An Intro: Should we critique where there is heresy?

The morning started out hopeful. It was our 2nd Sunday to be in Cambridge, England and we could hear the bells of a nearby church ringing from our 3rd floor bedroom alerting us that the worship service was about to begin. We left our home to walk two blocks over to the parish church. Once at the church, we filed singly behind each other on a little stone path that took us to the church door through its small church graveyard. We were hopeful that this parish church so close to our new home would turn out to be a gospel-centered Anglican church.  

The service was pleasant as we read liturgy, sung songs from the hymnal, confessed our sins and listened to an Old Testament reading, a reading from the Psalms, and a New Testament reading. All was well until the preacher stood up to give a homily on the Gospel reading -- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, also known as the parable of the weeds. As is well-known, this parable speaks about the eternal destiny of human beings. Those who accept the kingdom of God through Christ go to eternal rest; those who reject, go to eternal torment.

 

She began with an apologetic attitude, that is apologizing for the seemingly harshness of the text. She then gave two possible readings or interpretations of the passage. We could either take an "individualistic" reading and take the text to mean that some are saved and others are not and destined for hell, which she called an "elitist approach," or we could understand it symbolically that weeds and wheat exist in every person. She took this second reading and said we are to accept the weeds in our life and know that when the Lord comes he will get rid of these weeds. It doesn't matter then how we are to live but rather we are to live in the knowledge that He loves, forgives and one day will redeem us. In the end, she said we will all be OK, regardless of our beliefs or actions in this life.

 

There we sat witnessing for ourselves what we have read so much about -- a truly liberal, universalist church teaching experience. So people like Hitler are saved no matter that he lived like the devil and died unrepentant?, we wanted to ask. So what's the purpose of church or of Christianity if everyone is saved and if it doesn't really matter how we are to live? What is the motivation of being a minister? It took everything within me not to storm out or to speak up. After all, according to her label I am an "elitist" because I take Jesus at his word. She can incorrectly label me all she wants, but what burned me up the most was the way she treated God's Word and twisted it to make it say what she wanted to say. She destroyed the gospel, and she was leading people to hell right along with her. And you know what? That church is dying, because liberal theology destroys the life-giving gospel and takes a road away from God to hell.

 

I just finished writing a blog post that I intended to post today. In God's perfect timing I would experience for myself the very thing I address in this post! Now more than ever I am determined with fire flowing through my veins to call out liberalism when I see or even sense the beginnings of it. My heart is burdened for the Church that false teaching and doctrine will be brought to light. Brothers and sisters, join with me in praying that we would be protected from this doctrine that teaches that YOU are the gospel, that you are not in sin, that it doesn't matter what you say or do, that there is no truth but the truth of love that saves you in the end no matter what you believe.

 

The post to follow is long, but it speaks to an issue that God has burdened my heart with greatly and, as I experienced today, is indeed relevant.

 

A Fool Says There Is No God and Many Other Things

Presiding Bishop Calls Demon Possession a Spiritual Gift

It's been almost a month now since The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, preached one of the most offense and appalling sermons landing it in Michael Bird's category of possibly the worst sermon ever. Intrigued?

If you care about biblical truth, responsible and careful exegesis, the state of the Church, and the purity of the gospel, then you will be intrigued. I was intrigued and infuriated. Why?

Because she called demon possession a spiritual gift of "awareness" and something that is "beautiful and holy." And Paul? Oh he is someone who is "annoyed," someone who is "put in his place," someone who tries to destroy her and her gift, and someone who refuses "to recognize that she, too, shares in God's nature." Basically Paul is the bad guy who is sinning against God in Acts 16:16-24 while the demon-possessed woman is the one who is being wronged but most like God. This is all in the name of unity and not "discounting and devaluing difference."

This is heretical. Simply put she equates having qualities and affiliation with Satan as the same as someone who has qualities and affiliation with God. The question for me, then, is who is God.

I'd like to know what you think.

Here's the link to her sermon. And then here's a link to an excellent article written by my former professor and dean of Beeson Divinity School, where my husband also is a professor, about this sermon.