Shibboleth by Jamie Smith
It is the responsibility of Christian teachers to teach their flock truth through all three kinds of doctrine found in Scripture – kerygma, homilia and didaskin. Paul referred to this in Acts 20:27 as “the whole counsel of God.” however, the flock also has a responsibility to not tolerate false teaching, no matter how much it may tickle their ears. Jesus never tolerated the false teaching of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law in the Gospels, and Paul never tolerated false teaching in the early Christian churches. Even more sobering is Jesus’ rebuke to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2 for tolerating false teaching.
5 The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,”
6 then they would say to him, “Then say, ‘Shibboleth’!” And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites (Judges 12:5-6)
The above passage tells us what happened after the inhabitants of Gilead had inflicted a heavy military defeat on the Ephraimites, and the surviving Ephraimites had tried to cross back over the Jordan River into their territory, but the Gileadites had secured the river’s fords to prevent the Ephraimites from returning. Rather than use force (the Gileadites had already proven themselves to be stronger), the Ephraimites tried deception by impersonating Gileadites. However, the Gileadites got wise to this sneaky ploy, so those crossing the river were asked to say, “Shibboleth” as proof of their true origins, because the Ephraimite dialect made it impossible for them to say, “Shibboleth” so they said, “Sibboleth” instead. The use of this “password” gave away the true identity of the Ephraimites and the Gileadites dealt with the imposters accordingly.
Part 1 >>>
Part 2 >>>
Rick Warren – America’s Pastor
Introduction In my first instalment of “Shibboleth” I explained how if someone described them self as being an “evangelical” it was understood they meant that they were someone who firmly believed in and practiced the key doctrines of the Christian faith and believed the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible Word of God; God’s divine revelation of Himself to the world in written form. The word “evangelical” could be summed up as referring to those Christians who say the Bible is their authority in all matters of faith and practice; they believe what it teaches, practise what it commands and spread the Word to others.
As such, the use of the term “evangelical” as a kind of “Shibboleth” (i.e. password) has in general protected the true flock from being infiltrated by very obvious external evil dangers, i.e. those who do not even pretend to be able to say “Shibboleth” (see Judges 12:5-6).
However, I pointed out in the previous instalment that these external dangers were not the wolves in sheep’s clothing that Jesus warned would come in Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Jesus warned in Matthew 7 of those who would look and sound like true believers, but inwardly would be a terrible danger to the church of true believers. You could say that the real danger to the true church is from people who claim to be “evangelical”, but who do not really hold to the key doctrines of the Christian faith, nor believe the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible Word of God. I outlined in my first instalment of “Shibboleth” how the real danger today is from imposters who can say the modern “Shibboleth” of “evangelical”, but whose teaching and doctrine is certainly not “evangelical” in content when placed under the spotlight of Scripture.
In spite of these “ravenous wolves” being able to say “evangelical”, when they say “evangelical” they mean something very different to the long-accepted meaning of “evangelical”. It therefore requires a little more effort to identify and expose these “ravenous wolves” that Jesus warned would come in Matthew 7, and that Paul warned would lead much of the church into the “falling away” – apostasy – in the latter days (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Apostasy consists of those teachings and practices that are contrary to the Word of God, yet seduce and deceive both professing and true believers. These “evangelical” imposters must be identified and exposed by the false doctrine they preach, and the false doctrine they preach can only be exposed by holding it to the light of the true Word of God.
In my first instalment of “Shibboleth” I highlighted the teaching of “ravenous wolf” Rob Bell, a man who calls himself an “evangelical” and is indeed widely accepted as being an “evangelical”, but whose teaching is most certainly not “evangelical”. In this second instalment I want to concentrate on an even more prominent “evangelical” – Rick Warren, a man who would say publicly that the Bible is his authority in all matters of faith and practice; that he believes what it teaches, practices what it commands and spreads the Word to others, but whose teaching is in reality a toxic and dangerous mixture of conservative “evangelical” doctrine and New Age compromise. Many people reading this article may in fact be surprised by my statement, because Warren’s apparent public conservative “evangelical” views on doctrines such as saving faith, hell and creation, have put many off his scent and led to his widespread acceptance as a card-carrying “evangelical” Christian. This is very disturbingly far from the truth and he in fact uses just enough of a thin coating of truth to make his poison taste sweet enough for the “evangelical” world to swallow whole. Within the following pages I intend to show how Rick Warren does that, and is not a true “evangelical” Christian. I intend to show he is an extremely dangerous “ravenous wolf” that Christians have welcomed into the sheep fold; far more dangerous in fact than the threat posed by Rob Bell, because Rick Warren’s deception is not only more subtle than Rob Bell’s, but his influence within “evangelical” circles around the world is far more widespread, including with those “conservative evangelicals” who would more immediately recognize the obvious heresy preached by Rob Bell.
