The Root of Pragmatism

by Mike Ratliff

God is an expert at cutting through the blindness and hardness in our hearts. In 1995 I was a Deacon at a church in Oklahoma. I had been a Christian about 10 years at that time. I was at a point in my walk at that time that I am actually ashamed to discuss. I was active in Church, but the rest of the time, I functioned almost as an unbeliever. Then on April 19th I had a huge intervention into my life. While I was in my office at Bank of Oklahoma in downtown Oklahoma City, Timothy McVee set off a massive truck bomb just a block or so North of our building all but wiping out the Federal Building. I wrote about my experiences from this in Do Not Grow Weary.

Prior to this, as I stated earlier, my Christian walk was very shallow. I spent very little time in prayer and studied my Bible only to prepare to teach. I was on auto pilot. I remember prior to the bombing being very sure about the veracity of my religiosity. Don’t we all have a “value system” or mindset that contains our belief system? We are all born with this. Our default belief system is one of works righteousness. It sees God as being fair above all. However this fairness is based on our own innate feelings and beliefs not the Word of God. In any case, my spiritual condition prior to April 19, 1995 was one of belief, but much of my theology was still based entirely on my own performance. I remember around that time reconciling my poor “performance” with the fact that I was going to be one of those making it to Heaven by the “skin of my teeth.” Even so, I was still adamantly opposed to any theological teachings that smacked of what I know now as Reformed Theology.

The bombing experience shattered my complacency, but on the flip side, God also created a spiritual situation for me in which I became aware of Him continually placing before me points of contention where I must choose to respond to Him in faith or in unbelief. The former would be obedience based in trust in Him while the latter would be a decision to not trust Him because of the perceived risk. Risk to what? This can only be understood as a refusal to obey Him because it appeared to be costly if I did obey. Also, I was struggling mightily at this time with anger and emotional trauma. So when I did obey Him it was a wonderful thing and I was always aware of Him moving in me to teach or minister. However, if it all became too much, I would take the easy way out and not risk anything. God did this with me continually over the next 9 years or so. My trust in my stored up theology had begun to develop a lot of cracks. God’s ways seemed so different than what I had thought I understood before. His ways seemed to have no reference point where they coincided with Him being “fair” according to my standards.

During this period my “theology” in my heart would have had no problem with any form of pragmatic ways to “do church.” One of the things I clung to all through this was that I had “made my decision for Christ” back in 1986 and that it was by me doing that that I was a Christian. Therefore, any form of “doing church” that matched that understanding was fine by me. On the other hand, I remember viewing those denominations that seemed more formal than us as being mired in religiosity. How could anyone get saved in a “system like that?” Unless there is a system in place to facilitate people making decisions then how can people get saved?

If you read Do Not Grow Weary then you know that God did not leave me in this pathetic theological state. What He did for me in 2004 I view now as a miracle of Grace. He turned my “belief system” upside down then replaced it with one that is Biblical instead one of my own creation. He took away my spiritual blindness and hardness of heart. He took away my unbelief and opened my eyes so I could see the truth and believe. He took my faith and gave it power. Of course this is His power and it is the Holy Spirit as wind in my spiritual sails, moving me into obedience.

I shared all of that to lead into the main topic for this post. The root of pragmatism is unbelief. God does put each of us who are on this narrow way into circumstances which are really points of decision or contention. Are we going to take the right fork or the left fork in the path? The right fork is to walk by faith, obey God and trust Him through it all. The left fork is to walk by sight, disobey God and sink further into unbelief and unfaithfulness. The more left forks we take the further we proceed into blindness and hard-heartedness until we are right where I was before God intervened into my life in 1995.

If we are in that state then we are spiritually sick. However, since we have God’s divine nature in us, there are times we can still be used by Him in the working of our spiritual gifts, but there is a huge missing piece. When I was in this sorry state I was serving God perfunctorily. I would live my own way the rest of the time. The missing piece was the crucified life, the obedient life that is spirit-filled and moves in obedience to God by our spiritual sails being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Christian who is operating in unbelief is hard-hearted and spiritually blind. Only God can shatter it. Sadly, I believe that most Christians are in this state. They are in unbelief so they do not have the power of the Holy Spirit moving in their lives. To compensate, they depend upon pragmatism. This pragmatism takes many forms, but tragically, it has morphed into ways to do church, such as the Purpose Driven Church model as well as the Willow Creek Association. These forms of “doing church” are simply pragmatic approaches to evangelism, gearing every aspect of a church to this role and it is all by works and not by faith at all.

