May 28, 2007

New Examination of Purpose Driven

To All:

The thread that followed my article YOUR FIRST STEP WON'T BE YOUR LAST at Sharper Iron (a pseudo- fundamentalist blog) has closed, reaching its 20 page limit.

I am developing a new article that takes a deeper, thoroughly documented, look into the extreme ecumenical compromise of Rick Warren in particular, and his Purpose Driven movement. I am undecided about where I will post it, but I will continue to develop it over the next few months.

In the meantime, as you visit my site, be sure to surf the Archives and Labels sections. The Lordship controversy is not going to go away. I want Bible believing Christians to know and understand what the errors in Lordship theology are.

Much of what you read from pro-lordhip advocates is sound. The extreme errors, however, in their interpretation of the gospel are there, but you must read with discernment to find them.

I am hopeful that this site and my book will serve to alert and awaken Christians:

• To evaluate Lordship Salvation as a false gospel.
• To recognize Lordship Salvation and avoid being influenced by men who promote it.
• To instruct other believers so that they will guard themselves against being lead to embrace Lordship theology.
• To biblically answer this works-oriented teaching by marking and avoiding (Romans 16:17) those who hold to and promote it.


May 26, 2007

Holiday Weekend

Hi Folks:

Since I added the GlobeTrackr feature it has been a blessing to see just where many of my guests are visiting from. I like to take your city, state/country and MapQuest it. It is fun to see how diverse the locations are. Google Earth is fun too!

For those of you living near any of the Rocky Mountain ski resorts; I am available for itinerant high altitude, steep vertical drop ministry during peak ski season. Ski In / Ski Out accommodations are preferable. My skiing motto is: “If it's too steep, then you’re too old.”

So, what are you doing this holiday weekend? I have to work today (Saturday), but off Sunday and Monday. My family plans include: Church on Sunday, Golf on Monday. Both days we will grill delicacies such as: Hamburgers, brats, steak and sword fish.

On Thursday I played paintball with my two older sons (16 & 14). A bunch of their classmates, some dads, and a youth pastor were in on it. About 24 guys in all, and did we ever have fun. Temps were in the upper 80’s and very windy. Four different kinds of fields and scenarios. Some of the guys on the opposing team got a little nervous when they saw my team fixing bayonets. ;-)

Well, you all have a fun and safe holiday weekend.

Yours faithfully,


May 24, 2007

The Sharper Iron Article

To All:

Thanks for visiting my site here. Some of you are first time visitors, and I am pleased to welcome you. "If you will take time fill out a visitor's card so that we have a record of your visit..." Oh, wait, this is not Sunday. :)

Anyway, I wrote the article for Sharper Iron (SI) a pseudo- fundamentalist blog. Your First Step Won't be Your Last. My interaction at SI in the Church Growth Movement thread prompted one of the SI administrators to ask me to write an article on the CGM issue.

I sincerely tried to be a blessing and encouragement in what I wrote. I was careful to avoid the frothy rhetoric that often enters the discussion of Church Growth/Seeker and Emergent movements. The articles below, however, have a little more teeth to them. You can say/write hard things charitably.

Please feel free to interact with others and me here. My blog is (for the moment) open to anonymous posters, but I would like to get you know you on a personal basis.

Maybe some of you can suggest other themes you would like for me to write about, address and discuss with you here. This site is primarily for the Lordship Salvation discussion, but I am open and in the mood to expand.

I am not a gifted theologian, but I do look at doctrine and issues with any eye and heart to write in such a way that most will understand and receive a blessing.

Feel free to post here or contact me by e-mail, which you can do by clicking on the E-Mail Me link under From The Author that is directly under the cover of my book.

By the way, last week I contacted the Saddleback church, and asked in a non-threatening way, if I might have an opportunity to speak with Pastor Rick Warren. A staff member took a message from me for Pastor Warren. A secretary to the senior pastoral staff called on Monday and gave me Pastor Rick Warren’s contact details. She said because of his schedule it would be two to three weeks before Pastor Warren would be able to get back to me.

