to deny or reject what the Bible clearly reveals are without excuse, and will receive the heretic’s reward when they stand before the very Jesus Christ whose atonement they so marginalized, distorted and slandered on judgment day.

Do not be counted among their lot, of those who remain hard hearted to God’s revelation. Rather, let them be a lesson, byword, proverb or warning to you. Let their example be something that helps cause you to turn from your own sins – which are no greater than theirs – and submit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who is Savior. Be one of those who believes, one of those that Jesus Christ is especially, specifically a Savior to. Do not delay. Do this immediately.

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James Sundquist On The Barack Obama Deception: Rick Warren And John Roberts

Posted by Job on May 19, 2009

A Response to Warren Blessing the New Administration

Open Letter to Justice Roberts about not swearing in Obama as POTUS

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Rick Warren To Speak At Ebenezer Baptist Church on King Day

Posted by Job on December 23, 2008

Ebenezer Baptist Church is now one of the nation’s pillar institutions for theological liberalism, right up there with Union Theological Seminary. And Rick Warren is going to get into their pulpit. This Rick Warren thing just grows and grows …

Rick Warren to be main speaker at Ebenezer on King Day

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On What Authority Rests Your Faith? And Whose Business Is It?

Posted by Job on December 23, 2008

This is another attempt to get a handle on the controversy surrounding Rick Warren’s speaking at Barack Obama’s inauguration. First, let me get something out of the way. As to my opinion of Rick Warren’s speaking at Obama’s inauguration, let me say that truthfully I have no opinion. Why should I? Rick Warren is a self – admitted member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and openly advocates the idea that the work that he does for this body makes him a better pastor, a better Christian, and the world a better place. Barack Obama? His wife is a former leader of the Chicago chapter of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose members and/or people knowingly and willingly working to advance their agenda include such people representing the right as Newt Gingrich and George H. W. Bush, such people representing the right as Clinton and the aforementioned Michelle Obama, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, and pastors such as Rick Warren and T. D. Jakes. 

Also, consider that one of Barack Obama’s early advocates: Rupert Murdoch, whose entire career as a pro – business race – baiting conservative would seem to have made him an Obama opponent. Well, Murdoch, actually 100% literally the world’s biggest pornographer in that no one, not Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt or the mafia, more widely distributes or makes more money off pornography than does Murdoch, has lucrative and mutually beneficial business ties with Rick Warren. So now, right on the heels of the release of Rick Warren’s new book, already a bestseller, which Warren calls “the most clear definition of Christianity – of what it means to follow Jesus, what it means to be saved – of anything I’ve ever written“, comes the announcement that Obama is making Warren his inauguration speaker. So I ask of you … what is there to think of this other than to say that for Warren and Obama this is just business as usual?

Now this could have been an opportunity for a great many Christians to take a longer, deeper look at Rick Warren, his theology, and his associations. In other words, apply the same to Rick Warren as so many conservative Christians did to Barack Obama’s liberal and black liberation theology, and with Jeremiah Wright, Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Michael Pfleger, ACORN etc. Really, the Council on Foreign Relations and Rupert Murdoch are just part of a much larger picture with Warren, which tends to indicate that he – and Obama – are merely players in a much larger game. So, then, who are the game masters and ultimately the puppet masters? And who is ultimately the head behind the puppet masters? These are questions that Obama’s tapping Rick Warren – and Rick Warren’s accepting – should raise.

But instead, we had this convenient explosion of protests from angry homosexuals and their advocates. The result has been a great many conservative Christians to take the position that if the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, ACT UP, People for the American Way, and other such groups are attacking Rick Warren, then he can’t be all bad. “The enemy of the enemy is my friend”, right? Well, I should remind you that this slogan originated in the Middle East, and radical Islam opposes homosexuality (and abortion and rock music and pornography and separation between church and state) too.  

So, we have Obama able to use Rick Warren to advance his agenda, and Warren to use Obama to advance his. And, of course, whoever is using both Obama and Warren to advance their own agenda is getting what they want too. The reason for this is that similar to Billy Graham before him, a complete and total lack of prominent people, people of position, esteem, influence, and reputation, willing to criticize Rick Warren. Whether they are conservative, evangelical, traditionalist, or fundamentalist, you cannot find a single Christian leader willing to incontrovertibly and without qualification oppose the fellow. Oh they will criticize him from time to time when they are forced to confront something disturbing that Warren does or says. But they will not ever deal with the fact that Warren as a matter of routine procedure does and says disturbing things.

They also will not apply what scripture says about Christians, especially pastors, who routinely say and do things that are unscriptural, Christians who glorify and revel in their things unscriptural, and take pleasure in others who do unscriptural things just as they do. Scripture calls those people in need of severe rebuke at the very best, and on balance false Christians and heretics and those allied with them synagogues of Satan.

Now I admit, I had a glimmer of hope that Republican – leaning Christians would start to closely examine any pastor who aligns himself with a president that has stated that his first act in office would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. But the very convenient Proposition 8 homosexual marriage controversy rendered that moot. And as I mentioned earlier, the lack of well known Christian pastors and theologians willing to publicly and directly take on the Rick Warren problem is exactly what allows a sort of “jury nullification” to be applied to Warren and his theology. Which, of course, leaves us right back where we started. Which is that I have no opinion on Warren giving the inauguration blessing other than “business as usual.” 

My main problem with Rick Warren’s theology? It is simple. Who is Jesus Christ? Our Lord and Savior. Not only is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Lord comes first. Jesus Christ was our Lord before He ever was our Savior. And even if Jesus Christ had never been our Savior, indeed had God decided never to redeem mankind (or perhaps had mankind never needed redeeming) He would still be our Lord. The Lordship of Jesus Christ, indeed the Sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ, is spiritually and logically prior. The authority of Jesus Christ comes not from being Savior. It comes from His being Lord. It is because Jesus Christ is Lord that we can call upon His Name and be saved.

The problem with Warren and those like him is that they offer a Jesus Christ that is Savior without truly being Lord. They offer an incomplete picture of Jesus Christ which results in being a false Christ. Jesus Christ is only the helper, provider, and friend, sort of like a best buddy. Jesus Christ the Ruler, Leader, and Judge is left out. (So if Jesus Christ is only the lamb, who is the lion? America’s economic and military machine perhaps?) It is so easy to look at Revelation and see how chapters 4 – 20 apply to the overt non – Christians, the world that is, who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior and say “none of that is going to happen to me” if you are a Christian. But in doing so, are you forgetting that Revelation chapters 1 – 3 applies to the church? Those three chapters lead Revelation because judgment starts in the church. It does not start in the world. And that fits the gospels and the epistles that precede Revelation, and also the Old Testament before the New Testament. Those things were not given as warnings to the world. The Old Testament was given to God’s people Israel. The gospels and the epistles were given to God’s people the church. The warnings, judgments, etc. in the Old Testament, gospels, and epistles were to the Old and New Testament saints, not to the heathen.

