But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” … So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Matthew 4:4; John 8:31-32)
Jesus Is The One Who Taught Sola Scriptura And Led His Reformers To Recapture It
Apprising Ministries continues to warn that the evil influence of the postmodern liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church has had a much wider influence within mainstream evangelicalism than many people are even aware of.
Satan used this rebellion against sola Scriptura as his Trojan Horse from which to unload corrupt Counter Reformation Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) gleaned from apostate Roman Catholicism and then repackaged by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.
You need to understand that circa 2000 enemy forces would begin using evangelicalism’s own publishing houses to promote this CSM within it; as well as to systematically brainwash its younger sectors into experiencing God by subjective feelings, as opposed to the proper Christian spirituality of seeking His voice in Holy Scripture.
As a matter of fact, Beth Moore And John Piper Lead Lectio Divina-Lite At Passion 2012 is a really good example of how this feelings-oriented approach to Scripture is now infiltrating the supposedly conservative Christian community. Beth Moore, John Piper et al each took turns reading from the Book of Ephesians.
You may wonder, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” Nothing. However, after they read from Scripture, it was then that they each would ask for silence and say something along the lines of: “Be still and let Jesus speak to you.” Here’s Beth Moore to demonstrate:
The problem with this is God had already spoken to them through the reading of His Word, one of His prescribed means of grace as to how we are to seek the Lord. The Bible knows nothing of this Lectio Divina-lite waiting in silence to “hear” Him speak through some personal inner burblings.
More on this, what does this verse mean to you-style worship, in a moment. My caution to you is, this kind of thing has now spread even into the Reformed sectors of Christendom. It had been the last bastion of sola Scriptura; but unfortunately, this by-and-large is also a thing of the past; particularly in its younger sectors.
As this rebirth of Pietism gains strength, and as far as I can see it will only continue, you will have to learn to listen very closely to what people are telling you concerning their view of the Bible. O, there’s much lip service that such as these still acknowledge Scripture as their final authority. But, not so.
Having studied CSM in various religious systems for years I can tell you that, for these mystics, their experience always trumps the text of Scripture. You’ll still need to keep an antenna up even when you hear someone tell you how much they respect God’s Word and/or how important Holy Scripture is to them.
With CSM rampant within the church visible today, it just does not follow that these people are approaching the Bible in the way Jesus would have His Christians do so. Let me give you an example to demonstrate what I mean. Listen carefully to the following from ultra-liberal theologian John Shelby Spong.
Keep in mind that he rejects the inerrancy of Scripture, the Virgin Birth and Deity of Christ, the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the Cross and the Bodily Resurrection of Christ. The following is from a transcript I have from The John Ankerberg Show entitled Spong/Martin Debate On Sexual Ethics.
Spong tells Walter Martin and John Ankerberg, ”I read the Bible every day of my life. It is the most important book in my life.” Well, that sounds great, right? Wrong; because here comes the neo-gnostic double-talk:
But I think it’s important that we understand it… I’m not a biblical “literalist,” and if we define biblical “fundamentalism” to be literal belief in every word of the Scripture being without error, I would say I’m not – neither is the [Episcopal] church that I represent. But I do take the Bible seriously, and I believe that I meet the living Word of God in the words of Holy Scripture – that’s why I study this book every day of my life…
But in the first century and in the early second century, authors who felt they were true to the writings of their mentors would use their mentors’ names. I don’t know any New Testament scholars, for example, that think Paul wrote the pastoral epistles but a disciple of Paul wrote the pastoral epistles and used Paul’s name. It’s a very different Paul that you meet…1
Quite revealing; for you see, Spong’s view expressed above is that of the destructive higher criticism of liberal theology with a touch of mysticism and neo-orthodoxy. He is telling us unenlightened ones “it’s important that we understand” how these spiritually elite Gnostics have supposedly superior erudition.
This is how such as these believe they’ve come to realize that one must move beyond the mere text of Scripture down into the message they then allegorize into it. You’ll get an even better picture of what I’m talking about in the following from so-called Progressive Christian Dr. Marcus Borg.
Watch in the beginning how Borg, who like Spong denies virtually every doctrine of the historic orthodox Christian faith, even sounds just like a real Christian as he says, “Christianity is centered in the Bible. Of course, it is ultimately centered in God, but it is the God whom the Bible speaks and to whom it points.”2
And The False Prophets Come Calling And Singing: “Me, Me, Me…”
Ah, but Borg gives, and then, he takes away:
God is also known in other ways and other religions, I am convinced, but to be a Christian is to be centered in the God of the Bible. This is a mark not of Christian exclusion, but of Christian identity. The Bible is for us as Christians our sacred scripture, our sacred story.
Yet the Bible has become a stumbling block for many. In the last half century, probably more Christians have left the church because of the Bible than for any other single reason.
