A question was put to us: “Does anyone know anything about the author/speaker Lisa Harper? Is she New Age or biblically sound?”
Here is our answer:
In looking at her 2011 book, Stumbling into Grace, she is quoting several major contemplatives: Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Anne Lamott, and at least one New Age author, Gerald May. We don’t know that she is advocating contemplative practices in her book, but clearly she is reading from and gleaning from the mystics and passing those “insights” onto her readers.
As with many other Christian authors today, they may have some “biblical” things to say in their books (deception is often hidden within the pages of truth), but if they are even just quoting the contemplatives (which means they are reading them also), then at the very least, they do not have discernment, and at worst, they are contemplative/emerging themselves. Typically, what we see is when an author begins reading and quoting the mystics, in time, he or she begins to absorb the spirituality of the mystics and then pass it on to their followers.
The Middle East nation of Iran has stepped up its crackdown on Christians
January 31, 2013
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has stepped up its campaign on Christians in its nation and Iranian Christians are in a dire situation concerned that this militant Muslim army will close down their churches and even imprison or kill the Christians living in this Islamic republic.
In Iran, the death penalty is imposed on those who convert from Islam to Christianity and those who embrace Christianity are targeted for persecution and even death.
Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News
The crackdown on Christians in Iran, and in fact across the entire Middle East, is only the tip of the iceberg as it relates to believers in Christ being persecuted in the last days according to Bible prophecy.
There have been a number of reports coming out of the Middle East that there has been an increase in the attacks on churches and Christians in this region of the world. A high ranking Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia recently issued a fatwah calling for Muslims to attack all churches, kill Christians and in fact rid the Middle East of Christianity. Now, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the militia of the supreme council of Iran, has increased their persecution of Iranian Christians and the closing down of churches in Iran.
The biblical book of Revelation written by the Apostle John records prophecies of the martyrdom of believers in Christ during the seven years of great judgment on the earth called the Tribulation. When Satan and his evil angels are thrown out of Heaven, Revelation 12, the Devil will try to eliminate all of those who stand for Jesus Christ. At the end of the Tribulation, to enter the Kingdom and rule and reign with Jesus Christ, Revelation 20:4. In addition, Jews who believe in Jesus Christ will be the focus of Satanic persecution as well during that period of time referred to as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Revelation 12:13-17.
Iranian persecution of Christians is indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad says Israel has no roots in the Middle East
January 30, 2013
The very controversial Iranian President Ahmadinejad said recently that the Jewish state of Israel has no roots in the history of the Middle East and at the same time, he said that Iran has been around for thousands of years but Israel has existed for only 60 or 70 years.
The Iranian president said his nation does not take seriously the threats of the Zionists and that his country has all the defensive means at their disposal to defend themselves from an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News
The radical statement by Iranian president Ahmadinejad that Israel has no roots in the Middle East contradicts biblical history and the biblical scenario for the end of times.
In a recent interview, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying that Iran has been in the Middle East for thousands of years which is true according to ancient and biblical history. Ahmadinejad was historically incorrect however when he said the Jewish state of Israel and the Jewish people have no historical roots in the Middle East. The ancient historic records do prove that today’s Iran, biblical Persia, does date back thousands of years to the time of the Persian empire 2500 years ago. However, these same records are proof that the Jewish people were a part of that world as well.
The ancient Persian leader Cyrus is the world leader that allowed the Jews, 50000 of them, to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple, Ezra 1. In fact, Isaiah one of the ancient Jewish prophets, foretold that a Persian leader named Cyrus would come to power and allow the Jewish people to return to their homeland so they would be able to rebuild their Temple, Isaiah 44:28, 45:1. The Jewish people date back to the time of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people and the establishment of Jews in the land known as Israel today, Genesis 15. Prophetically, Ezekiel 38:5 does mention Persia, modern day Iran, as one of the nations that will rise up in the last days to try to destroy the Jewish nation of Israel and that scenario is about to be played out today.
You can forget what Ahmadinejad says but do remember Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.
Many unbaptized Christians are simply ignorant when it comes to baptism. They’ve never been taught about baptism—what it signifies and why it matters. And what little teaching there is on the subject—you might find a random book chapter here or there, but little else—usually just further confuses the issue.
