Coming to a church or mission near you! – the teachings of the postmodern teachers, reimagining how we “do church” remolding God’s Word and refitting that old time religion just for you!
Figuring out how to open this article has been difficult because there are so many directions being taught in the whole of the “Emerging Church Movement.” So I am jumping into the deep end to show just how much is going on and how far these teachers have departed the Bible – completely unshackling themselves from a form of sound doctrine. The results are men and women that are indoctrinated into thinking comparable to that of the Dark Ages that we need these so called experts to teach us about God. It is a dangerous precedence that many are missing as we hand the reigns of the churches to an elite group with connections into the leadership of the nation and even the world, add to that a supplanting of scripture with their books, music and psychology.
Those who are foolish enough to listen to them are effectively brainwashed, and those of us who dare to stand on the scriptures are labeled fanatical, extremist along with many other adjectives to effectively silence our opposition by marginalizing the truth.
To get you from point A to point Z, I am opening this article briefly with what Truth with Snares has shown with other ministries such as Apprising Ministries, Way of Life Literature and Herescope giving if it were possible another flavor/definition of our God, changing the Trinity such as seen with T.D. Jakes of the Oneness Pentecostal background, and another detailed by me within those of the House Church Movement showing the teachings Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet. In addition, I believe I have amply demonstrated the teachings are rooted in the New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionist type thinking in short that we are physically Christ Jesus on Earth and we are to prepare the Earth for His arrival! This quick snapshot gives one of many eclectic directions a number of these so called church leaders would take us unless we ask, “Excuse me where do you find that in the Bible!?” We must ask or we must flee these false teachers and warn any who will listen.
How do these teachings lead us to uniting Christianity with Islam? How do these teachings of promoting the position of women above that of scriptures lead to the homosexual seeking equality? A bigger question, why have many of these questions come up in the past few decades? It is simple, more are listening to these teachings that have departed the firm foundation, the solid rock of scriptures the concept of the 5 Solas starting with “scripture alone” leads you ontothe shifting sand of our thinking where you can justify about anything.
Into the Deep End
The introduction I provide a couple of examples of those more recently in the news of redefining who God is but this is nothing new. There are a number of other well-known theologians and church leaders promoting various aberrations of the Trinity (God-head) regarding the Lord Jesus and His relationship to the Father stating there is mutual submission between them and that there is no hierarchy in the God-head that should not go unnoticed. Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) continues to be a presence (Biblical Discernment Ministries link to a Foundation Magazine 2003 article on the roles of women):
One group of prominent “evangelical” theologians has formed Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), an organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that zealously promotes equal roles for women in the church and home. Notable theologians who comprise CBE’s Board of Reference include [radical, left-winger] Tony Campolo, Vernon Grounds, Roberta Hestenes, Millard Erickson, Gordon Fee, Myron S. Augsburger and John R. Kohlenberger III. The Dallas Morning News, which recently featured a story on the CBE, reported that Charisma editor J. Lee Grady is also a supporter of CBE. Susan Hogan/Albach, “The Bible Tells Them So: Evangelical Group Embraces Gender Egalitarianism as the Only Scriptural Way.” The Dallas Morning News, June 16, 2001.
Here is a connection of the Trinity redefinition and connection to the position of the woman in the church. CBE influences more than the role of women but goes a step further redefining the Trinity to adopt woman leaders. Can I answer why these well respected scholars do this? Universalism, is the quick answer and that takes us down a broad road. I can show the intent is to bring about something bigger than the Church which is not the Church the Christ of the Bible built, the intent is to bring about a unity for God as never seen on Earth before, heading us towards a “tipping point” where all the world’s religions can find common ground in worshipping God! Something big enough to a world where even Islam and Christianity can actually merge and women can have equality in leadership with men. I will provide more on Christian-Islam connection coming later in the article, first more how we get to such a point so far away from the written Word of God.
