November 28, 2008

Grace Evangelical Society’s Reductionist Affirmation of Belief

Dear Friends of IDOTG:

Until August 2005 the official Grace Evangelical Society (GES)
Affirmation of Beliefs on the doctrine of salvation was stated as follows (*abbreviated form):

Jesus Christ, God incarnate, paid the full penalty for man’s sin when He died on the cross of Calvary. Any person who, in simple faith, trusts in the risen Christ as his or her only hope of heaven, refusing to trust in anything else, receives the gift of eternal life, which once granted, can never be lost. 

The sole condition for receiving eternal salvation from hell is faith (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man's sin and rose from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).

 That previous statement was revised. Following is the current version of the GES Affirmation of Belief.
The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).

Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Jesus (‘he who believes in Me has everlasting life’) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:47 ; 11:26 ; 1 Tim 1:16 ).
In the former Affirmation, “Jesus Christ” is identified as deity by use of the term, “God incarnate.” This reference to the Lord’s deity has been deleted from the current Affirmation.

Furthermore, the previous statement included, “
any person who, in simple faith, trusts in the risen Christ... .” That simple statement summarizes Christ’s deity, incarnation, death and resurrection. As it appeared then, the statement was perfectly consistent with Romans 10:9-10 in regards to trust (believing) in the resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The statement also includes the word “trust.”

The revisions to the GES Affirmation were made with purpose. In the new version, the relative clause is parenthetical. When the GES says, “
faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ who died...” they do NOT mean that the lost person needs to understand and believe Jesus died and rose again. They simply mean a lost man must believe in the name “Jesus” as the Giver of eternal life.

GES spells out their contents of belief in very next sentence, “
To believe in to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it.” This is not a paraphrase or roundabout way of stating their position. This is literally the GES definition of the only necessary content of faith for the reception of eternal life. According to the GES, understanding and/or believing the cross, His resurrection and deity are not necessary for salvation. These are the doctrinal truths that Zane Hodges (1932-2008) referred to as “excess baggage” in an encounter with the unsaved.

You can note the phrase “
faith…in the risen Christ” has been eliminated from the current affirmation. Because Bob Wilkin and GES view the Lord’s resurrection as “excess baggage,” they will no longer use descriptive phrases such as that. You will also notice also that the word “trusts” has been removed.

The GES continues to drift far from a balanced biblical position on the Gospel. The revisions of the GES
Affirmation of Belief on salvation affirms and verifies Bob Wilkin personally and, on behalf of GES, officially adopted the late Zane Hodges’s legacy, which was his unbiblical and reductionist interpretation of the content of saving faith, commonly known as the Crossless Gospel.


*There is a third paragraph that is not germane to our discussion. You may visit the GES web site to view that third paragraph. It is my policy to avoid linking guest to sites that propagate heretical views on major doctrines. Because of its Crossless/Deityless interpretation of the Gospel, GES is such a site.

This article is a revised version of a thread comment first posted by Greg Schliesmann.

November 24, 2008

Zane Hodges With the Lord

Dear Guests:

This morning I was informed that Zane Hodges passed away over the weekend.


I am preempting, but will repost the GES's Reductionist Affirmation of Belief article later this week.

November 20, 2008

Grace in Focus (Nov-Dec 2008) Review

The November/December 2008 issue of Grace in Focus has two articles promoting the Grace Evangelical Society’s crossless/reductionist gospel.

The first article is by Bob Wilkin entitled “
Essential Truths About Our Savior.” Bob begins his article with the premise:

There is a difference Biblically between what we must believe to be born again and what the Savior had to be and do in order for us to be born again. The Bible distinguishes between these two. However, some who profess to believe in Free Grace deny this, saying that any essential truth about who Jesus is and what He did must be believed to be born again. These people limit the essentials about the Person and work of Christ—arbitrarily—to three points: Jesus’ deity, His death on the cross for our sins, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.”
Wilkin goes on to build his straw man, by listing other “essential truths” about the Savior such as, all the attributes of the Godhead; Elijah coming as a Forerunner; Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem; etc. Wilkin states that there are literally hundreds of essential truths regarding the Savior. His straw man argument is: why arbitrarily chose three from this list of hundreds of essentials? The fact that the Holy Spirit chose those three essentials in 1 Corinthians 15 seems to be lost on Dr. Wilkin.