So the only purpose of Revelation 4-20 is to show what will happen to the heathen. The rest of the Bible is for believers – or should I say partial believers – who fail to obey. It is for Ephesians who have left their first love. It is for those in Pergamos who follow Balaam and the Nicolataines. It is for Thyatirans who follow the Jezebel doctrines. It is far those in Sardis who do not repent and strengthen the things which remain before they die. And it is for the lukewarm Laodiceans. These are all people who profess Jesus Christ as Savior but who by word or action reject Him as Lord. As a result, the professed Christians that reject the Lordship of Christ in Revelation 1-3 will receive Revelation 4-20 and miss out on Revelation 21-22. For them, it will be as if they never professed Jesus Christ as Savior at all. And in truth, they never will have, because Jesus Christ is not your Savior if He is not your Lord.

And the result of doctrines, theologies, movements etc. that profess Jesus Christ as Savior without making Him Lord? For such people the Bible is no longer the authority. For these people, the Bible is only AN authority. It is a reference. A source. Something from which to draw footnotes. But it is not THE authority. Such people may reject the notion of the Bible being the singular authority in all things out of hand. Others may profess it while not living it. And there are the many shades in between. But the root is the same: Jesus Christ is their Savior without being their Lord. For those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord have seared in their minds and hearts John 14:15, and diligently study, meditate, and strive to heed the Bible to live up to John 14:15, and when they discover that doing so is impossible, they have no choice but to take refuge in the cross to relieve, cover, and fix up their brokenness in light of their failure. Those are the Romans 7:7-25 people.

Otherwise, where does the authority come from? In trying to categorize the Protestant Christian landscape (and for the most part exempting the largely liberal mainline denominations) there seems to be three basic groups. Fundamentalists are basically known by their rejection of modernism (the intellectual and ideological movement that began with the Englightenment and ended with World War II, or as others say began with the French Revolution and ended with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the age of reason, science, and rationality). For them, the authority appears to be received tradition. That old time religion is good enough for them! What if the old timers were wrong on things like, say, consuming wine in moderation as Jesus Christ incontrovertibly did? Or even ideas that really aren’t that old like dispensational premillennialism, or didn’t even originate with fundamental Christianity such as trying to use religiosity or religious – tinged secular activism to transform an unregenerate society into a society that they perceive to be more like the one which gave them their tradition? Well it is still good enough! 

Evangelicals are known for their embrace of modernism. After all, God is a God of order, God made creation to reflect His orderly nature, which makes the faith by which we come to know and experience God entirely rational. Right? I am not going to attempt to belittle evangelicalism by making flailing attempts to point out where this thinking leads.  (I will, however, say to open practically any major work of evangelical systematic theology written after 1970 and see for yourself!) I have to ask this question, however:  is it an issue of whether a member of a church shows no interest in theological things, or if they have no interest in spiritual things? Or are theological things, especially if this theology is propositional and deductive in nature, and spiritual things one and the same? It would appear that for evangelicalism, then, the ultimate authority is reason and rationality, even if for no reason other than mainstream evangelicalism is hesitant to deal with Biblical matters that do not lend themselves to reasonable or rational discourse. For messy things like that, concepts like “Christian values” step up and fill the void. Failing that, you have “the proper meaning of this Bible text must necessarily be limited to the single meaning that the speaker intended the hearers to understand in that day and time, and the single meaning that the hearers understood the speaker to be communicating in their cultural context.” Or for that matter “those things were only for the apostolic era forthe church’s  foundational purposes and were not meant for Christians coming thereafter.” (Never mind that there is not a single Bible verse that anyone can point to that actually says this!) For what are we supposed to be contending? For the jargon now delivered to the saints, or for the faith once delivered to us?

As for emergents or the emerging church? It is known for its embrace of postmodernity. Among postmodernity’s claims is the idea that definite truth either does not exist or is unknowable. All that exists is perception, and perception is basically the product of one’s cultural background, preconceived notions, and other biases, and as a result one person’s opinion is as good as another. (Of course, no postmodernist actually believes this insofar as they actually go about pretending as if 1+1 may or may not be 2, and they certainly believe their own opinions and values to be true, so in truth postmodernism is actually more of a place of first and permanent resort when challenged.) So what is the authority? Me. What I believe. What I believe to be true, or more accurately what I believe to be right. And even when I am proven wrong, it is no big deal because hey, no one’s perfect anyway. It isn’t as if it makes me a bad person or anything!

Now consider that one of postmodernism’s criticisms of modernity is that it is individualistic. Postmodernity claims to be about building, indeed restoring, the sense of human community. So it is not merely individuals running around with their own individual human opinions. Rather, postmodernism gives groups of people the ability to more or less coalesce around the same truth, meaning, or interpretation. (You believe the same thing that I do? Sweet! Let’s hang out!) Now the truths of various communities will inevitably diverge, but that is not what is important. What is important is the shared consensus of these communities, which is that there exists no single truth that can be imposed upon them, and more importantly no authority with the right to impose it. This authority may have the power, mind you. But they don’t have the right. Any authority that exercises its power to impose a definite truth on any person or group is by nature totalitarian, oppressive, and illegitimate. 

So, then, can the postmodern Christian still be conservative, evangelical, or orthodox? I am going to leave aside the games that postmodernists play with language, their tactic of co – opting vocabulary by giving words different meanings to make people believe that they agree with them (sort of like how when Christians and Mormons refer to Jesus Christ as the Son of God both groups mean totally different things!) for a minute.

Instead, to strictly deal with the question, the answer is yes, the postmodern Christian can have almost entire points of agreement on evangelical and fundamentalist Christians on theology and doctrine. However, this is only because the postmodern Christian personally chooses to. The postmodern Christian is totally free to pick and choose based on his own ideas of interpretation, his own ideas of true and untrue, his own ideas of right and wrong, which Bible interpretations to accept and reject, which doctrines are true and false, what things to emphasize or ignore. The rule of faith? Nay, the rule of what I think is right. Which ultimately becomes the rule of what I and my community of like – minded believers think is right. (The community of like minded believers is extremely important, because there is indeed strength in numbers.) And anyone who comes around and says different, anyone who tries to impose their personal notions of truth on me, is a small minded hypocritical judgmental Pharisee. 

So this brings us back to the many evangelicals, fundamentalists, and other theologically conservative Christians who are willing to allow Rick Warren to reside within the sphere of what they consider to be acceptable merely because Warren professes the historic creeds, confessions, and doctrinal statements, and moreover his social and cultural beliefs are well within the conservative Christian consensus. They are looking at the fact that Rick Warren professes the right beliefs alone while overlooking – willfully I might add – that Warren’s authority for his beliefs are none other than Warren himself. (And yes, that does explain why despite his profession of orthodox beliefs his actions are so disturbing.) They do this because in their evaluating Warren – and more importantly their deciding what to do (or what not to do) about him – their authority is the fundamentalist or evangelical consensus. They are already tolerating things that are abiblical or questionably Biblical within their own spheres. So long as it remains in their sphere, it is fine. So Warren is just something else. Admit it: Warren falls right within the fundamental or evangelical spectrum. And as long as he does, there is no need for anyone whose authority is the fundamental or evangelical consensus instead of or in addition to the Bible to oppose him in any meaningful way.

