Saturday, February 09, 2008

Warren: Unity Trumps Truth

Ran across a great blogpost today. It is on the subject of whether or not Satan's greatest weapon is "disunity."

Excerpts:

In Rick Warren's Ministry's Toolbox letter November 14, 2007, What the Bible says about handling disunity, Warren clearly illustrates that any threat to unity in a congregation is unacceptable and must be dealt with by the pastor.

Warren selectively cites scripture to support his six action steps. [Please see these at the link.]

Well there it is...Unity at all costs, Truth if possible. Unity trumps contending for the faith, guarding what was entrusted, fighting the good fight of faith, guarding the flock from ravenous wolves, being Bereans, testing all things, false teaching causes division for profit and gain (see verses below). In the consumer-driven church of PDL, Christians are customers and if you don't like what's being served, just leave and go somewhere else. We will help you to the door.

In perhaps the boldest statement in this letter Rick Warren makes an amazing statement:"it’s our job to protect our congregations from Satan’s greatest weapon – disunity."

Satan's greatest weapon is deception, which causes disunity and division in the Scriptures, and ultimately the destruction of souls. Rick Warren's encoded message to his purpose driven pastors might read:

Do not tolerate those who resist the purpose-driven messages that I send you to grow your headcount and draw bigger crowds. Throw them out with their Bibles.


Please read all of the Scriptures at the end of the post. You will plainly see Warren's arrogance against the true meaning of God's Word on this issue.

HT: Watcher's Lamp

29 comments:

Matt W. said...

Christine,
I actually read this blogpost a couple of weeks ago (or last week, or something like that) and it really stuck me at the time just how crazy it was. Growing up I was taught that Idolotry and Blasphemy were things that go people bounced out of a local Church body, though I never actually saw it happen. So it was a pretty foreign idea to me that someone would get bounced for standing up AGAINST false teachings. And the fact that so many people buy into pretty much every word that comes out of Warren's mouth makes it all that much more frightening.

This reminds me of a story. When I was a teenager, at the begining of the whole "Promise Keepers" movement, my Dad got talked into going to a PK meeting. He was very reluctant to go, first off because he wasn't buying the hype, and also because of his poor health and frail body, he was worried about being in big crowds. But a couple of other guys fromt the Church offered to pay his way, and promised to be his "Bodygaurds" and take good care of him, which, to their credit, they did, he didn't go anywhere without one or both men by his side. But I digress.

Anyway, he came home and was telling me about it (and he still wasn't buying the hype). The biggest thing I remember from what he told me was that they had everyone yell out their denomonation, and of course the sound was chaos, so then, they had everyone yell out "Jesus!" and it sounded all unified. I just looked at him and said, "But Dad, they could have had everyone yell out "Dog [crap]!" and it would have sounded unified." He just laughed, and said that he had entertained similar thoughts.

That was my first clear lesson that Unity for the sake of Unity itself, is worthless. Unity in the Truth of Christ, and in the Scriptures is what really matters.

mike rucker said...

hi christine,

long time, no talk to.

i reopened for business in a wordpress blog recently, full of hope, great ideas, answers for the world's problems, and, of course, humility.

"truth" is a word we toss around that too often has few specifics.

what, in your mind, is "truth"? if you could distill your understanding of the bible's message into two or three "truths", what would they be?

and, just for grins, imagine yourself a pharisee in Jesus' day. do you think they knew the "truth"? we often heap derision upon them, considering them obvious hypocritical foils for Jesus' "clear" message, but i don't think all of them had cold hearts and poop that didn't stink.

i am convinced more than ever that God is getting ready to enter the world again, and the people who are going to miss it completely are the ones who have fixed expectations about what it will look like. the Jews expected a messiah who would restore Israel to prominence and avenge all of their suffering at the hands of the Romans. God didn't send a messiah like that. similary, evangelicals believe Jesus is going to come, hand out gold stars to those who "know the word of God", then kick a$$ and take names of everyone else.

draw your own conclusion.

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Christinewjc said...