Once I make contact and receive a reply I will report back, but only what I am given liberty to share. I am not going to ambush or compromise him or anyone else.

Thanks again for visiting.

Yours in His service,

Lou Martuneac

May 21, 2007

The Joseph Zichterman Issue

I trust many have heard the news about Dr. Joseph Zichterman, a well-known man from Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) circles. On May 7, 2007 it was suddenly announced Joe Zichterman was leaving the IFB movement and would transfer his church membership to the Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC). Joe’s announcement and departure has apparently caught even his closest friends completely by surprise. Joe’s shift was announced by him at a new web site he opened to break this news. The site, which is now offline, was called Life of Faith Ministry*.

News of Joe’s departure was broke at Sharper Iron (a pseudo- fundamentalist blog) under this title: Joe Zichterman Launches Website (JZLW)**. This article and the discussion thread was removed by then SI site publisher Jason Janz. In that deleted thread was a comment written by a student from Northland Baptist Bible College now known as Northland International University. I reference his notes below.

The JZLW article and thread which followed generated well over 25,000 hits in just four days. This is pretty much unprecedented for a single article in the Christian blogosphere. I posted several comments in the JZLW thread, which I have republished here:

I do not know Joe and I am not familiar with what I see now appears to be his former ministry in Fundamental circles. I can see many are saddened by this announcement. I sense the loss.

From what I have read in the first few pages of this thread it appears Joe was fairly high profile and quite influential with young people. Joe’s transition could very well become a catalyst or bridge for others to follow him over to the Willow Creek mentality/ministry.

For the sake of those who Joe had an influence with, and while keeping the spirit of Colossians 4:6 in mind, it needs to be made loud and clear that membership with the Willow Creek church is wrong and especially why it is wrong
Another article with a thread discussion was opened as a follow-up to the JZLW article. Like the first, however, this was also deleted by SI site publisher Janz. It was titled, Crossing The Bridge!! There I contributed two posts, and these did generate a good reaction. Following are my two comments from Crossing the Bridge!!
Was it Known?
I am going to wonder out loud for a moment. Did some in positions of leadership over and/or in fellowship with Joe have some inkling, or even a strong sense that Joe's shift was possible, and may even be on the near horizon, while he continued, what we must conclude, was a facade ministry in IFB circles?
Showing Them The Way
Anyone can miss something boiling under the surface. In regard to Joe, however, it seems to me that he did not go to bed one Sunday night as a Fundamentalist and roll out of bed on Monday morning in the Willow Creek community. In cases like Joe’s there is usually a gradual slide from where he was (IFB) to where he just landed (WCCC).

Joe Zichterman was relatively high-profile, and well connected with many in leadership positions in IFB circles. Did this 180 shift take everyone by surprise?

How to respond: That appears to be ramping up in regard to how some might like to address Joe personally. If some men think they can in some way recover Joe I am all for it. My chief concern, however, is how we respond to Joe’s shift back here in our IFB circles. I think a type of Damage-Control is in order.

One need only read the post by Anthonydi (from NBBC) in the Joe Zichterman thread. He wrote, “I know that my opinion as a twenty year old matters little, but there are those students here that respect Dr. Z for what he is doing. Frankly this scares me.”

That post IMO was the most significant and prolific in the entire 20 page thread. That should scare and wake all of us up! Do IFB Bible college students respect Joe’s move to Willow Creek? I would hope the NBBC administration took note of that. We had all better take note of that. Anthony’s note sounds much to me like a cry for help.

Joe Z. did and is still having an impact on college students and his impact may linger and draw some of these young people to the WCC and Emerging Church Movement. I believe Joe has become another bridge that has the potential of showing IFB young people the way to the New Evangelical and Emergent Church movements.

Men, if we pass on addressing this close to home with our young people we are going to see a lot more of what we just saw with Joe Zichterman
My chief is concern is how leadership in Fundamentalism responds in our own circles to what has transpired. I am praying for those in a position who can do so, to take this event with Joe Zichterman to heart and set out to lovingly, patiently, passionately help our young people understand what has happened.

