Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Apostasy is Complete

Shane Hipps is a Mennonite pastor who has accepted a teaching position at Mars Hill Church which is pastored by Rob Bell. Pastor Hipps is a spiritualist, which means he believes all religions have a piece of the truth and are valid, but that Christianity has a larger piece of the truth. In this excerpt from one of his sermons he uses the metaphor of a “sail” in referring to the different religions. For instance Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and all the rest are just different sails that catch the divine wind. He claims that all the sails catch this wind, but that Christianity’s sail catches more of that wind.
As you read through this segment of his message, I would like you to watch for this portion:

“Just because we claim Jesus as the center of our religion does not make us one and the same with the wind of God. It just means we have another sail. I happen to think it’s a better sail than most other sails. I happen to think it’s a more effective sail than other sails (that’s why I chose this particular sail), but it ain’t the wind.”

This is rank heresy and open apostasy. And since Pastor Bell is sometimes very noncommittal in his theology, this statement, along with Pastor Hipps being called to ministry at Mars Hill Church, reveals in no uncertain terms the theology of Rob Bell. For those of you who had viewed Rob Bell’s teachings as left of center but still containing the gospel core, you must now reevaluate your views in light of this unassailable evidence.
I had only recently come to the conclusion that Pastor Bell had departed from the faith due to his friendship and endorsement of Peter Rollins. I wrote a post about my concerns with the teachings of Peter Rollins. But now there can be no doubt about the direction of the Mars Hill Church and Pastor Rob Bell. The following was taken from a message by Pastor Hipps who is now a teaching pastor at Mars Hill:

Here is the sermon excerpt:

To lose your religious identity is like losing a sail at sea. The sail is like religion, the wind is the Spirit. You need a sail to catch the wind…to harness the wind, but you gotta’ realize that that sail isn’t the wind. The sail is actually dependent on the wind. See, here’s the crazy thing, the Spirit (the wind), doesn’t need sails in order for it to move about the world. The sails need the wind. So the Spirit in order for it to move and operate in the world has no need of religion, but we (those of us made the way we are) for some reason need sails in order to catch the wind. We need religious structures, external things we can touch and see and traditions and lineages that teach us so that we can better catch the wind.

Now some sails are built better than other sails; some sails are bigger than other sails, some sails are a different shape than those other sails, and those differences matter. And sometimes, one sail is better than another sail in the same way that some religions are better equipped to catch the Spirit of God. Some religions are not as well equipped to fully capture and be compelled by the Spirit. So it matters what religion you choose. It matters why that religion…why you choose it. It matters what it looks like…how it’s shaped, but don’t ever confuse the sail with the Spirit…the sail with the wind.

Here’s what’s so confusing about this…John comes along and says, “Hey both of you guys you’ve got great sails…they look awesome.” I just want you to know it’s the wind that I’m interested in. He says Jesus became the fullness of that wind. And so along comes us and we create a sail around that person. We go, “Now we’ve got it!” Wooo! It’s just another sail. Just because we claim Jesus as the center of our religion does not make us one and the same with the wind of God. It just means we have another sail. I happen to think it’s a better sail than most other sails. I happen to think it’s a more effective sail than other sails (that’s why I chose this particular sail), but it ain’t the wind. (pause)

This is what John is doing and it’s extremely innovative and it’s very unsettling that he’s inviting us beneath and beyond the things that make distinctions between us. He’s pointing beyond the sail to the wind and he desperately wants us to experience the wind…the logos…that animating, creative life force that gives you breath right now in this very moment. That’s what John’ll be pointing us to, so as we go through this series, that’s what we’re going to be experiencing and exploring is this whole thing of the logos becoming flesh, and the difference between our…how we operate in the world and how God animates everything that is in the world.

And that’s why it says, “It was the life and light of all people.” It didn’t say the light and life of the people who believe in Jesus. This logos affects everybody including Osama bin Laden, as long as he’s got breath, in him, is a spark of the divine.
So let us consider this teaching, although anyone with a moderate level of Biblical understanding will already be on alert. Pastor Hipps is teaching that all religions lead to eternal life with God, and that Christianity is just the shortest and best way to heaven. That is blasphemous and desecrates the Name and work of Jesus Christ. To say that Jesus is just one of many sails is apostate and defames the Son of God and His gospel.
This is nothing new, but what is new is the openness and boldness by which these men have proven themselves to be the certain men referenced here:

Jude 1:4 - For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the question that accompanies such unchristian teachings: How can true believers follow such men and their teachings? The answer is deception, deep and powerful deception of which we are all susceptible if we allow our guards to be lowered. The "unawares" part of that verse means that they came in as one of us but have now changed course. This is no doctrinal game, and this is not the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate. No, this is the ultimate deception whose spoils are the souls of men and whose consequences are eternal hell. And this issue supersedes all other issues because this is the gospel. If Christ is exclusive in redemption then these men are false prophets and teachers and their mouths must be stopped. And let me make myself clear, whatever issues I may have with men like Ken Silva, Mike Ratliff, or John Chisham, are of no consequence when compared with this unequalled truth. Those men teach the exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is past time for true believers to humbly but unequivocally renounce the hidden works of darkness and come out from among them. This is not something in which to rejoice and take pride, this is something in which to weep and mourn for those who are being caught up in this elaborate web of deceit. The journey to apostasy has taken many back roads and has progressed through evangelicalism with many multi-colored doctrinal camouflages, but it is now in the light of God’s truth and it stands unashamedly against the very Son of the Living God.
This heresy shames the New Testament writers with their blasphemy, and defiles the blood of the martyrs. It counts as nothing the blood of Jesus Christ and dismisses the sufferings of Jesus as just another sail with which to catch some imaginary wind. Every preacher and teacher who fellowships with these men or uses their material is a partaker of their evil deeds. Melodramatic, you say? I suggest I am not competent enough to accurately and completely present the divine ramifications of such gospel departures. Be aware, though, this is just the beginning of a new and imperious level of brazenness that is gaining momentum throughout the evangelical world and will leave in its wake the carcass of gospel truth slain in the streets.
And breathtaking it is to watch people listen to such nonsense and shake their heads as if they were hearing something deep and profound. Stand firm, brethren, in your confession, but press toward the mark as well. Do not be content with avoiding deception, but be thirsty to know Christ in all His fullness and be broken before His correction of you. This is not just a competition for truth, this is, this must be, a continuing journey to seek Jesus with all our hearts. I have little doubt that in that search we will see much that necessitates our repentance and contrition. We cannot afford to stop and be consumed with apostates, and although we must be warned and speak against their teachings, we ourselves must continue steadfast toward knowing and obeying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Boldness and humility are strange cousins, but we must never sacrifice one for the other. Let the Name of Jesus Christ be the one and only Name by which sinners can be saved, and let His gospel light be spread to the four corners of the earth. Only Christ can save, and all other religions are worthless constructs of men that will ultimately lead men to an eternity separated from the God they professed to know. My prayer for us all is this:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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