In accordance with Colossians 1:28 my purpose of writing this is to both teach and warn of the true nature of Rick Warren’s doctrine and the outworking of his doctrine through his various plans and programmes. To do this completely would require a volumous work, so I will therefore specifically focus my attention on a number of key points:
1. The New Age influence behind The Purpose Driven Life.
2. The Gospel presented in The Purpose Driven Life.
3. Rick Warren’s understanding and declaration of who God is.
4. The outworking of his doctrine through The Daniel Plan and P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
5. Rick Warren’s low view of Bible prophecy. In this instalment on Rick Warren I will deal with the first point only, and leave points two, three, four and five for “Shibboleth III” at a later date. Addressing the above five points will in reality do no more than scratch the surface, but I hope and pray will at least be enough for people to investigate Rick Warren further for themselves. There are many questions for him to answer.
Purpose Driven by a New Age spirit?
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven books have sold over 32 million copies worldwide, making them some of the best-selling non-fiction books of all time and arguably the most widely read “Christian” book in history, second only to the Bible itself. Over 30000 churches worldwide have participated in the Purpose Driven Church programme and a staggering 500000 churches worldwide have become part of his network, which form the basis for his P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
There is literally so much that could be said about the error contained in The Purpose Driven Life that for the sake of brevity it is difficult to decide what to mention and what to leave out. The contradictions and “double-talk” alone within The Purpose Driven Life would take many, many pages to address; there is so much contradiction from one page to another that it makes one wonder if it was actually written by several different authors, each with their own point of view.
Part 3 >>>
Part III – Rick Warren Continued
Teaching doctrine the biblical way Right doctrine is the first and most important purpose/activity of the church. Ephesians 4:14 tells us: That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting… Doctrine comes first. The Bible puts doctrine (truth) before righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). Why? Because if you do not know what is true, you cannot know what real righteousness is; you will have a false idea of righteousness. Truth comes first.
“But love is the most important thing!” I hear many Christians cry! Love is certainly not only important, but vital for the health of the church, and the spiritual health of individual believers, but right doctrine is the basis for that love. If you do not know right doctrine and discernment, you cannot know true love. Philippians 1:9 confirms this when it says: And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment… Apply the apostles teaching to our lives, then we will have true love; the love of Jesus Christ. The importance of Biblical doctrine is highlighted by the fact that there are three kinds of doctrine/teaching that a Biblical church should expound:
1. KERYGMA – Evangelism – preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the manner of the early church. The first sermon preached was Peter’s Kerygma on the day of Pentecost.
2. HOMILIA – Where we get the word ‘homily’ from. This type of teaching is exhortation. It is not looking to expound doctrine in depth. It takes a couple of principles of doctrine, or a story or passage, or a narrative, and uses it to encourage the church. The key to correct homilia is that it can be tested with Scripture and proven to be in accordance with Scripture.
3. DIDASKIN – Teaching of the apostles, which they got directly from Jesus Christ; the expounding of doctrine. This is what is referred to in Acts 2:42. All three kinds of doctrine/teaching should be found in a true Bible believing church. Right doctrine, and a correct balance between the three kinds of doctrine is the key to everything else that goes on in a church. If a church concentrates too much on one type of doctrine there is imbalance. For example, concentrating on Kerygma, but not enough on Didaskin would mean the church missing the second part of the great commission of making disciples of people (Matthew 28:19). Providing discipleship through Didaskin after giving someone the Gospel is vital. Discipleship through Didaskin ensures that the church does not remain as infants in their faith. The same could be said for churches which focus too much on preaching homilies and not enough on the apostle’s doctrine (Didaskin). A disciple of Christ will not be able to fulfil 1 Peter 3:15 without all three kinds of essential Christian doctrine – Kerygma, Homilia and Didaskin. Rick Warren has a significantly lower view of the importance of doctrine than God does, and this should be a serious concern to any and every “evangelical” Christian. Having a low view of biblical doctrine is the very thing that Paul told Timothy would lead to an apostate church – the unwillingness to “endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). Even when Warren does encourage his followers to read the Bible it is mainly from perversions of real Scripture like Eugene Peterson’s The Message.
