DR. GERRY BRESHEARS ENDORSES EVANGELICAL POLYTHEIST PASTOR JOHN MARK COMER

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In Biblical Refutation Of Evangelical Pastor John Mark Comer’s Polytheism here at Apprising Ministries I told you that in our time we are, sadly, watching the implosion of the mainstream of the evangelical community. Sadly, doctrinal distinctives are crumbling quickly.

Within that earlier piece I uncovered for you how this came to be and how, because they’re wary of anyone claiming to know the absolute truths taught in God’s Word, people are now deciding issues by their feelings rather than by Scripture. As a result, over the past decade, almost anything goes.

I’ve said before, to be positioned on this part of the Christian battlefield, better enables you to understand how pastor John Mark Comer can stand in an evangelical pulpit and openly preach polytheism with barely a reaction since we’ve brought it to light this past week. Amazing; but not surprising.

If you weren’t aware, Comer is “Pastor of A Jesus church” in Portland, Oregon. It’s actual name is Solid Rock Church (SRC); and it’s actually a multi-site megachurch with the attendance of some 7,000 on a given Sunday:

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So you see, with SRC we’re not dealing here with some tiny, obscure, church in the middle of nowhere; and its pastor John Mark Comer is influencing a sizable number of people in Portland. Comer is also a published author recommended by the likes of Dr. Gerry Breshears, professor of systematic theology at Western Seminary.1

If Breshears sounds familiar to you, it’s likely because he’s co-authored many books with New Calvinist Elephant Room co-host Mark Driscoll.2 Comer’s book is called My Name Is Hope and is endorsed by Dr. Breshears, whom Comer refers to as his friend in the sermon in question:

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More on Gerry Breshears in a bit; but first, let me also point out that we have even more reason for concern because John Mark Comer’s message would now appear to be spreading overseas as well. January 28th Comer tells us he’s been in England meeting with church leaders over there:

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I would say guys like John Mark Comer are fueling the spread of outright heresy. You see, the part of Comer’s message that should immediately raise red flags for you is his openly teaching polytheism in his January 13, 2013 sermon Yahweh Elohim, which was, “Part of the God has a name series, preached at a Weekend Gathering.”3

Erin Benziger broke this story earlier this week in Seeker-Driven Pastor Brings Polytheism into the Mainstream where she revealed:

The idea of polytheism—that there exists in the universe a plurality of gods—has been throughout the ages a concept set forth by pagan religions… It is shocking to think, then, that the pagan idea of polytheism would ever begin to creep into mainstream evangelicalism.

Yet such a transgression recently was committed by John Mark Comer, pastor of Solid Rock Church in Portland, Oregon. (source)

Here’s an excerpt from that message by Comer:

Now, in this first clip we’ll carefully note two things. 1) It’s beyond question that Comer’s preaching polytheism; and 2) he credits heretical Open Theist Greg Boyd’s mythology in his book God at War (GaW) as being what “reshaped the way that I viewed the world; and I think it has the ability to do the same for you.”4

Space doesn’t allow a critique of Greg Boyd and the fables he advances so here I’ll refer you to Dr. Gary Gilley’s excellent four part series Open Theism (OT). Briefly, OT contains these main tenets:

1) God is not sovereign. He is not always and necessarily in control. His will can be thwarted.

2) God is at risk. God responds to our responses. While God is endlessly resourceful, He can make mistakes. He can drop the ball in our lives. Our actions can so affect God as to frustrate His plans and force Him to seek alternatives. To some degree God is at the mercy of His creatures’ choices and actions.

3) God is limited in knowledge. Since God does not know the future He seeks input from His creatures to help Him make decisions. He does not know the future because He is subject to time as we are. He is not infinite in knowledge; He is constantly learning. He is not immutable but is constantly changing, not in essence but in understanding. God truly does not know what anyone will do until they do it.

4) God’s ultimate purpose is not to glorify Himself but to give and receive love. His greatest and central attribute is love, around which all other attributes revolve. (source)

You’ve no doubt heard people use the phrase “the Big Man upstairs” to refer to God; well, by reducing the LORD God Almighty to but a larger version of ourselves, OT essentially brings this to pass. What Comer appears to be referencing from Greg Boyd’s 1997 book GaW would be something called “creational monotheism.”