The second article is by John Niemela entitled “Who Is Able To Guarantee Everlasting Life?” John begins with:
John’s Gospel presents Jesus as the Messianic Son of God who was crucified and resurrected to guarantee everlasting life to all believers.”
Then he uses “pre-cross” snippets of Jesus’ earthly ministry as an example for how we should present the gospel. In the past, Dr. Niemela has declared that the purpose statement of John’s Gospel is:
These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
And at the outset of this article, Dr. Niemela outlines John’s Gospel presentation which includes Jesus’ Deity, death, burial and resurrection. If that’s the case, then why on earth would we use only snippets of Jesus’ pre-cross ministry rather than John’s actual presentation as found in his Gospel which includes the same essentials that Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians. 15? 

It seems like Dr. Niemela cannot see his own disconnect!

Bob Nyberg

Thanks to Brother Bob Nyberg who notified me that the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) just published these two articles. To date these articles, which appear in GES’s Grace in Focus, have not appeared on line. The review above was prepared by Brother Nyberg at my request.

November 18, 2008

Mark Driscoll’s “Corrupt Communication” What is the Biblical Response?

Dear Guests:

The discussion at the pseudo-fundamentalist blog Sharper Iron over the “corrupt communication” (Eph. 4:29) of Mark Driscoll has wound down. Passions ran high in a few cases. Men can disagree sharply and charitably. Unfortunately some men have lost or sacrificed this commendable way to interact on issues with men whom they disagree with.

We all agree the Bible is our final authority. What does the Bible say?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers,” (Eph. 4:29).

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks,” (Eph. 5:3-4).

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you,” (Titus 2:6-8).
Let the Bible say what it says without the trappings of logic or Driscoll’s attempts to twist it to cover his corrupt and profane speech with a veneer of Divine authority. The irreverent speech of Mark Driscoll irrefutably fails the test of Scripture! Dr. J. Vernon McGee wrote,
Corrupt communication means filthy speech-that is rotten or putrid...The speech of the believer should be on the high plane of instructing and communicating encouragement to other believers. You can have fun and enjoy life, humor has its place, but our humor should not be filthy or dirty.
There are far better choices to learn from and/or follow as an example (Phil. 3:17) than Mark Driscoll.

Mark Driscoll is a sincere brother in Christ, but his shock methods are misguided and in the opinion of many harmful to the cause of Christ. He listens to the counsel and admonitions of men like John Piper. Driscoll, however, still clings to his offensive speech, which he repeated at the Desiring God conference. Several noted that in his lecture he repeated his pattern of twisting the Scriptures to cover his corrupt and profane speech with a veneer of Divine authority. The same misuse of Scripture that Nathan Busenitz addresses in his critique of Driscoll’s Harsh Language.