More precisely, they have left because the earlier paradigm’s way of seeing the Bible ceased to make sense to them. Contemporary biblical literalism—with its emphasis on biblical infallibility, historical factuality, and moral and doctrinal absolutes—is an obstacle for millions of people.3
No, sorry about that; God is not known within other religions outside of the unique revelation of His Holy Scripture contained only in the Bible. Now, as deceitful spirits will in their teachings of demons, there is actually a smidgeon of truth in that, indeed, “the Bible has become a stumbling block for many.”
However, it isn’t the Scriptures themselves over which they stumble; but rather, it is the Rock of Jesus Christ who crushes those who refuse to worship Him as Lord and Savior. And, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it’s little wonder that Marcus Borg finds the Bible’s “moral and doctrinal absolutes” to be an “obstacle” for him.
Of false prophets like Spong and Borg, God has already told us — The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jesus will tell you — ”Let them alone; they are blind guides” (Matthew 15:14).
As I close this out, for now, here’s an excellent example of the neo-orthodox approach to the Bible that fits so well with CSM where, unlike Spong/Borg, one does—in a way—take a bit more of a literal approach to Scripture. However, this view follows the fable of neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968).
Barth, a very influential theologian in the Emerging Church, taught that one reads the Bible they need to attempt to “sense” the voice of God within the texts of Scripture they read. In this way, given uninspired verses then become inspired for the individual as the Holy Spirit illuminates it to them personally.
It’s really not all that unlike what you just saw Beth Moore encouraging young people at the Passion 2012 conference to do, as were e.g. John Piper and Louie Giglio.4 The following comes from “cultural architect” and “distinguished futurist” Southern Baptist pastor Erwin McManus from an interview with Relevant Magazine.
McManus offers his mythology that:
EM: Knowing God, knowing His heart, knowing His character is really about falling passionately in love with God and experiencing His love. Of course, there are dynamics to that: the Scriptures are essential. God speaks through the cosmos, God speaks through creation, God speaks through human experience and conscience, God speaks through everything, yes—but I do see the Scriptures as the primary access, a portal into God’s presence. I began to have a clear sense of God’s voice in my life through reading the Scriptures and hearing God’s voice through the Scriptures.
RM: You’ve said in the past that “Scripture is God through the improvisation of people’s lives.”
EM: Well, I build my life not on the Word of God, but the voice of God. The Scriptures are to me the instrument that God has placed in history for me to learn the voice of God. I treasure the Scriptures. (source)
Now, your key to understanding just where Erwin McManus, and those with this view of Scripture, jump the track is his highly subjective statement, “I build my life not on the Word of God, but the voice of God.” Again, as Satan so often does, he takes us into a very fine difference; but, it’s a critical one.
The voice of God is the Word of God in the text of the Bible; and we must always go by what the text itself says, and not what we may feel it could mean. However, because of years of Bible studies where people sit around discussing “what does this verse mean to you” many in the visible church have forgotten:
that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20)
Christian apologist Bob DeWaay will now help you to understand what all of this means as he says:
The meaning of the Scripture is determined by the Holy Spirit inspired author. In other words, these writers were inspired by the Spirit, and so [what they wrote] didn’t come from their will, it came from the Holy Spirit Who spoke from God. So therefore the interpretation of the Scripture is to determine the meaning of the Holy Spirit inspired author.
Now your own interpretation would be the postmodern idea that the reader determines the meaning. A private interpretation is “this means this to me.” Have you ever been to a Bible study where they do that? Everybody gets their Bible. “Read a verse.” And you read a verse. [Then someone asks], “What’s that mean to you?” [Looking around the room], “What’s that mean to you? What’s that mean to you?” [And so on]. “Okay, next verse.”
Well, what do you have but private interpretation? Somebody’s saying I’m going to infuse my meaning into the Scripture rather than finding out what the Holy Spirit said to me through the Holy Spirit-inspired author.5
As I leave this, I want to give you some very pertinent advice for this timid time of tolerance in which we now find ourselves; as was well-said elsewhere: “If you can’t tell the difference between fleece and fur, then you’re going to lose your spiritual arm right up to the elbow.” Just remember, it’s really not very wise to pet wolves…
- CONCERNING CHRIST’S ATONEMENT ON THE CROSS
- ROMAN CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT CHURCHES SIGN AGREEMENT RECOGNIZING EACH OTHER’S BAPTISMS
- STEVE STRANG OF CHARISMA MEDIA AND JONATHAN CAHN TO SUE DAVE JAMES OVER “THE HARBINGER: FACT OR FICTION?”
- The John Ankerberg Show, Spong/Martin Debate On Sexual Ethics transcript, 3. ↩
- Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity [New York: Harper Collins, 2003], 43. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- You can see this for yourself in this exclusive Apprising Ministries video PASSION 2012 BETH MOORE, JOHN PIPER, LOUIS GIGLIO ET AL PRACTICE LECTIO DIVINA-LITE SUPERSTITION-FULL VERSION ↩
- Faith at Risk 3 Conference, “How to Discern A True Work of the Spirit,” DVD Chapter 5, 12:38-13:57 ↩