Daily Archives: December 13, 2012

Rick Warren Boasting About Purpose Driven Life Then Discussing Homosexuality & Chrislam

Last month in Rick Warren Begins Pushing Purpose Driven Lfe Again In Secular Media here at Apprising Ministries I reminded you once again that John Piper asked Seeker Driven pragmatist Rick Warrento be a keynote speaker for the Desiring God Conference 2010.

Ever since Piper made that choice, which in my opinion was grievous enough, we’ve seen a real resurgence of Warren; even within New Calvinist circles. Unfortunately, Piper then made the dangerous and detrimental decision to actually pronounce the sinfully ecumenical megapastor “doctrinal and sound.”

So as I said before, as Warren began his media blitz again pushing his magnum opus The Purpose Driven Life, he actually has more support backing him in Christian circles than ever before. Despite PDL’s serious and numerous doctrinal deviations,1 this now also includes the Reformed and New Calvinist camps.

Read More Here

“Gay Bible” instantly reverses thousands of years of biblical understanding?

“New Gay Bible Prevents Homophobic Misinterpretation of Key Verses; Titled The Queen James Bible”

The Queen James Bible resolves long-standing interpretive ambiguity in key Bible passages regarding homosexuality, making the world’s first “Gay Bible.”

“The Queen James Bible addresses those controversial verses by editing them very slightly for interpretive clarity. The edits all confirm that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, and therefore renders such interpretations impossible.”


Intoxication’s Fake Feeling of Happiness

Here are some numbers: 78% of emerging adults drink; 47% binge drink; 10% drink 5x a week or more; 12% smoke pot weekly; 20% use illicit drugs. Here are some facts: “Alcohol consumption is a leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers, and contributes substantially to adolescent motor-vehicle crashes, other traumatic injuries, suicide, date rape, and family and school problems” (113, from Christian Smith, Lost in Transition).

Why? What’s going on? What to do?

Nonusers (22%) are of two sorts: the highly religious sort tends not to explain their nonuse on religion but on health concerns, potential damage, or the desire to control the body; the bad-family-experience sort tends toward concrete stories (“my dad…”).

Occasional substance users (25%): seek to balance fun and responsibility while denouncing hard core drugs; their focus is on self-control as a choice they are empowered to control.

Partiers (22%): drink often and often binge drink. About 50% smoke pot too. 17% have used harder drugs. They think this makes them more social. Alcohol relaxes. “Life without alcohol is boring.” Some say it is driven by stress, blues and boredom. Partiers report casual hook-ups; they take risks of many sorts (fights). The model for the partier is Animal House . Most think they are still under control of themselves. They distinguish themselves from hard drug addicts. Morally they tend to the tolerant side; don’t step on the toes of others. Individualistic ethics.

Recovering partiers (21%): something moves them away from the partiers; tend to be older emerging adults. They realize how out of control they were; or they now have to live a more responsible life; or they see potential damage in their partying. These tend to reduce drunkenness to not so often.

The recovering partiers are a resource of revelation about what is going on: about insecurities, conformity, need to relax and relate, depression and struggles in life and school, hard to control that kind of life.

Addicts: these emerge from the above partiers. The stereotype of a what an addict is fails the evidence. Most have regular jobs; most are in denial; appear normal; they see it as relaxing and normal, like taking a bath or a shower. These folks are “compulsively captive to chemically induced intoxication” (135).

They also sketch recovered addicts (among emerging adults).

All of this must be understood within a social context and not just explain it by individual choice . We need to perceive how they were socialized, what their networks were like, how social institutions work, where this all fits in culture. Decisions emerge in social contexts.

A normative culture teaches young adults that partying is what you do when you leave home and go to college. That script also says you calm that down when you leave college and get a job. Intoxication is part of the cultural script for young adults. Some social institutions benefit from young adult intoxication: global black market of drugs, and that market is the norm for young adults today. Alcohol companies make billions. In 2009 Anheuser Busch spent 4.99 billion on marketing. Follow the money. Shady marketing is part of it.

Furthermore, consumptive materialism shapes alcohol consumption as a kind of consumerism. Identity is marketed with product, people consume to gain that identity. Addiction to drugs is a kind of addiction to consumerism and materialism.


The Church of Oprah-Wan Kenobi – James Emery White

The latest Census figures from the U.K., released this week, confirm what many have long suspected: Hinduism, under the guise of “Star Wars”/New Age terminology, has become the unofficial religion of popular culture. “Jedi Knights” is now the most popular faith in the “Other Religions” category on the Census and the seventh most popular faith overall, according to the latest population survey of England and Wales.

But let’s back up a bit. If you are going to understand the wielding of all these light-sabers, you need to go back and understand its leading guru.

No, not Obe-Wan.


There can be little doubt about the power, the influence and the inspiration of Oprah.