For example, many believers today have been taught that if they were baptized or christened as a baby, that is sufficient to fulfill Scripture’s command. Think about the confusing message that sends—that a passive act as a newborn has anything in common with the public profession of faith and identification with the risen Christ and His church. Most Christians today could rightly claim ignorance when it comes to baptism, but that’s not a valid excuse to ignore it altogether.
Other believers might be avoiding baptism out of pride. Many have allowed a long period of time to elapse since their conversion. They repented and believed long ago, and they are faithfully involved with the church, active in ministry, and submissive to the authority of God’s Word, but they have never been baptized.
It’s understandably a little embarrassing to acknowledge that kind of failure—that you’ve been disobedient on something so fundamental for so long. But better to humble yourself than to further extend that disobedience by remaining unbaptized.
Indifference is another reason professing believers might not be baptized. There are plenty of people in the church today who simply can’t be bothered. It doesn’t fit into their busy schedule and they’re not willing to sacrifice something else—their work, their ministry, their leisure time, or whatever it is—and make the command of the Lord a priority for their life. Obedience simply isn’t that important to them. They’re apathetic. They might want to do it; they might even plan to do it. But until obedience is their first priority, they’ll never finally get around to being baptized.
For others it goes a step further into defiance. Some people in the church haven’t been baptized because they are just rebellious. They brazenly refuse to obey. Usually people like that are living in active patterns of sin, and any public confession of their faith in Christ would only elevate their hypocrisy. They won’t surrender their sin, so they charge further into rebellion against the Lord.
In addition to ignorance, pride, indifference, and defiance, there is one other reason people in the church aren’t baptized—they’re unregenerate. They’re simply not saved. They have no desire to publicly identify with Christ because they know in their hearts they don’t truly belong to Him. They might be familiar with the Bible and the church—they might even attend regularly, hanging on at the fringes without ever fully committing. But they won’t—they can’t—take a public stand with Christ because they’ve never truly submitted their lives to Him in the first place.
The New Testament has no concept of an unbaptized Christian. When people repented and believed in Christ, they were baptized—often immediately—as a public profession of their faith and to identify with the body of believers. The two were inextricably linked throughout the early church (cf. Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38).
Likewise, the New Testament has nothing to say about many of the modern methods of baptism. Sprinkling, pouring, or dabbing people with water makes no biblical sense. Only immersion paints an accurate, biblical picture of the transformation that takes place in salvation.
The believer’s baptism by submersion in water is consistent with the metaphor the apostle Paul used in Romans 6:3-7.
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
He wasn’t referring to the ordinance of baptism, but the spiritual reality of union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Water baptism is the outward symbol of that unity—your physical baptism signifies the spiritual baptism that’s already taken place. It’s the public, ceremonial depiction of your death to sin and your new life in Christ.
However, that rich truth isn’t celebrated or even taught in many churches. And because the theology and practice of baptism are so muddled, today we likely have more unbaptized believers than at any other time in the history of the church.
If you’re a professing believer who hasn’t been baptized, you fall into one of those categories—your disobedience is the result of ignorance, pride, indifference, defiance, or it’s an indication that you’re not truly saved. It’s critical that you carefully and biblically examine your life and determine what’s keeping you from publicly identifying with Christ in His resurrection and with the local gathering of believers. You don’t want to live in open disobedience to the clear command of Scripture, regardless of the excuses you might be clinging to.
Exodus 11:5- the firstborn. The firstborn held a particularly important position in the family and society, not only inheriting a double portion of the father’s estate, but also representing special qualities of life and strength (see Gen. 49:3). In Egypt, the firstborn would ascend to the throne and continue the dynasty. Whatever significance might have been attached religiously, politically, dynastically, and socially, it was all stripped away by the extent and intensity of the plague—namely, the execution of all the firstborn of all classes of the population including their animals.
Proverbs 6:2–4- snared…come into the hand. See 22:26, 27. Anyone who becomes responsible for another person’s debt is trapped and controlled because he has yielded control of what God has given him as a stewardship. The situation is so serious that it is imperative to take control of one’s own God-given resources and get out of such an intolerable arrangement immediately (“deliver yourself,” vv. 3, 4) before coming to poverty or slavery. See Genesis 43:9; 44:32, 33.