The Bible mandates the course of action for unfortunate cases such as this one.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us...And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).
Commentary on 2 Thess. 3
The situation with which we are dealing…is a time when professing Christians are consistently violating a command on some point. Furthermore, having been confronted about that activity, they refuse to repent. The Scripture offers clear teaching on this point. Even then, the goal of separation is not only the purity of the church but also restoration of the brother. . . . Separation from disobedient brethren can involve personal separation (a brother refusing to forsake some form of worldliness) or ecclesiastical separation (refusing to forsake some form of false teaching or unscriptural practice). (Mark Sidwell, The Dividing Line: Understanding and Applying Biblical Separation, pp. 55-56.
Do not have fellowship with those who will not listen to the Word of God. Paul is claiming for his epistle that it is the Word of God and to be heeded as a command of God. Have your fellowship with those who are in obedience to the Word of God and who are living according to its standards. (John F. Walvoord, The Thessalonian Epistles, p. 156.)
Paul is telling the church members what action they should take, not asking for an opportunity of taking action himself. “Note that man” means more than simply “notice” him. It means “mark him out,”. . . . The treatment of such a person is withdrawal of fellowship. The treatment is primarily intended to bring him back to his rightful position. At the same time it is punishment. It is noteworthy that Paul puts the injunction not to treat him as an enemy before that to admonish him. He is eager to protect the brother's standing, and to see to it that what is done to him is from the best of motives, and that it secures the desired result. (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, p. 258-259.)
Dr. Ernest Pickering in his classic book Biblical Separation (pp.221-222) wrote:
When our brethren do things that are wrong--caused by an incomplete knowledge of or deliberate disobedience to some teaching of Scripture--we should not merely continue fellowship with them as those who have done nothing wrong, but we should warn them, remonstrate with them and seek to recover them to a Biblical position. . . . If one should ask, Does 2 Thessalonians 3 teach secondary separation?--then the response would have to be given, It depends on what you mean by secondary separation. . . . It is the principle of refusing to condone, honor or utilize persons who continually and knowingly are following a course of action which is harmful to other believers and to the welfare of the churches.


November 16, 2008

The “Corrupt Communication” of Mark Driscoll

Dear Guests:

I have been engaged in a serious and important discussion at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron
(SI). The subject has been in regard to Pastor Mark Driscoll, aka the *“Cussing” pastor.

You would find that most men at SI in the discussion thread are hostile toward raising an alarm about Driscoll’s sinful communication. I must caution you that Driscoll’s manner of speech in his lectures is highly offensive, lewd and irreverent. If you link to his lecture(s) you will likely be exposed to remarks by him you’d probably rather have never heard.

Following is one comment from the SI thread. It was written by Pastor Christian Markle. I appreciate very much what he wrote and would like to share it with you.

There is coming a time (and I suggest that it be soon) that we should set aside our “us vs. them” discussions and deal with the substance. There is plenty of time to attack the foulness of fundamentalism. Many electrons have been spent on this site doing such. Many of these threads are freely available.

I have personally participated in what felt like a lone and lengthy debate on this site regarding gracious speech with a staunch fundamentalist brother. I have sat in on off color remarks in fundamentalist preaching. A book has been written by one fundamentalist with some twisted teaching on sexuality and it was firmly decried here at SI. However, it will appear to some on the outside (and at least one long term member of SI) that we have simply exchanged loyalties. Some younger and older fundamentalists have denounced the leadership, preaching and philosophy of what they call extreme fundamentalist only to embrace the same in evangelicalism. Their man-centeredness has not really changed only shifted to a different focus. The new men at the center are other famous (and infamous) men on the other side of the evangelicalism.

Personally, I think we have spent too much time reading men and developing human loyalties and not enough time becoming truly loyal to our Savior. None of these men died on the cross for us. None of them are the long promised messiah. None of them can really show us the Father (John 14:8-9) no matter how many books they right about Him. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, promised messiah, and redeemer of men. We are all to be striving until “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).

Lets stop playing games and call sin sin. Some sin is deplorable and must not be supported or ignored. Let us graciously with gospel-zeal be loyal to our Lord and love the brethren enough to warn them of the deplorable sin of others--as well as ourselves. After hearing Driscoll’s Desiring God session I come away wondering why anyone who heard it would be upset for calling sin sin -- Brother Driscoll specifically preached that this very thing should be done.

Brother Driscoll has said some horrible things and he has admitted to as much in his Desiring God session (listen/watch the whole lecture). He is not Christ and we have every right and for those who are leaders whose sheep may be impacted,
responsibility to mark him where he is wrong. Certainly, we ought to do the same with our fundamentalist friends. Jesus firmly rebuked the Pharisees as well as his own apostle, Peter. In this way he was no respecter of persons and neither should we be.

