Mark Sandlin = false teacher

Mark Sandlin is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who often blogs at Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis’ Sojourners blog.  A friend sent me a link to Jesus Is Not My God, where Sandlin loudly and proudly claims not to believe in the deity of Christ.  He is welcome to his opinions, of course, and I respect his right of religious freedom.  We even have a term for people like him: Non-Christians.

I’ll start with one of his closing comments, because it typifies the approach of these “progressive Christians.”

I’m not trying to say I am right and others are wrong.

I find that kind of statement as revolting as his claims to be a Christian.  It is a completely wimpy, passive-aggressive postmodern lie.  He has a pulpit, blogs and Podcasts in place to teach these things, so he obviously thinks he is right.  Why not grow a pair and own it?

This is the first post in a series called:“This Collar Is Too Tight: Heresies From a Southern Minister.” Most institutionalized Churches define who is and who isn’t a Christian far too narrowly. There is an increasingly long list of tenets to which a person must dogmatically adhere in order to be in the club. The thing is… I don’t believe a whole lot of them. I even find many of them to be biblically inaccurate.

That’s an odd thing for him to say, because he sits in judgment of the Bible and decides for himself what “really” belongs.

I’ve decided to address them one by one because I’ve discovered that there are a lot of people who feel the same way — even other ministers.

The fact that there are many false teachers — especially within his circles — proves nothing.

I hope that this will give us all a little support and encouragement as we try to cling to our Christian-ness while others try to take it from us.

We aren’t trying to take anything way.  But words mean things, and based on the Bible and thousand of years of history it is incorrect to call people like him Christians.

I am a believer. Mostly.

I believe that there is probably a god — something bigger than us. I have a very hard time believing that there’s not something larger than humanity.

Wow, that’s bold apologetics.  Preach on, “minister.”

 . . . When I worship, I worship that God who is all-at-once bigger than me and might not be at all.

It’s the same god I believe Jesus was trying to teach us about.

In calling God “Father,” Jesus tried to teach us about the nurturing nature of this god. In saying that he and the “Father” were one he was trying to teach us about how we are all one in this god-thing that is larger than us. In telling us that in loving other people (everyone) we were loving God, he was trying to teach us about the connectedness of us all being created in the image of God.

I am a Christian because Jesus, for me, is the teacher who best helps me understand this god-thing.

How can one claim to be a Christ-follower and reject so much of what He taught?

When he worshiped, he worshiped that same god.

He did not worship himself.

Jesus never called himself God.

Here the cheating starts in earnest.  He’ll ignore what he doesn’t like from the synoptic Gospels, then dismiss the Gospel of John and the rest of the biblical claims about his divinity with a wave of his hand.  He starts with the assumption that the Bible isn’t the word of God, and concludes that the Bible isn’t the word of God.  Convenient.

Read through Matthew, Mark and Luke. You won’t find him saying it. Sure, there are a few places where you can interpret what Jesus says to possibly suggest he is God, but it isn’t stated outright.

Maybe if he didn’t go to the text with his preconceptions he’d come to a different conclusion.

You have to ask yourself: Something that important, don’t you think he might have mentioned it? And, if he did mention it, don’t you think somebody would have decided it was important enough to jot it down?

He did.

The Gospel of John does have Jesus mentioning the whole being God thing – a lot. The difference is a bit striking, isn’t it? The first three Gospels, all written before the Gospel of John, without Jesus saying he is God… and then John, after many years have passed, with Jesus saying he is God.

Does anyone else think it sounds like dogma slipped in there during those in-between years?

Thus begins the “progressive Christian” approach which isn’t new at all.  There are countless solid answers to objections like that but Sandlin doesn’t even pretend to have attempted to understand them.

Actually, yes, they do. Most modern scholars agree that John has some new theological perspective into its accounting of the life of Jesus. It may or may not be right, but because of the other three Gospels, I’m going with the idea that it is probably an addition.

Translation: “Most modern scholars” = “people I agreed with when I went opinion shopping.”  So Sandlin knows more than the early church?  Indeed.

