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Posts Tagged ‘Rob Bell’

1 Peter 3:15 Refers To Testimonies Not Apologetics!

Posted by Job on April 1, 2011

There are three Bible texts that are commonly, widely and purposefully misapplied to suit doctrinal and various other agendas.

Revelation 3:20, which reads “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” is often applied to evangelism because it is convenient to contemporary Arminian/Wesleyan/free will salvation doctrines and practices. The truth is that this text is meant to be applied to a Christian that has backslidden or fallen into severe sin or error restoring a proper relationship or communion with Jesus Christ, and not the Lord and Creator of the universe begging and pleading an unregenerate sinner to accept Him. Even one who adheres to the free will soteriological system must acknowledge that Jesus Christ’s work was accomplished on the cross, and thus it is the Holy Spirit who draws, convicts and saves the sinner.

2 Corinthians 6:14, which reads “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?“, does not apply to marriage, but instead to Christian fellowship. The idea that this verse applies to marriage sets it at odds 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, which states that by being married to an unbeliever, the unbeliever and the children are sanctified (if only in an external sense after the “3a” definition of Strong’s concordance of hagiazō) and that God may use a believing spouse to save an unbelieving one. But how convenient is it to modern Christianity that we instead A) use the unbelief of a spouse as an excuse to obtain an un-Biblical divorce and B) that we choose to maintain fellowship with heretics, apostates etc. first in a local church setting by refusing to remove them from our church rolls, and then on a larger scale by allowing false teachers and churches to remain in our denominations and conventions, and on a larger scale still to various ecumenical and interfaith efforts (i.e. the Manhattan Declaration and many other efforts with Roman Catholics, Jews and increasingly Mormons). The popular meaning of this text is preferred precisely because the true meaning makes this saying “too hard” for so many in contemporary Christianity.

The third text is 1 Peter 3:15, which reads “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear“, which is often used to support the field of Christian apologetics. Now my purpose is not to attack the legitimacy of apologetics itself, although I will say that beyond such things as debunking myths and lies about  the Bible and its doctrines – i.e. attacks on the Jonah and the whale story based on pseudoscience as well as misconceptions held by other religions such as the Muslim belief that Christians worship three gods – I am increasingly skeptical of the utility and the motivations of many devoted to this field. Allow me to propose that were the main modern aim of apologetics, which is increasingly merely to show that a belief in some god (often a false one of deism or pluralism!) is rational and that Christians should be allowed to retain our privileged and influential place in western society based on it, be restricted to the presupposationalist method of Cornelius Van Til, which actually has the gall to take Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 seriously when they say “the fool has said in his heart ‘There is no Elohim!‘” then the number of “apologists” would decrease dramatically, for it would require bearing witness of the truth to the very powerful and privileged unbelievers that they are petitioning for tolerance and inclusion. Say what you want about the Creation Museum types, they know that the world – including a number of evangelicals who professed to be embarrassed by their spectacle – mocks and despises them, and they don’t care.

Still, the main issue is that if apologetics indeed is a legitimate Christian endeavor, its legitimacy should be established by using texts other than 1 Peter 3:15! Now the defender of apologetics would rejoin me by pointing out that the context in which 1 Peter 3:15 appears is dealing with Christian persecution, and that it was part of the attempts to lessen persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire that the church developed apologetics in the second century. While that is true, this field in its original form merely meant publicly answering lies that were being spread about Christian belief and practice, such as a common one of the time that during communion, Christians cooked and ate a newborn baby and then had an orgy. This activity quickly morphed into making Christianity appear more palatable to the ruling elites themselves so that Christians would be granted social and economic mobility in the Roman Empire, and such was a motivation of the infamous heretic Origen, who with his blasphemies earned much praise for his supposed intellectual prowess from the philosophers and intellectuals of his day.

Instead, to find the actual intent of this text, let us view the context.

