Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emergent Church Leader Samir Selmanovic Worships with Witches

Posted by Christine Pack

For those who think the Emergent Church Movement is just another flavor of Christianity, Exhibit A for your consideration:

Samir Selmanovic, a rising star in the Emergent Church Movement, thinks it is just fine for someone who is a professing Christian to attend a worship service "with a wonderful Wiccan community."  In An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, some of Selmanovic's writings gave us a hint of his beliefs:
Can it be that the teachings of the gospel are embedded and can be found in reality itself rather than being exclusively isolated in sacred texts and our interpretations of those texts? If the answer is yes, can it be that they are embedded in other stories, other peoples’ histories, and even other religions?…
God’s table is welcoming all who seek, and if any religion is to win, may it be the one that produces people who are the most loving, the most humble, the most Christlike. Whatever the meaning of “salvation” and “judgement,” we Christians are going to be saved by grace, like everyone else, and judged by our works, like everyone else…
For most critics of such open Christianity, the problem with inclusiveness is that it allows for truth to be found in other religions. To emerging Christians, that problem is sweet… Moreover, if non-Christians can know our God, then we want to benefit from their contribution to our faith.
This kind of teaching has become increasingly more mainstreamed and accepted - through a false - but very popular - teaching called "The Wider Mercy Doctrine," a form of Universalism that has - amazingly - somehow taken root in some of today's churches.

 The Wider Mercy Doctrine 

The "Wider Mercy Doctrine" is a belief that salvation can be obtained even when a person has not heard the gospel and does not know Jesus Christ. It is a belief that, somehow, God grants salvific status to persons who are sincere in their religious beliefs, even if those beliefs are false. Therefore, according to this false teaching, a sincere Buddhist or Shintoist or Toaist or any other religious adherent can obtain salvation, simply because they are sincere in their belief and desire to approach God.

Billy Graham espoused it in years past, and Rob Bell, William P. Young, and Leonard Sweet (among others) espouse it today. Now, most professing Christians who hold to the Wider Mercy Doctrine have made at least some effort to have Jesus figure somewhere in their redemption story through a heresy which originated in the 3rd century A.D. with a false teacher named Origen. This teaching is known today by various names, including Christian Universalism and Universal Reconciliation.  But Samir Selmanovic is showing that for some, this is no longer necessary.  If you think about it, it makes sense. Where Samir Selmanovic has ended up is the natural "end" of this Wider Mercy doctrine.....which states, "Hey, who are we to "put God in a box," and say that He can't save people in any way He wants to?"

The Wider Mercy heresy sounds so good and loving and tolerant, but think of it like a bullseye with concentric circles: Jesus and the narrow way in the center, then Catholicism in the next ring, then next would be the Christian cults (Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, etc.), then next would be Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, paganism, and continuing outward, with the very outermost ring being straight up Satan worship. (Obviously, the false religions in the closer in circles would more closely mimic Christianity, in that they would possess similar terminology, have similar worship practices, they might even sing hymns and quote Scripture.  But as you move outward, more and more of that would drop away.)

Samir Selmanovic has just followed this heresy to its natural conclusion...he may be a few rings short of straight up Satanism....but he's not that far off. Wicca is very dark.

I have been watching in amazed astonishment for several years as the Emergent Church Movement has grown increasingly more apostate and brazen in its heresies.  The developments have been fast-moving and continually surprising.  But I have to say, this one surprised even me.  Worshiping with witches? I believe that we may have just witnessed the the merging of the Emergent Church with New Age Spirituality.  Can our Lord's return be far off?

 Additional Resources 

Billy Graham: "There's so much that we have in common (with the Roman Catholic church)"

John MacArthur Discussing Billy Graham's "Wider Mercy" View

Doctrinal Errors With the "Wider Mercy" Doctrine

What Is A "Christian Universalist?"

Monday, April 9, 2012

God Hears Our Cries

Posted by Christine Pack

Charles Spurgeon
"The God of most men — the God of the unregenerate — is an inanimate God, or, if alive and able to see, he is an unfeeling God, careless about them and their personal interests. 'Oh, it is preposterous,' say they, 'to think that he takes notice of our sorrows and troubles — and still more absurd to suppose that he hears prayer, or that he ever interferes in answer to the voice of supplication, to grant a poor man his requests. It cannot be.' That is their God, you see. That is the God of the heathen — a dead, blind, dumb God. I do not wonder that they do not pray to him. They could not expect an answer.

But the God of grace is one who has opened a communication between heaven and earth, who notices the cries of his children, puts their tears into his bottle, sympathises with their sorrows, looks down on them with an eye of pity and a father’s love, has communion with them, and permits them to have communion with him, and all that through the blessed person of the Lord Jesus Christ."

