May 12, 2007

Don’t be Fooled

Posted in Christian Life, Family, God's Sovreignty, Mission, Moral Issues, My Personal Walk, Personal, Religion, The Church, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts at 9:32 pm by Dan Barnett

We are warned of false teachers in the later books of the New Testament(1 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude) coming into the church and leading sheep astray.  Many times we glance over these parts of scripture, as we think we would spot them so easily that they wouldn’t be a threat.  Well start looking a little closer and you’ll see we have missed many of them. 

First let precede my post with this.  I respect many atheists that I have dialogued with over the past couple of months.  I have seen a greater example of how Christ would have us interact with each other in them than I see in many Christians.  I recently frequented a site run by agnostics and atheists geared mainly toward the “errancy” in Christianity and the Bible.  This I believe does not exist, but their arguments are very convincing as Jude warns it will be.  I was shocked by the harsh and disrespectful responses to their arguments by so-called Christians.  So please don’t see this post as a personal attack on atheists or agnostics or those who simply choose not to believe in Christ. 

While on that site I found “christians” stating that there is no real Heaven and Hell.  They conceded that God is not able to do all that he wills.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  When I clicked on the link to one of their sites, I was shocked.  I found a man(whom I won’t link to his site or say who he is, for fear that many will go there and attack him) who calls himself a Christian, frequently dialogues on many atheist sites(not a bad habit), and pastors a church here in Illinois.  As I discussed issues of homosexuality with him and abortion and God’s unchanging person, I realized I was not even arguing with someone I would consider a Christian at all.  By his own admission, he believes in evolution, errancy in scripture, two different gods of the Bible(OT god and the “god of Jesus”), gay marriage is acceptable, abortion is best kept legal, and that Christians should not correct each other in their sins.  An atheist friend of his placed a post on his own site to allow questions to be directed to this pastor about Christianity.   Basically the hundreds of lost people seeking answers about Christianity on this site are getting their answers from someone who rejects seemingly 75% of the Bible.   You think we need to worry?  I do.  If one man from Illinois is making this impact, think of how many more are doing this.  They label themselves as the  emerging church, which is not a bad movement, but they are not really that church.  They are a very liberal side of it and are leading many from the true Christ.  Let me make it clear that this post is not an attack on this individual.  This is one example I have found that just disturbs me.  The point of this post is to raise awareness of what is going on under our noses and tagging us, Christians who believe the Bible is the written word of God, as the heretics. 

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19 Comments »

  1. Stevie said,

    So you weren’t going to post a link to M.C.’s blog, but you posted one to the atheist site where the name is clearly posted with the link to the blog you were trying to protect! Remind me when I go to rob a bank to not tell you where I’m hiding.

  2. Dan Barnett said,

    The more I thought about it, the more I thought people should see what was going on. I put the link in after it was originally posted but left the first part in to tell people to be nice, I guess. Just don’t tell your friends where you’re hiding. 🙂

  3. Dan Barnett said,

    Stevie, I edited my post and your comment just for you. Let me add again that this isn’t a post directly about MC. It is about raising awareness of what is going on. MC is one that I have had contact with through his site and debated over a couple major issues that we disagree on. There are many other examples, but my exposure to them is through other people’s sites and not directly with them. Solomon’s Porch is one of them. They are a church in Minnesota who hold many of the same beliefs as MC. Their pastor, in a video he made to advertise his church, said we shouldn’t interrupt people’s lives with our beliefs. This goes completely against Matthew 28:19 when Jesus himself said to go and make disciples. I dialogue with MC for the purpose of stating the truth. To these types of people truth is a fluid issue. What was true then isnt true now. You should practice what you believe very diligently and you’ll be ok. That’s what these guys believe. The Bible teaches the opposite. There is one truth, and if you aren’t walking in it, you are following the wrong thing.