Matthew 20:28- to give His life a ransom for many. The word translated “for” means “in the place of,” underscoring the substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice. A “ransom” is a price paid to redeem a slave or a prisoner. Redemption does not involve a price paid to Satan. Rather, the ransom is offered to God—to satisfy His justice and wrath against sin. The price paid was Christ’s own life—as a blood atonement (see Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). This, then, is the meaning of the cross: Christ subjected Himself to the divine punishment against sin on our behalf (see Is. 53:4, 5). Suffering the brunt of divine wrath in the place of sinners was the “cup” He spoke of having to drink, and the baptism He was preparing to undergo (v. 22).
DAY 31: Describe the chronology of the Exodus.
Fifteenth day, first month, first year–Exodus–Exodus 12
Fifteenth day, second month, first year–Arrival in Wilderness of Sin–Exodus 16:1
Third month, first year–Arrival in Wilderness of Sinai–Exodus 19:1
First day, first month, second year–Erection of Tabernacle–Exodus 40:1, 17
Dedication of Altar–Numbers 7:1–Consecration of Levites–Numbers 8:1–26
Fourteenth day, first month, second year–Passover–Numbers 9:5
First day, second month, second year–Census–Numbers 1:1, 18
Fourteenth day, second month, second year–Supplemental Passover–Numbers 9:11
Twentieth day, second month, second year–Departure from Sinai–Numbers 10:11
First month, fortieth year–In Wilderness of Zin–Numbers 20:1, 22–29; 33:38
First day, fifth month, fortieth year–Death of Aaron–Numbers 20:22–29; 33:38
First day, eleventh month, fortieth year–Moses’ Address–Deuteronomy 1:3
[COLOR=Red]God exalted Christ “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).
Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His body. Paul elaborates that we’re to hold “fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15-16).
Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.
The church is in fact “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete–not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.
A synonym for “fulness” is “complement.” The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One who fills all in all “–the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:16). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.
Does your life complement Christ? Do you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10)? Do you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don’t let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1-2)!
Suggestions for Prayer:
Read Psalm 139:23-24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.
For Further Study:
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-30
What spiritual gifts are mentioned in this passage?
How does Paul deal with the misconception that some gifts are more important than others (see vv. 14-30)?
As a member of Christ’s Body, you are gifted by the Spirit to minister to others. Are you doing so?
MARK DRISCOLL LOVES RICK WARREN AND SO DO MANY OTHERS
By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Jan 30, 2013
It’s really no secret that this online apologetics and discernment ministry (OADM) Apprising Ministries is a leading critic of the sinful ecumenicism of Rick Warren, General of the Seeker Driven Army.1
As a former Roman Catholic and fellow Southern Baptist with Warren I find this kind of compromise nauseating Rick Warren And His Brother, “His Eminence” Timothy Cardinal Dolan Archbishop Of New York.
There’s also Man-Centered Methods Of Rick Warren A La Robert Schuller, which further reveals Warren’s close ties with the odious blight upon mainstream evangelicalism known as the Church Growth Movement.
Consider the following from Christian apologist Bob DeWaay from his Faulty Premises of the Church Growth Movement: Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Donald McGavran, and C. Peter Wagner Mislead the Church.
Not only did Rick Warren study under the aforementioned Schuller, but as I showed you previously in Rick Warren On Mentors Like C. Peter Wagner, the New Apostolic Reformation “Apostle” mentored Warren’s doctrinal thesis.
Sandy Simpson of the fine OADM Deception in the Church shows us in his The New Apostolic Reformation – What is it and where it is going? that Warren’s advisor/mentor at Fuller Theological Seminary was:
C. Peter Wagner! Here is a copy of the FirstSearch Dissertations Abstracts listing:
Title: NEW CHURCHES FOR A NEW GENERATION: CHURCH PLANTING TO REACH BABY BOOMERS. A CASE STUDY: THE SADDLEBACK VALLEY COMMUNITY CHURCH (CALIFORNIA)
Author(s): WARREN, RICHARD DUANE
Institution: FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, DOCTOR OF MINISTRY PROGRAM; 0790
Advisor: Mentor: C. PETER WAGNER
Source: DAI, 54, no. 03A, (1993): 0967… (source)
As a matter of fact, Simpson actually has Rick Warren’s full Church Growth Movement dissertation in his possession.2 And now we’re ready to get into Bob DeWaay’s well-documented and insightful piece above.
