TOLERANCE AT THE EXPENSE OF TRUTH
(This article was originally printed in March, 2005)
There is something undeniably diabolical happening. It is the Spirit of the Age: Tolerance at the Expense of Truth.
The freedom to read and own our Bibles came to us at a great cost. We must recall the sacrifices of our Christian brothers and sisters who paid dearly with their lives in order for us to have the truth: God’s Word. One such martyr for us to recall is William Tyndale. To no mere man does the world owe more than to William Tyndale, the chief of the English Reformers. At the time of his birth in 1485, the King of England had made close alliances with the Pope and all the classes of people seemed content in submitting to his authority. However, the oppressions of the Roman Catholic church were about to end. God called William Tyndale to this task.
The first notice we have is of him being sent to Oxford, where, says Foxe, “he increased as well in the knowledge of tongues and other liberal arts, as especially in the knowledge of the Scriptures, whereunto his mind was singularly addicted.” In 1517 or 1518, he left Oxford for Cambridge, where he remained as a student for a year or two, leaving in 1520 for Gloucestershire, his native county, in which there was no part of England more under Papal dominion. Nowhere were the abuses of the Church more flagrant, or the ignorance of its ministers more extreme. Tyndale’s bold rebuking of these things made him extremely unpopular, and being secretly charged with holding heretical opinions, he was summoned before his bishop, who reproved him severely; whereupon he left the county for London, hoping to be able to execute a desire, which had long been in his heart, of translating the New Testament into the English language.
As a schoolmaster to the children of Mr. Welch, a knight of Gloucestershire, Tyndale would be company to visiting high-ranking Catholic Church officials. Lively discussions took place about such people as Martin Luther, the German theologians and Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance scholar, and Roman Catholic theologians. Tyndale had many occasions to dine with these individuals and participated in their discussions with regard to church controversies and questions about Scriptures. Tyndale was soon removed from this privilege. His education and knowledge of the Bible enabled him to present Scriptural references to his convictions and criticisms of their doctrines. He showed them where in the Bible that they were incorrect about their beliefs and doctrine. Since this happened often, the local clergy soon began to bear a secret grudge against him in their hearts. His constant references to the Scripture and his criticisms of their doctrines made them angry. They could not defend their beliefs up against Scripture, so they soon began to exclude him from their guest list. The clergy did not want Tyndale at their banquets and meals, because without him there, they could expound their erroneous doctrines freely and without resistance. However, Tyndale’s growing influence was a threat to them, and they sought ways to get rid of him. A meeting was called and the Chancellor ordered the priests and Tyndale to appear before him. Tyndale was threatened, reviled, and talked to as though he was a dog. Though many charges were brought against him none could be proven. Realizing he had to do something, he went to a doctor of divinity and former secretary to the bishop who was friendly toward Tyndale. He opened his heart to this man and explained the many things he saw in the Scripture that were contrary to Papist doctrine. This good man explained to Tyndale that if he continued to speak out against the local clergy it would cost him his life.
Not long after that, Tyndale disputed with a certain theologian about the truth of Scripture until the man cried out these words, “We would be better off without God’s laws than without the Pope.” To this Tyndale’s Godly zeal burst forth and he replied, “I defy the Pope, and all his laws. If God spares my life, it will not be many years before I cause every boy who works on a farm plowing fields to know more of the Scripture than the Pope does!” On October 6, 1536, God’s first translator of the New Testament into the English language was tied to a stake, strangled by the hangman to the point of death, and then burned in the fire for doing God’s work. But by this time Tyndale had translated both the Old and New Testament into English. These books or translations were taken all over England and were read by the good, Godly lay people of the Church. The Bible was of great benefit to the lay people, but of great harm to the ungodly clergy. They were afraid that by the lay people having their own Bible and reading it for themselves, the priests’ deeds of darkness would be clearly exposed. They were exactly right. Not wanting the book to succeed they cried out against it and tried to discredit it. They wanted to keep the people in darkness and manipulate their consciousness with foolish superstitions and false doctrines, so they could satisfy their own personal ambitions and greedy covetousness and exalt their own honor above that of even Jesus Christ Himself. Today we find the Church in a similar situation.
