Friday, March 6, 2009

Evangelism Highjacked By Closet Theological Liberals

Hat Tip to Ingrid Schleuler of Slice of Laodicea for linking the article by Peter Jones reprinted below. He describes the Christless Christianity he witnessed at the National Pastors' Conference sponsored by Zondervan and Intervarsity Press last month.

It is amazing to see how these once faithful publishers of evangelical orthodoxy are now consistently and deliberately launching a massive but subtle attack against the "Fundamentals" for which Evangelicalism stood courageously against liberalism in the past.

While I am struck by the sincerity of the brilliant public speakers (named below), who still have evangelical piety and passion, their openly-stated theology is turning large swathes of the evangelical church into various new forms of old-fashioned though very cool liberalism.

1. UNDERMINING OF SCRIPTURE: Brian McLaren is still widely featured here. He believes that the age of sola scriptura is over. Rob Bell, a plenary speakers, believes the Bible is a "human product...not the product of divine fiat" Little wonder Mr. Bell's former colleague at Mars Hill of Grandville, MI, Ron Golden, now Senior Vice President of World Relief, a ministry of the National Association of Evangelicals, in a seminar I attended, openly boasted, "Karl Barth is my theological mentor." Barth undermined the classical orthodox doctrine of Scripture. Is it surprising that in all the plenaries except one, there was no biblical exposition?

2. THE ABSENCE OF CHRIST: Christ's atoning death was passed over in silence. A few examples:

--In the middle of a "worship service," Andy Crouch of IVP interviewed A.J. Jacobs, an editor at Esquire magazine, about his book, The Year of Living Biblically. Jacobs, a non-practicing Jew, lived for one year according to OT laws, letting his beard grow, wearing Kosher clothes and practicing Sabbath and the Ten Commandments. Crouch did not remind him that the New Testament was part of the Bible, nor that Jesus saw himself as the very center and goal of the Old Testament (Luke 24:27). Jacobs concluded, to applause, that he had become a "reverential agnostic."

--Christ is absent but "Jesus" is here, as the architect of a socio-economic revolution that he began while on earth that we must finish, with the help of all religionists and globalist socialists of good faith. Shane Claibourne (30), who looked like a youthful throw-back from the Sixties, with tee shirt, very baggy slacks and very long hair constantly exhorted people to get serious about non-materialistic living. His model was Mother Theresa with whom he worked in India, but never once did he make any attempt to include the Gospel of saving grace as the motivation for Christian service. McLaren summed it up: "Jesus teaches a way of life rather than a set of beliefs."

Every video clip from World Vision and other ministries was exclusively about digging wells in Africa. Not a word was uttered about preaching the Gospel to Africans bound in pagan practices or Moslem darkness. We are losing our nerve and closing our mouths! Sooner or later, we will endorse all "valid" spiritualities, as do McLaren and Bell.


The other half of the very center of the Gospel-Jesus's physical resurrection-was also absent. A miraculous divine transformation of the physical universe really does not fit this new liberal social gospel of the kingdom, which comes incrementally through our works of social justice. Certainly, eschatology is not a Left Behind "board game figuring out where we are," but when asked about the Early Church's expectation of the imminent final coming of Christ, McLaren rejected Christ's final coming out of hand, Ron Golden said it was an image of being open to the kingdom coming now, and New Testament scholar Scott McKnight spoke of New Testament eschatology as "metaphorical rhetoric." This is pure liberalism gone wild, at an evangelical pastors' conference!


With all the emphasis on the earthly Jesus, on our human efforts to bring in the kingdom, and on "Human Flourishing," God as personal savior is vague, even absent. God was referred to in a large plenary session as "God revealing ‘godself,'" thus successfully avoiding any gender-specific language for God but successfully depersonalizing Him. The absence is filled by seeking God's "presence" through mysticism and so-called "spiritual disciplines," so widespread in impersonal pagan spirituality.

Both the bold-faced audacity but more, the naiveté of this project is quite stunning. There is no mention anywhere of the vastly superior pagan project, already well-developed, to construct a this-worldly socio-economic utopia, very similar to neo-evangelical's this-worldly "kingdom of God." Will this "shovel-ready eschatology" of human justice be digging the church's own grave? Will the two meet one day, and then, as Jesus asked (Luke 18:8), "Will the Son of Man, when he comes, find faith on the earth?" (Source) - emphasis added


DJ Black Adam said...

Well I agree with you "liberal" theologians are very dangerous. However; I'd say the same thing about Right wing evangelicals, BOTH GROUPS, albeit for different reasons, in my opinion, do a disservice to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God

JudyBright said...

Rob Bell drives me nuts. People think he's so "cool" and he's full of himself.

The pendulum really has swung way left. Evangelical/fundamentalists once freaked out if there was a guitar in the sanctuary and taught Western culture in addition to the Gospel in the mission field, and now we're so ashamed of our past that we refuse to stand for anything.

DJ Black Adam said...


That may have something to do with it, however I posit the problem is more from how the Christian Right has spent so much time and money regarding homosexuality while people like Ted Haggard keep getting caught with...their pants down. Hypocrisy is always a good tool for People to go goofy to the left...

JudyBright said...

I think that may be one reason why people outside the church don't like Christians. I often agree factually with what the Christian "right" focuses on, but the delivery of the message is horrendous.

But what I've seen inside the church is a cultural shift where people are running from our rigid past.

DJ Black Adam said...


I have to agree, on paper, me and the right agree on at least 98% of theological principles, we would disagree in application. I guess the difference is in PREACHING the Gospel and DEMONSTRATING The Gospel.

Conservative Black Woman said...

"difference is in PREACHING the Gospel and DEMONSTRATING The Gospel"

DJBA~You have hit the proverbial nail on the head!

chicagobluesgirl said...

I, too, am very afraid we are losing the faith. See this article:

Sally said...

Read Liberal Fascism (by Jonah Goldberd) will explain where this all came from and what is really behind it...and what has and will once again result from it.

It is an absolute must read! Please do so ASAP.

Sally said...

I mean Jonah Goldberg.