He begins with God’s Word:
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5-6)
Then against this absolute truth DeWaay brings out a quote by Rick Warren:
“It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. . . . It may take some time to identify it. But the most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs.”
Notice that the argument Warren advances is but a personal opinion, no matter how deep his “conviction” is. DeWaay now contrasts Warren’s human wisdom with that of God; and, concerning church growth, he shows:
If we compare what the Apostle John said with what a famous [COLOR=Green]Church Growth2 advocate says, we encounter a problem. John says that the world will not listen to a true, unsullied Christian message. Rick Warren says that anybody can be won to Christ if we discover a message that will interest them through promising to meet their felt needs.
These concepts are contradictory. The Biblical idea is that we must speak God’s unchanging message of the gospel whether the world hates us or not: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
The Church Growth idea is that we must study man (using the latest sociological, psychological, and anthropological insights) to determine how to create a church that will grow and a message that will be popular through appealing to a target audience. Someone is wrong here and I do not think it is the inspired Apostle John.[/COLOR]
Exactly, we can trust Holy Scripture; but all the more odd that purported Calvinists like John Piperand Mark Driscoll would become so enamored with the man-centered musings of Rick Warren over the past couple of years.
With this in mind then, I now point you to Christian Post contributor Diana Bridgett and her report today Rick Warren Turns 59; Mark Driscoll, Ralph Reed Tweet Congratulations. She informs us:
Influential pastor Rick Warren, founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., celebrated his 59th birthday on Monday.
Although Warren didn’t mention his birthday to his nearly 900,000 Twitter followers, his wife, Kay, tweeted, “Happy Birthday to the love of my life, @RickWarren! What a guy!!”
I would say it’s sure a good thing that Kay Warren feels that way; after-all, both Warrens have told us that God Himself spoke to each of them personally and told them they were to marry.4 Bridgett also brings out:
Actress Roma Downey tweeted,
“@RickWarren: You CAN’T make God stop loving you. because his love for you is based on who HE is, not what YOU do. Happy Birthday Rick!”
And Christian conservative political strategist Ralph Reed tweeted,
“Happy birthday, @rickwarren. I appreciate your ministry. Stand firm for the Gospel.”
The question is, which gospel is Warren firmly standing for; it’s certainly not the Biblical—and only—one. Turns out Elephant Room co-host and emerging ecumenical magisterium memberMark Driscoll would also tweet:
I wonder; does [COLOR=Green]Mark Driscoll really love Rick Warren enough to call him to repentance for Warren’s repudiation of the Lord’s Protestant Reformation; and embracing in Christian fellowship those preaching another gospel?[/COLOR]
MARK DRISCOLL, ACTS 29 NETWORK, AND RICK WARREN
FAMILIAR NAMES RICK WARREN, JAMES MACDONALD & OTHERS TO HEADLINE AT MARK DRISCOLL’S 2013 RESURGENCE CONFERENCE
RICK WARREN AND TEACHINGS OF DEMONS
For further illustration consider Rick Warren Connections, accessed 1-30-13. ↩
RICK WARREN AND HIS BROTHER, “HIS EMINENCE” TIMOTHY CARDINAL DOLAN ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK
By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Jan 29, 2013
If you’re familiar with Apprising Ministries you will know that I’m doing what I can to alert you to a growing syncretism and sinful ecumenicism continuing to spread throughout mainstream evangelicalism.
And, without a doubt, a leader of this compromise in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) would be Rick Warren, pastor of the highly influential Saddleback Church and General of the Seeker Driven Army.
For example, I showed you in Rick Warren And Teachings Of Demons that the pope of Purpose Drivenism tweeted the following bull,1 which appeared in a 2005 report on Warren by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that [Roman] Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what [I]binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said.
“I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the [Roman] Catholic Church,…[/I]
Let’s avoid wrestling with the serpent here: No one’s arguing that there are not individual Roman Catholics who have been saved; however, they find the Gospel in spite of what the apostate Roman Catholic Church teaches.
