By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Dec 21, 2007 in AM Missives, Brian McLaren, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Current Issues, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Emergent Church, Erwin McManus, Joel Osteen, John Hagee, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Robert Schuller, Roman Catholicism, Southern Baptist Convention, T.D. Jakes, Tony Jones, Word Faith, Youth Ministry
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Christian Soldiers Standing Up For Jesus?
In many of our local fellowships on a given Sunday we could hear a congregation singing songs like “Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus” and/or “Onward Christian Soldiers.” But let’s stop and think for a moment; isn’t a part of the job of a soldier defending against attack? So doesn’t this bring them into conflict; and wouldn’t this mean that they would have no choice but to fight? Well, ask yourself: Have I seen much of that going on for the cause of Christ in my lifetime? Which is why I find myself wondering: “Where are the Elijahs of God?” Lord, about now I’d say Your Church would be willing to settle for just one.
You know I can’t help but wonder, among our professing Christian brothers and sisters today, just where are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)? And among our so-called Christian “leaders,” with their compromised contemplative spirituality and false phony unity; just where are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Matthew 5:10)? Do they seriously not know that Christ Jesus said of those who do hunger, and of those that are persecuted, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (ibid.).
Let’s take a moment to go over to 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 4. At this point in this Age of Grace it’ll be a good idea to remind ourselves of something the Bible tells us about false teaching. And this is becoming especially evident in these times of growing apostasy and the so-called “Christian” mysticism which is now infesting our Lord’s Church through men like Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster. Truly this is really but neo-Gnostic mysticism all over again, which originally resurfaced in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism, and it has already been condemned within the pages of Scripture itself!
However, secular humanism and the theory of evolution—left virtually undefended by the Church—gave birth to the relativism now so deeply imbedded in very definitely pagan America. And so we currently find ourselves having to witness in a most difficult mission field here in the “postmodern” pudding of the United States. This becomes especially problematic as the Christian agnosticism of the Emergent Church continues to be spread now by evangelicals themselves who should have seen right through its skeptical approach to the Bible itself. It’s not like we weren’t warned:
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
Only the Lord knows for sure how true these words are for this gelatinous generation of (un?)believers in particular. As much as I don’t like to say so, I really can’t help but wonder if there has ever been a more gullible group of Christians upon the face of the earth. You really can’t see through people-pleasers like Rob Bell of the emerging church? His “Christian” message is essentially a repainted version of the old social gospel of liberalism mixed together with the pomo equivalent of Becoming A Better You by jolly ol’ Joel Osteen.
And be that as it may, a large part of my job here at Apprising Ministries is to help you come to see that it is most certainly quite possible for counterfeit “teachers” to appear very spiritual, and very “Christian”; who are not preaching the Gospel, but are instead actually teaching you things that originate with the enemy of men’s souls Satan himself. If you can’t see this, then I must be frank and say as gently as I can that you really do need to ask God to open your eyes.
The Quickly Creeping Universalism
And now I’ll show you a common theme that is developing among major leaders within what I have come to call the Ecumenical Church of Deceit (ECoD). Let me also remind you that this type of universal approach to God is always the end result of those who practice the aformentioned neo-Gnostic brand of so-called “Christian” mysticism. First we take the case of Rick Warren, the Pope of the Purpose Driven pillar of the ECoD. In the video clip contained within the A Different Gospel in the Emerging Church and the New Evangelicalism you’ll hear both Billy Graham and Robert Schuller tell you they believe that men can be saved apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Warren’s affinity for teaching the same man-centered gospel of synergism preached by both Graham and Schuller gives us very good reason to think that Warren believes the same thing they do regarding this issue. In fact Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason in his piece “To be (a Fundamentalist) or not to be- that is the question?” quotes from “Question 32. What about people who live in a country without Christian witness?” from the website of Warren’s Saddleback Church:
A person who trusted in God without hearing the name of Jesus would be of the heart to immediately recognize that Jesus was the name of the one they believed in if they were ever to hear His name and story. They would know, just as Abraham would have known, that this is the truth about the God they have been following all of their lives. Someone who has begun to walk in the light is always able to recognize a brighter light. (Online source)
But if this were so then it brings up a couple of questions: Can we can begin to “walk in the light” without the Light of the World? Where would that the light come from if our hearts are dark with sin as Romans 3:23 states? The Bible clearly teaches that the spiritually dead are not walking in the light. We will note that “Question 32” referenced above has been substantially revised since Oppenheimer and others like Ingrid Schlueter exposed this teaching from the Saddleback’s website a year ago. It is now Question 31 and the above quote has now somehow disappeared.