And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

So this context has little to support using rationalist philosophic devices of the sort that the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul denounced in Colossians 2:8 designed to make belief in God every bit as rational – and therefore just acceptable in mainstream society and elite institutions – as is atheism, feminism, Marxism, humanism but instead being able to stand in the day of extreme persecution even unto death by adhering to and giving your testimony. So, 1 Peter 3:15 is less C.S. Lewis (who incidentally was a religious pluralist just as is Rob Bell, and it is amazing and appalling by the great many who love and cherish the former while hypocritically excoriating the latter) and more Stephen of Acts!

When faced with persecution – whether facing certain death/torture/imprisonment or merely the mocking comments of acquaintances and coworkers – Christians must put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). (Yes, I remain a supporter of the Bibleman children’s video series even if my interpretation and application of that text has narrowed somewhat.) This is not “if you see a watch lying on a beach, you will not conclude that the watch made itself, but that that this watch had a creator!” type dissembling. Instead, the Christian is to give his testimony in such cases. This testimony consists of two parts.

The first part is the evangelion, the kerygma, the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins and raised from the dead for the purposes of granting eternal life to those who believe. Christians must know the gospel. Christians must understand the gospel. Christians must be willing and able to explain the full, true gospel to anyone under any circumstances, whether it is your friends and neighbors mocking and distorting your Christian beliefs and lifestyle during a social outing at the beach, a Harvard University dean grilling you about your commitment to multiculturalism and tolerance during your interview for a tenure-track faculty position, or a Muslim jihadist holding a scimitar to your neck threatening to rape you, pour gasoline over your body and set you afire, and then – to make absolutely sure that you are dead – chop your head off unless you convert to Islam.

The second part is what the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ has done in your life. How has becoming a Christian changed your life? In what ways has it transformed your character? What mighty works have you witnessed? What mighty works have you performed in Christ’s Name? What is the evidence of the power, the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, working in your life, and who other than you can bear witness of this evidence?

Make no mistake, it is by the power of our testimony in Jesus Christ that is personal, rooted in and given authority to by the Bible, and therefore shared by the universal church, that we overcome. We do not overcome by in philosophical exercises and games that due to their often flawed and limited nature (as they are the work of human speculation and not of God) are in many instances (more than the apologists will admit!) are not consistent, trustworthy or sound and also give a flawed, distorted or even inaccurate picture of the Person that is the Object and Author of the testimony.

2 Timothy 1:8 affirms this in telling us not to be ashamed of our testimony of Jesus Christ, and calls the power of the gospel the power of God. The apostle John stated that his reason for writing his gospel was to record and spread his testimony and to bear witness of its truth in verse 21:24. Further, Acts 14 describes how Paul and Barnabas withstood and overcame the persecutions and counter-missionary efforts of the Jews by “speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

In the opening of the first epistle to the Corinthian church, the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul states that if the testimony of Jesus Christ is confirmed in the Christian, then this same Jesus Christ will on the last day confirm the Christian, and the Christian will be counted as blameless in judgment! A chief use of our testimony is in evangelism to win converts, as Paul told the Thessalonian church in verse 1:10 of his second epistle. It is only after the completion of testimony of the two witnesses of the apocalypse that the beast will be suffered to martyr them (Revelation 11:7). Revelation 12:11 says that in addition to the Blood of Jesus Christ, it is our testimony of Jesus Christ that overcomes Satan! Revelation also reveals that there is a tabernacle of testimony in heaven, and calls the testimony of Jesus Christ prophecy!

But principally, and this recalls Ephesians 6:11, it is made clear in Revelation 12:17 that Satan’s war is with those who keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and have His testimony! Having a testimony in the absence of obedience is not sufficient, for Jesus Christ told us in His parables that such makes you a goat that will be cast into outer darkness and not a sheep. Meanwhile, keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ in the absence of a testimony is not sufficient, for we are justified by faith in the One whom we are supposed to testify of, and not by works.