Here is the irony. Suppose Warren were to come out and say that abortion and homosexuality are the state’s business or the culture’s business that have nothing to do with the church. That the church should mind its own affairs, which is to win converts and disciple new members, and let the state and culture manage theirs. Now such a position would be far closer to the New Testament writings and what the New Testament figures actually seems to have practiced than the many peculiarities of fundamental or evangelical Christianity. Yet, were Warren to start promoting such an idea, that would be when some prominent Christians would have occasion to oppose the fellow. Why? Because the idea that Christians should find some active means of opposing the drift and tide of our government and culture away from the traditions and norms of the past is well within the fundamental or evangelical mainstream, so stating that the Body of Christ should concentrate its energies on Jesus Christ’s sheep, both lost and found, would place Warren out of this mainstream despite the very real possibility that such a position may be Biblical. (At the very least, the position would be worthy of serious reflection, study of scriptures, and doctrinal debate.) So, by remaining nominally anti – abortion and anti – homosexuality (nominal in that he makes public statements to that effect, but don’t expect to see him at a pro – life rally or handing out gospel tracts at a gay pride event very often) Warren basically remains in the evangelical or fundamental good graces no matter what else he does. How can fundamentalists and evangelicals oppose Warren’s deviations when they have or suffer other ones? It is only if your final authority is the Bible that you have the position to consistently oppose deviations, no matter who exhibits them and or what area the deviations exist. This is not to say that you will go around using that position on a constant basis because there is such a thing as Christian charity, humility, and a desire for unity that will cover a multitude of faults. But these things do not apply to people who because of a multitude of consistent errors in their statements and practices cannot truly be called Christians, and this is certainly the case with one Rick Warren.

That is why the little criticism of Warren that exists concerns his embrace of such things as environmentalism and global warming. Pardon me, but can you show me the Bible verses that command Christians to be anti – abortion anti – homosexuality activists and not anti – poverty pro – environmental activists? I have been through the Bible several times and seem to have overlooked them. Maybe the reason is that I mostly adhere to the King James Version, perhaps? Because what I have seen in my readings of the New Testament is Jesus Christ and the epistle writers speaking to the issues among believers. Their dealing with unbelievers was limited to sharing the gospel with them so that they might become believers. For homosexuality, disposing of unwanted children, and other forms of sin and immorality were pervasive throughout the heathen Roman Empire, yet the only thing that the New Testament manages to say about the world outside the church is Romans 13’s commandment to generally respect the government. Not transform the government (or the culture), mind you, just to respect it, as the Bible calls lawlessness and sedition sin.

Again, in this Warren is no different from the last generation’s Billy Graham. Around the time of the Vatican Council II, Billy Graham just up and decided that Roman Catholicism was perfectly fine. After that came a flood of other pronouncements from Graham, culminating in his statement to a major newsmagazine that he was no longer certain that Jesus Christ was the only way to heaven. (Please realize that such has been the position of the Roman Catholic Church since the Vatican Council II; Roman Catholicism is officially pluralist, even if conservative Catholics don’t like talking about it much.) So many fundamentalists and evangelicals declared themselves shocked at Graham’s statements. Why were they? Like Warren today, Graham had long been saying and doing worrisome things. And like Warren today, no one of any prominence was willing to rise up and take Graham on. So, Graham’s attack on the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ was just swept under the rug, just as everything else Graham said and did in rejection of the fact that the Bible declares Jesus Christ to be Lord. After all, can it be denied that the position of the Roman Catholic Church is that the church is lord on earth, and the pope is the head of the church? 

So really, this is not about Rick Warren or Barack Obama. It is about you. On what authority rests your faith? Is it based on received tradition? Is it based on reason, rationality, and proposition? Is it based on what you believe and decide to be right? Or is it based on the Bible? Now of course, I am fully aware that we worship God and not a book. (After all, the “New Testament church” – meaning the early, apostolic church – didn’t even have the complete New Testament in canonical form, but they most certainly had God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit!) But are not God’s Commandments to us contained within this book? And how can we say that God is Lord of our lives if we make His Commandments subservient to tradition, reason, or the imaginations and high things that exalts themselves against the knowledge of God of our own desperately wicked and deceitful above all things hearts? 

So worship a book? No. Worship and praise God by striving to obey the Bible? Yes. So what, then, are we to make of people who refuse to even try? Who make excuses for this refusal for themselves and for others? Well, to be honest, that is just business as usual, as most of the epistles were indeed letters describing how to view and deal just such people in local congregations, and before those the law, the prophets, and the writings of the Old Testament addressed those very same such people in Israel. 

So then, Christian, what business is yours? Is it the business of your God, your Savior, your Creator, your Lord? Or is it the business of the world, that is, business as usual? The answer to this question is determined by whether the Word of God is your ultimate authority.

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Rick Warren And The New Evangelical Social Gospel

Posted by Job on December 21, 2008

I am trying to come up with something on Rick Warren’s speaking at the Obama inauguration that goes beyond the new world order Council on Foreign Relations one world religion implications that I have discussed in the past. In the meantime, please consider this piece on the matter from Beliefnet.com. Now I have staked out the most extreme position on Warren, which is that he is not a legitimate Christian pastor, and that the Southern Baptist Convention should have long ago severed ties with the fellow. Perusing the reaction to this story, I am becoming aware of how rare, indeed marginal, my estimation of Warren is.

Rick Warren on Loving Muslims and Melissa Etheridge (Report by Juan Cole)

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Why NOT To Be A Purpose Driven Pastor

Posted by Job on October 1, 2008

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Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren Calls for a Second Reformation Based On Works!

Posted by Job on September 30, 2008

Note: Rick Warren is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His statements here are similar to what Council on Foreign Relations – affiliated T.D. Jakes said a few months ago, see TD Jakes: “saving souls can wait” on Gay Christian Movement Watch.

Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren Calls for a Second Reformation

Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor and philanthropist who is courted by political leaders worldwide, says he thinksChristianity needs a “second Reformation” that would steer the church away from divisive politics and be “about deeds, not creeds.”

Speaking today to a group of Washington Post reporters and editors, the evangelical author said he had an “epiphany” in recent years due to his wife’s battle with cancer and the success of his book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” which has sold more than 25 million copies. Humbled and scared, he said he decided to focus on helping the needy and the sick, particularly those with AIDS.

That meant advocating for a broader agenda for evangelicals beyond same-sex marriage and bioethical issues like abortion and stem cell research. That’s a shift from the e-mail Warren sent before the 2004 election to his regular distribution list of 136,000 pastors, telling them to focus on those hot-button issues, which he called “non-negotiables.”

Warren said he now regrets that e-mail — not because he’s changed his views in opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, but because he places them on a longer list of priorities.

Now, he says, he wants to promote personal responsibility and restore civility in American culture.

“I just think we’re becoming too rude,” he said. “You have no right to demonize someone just because you disagree with them.”

Changing the culture, he said, is not done only through politics but also through things like art, music and sports.

“Outside the Beltway politics is just not that important. No kid in America has a poster of a politician on their wall,” he said.

