Is John Piper Disqualifying Himself as a Teacher?
BY JEFF MAPLES · SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
John Piper was once regarded as a great contender for the faith. He was the go-to guy for apologetics in Reformed theology and the one that was looked to when those with twisted soteriology espoused their false doctrine. He has written books on living a holy life for God and had a way of explaining Scripture that made him a desirable teacher for those truly looking to enhance their theological understanding of and relationship with God.
Yet, behind every fallen creature is a tendency to slide away from God. Behind every fallen creature is the tendency to please man. Behind every fallen creature is the tendency to become so engrossed in your own popularity that you fail to see the grave error that is taking over your life and ministry.
In recent years, John Piper has shown where his true allegiance is. He has staunchly defended false teachers such as Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll. The movement that has gripped his ministry, and taken him by the seat of his pants is known as New Calvinism. New Calvinism is a form of seeker-friendly semi-reformed theology. New Calvinists believe that as long as they have their Calvinistic theology right, there is much room for disagreement and liberty in most other areas.
While most New Calvinists fall into the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” category, Piper is certainly no young buck. Yet, the crowd he now runs around with certainly are.
He has been a repeat speaker at the popular student conference, Passion. The conference is a prime example of the compromised theology of the New Calvinist movement. The conference hosts false teachers such as Word of Faith pastrix out of Hillsong, Australia, Christine Caine, and several other false or compromised teachers, including Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, Levi Lusko and Francis Chan.
Why would he want to associate with these people? Why does he want to lend them credibility? The Scriptures clearly teach that believers are not to associate with false teachers for any other reason except to expose them (Eph 5:11). I think we can safely chalk this up to his disobedience of 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV),
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
In 2012, at the Passion Conference John Piper first experimented with a mystical form of prayer and meditative Scripture reading presented by Louie Giglio that is very similar to the heretical Lectio Divina. Since then, his passion for Passion hasn’t dwindled in the least. He will once again be sharing a stage in 2017 with these false teachers.
Piper has historically claimed a strong position of complementarianism–the theological view that teaches that men and women have complementary roles according to the Scriptures. Yet his passion for this has clearly subsided. Scripture teaches that a woman’s role in a church setting is to submit themselves to male leadership.
1 Timothy 2:12 (ESV) says,
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet,
and 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 (ESV) says,
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.
Women have a responsibility in the church to teach and take care of the children and to build each other up. But it is the responsibility of godly men to lead the church, teach the congregation, preach the Word, administer the ordinances, and handle the Scriptures appropriately. Yet, Piper continually affirms women who usurp the authority of male leadership by sharing the stage with them at seeker-sensitive conferences and defending them publicly in their sin.
John Piper put out a video at Desiring God affirming that it’s okay for men to listen to female Bible “teachers,” like Beth Moore, as long as “they don’t become their pastor.” In the video, he was asked by a listener, “I’m a guy, is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?”
No, unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd. It’s the way I feel about occassional women speaking in Sunday School.
Notice, his reply doesn’t come from Scripture, but solely from his “feelings.” I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that makes exceptions to the complementarian role of women in the church and home for “special occasions,” or “as long as you don’t become dependent on her.” This is not a biblical answer. This is hogwash.
He then goes on to defend his position by mangling the clear teaching of Scripture by saying that women who occasionally teach are not “authoritative teachers,” whatever that means.
Let’s see here, where in Scripture does it say that you can teach the Word of God without authority? Nowhere. It’s almost as if he’s never read the Scriptures pertaining to the roles of men and women in the Church. Further, how can speakers like Beth Moore and Christine Caine regularly take the stage in front of thousands of men and women, attempt to preach the Word of God, and not claim any authority?
This is pure apostasy. 2 John 9-11 essentially says that by taking part with apostates, you become one. It shows that John Piper has taken on an unbiblical position in order to remain popular with a wider audience. It shows that John Piper is not seeking to please God, but man.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
[Contributed by Jeff Maples]
Gabe Lyons, Q and “Restoring Cultures”
April 12, 2012
In mid-April, while many Christians earnestly scanned the Twitter stream and their favorite blogs for soundbites and one-liners from the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference, another gathering was taking place several cities away, in Washington, D.C. Running from 10–12 April, this gathering was known as the Q Conference, and it would do each eager T4G spotter well to pay perhaps even more attention to this particular event.
