by Mike Ratliff
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3 ESV)
On Friday morning Ken Silva sent me an email with a link to this article he had just posted. About a third of the way down through it there is a paragraph, which really got my attention:
Men like Brian McLaren are hijacking the visible church by taking it away from the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura and into a highly subjective murky mysticism where one decides truth about God by what they “feel” He is saying. Well, guess what; this is already beginning to happen within broader evangelicalism as evidenced by The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond, the latest book by Church Growth Movement guru Bill Hybels, and Recognizing God’s Voice. The latter is the March 12-13 sermon below by Purpose beginning Pope Rick Warren where—beginning at 5:57 in—he makes the outlandish claim to his congregation that by following these 7 tests they all can be “absolutely certain” when God is speaking directly to them.
Please watch the video at this link.
I had a lot of work to do and I let that video run as I did it. I have listened to Rick Warren do “his thing” with sacred Scripture many times so I was not really shocked at how he used verses out of context to make them support his points even though they absolutely do not, when put in proper context, support what he was teaching at all. In fact, right at the beginning of his outline he used a passage that I would like us to focus on before I address a certain part of the video. That passage is John 7:17, which he quoted from The Message, “Jesus: “Anyone who wants to do God‟s will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up.” Here is the that same passage in context from the ESV:
 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.  The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”  So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.  Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”  The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”  Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it.  Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.  If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?  Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:14-24 ESV)
Notice that Rick Warren used this as a text to introduce the concept to those attending this seminar, isolating v17 from the dubious The Message translation, to sell the fact that it is possible for Christians to have the mystical ability to hear directly from God and know for sure, through feelings, that it is so. However, what is Jesus really saying here? He is saying that those who seek only to do God’s will for His glory alone AND are indeed sent by Him to do it are true and in him is no falsehood. He is talking about Himself.
As I said, I had a lot of work to do and I let it run as I worked. However, there was one part that I had to stop it and rewind and re-listen several times to see if what I was hearing from the man was what I thought he said. At about the 23:20 minute mark of the video as he hits point #5 he talks about his warped idea of Biblical wisdom and discernment. He comes out and clearly says that if anyone is in any way critical about anyone else’s ministry then they are “not from God,” but are “from Satan.” He then goes into a short rant about Internet bloggers who love to criticize “everyone.” He insinuates that they are no better than fools, idiots, babies, or monkeys. Then he says that the only ones who practice true Biblical wisdom seek to find the beauty in every person as well as the good in every person and situation. He states in no uncertain terms that when we “criticize” him and his “ministry” or that of others we are only being critical of surface issues and that we only be immature and those who are truly, spiritually mature act like he does in seeking to find the good and beautiful in all things and everyone instead of going after these obviously unimportant things.
Sigh…well my brethren, I don’t think I have every criticized Rick Warren or is ministry or that of anyone else on SURFACE ISSUES, but on one thing only. How are they on lining up doctrinally with what God’s Word says? You see, that is all that matters. He claims that those who do what we do are the ones causing harm and division in the church, but it is him and those who do likewise who have done the most harm in the church visible it, making nearly impossible to find a decent church in a major city in the USA that has not become contaminated with the Seeker Sensitive disease of becoming so doctrinally shallow that the “gospel” that is preached is nothing more than a man-centered, man-focused, self-esteem, what can Jesus do for you today type of presentation that make the Lord Jesus nothing more than an add-on on their lives not their Lord with them as His slaves.
Go ahead and watch the video. That is my evidence. See for yourselves. I’m not making this stuff up. I pray for God to give you the wisdom and discernment to recognize Rick Warren for the deceiver he really is.
Soli Deo Gloria!