Sunday, March 26, 2017


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
 WAYNE, Pa. — Two student groups at a 
Christian-identified university in Pennsylvania are asking that the 
school soften its policies on homosexuality, including removing language
 in its student handbook that defines marriage as being between a man 
and a woman.
Members of Eastern University’s “gay-straight alliance” club known as Refuge, as well as its Political Activism Club (PAC), teamed up to host “LGBT Solidarity Week” on campus March 13-17. Prior to the event, the groups also sent correspondence to the university board to ask that changes be made to the student handbook in accordance with recommendations from the Human Sexuality Task Force.
“This movement would like to advocate for changes that it does not feel are controversial, so as to make Eastern a more inclusive place for LGBT+ students,” a post on the Oddysey website reads.
The groups have requested, among other changes, that the university remove “homosexual conduct” from its citations of prohibited “moral turpitude” in the faculty handbook.

“Gay people are just normal people with the same beliefs and career goals as everyone else. People should not have to choose between their career and who they love,” they wrote. “Second, it is important for LGBT students to have mentors who are familiar with their experiences. It’s hard to be out as an LGBT person in a Christian community, and it would be amazing for LGBT students to have professors who they could talk to about it.”
The students have also requested that the school remove language defining marriage as being between a man and a woman as they assert that it is not agreed upon among Christians.
“At this point in history, the interpretation of the biblical teachings that have to do with homosexuality is not universally agreed upon,” they contended. “While the traditional stance is probably more common, there are many biblical scholars, including Eastern’s own Tony Campolo, who support gay marriage.”

“For the university to take an official stance on the issue of homosexuality does not encourage open conversations about this issue, especially since the university does not take an official stance on other commonly disputed theological issues,” Refuge and PAC opined.
The students have likewise put forward that Eastern University should allow those who identify as “transgender” to choose whichever housing arrangement they prefer—male or female dorms—and that the policy manual should remove the phrase “the anatomical sex of the student” in regard to placement.
“[T]he university should continue moving in the direction of full inclusion of trans students by removing this phrase from the policy and continuing to work with students on a case-by-case basis to find a good living arrangement for every student,” they wrote.
Denise McMillan, the communications director for Eastern University, told the Christian Post in a statement that discussions about sexual matters have been underway with students for the past three years.
“In 2014 Eastern University’s president formed a task force to engage the community in a multi-year dialogue on issues related to human sexuality,” she said. “That discussion is ongoing …”
According to the Eastern University website, the American Baptist-affiliated school aims to take the “whole gospel to the whole world through whole persons.”
“We recognize the Bible, composed of the Old and New Testaments, as inspired of God and as the supreme and final authority in faith and life,” it states. “We submit ourselves to carrying out our mission under its authority and seek to apply biblical principles to all facets of human aspiration and action, including the centrality of personal transformation.”
Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-5, “Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh?'”
 Eastern University Stands for Their LGBT Community
 Published on Mar 18, 2017
An event at Eastern University addressed the disconnection between Christianity and homosexuality in the past, and students and faculty took a stand to end those differences.

republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
 John the Baptist
circa 1650 by Il Cavalier Calabrese
Of all the individuals introduced to us in the New Testament, the one who would perhaps win the vote for “most likely to live in a shack” would be John The Baptist.
The Baptist shows up in all four Gospels and is mentioned several times in Acts. The picture painted of this greatest prophet (Luke 7:28), foretold by Isaiah as one who would “prepare the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3), is one that depicts a rugged, adventurous sort of fellow whose message positioned him as an iconoclast against the prevailing religious culture of his day.
Bedecked in a “not appropriate for a fancy Jerusalem soiree” garment of camel hair, girded about his torso with a leather belt, John is described as a character much better suited to the Judean wilderness than to acceptable Jewish society. His diet of “locusts and honey” seems highlighted to make apparent his unorthodox lifestyle. For even the most adventurous Jew, you wouldn’t just find “locust and honey” flavored granola at the nearest kosher market, in the event one wanted to emulate the Baptist’s outdoor lifestyle.
But John wasn’t merely a rugged, wilderness living, outdoorsy adventurer. He was the prophet of God who would, after a four hundred year drought of prophecy, usher in the actual sandals-on-the-ground ministry of God in this world. He was the final forerunner to the One who would be greater than Moses. (Hebrews 3:1-6).
Though we are not given the details of exactly where the Baptist lived during his Judean wilderness ministry, his eccentric presentation and his unapproved religious message present him as a social and religious outcast who could easily be seen living in some remote “shack” by the edge of the Jordan River.
Regardless, though, of his abode – whether a shack, a cave, a tent, or merely under the immense twinkling canopy of God’s heaven – the Baptist attracted attention.   His ministry brought out the curious and the concerned. It brought authentic believers and self-righteous detractors. They came from the towns and villages of Judea, including Jerusalem, to hear this man as he proclaimed his novel message.
Where John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23) the modern story from the modern Shack is anything but … The Shack message seems to be basking in the glowing praise of the multitudes.  But it was the message that John proclaimed – whether from a wilderness “shack” or not – that distinguishes him from the wildly popular current thing which is equally drawing out believers and detractors.  But in the modern case of The Shack, it is John’s message which is so glaringly absent and which so easily identifies it as a dangerous theological dalliance more common to the wide path than the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14) which the Baptist came to announce.
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)
This latest contemporary “Christian craze” drawing the masses – The Shack – is being lauded as the greatest thing since the crucifixion and resurrection.  But if John the Baptist’s message has been increasingly disregarded in our day, it has been disregarded most epically so in William Paul Young’s book and movie. The wrongful detractors of the Baptist in his day don’t find their counterparts in the rightful detractors of The Shack today. Those warning against this Hollywood heresy do so because it disregards the message and the path which the Baptist came to proclaim. The Shack exudes and amplifies what is so rampant in the Bible-barren wilderness of the modern church – the lack of a clear presentation of the rightly understood Gospel and the echoing of God’s command for all men to “repent and believe.”  (Acts 17:30)
Young’s latest book, Lies We Believe About God reveals the fundamental lies behind The Shack.   The lies presumably refuted are, in fact, themselves deceptive. In Lies’ 28 brief chapters – one for each “lie” believed by Christians – Young lays out his -for lack of a better word – theology that drove the faux faith flick. In a word – in a single word – an appropriate review of this latest book, as well as The Shack, would be the word: UNCHRISTIAN.
“Be assured, there is nothing new in theology, except that which is false.”  Charles Spurgeon
Though throngs of “faith leaders and influencers” have endorsed the flick, their praises of it actually serve to provide some providential clarity, distinguishing – for the “abide in my Word” disciple (John 8:31)– the narrow path from the wide path. The thousands upon thousands thronging to the movie, lauding it as emotionally powerful and provocatively Christian, have done exactly what Young’s theology has done with John the Baptist’s entreaty. They have forgotten the Gospel and its call to “repent and believe.”
Of the many, many “lies” in Lies, this lack of apprehension and proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is most fundamental to the multitude of errors that necessarily follow and flow from its absence. NOTHING can be considered Christian if it does not first proceed the Gospel.   Though Christian terms, church words, and the names of “God,” “Jesus,” and “The Holy Spirit” are bandied about with casual frequency, these things – apart from the Gospel – merely become, in Young’s “theology,” recitations of the imaginative (and damning) mental constructions of pop, religious culture.
Lacking a fundamental understanding of the Gospel, Young’s latest book, then, propounds a number of lies about God and Christianity. Second only, perhaps, to the lack of a Biblical Jesus recognizable through the Biblical Gospel, it is the disregard for Scripture itself that marks Young’s illicit theology.   Though he cites Scripture, his interpretation is uniquely his own, perverting the meaning intended by God and as taught, preached, proclaimed and believed throughout two millennia of authentic Christian orthodoxy.
Once Scripture has been given over to this “what’s this verse mean to me” form of interpretation, any and all manner of error and heresy will flow as the result. Such is the case with Lies. From an egregiously faulty view of God, Young necessarily presents an equally faulty, unscriptural view of man. The Gospel’s absence precipitates the need to avoid, explain, or dismiss such necessary, and fundamental to authentic Christian faith, doctrines ranging from sin, to atonement, to justification, to the afterlife. Heretical views of God and man, though touted to be Christian, are infused with healthy doses of post-modern subjectivism, new age reflectiveness, and eastern concepts of humanity’s “divine spark.”
With Scripture dismantled by faulty interpretation, or completely discarded at crucial points, as it is in Young’s latest book, there is no threshold against which to measure right from wrong. And, in Lies, there is no evident right from wrong. All is subjective, personal, and to be tolerated as individually acceptable. A sort of “what I think” or “what you think” about God is okay, so long as we’re thinking about God.
A line from its dust jacket gives a flavor of Young’s theological incertitude and serves as an ample warning of what theological atrocities in the name of Christianity lay ahead in the book: “The goal of this book is not controversy but conversation. Mostly, it’s about the unconditional, relentless, and everlasting love of God.”
While the Biblically-offensive “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” is hallowed as evangelical doctrine, its noxious presence in Lies  – in which “plan” really implies “God just wants a relationship with you” – is no less Scripturally invalid than when it is touted from your nearest Sunday morning pulpit.  Indeed, be it a controversy or a conversation, the Lies‘ absence of the rightly handled Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) as the threshold against which correct understanding may be had make Young’s efforts illicit, unhelpful, and patently heretical. The reason of man cannot conceive the mind of God, apart from the Spirit-illuminated, special revelation of His Word. What results from Young’s “conversation” is nothing short of what the apostle would call the “teaching of demons.”  (1 Timothy 4:1)
No Gospel, No “Repent and Believe” Because … Universalism
In Lies, Young explicitly avoids the opening divine command of the New Testament, introduced by the prophet John The Baptist. There is no need to “repent and believe” because Young promotes universalism, a notion deemed heretical throughout the annals of orthodox church history. Even though we live in a post-modern, subjective world, we can be certain that the abiding attribute of God’s immutability has persisted. His message, His method, and His Gospel – like Himself – have not changed. But for Young and his post-modern, emotions-first, mystic-embracing, esoteric religious readers, it has. And it has changed to support that pagan-favorite heresy of heresies: universalism. Everybody gets to go to heaven.
“Papa is especially fond of you” is a resounding divine affirmation from the book and movie which Young repeats in his Lies. He closes out one chapter with his own quaint agreement of this universal view of God for each man saying, “Darling, that is all any of us need to know.”
But the notion that we are all God’s children, all loved relentlessly by Him, regardless of Christ’s atoning work, and certainly regardless of the “repent and believe” command of God, leaves Young wrestling with the Scripture-present reality of the saving Gospel. Though modern evangelicalism has folded, spindled, and mutilated it, the “Gospel” is familiar to most pew-dwellers. Many will even know that it means “Good news,” while the full counsel of its implications may otherwise go to the wayside. Still, for most, the Gospel is an expected component of Christianity.  So Young doesn’t disregard it but instead contorts the Gospel to accommodate his heresy of universalism. His chapter entitled “You need to get saved,” – which is, remember, a “lie” – includes the following:
“The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less true.”
While the historical reality and God-empowered spiritual efficacy of the Good News don’t, in fact, hinge on “whether you believe it or not,” the deceit in Young’s description is evident. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is – singularly – the power of God to save. (Romans 1:16)  But Young’s interpretation leaves that pre-eminent command of God to all men, everywhere, to “repent and believe” an unnecessary complication.
“God does not wait for my choice and then ‘save me.’ God has acted decisively and universally for all humankind.”
“Here’s the truth: every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.”
Near the close of this chapter’s “lie,” Young adds the italicized comment regarding the work of Christ, “We have all been included.” (Emphasis original)
Young further emphasizes the heresy of universalism in a chapter refuting the lie that “Not everyone is a child of God.” Says Young, “Every human being you meet, interact with, react and respond to, treat rudely or with kindness and mercy: every one is a child of God.”
But this insanely popular notion stands in direct contradiction to Scripture. While “every one” is a creation of God, “every one” is not a child of God. Scripture clearly defines the “child of God” to be the one who believes. (See John 1:12, Romans 8;16, Romans 9:8, 1 John 3:1-10)
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12
We’re All In, Because God Is Good, and So Are We
In order to (in)effectively dismiss the perspicuous teaching of Scripture about man’s fallen nature, endemic to “every person who has ever been conceived,” Young denies Scripture’s Genesis-to-Revelation testimony of human depravity. Scripture teaches that we are brought forth in iniquity, conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5), and apart from the atoning, substitutionary work of Christ and being brought to repentance, belief, and faith through His Gospel, we remain in a “condemned already” condition. (John 3:18)
Young’s Lies unfolds this perspective in chapter two, “God is Good. I Am Not.” In presuming to shatter this “lie” that we believe, Young opens with “This lie is huge! And it is devastating!”  Saying, “Yes, we have crippled eyes, but not a core of un-goodness,” Young declares “I am fundamentally good because I am created ‘in Christ’ as an expression of God, an image bearer, imago dei. (Ephesians 2:10)”
Here’s what that verse from Paul to the Ephesians, cited by Young, says:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Though Young would like to postulate that Paul’s use of the word “we” implies “for every person ever conceived,” his citation as such is Scripture-twisting extraordinaire. Typical of his mishandling of Scripture, Young fails to recognize the target audience of Paul’s epistle:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1)
Paul addressed his letter to the “ faithful saints” in Ephesus, not to unbelieving pagans. The “we” means “we” the church, “we” the believers, “we” the ones who have repented and believed the Gospel, given faith by the regenerative work of God alone. “We” isn’t universal; “we” is exclusive … by the grace of God.
Young’s belief in the intrinsic goodness of man is explained further when he refutes the “lie” that “sin separates us from God.” He opens this chapter by offering a cutesy perspective of sin not as man’s willful, prideful violation of Holy God’s righteous law, but merely as sorts of “oopsies” we naturally make. He says that “making mistakes is not only okay for human beings but is also indeed essential.” (emphasis original)
“Do we really think that Jesus never made a mistake on His homework, or never forgot someone’s name, or as a carpenter always made accurate measurements? Jesus didn’t have a reputation for being the ‘best carpenter’ in Nazareth, making perfect doors and always level tables.”
