Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's circus of heretics...

"It is generally said now-a-days, that all opinions are right, and if a man shall honestly hold his convictions, he is, without doubt, right. Not so; truth is not changed by our opinions, a thing is either true or false of itself, and it is neither made true nor false by our views of it. It is for us therefore, to judge carefully, and not to think that any opinion will do." -- Charles H Spurgeon

Several days ago I made a comment on my facebook page about how disgusted I was at the lack of discernment and wisdom being used at our local “Christian” bookstores and how they sell any and everything… more concerned about profits than being sure they sell only quality Christian doctrine and theology. I was then asked what specifically was the problem with the authors I listed. So in this blog I have attempted to quote from said authors and reveal there areas of heresy. In addition I received a bit of a chastening email about my comment. So what I am going to do first is present you with that email, with the name of the sender anonymous of course, and then my response to that email. In addition, below that you’ll find my critique of each of the referenced authors. I normally would tell you to read on and enjoy, but I’m not sure anyone will enjoy this. Those who agree with me will be more disgusted at the heresy below and those who disagree will probably get a bit angry… either way, read on…

The Email:

“I'm not referring to you, Jason, but anyone who assumes a book is theologically correct because it is sold in a Christian bookstore or because it is labeled as a Christian book is at the least naive and at the worst completely ignorant. (Most of the items in the "gift" section of a Christian bookstore are made in China - a Godless, Communist country! Gasp!!) The Bible tells us the many people will do things in His name and yet they do not know Him (Matthew 7:20-23). People must be spiritually discerning and shouldn't need a "danger" label. It is not up to you or me to decide what should be sold in a store (unless it is a store we own, of course). As an example, there are people who believe Beth Moore is horrible because she is a "woman preacher" - I find her studies to be excellent and I know that, while her teaching ministries are intended for women, many men have chosen to benefit from them. Where do you draw the line? Who makes the decision on what is dangerous and what is safe? Censorship is dangerous (remember the First Amendment!). Parents should make decisions for their children for what books, movies, etc. they are going to view. Adults should make their own decisions, and hopefully they make those decisions based on the teaching they receive and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

Some thoughts on that comment…

True anyone making that assumption is maybe naïve and ignorant. But I think our American Christianity marketing has caused lots of that type of thing to happen. True each person is responsible for themselves. But as a Christian retailer there needs to be at the minimum some accountability on their part to be certain that what they sell is accurate…

The question would be, who determines what is and isn’t accurate. Well I think we’d all agree that there are some areas that we can agree to disagree about. Let’s define those areas and then anyone can put out whatever view on that topic that they want. However, there are core essentials that cannot be argued about. ((List the core essentials))

Anything that falls out of those, needs to be tossed out or at least marked with a warning. I would suggest a great big yellow flashing sign that reads “HERESY SECTION: READ WITH DISCERNMENT”

"made in china" – maybe true but what does that have to do with anything in this argument… and who says that all of those working in those shops to make those items aren’t Christians? I mean they could all be Buddhists and that would be another issue entirely… but then again they could just as easily all be Christians… we just don’t have the ability to make a speculation on that…

the fact that some people will do things in the name of the Lord, visa vie the Matt 7 remark, has no bearing on this at all in the affirmative. If anything it should cause us all the more to be on guard for those teaching these false doctrines and stand up against them (Galatians 1:6-10; Jude 3; 1&2 Timothy)

Whose right is it to decide? Well how have we decided things historically in the Christian faith? Let’s get together a council of trusted Bible believing scholars and have them weigh it out… Another solution would be a certain set of criteria set by each individual bookstore… a conscious decision on the part of each seller to decide what does and doesn’t go. I don’t think it is asking too much to ask of them to maintain some accountability in the matter… The reason they don’t filter what comes in and out has less to do with an attempt to be fair and even to all and more to do with profits and sales… the more diverse the authors, the more crowd will come and the more money will come in.

I never said it was up to me, there are definitely authors out there who are theologically sound and firm on the essentials that I, personally, wouldn’t fully agree with on some of the non-essentials… are they right and I’m wrong… vice versa? Doesn’t matter because they would all be on non-essential issues where there is room to debate and disagree… so those folks could be sold there and whether I bought them wouldn’t matter… or anyone else for that matter. I’m just using him as an example. In the small areas I might not see eye to eye with him on he may very well be spot on and I’m in the wrong…

As to Beth Moore, I have a deep respect for her and I know my wife truly enjoys her Bible studies. I personally haven’t gone through any of them but I’ve never heard anything but solid theology coming from what she teaches. I’ve not done the studies simply because I’ve just never taken time to do it. Her being a woman has nothing to do with it whatsoever. There is a vast difference in a woman, such as Beth Moore, teaching a study to a man and her being a pastor. God used women in many ways to teach many things all throughout scripture. For whatever His reasons He chose to reserve the office of Elder for a male. It goes back to the headship given to Adam in the very beginning.

