Saturday, March 16, 2013

Networking the Nebulous


I want you to listen to this video from a man named Rob Bell.



I Cor.14: 7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

If you study the world’s religions you will find a myriad of thoughts and ideas about the essence and nature of the God or in some cases “gods”. Some see God as a collection of principles while others see Him as a divine human. Some characterize Him as all inclusive while others describe Him as a cosmic engineer. Every religion has its own narrative about who or what God is. And many religions have allowed their perspective about the nature of God to change with the times as well as updated practices of that particular religion. And many ways if not most of how God is described are incompatible with each other.

Most religions have their own divine writings which form some kind of basis for their beliefs. But many religions have different sects within the same religious title. And some religions claim to have an ongoing stream of inspired revelation which can change what was previously taught and believed. The entire religious landscape is a combination of ancient landmarks as well as mercurial thoughts. It is kind of a “Baskin Robbins” spiritual store which offers a religion which can scratch you where you itch.

Now within the religion generally known as Christianity there are all those same different thoughts and perspectives that can be seen throughout all religions. Christianity has sects like Roman Catholicism which can change doctrine and practice when the Vatican so decrees. There are other Christian sects which do the same thing. There are Christian sects which have sacred writings in addition to the 66 books we call the Bible. There are sects which have a leader who speaks for the entire sect. Some sects claim they are the only true followers of God while other sects say all religions lead to God. Yes, Christianity is a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas and practices which sometimes are decidedly at odds with each other.

And in America you have many different movements which claim to be Christian all moving in different directions in belief and practice. Of course there are sects that claim to be the exclusive sect with no redemptive room for others even within Christianity itself. But much more fashionable is the nebulous approach which suggests that any hint of exclusivity as it pertains to Christ and His redemption is misguided and archaic in thought. This kind of Christian stream openly suggests that the truth revealed in Scripture must be malleable and seen more clearly through a more modern prism. They suggest that a reworking of our beliefs must reach further than just a more modern approach in practice. No, they teach that our entire concept of God must be retooled and made to manifest a more well thought out caricature which can relate to the modern understanding of how a deity should be defined.

This kind of thought is not restrictive, and in fact swings wide open the doors for all kinds of thoughts and suggestions about God. Scripture is only one of many sources with which to arrive at a more sophisticated view of God, and everyone’s opinion and philosophy are not only important ingredients, they are essential in the final belief product. One of the most alluring aspects of such a sect is the way truth is a journey and not an absolute. Everyone can arrive at the gathering on Sunday morning excited about what new truth may be revealed from the pulpit or even what old truth will be dismantled and reformed. Yes, it is very exciting and makes those adherents feel very chic and like spiritual pioneers.

These kinds of movement are usually started with the energy and personality of a few main gurus and grow with many pied pipers who are able to articulate the vision and motivate the audience. They are very witty and urbane, and they use many effective communicative techniques. Books and CDs and other media are tools with which to spread their philosophy. And most of their message is a network of philosophies which allow the listeners to arrive at their own beliefs and conclusions. In fact, they are designed to lead people away from making any substantive conclusions except to conclude that these men are hearing from God.

And now please listen to this short video from a man named Peter Rollins.



This nebulous philosophy which relies almost entirely upon human stories and parables and philosophical perspectives moves forward a conversation which has no answers and which has no goal. It perpetuates a kind of philosophical Carousel of Progress which sees through a kaleidoscope of truth that constantly remolds and repackages truth by piecing together different kinds of life experiences and creating a truth which seems relevant to these experiences. There are no absolutes which are applicable to all situations and experiences. Truth itself is defined as figuring out how to deal with life in all its experiences.

When a man like Rollins speaks in philosophical whispers it appeals to those who either have no Biblical foundation or who have moved away from the Biblical perspective because of spiritual laziness, disenfranchisement, or an ecclesiastical disillusionment. Rollins’ words speak to pain and questioning and mystery and they elicit intellectual interest in a spiritual exploration. His kind of philosophies are anything but Christ centered, and as I said at their core is the human experience. Everyone can relate to his presentations of despair and suffering and the unknown element. And much of the strength of these kinds of nebulous philosophical musings is in creating a community of mutual identification. In general, if you find a personal identification in his words then you find an attraction. It is a kind of community palm reading or fortune telling, and along those lines it is indeed witchcraft.

Another major proponent is a man named Doug Paggit.



Here we see that his brand of Christianity is so bland and so innocuous that is not only does not offend the atheistic humanist, but it is a friend and coworker to it. The message of Christ has become so diluted and so nebulous that is has lost all meaning. That kind of Christianity in effect is no longer Christian and now is just a networking of how to live philosophies which are compatible with almost anything else. If you say you are concerned with people, than his brand of Christianity is no different or better than yours regardless of what you believe about Jesus or of indeed you believe in a god at all.