Young goes on to explain that the notion of sin as “missing the mark” really means that we’ve missed a “relational reality” with God that creates a “distortion of the image of God in us.” The post-modern esoteric language is intended to say that sin isn’t about our violation of the moral demands of God’s righteous expectations for us. The “mark” that we missed is not, says Young, “perfect moral behavior. The ‘mark” is the Truth of your being.”
“There is a truth about who you are: God’s proclamation about a ‘very good creation’ is the truest about you. That very good creation is the form or origin of you, the truth of who you are in your being. Sin, then, is anything that negates or diminishes or misrepresents the truth of who you are, no matter how pretty or ugly that is.”
Young also states that:
“We Christians have long espoused a theology of separation. A lot of ‘my people’ will believe that the following statement is in the Bible, but it isn’t: ‘You have sinned, and you are separated from God.” (Emphasis original)
Young’s Bible must be missing a number of books, chapters, and verses. Here are two notable ones that teach the theology of sin-induced separation:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a  separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2
But for Young, separation from God because of sin is a “lie.” “If separation is a lie, does it mean that no one has ever been separated from God? That is exactly what it means. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)” Of course, once again, Young forgets the rather important context of his citation of Romans. Paul had a very specific group in mind when he used the word “us:” “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7)
God Isn’t Really, Fully God – Sovereignty Denied
For Young, the attributes of God – besides His salvific, universalistic decisiveness – are simply echoes of popular pagan sidewalk theology, so often mimicked in evangelical pulpits in order to keep goat pews occupied. God is good. God is love. God wants the best for you. God, in Young’s theology, has no glaring attributes of justice, righteousness, wrath, holiness, etc.  Like a television commercial marketing some indulgent, but healthy, crave-able, guilt-free treat, God is all the good that you want, and none of the bad you don’t. But there’s one attribute of God that Young must wrestle with, an attribute -while yet so misunderstood among pew dwellers and pulpits – that remains intrinsic to the idea of “God.”  God is sovereign.
But according to Young’s Lies, God is anything but sovereign. Though he apes much of what the pagan world claims to believe about God, Young’s argument for a less than sovereign God not only betrays common opinion (If there is a God, then He must be totally in control, right? The ultimate characteristic of God is that He’s unlimited in scope, power, and authority, right?), but his opinion also defiles Scripture itself.
“God is a God of relationship and never acts independently.”
Young’s need to have a less than fully sovereign God is driven by his inability to accommodate evil in the world with his God who is all love and nothing but love. “One can’t run to God,” says Young, “if God is the perpetrator” of evil.” So Young has undertaken to defend God from evil in the world and he does that by making God less than sovereign.
“Do we actually believe we honor God by declaring God the author of all this mess in the name of Sovereignty and Omnipotent Control?”
Young calls such a notion “grim determinism,” “fatalism” and cannot be used to “justify evil.”
Young cites a “German friend” to help explain the notion of a God who is not in control. His friend’s comment seems legitimately evangelical enough, but in reality, it posits a God more common in the theology of open theism, one who inherently lacks control and must learn as He goes.
“Scriptures show me that God has the heart of an artist, not a grim construction planner. If the world were the work of a cosmic engineer, he would be in a constant state of discontentedness. We would all suffer from the constant nagging of a dogged designer who’s plans just never work out like he intended or expected. Reality could never live up to his spotless construction plans. But a true Creator knows he not only has to shape, but also endorse and allow. Wisdom allows things to grow and unfold.”
Young applauds this “learn as you go” concept of God, which alleviates for him some of the evident realities of suffering, hardship, and evil in the world. “The sovereignty of God is not about deterministic control. So how does God reign? By being who God is: love and relationship.”
To put a fine point of Scripture forth in response to this very unchristian and unbiblical -yet culturally-pervasive – notion, consider a verse from the Old Testament and one from the New:
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
Scripture makes it clear (in numerous places – see such texts as Psalm 90:2, Colossians 1:17, Psalm 97:9, Hebrews 1:3, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Psalm 135:6) that God – the God of authentic Christianity – is absolutely sovereign.  Perhaps though, Young and those who have difficulty reconciling God’s sovereignty with earthly evil should ponder this verse from the inspired wisdom of Proverbs and a corollary verse from the New Testament.
“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”  Proverbs 16:4
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
No Hell Below Us … At Least Not One That Isn’t Redemptive and Palliative
Having jettisoned the gospel and the nearly ubiquitous New Testament call to “repent and believe,” having inculcated a heretical notion of universalistic salvation for all men who are inherently good, and after de-attributing God of His pre-eminent characteristic of sovereignty, the one other notable thing that Young destroys in his unchristian theology is another fundamental New Testament concept. There is no hell.
In his chapter entitled “Hell is separation from God,” Young attempts to dismantle the erroneous belief of many about a subject very common in the teaching of Jesus. But, according to Young’s explanation, Jesus may have gotten a few details wrong.  Young recounts how he applied his human reason to the difficult concept of hell in The Shack.
“In The Shack, I tried to move the conversation about hell from the head to the heart by putting the main character, Mackenzie, in the crosshairs of a terrible dilemma. In the cave where Mack faces the Wisdom of God, Sophia, she demands that he take the position of Judge, a role that he, like all of us, assumes daily. But Sophia turns the tables unexpectedly.”
“Choose two of your children to spend eternity in God’s new heaven and new earth, but only two … and three of your children to open eternity in hell.”
“Sophia is driving the reality of this issue away from a disengaged, heady debate and down into the deepest recesses of the heart and soul – the visceral love of a parent for his or her children. It also exposes the lie that God is not a loving Father – not even as good a parent as we are – and the lie that this remarkable, unreasonable love we have for our children originates in us and not in God.” (Emphasis added)
The problem with Young’s attempt to eliminate eternal punishment from a God who is all love – a pursuit he seeks to accomplish vicariously through his blasphemous female character representing God – exposes fundamental problems borne from the lack of a truly sovereign, utterly Holy God. Without the belief in a sovereign, holy God, the ability to reconcile hell, as well as the reality of evil in the world, is impossible. Such things cannot be comprehended without a sovereign God, without Whom – in His sovereignty – we are left to grapple with Biblical realities, such as hell and evil purely on the basis of our fallen understanding of not only what true, divine love looks like, but also what true, divine justice looks like.
Thus Young’s eradication of hell is built on a framework of human reason, with disregard to Scriptural insights. The reality of parental love may express a sense of divine love for “those You have given Me,” (John 17:9), but it cannot nearly presume to adequately define it. God’s characteristic of love sits fully aside His other, equal-in-measure attributes of righteousness, holiness, wrath, etc. These immutable qualities of God do not change over time nor compete with one another in their expressed fulness. The paradox that God can be loving yet damn his creatures to hell does not speak to a momentary lapse of divine love, but to the paradoxical reality that the full force of all His attributes are always present, and that as the potter to the clay, He alone has the freedom to do with His creatures as He wills.
“Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”  Romans 9:21-24
So while a parent would never damn a child to hell, the sovereign God who is the creator of all certainly has, does, and will. Love is not God’s only attribute, despite Young’s and much of the evangelical church’s teaching. God is love, indeed, but that feature does not negate, offset, or eliminate the righteous exhibition of His other fully divine attributes. Yet Young finds the Scriptural truth of hell- proclaimed most frequently by the Lord Himself – to be untenable. He attempts to further justify the erroneous notion of hell believed by most Christians. And he intentionally does it by use of twisted Scripture and human reason.
“Consider this simple line of reasoning. Either hell is a created place or it is not. If it is not created, then it must by definition be God, who alone is uncreated. In this sense, hell would be God, who is a consuming fire. You destiny would not be apart from God but directly into God, who is Love, Light, Goodness.”
(Young’s “simple line of reasoning” – no doubt intensely appealing to the subjective, post-modern mindset of humanly conceived “fairness” brings immediately to mind the words of God through the apostle Paul, “For who has known the mind of God … “ 1 Corinthians 2:6 or, perhaps, from 1 Corinthians 3:19 … “the wisdom of the world is folly to God.”)
“The other alternative is that hell is a created place or thing. Consider this passage: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39)” (Emphasis original)
“This is a list,” says Young, “of all the realities that cannot separate you from the love of God. What isn’t in the list, keeping in mind that it includes ‘any created thing’ or any ‘thing to come?” Young makes sure you get the answer, his answer, “Nothing. There is nothing absent from the list.”
Far from an outright denial of the reality of hell, Young’s theology attempts to reconcile hell with a loving God. His attempt is nothing short of a sort of Roman Catholic purgatory in which post-death redemption, and the experience of God’s love, may yet be realized.  Indeed, for the universalistic Young, hell can only be a post-death mechanism that results in heaven for all.
“So, if we continue this thought … perhaps hell is not hell because of the absence of God, but because of the presence of God, the continuous presence of fiery Love and Goodness and Freedom that intends to destroy every vestige of evil and darkness that prevents us from being fully free and fully alive. This is a fire of Love that now and forever is ‘for’ us, not against us. Only if we posit that we have existence apart from Jesus can we believe that hell is a form of punishment that comes to us in our separation from Jesus. I propose the possibility that hell is not separation from Jesus but that it is the pain of resisting our salvation in Jesus while not being able to escape Him who is True Love.”
“You are of your father, the devil … the father of lies.”  (John 8:44)
Young’s theology of “Lies” undergirds his fictional work The Shack.  But his theology is aberrant, mishandles Scripture, denies fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and serves merely to regurgitate the false understandings of the world about God, slathering his presentation of them sufficiently with Bible verses and church words that makes those understandings seem Christian.  Yet Young denies the gospel, denies the sinfulness of man, diminishes the sovereignty of God, promotes an “all roads lead to heaven” universalism, and warps the doctrine of eternal punishment so that it becomes a second, certain chance.
There is nothing remotely, authentically Christian about Young’s Lies or about Young’s Shack, an abode that John the Baptist would certainly point to as being the nest of a “brood of vipers.”  (Matthew 3:7)  Indeed, with the Baptist, we should certainly turn to Young and to those who laud his work as “Christian,” and say, pointing to the authentic Jesus of the authentic Biblical Gospel, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Matthew 3:2)
As of the moment of this writing, Lies We Believe About God is noted as a “best seller” on Amazon, ranking at the #1 Spot in the “Christian Meditation Worship & Devotion” category.  As for The Shack, four versions of this heretical novel show up in the top 50 best-selling evangelical books, with two being in the top ten.  (Source)  The theology of Lies which undergird The Shack, though, must be recognized for the abject heresy that it is.  That these two tomes show up on “Christian” or “evangelical” bestseller list is a testimony to the failure of churches, pastors, and teachers to “Preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2) and to “teach what accords with sound doctrine.” (Titus 2:1).  It’s also a sad testimony of those who might claim for themselves the moniker “Christian” but are not doing the fundamental thing which distinguishes a disciple of Jesus: “abide in my Word.”  (John 8:31)
Though these books arrive on a Christian bestseller list, the astute, authentic, Bible-abiding disciple of Jesus will quickly recognize that they are “best” because they are “selling,” not because they are “best” for your faith, edifying to your soul, or helpful to the cause of Christ.  The “Christianized” notions proffered in Young’s works are distinctly UNCHRISTIAN.  His theological “lies” have the same source as all lies, and Jesus identified that source with divine, authoritative clarity:
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44