How do we arrive at such a divergent place from Biblical Christianity? Here is one way brought to us by theologian Kevin Giles of CBE who connects the dots with an argument to show the, Godhead itself does not have a chain-of-command – that it has no hierarchy to show, there is no subordination. Giles is saying, God in Three Persons is co-equal but somehow that subordination is something evil, that the Son is not subordinate, not necessarily required to be in submission to the Father’s will – because They are co-equal. This redefinition of the Godhead is then used to redefine the role of women leaders, as pastor in the church but this logic does not stop there and opens the way to other aberrant theology.
Into the Wild World of Emergent Organic Teaching
Frank Viola in Reimagining Church favorably quotes woman leadership defender Kevin Giles stating he, “…accurately says, “Nothing in Scripture indicates that the Father-Son-Spirit are eternally hierarchically ordered in being, work/ function, or authority.”10
And Viola continues,
For this reason, historic orthodoxy rejects the eternal subordination of the Son of God. It instead accepts the temporal subordination of the Son in His incarnation.11 Christ’s subordination to the Father was temporal, voluntary, and limited to the time of His incarnation (Phil. 2:4-11). Explains further using Gilbert Belzikian [Of Willow Creek]:
It is impossible within the confines of orthodoxy to derive a model for an order of hierarchy among humans from the ontological structure of the Trinity, since all three persons are equal in essence. Moreover, because Christ’s functional subjection is not an eternal condition but a task-driven, temporary phase of ministry, it is presented in Scripture as a model of servant hood and mutual submission for all believers (Phil 2:5-11). 12
However the Bible says in those verses, Philippians 2:5-11 says this, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Emphasis on the last verse, “…to the glory of God the Father” shows our Lord in submission, subordinate to God the Father it is all for His Glory. Viola, Giles and Belzikian misuse scripture in an attempt to show something that simply is not there redefining subordination, and hierarchy ignoring what it means to be a bond-servant who willingly gives Himself. While Christ is most certainly co-equal in the Godhead, the truth that Christ is also voluntarily subordinate to the Father simultaneously throughout eternity is not some “task-driven, temporary phase of ministry” because all is to the glory of God the Father. Now watch where this thinking leads and another name included to prop it up by Viola:
Kevin Giles adds, “Historic orthodoxy has never accepted hierarchical ordering in the Trinity.”13 To paraphrase the Athanasian Creed, the Son is only inferior to the Father in relation to His manhood; He is equal with the Father in relation to the Godhead.'” Scripture confirms this in many places. One example is when the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus “learned obedience”-not as the Eternal Son, but in His incarnate state (Heb.5:8).
But God says in the Bible, Hebrews 5:5-10 in context:
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Somehow Giles takes a leap in spite of a list of Bible verses contradicting him and again is used by Viola to say:
Therefore, the New Testament never supports a hierarchical structure or chain-of-command relationship in the Godhead. The Trinity is a communion of coequal persons (Matt. 28:18; John 5:18; 10:30; 14:9; Phil. 2:6). And the fellowship of the Godhead is egalitarian and nonhierarchical.
Again, Kevin Giles isolates the point, saying, “When a doctrine of the church builds on trinitarian thinking, there is no room for hierarchical ordering.” Miroslav Volf insightfully adds, “A hierarchical notion of the Trinity ends up underwriting an authoritarian practice in the church.”
Of particular interest again are those Viola quotes whether it is Giles, Belzikian, and now including Volf who teaches the Christian and Muslim worship the same God! From our Beardsley Ministry article: The Organic Church – Doctrines of Demons and of Men: Part 3
In chapter 10 of his book, Revise Us Again Viola refers the reader to Reimagining Church but doesn’t say where to go in it. (Reimagining Church is another of his books and a follow-up to Pagan Christianity) There is a very notable part in Reimagining Church, chapter on “Church Practice and God’s Eternal Purpose,” under the heading, “Drawing it all together” Frank Viola quotes Miroslav Volf,
“As Miroslav Volf says, “The church lives from something and toward something that is greater than the church itself.” That something is God and His eternal purpose.” (page 147)
Miroslav Volf has made NO secret as to what kind of “church” he is referring – it includes Muslims. On the Yale University website, Volf is one of the key persons in the November 2007 article, Loving God And Neighbor Together: A Christian Response To A Common Word Between Us And You,
“Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.”