Warren, whose ministry has trained a half-million pastors, said partnerships between government and industry can’t succeed in solving social problems unless they include faith groups, with their large volunteer forces and their worldwide networks.

“People are so worried churches are going to be about conversion,” he said, “but everyone has a motive. Everyone has a world view. Christianity is a world view. . . . I don’t care why you do good as long as you do good.”

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Why Does Rick Warren’s Fuller Theological Seminary Have A Psychology Department? So It Can Offer Symposiums On Carl Jung And Christianity!

Posted by Job on September 30, 2008

When perusing a book, I noted the oddity that the famed evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary had three departments: theology (good), world missions (good) and PSYCHOLOGY (what?!?!). Not education, not engineering, not even BUSINESS but PSYCHOLOGY! So, I did a few web searches and found out what a psychology school at a leading evangelical CHRISTIAN seminary had to offer. Well, things like THIS: 

The Living God and our Living Psyche: C. G. Jung’s Psychology and Christian Faith

Now plenty of Christians have problems with the field of psychology as it is. See the video below. But Jungian psychology is REALLY objectionable from a Biblical standpoint. It is no accident that Frank Peretti associated it with demons and the occult in “This Present Darkness.” When you read an interview from the “Christian” Jungian psychologist who ran this symposium on PBS, you will see why Peretti felt this way. Or better yet, why not read this summary of her work and views:

Ann Belford Ulanov, M.Div., Ph.D., L.H.D., is the Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary, a psychoanalyst in private practice, and a supervising analyst and faculty member of the C. G. Jung Institute, New York City.  With her late husband, Barry Ulanov, she is the author of Religion and the UnconsciousPrimary Speech: A Psychology of PrayerCinderella and Her Sisters: The Envied and the Envying; The Witch and The Clown: Two Archetypes of Human Sexuality; The Healing Imagination; Transforming Sexuality: The Archetypal World of Anima and Animus; by herself she is the author of The Feminine in Christian Theology and in Jungian Psychology; Receiving Woman: Studies in the Psychology and Theology of the Feminine; Picturing God; The Wisdom of the Psyche; The Female Ancestors of Christ; The Wizards’ GateThe Functioning Transcendent; Korean edition of our Religion and the Unconscious, Fall 1996; Korean edition of Primary Speech, 2000-2001; Religion and the Spiritual in Carl Jung; Finding Space: Winnicott, God, and Psychic Reality, Attacked by Poison Ivy, A Psychological Study, 2002.

Ann Belford Ulanov is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological School; an honorary doctorate from Loyola Graduate Department in Pastoral Counseling; the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Blanton/Peale Institute; the Vision Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis; the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association for Distinguished Work in Depth Psychology and Religion; the Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors for Distinguished Work in Depth Psychology and Religion; the Gradiva Award for best book in Psychiatry and Religion 2002 from The National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, for Finding Space: Winnicott, God, and Psychic Reality.

Now I will grant you that the very respected John Piper attended Fuller. But so did leading emergent/New Age figures like Rob Bell and Rick Warren. For that matter, so did Bill Bright, one of the leading figures of the ecumenism movement between evangelicals and Roman Catholics. By the way, the current president of Fuller, Richard Mouw, is the same fellow responsible for A) the evangelical manifesto  and B) the increasing ties between evangelicals and Mormons, including the notorious speech that he and Ravi Zacharias gave at the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City. In this link, it details how Richard Mouw actually apologized for Christian opposition to Mormonism.

Now this is not an instance of a comprehensive Christian college or university that offers psychology as part of its many offerings. Psychology is now a standard liberal arts degree, and further it is pretty much impossible to offer an accredited degree in fields like education, nursing, or counseling without having a variety of psychology courses. Instead, this is a seminary whose sole purpose is to train pastors, missionaries, and equip other people for Christian ministry. I repeat, Fuller has THREE SCHOOLS … theology, foreign missions, and psychology. So, it isn’t even a program of study or department in part of its other colleges, but one of the three pillars of the school. 

I already mentioned in Albert Mohler’s Assessment Of The Economic Situation: An Example Of What Evangelicalism Does To The Reformed Mind how concerned I was over the seamless integration of psychology, a recent, discredited, and virtually useless invention of rebellious men who rejected God, and evangelical Christianity. But even as I was writing it, I had no idea that it was so deeply embedded that one of our leading seminaries had one of its three divisions given over to it, or that they would be promoting Jungianism. This is further evidence that we must continue to pray and intercede for God’s people, and not be fearful or slack in warning Christians against the creeping influence of humanism and syncretism. 

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Rick Warren Basically Stating That Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, And Christians All Worship The Same God

Posted by Job on September 30, 2008

Rick Warren, Interfaith Activist

Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham – at the center of not only his own Christian tradition, but of American civil religion as well. Churches follows his direction (most recently into Rwanda), and political candidates seek his blessing (Exhibit A: The Saddleback Forum).

There has been a lot of talk about the risks that Warren has taken – inviting the pro-choice Obama to address a decidedly pro-life gathering on the topic of AIDS, for example.

Another risk he is taking – more subtle, perhaps, but equally profound – is around religious diversity. 

Last week at the Clinton Global Initiative, Warren was asked how “the church” could help to solve poverty. His response was to rattle off the numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians in the world – in that order – and make a plea that the public and private sectors take seriously “the faith sector as the third leg of the stool of successful development”.

Warren consistently used the language of a religious pluralist. He spoke of “mosques, temples and churches” as central to the life of villages in the developing world. He underscored the fact that there are huge numbers of people of faith in the world, and huge numbers of houses of worship in places where clinics, banks and schools don’t exist. Those people of faith can be trained to be the arms and legs of any development plan, and those houses of worship can double as clinics, banks and schools.

This is a big deal, because it signals an important turn in the American Evangelical tradition – from viewing people of other faiths primarily as lost souls requiring conversion to viewing them as partners in the plan to make earth more humane and just. “Progressive Evangelicals” like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo (read an interview here with Campolo on interfaith cooperation), have long been involved in interfaith efforts, but the mainline of that tradition has always been more wary. That could be changing.

I caught up with Warren after the panel and asked him directly how he thought about religious diversity. He talked to me about his friendship with his Muslim neighbor, and about how excited he was to speak at the upcoming MPAC conference in December. He was keenly aware of the important role that Muslims played in helping victims during the genocide in Rwanda, and he was engaging that community in his current efforts in that country.

That approach is American pragmatism at its best: a visionary leader engaging all possible partners in his plan to transform earth.

When I asked Warren to name something that he admired about Muslims, he answered without hesitation: “you people are not afraid to talk about God, he said with a smile. It’s always, ‘God willing’, or ‘God bless’, or ‘Thanks be to God.’ That’s something I admire, because I come from the same place.”

That is American religion at its best. Let’s hope the church and the country follow.