I believe Driscoll’s communication is too often corrupt and too seldom edifying (**Ephesians 4:29). His defense (in the DG session) for this was at times biblically sound, but did not actually defend his behavior. His foul mouth accomplishes much more than what he defended. It is suggestive, apparently uncontrolled, and often indiscreet and unholy (See Titus 1:8) In his lecture
his biblical examples at times were twisted beyond the text to fit his own behavior; instead of allowing the text to suggest the boundaries of our communication, he imported his own ideas into the text. Furthermore he ignored clear teaching (Ephesians 4:32, Philippians 4:8, 2 Timothy 2:24ff) to defend his actions with biblical examples. This is IMO poor hermeneutics.

His closing remarks almost redeemed the whole session. He may be on a journey towards Christlikness (as I am, with much ground to tread before I arrive), but I am unwilling to suggest that young/old sheep be influenced by this type of leadership or preaching. I praise the Lord for any progress Brother Driscoll has made on this journey, but the videos I watched today leave me very unconvinced of significant progress.

One last comment. I can appreciate the heart of John Piper and others who are mentoring this preacher, but that does not mean I have must have them or Mark Driscoll as my heroes with the assumption that they do no wrong. Ultimately, it does not matter what I think. The God of heaven knows my own wretchedness and I wonder why He is patient with me, but I fear testing that patience with any form of fleshly patience that leads to a lack of obedience in regard to sin.
For additional commentary on the irreverence of Mark Driscoll see the ***following discussions.

The Guardian of Grunge and Seattle-Sludge Here is an excerpt,
I am sorry ladies and gentlemen, but the kind of humor Driscoll offers that treats the Lord Jesus Christ as his punch-line in smutty terms is foreign to biblical Christianity and is not the leading of the Holy Spirit! How far will Mark be allowed to go before any of his faithful supporters will say “enough brother! You will not dishonor Jesus with your twisted humor and vulgar barbs anymore?” In the midst of his emerging circumlocutory - having his yes be yes and his no be no would be refreshing.
John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Harsh Language Excerpted,
Later Driscoll notes that, though God’s Word uses this type of language infrequently, ‘that doesn’t mean we never use perhaps even strong language, harsh tones, cutting remarks, biting sarcasm, devastating uses of humor and irony, cause God does.’ And so, contends Driscoll, pastors today not only can, but should, use provocative and offensive speech because that is how God’s spokesmen have communicated at times in the past. Driscoll’s argument ultimately comes up short unless he can demonstrate that the way in which the OT prophets, Christ, and the NT apostles used ‘harsh language’ (especially as it related to the cultures of their day) is directly parallel to his own penchant for lowbrow humor, coarse rhetoric, and sarcastic wit. But Driscoll’s track record hardly seems to fit the patterns established by these biblical examples.
Kind regards,


Please continue to- Mark Driscoll’s “Corrupt Communication” What is the Biblical Response?

*See Christianity Today for the origin of Driscoll's title “Cussing Pastor.”

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers,” (Eph. 4:29).

My linking to these additional sources must not be considered as support for, condoning or agreeing with any aspect of theology or practice of the men and the ministries they represent or the ministry of others that are presented within the articles. I share these links to further substantiate the disturbing speech habits of Mark Driscoll, nothing more.

November 13, 2008

Salve for Itching Ears: II

Dear Guests:

This is a continuation of Salve for Itching Ears: Rick Warren & Saddleback. In the thread under my article at Shaper Iron (SI) article Warren’s Saddleback: Salve for Itching Ears I was asked, “How is Rick Warren being in the same photo with candidate Obama any different than this?” He referred to the picture he posted of President Reagan and Jerry Falwell (see below).

Following is my edited reply to the questioner in the (
SI) thread.

To All:

Is there any difference between these two pictures?

Reagan and Obama: Do the polar opposite philosophies need any clarification for you to understand the difference between these two men?

1) Reagan broke the USSR (*
The Evil Empire); Obama wants to reconstitute the philosophy, i.e. devastating effects of Soviet style Socialism on our own shores. You do remember, “Spread the wealth,” don’t you?

2) Reagan would not negotiate with terrorists. His philosophy was to defeat them. Obama not only befriended and worked in cooperative efforts with domestic terrorists, he has stated his intention to meet with radical Islamic terrorist leaders without preconditions.

