Biblical Separation Biblically Done

This is one of those posts that is too easy to be foolish with and bring shame to the name of Christ.  One one side you have the seriousness of the situation; but on the other side, you have the ability to speak in such harsh and biting ways that the people you hope to touch are simply turned off.  So I will try to wend my way through the middle ground and in the process perhaps shed a bit of light on a much misunderstood bible passage.

This little announcement showed up in my inbox last night and my response was simply to shake my head a bit and sigh.  It is too common today to prompt any stronger of a response. Quite the the lineup.  Yep, quite the lineup.  Oprah, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren.  Three of the most visible people in the American ‘spiritual’ world.

According to the site (click through the image) Joel Osteen will be talk about finding the joy in life. I don’t see Rick’s talking point at this time but he usually does something related to having a purposeful life.  Oprah is just Oprah, usually loved or hated.

But let’s be honest.  None of these people should be the go to guys (gal) to find joy, purpose, or anything else in a true and serious manner.  I will go from the greater to the lesser in a very brief manner.  Oprah is really into spirituality.  But it is the New Age, Eastern mystical kind that is rife with error and hopelessness.  She recently professed to being a Christian, but that term is so loosely defined today it means almost nothing.  Even a casual reading of her words and actions in that article will show that she has no idea what it means to truly follow Jesus as Jesus defines it.

Joel?  Well, I have little love for him either.  Has the largest church in America but has no knowledge of the basics of the Christian faith.  Here he declares in the spirit of inclusivism that Romney and President Obama are Christians.  Well isn’t that nice of him!  Not remotely orthodox but sure nice of him. There is no end of material on the internet where Joel’s own words speak to his inability to articulate the genuine Christian faith.  His is of the health, happiness, and wealth category and it is deadly.

Warren is a nice guy that I struggle to like.  John Piper had him at a conference which created quite a firestorm of controversy.  His confession of faith is sound, but his application of the Christian faith is poor in so many ways.  When Piper interviewed him due to the controversy it was unsatisfying because of the narrowness of the questions and the restricted nature of the source of the questions.  You can read a good article on that interview here.  The problem with Warren is primarily two-fold.  First, he is purposefully shallow due to his pragmatic approach to church building and planting.  Second, and more troubling, is the theological shallowness attached to his writing and teaching.  Read The Purpose-Driven Life and it will only take a few minutes to realize that all the scripture in the book can be removed and the message remains the same.  The choice to use a large number of poor translations and paraphrases only made it worse.  I remember reading a quote from James and I could not recognize it in the slightest even though I know the book of James intimately.

That is all for the day.  Tomorrow, maybe later on today I will give you the “so what” of this whole thing.

About Matt Henry

Middle-aged pastor trying to figure out how to be missional in his world. Loves his wife, his children, and his dog Bear. I have a love of woodworking even though woodworking doesn't always love me. The name is xagete but is pronounced exegete.

Posted on October 4, 2012, in Church, gospel, Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. For what it’s worth, I do not think your words brought any unnecessary criticism, nor shamed the name of Christ. Looking forward forward to the “so what” section.

    David made a good point about Rick Warren one night, if one likes Warren and then guys like Piper, too, it’s probably okay. If one likes Warren, but then guys like Osteen or J. Meyer, it’s probably something to worry about. He seems to be the breaking point.

    • Thank Pat. The temptation to be snarky in these situations is strong for me. Warren is the one who bothers me the most and it is much like David’s comment. Warren can be a ‘gateway’ to the Christian faith. But once there he can direct you to some scary people.

      The number of weak teachers he would be connected to far outnumbers the solid ones like Piper. Which is one of the reasons why I cannot recommend anything from him. And why I refused to participate in the conference Piper had him at.

  2. She recently professed to being a Christian, but that term is so loosely defined today it means almost nothing.

    So true.

  3. Thanks for your words Matt, I think you stated it gracefully. Romans 1 left me stripped bare before God concerning my judgments of those who I might deem are in Christ, since then I’ve been having trouble walking that line in righteousness.

    I’ve been convicted that when making “judgements” my heart must match God’s in Ezk 18:23

    “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

  1. Pingback: Biblical Separation Biblically Done, Pt. 3 « Missional Meanderings

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