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Rick Warren Writes Foreward For Book That Promotes JUDAISM

Posted by Job on September 23, 2008

Of course, if it was a book promoting Islam or Hinduism, his defenders (who use a double standard to tolerate things from the Southern Baptist that they never would from a Pentecostal) would finally start to stand up to what this fellow’s real agenda is. But since he sticks to the culturally safe falsehoods for western chauvinists like Judaism, Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism, no one says a peep. The biggest trouble that Warren ever got into wasn’t even related to theology, but for trying to rehabilitate the image of North Korea and Syria. It just shows the mindset of so many political and cultural Christians.

www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-09-22-rabbi-wolpe-why-faith-matters_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

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Jeremiah Wright’s Adultery With A White Woman Is An Example Of 1 Timothy 6 False Doctrine Leads To Sexual Immorality!

Posted by Job on September 11, 2008

My position is that 1 Timothy 6:1-10 can be interpreted as stating that false doctrines lead to sexual immorality in those that preach the doctrines and those that hear them. In my opinion, false doctrines are one of the main reasons why there are all these sex scandals in the church, and evidence of correlation between devil’s doctrines and sexual immorality is present in the New Testament, in the church at Corinth in particular

So here is the text of 1 Timothy 6:1-10:

All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved Teach and preach these principles. If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

Now I first made the correlation between sexual immorality and the prosperity doctrine after reading this passage after radio minister/teacher Bob George referenced 1 Timothy 6 in response to a question whether it was acceptable to listen to Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, and other prosperity doctrine teachers (of course George’s answer was an emphatic no) on his nationwide call in radio show. How does this relate to Jeremiah Wright? Well first of all, Wright’s liberation theology teachings are really no different from the prosperity doctrine. Both center around getting Christians to de – emphasize the promise of spiritual blessings and eternal life in favor of an emphasis of earthly things, whether wealth and health in the prosperity doctrine or seeking political changes that will result in favorable economic conditions for minorities and workers via liberation theology. Just as the extreme version of the prosperity doctrine, the Word of Faith, teaches that God has abdicated His throne with respect to the rule of creation to man, first to Adam and then to the church, the true version of liberation theology denies the actual existence of heaven and the lake of fire, claiming that they are metaphors for political, economic, and social conditions on earth. It is no small coincidence then that liberation theology thought that is so prominent among the religious left that is so influential in the Democratic Party (please remember that Bill Clinton hosted Jeremiah Wright at the White House!) in both the white left as represented by mainline Protestant denominations and liberal Roman Catholics and the black left as represented by the civil rights movement (please recall that Martin Luther King, Jr. rejectd the virgin birth, deity, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and hence cannot be considered as having been a Christian in any sense) has as its correlation the prosperity/Word of Faith doctrines in the form of figures like John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and Pat Robertson that are so influential in the Republican Party (and please recall Mike Huckabee’s attempts to bring Kenneth Copeland into the fold as well). If you want more evidence that the two parties merely represent faces on the same wicked coin that may look different but in truth are part of the same entity and joined in the middle, there you go! 

Continuing, when reading that passage more, I formed the opinion that all false doctrines, not just the prosperity doctrine, lead to immorality in general with sexual immorality being just one. As a matter of fact, associating that godliness is gain and predatory destructive unnatural sexual behavior are just symptoms of the larger spiritual, mental, and character issues that go with one having a reprobate mind.

And this brings us back to this Jeremiah Wright fellow. The fellow was already “married” to another man’s wife that he exploited and abused his position of marriage counselor to get a woman in a troubled marriage to leave her husband so that he could marry her shortly after: Jeremiah Wright’s Adulterous Marriage. This uses as source material in part BARACK’S REV. ‘STOLE A WIFE’ – EX-HUBBY: HE COUNSELED US, THEN WED HER. (Did his congregation care? Of course not.) Well now this: Jeremiah Wright committed adultery with the wife of a pastor, resulting in the dissolution of the marriage. REPORT: REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT HAS AFFAIR WITH ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE. (It would appear that this pastor was another teacher of false doctrine, and also one who uses the same trick of claiming to have degrees that he does not have. By the way, Jamal – Harrison Bryant also claimed the same phony degree from the same place, which only offers certificates from some summer training program and not doctorates, and Bryant, who is leading the charge to bring the prosperity doctrine into the same African Methodist Episcopal denomination that James Cone was a member of when he created black liberation theology – small world isn’t it – is also documented and proven to be sexually immoral. ) And guess what: Wright used the time dishonored “I will leave my wife for you” trick on his prey.

Now make no mistake, Fox News and the New York Post have an agenda. These operations are owned by the world’s biggest pornographer Rupert Murdoch whose pastor is Rick Warren (who asserts that Murdoch is a born again Christian!), who tells his church members to use sexual titillation in order to win converts (see here and here) and is not above using teen girls performing sexually suggestive dances to please his audience like Herod’s daughter did before demanding the head of John the Baptist for her mother (read Matthew 14) during “praise and worship service.” Of course, Warren’s false New Age “God wants to make you feel all good and happy” doctrines are not at all distinct from Joel Osteen’s brand of prosperity teaching. Back to Fox News and the New York Post, their agenda is to influence the upcoming presidential election. 

Me, I do not share that agenda. I could care less who you vote for. As a matter of fact, my position is that Christians should vote for NEITHER. The video in this link from Pastor Slattery illustrates why I have this position. Instead, my agenda is to tell Christians to flee these false doctrines, for they do in fact destroy people’s lives. As far as this Obama person goes in general, it really does appear that he has been recruiting as many degenerate pastors as McCain has, if not more. Here is one good site on that issue. The strait gate is not through the Democratic or Republican Party (or Green or Socialist or Communist or Constitution or Libertarian or Labour or Tory or Christian Democrats or Kadima or Likud) but through belief in and obedience to the Jesus Christ of the Bible through right belief (orthodoxy) and right behavior (orthopraxy). The sad case of Jeremiah Wright’s adultery is just one evidence among many of what happens when pastors and their followers that reject right belief in their teaching … right behavior inevitably exits as well.

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EMERGENT CHURCH SPREADING SPIRITUAL CANCER

Posted by Job on August 21, 2008

By Forgotten Word Ministries

By Marsha WestApril 18, 2008

In the Sixties the counterculture rejected consumerism, individualism, traditional values and ideas, and protested against their parent’s middle class values. Thus began an all out assault on what had made America prosperous for two centuries.

Now a similar assault on historic orthodox Christianity is underway that’s gaining momentum. Some Christians believe a paradigm shift is taking place in the Church and as a consequence “everything must change.” This is anything but good news for Christendom, my friends. In a radio interview with Worldview Network’s Brannon Howse, Professor Peter Jones of Westminster Seminary warned listeners that the Christian theistic West has been turning back to pagan, pantheistic monism. Many in contemporary western culture now hold to a pantheistic belief in the unity of nature and God, of body and spirit — all is One.

Pantheism is a major tenet of the New Spirituality movement (NSM), once called the New Age movement. Other names used are Self-spirituality and Mind-body-spirit. The movement is largly eclectic with inspiration drawn from all the major world religions, which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shamanism, Wicca, the metaphysical New Thought movement, and Neo-Paganism, to name a few. The goal of NSM is a shift in “planetary consciousness.” Their focus is not only on the West but also on the entire planet!