These concerns I have expressed are NOT about saving a movement (Fundamentalism); it is about preserving a generation to come. A generation who will understand the necessity of being stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, (1 Cor. 15:58). That they will see fidelity to God, His Word and proclamation of the saving message of Jesus Christ, His Gospel, as a sacred duty.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
Vance Havner said, “God has always been in the remnant business.” God does not need an organization or big crowd to accomplish His plan. Just a “faithful few on fire” are enough. We have a task ahead of us. If we don’t pass on to the next generation who sit in the college classrooms:

A passion for God,
Unshakeable desire for fidelity to the Scriptures,
Dedication to personal holiness, and
Heart for the evangelization of the lost;

God will raise up another remnant for His name sake and glory.


For Related Reading:
Purpose Driven’s Compromise of Scripture

Your First Step Won’t Be Your Last: Avoiding the Path to Compromise

*The Life of Faith site Joe opened to coincide with his move to the WCCC was deleted presumably by Zichterman sometime in early 2008.
**Sharper Iron blog also deleted the article in regard to Zichterman’s move.

May 20, 2007

Rick Warren: Purpose Driven’s Compromise of Scripture

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

This article on Purpose Driven’s Compromise of Scripture and my article on (The Zichterman Issue) are examples of the very few times I break from the Lordship discussion to address another issue. Recent events that have involved a broad spectrum of evangelical Christianty have necessitated this break from the Lordship discussion.

Last week I concluded a debate/discussion at the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site on the Church Growth Movement- Rick Warren's Saddleback/Purpose Driven philosophy and methods.

Men who are sympathetic and supportive of Warren’s philosophy are interacting on line at various sites. SI was happy to host one of Warren's most vocal apologists, John Brown a former staff member of the Saddleback church. They will do what they can to influence others to consider Warren’s philosophy.

There were several men who joined me to expose and refute the extreme errors of Warren’s Purpose Driven philosophy. Following is a listing of eight major problems with Warren's methods. This list was first compiled by Dr. Mike Harding.

The roots of Saddleback sink deeply into the ministry philosophy of ultra liberal Robert Schuller:

"During his last year in seminary, he (Rick Warren) and Kay (his wife) drove west to visit Robert Schuller's Institute for Church Growth. 'We had a very stony ride out to the conference,' she says, because such nontraditional ministry scared her to death. Schuller, though, won them over. 'He (Schuller) had a profound influence on Rick,' Kay says. 'We were captivated by his positive appeal to nonbelievers. I never looked back.' " (Christianity Today, Nov 18, 2002).
Warren spoke for Schuller in subsequent conferences.

1. Warren embraces deliberate pragmatism of the worst kind. He believes that anyone one can be reached based on "finding the key to that person's heart." Therefore, the unbelieving community sets the agenda for his church: Warren says, "We let the unchurched needs determine our programs; the unchurched hang-ups determine our strategy; the unchurched culture determine our style; the unchurched population determine our goals." (PD website)

2. Warren routinely misuses Scripture. The Bible is a tool that Warren manipulates to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority. For example, in the Purpose Driven Life he quotes from 15 Bible versions and paraphrases, picking and choosing the one that fits his pragmatic need. This process often wrenches texts out of context.

3. Warren is guilty of serious theological reductionism. He discounts the value of a well-rounded system of doctrine and even considers doctrine an obstacle to unity. On his Purpose Driven website he lists his doctrinal statement that any Bible college graduate would find completely inadequate:

His doctrine of theology proper is the following: "God is bigger and better and closer than we can imagine". That's it for the doctrine of God. It is so insufficient one could say that it falls short of an adequate understanding of the Christian concept of God the Father.

4. Warren promotes extreme ecumenism. In April, 2005, the PD org. officially forged ties with the Roman Catholic Church by providing a training conference at Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness, Illinois. "We are excited by this because we are seeing God unify his churches." (Pastor Brett Schrock, Purpose Driven's Director of Strategic Relationships.)