So, our testimony is a primary, chief spiritual warfare weapon! The famous “armor of God” passage of Ephesians 6 calls the word of God “the sword of the spirit” in verse 17, and many exegetes have noted that it is the only offensive weapon. Well, a legitimate testimony generated by the Holy Spirit and given utterance by one in whom the Holy Spirit indwells bears witness to the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ! In John 16, where Jesus Christ speaks of the persecution that His apostles and His church will endure for His sake, Jesus Christ states that the Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself, but instead will speak of what He hears? Well, Who does the Holy Spirit hear? Jesus Christ! Your testimony may not be the sword itself, but how can it be any less than either the handle that the cutting, two-edged blade is attached to, or the hand of the Christian that takes hold of the sword and wields it!

If this is the case, then why on earth would one adhere to an interpretation of 1 Peter 3:15 that causes us to take our only offensive weapon and hide it in its sheath? There can be only two reasons. The first is the lack of a testimony or an ability to articulate it. Such a person does not need to verse himself in suspect philosophical arguments. Instead, this is a person who is either unregenerate or immature in the faith and therefore urgently needs to attend to the former or the latter. That person doesn’t need to give some apology of Christianity but needs to hear and believe a testimony of a Christian so that he too can begin giving his own testimony!

The second reason why so many Christians are willing to abandon their offensive weapon is simply a desire to avoid giving offense, especially to the people whose approval we crave. Being lovers of this present world like Demas, we forsake the testimony of Jesus Christ with all its power, and instead resort to the arguments of men that have a form of godliness but denies the power thereof! We are supposed to turn away from these tactics and the thinking that motivates it!

These people know fully well that the gospel, the testimony, the message of the cross is foolishness to the world, an offense to those who do not believe. So, instead of using 1 Peter 3:15 to strengthen themselves in order to stand against the world and suffer abuse, shame and persecution because of this testimony, that text is twisted to avoid giving just such a testimony! 1 Peter 3:15 is misappropriated to justify giving the world something that it can accept because it is of the world – that being a human argument – in the place of bearing witness to something that the world hates and rejects because it is of the Holy Spirit that convicts the world of evil, which is a legitimate testimony! You can either give an apology and be embraced by pagans as a genius and hero like Origen, or give a testimony and be slain with rocks as was Stephen and also Antipas. If you love this present world, then you are an adulterer or adulteress who is an enemy with God (James 4:4) so as a result of your inner condition, perhaps an intellectual exercise will suit your aims of being loved by this present world. But if you love the world to come, then you will pick up the sword of the spirit and give your testimony!

Also: come let us reason together, Isaiah 1:18, does not refer to apologetics either. Instead, that text – and its context – is an exhortation to the children of Israel to return to their obedience of the Sinai covenant and its blessings, or else they will reap the covenant curses. It is a prophetic call to repentance by reminding Israel to “think about what you are doing and its consequences … you know of God and His ways and how He is both holy and merciful, so if you continue in your sins He will punish you because He is holy, and if you repent and fear YHWH then He will be merciful,withhold punishment and instead bless you!” Of course, while Israel is to use, rather than deny and suppress, their rational logic, the object of this logic is an appeal to what they already know about God based on God’s self-revelation to His covenant people. So rather than attempting to prove that God exists, this text is based on a presupposition of God’s existence, and is establishing the folly of knowingly disobeying the commands of the YHWH whose existence and attributes they already fully know of and do not deny!

Again, this is not a missive against apologetics itself. Instead, we should stop using texts that apply to testimonies and obedience and knowingly, willingly abusing those texts by using them in a way that they ought not to be. Yes, some examples of doing that do seem to appear in the Bible (most notably Jesus Christ’s creative appropriation of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34) but lacking the inspiration and license of the Holy Spirit to write authoritative scripture, we should restrain ourselves from such things.

And it is particularly harmful if the motivation for this misapplication of Bible texts is a desire to avoid incurring the offense of the world with our testimonies by substituting something more acceptable to the world in its place. Jesus Christ said that if we are ashamed to testify concerning Him in this life, He will not speak on our behalf on judgment day (Mark 8:38)! If you have a testimony within you, the Bible is clear: you must share it, and share it boldly, meekly, fearlessly, humbly and often. But if you do not have a testimony within you, then that is a much greater problem. Address that deficiency immediately by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Christianity, evangelical, evangelical christian, evangelism, false teaching, Jesus Christ, testimony | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VeggieTales Versus Rob Bell: Not That Much Difference!

