How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Sanctification

9 11 2006

tire-slash1.jpgI have found that I have personally become quite exercised about some of the various methods and practices that are employed within the popular American evangelical community. Sometimes I have, through introspection, wondered if my offense was based upon my preference and these evangelicals’ divergent view of ministry. In other words, I wondered if my issue was chiefly my offense or God’s.

So in effort to have clean hands, a clear conscience and pure motives I examined this, and tried to understand what in the world contemporary evangelicalism is doing. And you know what? I’m offended. But now more than ever I feel that my offense is rooted in the attack upon God’s method for accomplishing his own end.

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What Rick Warren wants on his tombstone

11 10 2006

Preaching Today has posted what Rick Warren would like on his tombstone…”At least he tried”

You know what, this is really consistent with what we have come to expect from Warren (tricky ricky), hopelessly vague and man-centered.

(HT: SFpulpit)





5 Deadly Ism’s

13 09 2006

I highly recommend a sermon delivered by my pastor this weekend entitled “5 Deadly Ism’s”. Pat walked through these 5 theological danger spots in a very helpful manner.

The (free) audio is available here: listen or download.

Faithful pastors warn the church of impending dangers; there is a biblical precedent for this as demonstrated by the Apostle Paul (Acts 20.28ff; 1 Tim. 4).

1st Deadly ISM: Pragmatism

2nd Deadly ISM: Mysticism

3rd Deadly ISM: Antinomianism

4th Deadly ISM: Legalism

5th Deadly ISM: Pelagianism

Below is a brief summary:

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The Way I see it…Ricky is tricky.

12 09 2006

twisi_cups.jpgI was recently enjoying a hot cup of anniversary blend of Starbucks when I glanced at the commentary on the back of the cup. And who do I find on my cup but the pop-evangelical pope himself, Rick Warren. So as you can imagine I was eager to read what ‘Dr.’ Warren said.

In reading the words an amazing thing happened: I agreed with him. He didn’t write anything heretical or blasphemous, in fact he took aim at selfishness. So for a matter of a brief few seconds I found myself ok with Rick.

Then in what seemed like taking an extra aggressive sip from a extremely hot beverage and burning my mouth I recoiled with extreme disappointment in myself.

I read the words:

You are not an accident. Your parents may have not planned you but God did….You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.

I immediately nodded my head in agreement. But you know what? So would the Catholic, the Mormon, the Muslim, the Jehovah’s witness and pretty much any other theist. Pretty much everyone except the local athesist chapter would agree with these statements.

Why?

Because Rick Warren has neglected to use the word that carves biblical Christianity out as distinct. He omits the name of Jesus.

Anyone can toss the word God around and engage in God talk. In our post-modern culture God has been de-godded and re-godded in every corner. This is why the Muslim, Catholic, Morman, Methodist, Jew, and liberal evangelical can hold hands and pray to ‘God’ in the name of tolerance and acceptance. The term God has so many bumper stickers on it these days that you can barely see any distinctive contours.

However, the name of Jesus is different. Just imagine what would have happened if Warren would have written this:

“You were made by Jesus and for Jesus. He made you for his own pleasure. When we rebel against him it makes him angry. But Jesus, being so loving, came and became a man and lived and died to fully satisfy the Father’s anger in the place of sinners like you and me.

Jesus is now commanding everyman to understand God’s purpose in their life, which is simply to submit to Jesus as the ultimate authority and Lord and stop rebelling against him.

With every day that we refuse to do this Jesus is getting more and more ticked off. And one day he is going to come back, this time he won’t be a baby but an insulted King, with your spit in his eye, ready to take vengeance on rebels. Only by submitting to Jesus now as our King and agreeing with him in obedience do we find our purpose in life.”

The way I see it, if you are going to be on a Starbucks cup you might as well speak your mind….and…well perhaps Rick did.

Warren’s books and sermons are no different. His venti cup of vagueness mixed with a double shot of semi-pelagianism while holding the name and power of ‘Jesus’ is a lethal tonic for the spiritually blind. Rick Warren dances on graves with his Christological omissions.

And the way I see it, this is regrettable. Because the last time I checked, God is pretty much obsessed with Jesus being preeminent. And really the only thing that matters is The Way GOD sees it!

So shame on Rick Warren for forgetting to mention Jesus when he had the chance to be biblical and exclusive; the Starbucks cup may have sold a few more books, made him more popular and perhaps even made a few more friends along the broad road.

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Rick Warren in the Wall Street Journal

5 09 2006

[Rick Warren]In a page-one story today in the Wall Street Journal journalist Suzanne Sataline wrote an article outlining a controversy in a Mississippi church centering on the employment of Rick Warren’s popular but not necessarily biblical ecclesiology.

Judging by her appraisal of Warren’s ministry perhaps she was at the same Saddleback service as me.

“Mr. Warren preaches in sandals and a Hawaiian shirt, and he encourages ministers to banish church traditions such as hymns, choirs and pews. He and his followers use “praise team” singers, backed by rock bands playing contemporary Christian songs. His sermons rarely linger on self-denial and fighting sin, instead focusing on healing modern American angst, such as troubled marriages and stress.”

(HT: Eric Ball)





Being Ready

4 04 2006

In one sense Christians should be able to preach the gospel in their sleep, in another sense we should never be able to!

What I mean by this is that as believers we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5.20), who are commanded to “always be ready to give a defense” (2 Peter 3.15). So therefore, we should be so familiar with the gospel that we are always burst forth its contents forth on our hearers. always-be-ready.jpg

It should be more awkward to restrain the truth from coming out rather than to speak the truth; for this is the fruit of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, as he always draws attention to the truth incarnate (John 16.14).

On the other hand, as followers of Christ we should never just settle into a level of comfort with either Jesus or his message that would serve to undermine the healthy fear that our Master and his job description for us requires:

2 Corinthians 5:11a 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men,

We should never “get over” the gospel. The reality of standing between heaven and our hearers proclaiming the exclusive means of forgiveness offered to humanity should soberly lead us to a posture of reverence, dependence and humility.

I remember attending a “seeker event” with a local church plant we were helping out with a few years back. While watching the scores of people coming to the event to partake of the free food, games, music and other amusements, I found myself enraged by the spiritual negligence that was occurring. These people were welcomed with open arms and then paraded on out with their stomachs and amusements filled, while their souls were neglected.

gimmie-da-mic.jpgAfter a short period of indignation, I went up to the leader and expressed my concern. To which the leader, with cautious hesitantly, permitted me to grab the microphone. I marched up to the mic and commanded attention and acted as if I had something to say. But, regrettably, I froze. I was angry (probably for the right reasons), but I wasn’t humble. I wasn’t reverent and dependent; I was ready to show them how it was done…all the while modeling evangelism in the flesh.

This lesson has proved valuable throughout the last few years as I have been reminded of the need to pray prior to, during, and after evangelism. For true conversion it is not of me; it is divinely wrought, it is all of God. I pray that God forbids it that I should smudge the glorious gospel with my self-righteous fingerprints!

We must be always ready. And part of being always ready is always being impressed with the glory of Christ and his message, while submitting to his supremacy not only over those who need to hear but me the evangelist!

We even see the Apostle Paul requesting prayer prior to his evangelistic opportunities:

Colossians 4:3-4 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

Continue to be impressed with Jesus Christ, that his gospel might be clearly spoken and his glory clearly seen!