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A post about popular Christian figures who we should be discerning about

February 20, 2013

This is one more footnote I want to add but I think since it is important to add I want it to be read before the original post and before my other “footnote” (this footnote came about two hours after the one below). This note is that there could be a person totally unaware of what is going on behind the scenes with Mark Driscoll and Jesus Culture and the others and they may have no clue that there is something questionable there and they can be worshipping to the music and being edified by Driscoll’s book or something like that. I think that is totally fine. The purpose of this post isn’t to be legalistic and to say that it is wrong to do that. It is to be discerning. I think earlier before this current edit if you had read this post maybe it would have rubbed you the wrong way if you are being blessed by one of these sources. My point is to point out the bad stuff and hope that you can continue on without being sidetracked by bad teaching. I think if one was totally aware of the Jesus Culture movement but goes to a church where they happen to play one of those songs and worships along then it is fine to worship God that way if you feel right doing so. I bet I will end up hearing some of their songs at church and no doubt will hear DCB and Hillsong United. I just want us to know the bad and to not be lead astray by it. I think what I am saying now may be slightly different than what I said below in the post so just remember that if you read it. Here is the gist: Think of it this way. Golf was invented by a pagan I am assuming but a Christian can play golf without endorsing the pagan’s beliefs especially if they don’t even know the creators beliefs. Just because I play halo occasionally doesn’t mean I endorse the lifestyle of the makers of halo. Just because you listen to certain music doesn’t mean that you endorse that lifestyle. Just don’t be lead astray by the content. Certain musics can have a negative influence while some will not. Never do it in a bad conscience but always to the glory of God. Discern based on the content of the Jesus Culture music and the content of the Mark Driscoll book above all. If even then it seems bad then throw it out just like you would anything that is bad! God bless you I don’t think I will feel the need to make another edit. Continue on.

I have already finished writing the post at this point so what I am saying now is almost a footnote but I think it is an important one so I am going to say it first. The most important thing a Christian is made for is to be a born again and saved follower of Jesus purposed to make other disciples. I believe that. Because I believe that I want to be discerning about these things because if I see someone who is interested in Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll and they fully embrace these people then they might go straight down the wrong path and never be saved and I will hold myself personally responsible because I have failed to correct someone and it cost them salvation. We need to think of a lot of things in terms of salvation. We do not want to do things that will mislead people and guide them away from God. If Jesus Culture music misleads some people to worship God in a false way then it needs to be exposed. We don’t want people to be lead astray. If we can in good conscience worship through the lyrics of a Jesus Culture song then that is good but we must not endorse that group. I think that is why Paul makes the note that he can eat meat sacrificed to idols since he knows that an idol is nothing but if it will cost the conscience of another brother then he will never eat meat again. (sorry if I paraphrased that badly) Do you see the length he will go to in making sure a brother is not led astray? It is probably because he cares about the soul of that brother and loves him deeply so we too should be very concerned for the souls of our brothers and sisters and love them deeply and make sure they are not being lead astray. With that being said I hope this post blesses you!

To the surprise of many of my Cru friends I am going to mention some protestant teachers or figures that I think every Christian should be careful about and I will mention why or you can research why. Some are surprisingly John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Jesus Culture and some lesser ones are David Crowder Band, Hillsong United since they are so popular.  The purpose of my post isn’t to hurt anyone’s conscience in any way. If someone can worship just fine to Jesus Culture music and they are exalting God above all then wonderful. If someone is edified by John Piper (which if you read most of his stuff you probably will be) then good that is right. My point is to be discerning about things happening in the background that most people may not know about.

I mention Piper because he has always had wonderful and sound teaching but recently has become close with pastor of Mars Hill Church Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren pastor of Saddleback Church and others without really warning people about how dangerous their teachings are, I will go on about them later. I haven’t found Piper’s teaching to be off for the most part, it always seems so edifying, but now he is just embracing and endorsing most specifically these two men who do not teach right, Warren more so than Driscoll.

Driscoll has been known to do very dangerous things in his pulpit. He can use language that is just edgy and you can research about that, he has given some sermons that are incredibly tempting and wrong in front of a church including young adults my age. You can research about that too, John MacArthur wrote a good amount about one sermon Driscoll gave about the Song of Solomon. There is a lot more about Driscoll, generally the culture he seems to embrace is one to attract a young audience and make them feel comfortable while he abuses his pulpit in many dangerous ways (even if he does some good from the pulpit it is important to know he also does some harm). Maybe he says useful things about some things but he has said so many dangerous things that until he repents of it, it is really unclear if he still agrees with what he does or not. I only mention being wary of these men because they may teach things or live a way we admire or want to follow when we must not follow them because they seem to not be very pure in their teaching and as Christ’s Church it may be safer not to endanger ourselves.

