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Ecumenical Jihad – John MacArthur

According to some prominent evangelical leaders, we’ve been fighting the wrong war. Protestants, Catholics, and other religious people should quit bickering over issues of heaven and hell and unite in the culture war.

Wait a minute…what’s wrong with this picture?

Sermon excerpt:

A woman once wrote to me, she said she thought Christianity was fine but frankly she was in to Zen. And she liked to listen to Christian radio, she says, because quote: “The music soothed…smoothed out her karma.” But she said I interrupted that karma because I am too narrow minded and too minded toward other religions. So she wrote to encourage me to be more broad minded. And she said, here’s a quote, “God doesn’t care what you believe as long as you believe. God doesn’t care what you believe, she says, as long as you’re sincere.” She went on to say, “All religions…all religions lead ultimately to the same reality, it doesn’t matter which road you take.” That’s pretty reflective of our generation, isn’t it? That’s a popular and pervasive lie that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something and as long as you’re sincere because everybody’s going to get to the same end any way. That’s not what Matthew 7 records that Jesus said, He said, “The gate is wide and the way is broad,” that’s the religious road that most people are on, “and it leads to destruction.” And in Proverbs 14:12 it says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.”

Now I understand it’s political correct to have this kind of lattitude. I understand it’s political correct to not say your religion is right, and your faith is right and you believe right and everybody else is wrong. That doesn’t fly today, does it, in a post-modern world disinterested in truth? The great goal of post-modernism is that everybody is accepted no matter what it is that they believe and they certainly have a right to believe that. And who are you to come along and say you have the truth? We all know there is no such thing as real truth, it’s only a matter of preference, whatever makes you feel better is fine for you to believe. But don’t tell me it’s the truth and everything other than that is error. That’s not popular.

Now that kind of indiscriminate view of truth, or a view of non-truth is so pervasive that it is literally infecting evangelicalism and people are now saying that there are folks, as I said earlier, and all over the world and tucked off into little corners who never will know the truth and God will take them to heaven any way. And there is a book, I referred to this when I was teaching in Italy a couple of weeks ago called Ecumenical Jihad. Jihad is a holy war and the writer of the book, Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, is saying that if we’re going to win the holy war which is the war for the culture, if we’re ever going to get the world to be more moral and get the world to be behaving itself better and end the wars and the crime and all the rest and get a moral world, we’ve got to fight that holy war together so we have to get ecumenical, so we all have to get together. We can’t do it alone.

So he says in the book, we have to recognize that we’re really all God’s children, we’re all going to…down the same road to the same heaven. And he writes the book in a very clever way. It opens up with him surfing in California, I guess, and he gets turned over by a wave and he hits bottom and has an out-of-body experience. He goes to heaven. And when he goes to heaven he’s amazed to find out when he arrives in heaven he sees Buddha, in whom anybody would recognize, I suppose, he’s a rather unique looking character. No doubt he didn’t have too long to discover who this was and he meets Buddha and he says, “What in the world are you doing in heaven?” I mean, Buddhism is not Christianity. What are you doing? He says, “Well, you know, I was in to contemplation, I was into peace and I was into tranquility and what I didn’t know about Jesus God sorted out when I arrived.”

And then he went a little further and he ran into Mohammed and he said, “What are you doing here? You just believe Jesus is another one of the prophets like Mohammed. What are you doing here, how did you get here?” And he said, “Well, we were into morality.” In fact, Kreeft says in his book that Muslims are better Christians than Christians because they don’t fornicate, adulterate, commit homosexuality and other things…it’s against their standards so they tend to do it less than people who claim to be Christians do and so they’re actually better Christians than Christians. And Mohammed says…What I didn’t know about Jesus, God straightened out when I arrived.

And he goes a little further and he comes across some Jews who didn’t believe in Jesus either but they were worshiping the true God, the God of the Old Testament and that was good enough for God because they were worshiping Him, the true God. And what they didn’t know about Jesus they found out when they arrived in heaven.

And then he ran into a group of atheists. And the atheists were searching for truth, and since God is truth they were really searching for God and that was good enough for God. So they were there, too.

And Peter Kreeft’s point is that look, when we get to heaven we’re going to find each other there anyway, why are we fighting down here? Let’s all get together and win this war.