  4. Jazzy Cat said,

    Dan,
    Thank you. I know who MC is and I likewise have been shocked at his views. He seems to be quite simply a liberal activists that conforms Christianity to his world-view rather than forming a Biblical world-view from Scripture. I am encouraged that you wrote this post.
    Wayne

  5. Dan Barnett said,

    Thanks Wayne. You’re absolutely right. What these people do is try to “reach” the lost by basically denying everything that holds them back from believing. “Well, a loving God wouldn’t send someone to Hell.” “Oh don’t worry, there is no Hell. That’s just made up and thrown in there to fill space.” I know I’m very subtly exaggerating, but that’s what’s going on. Thanks for your comment and continued effort.

  6. Mike C said,

    We are warned of false teachers in the later books of the New Testament(1 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude) coming into the church and leading sheep astray. Many times we glance over these parts of scripture, as we think we would spot them so easily that they wouldn’t be a threat. Well start looking a little closer and you’ll see we have missed many of them.

    Interesting how every group of Christians tends to think Paul and Peter were talking specifically about whichever group of fellow believers they happen to disagree with at the time. Even though the Apostles were likely talking about gnostics and Jewish zealots, Martin Luther thought it was about the Catholics, the Catholics thought it was about the Protestants, many in the last century have thought it was about the Pentecostals or the mainline liberals and of course those groups thought it was about those cessationist fundamentalists, and now you think it was about me…

    (Hmm, I wonder who in this case is more guilty of taking scripture out of context and reinterpreting it to mean what we want it mean?)

    Anyhow, don’t worry about it. You are welcome to your opinions. Though I will say that if political views about abortion and homosexuality are your litmus tests for who is really a Christian… well, I’m not sure where that is in the Bible either – last I checked we were saved by grace through faith.

    Peace,
    -M.C.

  7. and tagging us, Christians who believe the Bible is the written word of God, as the heretics.

    As one who embraces heresy as a virtue I (obviously) don’t tag biblical inerrantists as heretics. 🙂 Remember, just because it’s considered to be “orthodox” doesn’t mean it’s true.

  8. Dan Barnett said,

    Mike,
    Thanks for being gracious. Your site is an example for my post. I have my opinion, and have no ill will toward you in this post. I hope you and others see that. My views differ far past political views. I don’t believe evolution is true. I believe Science and Creation do work together. But, I don’t believe evolution is God’s way of creating us in his image. There are more, but I’m not going to argue deep into this. Just wanted to say thanks for your respectful responses here and on your site.

  9. Cristina said,

    When I look at a site like Mr Cs….I think to myself if the world loves me and lifts me up so much, I think I would question where I am going wrong??

    Cristina

  10. Dan Barnett said,

    Yeah, I agree with you, Cristina. I hadn’t thought of it like that until I read your comment. Let me again make it clear that my focus is not in Mike. The first problem I see is that a lot of these guys put their great theological education ahead of the Bible. They say that we need to understand the history of the church and the history of arguments about the Bible and the particular genre the passage was written in to be able to get truth from it. As important as these things are, they are secondary to the truth that God inpired these men to write. The Bible can stand alone without these things and still be understood correctly. Then the issue becomes, that it isn’t the unbelievers that have the Bible wrong, it’s the “conservative chritians” that have it wrong. So let’s agree with the atheists because their theology matches mine better. BTW I apologise if I’m missing any S’s. My “S” key is acting funky, and I may miss a couple.

  11. Stephan said,

    Dan, I think this is an area where we need to show grace in the midst of our disagreement. Mike is preaching salvation through Grace alone, he is helping the poor and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. You may not agree with how he dots his i’s and crosses his t’s, but I think on the major issues you are in agreement. I certainly don’t agree with everything Mike says, nor do I agree with you on everything. But I consider you both brothers in Christ. I think you should take a little more time to understand why Mike believes as he does rather than point a finger.