Matt,

In the past (about 10 years ago) when my former pastor gave sermons, he would often ask the congregation to point out anything that he shared which was not biblical. Fast forward to the "purpose driven life" study a few years ago, and not only did he stop saying that, he turned into more of a dictator regarding "membership" vs. fellowship. It was a huge mistake and I think that his attempt to follow Warren's "purpose driven church" ideas backfired. The attendance there has greatly diminished as a result.

I was so disheartened to see this happen. Despite the fact that my husband wrote a very nice letter sharing our disagreement with the new direction that the ministry was taking the church, we never received a reply. I guess our former pastor developed the same attitude that Warren has regarding those who are perceived as "troublemakers."

I don't know a whole lot about the Promise Keepers movement since it is a men's ministry. But I certainly can see the points you made regarding your dad's experience!

There are certain arguments that are not important enough to cause division in a church. However, when heresy is found to be creeping in and someone sounds the alarm bells about it, and their concerns are ignored; then it's time to move on.

You wrote:

"That was my first clear lesson that Unity for the sake of Unity itself, is worthless. Unity in the Truth of Christ, and in the Scriptures is what really matters.

What a great, honest, and important statement! You have reiterated what Paul wrote:

1Cr 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

No matter which heresy is trying to be promulgated by false teachers in the churches, such false prophets cannot negate the fact of "Jesus Christ and him crucified."

They can attempt to push that crucial part of the gospel aside, or even eliminate it altogether in order to continue in their own brand of heresy. However, there will always be a remnant of the faithful who will uphold the gospel as has been "forever delivered unto the saints." Therefore, their errors will be exposed and countered, just like all of the heresy movements that have crept up over the past 2,000 years.

God's Word is the plumbline by which we are to judge and discern whether or not any teacher, preacher, or evangelist is sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul informs us:

1Cr 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Christinewjc said...

Hey Mike!

Welcome back! It has been a long time. Glad to see that you have re-entered the blogging world. I will check out your new blog address this week.

Your "truth" question deserves the time and attention that it should have. Today is not a good day for me to delve into it. I will be back within the next few days to answer. Meanwhile, I invite anyone else who visits here to share some insights.

If I had to pick just one Bible verse to answer the "truth" question, then I would pick this one:

Jhn 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You wrote: "similary, evangelicals believe Jesus is going to come, hand out gold stars to those who "know the word of God", then kick a$$ and take names of everyone else."

I do not think that your analysis is correct. Jesus asks us, "Who do you say that I am?"

How each person answers that one question leads us to the ultimate truth.

Mark said...

Geesh!
That letter speaks volumes of just how far off Rick Warren is. In fact, the scripture he uses would be directed at those like himself, preaching a false gospel. Church unity and doctrinal purity was agrued in the early church. Purity won the day.

mike rucker said...

ahhhh... john 14:6. the verse that launched a thousand interpretations... :)

but an excellent choice, since our topic essentially boils down to:

what did Jesus mean when He said "I am ... the truth"?

Christinewjc said...

Mike wrote:

"ahhhh... john 14:6. the verse that launched a thousand interpretations... :)"

Know something Mike? You are correct about that. More than ever before, there are heresy groups who are attempting to present a radically different Jesus than the true Jesus who has been revealed in the four Gospels. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies that needed to come to fruition prior to the fall of the Jewish temple in AD 70. Facts, logic, the miracles he performed, his death on the cross and resurrection to life and the evidence shown in the Scriptures give us all that we need to know that Jesus is the predicted Messiah of the Old Testament. Since he fulfilled most of the prophecies already, there is every reason to believe that he will return and fulfill the rest.

This post demonstrates the fact that people are free to pick and choose what they want to believe about Jesus. We all have the freedom to believe anything we want. Our Constitution provides freedom of religion; and the equal protection of that right. However, the reality is that it doesn't mean that all religions and religious beliefs are equally true.

So, how do we find out what is true about the real Jesus?

The Scriptures.

Those who venture away from what is written about Jesus in the Scriptures are the ones who create their own make believe kind of Jesus. They attempt to make him in their own image rather than humbling themselves to follow him and be transformed through the Holy Spirit and conformed to his will for our lives.

You asked:

"what did Jesus mean when He said "I am ... the truth"?"

The short answer? Whatever anyone wants to believe about Jesus cannot change the reality of who he clearly established himself to be: the unique Son of God.

