September 23, 2006

Forsaking Absolutely Nothing

Two items of a similar nature arrived in my in-box this week that provide more evidence that the church of today is slipping into the abyss of apostasy. Three well-known Christian leaders were mentioned in the two articles who are deceived themselves and deceiving others: David Jeremiah, Erwin McManus and Tim Timmons.

The first article is called, "David Jeremiah Proposes ‘Major Paradigm Shift’ for His Church" that was distributed by the Lighthouse Trails Research Project. They reported that Bible teacher David Jeremiah was endorsing a book by Erwin McManus called The Barbarian Way

They identify the theme of the book as a "new missiology…" in which "Rick Warren and others proclaim, ‘God doesn't care what religion you are, just add Jesus to what you already have.’ Thus you can be a Buddhist with Jesus, a Hindu with Jesus - that's OK. McManus clarifies this when he states: ‘The greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity.’ He elaborates more: ‘They [Barbarians - who he tries to convince readers they should be] see Christianity as a world religion, in many ways no different from any other religious system. Whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity, they're not about religion; they're about advancing the revolution Jesus started two thousand years ago’ (p.6)."

The article concludes, "The book reads more like a primer to prepare for an anarchist war than instruction and exhortation on how to live the Christian life according to the Bible. He says: ‘The way of Jesus is far too savage for their sensibilities (those who are 'civilized')... Why a reckless call to awaken the barbarian faith within us at the risk of endangering this great civilization we have come to know as Christianity? ... It is time to hear the barbarian call, to form a barbarian tribe, and to unleash the barbarian revolt. Let the invasion begin."

The other article with the same call to evangelize people of other religions to simply add Jesus to the religion in which they were raised came from the pen of Tim Timmons. The article called "While 'the last Christian generation' is upon us, the first Jesus generation has returned" was published on the Christian ASSIST News Service on September 18, 2006. Timmons talked about some Buddhists who believe in Jesus even though they are still practicing Buddhists. It reads in part:

"Just as the early disciples of Jesus spent several years learning from the Master, Himself, these young men are doing the same. They are truly followers of Jesus. This is the most unique discipleship dynamic seen in modern times. Eight young Buddhists are being mentored in the teachings and principles of Jesus. After a minimum of 5 years in this process, the eight men have been named Mentors. These men, in turn, walking two-by-two are mentoring 2-3 "mentees" in the same way.

"In fact, the Tibetan government and the Dalai Lama have honored these four pairs of disciples. They have been awarded the position of ambassadors. They were named Ambassadors to the Poor in the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.

"Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Christian must be seen as cultural, religious backgrounds. Not one of these cultural backgrounds must be forsaken in order to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus trumps it all! He is all-inclusive and isn’t owned by Christianity. I love what Brian McLaren wrote in A Generous Orthodoxy, ‘I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. This will be hard, you say, and I agree. But frankly, it's not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many 'Christian' religious contexts, either.’"

There were several reaction to Timmons on the apologetics blog called AR-Talk. Here is how several defenders of the faith responded.

My own pastor Tim Brown noted:"…A Japanese can remain a Japanese and a Tibetan a Tibetan and be a Christian, but can a Buddhist remain a Buddhist and be a Christian? Can an atheist be a theist at one and the same time? Can one hold to reincarnation and resurrection at the same time? Can one believe in karma and Christ at the same time? Can one hold to the finality of Mohammed and Christ at the same time? Can one believe that Jesus is the Son of God and not the Son of God w/o being hopelessly confused? Can A be non-A? You get my drift. Some basic logic categories seem to be fused together."

Brooks Alexander, long associated with SCP (Spiritual Counterfeits Project) in Berkeley, responded: "That's exactly what it is: "Syncretism" has been the knock on the "emergent" crowd from the beginning, and here it is on full and flagrant display. At least Timmons doesn't try to hide his enthusiasm for dumping 2000 years worth of gospel preaching about sin, repentance, the cross, etc -- you know, all that stuff that makes people uncomfortable. What he's apparently left with is the same load of "great teacher" garbage that C. S. Lewis skewered so deftly (and so fatally) in Mere Christianity. Under it's influence, Christianity becomes just one more politically correct religion; no wonder the Dalai Lama (the prince of syncretism) likes it. I'm still trying to figure out whether these people are as arrogant as they come across, or just soft-headed. Worst case scenario: a combination of the two."

Jonna, of Living Lamb Ministries, said, "I am guessing that they are not willing to drop anti-Christian practices of their culture. Otherwise, there would be no story here. They would simply be Christians from Tibet. A Native American must leave shamanism. An African must leave voodoo. A European must leave druidism. A Tibetan must leave mysticism. All cultures have associated sorcery practices. A person must leave these practices to follow Christ. They may not drag their baggage or their baggage will overtake them. They cannot serve two masters. The 'Mentors' are not qualified to lead others, as they are ever learning, but unable to come to a knowledge of the truth. When they meet the Truth, they will come out from among them."

Marcia Montenegro, an expert in new age spirituality wrote, "Either one is a Buddhist or one is a Christian. If you are a Buddhist Christian, you not really saved as the 2 are entirely incompatible. The Buddhist cultural background is part of Buddhist belief; I don't see how the 2 can be separated. How can one be a Christian and still be called Buddhist? Isn't this syncretism? Are these Buddhists Tibetan Buddhists (the article implies this)? Then they can be Tibetan Christians, but not Buddhist Christians. I am wondering what in their Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim cultural background are they not leaving?"

And author James Sundquist hit the nail on the head with: "My only comment would be that Tim Timmon's sounds exactly like Mother Teresa, whom Rick Warren quotes and touts!"

There is nothing new under the sun. Early Christianity apostatized when converts to Christianity from pagan religions merged Christianity to paganism which gave birth to the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire. But it was not so in the early church. When those from other religions came to Christ, they forsook all for Him.

Acts 19:18-20 "And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed."

This trend will no doubt catch on as the prophesied great apostasy grows like a snowball cascading down a snowy slope, growing and growing until the avalanche comes crashing down. There is no stopping it, but at least we can rescue some from being overtaken in its path.

♥♥♥

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me; 
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

 

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