The Q Conference is a brainchild of Gabe Lyons, who also helped to co-found the Catalyst movement several years ago. Lyons is also the author of the popular books, UnChristian and The Next Christians. According to the Q website,
Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons’ vision to see Christians, especially leaders, recover a vision for their historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures. Inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals,” Gabe set out to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness; valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over the other. Re-educating Christians to this orthodox and unifying concept has become central to the vision of Q.
We believe that inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.
The claim that Christians have a “historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures” is not supported by Scripture. The Q website also does not offer any Scripture in defense of the claim that “inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.”
If the responsibility of the Christian was to “renew and restore cultures,” one would expect that there would have been more such activity recorded in the New Testament. Yet, rather than reading of the apostles’ endeavors to make the world a better place, we see them preaching repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for individual salvation.
It is stated above that Lyons was initially inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement that, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.” The grievous errors in this statement work together to create confusion. Christians are not called to redeem anybody. Rather, believers have been called by God to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Christians are faithful to this mission, God works to draw someone, by the power of His Holy Spirit, into a saving relationship with Him, thus redeeming the individual from his lost state and sin. The faithful believer, however, is not responsible for such redemption. Indeed, if man cannot save and redeem himself from his own sin, how can he expect to do so for others? Only Christ saves. Only Christ can offer redemption. While it is clear that Christians are not called to redeem other individuals, it should also be noted that Scripture does not call Christians to “redeem entire cultures.” True, eternal redemption happens at the level of the individual, and it is wrought by God alone. Thus, this statement, upon which the foundation of Gabe Lyons’ Q Conference was built, is erroneous and therefore hopelessly unsupportive.
The Q event is not the typical Christian conference. Gathering leaders from various walks of life, Q seeks to share “ideas for the common good.” Why, then, do Christians need to be aware of Q and what is taking place? After all, it sounds like a noble cause, seeking to make this world a better place, reaching out to young people to encourage them to engage with the culture in order to make a difference. Why should the Bible-believing Christian be wary of the endeavors set forth by Gabe Lyons? The following paragraphs, will seek to answer that question.
As mentioned above, Gabe Lyons is an author and co-founder of the Catalyst movement. He is also the founder of Q and the driving force behind the event. Perhaps the best way to learn more about Lyons will be to examine his worldview from his own words. In the opening paragraph of his book The Next Christians, Lyons writes:
Seven years ago, I was twenty-seven years old and embarrassed to call myself Christian. This was especially odd because I was raised in a Christian home, graduated from a Christian college, and then served as vice president of a prominent Christian organization. By all accounts, I should have been one of Christianity’s biggest fans.
Unfortunately, I began to notice that the perceptions my friends and neighbors had about Christians were incredibly negative. In fact, their past experiences with anything labeled Christian had sent them running in the opposite direction. Ironically, I came to empathize with their views. Having grown up in a Christian bubble myself, I witnessed countless instances when the lives of Christ followers were incongruent with Jesus’s [sic] call to be loving, engaged, sacrificial, unselfish, and compassionate contributors to culture. The angst these experiences created would scare anyone from taking a second look at Jesus.
The Next Christians, 3
On page 5 of the same book, Lyons writes:
Research shows that over 76 percent of Americans self-identify as Christian. Yet I wonder how many of us are proud to carry that label. Are we hiding our faith in our back pockets? My guess is that many feel much like I did at twenty-seven when they encounter non-Christians at work, in coffee shops, on campus, in their neighborhoods, at weekend parties, or working out at the gym. The Next Christians, 5
It’s true, there are many people who tout the title of “Christian,” yet behave in a rather abysmal manner. Yet, does this justify an attitude of embarrassment at being identified with Christ? Should the Christian bow to the world if the world perceives Christianity unfavorably?
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38, ESV, emphasis added
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. John 15:18-21, ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17, ESV
The Christian should not expect to be celebrated or embraced by the world. If, then, a Christian is reluctant to claim and name the name of Jesus Christ, is the issue really with the true Christian faith, or does the problem lie elsewhere?