These pragmatics are products of the the “church growth” movement. This movement has its roots in the teaching of C. Peter Wagner.

At the heart of Wagner’s teaching and the church growth movement are principles related to evangelism. Wagner has admirably promoted the work of evangelism as being of utmost importance in the local church. When his understanding of evangelism is examined in the light of Scripture, however, some serious question marks appear. He divides evangelism into the following categories(C. Peter Wagner, editor, with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: State of the Art. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1988, pp. 296-297):

* Presence Evangelism. Getting next to people and helping them; doing good in the world; designated “1-P” evangelism.

* Proclamation Evangelism. Presenting the gospel; the death and resurrection of Christ is communicated; people hear and can respond; designated “2-P” evangelism.

* Persuasion Evangelism. Making disciples; stresses the importance of not separating evangelism and follow-up; incorporating people into the body of Christ; designated “3-P” evangelism.”

Wagner points out that all three types of evangelism have their place, but the goal must be to carry out “3-P” evangelism. Few would disagree with the fact that “1-P” evangelism cannot adequately communicate the gospel to an unbeliever. But few also would deny that without the visible presence of those who have been animated by the gospel of Christ, all other evangelism would be stifled.

The biggest problem comes in Wagner’s understanding of “2-P” evangelism. According to his definition it appears to be little more than preaching or a verbal witness of the facts of the gospel. Then the unbeliever can make up his mind on whether the facts presented appear to be worthy of his deciding to embrace the gospel.

“3-P” evangelism becomes the focal point for church growth proponents. It does involve both presence and proclamation, but that is not enough. The evangelist must use every means at his disposal to persuade an unbeliever to turn from his sin and believe in Christ so that he becomes a disciple. In class lectures, Wagner capitalizes upon the Greek word, peitho, and its use in the book of Acts. He cites Acts 13:43, 17:4, 18:4, 26:28, and 28:23-24, where peitho is used as a reference to an evangelistic appeal. Wagner consistently portrays the word as meaning “to persuade.” Therefore, proper evangelism will be persuasion evangelism.

There are several problems with Wagner’s deduction from these passages in the book of Acts. First, it is generally unwise to build a theology upon a historical section of Scripture unless there are no didactic or instructional passages dealing with the subject. The New Testament abounds with passages referring to the work of evangelism. Most notable is Paul’s clear explanation of his method for evangelizing in Rom. 1:16-17. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Paul declared that the gospel is adequate enough through the work of the Holy Spirit to bring a man to a saving knowledge of Christ.

In 1 Cor. 2:4, 5 he points out that he sought to proclaim the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than using all of the common mind-control techniques of the Greeks. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive [Greek, peitho] words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. The Apostle also contends that Christians should so live out the reality of the gospel that they will “appear as lights in the world,” which is “1-P” evangelism according to Wagner’s definition. On the heels of such a statement he then shows the appropriate method of evangelizing, “Holding forth the word of life,” which puts the believer in the position of presenting (i.e., “proclaiming”) the life-giving truth of God’s Word to unbelieving men (Phil. 1:15-16).

Second, Wagner’s use of peitho as the basis for persuasion evangelism is extremely weak. To limit the translation of this word to one use shows a lack of understanding the breadth of the Greek language. While peitho can be translated “persuade” in numerous places, it also can best be translated by “urged,” “convinced,” “seduced,” “entreat,” and even “bribe” in other cases. The context determines the best translation of the word. Did Luke, the biblical writer in Acts, use peitho to refer to a certain type of persuasive methodology employed by Paul and other early disciples? Obviously, Luke would never want to use manipulation, trickery, or deceit in the work of evangelism (see the use of peitho in Acts 12:20, 14:19, and 19:26 where the ideas of “seduce” and “bribe” are conveyed in the Greek text of these verses). To do so would deny the need for the Holy Spirit’s work, which must be at the heart of any true evangelistic work (Rom. 8:9, 12-17; 1 Thess. 1:4-5).