  12. Dan Barnett said,

    Stephan, I appreciate your very gracious comment, and your respectful way of stating your view of the “situatio”. Here’s the thing, since everyone is making this directly about Mike, he and I do not agree on the important things. He states that he believes salvation is as you described he does, but in his response on the atheist blog, here is what he(at this point in his studies) believes Heaven and Hell to be:
    **** However, I don’t think that even then God will exclude anyone from his love. He still invites everyone to the celebration feast of heaven. But consider this: if you lived your whole life as a hate-filled bigot and then you are asked to sit down at the feast table in heaven next to someone you spent your life excluding and despising, will it feel like heaven to you, or would it be more like hell? And supposing you are unwilling to let go of these attitudes and unwilling to accept God’s unconditional love for you if it means you would have to learn how to likewise love others unconditionally, then would God’s love feel like heaven to you, or might not his love actually feel like the “burning coals” St. Paul said your enemies would feel when you respond to their hatred with love? (cf. Romans 12:17-21) Again, all of this is speculation, since as I said, the Bible doesn’t actually tell us a lot about the afterlife – but it’s bascially what I think it was what Jesus was getting at when he warned us about being “judged” by the way that we lived (cf. Matthew 25:31-46).

    So, looking at heaven and hell this way, it’s not really my place to say whether anyone, atheist or Christian or whatever else, is going to heaven or hell. I don’t know if, in your life, you are pursuing a way of love and reconciliation or not. I do think that all people ought to be called and encouraged to follow this way of Jesus – even if they don’t choose to believe in Jesus in a religious sense – not necessarily so that they can avoid “Hell” when they die, but simply because Christ’s way of love is the best possible way to live. And to be honest, as I told Hemant once when he visited our church, there are some atheists I think who do a better job of following the way of Christ than a lot of Christians I know. ****
    That is nothing short of a false gospel in my eyes, and if this is salvation, then the Bible is wrong. This is not what the Bible teaches.

    He forgot to mention John 14:6, how about 1 John 5:11, 12 “11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

    Also, Revelation 20:15 “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

    Hell is a physical place. All who have not trusted in Christ as their only hope of eternal life will spend eternity in this lake of fire. It’s as simple as that. He is right that our works as Christians will have ramifications on how we spend eternity, but whether or not we have Christ in us determines where we will spend it. This is not a petty difference. His salvation is for once we are all together in the after life will it be good for us or bad. Not will we be punished forever in a physical Hell or blessed forever in a physical Heaven. Yes, many Christians do come to Christ to avoid hell. But, true Christians show fruit. We serve Him for who he is. Paul warns us several times in his letters about teaching a false gospel. As the title of the post reads, Don’t be fooled. I’m not saying that these guys are trying to deceive people. They aren’t. Mike is very sincere about his beliefs. I happen to think they are wrong, and leading people from the true Christ.

  13. Stephan said,

    Dan, I respect your viewpoint but don’t entirely agree with either you or Mike. For my tastes Mike errs a little too much on the universalist side and you err a little too much on the exclusivist side.

    What it boils down to, however, is that these are both interpretations of Scripture. You could both proof-text all day about which one of you is right about heaven and hell and who will be there and why.

    But who will that help? Will any poor people be fed by that? Will any sick or imprisoned people be visited? I think both you and Mike would agree that it is only because of Jesus that anyone can go to heaven, and that everyone needs Jesus, and that we should spend our time serving people and teaching them about Jesus through our words and actions. Regardless of what either of you say you believe, your actions will be very much the same.

    So what is the difference?