It is each and every single person's duty to meet and experience the actual Jesus of history and faith. Why settle for an imposter that a rogue false teacher/preacher/evangelist etc. would lead us to?

So, the question then becomes (for each person) the one that Jesus asked Peter:

"Who do you say that I am?"

Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And, when Simon Peter got it right, Jesus revealed that it was only through God the Father that Simon answered correctly:

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

If you read John 6:24-40, you will see that even after Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000, the people wanted even more "signs." Note what Jesus said was required.

Also, note that the "Jews were grumbling" after all that he had said. They did not want to believe in him.

Next, Jesus presents a hard teaching (at the time because it was before the last supper, crucifixion, death, resurrection and command to "do this in memory of me." - e.g. communion)and many fall away.

But Simon Peter states:

Jhn 6:68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
Jhn 6:69 "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

This is the truth that each person must discover on their own. No one can force it upon them and no one can take it away.

This is why Jesus insisted that we must be born again. (see John 3)


Jhn 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Christinewjc said...

How right you are Mark! "Purity won the day."

People can be united in anything. It doesn't necessarily mean that it is good or true.

This is why the faithful must be vigilant in proclaiming the truth in Christ that was "forever delivered unto the saints."

Mark said...

I don't really know Mike Rucker that well, but based on his comments here and at my blog, it appears he is uncomfortable with anyone claiming an absolute 'truth'. Perhaps his seminary training utilized the allegorical method of understanding scripture. i.e. The Bible does not have a literal meaning (lest siginificant), a Physiological meaning (more important) and then the almighty Spiritual meaning (most important). The scripture means what is says and says what it means.

If he is confused with John 14:6, it may mean he is in rebellion to God's word and that will bring such a state of misunderstanding.

Matt W. said...

Ok. Maybe it's just me, but how can John 14:6 be misunderstood? Is it not one of the clearest statements that you've ever seen?

Of all the things in the Bible that I have ever wondered about... well, this is not one of them.

Matt

mike rucker said...

in 1996 i was at a treatment center in wickenburg, arizona. the counselor had asked for my ok so she could call my parents and tell them about the situation. it was, to that point, the hardest decision of my life, wondering what my daddy would think, what my momma would do - it would be so much easier just to keep things quiet from them.

there was a pay phone near the nurses' station. my wife really didn't want to hear from me, but i wanted to ask her what she thought i should do.

i cannot even begin to describe the helpless, hopeless feeling i had at that moment.

i walked up to the pay phone, and on the stand beneath it was a little dark blue book.

by j.b. philips.

the title?

"Your God Is Too Small."

i laughed. didn't even call my wife. went to the counselor's office and said, "do whatever you want to do - i'm not in charge here..."

mark, christine: your God is too small. let him out of the perfectly formed little box that you keep him in. unzip that leather Bible cover - give him a little air to breathe.

then stand back, and watch him throw everyone a curve just like he did two thousand years ago.

you diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. these are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (john 5:39-40)

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Mark said...

Matt,
I assure you it's not you. It's as clear as can be. Mike and other like minded prefer to ignore God's clarity. Reminds me of those who saw our Lord raise the dead, yet walked away.

mike rucker said...

christine - i just looked at the labels you put on this post:

Labels: Emergent church, heresy, Purpose-driven errors, Rethinking is Compromise, Rick Warren, the truth war

being principled does not mean you have to take your ball and go home, which is what the (potty) mouths of talk radio are doing. please don't join them.

as an engineer and a manager of people with similar left-brain disorders :) i have worked on numerous project teams in my career. when there is a decision to be made, the team members provide input, but selecting the final approach we'll take is always the responsibility of one person. the Decider, i guess :).

here's what adults do - i understand, you might not be all that familiar with it :) - once the decision is made, the members of the team (is there an 'i' in team?...) roll up their sleeves and contribute to implementing the solution. they do not go back to their cubicles, fold their arms in rebellion, and begin to hold their collective breaths until they turn blue.

our country is a mess because all the "my way or the highway" positions have left us broken down on the side of the road...

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Mark said...