- Excerpted from a sermon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon ("The God Of Bethel")

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Problems With The Message Bible

Posted by Christine Pack

Pastor Justin Peters, who is a Christian apologist and Word of Faith expert, has written an excellent article detailing the problems with The Message.

The Message was authored by contemplative Eugene Peterson, the same Euguene Peterson who has endorsed the heretical book, The Shack. The Message is sometimes referred to as a Bible, but it is not in fact a Bible, but a paraphrase, in which Peterson has made substantial - and questionable -  changes to the text.

Justin's excellent article can be read here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wretched's Response to "Monumental"

Posted by Christine Pack

On March 8, 2012, we posted an article entitled "Concerns About Kirk Cameron's Movie 'Monumental,'" in which we pointed out that Kirk Cameron's latest movie project does not proclaim the gospel but instead seems to advance a Reconstructionist/Dominionist view. We also remarked that Cameron's friend and colleague Todd Friel of Wretched Radio/TV would most certainly be expected to weigh in on this topic, as Cameron and Friel have both been strongly associated with the gospel message of Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.

Todd Friel has done just that today, by publishing on Wretched's facebook page the following note:

Our Little Growing Pain has done it again. Kirk Cameron has made another great movie that the secularists will hate. But he has also made a movie that may determine the direction of evangelical Christianity for years to come.

While some will argue its historical perspective, Monumental reminds us that Puritans risked life and limb to come to a land where they could practice their Protestant faith without being persecuted by the state or the Roman Catholic Church (frequently the same thing). This is a history lesson worth learning and Kirk is an excellent teacher.

Unfortunately, some will use Cameron’s film to proclaim, “See! We need to get America back to her former moral greatness. We need to RECLAIM America!”

While I am in favor of Christianity informing the decisions of our lawmakers, the theology behind the evangelical movement to “Reclaim America” is un-Biblical and detrimental to the Christian Gospel.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple: Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Tim.1:15). Jesus did not die on a cross to redeem society, government, institutions or nations. Don’t get me wrong, when the Gospel is proclaimed and souls get saved, nations do change. But the Gospel should not be used to save society! The Gospel should be preached to save sinners and the result MAY be a changed nation.

The Gospel is not; Jesus saves sinners AND… 
- obliterates abortion
- rids society of pornography
- saves marriages
- abolishes the sex trade 
The Gospel may have those results, but those results are not the Gospel. This is not theological hairsplitting. The moment we add an additional agenda to the Gospel (as noble as that cause may be), there will be at least two disastrous results: 
1. Un-Biblical Ecumenism. When our goal is the Gospel AND a cause, we will be tempted to partner with “co-belligerents” in spiritual undertakings to accomplish that cause. The result of that ecumenism is confusion to the undiscerning observer. When we stand together with a Mormon or Roman Catholic or a Jew to accomplish our “AND,” the world interprets our hand-holding as an endorsement of one another. Especially in our postmodern world, evangelicals and Mormons/Catholics together confirms their belief that all religions are basically the same. 
2. Resentment.  Christians can and should be prophetic voices decrying the ills of society, but when we fail to preach the Gospel at the same time, then we are simply acting like Pharisees or Muslims who impose their values on society. We are the Gospel people, but much of the Reclaim America movement has historically focused on abortion and homosexuality without the Gospel and the result has been forty years of anger from the liberal left. The Gospel is a stumbling block all by itself, we don’t need people to hate us for the wrong reasons. 
Do I want to see a better future for my children? Of course I do, but that is not my job. My assignment is to obey the Great Commandment and leave the societal results to God. Our job is not to be salt and light, we ARE salt and light. Our focus is the local church, not Washington DC.

The pendulum seems to be swinging. The Reclaim America Tree which was planted in the late 1970’s has had decades to bear fruit in our country. Kirk Cameron’s assessment of society is correct, much of the fruit is rotten, but I believe that our moralistic efforts to reclaim our country are responsible for some of that fruit. 
While none of us like the decline we see in our nation, the fruit is not the problem. The tree is the problem. We can polish rotten apples all we want, but all we are doing is cleaning the outside of a wormy apple. Efforts to Reclaim America do not lay the axe to the root of the problem, only the Gospel does that.

While I truly love my Reclaim America brothers and sisters, it is my hope that they will reconsider their priorities. If we combine anything with the Gospel, we may win a cause, but the Gospel will lose every time. 
Permit me to share this monumental thought: it is better for the whole nation to go down the tubes than for the Gospel to be compromised. Let’s let God handle the state of our union, but let us focus on our families, our churches and the lost.
 Additional Resources 

David Barton: Historian or Revisionist?

It's Official: Mormonism Crazier than Scientology