Preemptive Discernment Alert! New Heretic-Authored Book Forthcoming



republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
 Check the batteries in your heresy detectors!
Sound the Berean warning bells!
Let the discernment warning tocsins be sounded!
Signal all to take Caution! Caution! Caution!
There’s a new Rob Bell book soon to be released.
I thought I’d warn you that, soon enough, your social media threads may be fuller than a tick on a hound dog’s buttocks with Rob Bell-isms and, hopefully, with the rightful, scornful rebukes his theology, so far, demands.
Bell’s upcoming tome?   It’s called What Is The Bible?   While it might seem cause for thanksgiving that Bell may have finally discovered the source of divine Truth in the written Word of God, such an epiphany on his part doesn’t seem all too likely. The book has a rather long subtitle that with a tone that tends, rather, to confirm that Bell’s traits of emergent, man-centered unorthodoxy haven’t necessarily been forsaken.
The subtitle is “How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.”  It’s a mouthful, to be sure, but because it’s bellowed by Bell, it tends to stimulate discerning theological taste buds with a face grimacing aftertaste of heretical, over-chewed, toxically-emergent cud that needs desperately to be spit out.
Bell’s Bible book is, according to Amazon, set for release on May 16, 2017. Amazon also notes it as the “#1 New Release in Christian Bible Study.” Hmmm.