Volf ignores Biblical admonitions and openly recognizes the god of Islam as the same as the God of the Bible. Volf is in fact one of the biggest voices in the move towards a merging; a ‘Chrislam’ as coined in my opinion.
As for Gilbert Bilezikian:
Please remember the type of church Willow Creek is and those who do not know follow the link back to BDM, there is plenty of history here. Bill Hybels says, “There would be no Willow Creek without Gilbert Bilezikian.” Quote from a bio on Bilezikian located at http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/9229 (The Elijah List – A hyper-charismatic group tied to a variety of people including the wacky Rick Joyner)
In an article by Southern View Chapel, Pastor Gary Gilley mentions Bilezikian regarding the modern (or should say post-modern) teaching of Open Theism –
“More lethal is the fact that this new concept of God is sneaking in through the backdoor of the camp by means of popular writers such as Phil Yancey, and the influence of men like Gilbert Bilezikian, who, as the resident theologian of the Willow Creek Community Church , wields tremendous power over the minds of many modern church leaders. Others in line with Yancey and Bilezikian include devotional/mystical writer Richard Foster and theologian Donald Bloesch. Particular danger of this latter group is that they may seldom, if ever, admit to holding open theistic convictions but espouse those views in attractive formats (e.g. Yancey’s popular book, Disappointment with God).” Southern View Chapel, Pastor Gary Gilley
Where Are They Heading with Hierarchy and Subordination? – Women Preachers!
I will now take a small step back from the discussion on the Trinity and connect just a couple of dots for you. The Bible is clear that Christ Jesus is not in some form of demeaning subordination to God the Father or there is some lock step hierarchical structure to the God Head that somehow minimizes the Deity of Christ because a number of scriptures tell us who Jesus was, is and will be – less you toss your Bible and follow these liberal theologians who pervert scriptures knowingly or unknowingly.
One does not have to look far to find more connections well beyond Frank Viola to what sort of bad theology he leads the reader too. The group Christians for Biblical Equality CBE, Kevin Giles makes no secret he is connected with and has works published, CBE pushes for equality for women in leadership and Giles says in the bio of himself at CBE:
I very much value my membership of Christians for Biblical Equality. … For me the big problem with the idea that women are permanently subordinated to men is that it is not biblical and it demeans women. No amount of obfuscating language overcomes this fact. Worse still is the idea that all hierarchical-complementarians espouse in support of the permanent subordination of women, namely the eternal subordination of the Son of God. This demeans Christ by undermining his Lordship. No amount of proof-texting or quotations from theologians who may seem to support this idea overcomes the problem that the eternal subordination of the Son is judged by the historical creeds and Reformation confessions as a dangerous heresy.” Rev. Dr. Kevin Giles, Author; Lecturer; Retired Vicar, St. Michael’s Church, North Carlton, Australia. Emphasis above to show the how this ties together with the earlier discussion. CBE’s Board of Reference is also quite extensive but I draw attention to a few of them especially Tony Campolo and Richard Foster:
CBE – Board of Reference: Miriam Adeney, Myron S. Augsburger, Raymond J. Bakke, Anthony Campolo BDM Link / Apprising Links, Lois McKinney Douglas, Gordon D. Fee, Richard Foster BDM Link / Apprising Links, John R Franke, W. Ward Gasque, J. Lee Grady, Vernon Grounds, David Joel Hamilton, Roberta Hestenes, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Donald Joy, Robbie Joy, Craig S. Keener, John R. Kohlenberger, III, David Mains, Kari Torjesen Malcolm, Brenda Salter McNeil, Alvera Mickelsen, Virgil Olson, LaDonna Osborn, T.L. Osborn, John E. Phelan, Kay F. Rader, Paul A. Rader, Ronald J. Sider, Aída Besançon Spencer, William David Spencer, Ruth A. Tucker, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Timothy Weber, Jeanette S.G. Yep,
Their endorsers add several more to those I draw attention:Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, Dr. Greg Boyd, Shane Claiborne, Kevin Giles – Discussed in this article but a lengthy piece to prop up women in the pastorate here, Scot McKnight – An endorser of The Jesus Manifesto of Viola’s / Apprising Ministries McKnight pushing for – FOR WOMEN PASTORS, Brian McLaren – Apprising Ministries Link numerous articles warning of him as a false teacher and pro-homosexual, Sally Morgenthaler – Emergent Church leaders Sally Morgenthaler, Spencer Burke, Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren are joining “Evolutionary Evangelist” Michael Dowd in the promotion of evolutionary spirituality, long taught by leading New Age gurus like Barbara Marx Hubbard. (Online source), and Rev. Jim Wallis JIM WALLIS AND SOJOURNERS MAKING MUSLIM-CHRISTIANS
From CBE Statement on – Men, Women and Biblical Equality (in linked next to their Statement of Faith:
5. The Bible teaches that the rulership of Adam over Eve resulted from the Fall and was therefore not a part of the original created order. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God’s ideal order.