  14. Dan Barnett said,

    Stephan, I Understand your point. Just because someone is debating someone else about something doesn’t mean these other things are not being done. I can’t speak for Mike, but I have several people in my life that I minister to that would be in these categories. I don’t do as much as I should, but that’s not because I’m posting these concerns on my site. Like I said, this post isn’t an argument on my beliefs versus someone else’s. The purpose of it is to raise awareness to fellow believers who are not aware of this postmodern, liberal movement in the church that is, in my observation, teaching a false gospel. If you have the wrong gospel, you have the wrong god. Who is God, and who are we without him? If we see either of these wrong, we will miss the truth. God is the sovreign ruler over everything who takes kings and makes them as crazy as a beast, who takes a slave and uses him to lead his people to freedom, who takes a shepherd and makes him king, who raises up a king and hardens his heart so that God’s glory may be demonstrated. He may give and take life with no explanation and be just in doing it. He is the unchanging God that was before all and will be after all. Without him, I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing. Every breath I breathe is a display of his grace and mercy toward me. That is what the Bible teaches, but these “christians” disagree with it, and explain so beautifully how they are right. The problem is not that they believe it this way(although that is a problem). It is that many are being led into a false salvation, and that should scare the crap out of any Christian who has a heart for reaching others for Christ.

    Yes, I do lean to exclusivism, because the Bible teaches that salvation is exclusive to those who trust in Christ. I won’t defend myself for that, because there’s no need to. The Bible teaches it. The Bible is true, therefore it is true whether I, you, Mike believes it or not. It is still true.

  15. Mike C said,

    God is the sovreign ruler over everything who takes kings and makes them as crazy as a beast, who takes a slave and uses him to lead his people to freedom, who takes a shepherd and makes him king, who raises up a king and hardens his heart so that God’s glory may be demonstrated. He may give and take life with no explanation and be just in doing it. He is the unchanging God that was before all and will be after all. Without him, I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing. Every breath I breathe is a display of his grace and mercy toward me. That is what the Bible teaches, but these “christians” disagree with it, and explain so beautifully how they are right.

    Funny thing though: I don’t disagree with any of that…

  16. Dan Barnett said,

    You did on your blog. You said that if I was right about God being this way and how He would be in the end when he destroys his enemies, then you didn’t want to be a christian.
    Listen, Everyone, first I’m not trying to put words in Mike’s mouth. Mike is more than happy to dicuss what he believes. The points that I listed are examples that I read from his blog and others he commented on.
    Second, it seems that I am doing that because You guys are arguing with me for Mike. I think Mike, as he has done very respectfully, can argue for himself. This post is NOT about Mike as an individual.
    This post is about a concern I have of a movement in the emerging church. I don’t think these guys are trying to deceive or lead astray, and I don’t think that many of the fundementalist Christians they get pitted against have it all right either. I think there is lacking in each(including my own life). The concern I have with Emergent is, among other things, that it ties in with
    2 Timothy 4:3, and it’s troubling.
    How’s this:

    Does someone spend eternity in God’s presence if they have not trusted in Christ’s death and resurrection as an atonement for their sin?

    Does someone who hasn’t done so, still have a chance after death?

    What is this lake of fire in Revelation?

    Can a muslim acheive what the Koran teaches he will get if he follows Islam well enough?

    Will a Jew see heaven without Christ as his messiah?

    Will a Catholic enter the kingdom based on his sacraments and charitable deeds?

    Will an atheist enter the kingdom of the god he has denied his whole life?

    When I say these “christians” everyone is assuming I am pointing at one man. I am not. If I was pointing at Mike, I would have said “Mike”.

    BTW, on a side note, I should return the thanks to you, Mike. I don’t know how many hits one your blog have been generated due to this, but I have had around 200 hits on this post from your post, so thanks back you for the publicity.

    God Bless.

  17. […] and call them the enemy.  I realize some wil read this and say I’m flip-flopping from my “Don’t Be Fooled” post.  I’m not.  My intention was never to make someone an enemy but to raise awareness, […]

  18. […] group and call them the enemy.  I realize some will read this and say I’m flip-flopping from my “Don’t Be Fooled” post.  I’m not.  My intention was never to make someone an enemy but to raise awareness, and  […]

  19. Joe White said,

    Mike wrote:

    ” it’s not really my place to say whether anyone, atheist or Christian or whatever else, is going to heaven or hell. I don’t know if, in your life, you are pursuing a way of love and reconciliation or not.”

    This would be salvation by works, no?


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