NSM is producing a movie to promote the new paradigm. In an article on Christian Worldview Weekend, Brannon Howse gives details: “New Spirituality gurus like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, alongside leftist environmentalists like Al Gore and religious figures such as Archbishop Desmond TuTu. Their message is the same, as though it was taken from the same script. ‘A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future…We aare in the middle of the biggest social transformation in history, THE SHIFT.'”

In order to move the West away from theism, the shifters must first reinvent biblical Christianity. Enter Oprah Winfrey. It would seem Oprah has been planning The Shift for many years. In 1987 she read the late Eric Butterworth’s book “Discover the Power Within You.” His book changed how Oprah looked at life and religion. She was convinced that Jesus didn’t come to teach us about His divinity, as the Bible teaches, but to teach us about our divinity! (Oprah’s code word is “Christ consciousness.”) She recommended Butterworth’s book to her audience and sales soon skyrocketed.

Who was Eric Butterworth? A theologian, lecturer and author who delivered the message of the Unity School of Christianity (part of the heretical Metaphysical movement) that “looks within” to find Christ. “Try telling someone in the Metaphysical movement…about the wages of sin…andand they will look at you as though you are an anachronism — a thrrowback to a less-enlightened age. The ideas of an enslaving sinful nature, of being alienated from God, and of God’s wrath are, to them, extremely offensive.” He considered sin ”self-inflicted nonsense.”

In 1987 Forbes magazine summarized Eric Butterworth’s message thus: ”We alone have the power within us to solve our problems, relieve our anxieties and pain, heal our illnesses, improve our golf game or get a promotion.”

But this article is not about Oprah’s spiritual poison, it’s about spiritual deception that’s spreading like cancer in Christendom. (More on Oprah’s latest attempt to indoctrinate the masses through the occult teaching “A Course in Miracles” in my next article.)

In John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

There is a growing movement afoot in the postmodern Church that does not abide in God’s Word; hence they do not know the truth. The movement calls itself “Emergent” or “Emerging Church” (ECM) and it’s emerging away from orthodox Christianity, spreading its spiritual cancer throughout the globe. ECM change agents have made inroads into evangelicalism, big time. What they preach is a counterfeit social gospel. They say they bring a “message of peace.” Their hope is to make Christianity more palatable to the world. Sounds altruistic, doesn’t it? But don’t believe it! In order to accomplish their lofty goal, the shifters must first repackage the Church.

So they’re touring the country, promoting their social gospel and message of peace to the masses. Prominent ECM leader Brian McLaren is spearheading the “Everything Must Change” tour. According to McLaren’s website the planet is in Deep Shift’
A time of transition
rethinking
re-imagining
and re-envisioning.

But really, it’s all about re-shaping the true Gospel of Jesus Christ into a false gospel and re-imaging Jesus Christ into the New Age Cosmic Christ!

McLaren created Deep Shift to provide spiritual guidance for organizations who are open to this. On the DeepShift.org website he states that he will work with leaders, “inviting them to discover where the gifts of their people and God’s purposes in the world meet. Deep Shift provides support as leaders make their own personal deep shift and guide their organizations through the transition and transformation necessary to ignite the loving energy of people to work for the good of the world. As guides, we provide coaching, consulting, and resources for people leading in deep shift — faith community and church leaders, nonprofit leaders, ethical business leaders and others.”

Maharishi McLaren’s re-imaging of the modern Church is on it’s way — whether evangelicals want re-imaging or not. The transformation, he boasts, “is for the good of the world.”

You may not have heard about The Shift yet, but you will – soon! Shifters, like pod people, are in our midst. Some of your friends and acquaintances could be shifters, only you don’t know it yet. Shifters have wormed their way into church leadership (pastors deacons, elders), worship services, Bible studies, Sunday school, seminaries, Christian schools, youth groups, camps. They lecture, write for Christian news sources and they’re all over the Internet. Now they’re touring the country. Many shifters are familiar faces on TV and have become media darlings. Browse through your local Christian bookstore and you’ll find their names lined up on shelves. Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Marcus Borg, Dallas Willard, Leonard Sweet, Erwin McManus, Phyllis Tickle, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, Scot McKnight, Eddie Gibbs, Ryan Bolger, Jeff & Sherry Maddock, Peter Rollins, to name a few. Every one of them are theological liberals!

But shifters are offended when they’re labeled liberal. And besides, liberal is so yesterday! And let’s be honest here; liberal has a negative connotation, thanks largely to vociferous conservatives (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Joseph Farah, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly, Brannon Howse, Don Wildmon, Matt Drudge, Melanie Morgan, Tony Perkins and Hugh Hewitt – whew!) who are on the front lines of the culture war exposing liberalism’s globalist, big-government, radical feminist, rabid environmentalist, pro-abortion, anti-gun, peace at any cost, gay rights, anything goes, sick twisted agenda. Balking at being called liberal, they hide behind the trendy term, “progressive.” Many “Progressive Christian” leaders are highly critical of the Christian Right and their role in politics. (See link 9 below)

ECM’s beginnings

In his article, “Understanding the Emergent Church” Walter Henenger says that while some of ECM’s leaders came of age in the “new paradigm” churches of the Sixties and Seventies, “the real starting point was the mid-1980s, when Gen X ministries began catering to youth culture. Often organized as churches-within-a-church, they adopted cutting-edge ministry methods but generally retained the structural DNA of their parent megachurches.” But in the late Nineties they came to realize that they had failed to connect with postmodern people. During a 1997 meeting of the Young Leaders Network, pastor Doug Pagitt turned the discussion to the subject of postmodernism. “Light bulbs appeared over heads around the room,” continues Henenger, “and postmodernism has been the organization’s focus ever since. The Young Leaders Network soon morphed into the Terra Nova Theological Project, which eventually became Emergent. Its leaders went from niche marketers of religious services to global heralds of a massive, irresistible paradigm shift. Heady stuff.”

A brief explanation of modernism and postmodernism is in order. In his article “Preaching to the Post/Modern Choir” Shane Lems offers this pithy definition:

“Modernism embraces definite truth, absolutes, foundations, rationalistic thinking, and certainty, while postmodernism embraces emotions, authenticity, community, tolerance, and denies unquestionable foundations. Modern preaching highlights the propositional, didactic, and intellectual while postmodern preaching stresses the narratival, communal, sensual, and authentic.”

What exactly is ECM?

Well for one thing Emergents believe that the monologue of the Christian Right is over and a new “conversation” (a term they prefer over movement) is “bringing together a wide range of committed Christians and those exploring the Christian faith in wonderful ways,” boasts Brian McLaren, “and many of us sense that God is at work among us. As would be expected, there have also been criticisms.” I must digress for a moment to pose a question to Pastor McLaren: If God is now at work in the postliberal ECM as its leaders contend, was God not at work in the movement to Reclaim America for Christ for several decades? Just thought I’d ask.

What is ECM’s mission?