It is interesting to note that in 1 John 2:17 (cited above), the Apostle explains that “the world is passing away along with its desires…” Indeed, this simple fact alone seems to contradict the foundational tenet of Q, that “inherent in Christian faithfulness is the responsibility to create a better world, one that reflects God’s original design and intention.” Yet, Gabe Lyons persists in the notion that there is “a new generation of Christians” whose mission it is to change —and even restore—this world. He writes:
I’ve observed a new generation of Christians who feel empowered. Restorers exhibit the mind-set, humility, and commitment that seem destined to rejuvenate the momentum of the faith. They have a peculiar way of thinking, being, and doing that is radically different from previous generations. Telling others about Jesus is important, but conversion isn’t their only motive. Their mission is to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love. I call them restorers because they envision the world as it was meant to be and they work toward that vision. Restorers seek to mend earth’s brokenness. They recognize that the world will not be completely healed until Christ’s return, but they believe that the process begins now as we partner with God. Through sowing seeds of restoration, they believe others will see Christ through us and the Christian faith will reap a much larger harvest. The Next Christians, 43, emphasis added.
This “restorer” mindset permeates the efforts of Q. Writing on the Q website in a lengthy article entitled, “Influencing Culture,” and quoting Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey’s book, How Now Shall We Live, Lyons writes:
Ultimately, it was Colson’s explanation of the cultural mandate that grabbed my mind and my heart: … “Our job is not only to build up the church but also to build a society to the glory of God. As agents of God’s common grace, we are called to help sustain and renew his creation, to uphold the created institutions of family and society, to puruse science and scholarship, to create works of art and beauty, and to heal and help those suffering from the results of the Fall.” Source
Unfortunately, Lyons offers no Scripture to support this statement. As the article progresses, Gabe Lyons speaks about the great “conversion moments” in history, such as the First and Second Great Awakening in England and America, respectively. He seems to believe that the traveling evangelists offered only a “half-story” of the Gospel by not remaining in one place and “modeling the life of a Christian over the course of years.”
It’s easy to see that when forced to convey the most dramatic parts of the Christian story in a short period of time, parts of the story are easily overlooked. In the process, Christianity was losing its profound and life-giving answers to central questions no longer representing an entire life-system and worldview. It had become relegated to a personal, spiritual decision about where you would spend the afterlife. As more evangelical Christians adopted this half-story explanation of the faith, their cultural influence began to fade. The emphasis on heavenly pursuits overshadowed the idea of living a life that offered common grace and promoted cultural influence. Source
As Lyons’ essay continues, the reader will begin to realize that one of two things is happening: either Gabe Lyons does not believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough for salvation and redemption, or he has adopted a skewed understanding of the Gospel, believing that it extends beyond one’s individual standing before God. From the quotes already examined, it seems obvious that the latter is true. Lyons continues:
The idea of culture shaping is widely debated. Most people, and until recently myself included, implicitly believe that cultures are changed from the bottom-up and that to “change our culture, we need more and more individuals possessing the right values and therefore making better choices.”The problem is that it is only part of the solution. In a widely distributed briefing that was presented to The Trinity Forum called To Change the World, James Davison Hunter asserts, “It is this view of culture that also leads some faith communities to evangelism as their primary means of changing the world. If people’s hearts and minds are converted, they will have the right values, they will make the right choices, and the culture will change in turn.”
Hunter goes on to say, “…the renewal of our hearts and minds is not only important, it is essential, indeed a precondition for a truly just and humane society. But by itself, it will not accomplish the objectives and ideals we hope for.”18 This could explain why Christianity as it is practiced by many well meaning, admirable Christians in the past decades has failed to have significant traction.
What is the solution to this problem? According to James Davison Hunter, as quoted by Gabe Lyons, “Cultures are shaped when networks of leaders, representing the different social institutions of a culture, work together towards a common goal.” For Lyons, and for Q, these social institutions include:
business, government, media, church, arts & entertainment, education and the social sector. Their combined output of ideas, films, books, theology, websites, restaurants, investments, social work, laws, medical breakthroughs and technology drive an entire nation. Source
The astute reader will notice that these spheres of influence bear a striking similarity to the “seven mountains” of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). While Gabe Lyons is not (to this writer’s knowledge) involved specifically with the NAR movement, it is nevertheless interesting to note that the NAR holds to similar goals in seeking to redeem the culture. This simply demonstrates how widespread this particular false gospel has become.
To illustrate the combined impact that these seven sectors can have upon society, Lyons turns to the homosexual movement as an example.