The New American Standard Bible rightly translates peitho in Acts 13:43 as “urging,” showing that Paul and Barnabas used the best reasoning powers and their passion for truth in exhorting the listeners to “continue in the grace of God.” In Acts 17:4, “persuaded,” implies that the Thessalonicans were “convinced” of the things which Paul and Silas had proclaimed. Luke had already noted that they had “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead.” (17:2-3). These descriptive words show a great intellectual interchange taking place, as the messengers utilized the proofs of Scripture, a series of questions and answers (“reasoned,” Greek dialegomai) and all of their reasoning powers to “convince” these people of the truth. They passionately presented the Word of God to these unbelieving people by appealing to their minds with the truth (see also Acts 18:4 and 28:23 where the use of peitho is most naturally translated as “to convince.”).

Third, the idea of “3-P” evangelism suggests that the “2-P” evangelism of proclamation lacks persuasive power. The early disciples never stoically proclaimed the gospel! They were passionate about the truth that had transformed their lives. Their presentations of the gospel contained solid logic and reasoning. They appealed to the mind of unbelievers rather than trying to manipulate a “decision for Christ” by appealing first to the will or to the emotions. The Acts 17 passage demonstrates this conclusively, as does the whole narrative of the book of Acts.

In the 19th century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was noted as the supreme example of a true evangelist. The scope of his ministry spread broader than any other man of his day. Spurgeon would have been repulsed by manipulation or man-centered emotional methods in evangelism. Yet no one would ever accuse him of proclaiming the gospel without persuasion or passion. The gospel itself, rightly proclaimed, is persuasive! And such a gospel, when savingly believed due to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, produces true disciples.

Last, while I agree with Wagner that we must be persuasive in presenting the gospel, his emphasis puts undue confidence in the evangelist’s abilities to bring about conversions. Such confidence is foreign to the teaching of Scripture (see 1 Cor. 2:1-16; see also Iain Murray’s excellent treatment of the subject in Revival and Revivalism, Banner of Truth Trust, 1994, pp. 161ff.). The Apostle Paul was so overcome with a consciousness of divine judgment, that he stated, “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.” The natural sense of translation is that because Paul understood that sinners would stand before a just and holy God, he sought “to win men to Christ.” He looked for the lost, proclaimed passionately the gospel to them, but depended upon the power of the Holy Spirit to save. Those whom the Spirit of God saved would inevitably become a part of the visible body of Christ (see Acts 2:47). True evangelism seeks to proclaim clearly and passionately the whole gospel of Christ in dependence upon the Holy Spirit to save. Such evangelism will result in the work of incorporating new believers into the church. The disparity comes when the evangelist sees himself and his methods as the keys to the man’s salvation rather than the regenerating work of the Spirit.

Wagner bases his categories of evangelism on “The Engel Scale,” which is a “spiritual decision process model” developed by James Engel. The scale has a series of negative and positive numbers which chart the process of evangelism:

-8 Awareness of Supreme Being but no effective knowledge of the Gospel
-7 Initial awareness of Gospel
-6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel
-5 Grasp of implications of Gospel
-4 Positive attitude toward Gospel
-3 Personal problem recognition
-2 DECISION TO ACT
-1 Repentance and faith in Christ
REGENERATION–A “NEW CREATURE”
+1 Post-decision evaluation
+2 Incorporation into Body
+3 Conceptual and behavioral growth begins

The basic problem with the “Engle Scale” can be seen in the reversal of the biblical order of repentance and faith in Christ and Regeneration-a “New Creature.” Following the logic of this chart one would assume that a sinner merely has to begin to grasp the fundamental implications of the gospel, recognize his “personal problem” (which is a kind way of implying “sin”), then make a decision to be saved. What Wagner assumes concerning regeneration implies that a sinner must not be totally depraved or dead in his trespasses and sins. Otherwise, regeneration would of necessity precede repentance and faith as is clearly taught in the numerous passages dealing with regeneration (note the following examples which refer to the act of regeneration: Titus 3:5, where the Greek paliggenesia means “a birth again,” “new birth;” Eph. 2:5 and Col. 2:13, where the Greek sunezoopoisen, means “to make alive together with;” John 3:3, 5, where the Greek gennao, means “to be born,” “to be begotten;” James 1:18, where the Greek apekuasen, means “to give birth,” “to bear”).

