Posts Tagged ‘heresy’

Letter to the Editor: The True Meaning of Titus 3:10

Dear Lighthouse Trails,

The word ‘heretic’ is the translation in a few English versions of a retiken in Titus 3:10 which literally means “factious, causing divisions.” As you do not appear to be calling for love, tolerance, peace, forgiveness, and unity, in simply following Jesus as Lord and master – but
indeed attacking those who are; what does that word say about you?

Our response:

Titus 3:10: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.”

The greek meaning (1) for the word heretick or divisive is: 1)fitted or able to take or choose a thing (as in a sect) 2)schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine 3)heretic

Thus the meaning of this passage is talking about someone who separates himself by following a false doctrine, which leads to divisions. Titus 3:10 is not referring to believers who are defending the faith against false doctrine, but rather is referring to those who are leading many astray with false, heretical doctrines.

Letter to the Editor: How To Deal With Those Who Teach False Doctrine in a Scriptural Manner

To Lighthouse Trails:

In these days of conflict, confrontations and controversy, one thought has come to the surface that seems to be needed in writing by those on the front lines of evangelicalism.  It is perceived that such organizations as Lighthouse Trails and many others in the creation movement are unloving and harsh in their attitudes toward those who hold to unbiblical and controversial views.  They are deemed as not exhibiting “sweet reasonableness” in their writings.  While I do not agree with this assessment, it appears time for a substantive essay on how to balance a declaration of all the counsel of God with grace and calm reason, while at the same time describing the consequences of false teaching and living as revealed from God’s own evaluation in His Word.  It would be helpful to have this in booklet form to pass on to those who are presently on the “fence” in need of a change of outlook and commitment to the Lord’s total revelation in Scripture. 

Would you consider this as a possible project in upcoming issues of your publication?  Thanks.

Lighthouse Trails Response:

At Lighthouse Trails, we have made great and consistent efforts to always speak the truth in love. We attempt to never be vitriolic or judge one’s motives, not even the “worst” of them. We leave that part up to God. We also attempt to make sure any article we link to by a fellow researcher is of the same caliber. While we do occasionally link to an article that might not fall perfectly into that criteria, our regular authors and writers are of the same mindset as us. Aside from all that, you are right, something of this nature would make a great article/booklet – on how to rightfully and in a godly manner (following the example of Jesus, Paul,  and the disciples) deal with those who are bringing false teachings into the church.

In thinking about following the example of Jesus, the disciples, and Paul, below are some Scripture verses that might help us outline our thoughts, for while we can show verses that talk about showing love and respect to others, we can also show many verses that talk about how to deal properly with those bringing heretical doctrines into the church.

While we don’t believe the New Testament condones cruel or hateful behavior to anyone, we do see a consistent pattern in Scripture that does not look lightly upon those who are teaching heretical doctrines or practices.  Let us heed the whole counsel of God, which we believe tells us to remain humble and in an attitude of grace (knowing that we are no better than anyone else in that it is only by the grace of God that we can see these spiritual things), but also tells us to speak courageously, with confidence, honesty, and strength.

We are in a battle for the continuance of the Gospel message – souls are perishing – and words must be said. While we do care for the souls of the men and women who are bringing in dangerous  false doctrine and practices, we cannot, in good conscience, take it lightly or have congenial “conversations” and futile  private discussions.  “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12). The Bible says that the message of the Cross is the power of God unto salvation (i.e., the doctrine of Christ -2 John 1:9-11) . That is because it is the only way of salvation. When teachings such as contemplative spirituality, Spiritual Formation, and emerging ideology (which all  have roots in panentheism, occultism, and interspirituality), threaten to diminish the “doctrine of Christ,”  it creates a very serious situation that cannot be handled “sitting down.”

Scriptures on how the Christian contender of the faith should speak and behave:

1 Timothy 4:12 [B]e thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Ephesians 4:14-15 . . .  that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

Ephesians 4:24-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor . . .  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I . . .  beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Jude 1:17-23 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:  and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

 2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of . . .