Rick Warren just straight up doesn’t teach the true gospel from everything I have learned about him. Maybe he says things that beat around the bush but he won’t teach it. He essentially teaches a prosperity gospel or an easy to accept gospel. He makes salvation sound easy when the bible makes it clear that although believing in Jesus is all we need for salvation, it is not sufficient to say we believe in Jesus and to think that in our hearts we believe to actually believe. There is so much more to it. I warn strongly against Rick Warren, I don’t think people should look to him for any wisdom since he just teaches a bad gospel, I have the same to say about Mark Driscoll although his teaching seems less heretical, but my best advice is to stay away, don’t feel bad if he has edified you in some way because he may say things that are helpful but if one embraces him then how can one tell the good he says from the bad? I know it sounds hard or ridiculous. I didn’t just say this stuff out of nowhere though, I have read much about these men and listened to them and in the end I just don’t think they are building up the body of Christ or the spiritual lives of my own friends for that matter. If he has then good, don’t take what I am saying the wrong way, but be discerning. John MacArthur and many others have written and said things about Rick Warren as well. I will try to post many links at the end of this.

Another is Beth Moore, I don’t mention her just because she is a woman, I think that is enough to warn us that something may be going on there. I never understood exactly why women wish to teach in church unless it is because they feel it is not right to exclude them. I am not against it morally or something, but Paul seems to think it isn’t right so why do we even mess with it and push the boundaries. If that is how God calls his church to live don’t fight it. God isn’t a sexist. He just built us for specific reasons. With that being said I don’t think women teachers are bad because I don’t even fully understand the context of what Paul was saying and why he said it. I don’t know if he would speak against someone like Beth Moore, that isn’t the point though, I was just babbling for a minute. The point is that at the Passion Conferences she has mentioned something about meditation or silence and just listening for God to speak in the silence. I don’t know a lot about it but it seems it is derived from Roman Catholic Mysticism and is called lectio divina. Read about it. I will try to post good resources at the end about these things. From what I understand her teaching on this is just dangerous because we are not meant to simply listen for God’s voice in silence. God spoke already. He spoke in the bible through prophets and apostles. We don’t need to search around for his voice. Sure we need to pray about things since for me I am so unsure if I should be a biomedical engineer or if I should seek something else, many people wonder if they should be with their current boyfriend or girlfriend, we should pray about that. I don’t think we should meditate on things in silence for God to speak though. If God wants to speak with you he doesn’t need to do it in silence, let him do it while you diligently study the word daily or while you pray about things or just randomly. God didn’t need for Isaiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and Paul or anyone to be silent for him to speak to them, Paul was the lowest of men when God took him. My point is that we should not listen for voices in our heads in silence during meditation, other religions do that but the bible never teaches it. Satan can easily say something or put a thought in our head in a moment of silence and we might think it is God. It might be straight out coincidence and we will wonder if it was God when it could have been the devil. So don’t follow that teaching, just be wary of Beth Moore since she is strongly supporting something that isn’t right. Pray and seek God through his written words.

I said Jesus Culture because their entire purpose is just not right. They want to bring people into an encounter with God and to have some supernatural experience and they often purpose their conferences and concerty things after this idea. People are driven to live for the FEELING of the presence of God. They are all worried about the physical presence of God and his Holy Spirit and are all totally unbiblical in this because in history and in the bible things just don’t work that way. The presence of God doesn’t feel like electricity in someone’s body. I wonder when I hear the testimony of the lead man Chris Quilala and he mentioned the presence of God felt like electricity and he wants others to experience that, I was pretty sure that wasn’t biblical at first but beyond that it almost just sounds like it could be a practice of demons to make people who are supposedly worshiping God to give them this electric good feeling and it drives people to think that it must be the spirit of God moving when it could be something else. I think that the gifts of the spirit and God’s presence are wonderful things but only in certain contexts do they even occur and do we feel the presence of God. We shouldn’t live off of supernatural things. We should never go to Church because we love to feel good during worship. Worship is all about God and not about us. We should never live to feel good fleshly feelings and just assume they mean spiritually God is with us when it can just be our emotions tricking us. I am not saying in our worship we need to feel nothing. We certainly should feel something because worshipping God deeply impacts people but always think about the lyrics, exalt God and not man or our feelings. That is another thing I would love to talk about in another post sometimes. My warning about Jesus Culture is very serious because worship music seems harmless but the lyrics are so powerful and they shape us and we should be aware if we are glorifying God or if it just feels good to sing the music for some other reason. I don’t want to go further than that right now, it is a warning based off of some of the bad theology of Jesus Culture.