The context in which Rick Warren is speaking is the Roman Catholic Church itself, which we get a glimpse of here in this tweet below, which ironically Warren sent out on Reformation Day of 2011:
Now we’ll see yet another example of Warren’s repudiation of the Protestant Reformation just today; rather odd considering he’s one of the most visible pastors in the SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.2
The following dialogue appears to begin with a tweet from “His Eminence,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York:
Now, considering that the apostate Dolan was actually “named Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on February 23, 2009,”3 do you think there’s any chance he holds to the official dogmas of the Church of Rome?
I would have to say so; wouldn’t you? Apparently not Rick Warren, however. As he tweets right back to his “friend” and “brother” Cardinal Dolan:
Well. as a self-professed Kuyperian Calvinist a la the Neo-Calvinism4 of Abraham Kuyper,5 it would seem that Rick Warren must have missed the following from John Calvin concerning his view of the Church of Rome.
I shared the below a while back in The Roman Catholic Church Now A Christian Denomination? The great Church Reformer John Calvin clearly, and correctly, stated:
[F]alsehood prevails under the Papacy. Hence the Papacy is not a Church… There, instead of the ministry of the word, prevails a perverted government, compounded of lies, a government which partly extinguishes, partly suppresses, the pure light. In place of the Lord’s Supper, the foulest sacrilege has entered, the worship of God is deformed by a varied mass of intolerable superstitions; doctrine (without which Christianity exists not) is wholly buried and exploded, the public assemblies are schools of idolatry and impiety…
Therefore while we are unwilling simply to concede the name of Church to the Papists we do not deny that there are churches among them. The question we raise only relates to the true and legitimate constitution of the Church, implying communion in sacred rites, which are the signs of profession, and especially in doctrine. Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God, (Dan. 9: 27; 2Th 2: 4); we regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it. So, why would John Calvin not regard the pope as his brother and say such things about his church? Dr. R.C. Sproul explains:
the Catholic Church understood [what was at stake] in the 16th century, [when] Trent and Rome placed its unambiguous anathema on the Protestant doctrine of “Justification by faith alone” and [the Church of Rome] has never, in any magisterial sense removed that anathema…
[T]he Roman Catholic Church has condemned the gospel of Jesus Christ… Somebody is preaching a different gospel!… Rome, when placing the anathema on “sola fide (L.),” placed the anathema of God upon themselves.
I agree with his [[COLOR=Blue]John MacArthur’s] assessment, that the institution [Roman Catholic Church] is apostate![/COLOR]
So, seemingly Rick Warren has no regard for such mundane matters as Rome’s condemnation of God’s only Gospel. In closing this, for now, here’s the evidence of how Warren encourages another in their own apostasy.
Warren’s tweet caught the eye of the “Tweeting Priest” who is:
Notice that Dorantes is quite passionate about “evangelizing” people into the spiritual rebellion of Roman Catholicism. In addition he happens to be Associate Pastor at Saint Clement Parish, Chicago and:
was appointed as Associate Administrator of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago until May 2010. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 22, 2010. in June 2010 he obtained the S.T.L. degree (sacrae theologiae licentiatus) from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary…
Fr. Manny serves the parish through preaching, sacraments and sacramental preparation, annulments, pastoral visits and appointments, spiritual direction, Ministers of Care, Eucharistic Adoration, Respect Life, Technology/Communications Committee, and Youth Ministry.
That certainly reads like someone who’s a slave for the false gospel of the Roman Catholic Church. After Rick Warren seems to openly embrace his friend Timothy Cardinal Dolan as brother Dorantes would tweet to Warren:
It’s interesting to note that the Mormon website Protect Religious Liberty tells us:
In June of 2013, Warren is planning on holding a [I]“national congress on religious liberty,” inviting religious leaders from all faiths, together with political leaders, to discuss what he calls “the first freedom . . . the first sentence of the first amendment to the constitution.”[/I]
I wonder, could “all faiths” at Saddleback’s “National Congress” also include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons)? In any event, Dorantes will now confirm for us the sad witness of Rick Warren today.
The Roman Catholic priest then tweeted back to Warren:
No, devout teachers of the false gospel of the apostate Roman Catholic Church are not Christians; and it’s not unloving to point this out. We need share with them that Christ even died for their sins of rebellion and idolatry.
