Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:14-15
Recently I was listening to ‘Let My People Think’ with Ravi Zacharias on my local Christian radio station; ‘The Bridge-FM.’ If you are not aware, Zacharias is a world-renowned and highly respected teacher of Christian apologetics. On this particular broadcast, the discussion revolved around an article written in the Huffington Post; a news website, content aggregator and blog launched in 2005 as a liberal/left commentary alternative to the conservative/right-sided news aggregators. The post was titled, “Why Christianity Is Dying While Spirituality Is Thriving.” It was written by Steve McSwain and it pained my soul.
This is going to be somewhat lengthy, so please bear with me…
About the Fraud
The author’s bio, as per the HP website, informs us that McSwain was a minister, but didn’t receive his ‘spiritual awakening’ until after he left the church. Interesting. That swishing noise you probably just heard was the hoisting of the first of many red flags. Here are a few more:
- McSwain argues that Christianity isn’t the only pathway to the Divine.
- He speaks for people who are finding and creating new pathways of spirituality.
- He reaches out to the disenchanted.
- He seeks to help those who seek an authentic spiritual life.
- He thinks living a ‘Christ-conscious’ life is akin to ‘Buddha-nature.’
- He embrace a new kind of spirituality.
But wait, there’s more. That alone should be enough to debunk this man’s article, but he goes on to write that Christianity is dying and it’s morphing into something new and better – it’s emerging into something refreshing. In regards to true Christians he adds that we’re simply blinded by illusion.
The truth be told, Christianity is not dying, but there is a morphing taking place, and it is not good. McSwain would have us believe that the church is dying, and that he, and his cohorts are the ones called to usher in a new and improved version. McSwain went on to present 5 points to support his position within his article. These errors must be exposed. Why? Because the Church is filled with blasphemous liars and as ‘our brother’s keepers,’ it’s our duty to identify the likes of McSwain, for the purpose of protecting the flock as a whole. Sadly, far too many good folks are swayed by these apostizers, mistakenly believing that because they have acquired a quasi-prominent platform, or even a mega-church, they must know what they’re talking about. The Bible provides wise counsel in this regard:
“There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:1b-3
Here are the 5 false points from McSwain’s article, followed by scriptural truth that exposes the heresy.
False Doctrine # 1
“According to McSwain, this “New, emerging church is made up of people who are desperately seeking ways of understanding, and in many cases, rewriting Christian theology. It needs to be rewritten. For decades now, the church has sought to survive on a doctrine of salvation that depended on the shedding of innocent blood to appease an obsessively angry God so as to rescue humanity from what would otherwise result in their conscious and eternal torment in hell. It’s crazy theology. It is not what Jesus taught.”
How dare he say such a thing!
Every Christian should be outraged by such a foul discourse. The God-given doctrine of salvation, predicated upon the shedding of innocent blood, is ‘crazy theology?’ It’s not what Jesus taught? Has McSwain lost his mind? It would seem that McSwain has been drinking demonic bath water. These very tenets envelop the entire Bible! Cover-to-cover, atonement by means of penal substitution, through Christ, is God’s message to us! To remove this doctrine is to remove the Bible!
This is what the Bible says:
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7
“And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” Mark 14:24
“For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:16-26
“You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18b-19
That’s enough; let’s move on.
False Doctrine # 2
“New churches have a healthier view of their sacred text known as the Bible… Instead worshiping the Bible as a kind of ‘Constitution,’ as Brian Mclaren dubs it in “A New Kind of Christianity,” they interpret the Bible for what it is: an inspired book, capable of providing inspiration, wisdom and spiritual direction, not a textbook on science or morality or answer-book…”
McSwain, by means of his favorable association, was kind enough to raise a red flag for us regarding his confederate, Brian McLaren. Be warned. While it’s true that some worship the Bible rather than the God of the Bible, McSwain wants to us to focus on the idea that the Book is some kind of Constitution, presenting the term in a negative tone. By definition, the word is defined as a system of fundamental principles, laws, ordinances, and/or regulation, made by the authority of a superior, for the well-being of the whole. My Bible surely fits these parameters. It is a God-breathed master piece!