Falwell and Warren: Not as polar opposite as Reagan/Obama, but stark differences nonetheless. You would agree with that; wouldn’t you? I don't recall Falwell getting cozy with the United Nations (UN), such as Warren has.

I do know that Falwell said, the United Nations is “
the infrastructure, the stage on which the Antichrist will build his one-world government.” I’m not sure about that, but no doubt Falwell had an aversion for the UN, which IMO is a good idea for all of us.

Rick Warren speaks to and aligns himself with the UN that seeks to “
rid the world of ‘poverty, disease, and illiteracy’.” It must also be noted that through his cooperative efforts, Warren aligns himself with the same UN that seeks to “rid the world” of unborn infants through their murder while still in the womb.

While Warren is pro-life, he has a HUGE disconnect between preserving the life of the unborn and his embrace of Obama and the UN, both of which are radically committed to the slaughter of the unborn. I don’t recall Falwell embracing (literally or figuratively) pro-death candidates; do you?

Are you understanding the stark difference of philosophy between the men in the two pictures? Are you willing to acknowledge the radical philosophical differences between the Reagan/Falwell & Obama/Warren photos? Will you do that?

The main message of the Warren/Obama photo was to drive home the point that I put the photo alongside. Warren claims to be for the holy, but he routinely embraces the philosophers of the profane (Ezek. 22:8, 26).
Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism. 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.
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths...Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them,” (Ezekiel 22:8, 26).
Is there anything I should add to further exemplify the stark differences between the men (in the two photos) and their philosophies?


Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement

An excellent book! Here is an excerpt:
Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). Not even the greatest marketing genius can change this without redefining the church. Seeking the approval of the world is precisely what the Purpose Driven movement is all about.

November 12, 2008

Salve for Itching Ears: Rick Warren & Saddleback

Dear Guests:

Earlier today I interjected a parallel thought in a thread at the pseudo-fundamentalist blog
Sharper Iron (SI) titled The Small Church and American Fundamentalism by Joel Tetreau. Because a Mr. John Brown, who is a passionate apologist for Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven philosophy, posted a comment in the SI thread in regard to, but without identifying Warren’s Saddleback church, I inserted a needed clarification and caution. Following is an edited version of what I inserted in Joel’s thread.

comment #20 John Brown is speaking in reference to and in support of Rick Warren and the Saddleback church. Brown wrote:

I have no doubt that what you relate is absolutely true. But on the other hand, the large mega I attended, 22,000 in weekend attendance, offered 14,000 hours of free counseling to church members, the community, and yes, referrals from several other churches. It also offered substance abuse and anger management classes that local judges ordered those prosecuted for such actions to attend. Mega’s have the capacity to care for the member as much as the mini if it is a priority.
Brown was responding to this from Joe Roof wrote,
In this area where there is 750,000 people in a 15 mile radius of our church, there is only one church that has ever reached mega-church status (at least 2000 people). It is interesting that there are a number of people in that church that call me for counseling because they cannot get an appointment with their minister. Wow!
John Brown is a former staff member at Saddleback. Brown has posted at SI before as an apologist for Rick Warren and the Saddleback philosophy and practice of ministry.

Allow me to supply a box quote from John MacArthur’s
The Truth Wars, p. 147.
Many church leaders have radically changed the way they look at the Gospel. rather than seeing it as a message from God that Christians are called to proclaim as Christ’s ambassadors (without tampering with it or changing it in any way), they now treat it like a commodity to be sold at market.
In a section titled, The Assault on Divine Authority (pp. 146-147), MacArthur names Rick Warren in connection with the above box quote. There is more:
Maintaining a positive image has become a priority over guarding the truth.