For me, Jesus not being God is a good thing – a very good thing.

If what I hope to get from Jesus is an understanding of how to be the people God created us to be and to develop a closer relationship and understanding of God through that, it is much more helpful to see a person who is actually a person and not a god doing it. It’s hopeful even.

This “minister” doesn’t even understand the hypostatic union.

. . . I am saying that if you, too, believe Jesus is not your God, no matter what people tell you, you can still call yourself a Christian.

The Bible, the early church, common sense and 2,000 years of church history say otherwise.

Sandlin does what most pagans do, only they are more honest than he is and don’t make a living off their lies.  He finds a handful of verses he likes and claims to be a Christian.  But he doesn’t even hold to his professed belief of just believing Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Even those have Jesus speaking of Hell extensively, and Sandlin certainly couldn’t support that. And Jesus said that marriage, from the beginning, was just a union of a man and a woman.  Sandlin actively denounces biblical sexuality so once again he disagrees with Jesus.

Run, don’t walk, from false teachers like Mark Sandlin.

grumpy cat

If black lives matter to Sojourners, why are they pro-abortion?

Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis‘ Sojourners group is behaving as ghoulishly with the Ferguson case as they did with Trayvon Martin.  They’ll be milking his death for months.  Here’s their latest: #BlackLivesMatter: Gathering for Solidarity in Washington, D.C. – Brandon Hook | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.

Last night, Washington, D.C., residents young and old gathered in the Columbia Heights neighborhood to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, stand in solidarity with those on the front lines of continued protests in Ferguson, Mo., and let our governmant and law enforcement officials know that #BlackLivesMatter. The protest was organized by a Howard University student who hails from St. Louis and “needed to do something” given the reports she received from friends and family on the ground in Ferguson.

Yes, black lives matter.  Go ask all the families in Chicago — you know, they place with the extremely restrictive gun laws supported by Wallis et al.

Abortion rates in the black community are 3x that of whites. Taxpayer-funded abortions — which the Democrats want so badly that they almost lost Obamacare over, and that which their official platform calls for — would take that rate even higher.  If you want to save black lives, make abortion illegal.

If the situations were reversed and conservatives supported abortion in the same way and liberals opposed it, we’d be hearing nonstop about how racist and genocidal conservatives are.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers save more black lives in a day than Wallis & Co. will in their lifetimes.  

Jesus’ encouragement to churches standing up to false teachers

Note his first comments to the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3:

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

But don’t get smug or arrogant.  There’s more.

4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

So don’t forget the love.

Then there’s this.  So Jesus has things He hates?  Who knew?*

6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Apparently the Nicolaitans were seducing Christians with idolatry and sexual immorality — much like the theological Liberal churches today.

Revelation 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Jesus hated that and still does.

*Those who read all of the Bible.

The UCC and other Leftist “churches” continue to decline. It must be the ejector seats.

“At the time of its formation, the UCC [United Church of Christ] had over 2 million members in nearly 7,000 churches. The denomination has suffered a 44 percent loss in membership since the mid-1960s … As of the 2014 Annual Yearbook of the UCC, membership is listed as 979,239 members in 5154 local churches.”

The UCC (Unitarians Counterfeiting Christ, or something like that) ran an “ejector seat” ad years ago implying that Bible-believing churches eject sinners.  Of course, that is ridiculous.  We welcome sinners who want to know and worship God on his terms.  But the UCC and other Leftist “churches” sit in judgement of God because He has clearly said that homosexual sin and murder — which includes abortion — are sins.  He also says that repenting and trusting in Jesus is the only way to salvation, and they hate that message, too.

Their views are virtually indistinguishable from the world’s.  They define “inclusive” as including those who mock God’s word.  So they are growing like crazy, right?  Not at all. Via The Real Reason Liberal Churches Are Losing Members:

To be sure, some church groups will grow because of an “itching ear” message, as the preachers tell the people what they want to hear. This is one of the reasons that Jesus said that the road to destruction is broad (see Matthew 7:13). But over the long haul, there will not likely be sustainable life and growth on a denominational level where compromise is the hallmark.