In thirty years, the idea of being gay had moved from being commonly viewed as abnormal and abhorrent in society, to being an acceptable and normal alternative life-style. This illustrates perfectly the potential for cultural influence to happen when leaders throughout the seven channels of culture work together towards a common goal. Source
The misunderstanding that Christians and the Church have been commissioned to redeem and renew this earth and its cultures may lead to a disparaging view of the true mission of the Church. As a reminder, Christians have been called by Christ Himself to share the Gospel, calling sinners to repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation. When the focus is turned away from Christ and His atoning work, and fixed instead on this temporal, transient and dying world, then the Church loses its effectiveness. Unfortunately, Gabe Lyons through his movement of Q is seemingly fixing his gaze upon the wrong thing. He says,
Sadly, by focusing on just the “spiritual” and the afterlife, the Christian church has strayed away from its potential influence in the here and now, positioning itself instead as just another subculture. Source
In response to the great gift of salvation in Christ, the Christian will undoubtedly bear fruit that manifests itself in “good works,” yet those good works are not the Gospel. To call the Church to put its energy into the “here and now” seems to contradict many exhortations within Scripture to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Indeed, the believer is told that this earth will one day pass away, and that God will create a New Heavens and a New Earth.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2 Peter 3:10-14, ESV
So, why the concern? Why write such a lengthy article discussing some of the dangers of Q and of its founder, Gabe Lyons? After all, not many Christians were even aware that the event was taking place! Yet, the mindset and the doctrines of Q, which denigrate and downplay the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are beginning to permeate evangelicalism. Among the speakers in years past at the Q conference have been men like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren. In his speech, Warren told the audience that, “You are the message. You are incarnating Jesus in the world” (video can be viewed here). Are we really the message? Or is the message of salvation found in Jesus Christ?
This year, Ed Stetzer, president and “missiologist in residence” at Lifeway Research, was among the speakers at the Q Conference. Lifeway has also invited Gabe Lyons to be a featured speaker at their upcoming Collegiate Summit. As collegiate leaders gather to learn new ways to influence the college students with whom they work, may it now be anticipated that the doctrine of “renewing the culture” will begin to disseminate among our youth?
Collegiate leaders invest a tremendous amount of time in the lives of college students, be it one-on-one coffee conversations, small group Bible studies, or conferences and events. But even the best leaders need some time to recharge. Collegiate Summit is an event just for leaders, and a perfect opportunity to fellowship with peers, worship, and renew their energy and focus.
Collegiate Summit is an interactive event that allows attendees to share insights, get new ideas, and learn from each other. Large group sessions feature leading teachers like Jon Acuff, Gabe Lyons, and Pete Wilson, as well as music from Dove Award-winning songwriter and worship leader Michael Boggs. Breakout sessions focus on specific topics and allow leaders to network, make new friends, and encourage each other.
The idea that Christians must strive to redeem and renew cultures and the belief that salvation of the individual is only “half” of the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, these are prominent and notable threats to the true Gospel. Yet the leaders who are influencing the churches of today are more and more gravitating to this type of false gospel. Be mindful, dear Christian. Learn God’s Word and hold fast to what it says.
Bad Fruit, Diseased Trees, and the Authority of God’s Word
Posted by Michelle Lesley in Discernment
I hate having to warn women against false teachers. I really do. I would like nothing better than to write Bible studies all day long, but, like Jude said, sometimes contending for the faith is more urgent at the moment. Today, as it was in the New Testament church, false doctrine is rampant. You can hardly throw a rock out the sanctuary window without hitting a false teacher, particularly female false teachers.
Invariably, when I warn against a specific popular false teacher I get a few responses from disgruntled readers jumping to that teacher’s defense. (I understand where those feelings come from. I’ve had to hear hard, biblical truths about teachers I’ve followed, too. It’s no fun.) I tend to hear the same arguments over and over (which is one reason I wrote this article). But there’s one thing all of these arguments have in common:
They’re not based on rightly handled Scripture.
Sometimes they’re not based on Scripture at all.
As Christians, we are supposed to base everything we believe and teach upon the truth of Scripture. And the women defending these false teachers aren’t doing that. They’re basing their defense of a false teacher on twisted, out of context Scripture and/or their own opinions, feelings, experiences, and preferences.
Sometimes these ladies will try to appeal to Scripture to defend the false teacher. I applaud them for that. Genuinely. At least they know that we’re supposed to be basing what we say and do on the Bible. That’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, most of these attempts only reveal how poorly they’ve been taught the Bible by the false teachers who have trained them.
“Did you meet privately with this teacher before writing this article?”
“You’re just judging! The Bible says not to judge!”
“You’re creating division in the church!”