Censorship is a dangerous thing and I am fully in favor of the First Amendment rights to say whatever you want. Using discernment to determine what is and isn’t sold in a store isn’t censorship nor does it infringe on their First Amendment rights. I’m not saying that the hertics can’t print their heresy and spew their filth. The Christian retailer has the right to refuse to sell what they want. Choosing not to sell a particular author doesn’t infringe on someone’s rights. It would however violate the owner of said bookstore’s rights to force them to sell something that is clearly heretical.

Where I draw the line, as already stated, is in not bickering over the non-essential issues.

The commenter made a good point that parents should shepherd their children and that adults should make decisions based on the teachings they’ve received. However, those called to be teachers, preachers, etc have a responsibility to defend the truth (again, Jude 3, 2 Timothy 3)

Tony Campolo

- Tony has a very liberal theology to the extent that he even feels that a muslim and a Christian are one in the same. He has been quoted as saying (cited below) that a muslim may be saved and not even know it…

- He leads the charge in a movement to put more emphasis on the words of Jesus than on all others. Christ came to fulfill the Law and all of the Scripture is God breathed and good for teaching preaching rebuking, etc. In addition, all scripture harmonizes and flows together so to place some higher than another is to call into question even that which Jesus said since what He said was used later in the New Testament teachings and had been prophesied before Him.

- Agrees that homosexuality is a sin in practice but feels the government should allow homosexuals to engage in a legal civil union.

- Denies that the world was created in 6 literal days, believes God created the world but that each of the 6 days represents 6 periods of creation… that could have taken “eons” of time he suggests. That goes against a literal Genesis interpretation as well as the historically accepted one… I’m less concerned with him denying the historical view and more concerned that he denies a literal interpretation (in context) of any Scripture.

Here are a few quotes from some of his books I’ve read that, if this is his belief, puts him in the category of heretic…

“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.” (Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians” (National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.” EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

“It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, Can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?” EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

There’s more… but that’s just a few from the a couple things of his that I stomached and read through… barf bag beside me…

Brian McLaren

Well we begin with Brian McLaren’s most obvious and recent embrace of the Muslim faith. He most recently observed Ramadan, a Muslim holiday. I have no problem with studying other faith practices and understanding them. I think that is beneficial… but I think we cross the line when we practice those pagan rituals with false religions…

As McLaren himself says, if you are looking for a clearly stated theology that asserts what is true about itself and false about other ideas, you will not find it in his books. “To argue about what is true or false is a relic of the bygone era of “enlightenment rationalism”” The Bible, for McLaren, is about doing good works, as God’s people, for the benefit of all people; it is not about propositional, objective truth. He even anticipates that people will ask, “what is your definition of ‘good works,’ and who is included and excluded from the category of “God’s people”? These, according to McLaren, are the “wrong questions,” and they show that we are “naïve captives of modernity”.

Here is how he describes that: “And we have languished and wandered when we have used the Bible as a weapon to threaten others, as a tool to intimidate others and prove them wrong, as a shortcut to being know-it-alls who believe the Bible gives us all the answers, as a defense of the status quo . . .”

Now I will totally agree that the Bible is not a weapon we use to make ourselves know-it-alls or lord ourselves over others. I do, however, feel that the Bible IS a weapon of truth against all falsehoods. Mr. McLaren has absolutely no respect for the Bible’s authority or absolute-ness. He doesn’t feel we can actually know truth so for him the scriptures are more of just a guide book… a book of suggestions…

For those of us who still have nagging questions about knowing whether or not McLaren’s approach is “true” given his premise that seeking to know the “truth” as opposed to falsehood is a fool’s mission, he has this little gem:

“If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts about my own, and I don’t mind if you think I am wrong. I’m sure I am wrong about many things, although I’m not sure exactly which things I’m wrong about. I’m even sure I’m wrong about what I think I’m right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I’m wrong, you could be right.”

To that I would say only this… John 14:6; 2 Timothy 3; Jude 3; John 8:32

Joel Osteen

Well Joel is an easy one for most true believers to spot. He flies in the face of everything God’s Word teaches. Below is a well written critique of him cited at the bottom. He has been quoted as saying he doesn’t tell people that they are “sinners”, isn’t sure the Christian faith is “the only way”, and that he believes if you have faith God will make you healthy and wealthy and happy. Tell that to Paul… 2 Corinthians 12.

Here’s a lovely little clip of him completely missing a chance to share the good news of the Gospel on national television! The shame!