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:16-21
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
False Doctrine # 3
“Christians no longer feel the enemy is liberalism…they have awakened to the realization that the church has met the “real” enemy — and the real enemy is the church itself. Furthermore, these Christians no longer believe gays will destroy the institution of marriage when heterosexuals have successfully accomplished that all by themselves. Waging war against gays, lesbians and those within the transgender community is like trying to defend slavery. Furthermore, these have given up the church’s war with science and psychology, choosing instead to embrace the truths science teaches us, not only about the origins of the universe, but about the complexities of the human mind, human development and sexuality.”
Liberalism is the enemy, Mr. McSwain. No one may take the words of God and freely twist them to suit the needs of their personal or social agenda. With all due respect to those who are caught up in the homosexual lifestyle, I do you no favor by trying to conceal or sugarcoat the fact that the Lord hates this sinful activity. The Bible is explicit. The Bible is also clear on the origins of life, our planet, and the universe – God did it and He accomplished it in six days. If a Christian cannot accept Genesis 1:1 by faith, but goes on to embrace scientific theories, such as Darwinism, they are effectively saying that God is a liar. From that point forward, it is not a difficult task for them to change any other portions of the Bible that they do not agree with. This is liberalism in its worst form.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
False Doctrine # 4
“I see this new evolving Christianity being birthed in the hearts of sincere and devoted Christ-followers who are open to what other religions can teach us about spirituality… these Christians would embrace and, in fact, do embrace the spiritual insights that may come from Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and scores of other spiritual traditions… these Christians seek spiritual awareness — spiritual enlightenment — and they seek the good of all people, too, even those who embrace no religion.”
Essentially this false doctrine teaches that Christ Jesus died for nothing. If it were true that an individual were able to be reconciled to God the Father through Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, other religions, or no belief at all, then [God] made a huge blunder in offering up His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for all humanity. Once again the proponents of this false doctrine are pronouncing God a liar and that the Bible is nothing more than a fairy tale. As the Apostle Paul rightly said, “Let (them) be accursed.”
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42
False Doctrine # 5
“This emerging new Christianity no longer interprets Christian ‘hope’ as some ‘pie-in-the-sky’ future paradise that they alone will enjoy, along with those who agree with their theology… No, these Christians would view ‘hope’ the way Jesus their leader viewed it; the way the prophets of old viewed it; the way the entire biblical narrative views it: as a vision of the world wherein peace and justice and plenty for everyone exists in the here and now…”
It is a tactic of the false teacher to appeal to our emotions. In this instance, McSwain has put social justice far above Christ’s primary mission to earth – saving the lost; those having separated themselves from God by deliberately and selfishly pursuing sin. This is quite the deceptive ploy, because the Bible does teach us to help those in desperate need, but nowhere in the Bible is social advocacy put above personal salvation. Jesus did not come to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or house the indigent; despite admonishing believers that it was a good thing for them to do. Truly, without works such as these, are faith would be dead! But make no mistake about it, a Christian’s only hope is found in the redeeming blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is where our abundant life is allocated – Jesus is our only hope.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27b
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15: 17-20
“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:23-25
Folks, I have no problem whatsoever pointing out that McSwain is a fraud; a wolf in sheep’s clothing, whose sole mission is to scatter and destroy the flock. Only two possibilities exist for his behavior: either he has purposely given his life to satan as a tool bent towards destruction, or he is incredibly deceived. My prayer is that you will not be deceived and that the Lord will reveal to him the gross error of his ways. Lord forgive him, for there exists the possibility that he does not comprehend what he is doing.
These articles may or may not be related:
- Why Youth Need Apologetics (jasonbrooks.wordpress.com)
- Sometimes People Tweet The Absolute WORST Theology (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Nothing new under the sun (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
- ‘Good Christians Remaining in a False Church’ (jpfinn7.wordpress.com)
- The ‘Jesus’ the World Loves (pilgrimpassing.com)
- Tim Keller – Humble Cultural Engagement (rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com)
- Cold-Case Christianity (challies.com)
I am blessed that you took your time to read the blog. I pray that you were somehow blesses as well. If you enjoyed the post please like it, share it, subscribe to it, or submit a comment below. God bless!