Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Heretic Game, Final Round. Am I a Heretic?

Let's finish up the heretic game. This could go on and on, and there are several individuals I would like to talk about, but I think it's time to call it a game. Let's finish up with me, where do I stand? Since this is my blog, it's covered from end to end in my theology. Of course, you know I'm a Wovenist, that God exists outside of time and is eternal, but also inside of time and interacts with us in a personal way, most notably in the person of Christ. I am more on the Calvinist side, but my Wovenist colors that view as well, weaving in man's heart, prayer and evangelism with God's unconditional election. Sound like a contradiction? The strands stay individual, they do not mix, they simply cross over one another as things are woven together. Our relationship with God, our salvation and restoration are not 2 dimensional, but 4 dimensional. You can go back through my posts and read lots of Woven theology if you have questions.

Escatology, I'm historic post-trib. I believe that the events of Revelation are moving through history, not a set 7 year tribulation. I don't believe in a secret rapture, but a visible second coming where we meet Christ in the air and join his army/chorus during his entry into the world. I don't believe in one individual who is the anti-Christ, but an ideology that is the Nation of Islam, which I also believe is the 4 horsemen. Yes, all four.

I'm pretty straight Southern Bapitst. I believe in Eternal security (cause Calvinist) and credo-Baptism, symbolic communion. Surprising to most, I'm not a cessationist, I believe in the continuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe the gift of Apostleship exists (teaching and leading church, church planting) but the office is closed. Same with the gift of prophecy (speaking truth, sharing God's word mainly through preaching and exegesis) but the office of prophet is closed. The jury is out on tongues, but I lean towards the "let's not fake it till we make it" crowd.

I believe that many believe they are saved, but lack the fruit of the spirit and the list given in 2 Peter 1. I believe there will be some pastors, teachers, and leaders who hear "depart from me" and I am confident I have served with a few. Sadly. I believe that the scripture is the foundation and if we believe anything it needs to be solidified in scripture. I hear a lot of things in church that are said and believed with no Biblical support. That's sad. I believe in a lot of unpopular things, like divorce should only be used in a few cases, marriage is only between a man and woman, sex outside of that relationship is sin. These aren't popular, but I don't care. I think that the church too often has become a business, has folded to power and money and influence and more pastors are concerned with opinions and popularity than the Biblical correctness. It's sad.

That's a brief splattering of my theology so you can decide if you think I am a heretic, a false teacher, just wrong or anything else. I'm open to teaching and correction, and I love to talk theology. This is the last in our game, I hope you enjoyed it. Shoot me questions if you have them to

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Heretic Game, Round 4. Is Andy Stanley a Heretic?

So Charles Stanley is a pillar in the Christian Community. He is respected, loved and listened too. He has a son, Andy. He is the pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta GA. He is very popular with many, and just as unpopular with others. He has some books, lots of youtube clips and a huge church. Let's begin there, the same place we always begin. I looked at the belief statement of North Point. Guess what, it looks like every other belief statement out there. It's doctrinally accurate, worded quickly and short. It's orthodox but doesn't have much meat. Here, at the starting point, Andy looks pretty good, but then again, everyone does at this point.

Most of the criticism of Stanley that I have found are based on some interpretation and things he might say. He occasionally says things that I am not sure he means the way people run with them. Many see a statement he made as condoning homosexuality. He didn't say it, it might be assumed that is what he meant, but assumptions are dangerous.

What Stanley does is preach and teach with a Postmodern edge, meaning he questions all traditions, pushes against the establishment and defies the establishment. This makes people nervous, and he often says things in an attempt to be "cutting edge" and often ends up saying things that are not the best. His desire to be open to all people and accepting sometimes causes him (and many others) to push back against sound doctrine and teaching in an attempt to be "relevant". Andy would probably say it's working, he has a great big church and lots of books and he's a pretty famous guy. . . .but the same can be said of his father, and he didn't push back against doctrine.

I've read some of Stanley's books, his theology is ok. His pragmatism I believe to be unwise. Is he a heretic? No, I don't think so. Many may disagree with me, but I think his teaching on Christ and Salvation is pretty much within in the bounds of orthodoxy. I do think he pushes the envelope, but I would not characterize as the best practice. Some would call him a liberal, I am more comfortable saying he is embracing the postmodern idea of deconstruction in his church and tries to get to the root and essentials of the Christian faith, and sometimes I think he misses the mark. After all, no one is perfect. I give Andy a pass and I think we take the good with the bad, he's flawed, but so are we all. I just pray that when it comes time for him to choose to hold onto Biblical truth or follow cultural sway, he goes Biblical.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Heretic Game Round 3. Is Joyce Meyers a Heretic?

We have looked at Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, so let's look at a woman for this round, since women can be heretics too. Here we find Joyce Meyers, who is similar in many ways to Joel Osteen, she even does tours and conferences with Osteen. Looking at her right after Osteen may be a little redundant, but she is very popular so I think it's a good idea to look into her theology. I began with Joyce where we always start, the "what we believe" section of her website. I am not going to post it, just give you the link because it is pretty much a cut and paste from almost every evangelical "what we believe" section around. They all read the same and for the most part, they are orthodox in their teaching. Man, separated from God by sin and must be redeemed by faith in Christ.

Now my big issue with Meyers is her teaching about Jesus going to hell. She claims she has a revelation from God that Jesus went to hell and was tortured by demons and if you don't believe this, you can't be saved. Here is my issue, there is a debate about what it means that Jesus descended into the earth, that he preached to the captives. Maybe He did descend into hell, that's not my issue. Jesus wasn't tortured by demons. No one in hell is tortured by demons. Demons are tortured in hell, they are not in charge of hell. Hell is not Satan's playground, it's his punishment, he isn't in charge there. Demons torturing people in hell is a pagan teaching. In Roman mythology, Hades is the ruler of the underworld. In Biblical theology, God created hell and he created it for punishing Satan and his demons, not for them to be in charge. This teaching has pagan roots and she claims it came as a direct revelation from being anointed in the spirit. Nope.

Jesus finished the work of Salvation on the cross when He announced: "It is finished". Three days of demon torture was not necessary for Salvation and Joyce is flat, plain and utterly wrong on this point. I won't make any qualms, she's wrong. Does this make her a heretic? Here is where she steps in it, she claims that you can't be saved unless you believe this teaching with your whole heart. In her booklet "The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make", Meyers states:

“There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell.”

My friends, that is what we call a false teaching, adding to the work of Salvation by requiring an extra-biblical belief, which is patently false. Now, do I think if you believe this will you be rejected by God? Will you not be saved if you believe that Jesus was tortured for 3 days? Of course not, if you have faith and trust Christ for your salvation, if you call on the Lord you will be saved, the scripture teaches that. If you don't believe, however, that Jesus was tortured for three days and paid for sin in hell, you can still be saved. I don't believe it for one second and I feel pretty confident in my own salvation. Here we have another teacher who is right at the edge of heresy. Is she a heretic? Well, she's wrong, so I'll let you make the call.

Now there is the name in and claim it, word of faith prosperity stuff too, which isn't even worth writing about. It's consumerism, meant to get people to pay up and giving them a false sense of what truth is. If you name and claim it, it makes little difference because God has every right to tell you no. It's misleading, it's false and it doesn't make you more like Jesus. Jesus was not a rich preacher in a private jet. The greatest thing you can become is like Jesus, not rich. That part of her ministry, like Osteen is false, deceaving and, well utterly evil and influenced by greed. My final recommendation? Just stay away from Meyers, you'll be better off.