5. Warren justifies cultural capitulation by embracing anti-God cultural norms. A notable example of this occurred when Warren sang the Jimi Hendrix song, "Purple Haze," during the 25th anniversary celebration service of Saddleback Church.

6. Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism. Alan Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal says, "Historians are likely to pinpoint Mr. Warren's trip to Rwanda as the moment when conservative evangelical Protestantism made questions of social justice central to its concerns."

Warren's Global Peace Plan for "Purpose Driven Nations" includes involving himself with the UN, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. in order to rid the world of "poverty, disease, and illiteracy" by forming entangling alliances between churches, secular businesses, and governments. This is an agenda completely foreign to the Great Commission and the NT church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles.

7. Warren accepts easy-believism.
"Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: 'Jesus, I believe in you and receive you.' If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!" (PDL, p. 74).
8. Warren relies heavily on pop psychology. Popular themes in secular psychology appear regularly in Warren’s writings, shaping everything from outreach strategy to discipleship curricula.


May 16, 2007

Recommendation by Dr. Lance Ketchum

To All:

I want to share with you what Dr. Lance Ketchum posted at Sharper Iron yesterday.

There is only one thing better than a book that states the obvious and that is a book that does so redundantly. Brother Martuneac’s book In Defense of the Gospel redundantly deals with the falsehood of Lordship Salvation. He confronts the issue at a level that can easily be understood by almost anyone. I recommend purchasing a copy.
I expressed my appreciation to Dr. Ketchum this way.

Dr. Ketchum:

Thanks for the kind remarks about my book In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.

Some may not appreciate redundancy, but I wanted to make sure that, over the course of the book, the doctrinal problems with Lordship Salvation (LS) would not be missed.

You also noted something that was my intent from the inception of the project: To write so that anyone could understand what I had to say.

Lordship Salvation is often introduced in such a way that the errors are difficult for some to detect. If all one knows is that Lordship Salvation is responding to the Easy-Believism and Mental Assent Only positions (which are equally wrong) they might accept (LS) without first investigating it thoroughly. My hope is that by reading In Defense of the Gospel folks will:

*More easily recognize LS when they encounter it
*Recognize what is wrong with LS and why it is wrong
*Ultimately be able to refute LS in their own circles

Years ago I heard Dr. J. Vernon McGee on his radio program say something that stuck with me. In your mind imagine his Texas drawl.
Now the Lord said, ‘Feed My sheep.’ He did not say, ‘Feed my giraffes.’ So, I like to get the teaching down good and low where the sheep can get at it.”
May I say to you: I like that, I write like that.


May 2, 2007

Defining the Debate with Dr. Mike Harding

Dear Guests:

Pastor Mike Harding was addressing another man in this thread at SharperIron (see p. 5). He made some helpful remarks that help in defining some of the major issues in the Lordship debate. I wanted to comment on a few of his remarks. Following is his post on p. 5 of the SI thread titled, John MacArthur: Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millennialist.

The most pertinent question on Lordship is in regard to the nature of saving faith. Brother Martuneac and I were in general agreement about repentance. As Lou and I interacted on this issue, Lou affirmed the recognition of the object of faith being Christ as Lord and Savior. We disagreed over the idea that Christ had to be recognized by a sinner as “the Lord” as opposed to “my Lord.” However, I don't think Lou would object to the sinner calling on Christ as “my” Lord. It seems that the real disagreement between some good men on this issue (by good men I mean men of the caliber of Kevin Bauder) is whether submission is a part of faith at all, whether that submission is explicit or implicit in faith, and finally whether submission is in principle as opposed to complete, mature, and total. The position that I have defended is that submission is (1) implicit in faith, (2) that saving faith is submissive in principle, and (3) that this faith will grow and progressively mature. On the other hand, there are passages in the Gospels and the Epistles that exemplify faith in explicit terms of submission. As far as the so-called “hard sayings” of Christ that discuss aspects of commitment and discipleship in relationship to the Gospel of the Kingdom, these are the most difficult issues to resolve and I believe that these passages have become the battleground between the opposing positions.
Following is my reply to Pastor Harding at SharperIron. I had posted a few comments in the same thread just prior to this one.