The PR-Driven church. Somewhere along the line, evangelicals bought the lie that the Great Commission is a marketing mandate. The leading strategists for church growth today are therefore all pollsters and public relations managers.
In the words of Rick Warren, ‘If you want to advertise your church to the unchurched, you must learn to think and speak like they do.’ An endless parade self-styled church-growth specialists has been repeating that same mantra for several decades, and multitudes of Christians and church leaders now accept the idea uncritically. Both their message to the world and the means by which they communicate that message have been carefully tailored by consumer relations experts to appeal to worldly minds. (bold added)
Rick Warren’s Saddleback church is one of this generations most stark fulfillments of the Apostle Paul’s prophetic statement,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables,” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
On 2 Tim. 4:3 M. R. Vincent wrote,
[They] shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a calf is readily found.
Wiersbe wrote,
They want religious entertainment from Christian performers who will tickle their ears. We have a love for novelty in the churches today: emotional movies, pageants, foot-tapping music, colored lights, etc. The man who simply opens the Bible is rejected while the shallow religious entertainer becomes a celebrity. And verse 4 indicates that itching ears will soon become deaf ears as people turn away from the truth and believe man-made fables.”
When you read the following select samples of Warren’s methodology you then understand why large crowds of folks, with ears that want to be tickled, flock to Saddleback and its satellites.
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.”

Warren routinely misuses Scripture. The Bible is a tool that Warren manipulates to cover his own ideas with a veneer of divine authority.

Warren promotes extreme ecumenism. He has forged ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist World Alliance and the United Nations. Warren said, “I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody,” Noting he has theological differences with many of the diverse denominations that invite him to speak, Warren added, “That doesn't stop me from fellowshipping with them.” When he heard of the SBC's withdrawal, he added, “I thought, ‘This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?’”—Rick Warren at the Baptist World Alliance- Global Baptists Are in This Together.

Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism. 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 and for Warren replaces the Great Commission and the New Testament church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles.

Warren accepts the worst sort of evangelistic reductionism. “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).

Warren said, “
I am praying for a second reformation of the church that will focus more on deeds than words. The first Reformation was about beliefs. This one needs to be about behavior. ... We’ve had a Reformation; what we need now is a transformation.”—July 2005 at the Baptist World Alliance with Tony Campolo and Jimmy Carter.

For additional examples of Rick Warren’s philosophy and the Saddleback Church please read-

Rick Warren's Second Reformation

Purpose Driven's Compromise of Scripture

Rick Warren's Foray Into the United Nations

No Laughing Matter!

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers,” (Titus 1:9).
Saddleback in NOT a New Testament church! Don’t listen to the voices or printed words of compromise and betrayal. Reject and refute any attempts by the apologists for Rick Warren to legitimize the methods and ministry of his (Warren’s) Purpose Driven philosophy.

When you encounter the philosophy of and/or apologists for the Church Growth, Seeker and Emerging Church movements such as Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek Community Church and Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, remember that these are ministries lead by men who have compromised and run roughshod over the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture to build and keep their following. Don’t listen to the voices or printed words of compromise and betrayal.


Your First Step Won't be Your Last: Avoiding the Path to Compromise for related reading.

November 9, 2008

Change: Are We Looking in the Right Place?

Dear Guests:

The following editorial was written by a member of the church I attend. It was printed in one of our local newspapers. In light of the philosophy of President elect Obama, and the changes for our nation his philosophy signals, I felt this would be helpful editorial to reflect upon.

There is an outcry for change in our country, but I am not sure that we are looking in the right place. One of the founding principles of our nation is that God is our ultimate authority (see the Declaration of Independence).

The colonists had a very high literacy rate. Coming from the tyranny of a state church, they wanted everyone to be able to read the Bible and serve God according to their own conscience. This produced a culture of people that was significantly governed from within. Our ancestors demonstrated that people who humble themselves under the God of the Bible, seeking to love Him and to love their neighbor, best achieve a free society.

During the last century it was determined that it was unconstitutional to talk about God in public education, except in an historical context. Humanism began to ascend in higher education believing that man could rule his own destiny. God was relegated to the religious segment of life for those that needed it. It was thought that by more education and by more social programs, we could solve the problems of society. This idea has not worked.

By leaving God out, the rebellious nature of man, which the Bible talks about, has been able to run free. This is clearly demonstrated in the sexual revolution that was supposed to make us free, but has only demonstrated our bondage to self-gratification. The unconditional love of the marriage covenant has been replaced with a conditional contract that can be easily broken by either partner. The family structure has been devastated. In addition our current financial crisis can be traced to greed and lack of trust.