Moving over to the Emergent Church pillar of the ECoD I bring to your attention that Gary Gilley has done a fine job of reviewing Brian McLaren’s earlier book The Secret Teachings Of Jesus (STJ) and in doing so Gilley brings out the emerging church guru’s own growing universalism:
McLaren is sure the kingdom is populated by people from all religions, not just Christianity. It is open to all but those who actively oppose it (pp. 163, 167). As a matter of fact it is possible that some Muslims, Buddhist and Hindus might begin to “take their places at the feast,” discovering the secret message of Jesus in ways that many Christians have not.
Now I readily acknowledge there are those who take serious exception to my calling this Emergent Church, of which McLaren is unquestionably one of the noted of its “theologians,” a neo-liberal cult. But, doesn’t it strike one as behavior quite typical of cult leaders when this “spiritual director” tells us in STJ that the “true” message of Jesus has been lost on the Church of Christ until he and his enlightened Emergents re-discovered it? And turning quickly to the Word Faith pillar of the ECoD; you also may recall in various public venues how Joel Osteen doesn’t directly answer—the way an evangelical Christian should answer—the question: What happens to those who die who are not in Jesus Christ.
Men and women, the truth is that through the widespread acceptance of Richard Foster, who is a Quaker, all of these men have been influenced by the dead wrong teaching of an alleged Inner Light supposedly already within in all men. Because they have then run forth with a compromised message so focused on pleasing the people they are preaching to, men like these are hoping that their mush god of unconditional love has made another provision outside of the Gospel. Why? Well, for one, because with this theology we would have no real need for missions or for true evangelism at all. So now can you figure out who is actually behind this kind of false teaching?
The Creeping Liberalism Comes Slithering In
You need to know that if you are going to stand for the absolute Truth of the Gospel today, then you are going to have to be willing to come into conflict with this core teaching of the ECoD. As a matter of fact the battle is very similar to that fought by men like J. Gresham Machen who had to come into conflict with the Cult of Liberal Theology, which would go on to spiritually poison the mainline denominations. And that’s why we now have such an influx of anti-Reformation teaching—particularly against the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible—which leads to women in the pastorate, and finally to openly practicing homosexual “Bishops” in authority over local pastorates inside what are supposed to be evangelical churches. So is it any wonder that Tony Jones and the Emergent Church [Say]: “Christian” Gay Is A-Ok.
If you don’t believe me then please do some research on your own, but you are only going to find that these issues really are just as theological dominoes. All you need to do to see this plainly is to take a look at what liberal theology did to mainline denominations like the Episcopal Church, the Congregational Church and the Methodist Church. If the Lord tarries we are going to witness this same domino effect happen within the evangelical community as well, and in this generation we are going to have to come to grips with this neo-liberalism which has already come slithering into the leadership of more and more of our major evangelical denominations e.g. the SBC (Slowly Becoming Catholic) and the AoG.
Men and women, the most important issue before us—as I tried to point out in The Evangelical Cave-In Has Begun: The Bible—is that once you punch out the absolute and final authority of what God has unambiguously said in the Bible, then cardinal doctrines of the historic orthodox Christian faith all will topple one by one. And if we aren’t willing to come into conflict soon, then all of these wonderful truths, which the great martyrs for the faith of our Lord so willingly died for, will continue to fall each after the other right before us. Inevitably each of these great doctrines will tumble until all that will be left is but a very hollow shell of the glorious Gospel that those gallant Christian soldiers once stood up for and then marched onward unashamedly to proclaim to this lost world with the Cross of Jesus going on before.