Posted by Job on March 24, 2011

First, let me say that I haven’t read Rob Bell’s book and I do not plan to ever to. The reason is that my bookshelf is so stacked with great items from legitimate Christian writers that it will take me years to go through them all, and I am yet in the process of trying to acquire more (I want a good commentary on the book of Daniel and on the gospel of Luke; I am accepting recommendations towards that end). So I don’t have the time – or the inclination – to read prattle from a known false teacher. Further, the doctrines that Bell are spreading are not new, but instead are the same abominable heresies that the church has been contending against since nearly the beginning, and then just as now are  the result of reading humanistic and pagan ideas into the Bible text. So, if you want a review of Bell’s “Love Wins”, I suggest Albert Mohler, Ken Silva (from whom I first learned of Bell and the movement that he represents), Phil Johnson, Tim Challies, The Gospel Coalition, and a host of Christian thinkers far more capable of that sort of thing than I. Meanwhile, I will continue to spend my free time reading books that actually contain truth from the likes of Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, George Whitefield and John Eadie.

Still, it is curious to note a curiosity or two. First, the postmodern hermeneutics employed by Bell, Brian McLaren, and similar are by no means new. Quite the contrary, it is reminiscent of allegorical and other techniques that have used to either ignore or alter the meaning of “inconvenient” Bible texts for hundreds of years. I won’t go into the various doctrines that these methods have been used to support or reject, but it goes without saying that using his interpretative method when it suits your own purposes makes it a lot harder to stand in the face of a blasphemer that is using it for his.

Second, it is even more difficult to hold figures like C.S. Lewis in high esteem (and for that matter Billy Graham) when Lewis, Graham, and many other giants of evangelical Christianity hold the same basic views as does Bell! Any number of evangelical Christian leaders encourage us to run out and take our children to see the “Narnia” movies because “it is oh so important to support Christian efforts in Hollywood and the mainstream culture.” As for Billy Graham, well, their “Gideon: The Tuba Warrior” episode saw fit to depict Graham (of all the preachers in history) as one raised up by God despite Graham’s publicly stating beliefs similar to those of Bell.

Speaking of VeggieTales, I recall reading the line “The evangelical “Veggie Tales” cartoons—animated Bible stories featuring talking cucumbers and tomatoes—probably shape more children in their view of scripture than any … catechism does” in the Wall Street Journal. (Note: here is a good catechism for children.) They are not alone. Quite the contrary, you are more likely to encounter an actual Biblical theme in VeggieTales than you will in any “Christian” children’s programming in your local Christian video store, or on Christian broadcasting. But evangelical and many fundamentalist parents buy things like Veggie Tales, The Horned Avenger, On The Farm, Hermie The Caterpillar, Adventures In Odyssey etc. despite the clear fact that A) most of them offer a “Christless” Christianity focused more on ethics, morals, virtues, so-called family values, than the gospel. Phil Vischer specifically stated that this is done to increase sales and make more money from Christians, and has the motto “the more you preach, the fewer you reach.” So, all of that Jesus Christ talk will mean not selling videos because Christians won’t buy it! And they know of what they speak … consider that Good Times Entertainment, whose products were often about Jesus Christ (consider the Bible series featuring Charlton Heston), went bankrupt in 2005. An example of what leaving Jesus Christ out results in? Their “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” movie allegorically depicting Satan as the brother of Jesus Christ. Another example? Teaching works-righteousness in “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah’s Umbrella“, when the lead female character tells the lead male character (who in true feminist fashion – yes feminism has made real inroads in evangelical Christianity – in an incompetent idiot) that “Do you know what those who do the right thing are called? Righteous.” Actually, the New Testament says that righteousness comes by being imputed through Jesus Christ, and that it is impossible to be considered righteous apart from Jesus Christ. So the need to omit Jesus Christ in order to sell more DVDs results in teaching the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ taught and denying the reason for Jesus Christ’s ministry and work! As no one raised a peep about VeggieTales’ essentially endorsing Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, modern Judaism, and every other false works-based religion, how can we be surprised when Rob Bell has such a huge audience? Bell is only reaping the fruit that that was planted and watered by others in fields that were plowed by others.