You are referring to “nature” or “content” of saving faith. I like to boil it down a little differently to clearly define the area of debate. I like to speak in terms of what are the requirements for and what are the results of saving faith. We all agree that genuine saving faith should result in genuine results. As you put it, “that this faith will grow and progressively mature.”

The question that fuels the debate is: What is required of a sinner that would constitute saving faith, i.e. the faith that results in his receiving the gift of eternal life? As we have discussed saving faith as defined by many LS men is front-loaded with demands for commitment to the results of salvation as if these commitments are required for salvation. Those statements are the crux of the debate and have never been edited, explained, or eliminated by the men who make those claims.

MH wrote,
As Lou and I interacted on this issue, Lou affirmed the recognition of the object of faith being Christ as Lord and Savior. We disagreed over the idea that Christ had to be recognized by a sinner as "the Lord" as opposed to ‘my Lord’. However, I don't think Lou would object to the sinner calling on Christ as ‘my’ Lord.”
No problem with “my Lord,” and not necessarily a problem with “the Lord.” There is nothing inherently wrong with speaking (even in soul-winning) of “the Lord.” It comes down to what is being implied by the speaker when he calls upon a sinner to receive Jesus Christ as Lord. When I hear this, “You must receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior,” I do not necessarily cringe, but I am listening. I am listening for how the term/title “Lord” is defined as it relates to what a sinner is required to know or what decision he must make regarding Christ’s lordship for salvation. The reason I am listening is because the Lordship interpretation of the gospel (as defined by JM) has made deep inroads into fundamental Baptist circles.

Allow me an example. I heard this myself in a Sunday morning service. The speaker was preaching a gospel message directed only to the lost. There was no mention of sin, death or Hell. Repentance was briefly mentioned, but there was no mention of faith or believing. The lost were told that all he must do is, “open the door to his heart for the Lord to rule in His life” and he will be saved. This kind of “submission” to “the Lord” for salvation is an example of crossing the line.

MH wrote,
…whether submission is a part of faith at all, whether that submission is explicit or implicit in faith, and finally whether submission is in principle as opposed to complete, mature, and total.”
I think many would agree there is an element of submission in principle as long as we are defining faith in terms of dependence, trust and believing. If someone were to define submission to the gospel message of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, as “submission in principle,” I have no problem with that. The problem is that many of the LS men go way beyond principle. They may, but I am not certain LS advocates teach a lost person must start out his relationship with Christ immediately following salvation in “complete, mature and total submission.” I’m sure we’d all like to begin our walk with God in “complete, mature and total submission.” We, however, know the realty of the inner warfare (Rom. 7) and the sin which doth so easily besets us (Heb. 12:1).

What they are calling for is the upfront commitment for “complete, mature and total submission” to the commands of Christ to begin a relationship with Christ. Once “commitment, full-surrender, a willingness to die for Jesus’ sake,” becomes part of a definition for saving faith, that then is a departure from principle and Scripture.

MH wrote,
On the other hand, there are passages in the Gospels and the Epistles that exemplify faith in explicit terms of submission. As far as the so-called “hard sayings" of Christ that discuss aspects of commitment and discipleship in relationship to the Gospel of the Kingdom, these are the most difficult issues to resolve and I believe that these passages have become the battleground between the opposing positions.”
I trust we all agree none of us here are taking on the Hodges’ Mental Assent only as the “opposing position.”

The “battleground” is to a large extent over the “commitment and discipleship” passages. I would also include the Sermon on the Mount because LS advocates consider it supportive of their view of the gospel message for today. John MacArthur (representing LS) for example says the Sermon on the Mount contains, “pure gospel,” and he writes,
Hell will be full of people who thought highly of the Sermon on the Mount. You must do more than that. You must obey it and take action.” (Hard to Believe, pp. 81,86.)