Her career began with a local radio station when she was just 19-years old. Then, through hard work and talent, she climbed her way up through television as newscaster and anchor, through Tennessee and Maryland, until finally, in 1984, she moved to WLS-TV in Chicago to host a local talk show, which became such a hit it eventually went national.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now she is arguably the best-known woman in the world, with an influence that extends into television, magazines, movies, book publishing, and the internet. By her 20th anniversary as host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she had become a billionaire and assembled a U.S. television audience of more than 49 million viewers each week – which does not include her broadcasts in 122 other countries. Forbes magazine has named her the most influential celebrity.

Her latest venture? Her own television network.

But Oprah is more than a celebrity. She is even more than a brand, or a business.

She has become a shaping cultural force.

Oprah can single-handedly turn a book into a bestseller; she has been sued for crippling an entire industry simply by publicly denouncing its product. She even launches words; the Wall Street Journal coined the word “Oprahfication” to describe “public confession as a form of therapy.” Jet magazine uses “Oprah” as a verb, with sentences like, “I didn’t want to tell her, but…she Oprah’d it out of me.” Even our political process has been altered, as politicians now hold “Oprah-style” town meetings.

But her most significant role may be that of America’s spiritual guide.

Much of her guidance is deeply Christian and highly commendable, pulling from her Baptist upbringing. In her book, The Gospel According to Oprah, Marcia Nelson outlines some of the orthodox and laudable aspects of Oprah’s spirituality, including the themes of forgiveness and generosity, self-examination, gratitude and community.

But there’s more to her spirituality than a few broad, generic Christian themes. It increasingly reflects currents of thought embodied by such authors as Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and most recently, Eckhart Tolle, whose book A New Earth has seen nearly 5 million shipped with the Oprah seal on the front thanks to a series of 10 “live” Monday night web seminars featuring Tolle and Winfrey on Oprah’s website. So popular were the webcasts that the first night brought down the server when more than 500,000 people tried to log on, and now millions have downloaded or streamed the first class.

So what are people learning?

As Tolle writes in the foreword to his book Stillness Speaks, his thinking “can be seen as a revival for the present age of the oldest form of recorded spiritual teaching: the sutras of ancient India.”

Translation? Hinduism. Or as he packages it, an eclectic gathering of gleanings from Hinduism, Buddhism, and watered-down Christianity. Result? A fresh presentation of what was once called the New Age Movement, which tends to have four basic ideas:

The first is that “all is one, and one is all.” Which means, of course, that “God is all, and all is God.” Which also means that “I am God.” In his book The Power of Now, Tolle writes that he doesn’t like to use the word “God,” or to talk about finding God, because it implies an entity other than you, or me.

The second major belief is that since most people don’t realize that they are God, they need to be enlightened. This enlightenment can flow from many sources, including “spirit-channeling.” Marianne Williamson, a frequent guest of Oprah’s, garnered her first bestseller – A Return to Love – by popularizing A Course in Miracles, which the author claimed was dictated by a spirit voice which she says was Jesus, but not Jesus of Nazareth.

The third major belief is that everything is relative. What Tolle advocates, and what has been advocated by many of Oprah’s guests, is that the truth is simply within you. Tolle writes that “The Truth is inseparable from who you are…you are the truth.” In fact, he distorts Jesus’ famous statement, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” by claiming that what Jesus meant was that He was His own truth, just like we can be our own truth.

A fourth major belief, in one form or another, is reincarnation. Toward the end of A New Earth, Tolle writes that “When the lion tears apart the body of the zebra, the consciousness that incarnated into the zebra-form detaches itself from the dissolving form and for a brief moment awakens to its essential immortal nature as consciousness; and then immediately falls back into sleep and reincarnates into another form.”

This worldview is far from unique to Oprah. Star Wars, one of the most celebrated film series in history, was wrapped around many of those very same New Age ideas. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a census of the Czech Republic found that over 15,000 citizens listed their religion as Knights of the Jedi. They’re not alone; New Zealand and Great Britain had already listed the Jedi Church amongst the formal religion options. Indeed, over 390,000 Britons said that they practiced the religion in 2001 alone. As the Church of the Jedi says on its website, Star Wars helped created the religion’s terminology, but it did not create the faith itself.

And as mentioned at the beginning, the latest figures confirm its place as the seventh largest religion of any kind.

The intangible energy of the “Force” is, of course, a very appealing view of God. It is a god based on autonomous individualism. To be “autonomous” is to be independent. The value of “autonomous individualism” maintains that each person is independent in terms of destiny and accountability. Ultimate moral authority is self-generated. In the end, we answer to no one but ourselves, for we are truly on our own. Our choices are solely ours, determined by our personal pleasure, and not by any higher moral authority.