Now granted, VeggieTales does get around to mentioning Jesus Christ and even His atonement occasionally (see their Easter episodes, though typical of modern Christianity, they give Christmas much more attention than Easter, including promoting the very destructive Santa Claus works religion in two of them … telling kids that there’s no Santa Claus means not selling any DVDs though!), they and the other “Christian” entertainment rarely – if ever – mentions the other side. They will tell you “accept Jesus Christ and go to heaven.” They will not say “if you do not, you will go to hell.” Indeed, even mentions of hell are rare, and this is the case in Christian children’s entertainment, contemporary Christian and gospel music, Christian movies, Christian books, and most Christian evangelism and preaching. So, since we are in a Christian culture that leaves out this important detail, what is the basis, the justification, for getting angry when Rob Bell comes in and fills in the blanks for us?

A lot of Christians are angry at Bell for not believing orthodoxy, but the real problem is that those who believe orthodoxy will not preach orthodoxy.  Challies mentions a new book that discusses “issues pertinent to the church today” which a lot of popular contemporary writers contributed to. According to Challies, there is no chapter on hell, and there are only two references to it in the index! That is no surprise. Clark Pinnock, the Rob Bell of his day, related that when a major Christian publishing company solicited prominent evangelicals to represent the traditional, Protestant view in Four Views On Hell (which is a theological debate in published form) they found no one wanting to take the job! (Ultimately, dispensational pastor and theologian John Walvoord took the challenge.) Pinnock – and again this is nearly 20 years ago – defended his position at the time, annihilationism (this was before Pinnock discarded any remaining pretense of adhering to inerrancy and adopted views similar to Bell’s) by stating that due to the increasing unwillingness of evangelicals to preach about and defend the doctrine of hell, the result would be a widespread embrace of universalism. (Pinnock was not well versed on pluralism at the time, but after learning more about purgatory from the Roman Catholic contributor to the project, Zachary Hayes, he ultimately adopted it as his own position.)

So, Veggie Tales and its effects on children is merely symbolic for the larger Christian scene itself, whether an unwillingness to oft preach and share the whole gospel because it is not acceptable in modern humanist culture – we Christians have to keep our place in the mainstream! – or an unwillingness to confront, condemn and separate from those who preach false doctrines. Quite the contrary, Christianity Today, long the evangelical standard, published a missive aimed at Christians appropriately denouncing Bell, claiming among other things that they lacked the necessary qualifications and standing to do so, and that their actions reflected a lack of various Christian virtues. The writer calls (indirectly but very intentionally) those attacking Bell “meain-spirited”, directly accuses them of “lacking self-restraint”, and pines for the days when such debates were the exclusive domains of people like Plato and “Saint” Thomas Aquinas – in addition to Moses and Augustine – “who gained respect through a lifetime of scholarship.”

Well the respect of the world earned by “Saint” Aquinas for advancing popery and of the pagan Plato is not what we should be after in the first place. Instead, we should seek the grace given through Jesus Christ. That so many of us want the respect of those in whom the truth is not present is precisely why this great vacuum on teachings about hell exists. The problem is not that Rob Bell stepped up to fill it, for there have always been and will always be until Jesus Christ returns false teachers. No, the problem is the carnality caused by the love of this present world in the church that allows this void to exist to begin with.