Most of the time these women have no idea where those Scriptures are found, or even precisely what they say, much less the context of the verses they’re appealing to. (In order not to misunderstand their intent, I usually have to respond by saying, “Are you referring to Matthew 18:15-20?” or “I’m sorry, could you tell me which verse you’re talking about?”) They don’t know or understand the Scripture they’re alluding to, they’re just repeating what they’ve heard from the false teacher (or her other followers) defending herself and lashing out at those who call her to account.
Nothing More than Feelings:
Perhaps more disturbing are the near-Stepford gushings of some defenders:
“I’ve never heard anything so mean! How could you say such things about this wonderful teacher?”
“I just love her and the way she teaches!”
“You’re just jealous of her success.”
“She’s been such a help and encouragement to me!”
These ladies don’t even attempt to bring the Bible into the discussion, and their loving support for the false teacher is often coupled with vitriolic, completely un-Christlike, devoid of any fruit of the Spirit, attacks on those who dare to question the false teacher. I like this person. I’ve had a positive experience with this person. I have good feelings and opinions about this person. And that – not the Bible – is what I’m basing my decision to follow her upon. How dare you speak against her?
And is it any wonder? When women sit under the teaching of pastors and teachers who skip through the Bible ripping verses out of context and twisting their meanings, who say “the Bible says” followed by their own agenda and imaginings, who point women back to themselves as their own authority, rather than Scripture, by basing their teachings on their own ideas and life experiences instead of the Bible, what do we expect?
Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-20:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (emphasis, mine)
Ladies, look at the fruits of these false teachers: women who believe false doctrine because they are unable to properly read, understand, and handle God’s word, and who base their belief system on their own feelings rather than on the authority of Scripture. That is bad fruit from a diseased tree.
Christian women must be properly trained in the Scriptures. How? By eradicating false teachers and all their sundry materials from our churches, homes, and Bible study classes. By properly training Sunday School and Bible study teachers. By teaching the women of our churches proper hermeneutics and sound doctrine. By exercising biblical church discipline against false teaching. And most of all, by reinstating the authority of Scripture to its rightful preeminence in our lives and in our churches.
It is imperative that we train Christians to understand and embrace that Scripture alone decides what we believe, which teachers we allow into our churches and our lives, and how we are to worship and practice the Christian faith. Basing these things on our feelings, opinions, and preferences is folly, a house built on the sand, because our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick, and we will always trend toward having our ears tickled with smooth words rather than having our souls pierced by the sharp two edged sword of God’s word. “Sanctify them in the truth,” Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Your word is truth.” And, indeed it is. It is the only trustworthy basis for life, faith, and doctrine that will never lead us astray. When our feelings and opinions rise up against God’s word, God’s word wins.
May we hold high the banner of Sola Scriptura, training the precious souls of women to understand and submit to the authority of God’s word, that one day, bad fruit and diseased trees might become a thing of the past.
Johnny Hunt Endorses Jesus Calling, Dismantles Legacy
“The first person speaking of Jesus in Jesus Calling is a tremendous blessing in my life devotionally as His promises come alive in my heart.” Johnny Hunt
There was a time when Johnny Hunt was one of the most respectable names in all of Southern Baptist life. As a defender of biblical inerrancy, Hunt was one of the leaders of the denomination’s “conservative resurgence” which solidified the Southern Baptist Convention as of the few remaining bulwarks against the theological liberalism which swept the United States during the 20th Century. Hunt served as President of the SBC from 2008-2009. He has served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock for over a quarter-century. Under his preaching ministry the church has grown by the thousands. So many people were drawn to FBCW by Hunt’s passionate biblical preaching that he once threatened to post “Go to Hell, we’re full” on the marquee if the church didn’t commit to increasing the size of its then over-crowded facility. Unfortunately, it’s hard to finish well. Over the past several years, Hunt has engaged in a number of missteps which indicate that his extensive influence in the SBC, as well as his own church, is detrimental. Most recently, Hunt has endorsed the devotional book Jesus Calling. Sarah Young, the author of thisbest-selling book, claims to have received direct divine revelation from Christ Himself and recorded it through a process similar to automatic writing. This revelation, which is essentially a recycling of the 2nd century heresy known as Montanism, has been sold to millions of men and women. Young writes in the voice of Jesus. Hunt has endorsed her book. If Johnny Hunt were just some pew sitter struggling with his walk, a criticism of his endorsement might be uncalled for. However, he has thousands of people who look to him for spiritual guidance. The power and responsibility of such a position brings with it a higher level of responsibility and accountability. Hunt has not exercised it well. He hasn’t been exercising it well for quite some time.