Published by HarperCollins, a promotional book tour will commence on May 17. Notably, the tour locations are bookstores, not churches. Can we take this as a sign that the general book-reading public is becoming more Bible and faith-friendly? Or, can this be interpreted to mean that, though it’s a book about the Bible, it’s not one that would be welcomed in most churches?  Or, can we take the book tour locations purely at face value, a marketing attempt to engage the author with the public in order to generate promotional buzz that might translate into deposit-able funds?
Interestingly, the intrinsically irrelevant, but highly relational Relevant Magazine is poised to release a feature story on the Bell book in its May 1 issue. At least one teaser article has already been published there, with the shocking, at least to any abide-in-my-word disciple familiar with the apostate’s works,  claim: “Bell is an expert in the Scriptures …”  This doesn’t necessarily bode well for any hopes that Bell’s heterodoxy has suddenly become orthodoxy.
But it’s the book’s description on the HarperCollins website that gives an abbreviated microscopic prelude to the coming full-paged musings of Bell.
Rob Bell, the beloved author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, goes deep into the Bible to show how it is more revelatory, revolutionary, and relevant than we ever imagined—and offers a cogent argument for why we need to look at it in a fresh, new way.
The use of the adjective “beloved,” to me, necessitates that the proper noun to which it is attached be a well-respected, fully-vetted, doctrinally-sound, Scripture-fixated orthodox church figure. Somebody like Spurgeon. Somebody like Jonathon Edwards. Somebody like a Puritan. But, mainly, somebody dead, whose works have been duly, ably digested under the lens of orthodoxy and found to be soundly reliable.  And, by virtue of their temporal absence, the “beloved” individual is thus free from creating for the church any potential doctrinal angst by saying, preaching, publishing, or muttering Scripturally inane things if they were still alive. So for Bell to be “beloved” seems to me an untenable stretch. But, hey, it’s the publisher’s website. They have a vested interest.
In Love Wins, Rob Bell confronted the troubling questions that many people of faith were afraid to ask about heaven, hell, fate, and faith. Using the same inspired, inquisitive approach, he now turns to our most sacred book, the Bible. What Is the Bible? provides insights and answers that make clear why the Bible is so revered and what makes it truly inspiring and essential to our lives.
Well, if Love Wins is any indication of the caliber of Bell’s latest book, brace yourself for more bloviating Bell buffoonery that may sound a lot like Christianity, but is actually a flashing neon billboard broadcasting “this way to heaven” on a really, really wide path. In Love Wins, Bell bellows out the heresy of universalism and quenches concerns about the flames of hell, touting it as a temporal mindset rather than as the physical reality that Jesus surely posited.  (Tim Challies gives an astute review of Love Wins HERE.)
Rob Bell
But, just make a note, the willingness of someone to ask questions, using an “inspired, inquisitive approach,” does not relinquish that questioner of charges of heresy with a “Hey, I’m only asking the questions, don’t accuse me” retort. Bell is no reliably beloved icon soundly explaining difficult Biblical truths to honest questions. Bell asks questions in order to drive his hearer to a pre-determined position. And, most often with Bell, that position has been known in the annals of orthodox Christian history as HERESY.
“Avoid foolish questions.” (KJV, Titus 3:9)
Now, not trying to pre-review a yet-to-be-released tome, we’ll not label What Is The Bible? as a work of Word-defying heresy, but we can certainly label it, at least, as the work of the former emergent church pastor most recently known as a heretic.
Rob takes us deep into actual passages to reveal the humanity behind the Scriptures. You cannot get to the holy without going through the human, Rob tells us. When considering a passage, we shouldn’t ask “Why did God say . . .?” To get to the heart of the Bible’s meaning, we should be asking: “What’s the story that’s unfolding here and why did people find it important to tell it? What was it that moved them to record these words? What was happening in the world at that time? What does this passage/story/poem/verse/book tell us about how people understood who they were and who God was at that time?” In asking these questions, Rob goes beyond the one-dimensional question of “is it true?” to reveal the Bible’s authentic transformative power.
Hold the presses. “Rob takes us deep into actual passages?” I’m now laughing out loud. That “Rob” is actually going into “actual passages” absurdly serves as an ironic admission that he hasn’t been doing that all along, his resultant heresies no doubt the logical outflow of such Scriptural disregard.   But “actual passages?” What an altogether astounding comment.  It’s really telling … in a head-shaking-while-I-guffaw sort of way.
Oh, and the line, “You can’t get to the holy without going through the human” may sound so inexhaustibly profound, so utterly theological – yet somehow just within my (or, maybe your) mental grasp – that one might be tempted to spend hours with those words dripping mantra-like on their spiritual lips, navel-pondering the deeper truths such a statement must necessarily imply. But, do yourself the same favor I’m doing myself – save yourself the neural calories.   There’s nothing deep, profound, or, even particularly theological here.
“For who is so devoid of intellect as not to understand that God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children? Such modes of expression, therefore, do not so much express what kind of a being God is, as accommodate the knowledge of him to our feebleness. In doing so, he must, of course, stoop far below his proper height.”  John Calvin
Bell’s human-to-holy profundity is just culturally hipster emergent-speak that really commands only two points in response. First, because God is God and man is man, God speaks to us in a manner we can understand. Thus, for humans to cogitate on the holy, it must be presented to us in human terms, precisely what the Lord has done in His Word. It reveals His holiness (and much, much more) in an anthropomorphically-friendly manner.  Other than the phrase being an attempt to sound intentionally “buy this book” profound and deeply “your soul needs this” theological, it’s a rather simple notion. God talks so we can understand.  But wordsmithing the simple to sound profound sells books, I reckon.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:1
The second response to this overly complicated attempt at theological profundity is that it seems to emphasize the “human,” not the “holy.” Given the context in which the phrase is placed, it appears that this “man-first” priority will be the method of Biblical interpretation which Bell will present in the book. This method of “Bell-eneutics,” however, is neither useful nor novel. Man has been interpreting Scripture with a “what’s this verse mean to me” lens since the olden days of scroll and quill. It’s still a commonplace hermeneutic employed in thousands of Sunday School rooms around the world each Lord’s Day. (I know this for a fact from some Southern Baptist ones I’ve been in; no doubt you know it as well.) But the man first form of interpretation is spiritually useless to the faith. In fact, it’s spiritually dangerous to the faith, because, in fact, it leads to heresy.
“If the Scripture has more than one meaning, it has no meaning at all.”  John Owen
Scripture has one meaning … the meaning the Holy Spirit Who inspired it intended it to have. The meaning does not change with the times, a suggestion implied by Bell’s hermeneutical query, “and who was God at that time?”   The meaning in the 1st century was immutably the same during the industrial revolution as it was during the technological revolution. The meaning was the same in the modern era as it was in the pre-modern era. It remains the same meaning today, too, in the post-modern era.
The “one-dimensional question” of “is it true” which, according to his publisher, “Rob goes beyond” is, more than likely, answered by him in a way that disregards such things as infallibility, inerrancy, authority, sufficiency, and clarity of the Word.  (How, in fact, can an authentic believer even “get beyond” the reality that it is, indeed, True, and why would you then want to even if you could?) In fact, Bell almost has to go beyond these things to support the implied notion of his subtitle, that there is a way to look at this “ancient library” that is helpful irrespective of its inherent, divine veracity. His book is intended to help you take the Bible and let it “transform the way you think and feel about everything.”
Somebody ring the barista just-got-a-tip bell because Bell must be suggesting that those “poems, letters, and stories” have inherent “feel good, think good” transformative value, apart from the correct response to the “is it true” query. Almost a sort of “who cares if it’s true, so long as it makes me think happy God-thoughts and makes me feel warm, fuzzy, and/or theologically profound?”  And that’s exactly what the publisher has implied about the book about the Book; it doesn’t matter if it’s true.
In asking these questions, Rob goes beyond the one-dimensional question of “is it true?” to reveal the Bible’s authentic transformative power.
So the Bible has “authentic transformative power,” but not because it’s true?  Lemme ask you something.  You smell anything?  Cuz I’m smelling yet another “whatever feels good” subjectivistic defamation against the Word of God.  Maybe it’s just me.  But it smells all too post-modernly familiar with a Gospel-void hint of aromatic “me-ism” wafting about.   Gee, I wonder if Andy “Get The Spotlight Off The Bible” Stanley penned the foreword.
But, apart from soundly handling that “one-dimensional question,” Bell’s book may just end up being another God-exists-for-the-benefit-of-man tome that, at a minimum, seeks one particular end … authorial cash flow.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”  John 16:13
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  John 17:17
Unless it expressly points to the inspired Word as the singular divine source of Truth that fundamentally features the life, death, resurrection, ascension and imminent return of Jesus Christ, then Bell’s book will be worth the same as his previous emergent fire-starter offerings.
But – and here’s the really, really staggering Truth – for the authentic believer, regenerated by the grace of God through the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of that Gospel, the Bible is easily comprehensible, eternally transformative, and authentically sanctifying.  The pagan won’t become holy by reading it but the born-again, indwelt-by-the-Holy-Spirit disciple most certainly will.  Before holiness, pagans first need the same transformation that Christ told Nicodemus some two millennia ago, “You must be born again.”  (John 3:7)
Anyway, this has been a friendly, preemptive discernment warning. Rev up your Berean skills, both to protect yourself and to intervene on behalf of others. Hone up on your Bell polemics. It’s quite possible you’re gonna need them.