According to Emergent leader, Tony Jones, “At a basic level, Emergent’s mission is no different from any other group of Christ-followers: we want to follow Christ and we want to help others follow Christ. Of course, where it gets tricky is when we start talking about what it looks like to follow Christ. All along, Emergent has been about the melding of theory/theology and praxis, and we want to promote fresh, creative, and imaginative thinking about each. It seems that many organizations get to emphasize one side over the other in the theory-praxis equation, but we really are going to struggle to keep both of those in an equal, reflective symbiosis. What does it mean to be the church? What does it mean to follow Christ? We want to serve as a catalyst for conversations that attempt to answer those two questions, and to bring together the most creative people we can find for those conversations. But, conversation alone leads to paralysis by analysis, which is why we have always made sure that conversations are led primarily by practitioners rather than theoreticians and consultants.” Huh?

ECM’s missional concern

Emergents are concerned about being missional in a postmodern world. “The word missional emphasizes a return to the church’s identity as existing for the world—tto be God’s stewards over creation, to be a light to the nations, to be witnesses of the inaugurated kingdom of God on earth.” In this regard Emergent leaders have been critical of evangelicalism. They believe evangelicals have not been effectively missional in a postmodern world. Naturally, many evangelicals find this view arrogant and self-righteous. Sadly, ECM’s arrogance has caused division between them and evangelicals.

What is the ECM protesting?

“Whatever the Emerging Movement is,” explains Scot McKnight, “it is clearly a protest movement. Sometimes it can appear to be cranky, but there is substance and there is focus in what the Emerging Movement is protesting. And, though sometimes the resolutions fall flat or fail to materialize or collapse into the unworkable, there are genuine resolutions being worked out. What is the Emerging Movement protesting? Let me count the ways,” quips McKnight. “That’s not an attempt to be funny,” he assures us, “there is a list of at least ten items the Emerging Movement is protesting, and most would agree that it has its finger on some hot buttons. And let it be said that its primary focus in protestation is the evangelical movement and, sometimes but not always, the mega-churches that so clearly define and set the tone for the evangelical movement.”

One hot button issue is abortion. Because they’re mostly liberals, many Emergents are pro-aborts. It pains me to do so, but I’ll let this go and move on.

Here’s the rundown on some of what ECM believes, from an article by Joseph Farah posted on WorldNetDaily.com:

Capital punishment is wrong, despite the clear, unequivocal biblical commandments to take life for life.

Most Christians are too war-like and are guilty of “not loving our enemies.”

Universal health care should be provided by government.

Poverty should be eliminated by the U.S. government, not just in the U.S., but throughout the world.

The minimum wage should be significantly increased.

The U.S. should sign the Kyoto Protocol as a step toward solving the phantom crisis of global warming.

The U.S. should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and address the real problem of terrorism by creating a Palestinian state and addressing the root cause – poverty.

We should make condoms available throughout the Third World to fight AIDS.

Farah lists more of ECM’s beliefs but I’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so I’ll move on. (In the article he exposes Red Letter Christians, a movement headed by Tony Campolo and Jim Wright who are trying to “seduce evangelical Christians into anti-biblical, socialist, tyrannical politics.”)

ECM is also about “rediscovering spirituality”

“Emerging church practitioners are happy to take elements of worship from a wide variety of historic traditions, including Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox church, and Celtic Christianity. From these and other religious traditions emerging church groups take, adapt and blend various historic church practices including liturgy, prayer beads, icons, spiritual direction, and lectio divina.” In other words, whatever unbiblical practice floats your boat.

ECM’s Quaker influence

“The Religious Society of Friends…although not bornn from a conflict with modernism, has nonetheless influenced the emerging church movement through mystics such as Richard Foster. This influence is often seen in the mystical tendencies of emergent worship and devotion. Some emerging churches mirror the Quaker rejection of church hierarchy while valuing the sacred as a personal, subjective experience, others utilize their particular denominational structures for church leadership.”

Bringing God’s kingdom to earth

“To Brian McLaren,” says Pastor Gary Gilley, “the most prolific emergent writer, the ultimate goal of Jesus (and God) is the kingdom of God, brought to earth. Just how is the kingdom brought to earth? Through our good works. McLaren states, ‘I hope that they [his neighbors] and I will become better people, transformed by God’s Spirit, more pleasing to God, more of a blessing to the world so that God’s kingdom (which I seek, but cannot manipulate) comes on earth as in heaven (emphasis mine).'”

A new path

Many shifters, like Campolo and Wright, are hard-core leftists who are doing everything in their power to lead the Church down a new path, away from Sola Scriptura, into what Pastor Ken Silva calls the “emerging cult of the new liberal theology” and a “spiritual cancer.” Without Scripture, how is it possible to establish what is true about God? Oh, I know! To find answers you must get in touch with your “inner self” through meditation! To that end ECM leaders urge believers to embrace unbiblical contemplative prayer and other occult practices. (I addressed this topic in Christians are mixed-up…in mysticcism!

On the DeepShift.org website, Pastor McLaren points visitors to the new path:

“We hope this is a beginning for you to be on this new path, believing in Jesus in a new way, ready to act for change in your own life, in your community, the public and the world. We hope this is a beginning for you to connect with new people who are on this same path and journey for encouragement, support, relationship and depth.”

The part that bothers me the most is “believing in Jesus in a new way.” What does he mean? Could he be referring to the “Cosmic Christ?”

McLaren makes clear his intentions for 2008 on McLaren.com when he says, “Rather than accepting invitations in 2008, I’ll join a creative team of friends to develop and present about ten regional gatherings, half in the winter/spring and half in the fall. These gatherings will be called ‘Deep Shift 2008.”

McLaren’s mission? (My comments in brackets)

“DeepShift will call people to a deep shift in their thinking about [Jesus Christ], faith, church life, mission, ministry, art, justice, leadership, community, and worship. It will emphasize deep personal inner transformation [through contemplative prayer] integrated with deep organizational transition as well, in the context of the ‘Generous Orthodoxy’ I write and speak about.”

McLaren on hell and the cross

In a 2006 interview McLaren calls the doctrine of hell “false advertising for God.” “[T]his is one of the huge problems with the traditional understanding of hell, because if the Cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching, then I won’t say the only and I certainly won’t say … or even the primary or a primary meaning of the Cross … is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes thru suffering and willing voluntary sacrifice right? But in an ironic way the doctrine of hell basically says no, that’s not really true. At the end God get’s his way thru coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

In my research I ran across a panel discussion on You Tube, “Let’s Talk Post-Modernism and the Emergent Church.” Here highly regarded orthodox theologians R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler and Ravi Zacharias had a “conversation” about postmodernism, modernism, liberalism, and ECM.

The main thrust of ECM, the scholars say, is its rejection of modernism and its embrace of postmodernism. Why reject orthodoxy? Because the orthodoxy are absolutists. Absolutists want to reinsert categories of right and wrong, whereas postmodernists balk at doctrinal assertions. They gave as an example Brian McLaren’s position on homosexuality in a Time Magazine interview. Following is the excerpt from Time: “Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.’ That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think.” So McLaren suggested a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. And what will we do in the meantime? He went on to say, “[W]e’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection.”

Um…the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, Brian. (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26-28, 1 Cor. 6:9-10,)

McLaren’s wishy-washy comment on homosexuality obviously did not go over well with the panel. Near the end of the discussion Albert Mohler commented that his response to the homosexual question is the very essence of postmodernism. He then cautioned, “It is the abdication of Christian responsibility. It is the abdication of Christian conviction and it is a cave in of Christian courage. We do have an answer! And it’s not like we don’t know what it is!”