It reminds me of something a professor at one of the Claremont colleges in California said to me about autonomy’s central place in our world’s mind. He quipped that it has produced a new argument against the existence of God: “It is a two-step proof,” he suggested. “One, I am not living in a way that would honor a God, were he to exist. Two, therefore he does not exist.”

Of course, there is nothing new about new age thinking. It dates back further than Hinduism. Indeed, it can be found in the opening chapters of Genesis, for it was the heart of Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1-5).

He challenged the idea of there being right or wrong.

“Now did God really say that you shouldn’t do that?”

He said that death was an illusion.

“You will not surely die.”

He said that they could become divine.

“You will be like God.”

He said that the way they would become like God is through enlightenment.

“You will know good from evil.”

This is the unofficial folk religion of America as we begin the 21st century. We have eaten the forbidden fruit, only this time, it didn’t come in the form of an apple.

It came on a screen.

James Emery White


Adapted from James Emery White, The Church In An Age of Crisis: The 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker).

On Oprah, see The Oprah Phenomenon by Robert J. Thompson, Jennifer Harris, and Elwood Watson; I Don’t Believe in Failure (The African American Biography Series) by Robin Westen; The Gospel According to Oprah by Marcia Nelson; “The Church of O,” LaTonya Taylor, posted 4/1/02, Christianity Today Magazine (christianitytoday.com).

On the thought of Tolle, see his books The Power of Now, Stillness Speaks, and A New Earth.

“‘Star Wars’ Chosen as Religion in Czech Republic on New Census,” Huffington Post, December 18, 2011, read online.

“’Jedi’ religion most popular alternative faith,” Henry Taylor, The Telegraph, December 11, 2012, read online.

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to http://www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.


The People Who Missed Christmas: Religious Leaders by John MacArthur

Lots of people miss Christmas. They might observe the holiday by decorating their homes and exchanging gifts with family and friends, but they completely bypass the spiritual significance of Christ’s incarnation.

The story of Christ’s birth is full of characters who effectively missed the first Christmas. One significant group of them is mentioned in passing in Matthew’s account of Herod’s treachery. They are the religious leaders. Matthew 2:4-6 describes the scene.

Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

This is shocking. The chief priests and scribes knew exactly where Christ was to be born. These were the theologians, the minds, the brains, the pharisaical aristocracy, the religious elite of Israel. They knew Scripture well enough to quote Micah 5:2, which prophesied that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet they missed Christmas.

The Jewish people had been looking for their Messiah since Moses first prophesied that a great prophet would come (Deuteronomy 18:15). They were waiting eagerly for a deliverer. Particularly now that they lived under Roman oppression, the entire nation longed for His coming. He was the great hope of the ages. The destiny of Israel was bound up in His coming. He was their deliverer, Messiah, Christ, the Anointed One. The intensity of their hunger is illustrated in the ministry of John the Baptist. People flocked to hear the one who had been sent to prepare the way for the Messiah.

Yet here were the theological experts, the guardians of spiritual truth in Israel, and they never even bothered to walk the few miles south to Bethlehem to find out for themselves if this was the Messiah.

Why did the religious leaders miss Christmas? Indifference. They didn’t care. At least Herod feared Jesus’ authority. The innkeeper could claim ignorance. These men had all the facts. They just didn’t care. Their Messiah was not really important to them.

If the truth were known, they felt they didn’t need Him. They were self‑righteous. They kept the law. They believed they were already all that God could ever ask of them. They were perfect in their own minds, sickeningly proud.

The root of indifference is always pride. These men were too busy with themselves to be concerned about Jesus. Engrossed in their own pride, their self‑righteousness, their self‑sufficiency, they carried on their ritual and their petty theological discussions in the confines of their own comfortable system. They had no time for the Son of God. In fact, when He began His public ministry, these men made themselves His principal adversaries. They hated Him and despised Him and ultimately plotted His murder. They didn’t want Him. They didn’t need Him.

I’m reminded of the plaintive cry of Jeremiah in Lamentations 1:12 as he watched all of Israel going down the path of destruction. He cried out, “Is it nothing to all you who pass this way?” Jeremiah was saying, “How can you be so indifferent?”

Indifference is a profound sin against Christ. Sadly, it is one of the most common reactions to Him. It is typical of religious people who don’t think they need a savior. Such people think they are all right just the way they are. That is a dangerous attitude.

Jesus’ primary ministry was to people who had problems and knew it. He said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). In other words, those who are indifferent—who don’t realize they are sinners—cannot respond to His call. There may, in fact, be more people in our nation who ignore Christ because they don’t realize how sinful they are than people who reject Him because they are wantonly evil and hate Him. Everywhere you look you can see indifferent people who don’t care about the Savior because they don’t understand their need for salvation. They don’t openly oppose Him; they just ignore Him. They don’t care about the remedy because they don’t believe they have the disease. These people miss Christmas.

(Adapted from The Miracle of Christmas.)