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.  

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.

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.

Decision, decisions

Uber-apologist Wintery Knight linked to this last week so I thought I’d re-run it.

—–

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

King David vs. the theological Left

If you ask the government to take from neighbor A by force to transfer to neighbor B, then that is not charity on your part, and certainly not something Jesus taught. He said to give your own money.  Yet the theological Left and its false teachers do this endlessly.

These people, who claim the name of Christ, should follow the example of King David when he was making an offering to the Lord: 1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

David wouldn’t even take the offerings that were given freely.  He didn’t want to just re-gift something to God.  The theological Left does something far worse than re-gifting: They advocate taking from others by force to “give” in their name.  They are greedy (wanting to keep what they have) and covetous (jealous of what others have), not generous.  Don’t let them fool you, and don’t be a part of it.

Give generously, but give your own money.

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.