The result of this void caused by the worldliness is that as many as 59% of evangelical Christians believe that salvation can be obtained outside of Jesus Christ. Not surprisingly, 59% of evangelicals also have “dealing with moral breakdown” as a forefront issue; apparently the great commission can wait for another day. Again, and this should surprise who? Did you think that it was secular humanists being raised on VeggieTales, Hermie The Caterpillar, Focus On The Family etc. and buying them for their kids? Or that atheists are the ones buying Christian and gospel music that does a great job of emulating secular music (or maybe not) but oft neglects the gospel? That theological liberals are the ones heading to Christian bookstores and loading up on “devotionals” that are increasingly just Christianized pop psychology and motivational writings?

The issue is not Rob Bell. The issue is the church and its dereliction of its duty while chasing after worldly pleasures. And let Revelation 2 and 3 remind you: the church is where judgment begins. To more that is given, more is required, and the parables of Jesus Christ tell us that to those to whom more is given, more is required, and further if we are not faithful with what we have been given, then what we have will be taken from us and given to those who have been faithful. We Christians have been given the gospel, and we must avoid allowing the love of this world to prevent us from proclaiming it in its entirety.

In closing, it must be said that if you are a not a Christian, do not take comfort in the lies of the pluralists and others who claim that there is salvation outside of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Bible does declare that love wins, but it will be love of holiness, justice, righteousness, and the only way to have those attributes is by imputation through identification with One who has those attributes, which is Jesus Christ. Unless you live in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ lives in you, there is no life and victory, but only eternal torment. So, I urge you to repent of your sins and join with Jesus Christ immediately.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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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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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 »

Is The New Evangelicalism Any Worse Than The Old?

Posted by Job on December 3, 2007

The New Evangelicalism By Jan Markell www.olivetreeviews.org

When I first filtered into an evangelical church at the age of 14, defining the term “evangelical” was simple, even for a kid my age. Without having to be told, I concluded evangelicals preached a solid gospel, emphasized evangelism and missions, majored in soul-winning and minored in social issues, abstained from some worldly values, were faithful in church attendance, Bible reading, and generally had a biblical worldview. I was never ashamed of the old definition of “evangelicalism.”

 

Those churches are still around, but something has happened in the last twenty years. New leaders are rising and some do NOT preach a solid gospel yet are called evangelicals. (Did your movement preach a solid gospel?) To me, this says today no one is really sure what “evangelicalism” means. (That is because when your folks were in control of the movement, you never defined it by your own example as it was never an attempt to practice the New Testament faith. Instead, the movement was desired to be a “third way” between the the liberal mainline denominationals and the “conservative” fundamentalists, some of whom you were more disdainful and ashamed of than not only the liberal mainline denominationals but even people who were not Christians at all.) When those leaning left such as Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis are called evangelicals, I can tell we have a new day. (So we were much better off with the evangelical movement being led by conservatives like Mike Huckabee, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Ted Haggard, Ralph Reed, Bill Bennett, and Pat Robertson.) When “Emergent Church” leaders such as Brian McClaren, Rob Bell, and Erwin McManus are called evangelicals, something is a-miss. This is just blatant false labeling. (No, it is appropriation of a label that was false to begin with.)

 

“The New York Times” states, “A tug of war is unfolding behind the scenes over theology –should evangelicalism be a big tent open to divergent views, or a smaller movement with more pure theology?” (I prefer the unstated option #3, which is first trying to make an honest attempt to discern what the Bible is saying to us, and then making an honest attempt at doing it. Is there any evidence that this was ever the primary purpose of the movement popularized by the universalist populist Billy Graham?)

Theology isn’t the only issue. Some of today’s so-called evangelicals are into global warming, immigration issues, anti-war movements, and other causes that were once found only in churches a part of the World and National Council of Churches. (So … churches are not supposed to oppose unjust wars and illegal immigration?) They are involved in ridding the world of AIDS, which is an impossibility but a noble cause, but is it the cause of evangelicals? (This is dishonest. Virtually no one is trying to rid the world of a disease for which there is no vaccine or cure. They are merely trying to prevent the spread of the disease and treat people that have it. The fact that she is hostile to the church doing something about AIDS makes me wonder if she has a cultural bias against the people that disproportionately have it. Well, the lepers faced cultural bias in the time of Jesus Christ too, and Christ healed them.) Or is it just the old social gospel from which evangelicals fled in the 1940s so a few denominations could focus almost exclusively on soul-winning and Bible teaching? (Fleeing the social gospel? Yes. But founding your church based on a selfish hard – hearted partial gospel that ignores people’s human needs and is harsh towards sinners? That is not what Jesus Christ and His apostles preached or practiced, but quite the opposite: they condemned it. Read the book of James: faith without works is dead.)