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

2 John 1: 9-11 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 Jude 1:3-5 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not . . .

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Galatians 1:6-10 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Revelation 2: 2-3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Galatians 2: 4-5 . . . and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:  to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Luke 10:3-12 (Instructions to the disciples from Jesus before his death and resurrection) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.  And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,  Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

Acts 20: 28-31 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember.

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Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites by Paul Proctor

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Spiritual Research Network Offers “Master List” of Books to Watch Out For

By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network

Far too many Christians these days are buying, reading, recommending, selling, lending, promoting and involving themselves with books and authors that either teach or give full endorsement to unbiblical teachings and activities.

This is because far too many Christians do not “Test all things, hold fast what is good” (1 Thes. 5:21). The types of books we are referring to are:

Contemplative Spirituality, Cultic, Emerging Church, Heretical, Homosexual, Lesbian, New Age, Pro-Gay, Purpose Driven, Transgendered, and Word-Faith Authors and Books Advertised and Promoted within [MANY] Online and Walk-in Christian Bookstores Worldwide.

Our intention in posting the ‘Master List of Authors and Books Not Recommended’ is not to tell Christians they can’t read books, do research, or think for themselves, but rather, to warn people about aberrant, heretical and even occult teachings and practices inside and out of the church.

If you recognize an author, book, ministry, etc., on this list we encourage you to do your own research and to test what you find in light of sound Biblical theology. This is what Christian research ministries and pastors have done in order to faithfully warn the flock of God against deception.

The ‘Master List of Authors and Books Not Recommended’ is basically a concise warning list and it is the fruit of countless thousands of hours of tiring research. In our own research library, we have over 3,000 books, research and journal articles, magazines, etc. We quote from many of these books/authors in order to expose their false teachings. Many of these book/authors are found on The ‘Master List of Authors and Books Not Recommended.’

It is also important to note that there are many other balanced Christian research ministries and churches that are exposing the deceptions of the authors/books on this list. The list is not compiled by just a few “lone-star loose cannon apologetic ministries”, but rather, it has been added to over time by many Christians from around the world.

Lastly, our motivation for linking to this list is not to malign, pick on, make fun of, slander or speak ill of any fellow human being. Our motivation is to lovingly exhort people to use discernment in regards to these books, authors and ministries. The list is “updated regularly, and will be of great use to bookstore affiliates, customers, distributors, employees, managers, owners, publishers and vendors of both online and walk-in Christian bookstores…”

It is our prayer that you will be spared from unbiblical teachings and practices that could lead you away from the biblical Jesus Christ and the biblical Gospel.

Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MASTER LIST.

Book Review: “Babylon Rising” and Canon in Crisis

By Larry DeBruyn
Guarding His Flock Ministries and Herescope

Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Fresh Revelations, and an “Open” Canon

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Paul, 2 Timothy 4:4, Emphasis Added.

Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), the first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, once reportedly said that all heresy is either the Bible plus, or the Bible minus. The work of radical higher criticism, as it has affected, even determined, the liberal view of the Christian faith since the late 1800s, has seen to it that there’s a lot of Bible-minus ideology amongst professing Christians now-a-days, even among so-called evangelicals. Now however, voices are emerging which advocate a Bible-plus view of Holy Scripture. One such voice has stated:

While I do believe that the Holy Bible is Divinely inspired and written by men, I do not necessarily hold to the idea that only the 66 books we now have in our (Protestant) bibles are the sole Divinely inspired books of antiquity. [1] (BR, Chapter 1, 1, Emphasis added) [2]

Why does Rob Skiba,  the author who wrote this statement above, not limit inspiration of ancient books to only to the sixty-six of the Protestant canon? It appears that he and others like Tom Horn, Joseph Lumpkin, and Chuck Missler, need other books of antiquity and mythologies to integrate paranormal activity with the end-times scenario that they are seeking to create, a scenario Skiba calls, “The Genesis Six Experiment.” (BR, Chapter 2, 1-2) Click here to continue reading.

Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites

By Paul Proctor
Free-lance writer
Used with permission.

Every now and then I get a terse email from someone who has taken exception to my candid comments on Rick Warren, asking questions like: “Have you ever spoken with him personally about your objections and concerns and tried to work through your differences privately as scripture teaches, rather than attack him publicly as you do?”

The scripture they usually cite is, of course, Matthew 18:15-17

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

This is probably one of the more misunderstood and misapplied Scriptures quoted today, especially among those who ingest Church Growth Carcinogens and Purpose Driven Lies. Because we have been inappropriately taught that unity and relationships are the most important things for Christians to pursue and protect in the church, these verses are often touted as the principal directive we should follow when addressing false teachers, which frankly, couldn’t be any further from the truth and only ends up protecting, sustaining and empowering them, which is probably why they teach it.

There is absolutely no biblical record of Jesus or any of His disciples ever taking a heretic off to the side for coffee and donuts after they led someone astray distorting the Word of God. They didn’t shake hands, exchange hugs, kisses and phone numbers or set up appointments on their PDAs to dialog their doctrinal differences over lunch in the quiet corner of a favorite restaurant at a more convenient time.

No, Jesus dealt with heretics harshly, publicly, and immediately, as did Paul and the other disciples. And, keep in mind; we’re talking New Testament here friends. In the Old Testament, false prophets were simply taken out and stoned to death for their lies. That’s how serious God is about His Word being rightly divided and properly proclaimed.

So, what was Jesus referring to in Matthew 18? Look again carefully at how he begins:

“…If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone…”

You see, the Lord is referring here to a personal offense, grievance and/or misunderstanding between two people – something that has broken their fellowship and has little or nothing to do with anyone else. Personal and private matters of wrongdoing should always be dealt with personally and privately first, so as not to unduly disrupt the unity of the body. That is indeed, biblical.

Now, as for wolves in sheep’s clothing that stand in pulpits and on stages before vast audiences with microphones and television cameras proclaiming demonic doctrines as the Word of God, the scriptural directive is altogether different:

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – Ephesians 5:11

(“Reprove” is another word for rebuke)

“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” – Titus 3:10

“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2nd John 1:10)

Jesus didn’t request a closed-door session with the Scribes and Pharisees in order to find common ground, build relationships and promote unity in Jerusalem. He condemned their blasphemy before one and all and repeatedly warned His disciples about their leaven. And when His number-one disciple challenged Him about His own up and coming crucifixion, Jesus didn’t put His hand gently on Peter’s shoulder and effeminately whisper: “My friend, you just don’t understand.” No, He lashed back at him with power and authority in front of ALL the disciples saying:

“…Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” – Matthew 16:23

Why? Because, Peter was publicly contradicting God’s Word and Divine plan, which is the equivalent of proclaiming Jesus to be a lunatic or a liar.

Did the religious leaders stone Stephen to death because of all the cute and cuddly things he had to say about them? I don’t THINK so. Stephen spoke the cold hard truth that day and they hated him for it because God’s Truth is always “evil” and intolerable in the ears of the unrepentant. He told them:

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

You see, defenders of today’s religious leaders almost always resort to calling their critics, among other things, “legalists,” for incessantly using scripture to rebuke unbiblical teachings and practices; comparing them to the Pharisees of Stephen’s day, when, in reality, Stephen might just as easily say to Rick Warren and others like him:

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…who have received the Gospel, but have not proclaimed it.”

Of course, when someone reprimands today’s religious leaders for their unbiblical teachings, they are silenced, shamed, slandered, marginalized, isolated and/or asked to leave. But, isn’t that exactly what the religious leaders did to Jesus and His disciples?

