Tag Archives: Apostate

Can a person be postmodern and a Christian at the same time?

Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Not for long
Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Let’s look at their leader

Wow. Postmodern “Christian” Brian McLaren has completely abandoned traditional Christianity. McLaren, you may already know, spear-headed the “emergent church” movement – an attempt to fuse postmodern relativism with liberal Christianity.

Greg Koukl and Kevin DeYoung analyze his latest book “A New Kind of Christianity”.

The MP3 file is here.

Details:

Kevin DeYoung – Brian McLaren’s New Kind of Christianity
Host: Greg Koukl

Guest: Kevin DeYoung – Brian McLaren’s “New Kind of Christianity” (00:00:00)
Commentary: Reality vs. Religion? The Modern Upper Story Leap (00:56:39)
Guest: Dennis Prager – Reality vs. Religion (01:52:25)

We’re interested in the first hour of the three-hour show.

Topics of hour one:

  • What is Brian’s view of Creation?
  • What is Brian’s view of the Fall?
  • What is Brian’s view of Scripture?
  • What is Brian’s view of Truth?
  • What is Brian’s view of sin and Hell?
  • What is Brian’s view of the Fall?
  • What is Brian’s view of atonement?
  • How did Brian’s leftist political views infect his theology?
  • How did postmodernism affect Brian’s epistemology?
  • How faithful is Brian in interpreting the text?

There’s also a nice blog post about Brian McLaren by Melinda from Stand to Reason, too.

Excerpt:

McLaren doesn’t think the Bible is to be taken literally. For instance, the Garden of Eden story isn’t about sin and the Fall, rather it’s a “compassionate coming of age story.”  Consequently, the whole idea of sin and Hell is a horrible overreaction and has caused the church to offer a violent message and image all these years.  It follows from this interpretation then, that there is no need for the cross and Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Those are violent ideas resulting from a bad reading of the Bible.

And a couple of longer reviews are linked.

Tim Challies and Kevin DeYoung have written excellent and more in-depth reviews of McLaren’s new book and I highly recommend them.

I highly recommend you listen to this podcast and if you know anyone who is being influenced by the (non) religious left, take a look at the articles, especially the DeYoung article, which is quite good.

A generous “orthodoxy”?

And finally, here is a review of another much earlier Brian McLaren book by Biola University professor of philosophy Doug Geivett – one of my absolute favorite people. This is back when McLaren was just starting to leave orthodox Christianity behind.

Excerpt:

Brian McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan, 2004) has been called a manifesto of the “emerging church” — a movement that is rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of postmodernism. McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md.

[…]In using the term “orthodoxy” for his position, McLaren is making a political move to subvert traditional evangelical theology. “Orthodoxy,” as he uses it, is whatever happens to be in vogue and culturally dominant. Also, an important theme among postmodernists has to do with the nature of belief — they doubt that people have, or need, good reasons to believe as they do, so they emphasize behavior over belief. (This probably explains why McLaren’s book relies less on evidence and argumentation and more on rhetoric.) However, in de-emphasizing the importance of belief, McLaren and other postmodernists overlook three things.

First, belief is the engine that drives behavior. The best way to cure wrong action is to identify false beliefs. Second, all people — even postmodernists — have definite beliefs about the things that matter most. They can’t help it. While McLaren resists the invitation to state clearly what he believes — for example, about the eternal destiny of nonbelievers — surely he has some view of the matter and that view influences his approach to the proclamation of the gospel. (As a pastor, he should have good ideas about this and a host of other issues of theological significance.) Third — though postmodernists sneer at the idea of evidence — evidence matters because it’s how we determine what’s true and is crucial to ordering our lives according to truth. In this respect, the postmodernist is out of step with the culture because human beings are by nature evidence-gatherers.

Very important to understand where these postmodern “Christians” are coming from, and where they end up when they’ve worked their mystical anti-realism through to its conclusions.

World Vision endorses same-sex marriage, denies Biblical definition of marriage

I frankly don’t care to link to any source on this story other than Al Mohler and Franklin Graham. Lapsed Christian organizations and secular news sources are celebrating this decision, but they will have nothing valuable to say to anyone who takes the Bible seriously as an authority on moral issues. Even though  I keep posting secular evidence and research to confirm what the Bible teaches, I still get my moral positions from the Bible. Clearly, this is not the case with organizations like World Vision any more.

Al Mohler first, on what happened:

The headline in the news story by Christianity Today made the issue easy enough to understand — “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.”

As the magazine reported, “World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.”