Listen; don’t dangle people over the fires of hell. Lisa and I always kid about you know we’re going to dangle them over the fires of hell. Listen, that doesn’t draw people to God. They know what kind of life they live. They know how bad they’ve lived. What you’ve got to do is talk about the goodness of God. Listen, it’s the goodness of God that brings people to repentance. It’s the goodness of God. One thing I always appreciated about my dad is that he instilled into us a good vision of who God was. We learned about a good God.” [Sermon: What the Resurrection Means to Us As Believers]

Well, the rich young ruler did not know he was sinful, though he did know God’s commandments; he needed Jesus to tell him about the law he did not keep. Have we improved on this? Jesus Christ spoke on hell often-- would Joel Osteen (and others) dismiss this today as unnecessary or offensive? What if Jesus were here today speaking on hell? Would they ask him to keep quiet?

Did Jesus teach in this manner? In John 15:22, He said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” In John 3:18-20, He said, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Doesn’t sound too soft to me, and this was to a religious leader who knew better. The Bible does not shy away from addressing our sins. Sin is the greatest enemy of mankind and it does not help anyone when it is swept under the rug not to be heard of.

Amy Sims reports: “At the biggest church in the country, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Pastor Joel Osteen preaches to some 25,000 people each week -- and sin is not on the menu. Osteen said his goal is to give people a boost for the week.” “I think for years there's been a lot of hellfire and damnation. You go to church to figure out what you're doing wrong and you leave feeling bad like you're not going to make it,” Osteen said. “We believe in focusing on the goodness of God” (Fox News, Feb. 03, 2004, as reported by Amy C. Sims)

So the message is to keep people from feeling uncomfortable, bad or guilty by letting them know what is wrong. Compare this to the great evangelical sermons in the book of Acts and we find how off-base this is in terms of delivering gospel content. Osteen's teaching is like eating sweets with the promise of no fat. He is insistent in not condemning people in their sin so he avoids the topic purposely. I realize he is trying to give people who are down some hope. But I don’t think God helps those who help themselves” type of message is God’s answer. Instead, people get a whole lot of word faith,- discover your potential, tickle your ears type of sermons that make one keep coming back for more. And who can’t like this young preacher with a smile a mile wide all the time? His personality is effervescent, and he has an upbeat style that connects with the people as well as a with a sense of humor.

**taken from

Rob Bell

I may very well have to take heart meds as I write this portion of the blog seeing as how nutty Bell makes me. Rob has gone from just questioning things to steeping himself in heresy. I have no problem with his challenging folks to think and question and not just accept what a preacher says but to explore the scriptures. That I think is a very Biblical practice. The problem is that Bell is searching the scriptures in the light of his own presuppositions and not in the light of the truth of God’s Word.

Here’s a sample of Rob Bell’s heretical theology taken from his book, Velvet Elvis:

Heaven is full of forgiven people.
Hell is full of forgiven people.

Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for.
Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for.

The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust. Ours or God’s.

So there you have it, everyone is forgiven! All you have to do to go to heaven is live in God’s story (whatever that means). This is a gross misrepresentation of the gospel, and must not go unrecognized. Rob Bell is a great communicator who actually says many beneficial things, but when it comes to the gospel, which, according to the apostle Paul is of first importance, Rob Bell’s theology doesn’t merely come short of the whole gospel. Rather, it twists and distorts the biblical gospel into a strange universalism in which everyone is forgiven, yet not all realize this forgiveness, and therefore spend eternity in hell. Rob Bell is preaching a gospel which is contrary to that of the Bible. If you’re curious as to what the Bible says about such false teaching, check out Galatians 1:6-9.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

Paul’s anathema to those who would distort the Gospel was a serious statement. In plain terms, he said, let them be damned to hell for it. In other words, there may be areas inside of Christendom in which we can agree to disagree. Now ultimately there is only one truth on every subject, that’s just logical. But there are things we cannot come to an absolute conclusion about and that’s ok. The Gospel message isn’t one of those areas. Bell is a Universalist, meaning everyone, to him, is going to heaven…

He has recently invited fellow heretics like Phyllis Tickle to come speak at his church and by allowing her to speak and then not refuting the heresy she spewed, he offered her an endorsement.

In one of his latest videos Rob states that “you are the gospel”. Not God is the Gospel, Jesus is the Gospel, but “you” as in you and me are the gospel… that’s just heresy served in a big stinking dish piping hot. That alone is enough to make me tune him out and listen to nothing else he says because anything else he says will be ultimately tained with his view on salvation. **that would be Nooma 15 – You

In reality, the Bible says the Gospel message is that we are sinners, condemned and unclean, and we must repent of those sins and place our trust in Jesus Christ! (Mark 1:15; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23)

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