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The author, Rod Dreher and his editor, Bria Sandford, raising a glass of Benedict Option to The Benedict Option
 Arthur W. Hunt III is professor of communications at The University of Tennessee at Martin and author of Surviving Technopolis: Essays on Finding Balance in Our New Manmade Environments (Pickwick, 2013). He also recently had a beer with Rod Dreher, seen here.
arthur hunt and rod dreher
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
…Has it come to this, that monkery is to be revived in a professedly Protestant Church?…For the love you bear to your Redeemer, be duped no longer, and by your own hatred of monkery  and priestcraft, come ye out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing

–Charles Spurgeon
Evangelical Christians have recently had an eye-opening experience. Even before the book The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation had hit the stands, it was already causing a stir. According to David Brooks of the New York Times, it is “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.”(source) A cover story in Christianity Today described it as a vision for a Christian village on “how to conserve and strengthen the American church.” (source)
And then others quickly joined the cause, which included;
Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (source), Matt Chandler, President of the Acts 29 Network and pastor of The Village Church (source)Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (source)Carl R.Trueman, Westminster [PA] Theological Seminary, and John Piper, founder and teacher of (source), and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
For some, they were left scratching their heads trying to figure out why the ideas of a sixth-century monk, who spent three years in a dark cave, would be presented to evangelicals as an example to follow. (Particularly, when the author of the book, Rod Dreher, makes the statement “…the West owes an incalculable debt to Benedictine monks.”)
On the other hand, for those who have been warning the Church about the carelessness of evangelical leaders, this was just one more example exposing the Downgrade in our midst. Hence, the extent of the problem is now on full display as we witness high profile leaders throwing their support behind a book predicated on the false notion that for Christianity to survive a collapsing culture, evangelicals should band together and follow the example of Saint Benedict of Norcia, a man canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic church in the year 1220 and named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. What does this say about our current condition?
Remarkably, even before the book was available in bookstores, on February 13, 2017, Al Mohler devoted a whole radio program to the book. It was obvious from the interview Mohler followed Dreher’s work closely and even told his listeners, “…the book is very important and I want to commend it to every thinking Christian, we ought to read this book and we ought also to read far beyond the title.” (source)
During the interview, Dreher described his life as,