World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns announced the change in a letter to World Vision staff. The organization, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, “will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff,” Stearns said. He then added that “since World Vision is a multi-denominational organization that welcomes employees from more than 50 denominations, and since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians, the board—in keeping with our practice of deferring to church authority in the lives of our staff, and desiring to treat all of our employees equally—chose to adjust our policy.” That led to the key change Stearns was then to announce: “Thus, the board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.”

Stearns basically claimed that the Bible is not clear on whether gay marriage is permissible. No theologians were cited, no Bible passages were references. He merely said that disagreement among denominations means that there is no right answer. Before continuing with Mohler, let me just point out the relevant quotation from the Bible.

Matthew 19:3-6: [NASB]

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

So Richard Stearns either doesn’t believe that Jesus said that OR he believes that Jesus was wrong, and therefore fallible. It’s one or the other.

Now, more from Al Mohler:

Richard Stearns has every right to try to make his case, but these arguments are pathetically inadequate. Far more than that, his arguments reveal basic issues that every Christian ministry, organization, church, and denomination will have to face — and soon.

The distinction between an “operational arm” of the church and a “theological arm” is a fatal misreading of reality. World Vision claims a Christian identity, claims to serve the kingdom of Christ, and claims a theological rationale for its much-needed ministries to the poor and distressed. It cannot surrender theological responsibility when convenient and then claim a Christian identity and a theological mandate for ministry.

Add to this the fact that World Vision claims not to have compromised the authority of Scripture, even as its U.S. president basically throws the Bible into a pit of confusion by suggesting that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the question of the morality of same-sex sexuality. Stearns insists that he is not compromising biblical authority even as he undermines confidence that the church can understand and trust what the Bible reveals about same-sex sexuality.

The policy shift points back to a basic problem with World Vision’s understanding of the church. No organization can serve on behalf of churches across the vast theological and moral spectrum that would include clearly evangelical denominations, on the one hand, and liberal denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ, on the other. That might work if World Vision were selling church furniture, but not when the mission of the organization claims a biblical mandate.

Furthermore, it is ridiculous to argue that World Vision is not taking sides on the issue. The objective fact is that World Vision will now employ openly-gay employees involved in openly homosexual relationships. There is no rational sense in claiming that this represents neutrality.

[…]Writing to the Corinthian Christians, the Apostle Paul stated: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]

The leader of World Vision U.S. now claims that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the sinfulness of same-sex sexuality and relationships, but he also claims a “mission of building the kingdom.” The Apostle Paul makes homosexuality a kingdom issue, and he does so in the clearest of terms.

Of course, Paul’s point is not that homosexuals are uniquely sinful, but that all of us are sinners in need of the grace and mercy of God that come to us in the gift of salvation. Thanks be to God, Paul follows those words with these: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [1 Corinthians 6:11]

The worst aspect of the World Vision U.S. policy shift is the fact that it will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation. Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin — and that is an act that violates the gospel of Christ.

Now my comments. Be aware that I wrote the stuff below in 20 minutes and was very agitated and upset when I wrote it – it may be revised when I calm down.

My thoughts

I have a long-standing policy of NEVER, EVER, EVER giving money to Christian organizations who do anything except apologetics. I am willing to give money to groups who do pro-life apologetics and pro-marriage apologetics. I am open to giving money to Christian organizations who put forward good economic policy and good foreign policy, too, like the Heritage Foundation or the Family Research Council. But I think the safest thing to do is to take your money and give it to groups like Reasonable Faith, Ratio Christi, Faith Beyond Belief, Stand to Reason, Please Convince Me, Cross Examined, Reasons to Believe, etc. I just sent $300 to Ratio Christi for an event yesterday. So generosity is not the issue – stewardship is.

Apologetics groups are the SAFEST groups to give money to, because they are the ones who are guided by truthWorld Vision and other “works-based” groups, including some missionary groups are some of the WORST places to put your money if you care about theological accuracy. People don’t get into apologetics in order to feel good or be liked, they go into it to discover truth and defend truth. We are hard-core in this business. So again, if you want to be a good steward of your money, put your money into apologists who are active in research, active on the university campus, and actively engaged for the truth of Christianity.

I realize I am being controversial here, but trust me on this. There is something different about people who go out and study philosophy, history and science and then get into debates with people. There is something inside them that is resistant to the spirit of the age, which is secularism, postmodernism and moral relativism. A lot of non-apologists think that God is primarily interested in making people good, and making them do good things here on Earth. And that’s what leads to the apostasy that you see in groups like World Vision – this focus on doing good, rather than on having true beliefs first, then doing good second.

What does the Bible say is most important?

Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40: [NASB]

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If people settle on a false set of beliefs about whether God exists and whether Jesus is Lord and Savior, it doesn’t matter how nice they are to other people – that’s not what God is looking for, primarily. Everyone has to answer the question that Jesus asked of Peter in Luke 18. “Who do you say that I am?”

Is World Vision right to focus on the poor rather than Biblical Christianity?

Matthew 26:6-11: [NASB]

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper,

a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.

But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?

For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.

11 For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.

So the real issue in this life is not being nice to people. That is a good thing, it’s not the main thing. The main thing is Jesus. Not a single verse in the Bible declares homosexuality to be anything other than a sin. By claiming that Christianity is somehow compatible with homosexuality, World Vision has ceased to be a Christian organization. My warning to you is to not focus so much on helping the poor at the expense of having true beliefs about God and Christ, and making those true beliefs known to others. We are here for just a few years and our purpose is not a worldly purpose. Our purpose is also not to feel good nor to be seen by others as kind, tolerant and compassionate. Be generous in your horizontal relationships, but not at the expense of that crucial vertical relationship.

UPDATE: My friend Neil wrote to me and suggested that I endorse giving to the poor directly, and I do endorse that. That respects the repeated Biblical commands to care for the poor, without getting in the mess described above.

Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration opposes Gang of Eight amnesty bill

Breitbart News reports on a new evangelical group that opposes the Senate’s amnesty bill.

Excerpt:

On Friday, Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration, an informal group of well-respected evangelical Christians announced its opposition to the Gang of Eight immigration bill. The group, recently organized by Kelly Monroe Kullberg, founder of the Veritas Forum and co-author and editor of Finding God at Harvard, featured a letter written to members of Congress by Kullberg outlining the Biblical principles on which opposition to the bill is based on its website and Facebook page.

The Gang of 8 bill, Kullberg writes in her letter, “is flawed to the point of being unworkable. Please, scrap it and start over.” She writes that “as a citizen in the Heartland, I have a simple request of the Senate: Please stop. Please, no more surprises. Rather, rebuild our trust.”

“There seems to be great confusion about what the bill means and how it will be implemented,” she argues. “Rushing to a vote, once again, is not wise.”

Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration’s opposition to the Gang of Eight bill comes just two weeks after a George Soros-backed group, the Evangelical Immigration Table, launched a $250,000 media campaign in support of the bill’s passage.

But Kullberg wants the Senate to know that American citizens “are not willing to ‘pass the bill so that [we] can find out what is in it.’ We The People never were willing to act so immorally, so foolishly, and certainly not now,” she writes. “This is no time for another mystery bill that will forever change the nation we love and have the duty to steward.”

“Our future,” Kullberg argues, “should not be shaped by those who break laws but by those who keep laws. Let’s learn to care for both the citizen and the foreigner, and do this wisely with no surprises. Another ‘Obamacare’ will break our back as a nation.”

You can read a letter that Kelly wrote about the immigration bill.

It’s nice to see a group of authentic evangelicals stepping up to make clear what the Bible says about immigration.

But what about the fake Soros-funded “Evangelical Immigration Table” group?

Breitbart News explains more about them:

Lynne Hybels… has become a national voice for the front group for the George Soros funded National Immigration Forum, a leading advocate for the crony capitalist laden Schumer-Rubio “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.

Ms. Hybels was not only featured at a Thursday press conference at which the front group, Evangelical Immigration Table, announced the launch of a $250,000 ad campaign designed to pressure members of Congress to vote in favor of the “Gang of Eight” bill, she provides the narrative voice on one of the national radio advertisements included in the campaign. You can hear her make the case for her understanding of immigration reform here  Note that Ms. Hybels also states the disclaimer at the end of the ad “paid for by the Evangelical Immigration Table. ”

However, Breitbart News reported on Sunday that the Evangelical Immigration Table does not exist as a legal entity.  On Monday, Breitbart News reported that “Evangelicals Mislead on Funding of Immigration Ads.” Though the ads that are now airing in 13 states contain a disclaimer that they are paid for by the Evangelical Immigration Table, however, the ads were actually paid for by the Soros-funded National Immigration Forum.

Lynne Hybels blogs at the leftist Sojourners blog. Sojourners is the group run by Jim Wallis, that also accepts massive donations from the atheist George Soros. Her husband Bill Hybels introduced Barack Obama at a speech. Lynne Hybels has previously worked for the pro-infanticide, pro-gay-marriage Barack Obama as a member of his outreach team to faith-based community groups. The Soros-backed pro-amnesty group also has connections to Marxist Jim Wallis, who backed the pro-infanticide, pro-gay-marriage Obama in the  Presidential election. George Soros, of course, is a self-proclaimed atheist, and he supports abortion and gay marriage, just like Obama and his supporters.