Wagner’s whole premise is that once the sinner is persuaded to make a decision to repent and believe then he will be regenerated. It is the act of the sinner that thus causes his regeneration. The sinner has the capability to make a willful and appropriate choice concerning the gospel if he is under good 3-P or Persuasion evangelism. How does that sinner’s nature improve enough for him to repent and believe? If the sinner’s spiritual problem is the result of not only his sinful behavior but his depraved nature, then until his nature is changed he will not repent and believe; it would be against his nature to do so. Besides, how can a “dead man” make himself alive, which is what takes place in regeneration? This is especially clear in Eph. 2:1-5 where Paul asserts twice that an unregenerate person is “dead.” -Phil A. Newton – The Founders Journal

Pragmatism is a fruit of unbelief. Unbelief refuses to accept that God is Sovereign and that fallen Man is “dead.” Therefore, those in this unbelief evangelize with an emphasis on manipulation and persuasion instead of relying on the preaching of the Word while trusting that God will save His people through that as He as promised to do in scripture. As I look back on my own journey I see clearly the line of demarcation between my life as a pragmatic Christian who thought his salvation was his own work and that wonderful awakening when God opened my heart to the truth of his Sovereignty and Faithfulness in saving His people as we obey Him in evangelizing by making disciples of all who will hear. If you are one who has taken way too many left forks then I pray that you will seek God, draw near to God, and that He will, in turn, draw near unto you. I pray that He will draw you into becoming a Spirit-filled believer as you saturate your life with His Word and follow through with obedience and submission to others.

Soli Deo Gloria!

16 thoughts on “The Root of Pragmatism

  1. All the ‘isms’ seem to be on the rise except monergism which just happens to be the one and only true ‘ism’. The ‘real’ Reformed churches are great. But be careful out there……..some say they are reformed and they are not, so do your homework on them. We have a brother in the Willow Creek church and we keep praying that he will see the real light here soon. He has been in it for 7 years now…….ugh. He says, ‘Hey, rock and roll man’. At that point we wanted to throw up, but instead of making a mess, we decided to hold him up in prayer everyday. God has to be the one to draw them and open their eyes. And if they are truly His, He will. What an epidemic of false teaching we have out there.

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  2. Paul and Luann,

    It’s hard for me to hold those mired in pragmatism in disregard since I was one of them for so long. 🙂 You have it right, keep praying. Did you guys see the interview with N.T. Wright where he claims that Jesus never taught that Christians go to be with Jesus in Heaven when they die? These things should drive us to our knees and make us more dependent than ever on the grace of God. Come soon Lord Jesus!

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  3. Yes pragmatism in evangelism is a fruit of unbelief and also if you know better, if you know the biblical message and methods, it could be a case of being ashamed of the Gospel. Or, it can be a case of ignorance; in my case, I was doing some of these man-centered methods for years, unaware until God taught me. Until then, I knew something was wrong but I did not realize until God convicted me of it.

    Thank you for the very helpful article.

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  4. Regardless of your theological view of free will, the presentation of the gospel must be free from coercion or manipulation. The human mind is susceptible to suugestion and superstition and many times people will respond to a preacher’s style, creativity, and as an insurance against the fear of eternity. The assembly line type of evangelism is an embarrassment to the gospel and interferes with the ministry of the Spirit.

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  5. Mike, you stated,

    “It is a wonderful day when we realize that we are not in control.”

    Yes! A very simple statement but rich in truth. When this is truly realized, it is then we can understand and experience what Christ meant when He said that His “yoke is easy and His burden is light”…He gives us rest – rest from trying to “work” our way into Heaven – thus, really appreciating the beauty of grace.

    Though the spirit within me realizes this truth, my flesh still battles with it.

    I cannot help but feel so undeserving for this unmerited love from the Lord, and full of praise and awe for Him.

