There is an excellent book out by attorney Mat Staver with the title, Eternal Vigilance: Knowing and Protecting Your Religious Freedom. Mr. Staver works tirelessly to defend the civil liberties of Americans that are frequently under attack from the enemies of freedom in our country. He is correct when he warns that the price of liberty truly is eternal vigilance.
There is growing concern among Christians about the erosion of the American foundations of liberty and freedom. As Americans, we rightly grieve over this and do all we can to fight those who would destroy America. But there is a marked lack of such passion when it comes to guarding the most important foundation of all—that of our faith. This is another sphere that requires eternal vigilance. The Reformers had an expression for this—Sempre Reformanda. The church should be “always reforming.” Such vigilance is practiced by a small number of Christiansand churches now who are quickly earning the negative labels of “judgmental” and “divisive” in so doing. In the midst of error, this is the vigilance of the Berean heart; a desire above all else to see the Gospel preached in its power and purity and an opposition to false teachings when they arise.
It's no secret that doctrine is unpopular now. Once faithful seminaries that at one time required ministerial students to hunker down over the Word of God now have students hunkering down over postmodern drivel and church growth materials. The latest trend is the postmodern/emergent movement which has produced pastors and authors like Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus and Leonard Sweet who are destroying the confidence of young people in the authority of the Word of God and telling them that the Bible is merely a series of God's “stories” from which we can learn. These leaders don't like authority and they are doing their best to remove propositional scriptural truth from their churches. That's why Mars Hill Bible Church outside of Detroit has emergent Pastor Rob Bell citing Hindu teachings on breathing from his postmodern pulpit. Even a reporter from the Detroit Free Press noticed.
These men have no regard for the battles for biblical truth throughout history. That was modernity. We're past all that, they say. So they promote the embracing of mystery instead of knowing Christ through His Word. They like the journey better than the destination. In a quest to experience “authentic” spirituality, they borrow from eastern religious traditions. This was demonstrated when scores of pastors were doing yoga at the National Pastors' Convention in 2004—just before Rick Warren got up to speak. The old ways are out. Objective truth is out. Truth evolves, they say. The Word of God was Jesus, so the Bible is unimportant now. It's just a series of stories. Experiencing Jesus through altered states of consciousness is what they teach through meditation straight from the pagan religions of the East.
Where are the pastors of America who are seeing this come in through Youth Specialties, Zondervan as well as other Christian publishers, through Nooma videos, conferences and magazines? It is a veritable tsunami of error in the Christian publishing realm. There is a thin chorus of concerned voices but these voices routinely are drowned out. It's hard to compete with Rupert Murdoch and his big bucks Zondervan.
I have written extensively in other columns about the Lead Like Jesus Conference coming up in November that will have New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard rubbing shoulders with some of the big names in Evangelicalism. The Catalyst Conference is coming up in Atlanta in October. Andy Stanley will be speaking along with Dave Fleming.
Dave Fleming, author of the New Spirituality book, The Seeker's Way, came right out on my radio show and told me that he believed that underneath the superficial differences of world religions, they were all the same. Imagine an interspiritualist speaking at the same conference with a nationally known Evangelical pastor and nobody cares. It's all about leadership and vision casting, they say.
In truth, it's all about selling out the Gospel for a postmodern pot of poison pottage. There is a blindness among Evangelicals leaders who no longer care about doctrine and faithfulness. They care only about growth and success and God will see that they have it. It's judgment, really, when God allows these leaders to eat of the fruit of their own way and enjoy temporal success. The multi-million dollar buildings, the recreation centers, the stadiums and arenas filled with happy, celebrating people are found nationwide. The Spirit has departed if He was ever present, but nobody has noticed. Things are good. For now.
There is a passage of Scripture in Isaiah 56 which aptly describes the bright, talented young pastors today who are filling their churches with people who are looking for a new Gospel that does away with the need for repentance and justification.
"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
These pastors will enjoy the benefits of transformational psychology, the latest marketing strategies and technology and their churches will continue to grow very rich and very influential. But those who fear the Lord will see the danger, they will seek the Lord for discernment and they will turn from these kinds of ministries. In the midst of the frenzy for “big” in our churches, the words of Christ have been completely forgotten.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:13-15
© 2005 Ingrid Schlueter
Ingrid Schlueter has been producer and co-host of the Crosstalk Radio Talk Show on the VCY America Radio Network for 18 years. She is author of numerous articles on current issues and is a regular columnist for Wisconsin Christian News. She has also authored, Parent Police: The UN Wants Your Children. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://sliceoflaodicea.com
Other articles by Ingrid Schlueter: God Speaks in the Winds of a Hurricane
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