So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:6-8)

Swallowed By A Cult Of Personalites

On the former Slice of Laodicea Ingrid Schlueter linked to Why Many Evangelical Pastors Today are Cult-like, an excellent article by Brannon Howse founder of Christian Worldview Network where I am also a regular columnist. In her introduction Ingrid said:

Brannon Howse has had a huge response to his article about the cult of personality that surrounds many evangelical pastors today. Celebrity pastors often surround themselves by yes-men who will not speak truth because they stand to lose something if they do. These pastors also become the cash-cow for jumbo seeker churches and to in any way confront said pastor would be to risk losing support for these multi-million dollar corporate establishments.

I mention the Slice post because in the comments section a reader went on to make the following statement which is really quite naïve:

There are literally thousands of sects and cults, some hundreds of years old. The Emergents are just another cult, doomed to become an obscure sect in 20 years. Been there, done that.

The following is adapted from what I shared at Slice in regard to that ill-advised statement after studying the Emergent Church and its wide-ranging effects for over a year now. You first need to understand that if this cult of the new liberal theology is left unchecked it will swallow up all of evangelicalism in the same way the original cult of liberal theology once did the mainline denominations. The majority of the men who began this spiritual bowel movement were neo-orthodox (at best) and as such approach the Bible subjectively. Here is the tie to liberal theology, which is also known as modern theology. They are postmodern and now hold the new repainted liberal theology.

And with the EC’s core doctrine of contemplative mysticism it already currently dominates new evangelicalism and has succeeded in virtually reversing the Protestant Reformation. We are now hearing apostate Roman Catholic monks and nuns, as well as Quaker Richard Foster, openly quoted as authorities on proper Christian spirituality–even by men like Chuck Swindoll–and of course the ultra cult of personality Rick Warren. This Emergent Church movement is so very dangerous because most people don’t even notice when its philosophy has infiltrated their church leadership until its too late.

I encourage you to closely check out the Junior High and High School age ministries in your churches and my guess is that you’ll be in for quite an awakening. The youth ministers are usually the first to bring this Emergent repainted social gospel into your evangelical churches. And in addition to Warren and his PDL, Rob Bell–he of the “harmless” Nooma videos–is another perfect example of the cult of personality “evangelical” pastor currently infecting the Body of Christ. Through massive exposure far, far beyond Mars Hill Bible Church he now literally has multiple thousands under the spell of Bell.

And as the Lord willed I would receive this letter from a reader of Apprising Ministries later that very same day I had written the above:

I found your site about a year and a half ago. Your site was important to me because it showed that I was not the only one who felt that this emerging church had serious issues. I would like to share a quick story on how I was introduced to Rob Bell.

I teach 9-12 boys at an SBC church in where I live. One night, at a Bible Study that I attend the Youth Pastor played one of Rob Bell’s videos. In this video, Bell said the reason why Peter sank was that he lost faith in himself. At that moment, I knew that I was watching a video by a false teacher. I waited patiently till the end, all the time I was praying, “Lord help me to remain calm and defend Your Word.”

The Youth Pastor asked a question from a discussion guide. “Do you think of Jesus as your Rabbi?” I launched my attack. “No, I don’t. I don’t need another teacher in my life. I have plenty. What I need is a Savior.” I don’t clearly remember what happened next but I know I called the video heretical or false and everyone was angry with me for saying so. They asked me what I thought was wrong and I told him about God having faith. Well, I might as well have denied the
Trinity. No, I think I would have been better off doing that. ;-)

One lady made the comment, “you don’t believe God has faith in you?” She was asking sincerely. The Senior Pastor’s daughter said, “Of course God has faith in you, God is in you and He can’t be divided against Himself.” After that comment, I left the Bible Study early.

I walked to my car I could not help but think all we have to go on is what Rob Bell says in the video. We can’t dialogue with him. However, I make a statement against him and you can find out where I am at least coming from. But they didn’t. They went out of their way to make sure that Bell right and made me look wrong.

I wish I could say that was the last time Rob Bell was played by my Youth Pastor. But it was not. He has continued to play them. I admit I came close to quit teaching the youth over this issue. However, I have come to believe that the reason I am teaching is to proclaim the truth. Please let no one fool you, Ken, this is not about likes, styles, and preferences. This is about the nature of God and what is Christianity.

In closing thank you for your ministry.


Ringing the Bell