As R.C. Sproul said so well, ECM appeals to Christians “who don’t want to have to deal with theological conflict.” These same folks relativize doctrine, and that makes Sproul angry. He then points out that disagreeing doctrinally is a “bad thing.” Looking rather grim-faced he said, “We can’t be satisfied with it. Because truth is too important to kill it in the streets for the sake of peace! You can’t do it!” Bravo!

Ravi Zaccaris puzzled, “These men and women who were the progenitors of this [movement]…what brought this about? Are they bored with God?!” The problem, he explained, is “Non critical people listening to this stuff absorb it.” After reading McLaren’s books, Zaccaris wonders what he believes at present. “Maybe something on Monday, something else on Tuesday?” he said grimly. “He’s an anti-doctrinal individual. It’s pitiful to see something like this actually gain currency.”

The Emergent movement is most definitely gaining currency, especially with young people and those who are dissatisfied with mainline evangelicalism. Which is the reason it’s imperative that committed Christians take a deeper look into the “conversation.” Listen carefully to the language to see whether or not what a person purports is within the pale of orthodoxy. In other words, check to see if it’s biblical. Because if the “conversation” doesn’t line up with Scripture, it’s not from God. And if it’s not from God…it’s ffrom the pit of hell.

In another You Tube video I came across, Todd Wilken, host of Issues Etc., was interviewing Pastor and author John MacArthur on his response to ECM. MacArthur believes the problem is that Emergent leaders have a non-Christian attitude. Moreover, they have a “very worldly, carnal, unsanctified approach to the Bible.” With regard to truth, he made this comment: “Truth is everything, and the truth is contained in the Bible.” He also mentioned that progressives “do not accept the authority, inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. They do not accept that everything in the Bible is absolutely true and that it is clear that it can be and must be understood and applied.” And the reason they reject it? According to MacArthur, “They don’t like a lot of the things it says.”

Scott Diekmann, a Christian apologist who believes “segments of the ‘Evangelical’ Church are in danger of compromising the Gospel at crucial points” wrote an 8-part article on ECM. In part 8 he states that part of the problem with Emergents is that “some have substituted the doctrines derived from the inerrant and inspired Word of God with a doctrine based on an uninspired melding of Scripture, experience, mysticism, and imagination. That lack of Scriptural fidelity has at times led to a redefined Gospel, a message that is predominantly Law rather than Gospel, and pastors who have failed to present the whole counsel of God.”

What this is really all about is truth. False teachers stare at Truth but fail to recognize the identity of truth. Jesus himself said, “I am truth.” Thus we know that Truth is an aspect of God Himself. Christianity is the only truth because it is anchored in the Person of Jesus Christ. Moreover, truth is crucial to a realistic worldview. Which is why committed Christians mustn’t buy into the lie that truth is a matter of preference or opinion. In case you haven’t notices, in our postmodern culture we are experiencing the death of truth – and the death of truth could mean the death of civilizzation! I wrote this down, but I don’t remember who said it. “Truth is true if no one believes it. A lie is a lie if everyone believes it.” And that’s the truth!

Before I wind this up, I want to stress that celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and “Progressive Christian” leaders are pressing a large number of believers into apostasy, even into rank heresy. This is a serious threat to the Church! The threat shouldn’t be taken lightly nor tolerated. So ECM and “New Spirituality” must be thoroughly understood and debunked. What’s more, committed Christians must expose shifters for what they are — occultists!  What are your thoughts on this article?

More thoughts from a reader:

Thank-you!  This message is not received very well by sadly so many
“unthinking” people that call themselves, Christians.  This is a very
sad day we live in.
Rob Bell boast he has over 2 million followers.  His church Marshill is
within a mile from my home.  His influence in the “church” at large is
strong and I think the whole problem with false teachers of the WORD is
when we change the Bible.  I think Satan got a strong footing when in
1973 the NIV was birthed.  Taking verses out completely.  You go from vs
46 to 48
How many people notice verse 47 missing just gone.  Then other verses
just part of them remain and worded ever so slightly.
It is soo sad.  The Today’s NIV, I have not looked at it but I can only
guess.  If peole like you and I.  People like Ravi, MacArture, Gilley,
thank the Lord for Mr Gilley. If we the Church of the Bible as written
upon eye witnesses and hearers of the LORD don’t do more than cry,  50
years of so when these great men and women of GOD and they have gone on
to heaven ,it won’t be Today’s NIV it will be even more in your face to
allow all kinds of thinking just as long as there is unity and peace.  I
pray people that profess CHRIST as in Orthodox faith would not use the
NIV in any shape or form.  To come out and denounce it and publically
state the reasons why.  GOD has said, “MY people are destroyed because
of lack of knowledge”
It breaks my heart to see so many in my area that are smitten with Mr
Bell and his books, his Nooma videos, ect.  They are following the man
because he comes across as promoting peace and anyone like myself that
believes the Bible as written are just hate mongers.
This very thing has had an effect on my personal family.  My
granddaughter is caught up with this group.   It includes Bill Hybels,
his daughter Shauna Niequist wrote Cool Tanerines,  may seem benign
enough but front flap, you see Brian McLarin’s endorsement and then on
back flap you see Shauna’s endorsement of Willowcreek Church and
Marshill.
Rick Warren I think is another yet he is so well embraced.  His book
Purpose Driven Life where he intentionally used 15 “versions” of the
Bible to bend it to his agenda.(see back of his book, list of versions)
He is very “ecumenical”
People that embrace the emergent thinking or the Redemptive Theology.
They are striving for “unity” at any price.  By changing the Bible this
allows them to demish what GOD has called sin.  They are “redeeming”
GOD’s WORD!   It is unbelieveable but this is what Satan does  best.
“surely GOD did not say”  I pray many people that love GOD’s Word will
join together bringing this in the open in each church, taking stand and
letting people know what kind of battle is really going on.  It is about
souls.
With the emergent church there is no need for an alter call.  It must be
related too to the ecumenical movement started in the 60’s…Doesn’t
matter what you think or embrace, all one big family so they believe.
My point is that if the Church that loves GOD’s word as written
originally don’t be more in everyone’s face about this “cancer”  when we
are dead and the young people have come up under this thinking I can’t
even imagine.  the people that embrace and promote this emerging church
are counting on us being dead.   Thank-you again for bring this out, I
pray many read your web.  I came across it by accident.
Shalom in Y’shua

Posted in Christianity, emergent church | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Barack Obama And John The McCain: The Lesser of Two Evils Is STILL EVIL!

Posted by Job on August 18, 2008

Word has it that John Sidney McCain did extremely well for himself at the Rick Warren meeting. Well Pastor Michael Slattery has a sermon video explaining why Christians should not support either McCain or Obama using the logic that if you pick between the lesser of two evils, evil still wins! (P.S. Michael Slattery is rather controversial – and for good reason – but this is a pretty good presentation, so please do not use the messenger as an excuse to reject the message!)

Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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