This life and the human experience become your statement of faith and your doctrinal foundation. They are your ever changing absolutes which of course is an oxi-moron in and of itself. And what you stand for and push forward offends no one outside of Christ and is now finding all sorts of avenues through which to gain access within the church. Slowly but surely the evangelical community has allowed and even invited such philosophies to come aboard. Rick Warren and Joel Osteen are just other leaders over the same philosophies. This nebulous belief system rejects doctrinal rigidity and openly suggests that not only does the application of truth need to be pliable, but truth itself should be fluid and mutable. And truth is formed by the human experience rather than the human experience being brought to truth.

And do not be deceived. These kinds of vain philosophies are being manifested in many different formats through the evangelical communities. From the Purpose Driven to the emergent to the seeker sensitive and everywhere in between these philosophies are being implemented. Even those preachers who refuse to address such movements are unwilling partners in their expanding efforts. These are damnable heresies which have no redemption and imprison souls with enticing words of men’s wisdom. I realize that to espouse and teach Biblical truth is becoming more and more unpalatable to the evangelical church and seems so out of touch with the problems of the modern man.

In these last days anyone who believes in the Bible as the only authority will be perceived as an unenlightened dinosaur. And anyone who believes that a personal faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life will be seen as intolerant and unloving. And although many churches do not endorse such men and their teachings, neither do they warn their flock lest they lose members. We live in perilous times in the flesh and the spirit. This war in the spirit is about truth, and this truth is about Jesus. Watch and pray, for in the end we all will be required to give an account for what and who we believed. The hour is late and the day draws near.

The One who these men downplay and ignore and repackage is about to return. And then which philosophy will you use to cover your spiritual nakedness? The eternal seriousness of the situation is not nebulous. And when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in all His glory and with an innumerable company of warring angels, and when He comes to take His vengeance, then all nebulousness will be burned away under the mighty weight of His holy power. On that day the vain philosophies of men will be their eternal indictment and the gospel of Jesus Christ will be the only eternal safety.

It will be a dream come true for a few and a nightmare for most.


Anonymous said...

Just watched Rob Bell's clip and am interrupting myself to comment before I read all the post.

I've pretty much seen a lot of these media ministers using worldly advertising methods to stir people into buying their snake oil. In this clip, the subliminal elements are all there; the background music, the reference to Oldsmobiles, an American icon, which revs up the viewer's patriotic pride, the reference to God being like an old relic that the church hasn't tapped into to receive His full potential, because the church hasn't integrated the world into the church enough. It's all very manipulative and diabolic.

And what I discern here, (I may be wrong), but it is that these ministers direct the viewer towards 'some' of biblical truth, like rebuking the thinking that we should refrain from concentrating just on 'evolution/creationism, traditional/non-traditional marriage, etc. because it is majoring on the minors and doesn't approach the bigger problems. But, he sounds like a politician who is steering viewers into thinking that "biblical issues" are a tool to use to manipulate people. He seems to be saying that to share the Word, we need to use clever psychological coercive methods to deceive people into coming to the churches.

And the woman who had two masters degrees that was shocked she couldn't minister, might have been counseled by a true man of God, in that the Lord can use the weak and the uneducated for His purposes. And the epistles are clear that women should not be in charge of churches. They can teach and minister to other women. But there is an order that God would have and that is that the man is the head of the woman, and Christ is the head of man.

Many christians like to point to 'abominations' of the OT, but ignore the teaching on the natural order of where women and men belong in His church.

Rick Frueh said...

You are correct. However it is much more diabolical than that. Rob Bell is a universalist and believes everyone will be saved and therefore he dilutes the gospel message and preaches another Jesus who can be found in all religions.

Anonymous said...

The unbelieving church has become a hot mess vomiting out antichrist philosophies. I saw Doug Pagitt on Humanist Views on YouTube for 3-4 minutes. I couldn't believe all the verbal backslapping he & the host engaged in. So living in the here & now instead of preparing for meeting Jesus and being accountable is it? According to these two men it is. Sorry Rick but when I was trying to focus on that Rollins fellow's views I got a bad case of ADD. The eccelsia needs to get deeper in the word & pray people will be lead out of the heresy.

Cherie c. said...

I would love to comment more, but it would take me too long being that I am down to one hand at the moment. I'm still here, and hope to fellowship as soon as I can.

In the mean time, this type of deception will increase in these last days, in fact I believe we will be persecuted by these false christians soon. As ecumenicism and the one world religion takes shape, we will be considered a danger, which we know is not true but they will view us as a hindrance to their agenda. I've got news for Mr. Bell's friend.....she needs to learn her place no matter how many degrees she has. No women holding office in the church, period. God said so, end of story. I want to say more, but I cannot. Pray for these people.

Love to all my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus

Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

Who ever prayed for me, Praise God, and thank you.

your sister in Christ Jesus

Cherie c.

AnonymousNoMore said...

I had not ever heard of these men before, Bell, Rollins or Pagitt. Wow. No matter what a person believes, there is a leader for all ways of thinking!

The further away their teachings are from the WORD OF GOD is just evidence of the amount of the world that is being embraced.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

The true teaching of the word of God is quickly becoming the minority and the false teachings are taking over. People don't want to be condemned or feel conviction. These false teachings do nothing but pet and soothe and give "Good Karma" -- so many being led astray and believing they are good enough, moral enough, decent enough to earn a spot in heaven, or a nice thereafter place.