…shaped around liturgy that’s been in the church for 1500 years. My life is shaped around chanting the Psalms and on all kinds of sensual ways that embody the faith. But for me as an Orthodox Christian and me as a Catholic, the faith had more traction and it drew me in closer and closer. I don’t know if evangelicals can do that…
In response, Mohler concurred with his guest, “I do not believe evangelicalism has sufficient resources to survive either this epoch or much beyond.” But, it was apparent Mohler felt his guest did understand the “resources” needed for evangelicals to survive a secular assault on our faith and our families.
To the contrary, it doesn’t require a PhD in theology to discern the “resources” found in the model and example of Saint Benedict will serve to increase numbers in the Catholic church, not strengthen evangelicals. And for sure, this is not the biblical response on how the Church will survive amid a collapsing culture? Instead, it will serve to undermine it.
Nevertheless, Rod Dreher told Mohler’s audience that it is
time for Christians to take seriously the times we’re in, to read the signs of the times and to respond in a responsible way… And I use Saint Benedict of Norcia, the sixth-century saint, …He went out to the woods to pray; he lived in a cave for three years and asked God to show him what to do with his life. He ended up coming out and founding a monastic order… They tendered within those monasteries the Scriptures, the prayers, the liturgies, and the old ways of doing things.
With more airtime given to him, Dreher illustrated further his passion for the way of Saint Benedict. He said,
One of the stories I tell in the book is about going to the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, a small town in the mountains of central Italy, that was where they say Benedict was born…. Napoleon closed it down in 1810, but in the year 2000 some American monks went there and reopened it. And they wanted to sing the traditional Latin mass, and it’s become a real oasis of Christian peace and beauty. Well, it’s the sort of place where you go there up in the mountains, and you really envy these men, their peace, where they can worship and meet visitors.
(See video clip of the monks of Norcia: source)
In other publications Rod Dreher has stated, the “1,500-year-old Benedictine way of life is a model for us.” He has also said, “Benedictine spirituality is a practical spirituality, a way of Christian living that consecrates the routines of the every day.” (source)
What is “Benedictine Spirituality”?
Per a 2014 article written in The American Conservative by Rod Dreher, titled, “Meditation & The Jesus Prayer,” Dreher described and acknowledged his prayer life had included praying the rosary as a Catholic, but now says he uses a “rosary-like prayer rope to pray the Jesus Prayer.” (The “Jesus Prayer” is also mentioned in The Benedict Option.) (source)
Dreher states the repetitious line of “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner” said repeatedly is indeed “contemplative and meditative.” He also defends it saying, “it is well grounded within ancient, unbroken Christian practice going back to the Desert Fathers of the early church.” (source)
In the same article, a link was provided to “a short primer,” to obtain more information on “the practice of the Jesus Prayer.” Oddly, he also cautions readers regarding the practice due to the similarities in breathing techniques used in “yoga or transcendental meditation and the like.” Therein lies one of the greatest dangers and deceptions of this practice. (source)
This primer also provided the following information; “The history of the Jesus Prayer goes back, as far as we know, to the early sixth century, with Diadochos, who taught that repetition of the prayer leads to inner stillness.” The primer also acknowledges the influence of John Cassian, who was celebrated for his mystical writings. It is said Cassian, in turn, influenced the teachings of Saint Benedict. (source)
Further information in the short primer includes instruction on how to breathe correctly while repeating the Jesus Prayer: “If we pray the Jesus Prayer for short periods, ten or fifteen minutes at the beginning, then there is no problem matching the words of the prayer to our breath. We are to breathe naturally, without playing with the rhythm of the breath. On the inhale, we can say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.’ On the exhale, we can say, ‘have mercy on me, a sinner.’ We are to breathe and pray slowly reverently and attentively.”
The book itself builds on the prayer life of Benedictine monks by pointing out their support of this Prayer. Per the author, Father Basil told him, “…as you have discovered with the Jesus Prayer…You have to set aside time for it.” The author also draws attention to other Benedictine spiritual practices, which includes several hours “daily of doing Lectio Divina.” (source)
It is telling that it is not only concerned Christians who have noticed that the trajectory of the book is to highlight the historical workings and roots of ancient Catholicism and the Orthodox religion. When even New York Times writer David Brookes, observes, “The heroes of Rod’s book are almost all monks,” our question should be “Why?” instead of just blindly following.
Our own review of the book confirms what others are saying: “Dreher presents a radical vision for the future of Christian life, and calls on American Christians to embrace an ancient way of life modeled by St. Benedict, a sixth-century monk who built enduring and separatist Christian communities focused on prayer, hospitality, and spiritual practice.” (source)
When Evangelicals begin opening doors to canonized saints, they also open other doors.
If The Benedict Option is given any more ground than it has already been given, we can expect more spiritual confusion to follow. Giving the Church a taste for Saint Benedict will inevitably introduce other aspects of Rome.
In the words of its author, the goal is the “rediscovering” of “an old tradition…we need to go back to the early church to see how our ancestors did it, see what they did, see how they embodied the faith and culture and practices.” (source)
It should be obvious, there are other disturbing issues besides the spiritual and theological persuasions of the author, Rod Dreher. Although Mohler acknowledges the difference that exists between their two faith perspectives, he also says evangelicals can learn from Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism without compromising their theological convictions.
But, once again, he is underestimating the power of error, and using poor judgment not consistent with Scripture. More importantly, did Jesus and the apostles encourage learning from the Pharisees?”
Furthermore, this growing willingness to excuse and accommodate biblically unsound teaching, or provide a platform for error and falsehood, is troubling. Moreover, to any believer in Christ, who left the Catholic church precisely because of its teachings, will be stunned to know certain evangelical leaders now think the teachings of a prominent monk are worthy of their attention.
Also, past writings of The Benedict Option author indicate a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. A stated personal belief on both purgatory and ghosts should give pause to those inclined to give him access to evangelicals.
Despite Scripture saying, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27),” Dreher has stated;

