Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

An unhappy Christmas surprise from Rick Warren

In the history of the Church, there have been at least 2 distinct ways in which the shepherds of the God’s flock have dealt with teachers who were shown to be proclaiming messages at odds with the Gospel. The first has been to refrain from mentioning the identity of specific questionable teachers in order to avoid the tendency of allowing the personalities involved to become the central issue. Biblically, we see this in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he warns the church of “false apostles” (11:13) without naming them. Thus, the Apostle refrains from introducing more names to a congregation that was prone to forming factions over differing personalities (see I Cor. 3:1-9). Historically, Charles Spurgeon followed this example during the Down-Grade Controversy in which he remained focused on the specific errors of his opponents, calling the people of God to discernment, while carefully avoiding the mention of particular names [see “Spurgeon in the Down-Grade Controversy” in John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993. 219].

The second way that Gospel ministers have dealt with teachers who were proclaiming a message at variance with the Gospel has been to name these teachers directly in order that those hearing from these teachers may immediately be on guard. Biblically, we see this in Paul’s second letter to Timothy where he warns of Hymaenaeus and Philetus by name (2:17). Currently, John MacArthur is following this example in his recent book Fool’s Gold and in his upcoming book The Truth War. In both of these books MacArthur calls specific teachers to task for abandoning a biblical proclamation of the Gospel [see the Pulpit Magazine blog].

On the January 2 broadcast of The Way of the Master Radio, Todd Friel, Kirk Cameron, and Ray Comfort followed the first option mentioned above, critiquing “a high profile pastor’s Christmas sermon” without ever mentioning the pastor by name. Based on the title of this post, anyone reading this blog should have a pretty good guess at both: 1. Who this “high profile pastor” is, and 2. Which of the previously mentioned biblical options I have taken.

My reasoning behind mentioning Rick Warren by name on this blog is that I have many family members, friends, and acquaintances that have been influenced by his teaching. My wife (Abby) and I both even own copies of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, having contributed to the over 24 million copies sold before we examined his teaching more closely. And Rick Warren, I believe, must be mentioned by name because the errors in his teaching are both remarkably subtle and extremely crucial to a right understanding of the Gospel.

This past Christmas Day, a sermon by Rick Warren was broadcast on the Fox News Channel. The theme of this sermon was supposed to be “The Purpose of Christmas.” The 3 major points of this sermon were:
1. “God loves you.”
2. “God is with you.”
3. “God is for you.”

Over my next few posts on this blog, I’m planning to examine what Warren said about each of these 3 points and explain how in presenting these points he held back crucial biblical information that must be proclaimed to sinners so that they might rightly understand their situation before a holy God.


Blogger 4given said...

Very good post.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Screwtape said...

Thanks, I love to see it when you 'brothers' fight like brothers. It's so encouraging down here...

5:57 PM  
Blogger Die Sonnen said...

It's disturbing to see that what you have done in your blog (even though was a critical observation and analysis), has created a division and made people who are non- Christians to ignore Christ by all the criticism, do you think non-Christians will go and read the bible and compare your argument to determine if you are right or wrong about your observation. No they won't, this kind of public ridicule will only make them look to other faiths than ours, so Christians please stop criticizing other Christians and lets live out lives in love and peace so that others who see us will give glory to our father who is in heaven.
As an added note: I have a Muslim friend who watches sermons by a prominent pastor faithfully and I am praying that through God's power he will use whatever message is preached to convict her of her need for Christ.

11:33 PM  

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