    This walk with Him, though quite painful at times, is amazing! His love toward me (and all His children) is such a thing of beauty – I cannot even pretend to comprehend – I just know that it keeps me humble – and ever abiding in Him.

    I also realize that because of our flesh, we are prone to leave Him – we are prone to leave our First Love and look to another, usually ourselves – – again applying a heavy yoke and unnecessary burdens – – it is a daily process to eliminate this flesh – a process that I struggle with, but yet keep pressing. I just want to be holy and blameless in His sight – – I am so far from there, therefore, I cannot help but feel broken and undeserving – – BUT grace wouldn’t be grace if it could be earned. And of course I am not saying because of grace we need not seek holiness, we know those who really follow Christ, truly seek to keep His commandments and submit to His ways. We strive to enter into His rest!

    Thanks Mike for a wonderful post – and for allowing us to take a peek into your walk with our Maker – it provides strength and encouragement.

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  6. I was baptized about 1978. Then again in 1980. I felt nothing but assumed that I was born again. It seems that everyone who is baptized thinks they are born again. If I was really born again at that point then why was I still searching for the truth? I was actually born again in the spring of 2006. God led me to the truth and I was born again. God’s call is very effectual! I will never forget the moment! What an immeasurable blessing and I did pray for my spiritual healing starting back in the mid 90’s. I knew I lacked all those things we were supposed to have. (joy, peace, love ) It really is amazing! Ask and it will be given and seek and you shall find .

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  7. Amen Mike!

    And I’d like to add “Pragmatism, thy name is Rick Warren!”

    Oh, how his sychophants, admirers, hirelings and hangers on will gush over his numbers, over his NICKELS AND NOSES!

    In fact I had an encounter earlier tonight with one of his sad, misguided defenders.

    The following is a modified and expanded version of a comment I left over at The Truth in Context blog after an individual calling himself “guymuse” questioned the moral ability of those – such as myself – who dare to question the demonstrably false teaching of the Purpose Driven Protestant Pontiff Rick Warren.

    guymuse said: I would suggest that you might be careful making judgment calls against another professing believer.

    Yes, you might suggest that, and I would respond that I’ve been quite careful – and thorough – in both my research and my comments and I stand firmly by each and every one of them.

    But still I wonder; why would you suggest that when the “professing believer” in question unrepentantly spouts manifold heresies and teaches scriptural falsehoods and errors?

    guymuse said: What I see is that you are the one ascribing judgment–something I clearly believe is an attribute that only God can do.

    You’re simply confused here. God alone judges who goes to heaven and hell. God can and will certainly save those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world. I’m not passing eternal heaven/hell judgment on Rick Warren, but I absolutely am judging him by his words and his actions and how those words and actions line up with the infallible, inerrant, inspired, plenary Word of God as contained uniquely within the Holy Bible! And by the way, ALL true Christians are commanded to do the same (see Jude 1:3).

    guymuse said: What I am trying to say is that I would be careful making judgment calls against a fellow brother in Christ whom the Lord is greatly using to impact the world for the cause of Christ.

    Rick Warren is NOT a fellow brother in Christ. Rick Warren is a demonic dupe, a satanic stooge, and a pawn of the prince of the power of the air. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing that is rending Christ’s little flock with his pernicious, abominable, damnable heresy and is leading countless myriads of deceived souls toward the very pit of hell with his false teaching.

    Either Rick Warren’s man-centered 100% works righteousness false gospel god is God, or the One True Living God of the Holy Bible is God. I profess and claim the latter as my God and utterly reject the false gospel of universalism espoused by Rick Warren.

    guymuse said: If you (or Alan) truly have concerns about Warren and his ministry, have you done the Biblical thing–ala Matthew 18:15-17, and gone to Rick himself to try and clear up your these perceived “sins?”

    If not, I would say the ones out of line biblically, are those making the public accusations of “Gentile” and “tax-gatherer” without having FIRST gone to the brother in question.

    Rick Warren’s false statements are a matter of public record. If you’ve spent as much time as you claim studying the NT church then after reading this misapplication of the doctrine of church discipline I’d humbly suggest that you need to go back and hit the textbooks again.