Recently, First Baptist Church Woodstock endorsed the feature film Young Messiah. The film is allegedly based on the novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by lapsed Roman Catholic author Anne Rice. A number of events in the film portrayed stories from non-canonical Gnostic gospels. Christian Apologists, some of whom attend FBCW itself, have for years defended the veracity of the four canonical gospels against charges that later, heretical, and fictitious Gnostic gospels were erroneously excluded from the biblical cannon. No bible-believing church has any business promoting such a film to an unsuspecting audience.
In 2014, FBCW Executive Pastor Jim Law claimed that Johnny Hunt commended disgraced former Liberty University Dean and known charlatan, Ergun Caner, to Brewton-Parker College. Caner, a friend and ministry partner of Hunt, was hired as that organization’s President. Later that year, Caner was invited to fill the pulpit at FBCW, despite the fact that Caner was embroiled in a lawsuit with two Christians. Caner eventually lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay damages to the men he had sued. Caner also lost his job at Brewton-Parker amidst accusations of racism, vulgar behavior, and adulterous activity.
Along with Caner, Bishop Eddie Long, and John Hagee, Hunt invited vacationers on a “missions cruise“to Jamaica aboard a luxury Carnival cruise ship. It was surely a lucrative venture for Hunt and his megachurch friends. Long was later embroiled in a male-on-male sex scandal. Hagee is a well-known false teacher.
Under Hunt’s leadership, FBCW has expanded into a satellite campus model, which contradicts the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. It now extends into two states.
Hunt has engaged in an opportunistic “church revitalization” scheme which enables his wealthy church to snatch up the value real estate of older, declining churches.
Upon his embattled and controversial resignation from the presidency of the North American Mission Board, Hunt’s friend “Hollywood” Bob Reccord arranged for a $92,000 payment to be sent to Hunt (for his Timothy-Barnabas school). Hunt would later sign a letter vouching for the integrity of Reccord. The disgraced Reccord would later be a featured speaker at Hunt’s annual “Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference.
Despite his many missteps and baffling unwise endorsements, Hunt is essentiallycelebrated as a hero at his local church. His endorsement of Jesus Calling is just one more item in a long list of Hunt’s egregious errors. (He is at best only “website orthodox“.) Christians should flee First Baptist Woodstock and all things Johnny Hunt. This is a man who nominated the current SBC president and several previous ones; the danger of relying on his wisdom should not be taken lightly by Southern Baptists.
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
Discernment Made Easy: A List of Celebrity Christians Who Declare The Bible Insufficient
“If you wish to know God, you must know His Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by His Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” Charles Spurgeon
Sometimes believers are blessed in our pursuit of obedience to God’s commands for discernment with what essentially passes as Berean no-brainers. Unlike those 1st-century Bereans who had carefully and cautiously reviewed Scripture to see if the things that Paul said were so, (Acts 17:11) occasionally it’s not necessary that modern believers have to do such detailed, prayerful Scripture study to discern truth from error. Sometimes we’re blessed with a list.
(Do not, fellow believer, rest assured on the perpetual availability of such free discernment gifts, however. Because the enemy is subtle, and always malicious, his attackers on the Word of God do not always fall so clearly in our lap as this one does. Always, always, ALWAYS we must “abide in my Word!” John 8:31 Do not be lulled into complacency!)
We have been provided a list of high profile “Christian” leaders, writers, pastors, and celebrities who, by their endorsement of a well-known work of heresy are making the equal claim that they do not believe in the authority, sufficiency, and finality of God’s revelation in His Holy Word. They are thereby declaring that the Bible is incomplete, that God failed to say all He intended to say in it, and that there is at least one person on the planet today to whom He is still giving apostolic-like, continuing revelation. This, of course, is false and diabolically motivated.
Justin Peters comments on the dangers of Jesus Calling:
Here, then, is the list of those high-profile Christians who endorse the Montanist heresy that is Sarah Young and her Jesus Calling publications.