Boyd explains that it’s a term he borrows from N.T. Wright. While equivocating with the word monotheism Boyd tells us:

Wright’s term “creational monotheism” seems more appropriate. Unlike philosophical monotheism with its speculative conjecture about what “pure” monotheism entails, creational monotheism does not rule out the existence of lesser gods. But neither does it say that one among all the gods happens to be above the rest, or that one among the gods happens to be preferred by us (henotheism. monolatry).

Arising out of the biblical revelation, creational monotheism affirms that there are indeed a multiplicity of gods, but only one is eternal, only one is Creator, only one is Lord, and only one is omnipotent, while all others have their being and their power only by virtue of being given it by their Creator. Hence the Creator is in a class by himself, and for this reason he, and he alone is to be worshipped.5

Well, isn’t that special; even though God has to share His universe with all these “lesser gods” that He allegedly created, He’s still to receive all the worship. Apparently Mormonism with its mythology of a council of the gods is actually closer to Christian theology than we even knew. I will resist the urge to wrestle with the snake here.

Wright, Boyd et al are welcome to massage whatever words they wish to but the one true and living God of the Bible was crystal clear when He said unambiguously:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me…

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.

Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8)

So, unless the LORD God Almighty has suddenly developed a severe case of amnesia, I think we can safely say there are no other gods. Returning now to the aforementioned Dr. Gerry Breshears, in addition to writing books with Mark Driscoll, Breshears had posted a couple of time at Acts 29′s Resurgence blog.6

Breshears also blogs at Living Grace to the World where, incidentally, he recommends The Shack by universalist William Paul Young.7 To be clear, Breshears tells us:

The Shack is a story of the lavish grace of the triune God… I was deeply impacted by this powerfully written story… Let me suggest that you read The Shack if you haven’t. (source)

Then on November 21, 2012 in Justice Summary Breshears wanted us to know that:

I will be joining John Mark Comer to teach the foundational concept of Justice at Solid Rock this Sunday. (source)

Here’s an excerpt of Comer and Breshears teaching Righteousness + Justice8 at Comer’s SRC this past November 25th. You’ll notice that they seem to know each other and appear rather friendly. Interestingly enough, the message is also very reminiscent of Rob Bell, former rock star pastor of the Emerging Church:

In closing this, for now, we’ve seen that John Mark Comer is preaching polytheism. No matter how he may wish to equivocate with these words, if you believe in more than one god then you are a polytheist. It doesn’t matter whether you worship one god, or none at all; if you believe they are there, this is polytheism.

Now, in this last clip of Comer from his January 13, 2013 sermon Yahweh Elohim, at 2:40 in he also appears to be attributing some of this polytheistic teaching in his fable of the gods to his friend Dr. Gerry Breshears. Specifically Comers says:

We know for sure that the biblical authors are all making the same point: There is—listen—There is one Creator God, Who made the universe, Who spoke all that is real into existence. But, there is a multiplicity of created gods; or real spiritual beings.

Think of them as lesser gods; or in the language of Gerry Breshears, “gods with a lower case g.” And these gods have a measure of free will and autonomy—just like human beings. They can obey God and serve God or they can rebel and fight God. Some love God, some hate God; some are good, others are evil.

There’s no doubt that John Mark Comer believes the mythology of these so-called lesser gods. The next question would be: Is this also something Dr. Gerry Breshears himself actually believes, teaches, and confesses? That’s what Comer seems to imply; and it could even be construed from the below at the Biblical Training.org website.

Here’s the page for a lecture by Breshears on Spiritual Warfare:

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Finally, in the interest of fairness we note that Dr. Gerry Breshears did place the following comment concerning Erin Benziger’s article, which I referenced earlier. I personally find it unconvincing:

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Word games with so-called “creational monotheism” aside, to believe in more than one god is polytheism, which is a de facto denial of monotheism. I’d say it’s beyond question that Comer himself is teaching polytheism. He clearly says the demons are below those lesser gods; therefore, they’re not the same beings in Comer’s fable.

Such is the sad state of the evangelical community; apparently, now even monotheism is coming under attack.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. http://bit.ly/VwxqHu, accessed 2-2-13.
  2. http://bit.ly/VwxqHu, accessed 2-2-13.
  3. http://www.ajesuschurch.org/teaching-current/?sermon_id=939, accessed 2-2-13.
  4. 1:44-1:56
  5. Greg Boyd, God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict [[Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997]], 120,121.
  6. http://theresurgence.com/authors/gerry-breshears, accessed 2-2-13.
  7. http://bit.ly/12H1Li, accessed 2-2-13.
  8. https://vimeo.com/54410088, accessed 2-2-13.