The Pharisees were a lot of things but they were not “legalists.” They’ve merely been labeled as such by the religious liberals of OUR day in order to try and discount the importance of studying and obeying scripture. In fact the word “legalist’ does not even appear in any version of the Bible I searched. It is just another contemporary twisting of the truth to forward a corrupt agenda and steer people away from God’s Word to something more flexible, entertaining and endearing.

“Legalism” is defined in my dictionary as the “strict adherence to a literal interpretation of a law, rule, or religious moral code.” Under this definition, is not Jesus Himself a legalist? You see, without the law, there is no need for a cross; which probably explains why both are being expelled from the church and society today as outdated and offensive relics from the past.

So, according to Stephen’s own testimony, if the religious leaders indeed “received the law but have not kept it,” they don’t even QUALIFY as true “legalists” but only as lawbreakers; or, as Jesus repeatedly called them; “Hypocrites,” which is another word for “actor,” meaning, they only pretended to keep the law.

And THAT, my friends, is what today’s Purpose Driven Pastor is – an actor – a hypocrite and a pretender, because he CLAIMS the Word of God but does not actually believe it nor proclaim it. If he did, he would preach the Bible and nothing else; verse by verse, for the rest of his ministry; not The Purpose Driven Life, chapter by chapter for 40 days. He would quote The Almighty with power and conviction before a trembling and uneasy congregation, instead of quoting Rick Warren with purpose and ambition before a casual and comfortable constituency.

When church attendance and revenues are down, closet liberals, be they Purpose Driven or otherwise, often minimize, in varying degrees, the importance of the Bible in a Christian’s life, calling it “legalism” whenever one encourages the brethren to obey God’s Word or dares to chastise those who refuse. Well, THEY might call keeping God’s commandments “legalism,” but Jesus Christ calls it “love.” Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” – John 14:21

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” – John 14:23-24

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” – John 15:10

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – 1st John 2:4

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1st John 5:3

Keeping God’s commandments will not gain you entry into the Kingdom of Heaven anymore than attending church will make you a member. That only comes by faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. (Ephesians 2:8-10) But for those of us who claim Him, there is no other way to exercise that faith and prove our discipleship.

Loving God is not having a hand-raising, hip-hopping, wave-making, emotional experience in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals before a rock band in some downtown arena full of shrieking Seekers, Creekers, Promise Keepers and Passionate Purposeites. The only true act of love, worship and service to God is obedience to His Word. Everything else is distortion, distraction, deception, delusion and destruction.

And, when you set your Bible aside for some other book or teacher or preacher, you are neither loving, nor following, nor obeying the One you claim as your Lord and Savior. Oh, you might be Purpose Driven or Seeker Sensitive; but more than anything else, you’re a hypocrite.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew 7:21-23

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Bible Gateway Now Gateway to Heretical Authors – Could Point Millions to Emerging Teachings

by John Lanagan
A Lighthouse Trails Special Report

Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)

For years Bible Gateway has been relied upon for accurate Bible translation.  In 2008, Bible Gateway was purchased by Zondervan Publishing, and for some months now, Bible Gateway’s online General Store has served as gateway to a number of heretical authors.

If that sounds too melodramatic, or harsh, just consider: With over 12,000 [2012 update: now over 48,000] sites carrying its link, Bible Gateway is by far the most popular online source for Bible translation.  It is used by those who have been saved for many decades, by brand new Christians, and also by those who are investigating the Christian faith.

Bible Gateway offers this assurance:  “Of course, it’s critical that any advertising on Bible Gateway reflects our Christian values and does not conflict with our mission. That means we carefully screen the ads that appear on Bible Gateway, and we don’t use ads in ways that interfere with your ability to read and study Scripture.” [1]

Unfortunately, through Bible Gateway, new believers or seekers can easily end up with heretical books that may indeed interfere with understanding the Word of God. Against all logic, against all biblical propriety, two of the most heretical, Christ-defying books are offered—without warning—through the Bible Gateway General Store.