    Are you really saying that you believe Matt. 18 is referring to instances where the “professing believer” in question is a major public figure – and is a *total stranger* – who has made public statements which are verifiably Biblically incorrect, and yet another can’t publicly speak (or write) about it without first going to said public figure privately?

    What silliness!

    Clearly the scriptural admonition here is for settling disputes within the local church – the local body of believers!

    Do you privately remonstrate in your heart against the Apostle Paul for withstanding Peter to his face without first writing him a note or visiting him privately prior to publicly rebuking him for his gross error? For your sake I certainly hope not.

    I’m forced to ask guymuse, within your spiritual worldview and according to your understanding of the scriptures why is it wrong or objectionable for believers to “make judgment calls” when the “professing believer” in question twists, wrests, and denies the very Words of the Lord Whose blood he claims bought him? Why do you object to doctrinal correction and rebuke of gross sin and error?

    Have you ever listened to Rick Warren’s false gospel?

    Have you ever compared Rick Warren’s false teaching to the Holy Bible?

    Do you realize that based on the very scriptures regarding fruit and works that you cited Rick Warren must be considered to be an apostate and wholly outside the true Body of Christ? For example:

    Did you know Rick Warren is an unrepentant liar?

    Did you know that Rick Warren stages massive rallies at his mega church Saddleback to bring awareness to global HIV/AIDS, but studiously avoids any such rallies or mentions about the holocaust of global abortion?

    Did you know that Rick Warren is OF the world and world loves him for it?

    Did you know that Rick Warren openly engages in ecumenical exchange with Islam, and not for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, but for building “common ground” between the “Abrahamic Faiths”?

    Did you know that Rick Warren teaches that DISUNITY is Satan’s greatest weapon?

    Did you know that Rick Warren promotes New Age mysticism and contemplative prayer which are pagan and idolatrous?

    Did you realize that heretics of a feather flock together and Rick Warren embraces a veritable Who’s Who of apostates, heretics, and blasphemers? Again, IN NONE OF THESE INSTANCES does “Pastor” Rick bother to share the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ so let’s not pretend that he’s merely “building relationships” so he can slip them a “Gospel Mickey” when they least suspect it. Rick Warren loves rubbing elbows and glad-handing with the power brokers, movers and shakers, and “big names” of this fallen world. The spirit of the age is within Rick Warren and moves him like an unseen hand. Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Puppet Master is himself a puppet of the evil master puppeteer himself, the enemy Satan.

    In all of this Rick Warren demonstrates that he is just like his father the devil.

    “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)

    A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

    Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

    You can see and hear the apostate Rick Warren deny the Biblical truth of salvation by grace through faith alone (Sola Fide) and teach a man-centered religion of works righteousness (the law) with your own eyes and ears in this short video.

    Is this what the Reformers died for? Did Christian martyrs give their lives so that liars and thieves like Rick Warren could enslave men and lead them back to the damnable doctrines of Rome? Does the evildoer Rick Warren realize that the Pope could happily preach this precise sermon to a Catholic audience and be in full agreement with its content?

    Warrenism = Ecumenism = Rome

    Unity.

    Unity at all costs.

    Unity at the expense of truth.

    It would be understandable for the non-discerning to come to Warren’s defense and say, “Hey, Pastor Rick just wants unity for the Body of Christ, that’s a good thing, that’s something God desires and something we ought to be working toward!” Yet the truth is that all regenerate, truly born-again Christians are already in spiritual unity together in Christ; this is the mystery of the true church, the true Bride of Christ!

    No my friend, Warren is so obsessed with a false temporal unity obtained at the expense of Biblical truth that he’s willing in his capacity as Protestant Pope to excommunicate serious, discerning, Christ-centered brothers and sisters in Lord in order to ensure the absolute, unquestioned authority of his Purpose Driven Pulpit Puppets – those who will undoubtedly soon be known as his “Bishops”. Amazingly Warren is so eager to spiritually prostitute himself to his idol god unity that he’s signed an open letter to Muslims extolling the common virtues of the Christian and Islamic faiths emphasizing “the absolutely central commonality between both religions: love of God and love of neighbor”.

