This online apologetics and discernment ministry (OADM) Apprising Ministries has been blessed of Jesus to be used by many as one of His “go-to” ministries in the critical area of the ne0-gnostic corruption inherent within Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).
You need to understand that CSM is a refried Roman Catholic mysticism hostile to sola Scriputra, which was supposedly “discovered” by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, Unfortunately, it’s now pandemic within mainstream evangelicalism.
Sadly, this is a result of its foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church with its universalism in a new version of Progressive Christian theology under their spiritual circus “big tent” they call Emergence Christianity.
What a lot of people tend to forget is that quasi-contemplative1 New Calvinist Elephant Room co-host Mark Driscoll was an integral part of Terra Nova Project spawned by Leadership Network.2 Consider the following from Is the Blogosphere Ready for Mark Driscoll?
In this 2006 post Emerging Church missionary and blogger Andrew Jones, who was also part of this original group from which the EC would evolve, tells us:
a team player Driscoll may not be. He fills the space he occupies and generally leads the groups that he joins. He owes a lot of his current popularity to Doug Pagitt who created conferences for him to speak at around the country and continued his allowance as a “Top Dog” (Mark’s term) in the group.
In the late nineties, Young Leader’s Group (which became Terra Nova and then Emergent) was often criticized for rudeness and offensive remarks. I never swore [HONEST!] even though people expected me to (I had the pony tail and weird clothes) nor intentionally offended people – although i was the snobbiest elitist in the group which was offensive.
Nor did Rudy or Tim or most of the team swear. [Chris and Doug did] But Mark’s humor, which was usually hilarious, was sometimes over the top, often caused offense and there were times when we cringed and wished we were not in the same room. [I distinctly remember pouring petrol over myself at one conference but that memory is fading now and may not be accurate]
The shift to allow Brian McLaren to join the group (he was a few years older than us) provided a softer, gentler Emergent that allowed participants to ask questions in a safe space without fear of ridicule or rejection, especially if those asking the questions were of the female persuasion. (source)
Now you know how you would eventually come to hear about Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network, & The Emerging Church. Of course since then Driscoll’s been working to develop an emerging postmodern form of Calvinism with mentors like Tim Keller and John Piper.
Driscoll’s also helped cast what seems to be a new ecumenical evangelical magisterium (EEM) along with his ER co-host James MacDonald. In fact this EEM is so important to them that, rather than abandon it, they even resigned from The Gospel Coalition when criticized.3
With what Mark Driscoll said just a couple of weeks ago in regard to apostate (at best) Word Faith prosperity preacher Joel Osteen, you’re about to see just how wide the road is becoming for this EEM. However, before I show you that, let me give you the correct Christian view of Osteen.
I included the entire message from which this partial transcript is taken in Joel Osteen Moving One Step Closer To Mainstream Evangelicalism. Within that article I pointed out that Osteen is going to be sharing the podium with EEM members Rick Warren and Craig Groeschel later this year.4
John MacArthur is right when he says:
[Osteen's Lakewood] is the largest quote, unquote, church using the word loosely in America down in Houston. You need to understand that he is a pagan religionist in every sense. He’s a quasi-pantheist. Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers. The idea of his whole thing is that men have the power in themselves to change their lives…
Here’s some quotes from his book Your Best Life Now. “If you develop an image of success, health, abundance, joy, peace, happiness nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” See that’s, that’s the Law of Attraction that’s a part of this kind of system…
Here’s another quote: “Friend, there’s a miracle in your mouth.” I think Isaiah might object to that. He said I’m a man of unclean lips and I dwell amidst a people of unclean lips. Here’s Joel Osteen’s prayer. “I thank you father that I have your favor.” Wow, did he meet the Pharisee in Luke 18 or what? I thank you that I’m not like other people…
Here’s another quote: “I know these principles are true because they work for me and my wife.” Oh so that’s the test of truth. Are you kidding? I know these things are true because they work for me and my wife. Sure you’re at the top of the ponzi scheme…
What is the source of this? Where does this come from? Answer…satan. This is satanic. This is satanic. This is not just off-center. This is satanic. Why do I say that? Because health, wealth, prosperity, the fulfillment of all your dreams and desires…that’s what satan always offers.
That’s called temptation based on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. That’s exactly what corrupt, fallen, unregenerate people want. That’s why it works so well, right. You can go right into satan’s system make everybody feel religious and turn their desires, their temptations into somehow honorable desires.
I mean what did satan say to Jesus? Grab some satisfaction. Why are you hungry? You need to eat. You need to be healthy, whole. Why would you let yourself be unpopular? Dive off the temple corner whew, everybody’ll be wowed. You’ll be the winner. You’ll be the champion. You’ll be the Messiah. They’ll hail you.
Oh and by the way, if you just look over the kingdoms of the world, I’ll give those to you too. That’s satanic. And why are these false teachers so successful at what they do; because they’re in cohoots with the devil. Why is satan successful; because his temptations, although they might appear noble on the outside, are in perfect accord with all the fallen corrupt, selfish, proud evil desires of sinners.
This is a false kind of Christianity and a false view of God. And I think preachers like this who preach this stuff hate the true God. I really believe that. I believe they hate the true God and they’re to death that somebody might find out who he really is.