It must be noted that Doug Pagitt’s A Christianity Worth Believing, and Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity are not the only anti-biblical books for sale through the online store. Not by a long shot. We could mention The Shack, Thomas Merton (115 items available!), The Message paraphrase, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, and many others.

For now, however, let us briefly examine these works by emergent leaders Pagitt and McLaren. Both deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ; that Salvation comes solely through Christ; that there is a biblical hell; or that Christ is even necessary for daily forgiveness of sins.

McLaren informs the reader he and others have “dared to tweak” the content of the Word of God. He states, “We might question conventional theories of atonement or the nature and population of hell or whether concepts like original sin or total depravity might need to be modified.” [2]

McLaren also designates Christians who are not shy about calling homosexuality a sin with the derogatory label, “fundasexualists.” [3] As has been stated elsewhere, McLaren is essentially saying that when it comes to opposing homosexual sin, a good Christian is a silent Christian.

So why would Bible Gateway be okay with selling this? Particularly since the site claims “it’s critical that any advertising on Bible Gateway reflects our Christian values and does not conflict with our mission.” [4]

Doug Pagitt’s ode to apostasy, A Christianity Worth Believing, equals McLaren’s book in mutilating the message and meaning of the Bible. Here, according to Pagitt, is how we gain forgiveness for sins: Without Jesus.

He writes, “This can come as a shock to those Christians who are so used to hearing that Jesus is the solution to sin that they assume that the remedy started with the death of Jesus.” [5]

Thus, because of these authors and others, Bible Gateway may not be a safe site to recommend to unbelievers or new Christians or even long-time Christians for that matter. The online General Store may well introduce them to anti-biblical and heretical books.  And consider how many could potentially be affected: With over 12,000 websites recommending or linking to Bible Gateway, if just 2000 people per website, per year go to Bible Gateway’s site, that is a number that exceeds 24 million people. That is a lot of influence.This is not just about people, either—selling heresy is a slap in the face of our Holy God.

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the clean and the unclean… (Ezekiel 22:26)

When I contacted Bible Gateway General Manager Rachel Barach about Pagitt and McLaren, her response was rapid. She emailed me:

You’ll be pleased to know that our editorial board has recommended that we request removal of the following from our General and Digital Stores on Bible Gateway:

Doug Pagitt: All Titles

Brian McLaren: All Titles EXCEPT Generous Orthodoxy, Finding Faith, More Ready Than You Realize, Adventures In Missing The Point

The stores, as I mentioned to you previously, are owned and managed by outside parties, so we are at their mercy regarding their actual catalog changes. But we have submitted the requests, and will follow up for prompt attention. [6]

The four McLaren titles mentioned by Barach that they would be keeping are all published by Zondervan, which owns Bible Gateway. Zondervan in turn is owned by secular publishing giant, Harper Collins. But, to date, not one single McLaren or Pagitt book has been removed from the Bible Gateway online General Store.

Not to give her a free pass, but this was never Rachel Barach’s decision to make.  In 2008, when Zondervan purchased Bible Gateway, Zondervan CEO Moe Girkins told an interviewer, “We have a vision that if we create a lot of synergy across all Christian content providers, we can have more impact on the internet.” [7]

Okay, but what kind of impact? Like Bible Gateway, Zondervan’s stated intent is noble:  “To be the leader in Christian communications meeting the needs of people with resources that glorify Jesus Christ and promote Biblical principles.” [8]

But how does having Brian McLaren as contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Men’s Devotional Bible(available as 2010 ebook) serve to “glorify Jesus Christ” when McLaren rejects Christ as Savior? This, and more than seventy other McLaren related works, can be found in Zondervan’s Bible Gateway General Store.