There are “evangelicals” (including me) who believe Rick Warren is guilty of promoting Chrislam. Their concern is not without good reason: his choice of words regarding who God is in his prayer at the inauguration of President Obama, the signing of the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture “Loving God and Neighbour Together” document, his decision to use a Muslim doctor in relation to his Daniel Plan, plus his address at the Islamic Society of North America Conference. Rick Warren’s public denial of promoting Chrislam rings rather hollow when all the evidence is weighed. At best he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth and sending mixed messages to the “evangelical” Christians who follow him. He is certainly not behaving as an “evangelical” Christian should.
Rick Warren fails the first test by claiming Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and that the Jesus of the Qu’ran is the Jesus of the Bible. He fails the second test by undermining the importance of doctrine, calling prophecy a “diversion” and doing a “cut and paste” job on Scripture to make it fit in with what he wants it to say. Rick Warren has an unbiblical understanding of the identity of Jesus and undermines the importance of Scripture.
Shibboleth Part 4 – Unholy Glue
Part 4 >>>
The Purpose Driven Lie by Jacob Prasch >>>
1. PDL Uses Paraphrases Constantly
2. PDL Misquotes God Constantly
3. Demeans Christ and God
4. Makes God Reactive Instead of Pro-active
5. Preaches A Mutated Gospel
6. Enslaves The Reader To The Teacher
7. Pontificates Statements With No Authority In Scripture
8. Appalling Ignorance of Scripture
9. PDL is Basically Humanistic ” “ Man-centred
10. PDL Teaches Self-Acceptance
11. Shaped By, Instead of Separated From, The World
12. Abolishes The Fear of God
13. Prayer & Worship Re-defined Falsely
14. Obedience Re-Defined Falsely
15. Prophesies and Justifies The Spiritual Depression It Will Ultimately Produce
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Reasons For This Paper
As manager of a conservative evangelical Christian literature service I am being asked with increasing frequency by concerned customers for information about Rick Warren”s best-seller of over 20 million copies, “The Purpose-Driven Life” (Zondervan, 2002). There are also believers personally known to me asking for similar information. Many good papers have already been written, to which this is intended to be a useful supplement. Because so many believers and churches are being affected, and because PDL contains so much harmful, dangerous false teaching, I have sought the Lord”s help to set out clearly and systematically, in a single paper, the basic objections and dangers I have found in this book.
Other Recommended Papers
Since this paper covers many issues, it has been necessary to be brief and give few examples on each point. Some excellent papers by other authors deal at greater length with particular issues, give more background on Rick Warren and the Purpose-Driven movement or give more examples and more extensive quotes from the book. The following are recommended (please access directly using the hotlinks below):
“The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation ” “ Part 1″ by Gary E. Gilley
“The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation ” “ Part 2″ by Gary E. Gilley
“How The Purpose-Driven Life Obscures The Gospel” by Bob DeWaay
“The Adulation of Man In The Purpose-Driven Life” by Richard Bennett
“The Purpose-Driven Life ” “ Demeaning The Very Nature of God” by Richard Bennett
“An Analysis of Rick Warren’s ” ˜The Purpose-Driven Life’” by Matt Costella
“The Purpose-Driven Program” by Albert James Dager
“Paganism In The Purpose-Driven Teaching” by Chris Carmichael
“Charting The Paganism of Galen & Jung” & Charting The Warren-Jung Connection” by Chris Carmichael
“Spirit-Led Or Purpose Driven? ” “ Part 1″ by Berit Kjos www.crossroad.to/articles2/2003/1-purpose.htm
“What Kind Of Message is ” ˜The Message’?” (about “The Message” version Warren quotes from)
If you do not have time now to read all the above articles, I suggest starting with Gary Gilley’s, Chris Carmichael’s and Matt Costella’s articles, then others as you have time.
Please note that in my quotations of PDL, italics are Rick Warren’s, while bold is my added emphasis as a tool to highlight what is erroneous in the teaching.
This paper is sent as a service to help equip the saints wherever they are faced with this global movement, and may for this purpose be copied, printed or forwarded in its entirety. Requests to include extracts of this paper in other publications should be submitted to my email below.
Yours in the service of Christ,
What Should I Say? by Sandy Simpson
This DVD is from a booklet I wrote in 1999 to give people biblical answers to statements made to them about the Third Wave. It has many helpful ideas and Bible verses to back them up.
Die tyd raak min, maak maar seker jou eskatologiese vertrekpunte is korrek!