What is really “dangerous” within Christianity?

First, consider this Bible reference:

Luke 9:49-50
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

That seems like an absolute proclamation. Jesus certainly did not say, “Whoever preaches my doctrines exactly according to some standard made long ago is for you.”

And yet we have this from some bigoted Christian:

https://pjmedia.com/faith/2016/09/29/the-5-most-dangerous-wolves-preying-on-christians/?singlepage=true

The 5 Most Dangerous Wolves Preying on Christians

That quote in red was another direct quote from Jesus.  So who are these “wolves”?

5. Andy Stanley

Image Credit Wikipedia

Image Credit Wikipedia

Stanley is the senior pastor of Atlanta mega-church North Point Community Church and several satellite churches. His theology has become continually squishy and his church has a history of crossing into the profane during the worship services. While noting his increasing theological liberalism, however, I believed that there were several more dangerous candidates for this list. That changed a couple of weeks ago.
In a recent sermon, Stanley had the audacity to challenge the authority of the Bible. In fact, he now believes that the Gospels were written a couple of hundred years after the life of Jesus. At this point, he’s a short step away from Walter Bauer’s claims that orthodoxy simply reflects the winners of ecclesiastical battles and not the truth of the Gospel as revealed by Jesus Christ and taught throughout the Bible. Leading people into a religion that allows its adherents to pick and choose from the Bible what they want to believe and/or follow, Andy Stanley is leading people away from true faith in Jesus Christ.

Whenever the Gospels were written, they lack credibility on serious issues like the events and circumstances regarding the birth of Jesus. Refusing to lie about the Bible is consistent with the commandment supposedly from God Himself, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

4. Matthew Vines

Image Credit MatthewVines.com
Image Credit MatthewVines.com

Matthew Vines first burst onto the evangelical scene with his 2012 YouTube video “The Gay Debate: the Bible and Homosexuality.” His subsequent book, God and the Gay Christian, stirred up much confusion among Christians reeling from the increased social pressure to affirm homosexuality as good. As many theologians have pointed out, Vines’ hermeneutical approach to the Bible allows for no outside mediation in reference to one’s own prejudices. Not to mention that his claims about homosexuality and the Bible have been refuted several times over. Unfortunately, many people have unthinkingly bought Vines’ lies wholesale. Vines has chosen the lust of the flesh over obeying God. Possibly worse, he’s dedicated his life to deceiving others.

Bullshit! The entire case against homosexuality from a Christian perspective is that it is a sin. But how do you sin? By choice. But if people, even those raised in and very loyal to Christianity, are still gay, that means God Himself made them that way and so how can one seriously claim that homosexuality is a sin, without also leading to the logical conclusion that God Himself is a sinner? Either that, or he does not condemn homosexuality at all. So which is it, Christian homophobes? PICK ONE OF THOSE TWO OPTIONS! It does not matter what a Bible written by MEN said thousands of years ago. And the phrase “Vines’ hermeneutical approach to the Bible allows for no outside mediation in reference to one’s own prejudices…” is projection at its most laughable.

3. Jim Wallis (Sojourners)

Image Credit Wikipedia
Image Credit Wikipedia

Unlike the other names on this list, Jim Wallis may not as be as well known among evangelicals. His influence, however, snakes throughout most of the internal attacks on the Church and the absolute truth of God’s Word. As founder and editor of Sojourners, Wallis is one of the primary leaders in the resurgence of the heretical Social Gospel movement. Turning people away from the truth that their primary problem is their individual sin before a holy God, Wallis and his ilk teach that humanity’s greatest problem is the oppression of each other. Further, as a prominent figure in the Red Letter Christian movement, Wallis explicitly denies the inerrancy of the entire Bible. Briefly, Red Letter Christians run roughshod over the Bible’s clear teaching that the entire book is the word of God (Jesus). Discarding basically every tenet of actual orthodoxy, Jim Wallis repackages Christianity in a form that appeals to those who want to claim to be a Christian but without actually submitting to God.