The lay people of the Church have Bibles but they are being discouraged from reading the truth of God’s Word. Instead the use of many spurious translations and paraphrases are promoted, as well as the watered down messages preached by the so-called clergy of today.
Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” is a masterpiece of deception. Currently it has sold over 20 million copies, generating $400 million in sales. This book is being promoted in Churches around the world. Warren freely admits that he never preaches against homosexuality, abortion, or any type of sin for that matter. He states that he believes it’s wrong, but he would never say it from behind a pulpit. He considers himself to be an marketer, salesman, and preacher. His message is that we must accentuate the positive, and that Christian worship should be fun. To begin with, let’s examine the title of the book – “The Purpose Driven Life”. The Spirit of God does not drive anyone and we are not driven in God’s purpose. The Spirit leads us – He does not drive us. “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Lk. 4:1). It is Satan who causes people to be driven. He is a very harsh taskmaster, “For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he broke the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness” (Lk. 8:29). There are many, many Scriptural errors in this book. On the surface it appears to be a book of good practical advice, but it contains many dangerous errors and New Age philosophies. I want the reader to look at some of the direct quotes that come from Rick Warren’s books, “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Purpose Driven Church”.
Rick Warren… “We need more than the Bible in order to grow; we need other believers. We grow faster and stronger by learning from each other and being accountable to each other. When others share what God is teaching them, I learn and grow, too” (The Purpose Driven Life, Chapter 17, pg. 134).
Mr. Warren, Paul, along with Peter, instructed as to what is needed to bring Salvation and Christian growth:
“And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation through Faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in Righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:15-17).
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12).
“To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (Gal. 1:16).
”As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (I Pet. 2:2-3).
Rick Warren… “The ground we have in common with unbelievers is not the Bible, but our common needs, hurts, and interest as human beings. You cannot start with a text…” (The Purpose Driven Church, pg. 295).
Mr. Warren you need to read Acts 2:38. I guess the Holy Spirit forgot to tell Peter that he could not start with a text:
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.”
And notice what his text was, REPENT.
Rick Warren… “In fact, He (God) depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than He depends on our reading the Bible” (The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 193).
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the Image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). Once we are saved by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are in the process of being conformed to His image. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit by Faith in the object of the Finished Work of the Cross. Paul would say:
“For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
Rick Warren “…We often miss the full impact of familiar Bible verses, not because of poor translating, but simply because they have become so familiar! We think we know what a verse says because we have read it or heard it so many times. Then when we find it quoted in a book, we skim over it and miss the full meaning. Therefore I have deliberately used paraphrases in order to help you see God’s truth in new, fresh ways…” (The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 325).
The use of inferior Bible translations enables heretics, such as Warren, to promote their Scripturally perverted Gospel. The literal word-for-word translations of the Bible expose the abhorrent fallacious doctrines being taught in “The Purpose Driven Life”. God does not change and His Word will remain the same until it has been fulfilled:
“For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mat. 5:18).
Rick Warren… “The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice” (The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 231).
Rick Warren… “I strongly urge you to gather a small group of friends and form a Purpose-Driven Life Reading Group to review these chapters on a weekly basis… After you have gone through this book together as a group, you might consider studying other purpose-driven life studies that are available for classes and groups” (The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 307).
Mr. Warren, you discourage people from going to a Bible Study, but you readily endorse people purchasing your other “Purpose Driven Life” studies? I think one sees your point. This puts more money in your pocket. Worst and most heinous of all, it also puts the “Purpose Driven Life” and “Purpose Driven” studies above the Word of God!
Rick Warren… “Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four hundred-year old English. Using the King James Version creates an unnecessary cultural barrier. Remember, when King James authorized the new translation, it was because he wanted a contemporary version. I once saw an advertisement that claimed, if King James were alive today, he’d be reading the New International Version! That’s probably true. Clarity is more important than poetry” (The Purpose Driven Church, pg. 297).