Quite obviously, we’re not to welcome a pagan religionist, who is preaching a satanic message, warmly into Christian fellowship for God tells us in His Word — not even to eat with such a one (1 Corinthians 5:11). Further, we are to mark out such as these and:
to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)
Now we’re ready to look at Matt Smethurst January 28th post Driscoll, Who Do You Think I Am? It’s a promotional interview for Driscoll to plug his latest book. Let me draw your attention to Smethurst’s question where he asks Driscoll:
You observe that “appreciated people” exchange grumbling for praying, competing for celebrating, bitterness for thankfulness, performing for serving, and boasting for encouraging. What’s an “appreciated person”? Isn’t that what Joel Osteen wants me to be? (source)
In Mark Driscoll’s answer it becomes crystal clear that Driscoll is defending Joel Osteen as a legitimate Christian minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
I am aware of the theological differences that exist between our tribe and Pastor Joel. I also know my Reformed brothers like to treat Pastor Joel like a piñata, but there are worse things than being happy and encouraging at a time when the most common prescription medications are antidepressants.
A few guys in our tribe could learn to talk about something other than painful, arduous suffering once and a while—if nothing else than for the sake of variety. (source)
What talking about “painful, arduous suffering?” I know I’ve not heard any of that from Driscoll’s EEM comrades. Be that as it may, for Mark Driscoll here Joel Osteen—whom he acknowledges as a pastor— is merely in a different tribe of Christianity than his Reformed brothers.
As Christian Research Network associate editor Erin Benziger points out today in her Yes, Pastor Mark, There Are Worse Things than Being Happy and Encouraging:
Yes, Pastor Mark, there are far worse things than going through life with a constant, glowing smile on one’s face. One particular “worse thing” that comes to mind in this context is the preaching of a false and damning gospel. Joel Osteen has yet to be heard to boldly, clearly and accurately proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Happy and encouraging” is nice, but it cannot save a soul. (source)
Precisely; and for Driscoll to pit Joel Osteen against his Reformed brothers is to come to the defense of Joel Osteen, which is how Christian Post Reporter Nicola Menzie saw it as well. In her piece Mark Driscoll on Joel Osteen: ‘There Are Worse Things Than Being Happy and Encouraging’, she noted today that:
Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll recently came to the defense of fellow Christian minister Joel Osteen, while admitting that his “Reformed brothers like to treat Pastor Joel like a pinata.” (source)
Of course this is a quote from Matt Smethurst’s GC article I referenced above, which Menzie also excerpts in her report as well. She goes on to remind us:
In a video of “Part 1: The Rebel’s Guide to Joy,” focused on Acts 16 and Philippians 1:1-1a, Driscoll references Osteen’s preaching when he offers examples of how some members of society might turn to culture and religion or spirituality in their pursuit of happiness.
“Who’s the happiest Christian out there? His name is Joel Osteen,” said Driscoll, showing an image of the August 2005 cover of “Texas Monthly” featuring a photo of Osteen with the caption: “And on the 8th day God created Joel Osteen.”
Calling the Lakewood Church leader “the most well-known pastor in America,” Driscoll noted that “America is absolutely in love with this guy.” While acknowledging Osteen as his Christian brother, Driscoll, however, expressed concern with Osteen’s prosperity message, which is not unique to the Texas minister.
“I’ll tell you what doesn’t bother me about the guy. It doesn’t bother me that he’s got a big church, it doesn’t bother me that he’s on the radio, it doesn’t bother me that he’s on the TV, it doesn’t bother me that he publishes books. It doesn’t even bother me that he’s happy all the time, because maybe his spiritual gift is encouragement,” says Driscoll in his 2007 sermon, according to the video and a transcript from Mars Hill. (source)
Menzie also makes it clear that even in 2007 Mark Driscoll considered Joel Osteen “as his Christian brother.” And Driscoll has continued to drift; you might recall that last year he was a major player at Elephant Room 2 in helping to mainstream modalist T.D. Jakes, a Word Faith prosperity preacher like Osteen.
Well, I happen to agree with Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough. We can’t help but wonder; when you come to the defense of the theologically indefensible like Joel Osteen, could it be because you’ve realized that the more you blur doctrinal distinctives, the more quickly your church will grow? I say, that’s food for some serious thought.
- MARK DRISCOLL, ACTS 29 NETWORK, AND RICK WARREN
- MARK DRISCOLL VISION-CASTING DEAD BODIES HIS MARS HILL BUS WILL ROLL OVER
- MARK DRISCOLL PROMOTING WORD FAITH TEACHER BRIAN HOUSTON?
- e.g. see MARK DRISCOLL AND CONTEMPLATIVE IDOLATRY ↩
- http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/01/leadership-network-and-terra-nova.html ↩
- See MARK DRISCOLL RESIGNS FROM THE GOSPEL COALITION and THERE’S MORE TO THE RESIGNATION OF JAMES MACDONALD FROM GOSPEL COALITION ↩
- This July 1-5 at Hillsong Conference 2013 along with EEM member in training Judah Smith: http://2013.hillsongconference.com/sydney, accessed 2-5-13. ↩