The Social Gospel is about taking the teachings of Jesus and applying them to both reality and to society as a whole, not just to individuals, though individuals may need guidance too. It does not contradict the Bible at all. The claim that “Wallis explicitly denies the inerrancy of the entire Bible…[and] Red Letter Christians run roughshod over the Bible’s clear teaching that the entire book is the word of God (Jesus).   ,” is especially noteworthy. You know who else denied that the entire Bible is the Word of God? JESUS HIMSELF! So now we know that the author of that nonsense is a liar defaming fellow Christians!

2. Rachel Held Evans

Image Credit Wikipedia
Image Credit Wikipedia

Rachel Held Evans has become synonymous with “straw-man attacks on Christianity.” Her constant drumbeat of anti-evangelicalism is only bested by her continual evangelistic efforts for liberalism — both politically and theologically. Recently, Evans made news by encouraging pro-life Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton. In the piece, her arguments are those of a supporter of abortion even though she claims to be pro-life. For example (the most obvious example), she declares that she believes “abortion is morally wrong in most cases [emphasis added].” Well, if abortion is the murder of babies, and abortion is most definitely the murder of babies, then abortion is morally wrong in all cases.

Evans is an expert at shifting terms and definitions around, and she uses that dishonest skill to sow confusion in the minds of her readers. Her track record consists of rejecting the authority of the Bible, embracing the heresy of universalism, and declaring good what God has declared evil (homosexuality, same-sex marriage, erased gender distinctions, etc.), among other serious errors/heresies. Sadly, many are following evangelicalism’s Pied Piper straight to hell.

Actually, the Bible nowhere says that abortion is the murder of babies. The writer above is reading something into the Bible that is not there. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having an OPINION about abortion, whether based on what the Bible says or not. It’s when you try to make that opinion the basis for laws that impact lives other than your own that the ethical trouble arises. Quite simply, if you are someone that cannot get pregnant, you have no business even talking about the issue, let alone trying to control the lives of those who CAN get pregnant. WHAT ARROGANCE!

And as for her “shifting terms and definitions around”, maybe that stems from her responding to real needs of real people in real time and not some dogmatic claims and commandments from long ago. THAT is what genuine religion is about, as well as fair politics.

And finally…..

1. Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen
Pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen (REUTERS/Richard Carson)

The Prosperity Gospel may very well be the most destructive heresy plaguing Christianity today. Preying on the hurting, weak, and vulnerable, the Prosperity Gospel empties the Good News of Jesus of all its power unto salvation and replaces it with a man-centered religion that is defined by a warped version of the most materialistic aspects of the American Dream. The list of Prosperity Gospel preachers who take advantage of the naïve and hurting is long, and includes such anti-luminaries as Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and T.D. Jakes. But none have reached the level of influence that the number-one wolf on this list enjoys.

What makes Osteen especially dangerous is his soft-peddling of his heresies. When faced with criticism of Osteen, many Christians will quickly admit that he has his problems, but they’ll end with the rejoinder that Osteen’s ministry has been a blessing in their life, nonetheless. Slowly but surely, these deceived Christians are allowing a teaching to affect them that flatly contradicts the teachings of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and the entire canon of Scriptures: that Christ followers are called to suffer.

Turning hearts away from the hope found only in Jesus Christ, Joel Osteen is dangling the shiny false salvation of earthly prosperity in the eyes of people who are hurting. Jesus had something to say about those who prey on his vulnerable disciples — “it would be better for him to have a great millstone around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

I actually agree that the “Prosperity Gospel” is a bad thing for Christians to take seriously. But not because I am a Christian.It is because I do not measure people’s worth in terms of material possessions one may have. In any case, Jesus did condemn the wealthy.

Matthew 19:24

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

But the fact remains that Osteen is clearly not against Jesus.

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Remember Luke 9:49-50 above?

Is the writer, by attacking Osteen as a false teacher, putting himself above Jesus by contradicting him?

I have just as much right to call John Ellis a false teacher as he does to call others false. And unlike that hypocrite, I can back up my positions with both scripture and REALITY itself!  Ellis does not even have scripture for his support!

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