…I believe…the soul survives the death of the body. As for ghosts, I believe that in some cases, God allows the spirits of the dead to visit the living, and in other cases those spirits are unhappily bound to the earth in a kind of purgatorial state, from which they need the help of the living to respond to divine grace and be free to move on… I have seen haunted houses, including my mom and dad’s place, freed of ghosts by Christian prayer, and that is the most important thing I need to know. My local friend, a Catholic, told me the ghost left her house after she told it to depart in the name of Jesus. (source), (more on purgatory)
Hence, such being the case, regardless of the author’s good intentions, Christians should not spend their hard-earned money on this book.
Scripture warns “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.” ( Ephesians 5:11) Yet, we find this great evangelical disaster picking up steam in our midst. Regardless of anything helpful found in the book, why would evangelical men give any support to an idea highlighting a false religious system as an answer to survive a corrupt culture and a worldly church?
Also, instead of adhering to the words found in Scripture regarding our response to error, and our fellowship with those who espouse error, it is becoming increasingly apparent men are finding their own ways of doing things. Consequently, they ignore the warning:
Watch yourselves…If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. —2 John 8-11
To those who left Roman Catholicism behind to embrace the sufficiency of Scripture and salvation found in Christ alone, to those who threw away their rosaries with all its Hail Mary’s, to those who abandoned the teachings of a church that embraces purgatory and praying to canonized saints, to those who left Rome, there will be no turning back. They will want no part of Saint Benedict’s strategy for Christians.
Lastly, it is incumbent on us to heed warnings from men who have proven they understand the battles of our day. A.W. Pink is one of those men:
“To turn away from the lifeless preachers and Publishers of the day—may involve a real cross. Your motives will be misconstrued, your words perverted, and your actions misinterpreted. The sharp arrows of false report will be directed against you. You will be called proud and self-righteous because you refuse to fellowship empty professors. You will be termed censorious and bitter—if you condemn in plain speech—the subtle delusions of Satan. You will be dubbed narrow-minded and uncharitable because you refuse to join in singing the praises of the “great” and “popular” men of the day. More and more, you will be made to painfully realize—that the path which leads unto eternal life is “narrow” and that FEW there are who find it. May the Lord be pleased to grant unto each of us—the hearing ear and obedient heart! “Take heed what you hear” and read!”  (source)
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. —Galatians 1:10
(Note: Link to the above Charles Spurgeon quote:  ( )
[Source: Gumprecht/Mickels]
** Pulpit & Pen will be posting a book review on Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” soon.

Attacks on the Gospel's Exclusivity 

The greatest attacks on the Gospel today are the frequent attempts by evangelicals to make it more inclusive to everyone who has ever been baptized. Many are seeking to broaden the narrow road by embracing and promoting apostate forms of Christianity. Some undiscerning Christians have been seduced by the pope's aggressive ecumenical agenda to reverse the Reformation and unite all professing Christians under the papacy. Part of the pope's strategy is to look for soft targets within the evangelical church who will promote Roman Catholicism as a valid expression of Christianity.
Tragically, his strategy has been successful and is gaining a great deal of traction. Most recently, Al Mohler, Carl Truman, Russell Moore and Matt Chandler have recommended a disturbingly popular book written by Rod Dreher, who is a major promoter of Roman Catholicism, ecumenical unity, and contemplative prayer. Dreher is a former Catholic who converted to the Eastern Orthodox religion, not because of Rome's false gospel, but because of its sexual abuse scandal. His book, The Benedict Option, calls people of faith to emulate a sixth-century Catholic monk as an example of how to live in a collapsing culture. Almost all the heroes of The Benedict Option are Catholic monks who lived solitary lives in a monastery while participating in the daily sacrifice of a  Eucharistic Christ

Like most proponents of ecumenism, Dreher promotes subjective spiritual experiences over the objective truths of Scripture. He said he never had a problem with praying the rosary as a Catholic, and he now encourages his readers to practice contemplative prayer and mysticism. He said "my life is shaped around liturgy that's been in our church for 1500 years" and "on all kinds of sensual ways that embody the faith." His Eastern Orthodox religion preaches the same works-righteousness salvation as Catholicism and other religions. We are not to affirm or receive "anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ" (2 John 9-10).

For evangelical leaders to recommend a book that applauds the heretical people and traditions of Roman Catholicism during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is lamentable. The prevailing influence of these leaders, along with their reluctance to guard sound doctrine and reject false gospels, have left many Christians confused. They do not know if the Roman Catholic Church represents a huge mission field that needs to be evangelized or if it represents a valid expression of Christianity. They need to know that Catholicism has long been a bitter enemy of the Gospel of Christ. The apostate religion has not only condemned those who believe the Gospel, but brutally tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of those who refused to compromise it. Evangelical leaders who are sanctioning ecumenical unity with Catholics must be lovingly confronted in their error with the truth of God's Word. 

In a troubling interview with Al Mohler, Dreher said, "the West owes an incalculable debt to those Benedictine monks." Mohler does acknowledge there are differences between their two faiths, but he said evangelicals can learn from people of the Orthodox and Catholic faith who embrace a different gospel. The apostle Paul did not encourage Christians to learn from the Judaizers who were distorting the Gospel and leading them away from Christ (Gal. 1:6-9). Mohler says the book encourages living together in a way that is "truly Christian" yet he never defines what a true Christian is, or the Gospel that a true Christian must believe. Mohler stated, "The book is very important. I want to commend it to every thinking Christian. We ought to read
this book, and we ought also to read far beyond the title." Yet, there was a glaring omission both in the book and in the interview by Mohler and Dreher. Neither one referenced the most powerful tools Jesus Christ gave us to fight the cultural wars - His Word and His Gospel (Hebrews 4:12; Romans 1:16).  

Evangelicals who endorse a book that obfuscates the lines that once separated biblical Christianity from apostate Christianity are minimizing the powerful effect of error. The accommodation of doctrinal error and falsehood will always be dangerous to the life of the Church that is called to be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17). God's Word warns us to "be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness" (2 Pet. 3:17). The critical issue in the church today is the purity of the Gospel. It is the rudder that must guide us through stormy waters that have been stirred up by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). Either we seek the approval of God by protecting the purity of the Gospel or we seek the approval of men by applauding those who peddle another gospel. There is no "option."

As blood-bought Christians, we must contend earnestly for the faith and challenge those who embrace a false gospel. If we fail to fight the good fight of faith, we leave our own convictions and beliefs open to question. There is so much more at stake than winning cultural wars. We are also fighting the age-old war against truth waged by the powers of darkness. The truth of God's Word is our only hope in in a world spinning out of control. We must endeavor to defend the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the purity of His Gospel, and the sanctity of His Church.
 An Introduction to St Benedict of Nursia's The Rule of Saint Benedict- A Macat Theology Analysis

Published on Mar 18, 2017
For most of last week I was pretty busy helping out at two events surrounding the release of Rod Dreher's new book on the Benedict Option, so here's a few highlights of Thursday in New York City and Friday at Fox Hill. —Melinda
 Rod Dreher: The Benedict Option
A strategy for Christians in a post-Christian world

Published on Aug 17, 2012
On August 15, 2012 Cardinal Timothy Dolan made a visit to the Woodcrest Bruderhof in Rifton NY. In the spirit of solidarity and Christian fellowship, the discussion touched on how to keep an open dialogue with and heart to all humankind. Conversations included the importance of nurturing children and young people and how the deep joy of a faith-filled life is an invitation to others to discover Jesus. The late Pope John Paul II spoke along these lines as well: "Even in struggle solidarity remains open to dialogue," and "Solidarity, of its very nature, provokes action (including, at times, confrontation) but it does so always on the basis of a vision of community and of calling to full membership of that community."