* Max Lucado, “Pastor and Bestselling Author”
* Mark Batterson, Pastor and author of another book of heresy, The Circle Maker
Melinda Gates, Wife of a billionaire
Roma Downey, Catholic Hollywood Mystic and Filmmaker
Rev. James Martin, SJ, Jesuit Priest
Shauna Niequist, “Bestselling Author of ‘Bread and Wind’ and ‘Savor’”
O.S. Hawkins, “Author of the Bestselling ‘The Joshua Code’ and ‘The Jesus Code’”
* Dr. Jack Graham, “Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX”
Sheila Walsh, “Bestselling Author and Speaker”
* Johnny Hunt, “Pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA”
Dr. & Mrs. Richard Lee, “Speaker for the Award-Winning ‘There’s Hope In America’ Television Series”
Kathie Lee Gifford, “Host of the ‘Today Show’, Author, Singer, and Actress”
Delilah, “Nationally Syndicated Radio Personality, Author, and Songwriter”
* Robert J. Morgan, “Pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, TN”
* Robert Morris, “Founding Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas”
Gretchen Carlson, “Television Commentator and Author”
Ainsley Earhardt, “Co-host ‘Fox & Friends First’”
Sean Lowe, “ABC Television’s ‘The Bachelor’ and Author of ‘For The Right Reasons’”
Charlie Daniels, “Award-Winning Country Music Superstar”
Jimmy Wayne, “Country Artist and Bestselling Author of ‘A Walk To Beautiful’”
Diana Hobbs, “President and CEO, ‘Empowering Everyday Women’ Magazine
Katie Farrell, ‘Popular Blogger of ‘Dashing Dish’”
Mike Reed, “Senior Vice President, Salem Media Group’
* Scott Sauls, “Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville”
Janet Hunt, “First Lady, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA”
Diane Strack, “Author of ‘New Start For Single Moms’”
Josh Warren, “CEO, Purpose Driven Communications”
* Rev. Bob Fuguay, “Author, Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Indianapolis”
Anne Wright, “Wife of Johnson Ferry Baptist Senior Pastor, Bryant Wright”
Emily Ley, “Founder of Emily Ley Lifestyle Brand”
James Robison, “Host of ‘Life Today,’ Founder of Life Outreach International & The Stream Website”
Reba McEntire, “Bestselling Author, Artist and Actress”
Linda Leathers, “Chief Executive Officer, The Next Door”
Dr. Cindy Ryan, “Pastor, Writer, Speaker and Blogger”
Mike Gallagher, “Host of Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher Show”
Kristin Chenoweth, “Emmy and Tony Award-Winning Actress and Singer”
Phil Keaggy, “Guitarist, GMA Dove Award Winner, Grammy Award Nominee”
Lyn Mettler, “Writer and Blogger”
The list is sourced from the promotional website JesusCalling.com.
So, while the enemy has amassed an impressive list of powerhouse, self-monikered “Christian” celebrities and notables to endorse this bestselling attack on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, he’s also provided the Berean among us a helpful “Beware” sign. These notable names may be scratched off our list of reliable resources since they are eager to defy Scripture’s command regarding the fellowship of light and dark. (2 Corinthians 6:14)
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
In his letter to the believers in Colossae, Paul gives us an inspiring view of the power of God’s Word as, through it, He brings believers to greater holiness, greater obedience, bearing greater fruit. It is through His Word exclusively that God performs His sanctifying work, as Paul explains from his pastoral heart.
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.” Colossians 1:3-8
While there is no excuse for any believer – be they a Hollywood starlet, award-winning musician, influential business person, or obscure pew-sitter – to fail to defend God’s Word, what’s worrisome are the pastors and pastors wives who are highlighted in this list. As Paul commended Epaphras to the Colossians, it’s unlikely that these list-making pastors endorsing heresy would receive an apostolic back-slap since they are actively taking “part in the unfruitful works of darkness.”
The pastor is to be the under-shepherd of the local church. A significant part of that task is to ward off the wolves from preying on the flock. Instead, here we see Southern Baptist pastors like Johnny Hunt and Jack Graham openly endorsing known heresy. Other “pastors” are noted from the list who, by their endorsement, do not defend God’s Word as final.
(Excluded from the asterisked-denoted list of pastors is Cindy Ryan, who is not qualified for the office, though she nonetheless claims it, giving further evidence of her own disregard for the Word.)
“Jesus is not calling or equipping through a 21st-century bestseller. Rather, He is calling and teaching by His Spirit through a two to three-thousand year old best seller.” Tom Pennington, Strange Fire Conference (Source)
Be wary of those who are willing to endorse what Scripture does not. Do not forget our Lord’s closing words in His Word … “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city , which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]
H/T – Scott Staffiery