Tie this to #9 –
9. The Bible teaches that, in the New Testament economy, women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly and royal functions (Acts 2:17-18, 21:9; 1 Cor 11:5; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Rev 1:6, 5:10). Therefore, the few isolated texts that appear to restrict the full redemptive freedom of women must not be interpreted simplistically and in contradiction to the rest of Scripture, but their interpretation must take into account their relation to the broader teaching of Scripture and their total context (1 Cor 11:2-16, 14:33-36; 1 Tim 2:9-15).
At face value does what they say sound reasonable? Only until you compare it to what the scriptures teach.
By Messing with Hierarchy of God and Subordination What Do You Get? – Homosexual Preachers Too!
While Giles and some of the others argue this is not the case it is the same sort of flawed logic bad Biblical hermeneutics that the homosexuals use to argue their points. Once you have stepped onto the slippery slope, first recognizing homosexuals as Christians you then head down the same path of ignoring other Biblical admonitions whether it is regarding women leadership or homosexual behavior. Why else is it such a controversy? Giles and those like him opened the door so the homosexual based on the bad teaching can justify themselves. Once we have opened the door you cannot close it otherwise you are now labeled, sexist or a homophobic bigot. You have redefined the foundation – you have created what has become a new paradigm. Hence a paradigm-shift in the church!
You must recognize their “chosen behavior” as being born that way already deny a number of scriptures that we are made (created) male or female less we deny science itself. The point is, lies begat more lies! The result is the homosexual agenda has successfully invaded many mainline churches and emerging churches and a debate rages raising the homosexual’s status to one equal with other men and women in the Churches including into roles of leadership.
Need more? One of those within CBE already noted for the acceptance of homosexuals is Tony Campolo (link), and a comment by Kevin Giles said,
“When it comes to homosexuality things are different. Homosexuals as human beings made in the image and likeness of God must also be respected and treated justly. Few dispute this. The issue for orthodox Christians is about homosexual sexual activity.” (p 11, An examination of the seven pillars on which the case for the permanent subordination of women stands.)
While Giles will state he just said the issue of homosexuality is categorically different the note he ended on was contradictory, he was pointing out those of us having a “fear” that equalizing women in leadership would also mean homosexuals as well – He then continues on riding both sides of the issue. He is right on one part, the issue is about the sexual activity of the homosexual they base what they are about the act of sex. I know no normal person who has to make it a point to say they are heterosexual in conversation, every public appearance and/or be known for being heterosexual – it exhibits the twisted way these men and women think.
It is not a “fear” that governs those of us holding the Biblical position about women in leadership it is scripture plain and simple. As for the course of the flawed equality thinking leading to the homosexual gaining ground in the same fashion, the proof is in the offering. Current events of the past 15 to 20 years show this is a reality versus some sort of unfounded phobia as with the issue with women as well. With all the talk of so-called homophobia, Giles choice of words was poor at best. The damage to leadership within mainline denominations of evangelicalism continues to grow as the equalization continues to ignore Biblical teachings allowing both women and homosexuals in the pulpit. The equalization leads to the wholesale devaluation of scriptures! Giles in the same article with some fine words points out while we may have inerrant scriptures we may not have inerrant interpreters. My challenge in return to that line of thought, let scriptures interpret scriptures as they do well on these categorically different subjects.
End of Part 1