Coalition of African American Pastors launches national pro-marriage campaign

Here’s some good news from CNS News.

Excerpt:

The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) announced at the National Press Club on Tuesday that  the grassroots group – comprised of the more than 3,000 members – is a launching a national campaign to support marriage between one man and one woman and to oppose the Obama administration’s efforts to advance same-sex marriage.

“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the power that be that wants to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” CAAP President William Owens said at the press conference, held to announce the Marriage Mandate campaign, which includes a petition seeking 100,000 signatures pledging support for traditional marriage.

“Mr. President, I’m not going to stand with you, and there are thousands of others across this country that are not going to stand with you with this foolishness,” Owens said.

In a press release announcing the campaign, Owens encouraged black pastors and the black community to “withdraw their support for [Obama].”

“Today we will be launching a nationwide campaign rallying black pastors and African Americans to voice their opposition to the president’s position on same-sex marriage, and withdraw their support from him,” said Owens, who told reporters he voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

“We will see that the black community is informed that the president is taking them for granted while pandering to the gay community,” Owens said.

Bishop Janice Hollis, presiding Prelate of the Covenant of International Fellowship of Churches, called Obama’s support of gay marriage a “travesty” and said it reflects the “disorder in the highest office in the land.”

Owens said CAAP sent a letter to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder in May asking for a meeting to discuss the gay marriage issue.

“We wrote the president and Mr. Holder May the second, requesting an audience with him to discuss this very issue,” Owens said. “He has not given us the courtesy of any reply.

“The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) consists of 3,742 African American pastors, and he has totally ignored us,” Owens said.

He said Obama is ignoring the black community “because he feels that he has us in his pocket.”

“Well, we are not in his pocket,” Owens said.

In the 2008 election, black Protestants voted overwhelmingly for the pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage Obama. (He had a radical pro-abortion record and had come out for gay marriage earlier, so this was all known then).

Which religions supported Obama most in 2008?
Which religions supported Obama most in 2008?

So 94% of African-American Christians voted for an abortion and gay marriage radical. NINETY-FOUR PERCENT.

I actually believed, based on this voting data, that American black Protestant churches were officially pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage. I just considered them to be apostate denominations the same way that denominations like the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church United States of America are apostate. (Note: this does not apply to non-American black churches, which are conservative).

These voting numbers confirm my experiences. For example, I remember one African American woman at work who was interested in me who could not understand why I would not join her in working on The United Way workplace partnership initiative. I took her aside in the hallway and told her that the United Way supported abortion and opposed the Boy Scouts, and she was like “So what?“. She attended church weekly and she supported Barack Obama. So I just figured based on these voting numbers and my personal experiences that most African-American churches were pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage, pro-socialism, etc.

This action by the 3,742 black African-American pastors shocks me as much as if those gay bishops in the Episcopal church had suddenly came out in favor of defending traditional marriage. Maybe these 3,742 pastors will be able to begin to educate their flocks about what the Bible actually says on these issues so that these voting numbers change. I did know about the good African-American pastors like Harry Jackson and Ken Hutcherson who are pro-life and pro-marriage, but I just thought that there were only a handful of faithful black pastors. I guess I was wrong, at least on the marriage issue, and that’s a good thing. Color me surprised.

Useful idiot Jim Wallis accepts $150,000 more from leftist atheist George Soros

From World Magazine. (H/T Jay Richards)

Excerpt:

Last year Jim Wallis encountered a barrage of criticism when WORLD reported that his religious left organization, Sojourners, took $325,000 from the world’s most notorious billionaire, pro-abortion atheist George Soros (July 17 and Sept. 11, 2010). Now he’s at it again: In an email note to me, Wallis confirmed that Soros’ Open Society Foundation has just given Sojourners $150,000 more.

The donation is more evidence that Wallis and Sojourners are on the left, even though the organization appeals to young evangelicals by claiming to be apolitical—in Wallis’ summation, not left but “deep.” Sojourners has paid its bills through contributions from co-religionists but also with $250,000 from The Tides Foundation, $200,000 from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and additional sums from Barbra Streisand and others.

For some contributors, Sojourners is a useful tool in reducing evangelical support for conservatives. Others have grander motives: Soros himself has stated, “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”

I think all Christians should have a view of economics, because we need to understand how to be effective at helping the poor. It may sound like a good idea to raise the minimum wage, but economists understand that raising the minimum wage actually hurts the poor, especially the young. It never hurts to study and to understand the way the world works – in any area of knowledge. I think that Christians should know how Christianity relates to every area, from science to history to philosophy to ethics to marriage and family.

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