If that wasn't bad enough, these teachings not only promote their beliefs, but also attack and condemn the true word of God and Christ's teachings. Which, as Cherie mentioned leads to true Christians being persecuted for their beliefs.

Good opening comments by Anonymous, too.

Very eye opening, Pastor Rick - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Cherie: Was wondering about you a few days ago. Glad you are back and can use the other hand soon! Love you all and am so thankful that we have this site.

Randy said...

We are from the area that he had the big church in Michigan. Went to his church once, and knew something was not right and never went back. We went hoping to see some truth because it was so popular in the area and you see "Love Wins" bumper stickers all over the area.
We have been out of the church system for many years so the changes that have happened since leaving are amazing and you can surely see the slide into the end time deception. When you are in the religious system you are blinded to the small subtle changes that slowy transform the truth into lies as they preach
"another Jesus another gospel".

Rick Frueh said...

Thanks, Randy.

Anonymous said...

There is something that grieves me. It's watching men and women, professed christians like the Bells, Warrens, think-tank christian leaders, the christian networks, prophetic/prosperity ministries, wealthy christian philanthropists, christian politicians, that have the power to TAKE over the 7 mountains. It's these people that have set an example to the world and these are the ones who say they represent JESUS. The world watches and is disgusted at the display.

And the result of this, is that unbelieving souls retreat from this and believe christianity is a miserable nasty cult.

Another very deep grievance I have, is hearing professed christians slandering, mocking, lying, yes lying, refusing to pray, placing all men's sins and ills on the President of the United States. Try to find ONE blog that defends their President and prays for him and his family. There are a few who do, but they add that they do it reluctantly and use scriptures about how it's commanded to do so even if the person or persons are not worthy.

I'm not a political person, nor a liberal. But when I accepted Christ, I became a lover of all men, feeling the potential that they might have if they met Jesus. I'm not an apostle, teacher or anyone who has a voice, but I have a love for those who try to do right, yet haven't found the true righteous One.

The 'public relations' of the elite church voices is all about self-rightous attacking the character of one man. The issues they make such a clamor over, like abortion, etc. have been around for years. Yet, since this administration, the fervor of attacks is beyond anything I've seen. And there is this wicked dog whistle out there that tries to impose satanic elements towards this administration. This should not be so. Would Jesus do this? They would never verbally attack other government leaders in the way they've attacked this present President. It's, to me, an abominable act, how they nit-pick every tiny thing he does or doesn't do, like when he requested to use the words, "so help me God" in his inauguration speech. Instead of rejoicing, church voices again attacked his choice, suggesting he was doing it for votes. Everything one man does, they scheme and plot to make one man a whipping post for their hatred. But, what is it they really hate? The vile, nasty, hateful words clergy and christian radio and tv personalities use towards the President is so palpable and diabolic, that I find it's too much. Does anyone else feel this way? One liberal-thinking man does not deserve the venom that supposed christians spew towards him day in and day out; how many other democrat feminist pro-choice, pro-gay marriage defenders get past the venom from these same christians? Lots. But for some reason, there is one man that is a favorite target of accusations, daily. The church acts like Satan who taunts at the throne of God and accuses the brethren to God.

This shouldn't be. If souls turn their backs on God because of this, then the church is accountable. And the worst part of their crime is that they seem to enjoy slandering him.

I was bullied when I was a little girl at school. Because I was a product of a bilingual household, I had 5 or 6 boys waiting for me after school on the path I took home. I learned how to avoid them. When I see others bullied because of being different, I cringe when I see others bullied and harmed. I never never in my lifetime would have believed someone if they told me how the American church is behaving, like a bully, in these last days.

Anonymous said...

The youth pastor of the last church we attended used to have the kids bring some sort of individual philosophical idea to the youth retreats so that they could all sit around and ponder these high minded ideas. It was so empty and pointless. My kids used to just not participate or brought some goofy saying that the youth pastor would look at and deem not philosophical enough. Sheesh!
The instability and inconsistency of these doctrines is so contrary to the Lord’s character which is stable and constant always. Coming from a past of horrible instability I for one desire to be stable and by the Lord’s grace am learning to abide in Jesus who alone is my firm foundation. I’m becoming more sure footed day by day and I’m rejoicing. There is peace and joy in being stable and it’s a wonderful witness to my kids. My desire is to have nothing distress my soul or toss me or trip me up but I desire to be an over comer firmly rooted in Jesus.
As for women teaching I’m relieved that the Lord sets perimeters around the responsibilities that women are to have. I think it’s the Lord’s love for us as women and he wants us to learn to rest in his ability to lead and protect. As a single mom it’s a big enough responsibility that I have to be everything to my kids; provider, protector and nurturer. This is quite confusing at times to say the least but the Lord is good always and I’m relieved that he would not put the weight of teaching a congregation on my shoulders. Thank you Brother Rick for this insightful post and I pray you will heal and recover quickly from the flu bug. God Bless you.