Mr. Warren, these translations all say different things. God is not the author of confusion. The King James Version is a word-for-word translation. Could that be the reason you do not recommend reading it?
Rick Warren… “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?” he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, “a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers.” (This Evangelist Has a Purpose: Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 7/21/2003).
Would you please read John 7:43, “So there was a division among the people because of Him.”
Rick Warren… “The Truth is this: Spiritual maturity is demonstrated more by behavior than beliefs” (The Purpose Driven Church, pg. 336).
However, our beliefs are what produce our behaviors.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Rick Warren… “It’s a myth that all you need is prayer and dedication to grow a healthy church. Some of the most dedicated prayer warriors I know are pastors of dying churches. It really bothers me that some pastor’s conferences promote that myth – leaving pastors feeling discouraged and guilty instead of encouraged.”
“We’ve all heard your speakers claim, ‘If you’ll just pray more, preach the Word, and be dedicated then your church will grow.’ Well, that’s just not true. I can show you thousands of churches where pastors are doctrinally sound; they love the Lord; they’re committed and Spirit-filled and yet their churches are dying on the vine” (Interview, Pastor’s.com, August).
Pastors are called to preach the Word and the Lord grows the Church.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
Rick Warren… “What you should do is change the easiest thing first and the things that make the greatest difference. Don’t worry initially about the issues that cause the greatest disagreement. The easiest thing to change is the preaching. Any pastor in any church could update his preaching style for the 1990’s and see a dramatic improvement. In many churches, we’re still using an oratory style that was pre-television” (Interview, Pastor’s.com, August).
Please read the New Testament. All the Apostles used the oratory style.
Rick Warren… “‘Seeker sensitive’ doesn’t mean you compromise the message. It means you take into consideration people’s culture in order to communicate that message. Making a service “comfortable” for the unchurched doesn’t mean changing your theology; it means changing the environment of the service – such as changing the way you greet visitors, the style of music that you use, the translation you preach from, and the kind of announcements you make in the service. The message is not always comfortable. In fact, sometimes God’s truth is very uncomfortable. Still we must teach, “The whole council of God.” Being seeker sensitive does not limit what you say but it will affect how you say it” (Interview, Pastor’s.com, August).
The whole counsel of God means that you preach against sin and God’s judgment follows those who disobey.
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before the coming of the Just One; of Whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52).
I guess Stephen wasn’t instructed properly by the Holy Spirit about taking into consideration people’s cultures and making a service comfortable when he preached this message.
Rick Warren… “Rather than threaten sinners with fire and brimstone,” Warren says, “We believe in attraction evangelism. We believe in loving people into the Kingdom” (This Evangelist Has a Purpose: Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 7/21/2003).
Let’s look at Matthew 3:12, “Whose fan is in His Hand, and He will thoroughly purge His Floor, and gather His Wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This message was preached by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and it could hardly be called attractive Evangelism.
Rick Warren… “We don’t have to make the Bible relevant – it is – but we have to show its relevance. What is irrelevant, in my opinion, is our style of communicating it. We are tending to still use the style from 50 years back that doesn’t match who we are trying to reach today” (Purpose Driven Preaching: An Interview with Rick Warren; September – October 2011).
“Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and Doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound Doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itch ing ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an Evangelist, make full proof of thy Ministry” (II Tim. 4:2-5). I suppose the Holy Spirit forgot to instruct Paul in the right form of communication.
The truth that is missing in Rick Warren’s books, and the message that is being preached in many of our Churches today, is the message of contrition and true Repentance and that God will smite the world with judgment soon. The rejection of Jesus Christ and His payment of death for sin is grounds for a just and righteous God to condemn the lost. Rick Warren is a religious businessman and showman.
Church, don’t be deceived, duped, and driven by deceptive forces. Be led by the Spirit of God. The deaths of the Christians before us speak loud and clear: Preach the Word! If we don’t, the blood of the lost will be required at our hands:
“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the House of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me…
“Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou has not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath one shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezek. 3:17, 20).
To be continued next month…