When Bible Gateway General Manager Rachel Barach stated the Bible Gateway stores “are owned and managed by outside parties, so we are at their mercy regarding catalog changes,” what did she mean? Controlled by Zondervan, the Bible Gateway General Store leads the potential buyer directly onto the christianbook.com site, the largest online catalog of (allegedly) Christian books and materials. Reflecting the synergy Zondervan CEO Moe Girkins referred to, the Bible Gateway General Store’s web address is http://www.biblegateway.christianbook.com

Christianbook.com is blessed with a wonderful history (started by a pastor’s young sons and originally operated out of their home ), but has now strayed from its original purpose.  So much so, in fact, that it probably should not be called christianbook.com at all, but rather something more generic, like “ReligiousReading,” or ”Spiritualitybooks.”

It should be simple. If an author is heretical, or anti-biblical, a “Christian” book seller should have nothing to do with the book. Christianbook.com laments, “The difficulty we face comes in trying to balance our personal views about products that we carry while serving a great variety of customers reflecting the entire spectrum of the Christian market and beyond.” [9]

What it really comes down to is Zondervan, Bible Gateway, and christianbook.com are having their cake and eating it, too. The companies are presented to Christians as if they are solidly Biblical in outlook, and in mission, but in reality they are not above spreading harmful teaching—and even heresy.

But this is such a small thing, some say.  It’s simply the free exchange of ideas, isn’t it? No, it is not. This goes far beyond disagreements or interpretations within the context of the true, biblical faith.

Christian talk show host Ingrid Schleuter has recently introduced an interesting term. She refers to people who claim biblical orthodoxy, yet act and associate contrary to stated biblical doctrine, as Bridgers. These are people who are serving to bridge the gap between biblical Truth and false teaching.

Sadly, by promoting not only out-of-the-closet heretics McLaren and Pagitt, but also Tony Campolo, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, and others, these Christian book companies are essentially serving as a bridge for these Bridgers.


John Lanagan is a free-lance writer and the founder of My Word Like Fire Ministries.

LTRP Note: In relation to John Lanagan’s article above, consider the following by Ray Yungen:

In light of the many who will be coming in Christ’s name, I believe the Alice Bailey prophecies can provide further insight into what the apostle Paul called in II Thessalonians the falling away. Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed “the regeneration of the churches.”  Her rationale for this was obvious:

The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.

In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary  vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative [emerging, new] spirituality would be drawing in those open to it. –Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 123.

Endnotes:

  1. BibleGateway.com, “Why We Advertise.”
  2. Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity, p. 35.
  3. Ibid., pp. 174-5
  4. BibleGateway.com, “Why We Advertise.”
  5. Doug Pagitt, A Christianity Worth Believing, p. 163.
  6. 10/31/10 email from Rachel Barach.
  7. “Why Zondervan Bought Bible Gateway.com,” Christianity Today Nov. 2008, web only: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/novemberweb-only/145-41.0.html .
  8. Zondervan.com, “Our Mission.”

Note: You may contact Bible Gateway here.

Related Articles:

The Process of Reimagining Christianity by Roger Oakland

Doug Pagitt’s New Book – A Christianity Worth Believing – NOT Worth Believing by Ezra McGill

Brave Man Saves Life of Abducted Girl

LTRP Note: We post this Associated Press article because at Lighthouse Trails we care about children. One brave man who was not afraid to become involved saved this girl’s life. We must ask ourselves, are we brave enough to become involved when we see emerging/contemplative heresy being taught to children in our churches? It may be uncomfortable – it may even be risky – but it is the right thing to do. In our society today, children are at risk in more than one way, but especially spiritually. Are we not responsible to do what we can?

OLIVIA MUNOZ
The Associated Press
 
“Driver cuts off truck, abducted Calif. girl flees”

FRESNO, Calif.- An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect’s vehicle and cut it off, police said.

The child was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, who they said was a member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper’s vehicle.

When the driver saw a girl’s head in the window, he cut the truck off and forced it to stop, Dyer said. The suspect pushed the girl out of the car, and she ran to safety, he said.

The girl was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as “frightened, traumatized.” Click here to read more.


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