My mentioning of David Crowder Band and Hillsong United is related to the mention of Jesus Culture. These two just have shaky backgrounds. I always thought DCB had wonderful and powerful music and when I sing it I think it is true worship music but his background theology is a little shaky, I don’t have much more about him, just be wary about his lyrics since some of his music my have bad theology in it (I read something about his theology once that and as I remember it he was influenced by something Catholic, research it!). When thinking of these two, Todd Friel who is the host man of the show wretched which i have watched videos of on youtube had good input. There is the verse in the bible about eating meat sacrificed to idols and Paul says that he can do it since he knows that those idols are nothing and the meat is fine but for the sake of the conscience of others he might not eat it since he doesn’t want them to think an idol is anything (or something like that). So apply this to the music. If you can worship God in Jesus Culture Music and David Crowder Band Music and Hillsong United music then I think you should be very wary that their backgrounds may be shaky and they may not believe in the gospel rightly, but don’t let it stop you from worshiping God if you can do it in good conscience. I don’t want to do more than warn people about these teachers and music groups. I think the Christian church should be more discerning of what it eats spiritually. We eat a whole lot of garbage. I do too. Earlier I mentioned a strong warning against Jesus Culture since I don’t want people to get involved with their movement but if you think you can rightly worship through the music they have written then just pray about it and please do not forget what I have said or any of the convictions you may have had, the Holy Spirit may convict you.

I never mentioned Hillsong really so Ill do that here. I have read that they teach more of a prosperity gospel or are a part of the Word of faith movement which is wrong, it follows a lot of unbiblical hooplah which is not in the bible and is a false gospel. They probably don’t teach repentance and carrying the cross and that this Christian life is hard and that in service to God we must be pure and stay away from evil (or if they do it probably does not manifest in their lives the way that is right, I am not 100% sure on that since I don’t have infinite time to research but research yourself and find out, the information is out there. There is so much). And if you are concerned about them then research them and their connection to the Word of Faith movement which I guarantee you is a bad and false movement.

If you are personally bothered that I mentioned any of these names then please research for yourself and find out. The bible is clear that there will be a lot of boloney and false teaching and bad stuff out there. No joke. There is bad stuff out there and I almost guarantee for everyone that we as Christians have not been discerning enough about it. When men like Paul Washer and John MacArthur or Voddie Baucham are discerning about this stuff it offends people and they don’t like it. I think that is because people want to hold onto what they like. Just let go of your preconceived ideas about what is right and wrong and stick to the scriptures. The reason we are offended by men like that is because they accept completely that men are sinful from the core like the bible says and so they know that we will hold onto evil things without knowing it so they are careful and discerning and say things we don’t like. I can’t specifically endorse everything all of these men say and have said but I believe you, the reader, can find loads of things you don’t like if you listened to enough Paul Washer, or John MacArthur, or Voddie Baucham. I bet the same would be true of men like Spurgeon, there are probably loads of teachers that teach harder things than we cannot accept. I am not trying to have a talk about all of that now though although it would be an important one.

The only reason I mentioned all of these people to be discerning about is because of the influence on my life the teaching of the above mentioned three men (Washer, MacArthur, and Baucham) have taught (among some others who I did not mention). It led me to do a lot of research and I found out much about these questionable people that make me think I shouldn’t submit to the things they preach with their mouths and their lives. It doesn’t mean I will disagree with everything they say but it means that I think they may say enough I disagree with that I think they could lead me down a dangerous path. Some probably think I am legalistic and I totally disagree. I am certainly not legalistic in this. I think I am not legalistic because I only hold to these principles to protect myself from being corrupted. I have experienced much worthless worship where I don’t feel like the song I am singing glorifies God because I am only singing for an emotional reason (because it feels good) or some other reason. I have heard much bad teaching which has led me astray but I have learned to be careful. I think a person who is legalistic will cut out things that aren’t even bad and won’t have an explanation as to what they are doing in a profitable way for others, they might just call others to be legalistic. I am trying to minimize the bad influences out there on myself. I didn’t come to these conclusions on my own. I have wasted so much time researching when I should have been doing homework and in the end it isn’t a total waste because it has helped me be more discerning (but I really should be a harder worker). We have freedom in Christ but if we are not discerning about all sorts of things then we are unsafe and are likely to be lead astray. We should seek profitable things and good things above all.

If you have read this to the end thank you for the patience and if you have something you would like to say because something rubbed you the wrong way then try to have a conversation about it with someone or me. I certainly realize I may have said something wrong in all of this, I know what I am saying is something most of my friends will not initially agree with for sure. But in your reading just remember that we are imperfect people with a bad sense of morality. We let filth slip in the backdoor to our lives far more than any of us realize, take the apostle Peter for example, he began to separate from gentiles because he was afraid of the Jews, if the apostle Peter messed up then how much more have we messed up who live in America, who have had 2000 years since Jesus died for false teachings to arise (we have all been taught false things, I guarantee it), who live in a prosperous setting at school where it is very easy for comfort to get in the way of serving the Lord. I am saying that although it is possible I said something wrong, it is also very possible I said something that our human flesh just doesn’t want to believe. I think I have said enough about all of that! Now some resources:

Jesus Culture

John Piper

Mark Driscoll

Beth Moore

Rick Warren


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