[B]eloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? II Peter 3:1-4
If you are a Christian who believes that the Bible is God’s inspired Word and believe that Jesus Christ will be coming again, you are being marginalized. And you might not even know it. It may surprise you to know where this marginalization is coming from. We’re not speaking of the world today . . . we are talking about people who say they are Christians and who happen to be very influential. In fact, one of them, Rick Warren, was just named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the entire world.1
In an April 2009 article in Sojourner’s magazine by emerging church leader, Brian McLaren, McLaren clearly has targeted Christians. But not just any Christians. McLaren is talking about Christians who believe Jesus Christ is coming back again, suggesting that these type of Christians are the reason there is no peace in the Middle East. He says what these end-time believing Christians are doing is “terrible,” “deadly,” and “distorted.”
McLaren says that he grew up with a dispensational view (the belief that Jesus Christ will return and establish his kingdom on earth) but has come to realize this view is “morally and ethically harmful.” He likens this belief system to racism in the 50s and 60s and says:
These doctrinal formulations often use a bogus end-of-the-world scenario to create a kind of death-wish for World War III, which–unless it is confronted more robustly by the rest of us–could too easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Anyone who is familiar with the writings of occultist Alice Bailey or New Age author and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard knows that they believe this very thing. In fact, McLaren is sounding more and more like them all the time, and his article in Soujourners is further proof of that.
It isn’t just Bible-believing Christians who McLaren is upset with – he’s also angry about Israel and the very idea that she is a special nation in the eyes of God. This is why he names Christian Zionists and Dispensationalists in particularly, because they tend to be two groups who hold fast to the belief that Israel is indeed a special nation to the Lord.
It is ironic that just a week ago, the House of Representatives passed the HR1913 hate crimes bill, which is supposed to deter hateful behavior toward others. Here, McLaren, who was chosen to be an advisor to Obama (a strong proponent of hate crime legislation), is speaking so hatefully about those who hold to biblical beliefs saying they must be robustly confronted by “the rest of us” [all human beings except the biblical ones].
Others have joined McLaren in this effort to silence and marginalize biblical Christians. Rick Warren’s chief apologist (and we were told a staff member at Saddleback) recently posted an article on the Internet that said ministries that defend the faith (he referenced Lighthouse Trails) were like mentally unstable cultists, “who are not normal people, average complainers, critics and typical dissidents who are generally unhappy about life itself . . . they are deadly.” (Please contact Saddleback Church to verify this: (949) 609-8000.)
Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, says that “‘rigid’ Christians who believe in the possibility of Jesus’ soon return” are “the real problem for the whole world.” According to Campolo, they are to blame for wars, and a host of other evils in the world. This is what Alice Bailey and Barbara Marx Hubbard believe–and their obvious hostility towards believers shouts out from the pages of their writings.
There are others too who speak in derogatory language about Christians who believe Titus 2:13, which is: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In Mark Driscoll’s book Vintage Jesus, he ridicules Christians who believe there will be an Armageddon and a rapture (pp. 44, 157).
Perhaps one of the more serious attacks on Christians waiting for Christ’s return (serious primarily because of his huge influence) comes from Rick Warren where he states in The Purpose Driven Life that those who study Bible prophecy are not fit for the kingdom of God. Most readers may have missed this because of the way the passage is organized, but if one studies this carefully, with a Bible by their side, it is not difficult to see. Roger Oakland explains:
Warren tells readers to think about something other than Bible prophecy: “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.”
Warren ends this section of his book by stating that Satan would have you “sidetracked from your mission” and by quoting Jesus out of context, Warren says, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted [by studying Bible prophecy] from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Living Bible). But Jesus was not referring to His return when He made that statement, which in the King James Version says: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). The Purpose Driven kingdom of God leaves no room for Bible prophecy, and in fact, condemns those who study it. The apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had a different view. He writes: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (II Peter 1:19)
Christians are called to witness and be watchmen. No Scripture exists that tells us to ignore the events that have been pointed out as signposts indicating the return of Jesus. If we do, we might be like the foolish virgins who fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).(from Faith Undone, pp. 154-157)
In Warren Smith’s book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, Smith discusses something Barbara Marx Hubbard calls the Selection Process. This is a process that New Agers believe in which Armageddon will only have to happen if those who believe in it (biblical Christians) remain on the earth for thus there would be a self-fullfilling prophecy. She believes, as does Alice Bailey (the woman who coined the term New Age), that the world cannot evolve, and there cannot be peace until it is rid of these kind of people. If it is, then there can be what is termed an Alternative to Armageddon. Sound far-fetched? Just keep in mind that Barbara Marx Hubbard is a respected author–in fact, she was instrumental in the early stages of what is now the lobbying group for the soon-to-be Department of Peace that over 60 Congressmen are supporting.
We believe that this effort to put labels like cultist on believers will only grow. Another example is emerging church writer Thomas Hohstadt, who asked in a recent article: How Do We Know We Are Not in a Cult? He answered this question by basically saying that you are a cult if you believe you have all the answers and if you believe truth can be contained or absolutely defined. You see, in emerging spirituality doubt and uncertainty are exhalted, and the opposite “virtues,”–certainty and faith–are condemned. Incredible as it seems, those who stand on the Word of God will, in the end, be called evil, deadly, and cultish.
The growing hostility against Bible-believing Christians continues. And yet, in Matthew 24:6, Jesus comforts us with these words: “[S]ee that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Let us remember and take heed to the words Jesus told his disciples: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). As believers we will stand for the truth, but we will continue to love those who persecute. We are inspired by the many saints who have gone before and courageously, by His grace and strength, stood. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast.” (II Thessalonians 2:15)
Bible Prophecy on Trial
Is the Emerging Church Right? “There is no second coming of Jesus Christ.” by Larry DeBruyn