Now the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has a new leader and he hails from my hometown, Minneapolis, MN. (That people did not leave the NAE when the truth was found out about some of its leaders like Ted Haggard and James Dobson, and so many of its leaders are members of the Council on Foreign Relations and take money from Sun Myung Moon … well that is your own fault.) He states that issues to be addressed by the NAE include human rights, creation care, justice and compassion for the poor, torture, and seeking peace in the world. Isn’t this the organization that should be reminding the world that it is racing towards judgment and there may not be a lot of time to repent? It sounds like making the world a better place to live is the new “great commission.”
(No, we should be doing what Jesus Christ and His apostles told us to do in the New Testament. If certain people are erroring by wanting to do more, your error is worse because you want to do less.)

 

I am very uneasy when “evangelicals” remind me of social gospel leftists and when sound theology is replaced by feelings and experience. (So what, you were feeling “easy” before? You were in your little comfort zone before? Well, when I read the New Testament, what I see is that the gospel is supposed to make you uneasy, to take you out of your comfort zone, to cause you to do things that you would not ordinarily do. The rich young ruler was made uneasy by the gospel too. Herod was made uneasy by the preaching of John. I really am not seeing much of a difference between erring on the right side or erring on the left.) Or when once-sound theologians applaud the new “Christian mysticism” and rally around “unity.” (And who are these once – sound theologians? Billy Graham? Robert Schuller? A lot of these guys have ALWAYS had problems. The only thing that is going on now is that they have crossed some little cultural line in our minds that have forced us to confront it. Like all the Christians who abandoned Ted Haggard for being homosexual when he had so many other problems.) When church-growth methods take center stage and a church has to have a “marketing approach.” I thought God was the “Marketer-in-Chief” of all churches and ministries. (Sorry, that is the Reformed/Calvinist/fundamentalist predestination/election Christianity that the free will evangelical movement has made a point of rejecting in order to curry a measure of favor with the world as being “moderate”, “reasonable”, and “more compassionate. Even when I was free will evangelical, I couldn’t stand how we were so quick to sell out our more theologically conservative brethren for the respect of the God – haters.) He causes or hinders growth and the spiritual maturity of the body matters far more than growth in numbers.

Old fashioned evangelicalism is on life-support and has been snatched in what the Bible calls an “end-time falling away” (II Thess. 2). I see a new “slippery slope” and enormous compromise, and I will not remain silent. Yet the Lord loves His church. He has not forsaken it. (Again, if this woman’s comments are representative of old – fashioned evangelicalism mindset, then its adherents may not be as bad as Rick Warren or the emergents in a doctrinal,.worship, or personal behavior sense, but it is still not the full gospel that was once given to the saints. And if your spirit does not burn for the teachings that was given in the New Testament, should you examine yourself to be in the faith? How many of you have visited a person in prison, for instance? Or encouraged and prayed for an AIDS or cancer patient? I admit … I have never done such a thing, and that I need to. But quite frankly, people who claim to be in love with that old time religion while exhibiting no desire to do these things or pretending that they are mere side issues scare me. What is the point of taking such pride in believing that the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and the final authority if you are not out there doing what the Bible says?)

Distributed by http://www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com

Posted in AIDS, Center for National Policy, christian conservative, Christian hypocrisy, christian left, christian liberalism, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church state, church worldliness, Council on Foreign Relations, emergent church, evangelical christian, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, illegal immigration, immigration, James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, New Age, Pat Robertson, social gospel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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