And there are, it is true, conservative denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention that have seen a decline in membership in recent years, although the reasons for that appear to be varied.

But it is the liberal churches, those which embrace abortion and homosexual practice and which compromise biblical truth and biblical standards, which have experienced the steepest decline in membership. In all likelihood, they also have far lower commitment levels from their people.

The Episcopal Church had a membership of 3.4 million in the mid-1960s; today, that number is slightly over 2 million.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has dropped from a membership of 4.25 million in the mid-1960s to 1.8 million today, a number that is expected to decline rapidly in the coming years.

Yet these are some of the churches which have led the charge on liberal causes like the redefining of marriage.

I thought young people were leaving our churches because we weren’t liberal enough. I thought young people and old people were flocking to these enlightened, progressive churches. Perhaps the reports about why people are leaving the churches are not as accurate as they seem?

Churches can grow or shrink with good or bad doctrine.  But in the case of Leftist churches led by false teachers such as the UCC’s radical pro-LGBTQX, pro-abortion Chuck “Jesus is not the only way but He sure is a bigot” Currie, they have all tended to shrink.

“Tithe for 90 days and God will bless you — or your money back!” and other scams

An old investment scam went like this: A stock tip would be sent to random people, but half the people would be told the stock would go up, and half that it would go down.  It was a free, no-strings-attached offer designed to build trust with whichever half got the correct advice.  This would go on for a few rounds until the remaining group thought they were getting advice from Warren Buffet himself, as in, “Wow, this guy has been right 6 times in a row!  Please take lots of my money and invest it for me!”  Of course that would be the last they’d see of their money.

I was reminded of that scam when I read about this:Texas Megachurch Promises 100 Percent Refund in Tithe Challenge if ‘God Doesn’t Hold True to His Promise of Blessings’.

Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by “bringing their tithes and offerings to the House.” “Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House,” reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. “If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn’t hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe.”

Think about it: If you feel extra-blessed during the 90 days, you’ll keep tithing, so the church will win.  And even if you don’t feel blessed and they return your money, there is no net loss for them.  You weren’t tithing before, right?  And think about how few people will actually contact the church to demand a refund even if they didn’t feel extra-blessed.  According to false teacher Perry Noble’s video, all you have to do is call God a liar and they’ll return the money, no questions asked.

Why don’t they just preach the Bible accurately and skip the gimmicks?

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There was no mention of a tithe there.  The only mention in the entire New Testament was where Jesus whales on the Pharisees for tithing on their garden spices but neglecting the weightier matters of the law.

My official stance on giving is captured in Thoughts on tithing: Something to offend everyone!, where I note that if God expected the poorest Israelite to tithe and more, then maybe 10% isn’t so unreasonable to aim at.  It is a nice round number.  In fact, most of the people reading this are in the riches 1-2% of people who have ever lived.  Yet I would never want to suck the joy out of giving, so why would I be legalistic and demand a specific percentage when Jesus didn’t do so?  These guys distract from the Gospel and make the church look foolish to non-believers.

It is pretty obvious who will really be “blessed’ by this tithe campaign.  My prayer is that those being challenged with the “90 day tithe” will take 2 Corinthians 9 to heart and give joyfully based on what they have decided in their hearts to give — but that they will give it to a ministry with sound doctrine instead of these 

Hat tip: Glenn

The deadly law of unintended consequences, illegal immigration style

The law of unintended consequences often turns deadly, as it has with illegal immigration.  Via If I Were Marco Rubio:

Senator Marco Rubio spent the better part of last year joining together with Democrats to make a bipartisan push for amnesty and comprehensive open borders.  The message to the third world was clear and unambiguous.  We have not learned the mistakes of the past and we will continue granting amnesty because we lack the stomach to leave any illegals behind.Not surprisingly, starting late last year there was a surge in border crossings.  Now, there are rampant rumors throughout Central America that as long as you come here with children, you will never be turned down.  How uncanny that the rumor tracks almost identically with the statements put out by politicians in both parties propagating a desire to care for the world’s poor and place their needs over those of Americans.If I were Marco Rubio, I would hang my head down in shame for helping engender this new wave of illegal immigration.  At the very least, I would have issued the following statement:“Although I have previously expressed support for amnesty, it is now abundantly clear that calls for amnesty before the enforcement measures are implemented will always spawn endless cycles of illegal immigration.  The approach I pursued last year was deeply flawed and I am now committed to shaming and embarrassing this administration into following the laws and preserving our sovereignty.  I still wish to deal with some other immigration-related issues, but none of that can be addressed until the lawlessness ends and this country is shielded from the harmful effects of illegal immigration.”Instead, Rubio put out this ambiguous statement . . .

Rubio is just one of many ignorant and/or malicious Republicans, Democrats and false teachers whose language on immigration has motivated millions of people to cross our borders.  Many are just children whose parents thought this was a way to help them, but in addition to committing felonies they have put these children in great danger.  The blood is on the hands of those who speak so irresponsibly and can’t see 15 minutes into the future.

People respond to incentives, and talk about DREAM Acts, immigration reform, etc. provide a gigantic incentive.  We need to close the borders and enforce immigration laws.  That won’t cure the problem, but it will make a marked improvement.  When jobs dry up people return to their homelands (it has happened before).  And it will reduce the demand for people coming to the U.S.

The morbid hypocrisy of pro-abortion peace advocates

Abortion is murder.  It is the opposite of peace.  Yet the most vocal of those advocating for peace are often pro-abortion*.

Here’s a recent example.  Chuck “Jesus is not the only way but He sure is a bigot” Currie of the UCC (Unitarians Counterfeiting Christ) is radically pro-abortion yet doesn’t recognize his hypocrisy when writing A Brief Word About Peace:

A Just Peace is grounded in God’s activity in creation. Creation shows the desire of God to sustain the world and not destroy. The creation anticipates what is to come: the history-long relationship between God and humanity and the coming vision of shalom.

Just Peace is grounded in covenant relationship. God creates and calls us into covenant, God’s gift of friendship: “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:26). When God’s abiding presence is embraced, human well-being results, or Shalom, which can be translated Just Peace.

Note the references to creation, humanity and multiplying people.  Yet this guy supports the legal killing of any human being up through infanticide (i.e., partial-birth abortion) for any reason — and he wants pro-lifers to pay for it here and around the world with their tax dollars.

They also deny the Bible and naively think that we can completely prevent wars.  They deny original sin and every conclusion they draw gets progressively worse from there.  This is just one of many reasons that they are non-Christians.

More hypocrisy:

1. Support nonviolent direct action.

Abortion is extremely violent, literally crushing and dismembering innocent human beings without anesthetic.

5. Advance democracy, human rights, and religious liberty.

Abortion violates the primary human right: The right to life.

My default position is always non-violence. My own belief is that even with the best of intentions that use of violence always falls somewhere in the category of sin.

How ironic that a pro-abortion “reverend” could label others as sinful for knowing that the best hope for peace is through strength.

* If you vote for Democrats, you are now pro-abortion, not pro-choice. And not just pro-abortion, but pro-“partial birth” abortion (aka infanticide).  The references to the Hyde Amendment are a joke, of course, and Obama has proved beyond all doubt that he will look you in the eye and lying dozens of times.  From their platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

It gets worse: Obama overturned the Mexico City policy so the Abortion President could increase abortions around the world with taxpayer funds.  That’s pro-abortion.

And Obama & Co. oppose the choice of medical professionals not to participate in abortions.  That’s anti-choice pro-abortion extremism.

If you want to require taxpayer-funded to increase abortions then you aren’t pro-choice, you are pro-abortion. Forcing pro-lifers to pay for abortions = pro-abortion. Wanting to increase the number of abortions = pro-abortion.  If you are pro-“partial birth” abortion then you are really pro-legalized infanticide.

Oh, and you the worst kind of racist, because those taxpayer-funded abortions will take the 3-to-1 ratio of black abortion rates to that of whites even higher.