It’s true that in today’s timid time of tolerance, this is not a popular stance. However, it’s actually because we love Roman Catholics, for Christ’s sake, that we must tell them of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name.
HT: SAID Radio
LEADING SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ATTEMPTING TO REVERSE THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
TIMOTHY GEORGE ADDRESSES ROMAN CATHOLIC SYNOD AS “BROTHERS” AND POPE AS “HOLY FATHER”
Seeker-Driven Pastor Brings Polytheism into the Mainstream
Jan. 29, 2013
Christianity is, by necessity, a monotheistic religion. The God that Christians worship—the one, true God—tells His own that this is so:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Deut. 6:4)
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. In fact, it is because of the pagan, polytheistic beliefs of Israel’s Canaanite neighbors that God issues the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4. This is not the only place in Scripture where God affirms His exclusivity:
To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. (Deut. 4:35)
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. (Isaiah 44:6)
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.
On 13 January 2013, Comer taught a sermon entitled, “Yahweh Elohim” from the text of Exodus 34:6. A few excerpts from this sermon may be heard below:
As is clear from the clip above, Comer states in no uncertain terms his belief that the pagan gods of the Old Testament were actual deities, albeit lesser ones than the Lord. Later in his sermon, he will reference Western Seminary professor Gerry Breshears, who has co-authored multiple books with Mars Hill megapastor Mark Driscoll. In Breshears’ online Spiritual Warfare course, under the section titled, ‘Biblical Worldview’, insight is gleaned as to just how influential Breshears’ thoughts may have been upon Pastor Comer. In the course description, we read:
[COLOR=Green]A biblical worldview describes reality differently than a worldview based on naturalism or eastern religion. Throughout the Bible, we see a conflict between Yahweh and other gods.[/COLOR]
Yet, what should one do with these passages of Scripture referring to other ‘gods’? Must they necessarily be actual, god-like entities simply because the text acknowledges that people worshiped them? Or can a man be led astray by false gods of his own design?
In the many verses from Psalms that Comer references at the conclusion of this clip, the astute Christian will see that David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is using poetic language to deny the existence of these pagan gods. As Jeremiah 10:1–16 clearly teaches, these false gods exist merely as dead, worthless statues.
Ancient civilizations, without the revelation of the true God, created their own pantheon of gods as a means of explaining various natural phenomena. Often, the god of the sun was the primary god in the pantheon, just as it was in the ancient Egyptian religion:
The central divinity of Egyptian religion is the sun, and from early times the most important sun god is Re. He is believed to sail his boat under the world each night. Every time, during the journey, he has to defeat an evil spirit, Apophis, before he can reappear. At Thebes, which becomes the capital in about 2000 BC, another god, Amen, is of great importance. In about 1500 BC Amen combines with Re to become Amen-Re, who from then on is effectively the state god of Egypt, identified with the pharaoh.
The Old Testament Scriptures acknowledge that ancient civilizations bowed down to other gods besides Yahweh, and that is why Yahweh calls His people, Israel, to be set apart from such pagan idolatry and to worship Him alone. As will be demonstrated later, the New Testament also affirms that Christians are to be set apart from their pagan neighbors, and that they too are to worship only the one true God. He is, after all, not merely the greatest of many gods, but the only God.
“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. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. (Isa. 43:10–11)
At the same time, Christianity acknowledges that there are spiritual powers at work in the universe. While God has His armies of angels, so too do many demonic entities exist. This clearly is evidenced in the ministry of Jesus, as He heals many of demonic possession. Yet, beyond these angels who fell along with Satan (Rev. 12:4), are there also multiple gods and other deities at work in the universe? Pastor Comer would have us think so. He also would have us think that Jesus Christ did not hold to a monotheistic worldview:
Based upon Ephesians 6:12, Comer teaches that there not only are evil spiritual powers at work in the world, but that some of these actually may be considered to be ‘lesser gods’. As noted above, the Christian would affirm the existence of Satan and his minions. Further, this passage in Ephesians does seem to confirm some sort of ranking within that evil empire. To refer to such beings as gods, as lesser deities, however, is to promulgate a worldview that simply is not consistent with orthodox Christianity.