Well, toward the end of the book, I’m going through it rather rapidly, he says, “Now we need a general, we need a great leader to lead us if we’re going to fight this war…getting all the Muslims, and all the Buddhists, and all the Jews, and all the atheists, and everybody else together. And there were others as well. And we’re going to all get together, we have to have a leader.” He says, “There’s one great leader, the great winner of unwinnable wars.” He calls him, “The Pope, and he’ll be our leader and we have to have an internal power and so we all have to devout ourselves to Mary. Mary is the great spiritual power, the great spiritual source. So we’ll all get together, we’ll all worship Mary, we’ll have the Pope as our leader. We’ll all embrace and we’ll win the jihad.”

And you say, “Well, that’s pretty bizarre stuff?” Well what is even more amazing is on the back is an endorsement and the endorsement is by Chuck Colson and this is what it says, on the back of the book. “Peter Kreeft,” the writer, “is one of the premier apologists in America today, one of our most valiant, intellectual warriors,” end quote.

Peter Kreeft is a deceiver and a liar. He’s not one of our most or premier apologist. And even more shocking was a quote from J.I. Packer who talks about the book and then asks at the end of his little blurb, “What if he is right?”

Are we asking that question? Is he right? Is everybody going to heaven no matter what they believe?

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A New Kind of Christianity

Review of Brian’s McLaren’s new book A New Kind of Christianity

by Tim Challies

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about Brian McLaren and got in trouble. Reflecting on seeing him speak at a nearby church, I suggested that he appears to love Jesus but hate God. Based on immediate and furious reaction, I quickly retracted that statement. I should not have done so. I believed it then and I believe it now. And if it was true then, how much more true is it upon the release of his latest tome A New Kind of Christianity. In this book we finally see where McLaren’s journey has taken him; it has taken him into outright, rank, unapologetic apostasy. He hates God. Period.

“It’s time for a new quest,” write McLaren, “launched by new questions, a quest across denominations around the world, a quest for new ways to believe and new ways to live and serve faithfully in the way of Jesus, a quest for a new kind of Christian faith.” McLaren frames the book around “Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith.” They cut to the very heart of the faith, foundational in every way. He asks:

  • The narrative question: What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
  • The authority question: How should the Bible be understood?
  • The God question: Is God violent?
  • The Jesus question: Who is Jesus and why is he important?
  • The gospel question: What is the gospel?
  • The church question: What do we do about the church?
  • The sex question: Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
  • The future question: Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
  • The pluralism question: How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
  • The what-do-we-do-now question: How can we translate our quest into action?

His purpose, he insists, is not to answer the questions, but to provide responses to them. Answers indicate finality, responses indicate conversation and openness. “The responses I offer are not intended as a smash in tennis, delivered forcefully with a lot of topspin, in an effort to win the game and create a loser. Rather, they are offered as a gentle serve or lob; their primary goal is to start the interplay, to get things rolling, to invite your reply. Remember, our goal is not debate and division yielding hate or a new state, but rather questioning that leads to conversation and friendship on the new quest.” But that is mere semantics. Whether answering or responding (whether saying tomato or tomahto), what McLaren does through these ten questions is to completely rewrite the Christian faith. His “gentle lobs” rip the very heart out of the faith.

At the center of his remix of the faith is the claim that most Christians look at their faith through a flawed Platonic, Greco-Roman lens instead of through a biblical, Jewish lens. “God’s unfolding drama is not a narrative shaped by the six lines in the Greco-Roman scheme of perfection, fall, condemnation, salvation, and heavenly perfection or eternal perdition. It has a different story line entirely. It’s a story about the downside of ‘progress’—a story of human foolishness and God’s faithfulness, the human turn toward rebellion and God’s turn toward reconciliation, the human intention toward evil and God’s intention to overcome evil with good.” This Greco-Roman God, the one that most Christians believe in, is a “damnable idol … defended by many a well-meaning but misguided scholar and fire-breathing preacher.”

McLaren plays the all-too-typical “everyone else has it wrong” card. It turns out that most of us (all but a handful of enlightened intellectuals, as it happens) have been reading the Bible through the distorted lens of a Greco-Roman narrative. This narrative produced many false dualisms, an air of superiority and a false distinction between those who were “in” and those who were “out.” These three marks of false narrative have so impacted our faith that we can hardly see past them. But Brian is willing and eager to play Moses, leading us out of the Egypt of our own ignorance and into the Promised Land of the new Christianity.

… continue reading at Challies.com

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