• Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    How to deal with false teachers

    In my last post, we looked at six characteristics that help us to identify false teachers. In this post, we will consider what pastors and congregations are supposed to do in response to such persons who emerge in their midst. 1. Correct false teachers. The apostle Paul tells us that we ought to correct false teachers in the hope that God might change their mind about their error.

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    How to identify false teachers

    The apostle Paul wrote to Titus that pastors must not only preach faithfully but also “refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). The idea is very simple. Pastoral ministry is not merely a building up, but also a tearing down. As Paul would say elsewhere, it involves tearing down every speculation and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). To fail to do this is ministerial malpractice and harmful to God’s people. Given this obligation, it becomes all the more imperative to be able to identify false teachers when they emerge. Sometimes false teaching originates from outside of the church. Sometimes such teaching originates from within.…

  • Christianity

    How to engage false teachers

    I have had a number of readers ask me about my views on false teachers this week–questions provoked in large part by my writing on recent events. Providentially, my sermon last Sunday at church was on this very issue. I had no idea what would unfold this week as I preached the sermon, but I think the message answers most of the questions that folks have been asking me. You can download the message here or listen below.

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Burying the Gospel under Trash

    I love Spurgeon. No one says it like he does. I’ve been working on my sermon for Sunday and in preparation just finished reading Spurgeon’s sermon on 2 Cor. 5:14 titled “Under Constraint.” In one section, he confronts the indifference that some Christians display toward false teachers and their error. I think Spurgeon’s intensity reflects that of the apostle Paul. This is a relevant word today, and we need to hear this: He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. Oh, if some of you…

  • Homosexuality,  Theology/Bible

    Beware of a “Test the Fruit” Hermeneutic

    When Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian came out in 2014, I could hardly have imagined how much of an impact it would have among evangelicals. Nevertheless, it has had an impact. Some of the high-profile evangelicals (e.g. Jen Hatmaker) who have come out affirming gay marriage have done so on the basis of arguments found in Vines’ book. Among the ideas from Vines’ book that I still see gaining purchase among evangelicals is a particular hermeneutical oddity that Vines draws from Jesus’ teaching about “trees” and “fruit” in Matthew 7:15-20, where Jesus says, Every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Hatmaker explains why she rejected the “bad fruit” of the Bible’s teaching about sexuality

    Last week, Pete Enns interviewed Jen Hatmaker about her recent exit from evangelical Christianity. You can download the interview here or listen below: – The interview focuses on Hatmaker’s decision to embrace homosexual immorality as consistent with following Jesus. Among other things, Hatmaker describes all the consequences that have resulted from that decision—lost book contracts, cancelled speaking engagements, estranged friends and church members. She describes a harrowing emotional cost for her decision to walk away from the 2,000-year old teaching of the Christian church. I have previously heard her talk about a lot of this, but one item in particular stuck out to me this time. One of the interviewers…

  • Christianity

    Is it okay for a Christian to affirm polyamory?

    More accurate headline: “Former Southern Baptist preacher forsakes the Christian faith and affirms polyamory.” https://t.co/hZNI3k4Slz — Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) September 27, 2017 Earlier this week, a Patheos blogger ran an interview titled “Southern Baptist Preacher Affirms Polyamory.” The title actually turns out to be a misnomer. The “preacher” in question is not in fact a Southern Baptist, although his bio says that he was ordained in a Southern Baptist Church ten years ago. Whatever his background, he has fallen a long way from anything Southern Baptist and is not now the pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. Indeed, the article reveals that he has fallen away from the faith altogether…

  • Christianity,  News

    Eugene Peterson will always exist

    Eugene Peterson has revealed that he now embraces homosexuality and gay marriage as consistent with the Christian faith. In an interview with Jonathan Merritt, he writes: I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Pastors, don’t be a jerk. Be a shepherd.

    The venting of the proverbial spleen seems to be the order of the day from cable news to social media and sometimes even in interpersonal interactions. We like to hear someone who agrees with our views “tell it like it is,” especially if the telling involves a few zingers against people whose views offend us. We thrive on this kind of outrage because it appeals to our sense of self-righteous indignation. It feels oh so good to be oh so right. And there’s nothing quite as satisfying as dressing down “those people” who don’t agree with us. This spirit is destructive wherever it is found, but it is especially destructive…

  • Christianity,  Culture

    It is not “character assassination” for the church to be the church.

    Last night, Jonathan Merritt penned an article for Religion News Service excoriating Christians who have distanced themselves from Jen Hatmaker. He writes: Hatmaker’s original sin is that she broke ranks with the evangelical powers-that-be on same-sex relationships. In an interview with me last October, Hatmaker stated that if she found out one of her children were gay, she would love that child just the same. If an LGBT friend of Hatmaker’s got married, she said she would attend the wedding. And Hatmaker said she believed LGBT relationships could be holy. In the interview, Hatmaker did not deny a line in the Apostles Creed. She did not promote a historical heresy.…