Yet it is precisely this monotheistic worldview that Comer seeks to shatter. He does so by claiming, as can be heard in the clip above, that Jesus Himself did not adhere to monotheism. Rather, what Comer seems to describe is a sort of monolatry, or henotheism, which is defined as “the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods.”
God’s Word, though referring to Satan as ‘the god of this world’ (2 Cor. 4:4) continually affirms the falseness of pagan gods.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:4–8)
Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor. 8:4–6)
In this last verse, the Apostle Paul affirms that, in spite of the worship of various gods and the existence of many idols in the pagan Corinthian world, these gods nevertheless are false. There is, says Paul, only one true God. All others are inventions of man. Might an evil entity perform a supernatural work in the name of these false gods, so as to lead men astray, convincing them of the false god’s existence? Most certainly, but this does not make that entity a god, it only confirms that it is a deceptive spirit, and an enemy of the true God.
It is not that there are no imaginary gods, so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords. Some are outright fakes and some are manifestations of demons, but none are truly gods. The so-called gods have a certain type of reality, but not as deity.
(John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Corinthians, [Moody: 1984], 193.)
Jesus Christ affirmed a monotheistic worldview by demonstrating His own deity through His life, death and resurrection.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
He clearly taught His disciples the same truth regarding the exclusivity of God, else they would not have continually taught this in their own writings.
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:6)
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Tim. 2:5)
Even the demons, the source behind the deception of every false religion, believe that there is only one God.
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (Jas. 2:19)
Perhaps it is a bit of divine irony that seeker-driven pastor John Mark Comer has arrived at a different conclusion. And while he obtusely claims to still affirm that Jesus Christ is the only means to God the Father, one cannot help but cringe at his lack of condemnation of one of Satan’s greatest triumphs, the development of many false religions and the fashioning of a myriad of false gods designed to lead the masses astray.
This teaching is now present in a seeker-driven, evangelical church. How long might it be before this henotheistic, polytheistic worldview begins to permeate the mainstream? Is the body of Christ prepared to accept polytheism? If not, then the Christian best open his Bible and pray for wisdom, because the Great [COLOR=Green]Deceiver is busy.[/COLOR]
Exodus 9:14- My plagues. God’s use of the possessive pronoun specified what should have become abundantly clear to Pharaoh by then, namely, that these were God’s own workings. to your very heart. “To send to the very heart” was apparently a colloquial expression denoting someone’s being made to feel the full force of an act, to feel it strike home!
Exodus 10:13- an east wind. God used natural means, most probably the spring hot wind, or “sirocco,” to bring the locusts into the country from the Arabian peninsula.
Proverbs 5:21, 22- ponders…caught. The Lord sees all that man does and in mercy withholds immediate judgment, allowing the sinner time to repent or to be caught in his own sin (see Num. 32:23; Pss. 7:15, 16; 57:6; Prov. 1:17; Gal. 6:7, 8). Note the example of Haman (Esth. 5:9–14; 7:1–10).
Matthew 20:16- the last will be first, and the first last. In other words, everyone finishes in a dead heat. No matter how long each of the workers worked, they each received a full day’s wage. Similarly, the thief on the cross will enjoy the full blessings of heaven alongside those who have labored their whole lives for Christ. Such is the grace of God.
DAY 30:Why don’t the Egyptian historical records acknowledge the events of the Exodus?
The absence of any Egyptian record of the devastation of Egypt by the 10 plagues and the major defeat of Pharaoh’s elite army at the Red Sea should not give rise to speculation on whether the account is historically authentic. Egyptian historiography did not permit records of their pharaohs’ embarrassments and ignominious defeats to be published. Interestingly, one of the subtle proofs of the truth of Scripture is the way in which it records both the triumphs and the tragedies of God’s people. The Bible offers as many examples of failure as it does of faith.
Despite the absence of any extra-biblical, ancient Near Eastern records of the Hebrew bondage, the plagues, the Exodus, and the Conquest, archeological evidence corroborates Israel’s dramatic exit from Egypt as occurring during the Eighteenth Dynasty (about 1445 B.C.), a setting of great political strength and economic strength in Egyptian history. Egypt was a world military, economic, and political superpower.