Matt,
What part of unity vs. doctrinal purity are you having a hard time grasping sir? Since when do believers accept false doctrine, embrace heretics, or welcome and encourage all unrepentant folks into the holy body of Christ?

It has never been my way or the highway! It has always been Christ's way or your way. This country and the world for that matter, is a mess because we live in a fallen world sir! There will never be peace until Christ returns to gather His church. Until then the only peace will be in the hearts of His children. The sooner you and Mr. Warren get that, the sooner you'll stop seeking some worldly unity under a false gospel.

Christinewjc said...

Mike,

The "ReThinking" label was capitalized for a reason. It refers to the current fad[s] out there that desire to change the truth of the gospel for a lie.

Herescope has plenty of posts about this. When you click on that link, scroll down and you will see about 6 or 7 posts to read.

Mark,

I think that your latest comment was meant for Mike not Matt.

Mark said...

sorry, yes it was directed at Mike.

mike rucker said...

i think mark's comment directed at matt was maybe mostly meant for me. mike.

perfect love casts out fear simply because people want to have control. the hardest thing about christianity is having to live in faith, not in certainty.

the degree to which you are convinced that God must work in one way and one way only is inversely proportional to the likelihood that He will. ask the pharisees. or any of your phriends. step out of phear and phace the phacts.

that's why i'm drawn more to Jesus day by day - because He got such a kick out of poking his finger right in the eye of those claiming to have the clearest vision into who God was and what He would/ could/ should do.

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

mike rucker said...

you guys are starting to scare me with all of your "sky is falling" rhetoric.

just so i'm sure, none of you own any ranches in montana or waco, texas do you?

note to self: don't let any of these people see the Jesus cartoons i've been drawing...

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Mark said...

Mike,
The Pharisees used their piety and stood between people and God. Big no no.

Jesus did not get a kick out of poking anyone in the eye. Jesus gave them & us a very clear choice. Perhaps now it's the clarity of Jesus that you find offensive?

the hardest thing about christianity is having to live in faith, not in certainty.

If I was you, I'd work on getting closer to certainty, otherwise it's no faith at all.

mike rucker said...

mark,

last night i thought i was the anti-christ, and that's not the kind of publicity i really want right now... a few lost souls stumbling upon my blog every now and then will do just fine.

i find a great measure of peace in your comments. thanks for posting them.

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Mark said...

Mike,
Like Augustine and Pelagius, we may come from different backgrounds and experiences, but hopefully that will not determine our theology, eh? I've delt with anti-christ folks, you my friend are not one.

Blessings

mike rucker said...

4:20 pm.

from the God-has-one-helluva-sense-of-humor department...

i just returned home from a trip to the borders bookstore in douglasville, georgia. i had gone online to reserve a copy of the tim keller book we were talking about over at challies.com, and expected to go in and pick it up. but, alas, all the high-tech wizardry of george bush's internets failed to get me a copy of the book :( (they said, "it's not out yet - come back tomorrow" - i just didn't feel like arguing with them ... very unlike me).

ANYWAY...

...that's not the point of my comment. i got in line at the register when i got there, and on the counter, on display, was a small red book with the word "FAITH" on the cover. here, at last, i surmised, was the answer for matt and me ... and for today's back-and-forth additions cluttering up christine's nicely manicured website.

i picked it up ...

and opened the cover ...

... and it was a JOURNAL

... ALL THE PAGES WERE BLANK!!!!!

i laughed out loud.

draw your own conclusions.

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Matt W. said...

Two thoughts that I will hopefully find the time to expound upon later.

1)Faith is Certainty.

2)God's way IS the Highway!

Matt W. said...

My first point, Faith is Certainty. Ever since I was a kid I had heard, and for a long time accepted, that old explanation that when you sit in a chair, you have faith that it will hold you, and not let you fall. There are 2 major problems with this. First off, we all know that chairs can fail. We might not think of it every time we sit down, but we know that it can happen. Second, being a hefty kind of guy, sometimes I look at a chair, shrug, and say, "Oh, well, it's not that far to the ground." If that's how our faith in God is, then we are in big trouble.