The change that America needs can’t be legislated; it must come from within the heart of each American.

Ben Ziesemer
This morning our pastor brought a message titled, What Can We Do About Post-Election Depression? His outline consisted of four main points, which were: 1) Behold our God; 2) Respect the King; 3) Proclaim the Lord; 4) Trust Your God.

God is faithful! All of the nations collectively are as dust before Him. He has power over all rulers. His will shall prevail and He has a purpose even through these leaders.


November 6, 2008

Continuation of Discussion over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

Many of you aware that I participate in various discussions at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog. [Resigned from SI June 2009]  Last week I was involved in a discussion at Sharper Iron in regard to the unfortunate announced closure of the Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (PBBC) scheduled for the end of this semester. Various reasons, many of which valid, were offered for what lead to PBBC’s announcement. Among them was my referencing Dr. Alan Potter’s tenure as college President (beginning in 1987) during which he began to incrementally shift the school away from its Fundamentalist heritage. The SI thread was closed by SI moderators short of their normal 20 page standard. In any event it is sad that PBBC is closing.

Dr. Alan Potter introduced changes at PBBC that were a move toward the philosophy of
Chuck Swindoll’s The Grace Awakening mindset, which Potter had stated his fondness of to a personal friend of mine. In the SI thread one of SI’s moderators did not appreciate the serious implications of Potter’s shifting PBBC toward The Grace Awakening mindset.

The suddenness and clearly new direction that Potter steered the school toward was for many Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) men an indication that PBBC had just set foot on a path away from its Fundamentalist heritage for non-separatist Evangelical tendencies. I frequently noted that PBBC tried to recover its heritage and perception as solidly Fundamentalist, but the damage was done.

Following is an observation from a man close to PBBC. Certain individuals in IFB circles, who are fond of pointing our young Fundamentalists toward the Evangelical camp, will not appreciate it, but this is what the feeling was among many after Potter initiated his changes at Pillsbury.

Although it (PBBC) struggled for a number of years to recover itself, it never really dealt with (in any real tangible way) its ruined reputation. Although this was repeatedly brought before them by many people, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the Gatekeepers who send students.”
Some men in the SI discussion thread aggressively tried to dismiss or negate the chilling effects of Dr. Potter’s Grace Awakening inspired changes at Pillsbury. To them I suggested reading Dr. Ernest Pickering’s review of The Grace Awakening, titled, Are Fundamentalists Legalists? Here is a sample from page one,
Furthermore, the viewpoint espoused in his [Swindoll’s] book finds a sympathetic audience with some fundamentalists who have become “bent out of shape” with what they view as the pettiness of certain segments of fundamentalist thinking. We are afraid that, given the impetus by the writing of Swindoll, some are about to “throw the baby out with the bath water.
Reflect on that in light of Potter’s stated fondness for Chuck Swindoll’s The Grace Awakening philosophy and his introduction of Swindoll’s Evangelical mindset into PBBC. It is irrefutable that Potter’s actions triggered events that lead to the ultimate demise of PBBC. In light of Pickering’s booklet one might also begin to appreciate that cautions and warnings about strengthening ties and endorsing Evangelicals like John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Mark Driscoll, with only rare and/or muted cautions, are not new or unique to me.

The potentially devastating effects of introducing Evangelical philosophy into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of PBBC.

In conclusion I am posting an unedited note I received from an IFB preacher who was viewing the discussion at SI. He shared the following remarks and critique with me and I will share it with you on his behalf. I will follow with some closing remarks.

Looks like the “discussion” about what causes might have really led to PBBC’s demise has abruptly been ended by SI’s leadership saying as they did that they had allowed enough “disparaging” comments about the college. I noticed in those same thoughts any lack of equal concern for the real disparaging remarks made against much larger Fundamentalism. It appears that over and over again historic Fundamentalism can be disparaged all day long without any of the empathy that they so quickly want to show toward those individuals or institutions who march off decidedly to embrace the new “mood” of Evangelicalism.