    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16)

    Warren’s non-gospel of nothingness is in fact the bondage of religious works righteousness. In Warren’s upside down spiritual world men are to earn “rewards” from God Almighty based upon their works of righteousness in the flesh. This is so far removed from the truth of Christianity as to make the Gospel According to Pastor Rick another gospel.

    The men-in-skirts spiritual sissies that pass for “Christian leaders” in these last days aren’t interested in divisive things like taking a stand on scripture, doctrine, or a bunch of dusty old creeds!

    “Why be divisive”? This was Rick Warren’s actual response when asked about the fact that his pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women.

    “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?” he asks.

    Egads man! Look, if the gospel itself is a non-essential to Rick Warren – and it is in both word and deed – then nothing else is left to debate.

    Nothing else matters.

    Elvis has left the building.

    I can only give Rick Warren the benefit of the doubt that he actually is an apostate. But I must admit that I’m becoming increasingly convinced that he doesn’t even qualify for that ignominious title because I’m not sure he was ever a true Christian believer/pastor/teacher in the first place.

    He’s providing more and more evidence that he may have always been a cultist.

    I wonder how quickly his fawning media coverage would vaporize if he insisted on having rallies in favor of ending abortion at Saddleback instead of a warm and fuzzy conversation about A.I.D.S?

    I wonder how suddenly his status as “America’s Pastor” would evaporate if he were adamant about organizing every church and every church member to mobilize their resources to run the aborturaries out of their communities?

    I wonder how immediately his invitations to appear on prime time television talk shows would disappear if he had dedicated as much time speaking out against the blood of millions of innocents flowing from their mother’s wombs as he’s spent shilling his social gospel of works righteousness?

    May the Lord of Hosts open the eyes of Rick Warren and his itching ears followers, hirelings and hangers-on before it’s too late!

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  8. Corem deo,

    If RW platformed for the end of abortion, it would be over. That is to much of a heated subject. Now choosing to fight aids and hunger would be on everyones list. I suppose that’s how he planned to in-act the one world religion, with him as the leader. Or am I being a whats-that-word? My 55 year old mind isn’t what it used to be, or was it ever? 🙂

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  9. Exactly Deborah – an astute observation!

    It seems to me that your “55 year old brain” is sensitive to and trained upon the Word of God, and that’s what matters most.

    In Christ,
    CD

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  10. CD

    My 55 year old mind isn’t that good. I wish it were trained on the word of God but it’s still in training pants. 🙂 It just seemed like a logical explanation of why he doesn’t make waves,of course you already figured that out, didn’t you?! 🙂

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  11. How wide is the distinction between the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and, that other gospel of which Paul speaks, and, which is indeed no gospel [Gal 1:6-9].. That other gospel teaches that man is not so very bad; that he has a Divine spark….It tells man to cheer up, think good thoughts believe in himself, turn over a new leaf, chip in and help keep the wheels of the Church machinery moving, and everything will come out right in the end. This gospel denies the personality of Satan and the punishment of the wicked; it has a heaven but no hell; a Christ but no Cross; a leader but no Lord….It has soft words for sinners….At its shrines it serves soothing sophistries to itching ears. In the place of Scripture facts it has silly fables; it denies the doctrines of the Bible and dishes up doctrines of devils….The gospel of gush has no grip upon men. The demand of the day is for strong, sturdy preachers of the pure Gospel of Grace, and zealous followers of the living God. –T.C.Horton (1910)

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  12. Interesting reading!

    I wonder if the pragmatism that is condemned in today’s church could also be condemned outside of the church. Specifically, I speak of people who call themselves “Christian” who will vote for the lesser of two evil politicians when there are other (better) candidates whom they say “can’t win.”

    Does God want us to vote for any kind of evil? Pragmatism leads them to vote for the lesser evil so the greater evil doesn’t win. Wouldn’t God want the Christian to vote for the most righteous person and let Him worry about the results?

    I believe pragmatism is in the Christian heart. The fact that it is in the Christian church is only a result of the gathering of those pragmatists in their church building on Sunday mornings. They are gatherings of weak willed, frightened people who can be swayed anyplace except towards God’s righteousness, because God’s righteousness can be dangerous to the person.

    Where in the Bible do we find everyday decisions made in a pragmatic way? I know there are some, but where are those that come out with good results for God’s people?

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