As I said, Faith is Certainty. For example. At my dad's funeral two years ago, we sang "It Is Well With My Soul." Not only is it a wonderful song, but I realized while we were singing it that it really was. I do know where my dad is. I do know that he was saved, and is now in Heaven. I KNOW this. And that's what faith is all about. It's knowing the unknowable. Knowing something to be true that is, scientifically speaking, unproveable.

Salvation is based upon such faith. Faith in Christ is not simply saying that I believe that He is the Savior of the world, that He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for my sins, and that he rose again and lives even now, today, it is KNOWING all these things. If I can't say that I KNOW all these things to be true, as certain fact, then do I really believe them at all?

Second, in response to Mikes question about "My way or the Highway," it's never been about that, at least not with those preaching the real truth of God. The fact is that God's way is the only way, all other ways lead to hell.

Some may see us as too hardheaded for believing (KNOWING) that someone who does not believe in Jesus with all thier heart, mind, Soul, etc... will spend eternity in Hell, but it is the Truth, and it is God's Truth, not mine.

God said it. That settles it. Thank God I believe it!

mike rucker said...

* The Philosopher Is [IN] *

matt offered,

1) Faith is certainty.

i would say that only blind faith is certainty.

anyway, the relationship between 'faith' and 'good' is much more interesting than 'faith' and 'certainty.'

and to all of you mutual admiration society members passing around the 'thinking blogger' awards: as you well remember from grade-school multiplication tables, very little thinking is involved when you're just reciting...

* The Philosopher Is [OUT] *

5 cents, please...

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

mike rucker said...

matt,

if nothing else, your faulty logic is consistent, and helps me keep my replies brief...

your confidence that there is a pink elephant in tights in your bathroom, and the objective reality of whether or not a pink elephant in tights is really in your bathroom, are not related to one another in the slightest.

God said it. That settles it. Thank God I believe it!

thanks for concisely summing up what i call 'the selfish gospel' - ie, i'm going to heaven, but it sucks for you, doesn't it?

christine: can we adjust the bar a bit for what constitutes a 'thinking blogger'? it looks like it might have been set a bit low...

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com

Christinewjc said...

I'm sure that Matt can defend himself on this issue. However, since you apparently have an objection to my choice of Matt's blog regarding the "Thinking Blogger" Award, I feel that I should respond.

Mike? Do we all sense a teensy weensy bit of envy on your part?

No worries...one day you will probably get your turn. That is, of course, if you don't manage to piss off absolutely everyone out there blogging, first.

In Matt's case, the award could have been more accurately labeled as "Thinking Blogger Award for the Faithful in Christ's Wisdom." A bit long for an award title...however.

When I read about Matt's faith in Christ, I am reminded of Jesus' words in John 20:29 -

Jhn 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

mike rucker said...

Mike? Do we all sense a teensy weensy bit of envy on your part?

me? envious? dadgummit, that lifelong desire to have to be right is biting my butt again... hate it when that happens.

No worries...one day you will probably get your turn. That is, of course, if you don't manage to piss off absolutely everyone out there blogging, first.

baby steps, baby steps, christine. God knew Jesus could have had quite a lot of fun pointing out everyone's stupidity, but He only let him make phools out of the Pharisees. i have to similary limit myself to those He's given me to pick on...

mike rucker
http://mikerucker.wordpress.com
2008 Humble Blogger Award winner

Matt W. said...

mike rucker said...
matt,

"your confidence that there is a pink elephant in tights in your bathroom, and the objective reality of whether or not a pink elephant in tights is really in your bathroom, are not related to one another in the slightest."

Mike, honestly, if your view of God is a Pink Elephant in your bathroom, then I really can't give you any further answers. Besides, I think that would qualify as proveable... if you look at my earlier comment, you'll see that this disqualifies it from something needing faith.

If you are under the mistaken impression that my Faith being Absolute in some way means that I don't think about things, then I don't know what to tell you.

Besides I don't recall giving any indication of being apathetic to the reality of where unsaved people go when they die. A point that I try to make a lot is that if we don't acknowledge the objective Truth that God has given us in His Word, ie "You must be born again..." then how can we share the message of Salvation with anyone? Do you honestly think that there is any value in telling someone "God loves you" without ever telling them the rest of the story? Personally, I don't.