Even the McCunes and Shepherd, while acknowledging Dr. Potter’s role in the demise, declare themselves openly to be “
irritated” in one of their own words concerning any discussion about a shift at PBBC toward Evangelicalism during Dr. Potter’s watch, but remarked only that they do not believe that PBBC’s closing is any indication of a “collapse” in Fundamentalism. While they claim to be tied close enough to better discern the cause and effect better than others, it appears that they are not understanding what else comes from such close proximity, and that is emotion. They seem to be allowing their close emotional ties to PBBC to cloud their close perceptions of the cause and effect. I believe that their specific verbiage confirms as much. This is not unique to them as it clouds our perspectives in other situations to which we are very close.

The comments by the dissenters to the issues raised about Dr. Potter’s actions during his tenure as president on the one hand confirm that there was indeed some “
fault” at Dr. Potter’s hands; however, they adamantly desire to dispute what was at the heart of those faulty actions. They want to characterize the heart of the matter as mere “relaxing rules.”

As they see it, however, Potter’s relaxing the rules was faulty only because it happened too fast and that it happened without involving more people first. They specifically deny that in his rules relaxation there is to be found any vestige or tincture of Evangelicalism because Evangelicalism according to them is
evidenced only by some overt ecclesiastical compromises

These men are willingly ignorant of the true nature of Evangelicalism. It would serve them well to read more of the past pastor of Fourth Baptist Church and past president of CBTS, Dr. Ernest Pickering, rather than the current musings of Dr. Kevin Bauder.

Dr. Pickering’s book *The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism defines the movement more as a mood than anything thing else. A mood can be hard to specifically define, and its effects can impact much further and broader than most Fundamentalist can even begin to appreciate. If one doesn’t understand what the mood is, he won’t see it at work and many claiming the moniker of Fundamentalist especially those at SI don’t see it in CCM, the new worship, contextualization in mission, etc. Dr. Pickering covers how this mood of Evangelicalism has affected believers’ attitudes and actions.

The Evangelical mood desires to
loosen restrictions, blur lines, and blend a Christ/cultural mixture as the new balanced Christian way of life. That is what self-identifying Evangelical Chuck Swindoll advocates in his book The Grace Awakening, a redefinition of Biblical grace-living in light of this new mood, and that redefinition is exactly what Dr. Potter read about, agreed in principle with, and then sought to implement at PBBC according to his own testimony
. End of story!

It is sad that the discussion at SI never moved even remotely close to really evaluating Dr. Potter’s action in light of the knowns of Evangelicalism. Could it be because many there are affected to a degree with that same mood?
In private conversations (following the thread's closure) I encouraged men in the SI discussion thread to reflect on Dr. Pickering’s critique of Swindoll’s philosophy in light of Potter’s stated fondness for the philosophy of The Grace Awakening and how he obviously began to introduce Swindoll’s Evangelical mindset into PBBC. I am hopeful they can now better understand why Potter’s actions triggered events that lead to the ultimate demise of PBBC. They might also begin to appreciate that my cautions and warnings about fawning over the stars of Evangelicalism, with very few warnings about the obvious associations and methods of ministry these same IFB men would never condone or tolerate in their own ministries, are not new or unique to me.

I also suggested reading Dr. Pickering’s booklet,
Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties? In that booklet Pickering’s concerns are primarily about the “New” Evangelicals.  IMO, the so-called conservative wing of Evangelicalism (Mohler, Piper, Duncan, MacArthur, Dever,,) is the bridge to New Evangelicalism.


November 4, 2008

The Heart of the King

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will,” (Prov. 21:1).

“Legalism” is Not a Very Nice Word

Dear Guests:

Later this week we will continue Greg Schliesmann’s critique of The Hydra’s Other Head: Theological Legalism.

While you wait for Part 4 of Zane Hodges: “Legalism” is Not a Very Nice Word you might like to review some articles on various subjects in the Top Picks to the left or from the Labels section below.