Rick Warren’s Latest

Several of the folks of Orwell Bible Church came because the church they were attending bought into the “Purpose Driven Church” philosophy promoted by Rick Warren.

I think it is important to be aware of what men like Rick Warren are doing, but not for the purpose of being on a “witch hunt.” Rather, we will have contact with those influenced by those like Warren, and we must speak accurately about what such men are currently doing to effectively help them see the danger of such.

Warren is quite pragmatic; that is, the end pretty much justifies the means. His most recent “end” is encouraging a physically healthy lifestyle, called the “Daniel plan.”

The “means” Warren utilizes to accomplish this end are several individuals, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. Who are these men? Here’s the info from Christian News Wire

Dr. Mehmert Oz is a follower of Emmanuel Swedenborg according to The New Church website. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and is Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Columbia University.

He is inspired by Emmanuel Swedenborg, a cult leader who died in 1772 in Sweden. Swedenborgianism has up to 50,000 members worldwide according to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website. They deny the atonement, the trinity, and the deity of the Holy Spirit.

They believe all religions lead to God and that Christianity must go through a rebirth. Also, they do not believe in a personal devil. They believe the Bible is not inspired and that when people die, they become an angel or an evil spirit.

Emmanuel Swedenborg had a vision in 1745 where he supposedly saw creatures crawling on the walls. He believed God then appeared to him as a man and told him that he would be the person to promote the new teachings to the world.

The other two speakers are Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman. Dr. Amen teaches tantric sex, a Hindu mystical approach to sex. He teaches Eastern religion meditation and energy-based Reiki, a New Age practice. Dr. Mark Hyman promotes mystical meditation based on Buddhist principles.

Warren thus is engaged in ministry endeavor with those who denies basic Christian doctrines, and the Bible clearly says that is not what should be happening–

14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.  17“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you (2 Cor 6:14-17)

9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds (2 John 9-11).

How should Christians treat Warren, a professed believer? The Bible gives instruction there, too–

6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us…14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame (2 Thess 3:6, 14).

Stay away from false teachers like the ones Warren fellowships with. And stay away from Warren.

Movements

During the last year or so there has been a concerted effort by several men advocating the premise that while there are fundamentalists there is no longer a movement of fundamentalism.

One of the reasons put forward in support of this premise is the “fractured state” of said fundamentalism.

We are then encouraged to consider the necessity of “making fresh applications” of our understanding of separation to the current milieu. Examples of such “fresh applications” involve limited endeavors with “conservative evangelicals.”

It’s interesting, then, to listen to one such conservative evangelical, John Piper, talk about “all kinds of movements” many of which “don’t know the other exists” yet all fall under the umbrella of the “Gospel-Centered Movement.”

Note that Piper calls this a “movement” both at the beginning (0:36ff) and end (3:37) of this video. Despite the fact that such individuals don’t know each other and are across a variety of theological and ecclesiological grids, they are yet constituted a movement.

This, however, is not the point of this video clip. Piper’s point is that there is a disconnect that exists in many who rejoice in the majesty of God as they study Scripture and worship but not in various aspects of their personal lives (he hits things like movies and immodest clothing–hey, wait a minute–I thought only “fundies” hit on those things?).

This disconnect occurs because of a failure in the doctrine and application of God’s holiness, i.e. separation. Separation is inherent in the doctrine of God, but its necessary practical ramifications (some of which are correctly noted by Piper) are either ignored or dismissed by such “Gospel-centered” adherents and followers. This is probably one of the primary concerns I’ve had when hearing the “gospel-centered” mantra for the last couple of years.

This failure in the area of separation (both personal and ecclesiastical aspects) is one of the main problems that I have with my separatist brethren entering into endeavors with such men.

Back to my initial point–while I do agree in principle that we should be concerned with Scripture and not movements per se, I do not agree that one can act as if no movements exist. It almost seems as if by getting the “movement” idea out of the way, that opens up and/or justifies the “fresh applications” approach.

The Praise We Give

My systematic theology professor was Dr. Rolland McCune at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. To date he has published three books:

Volume three of his Systematic Theology is forthcoming. I owe a massive debt to Dr. McCune. He taught me theology, exemplified and encouraged a consistent separatist stand, stood for and promoted the best kind of fundamentalism, etc. etc. etc. I can’t say enough about him.

That said, I can’t imagine anything like this ever being done in praise of Dr. McCune (at least, I hope)–

The moves, music, and exaltation of a man…wow. I know, they say that while Grudem’s great, God alone must be exalted; but the overall point of the song is about Wayne Grudem.

This may be defended as young people having a good sense of humor, but shouldn’t even our “sense of humor” be affected and controlled by the character and will of God? Since when do “light moments” get a pass when it comes to worldliness? Why is it okay to take the rebellious expressions of our culture and use them for such purposes?

This is a great example of the celebrity star status that too many Christians give to leading speakers, pastors, writers, and theologians. For all the talk about being “God,” “Christ,” and “cross” centered, the exaltation of man using worldly music and forms is at best inconsistent and at worst idolatrous.

This says something as well about John Piper, as it was promoted on his Desiring God blog. Generally speaking, what one promotes and approves of is indicative of his theology.

It is a good thing to learn from teachers–they are God’s gift to the church! (Eph 4:11)–but let’s be careful about the praise we lavish on them as well as how we express such appreciation.