Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Satan's Greatest Weapon: Disunity?

In Rick Warren's Ministry's Toolbox letter November 14, 2007, What the Bible says about handling disunity, Warren clearly illustrates that any threat to unity in a congregation is unacceptable and must be dealt with by the pastor.

Warren sets the stage by stating God blesses a unified church, and infighting is energy focused "inwards". Warren claims the Bible talks more about unity than heaven or hell. Warren does not identify any examples where disunity is Biblical.

In classic Warren style, he lists six things pastors are "called to do" when disunity threatens our church. Warren selectively cites scripture to support his six action steps.

1. Avoid situations that cause arguments. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV): "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments..." Certainly is wise counsel.

2. Teach troublemakers to repent 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) "...As the pastor, you must gently instruct those creating dissention and opposing the teaching in the church. Warren instantly and shamelessly lumps teachings or doctrines from the pulpit into context of these verses that address foolish and stupid arguments leading to quarrels.

Warren expands the context of these verses to apply to those who exercise Biblical discernment and test the teachings of the pastor. In essence, Warren equates contending for the faith with foolish and stupid arguments. Warren categorically labels anyone who challenges the pastor's teaching as troublemakers.

So if the pastor's teaching is unbiblical or presents unbiblical notions, the congregation is to remain silent because unity is paramount and the right dividing of the truth is subordinate to the body's unity?

3. Warn those causing trouble... Warren reinforces the negative social impact of challenging any teaching from the pulpit by using the word "trouble".

4. Make a plea for harmony and unity: "Fighting in a church doesn’t just affect the combatants; it influences the whole church as people start taking sides. Just like Paul did, at times, you’ll need to make a plea for unity directly to those causing problems." Now the troublemakers are promoted to fighting combatants. Warren plants the seed that the troublemakers are really enemies of the church.

5. Rebuke with authority if necessary. Warren quotes Titus 2:15-3:1, which in part states "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good... You may need to confront the contentious person as well." In the CEO model of the Purpose Driven Church, this translates out in reality as " I am the Pastor and you will do what I tell you or you can leave".

6. Remove them from the church... "at last resort you may need to remove the contentious person from the church. You’ve got to protect the unity of your church. If that means getting rid of troublemakers, do it."

Well there it is...Unity at all costs, Truth if possible. Unity trumps contending for the faith, guarding what was entrusted, fighting the good fight of faith, guarding the flock from ravenous wolves, being Bereans, testing all things, false teaching causes division for profit and gain (see verses below). In the consumer-driven church of PDL, Christians are customers and if you don't like what's being served, just leave and go somewhere else. We will help you to the door.

In perhaps the boldest statement in this letter Rick Warren makes an amazing statement:
"it’s our job to protect our congregations from Satan’s greatest weapon – disunity."

Satan's greatest weapon is deception, which causes disunity and division in the Scriptures, and ultimately the destruction of souls. Rick Warren's encoded message to his purpose driven pastors might read:

Do not tolerate those who resist the purpose-driven messages that I send you to grow your headcount and draw bigger crowds. Throw them out with their Bibles

Pastor Bob DeWaay shares this insight into Warren's scheme of tossing out believers who won't take the bait of the ecumenical sugar coated gospel that the PDL change brings:

"Rick Warren wrote the forward to Dan Southerland’s book entitled Transitioning; Leading Your Church Through Change. The book is designed to show pastors how to transition their traditional church into a Purpose Driven one. Rick Warren sells the book on the Purpose Driven website. Some of the chapter headings reveal how heavily it depends on the concept of vision: “Preparing for Vision; Defining Vision; Planting the Vision; Sharing the Vision; Implementing the Vision, etc.” The future Purpose Driven church is what the vision is all about. The vision includes the process of removing people who oppose becoming Purpose Driven. This book is very revealing."

Read another toolbox piece where Rick says resisters "are going to have to die or leave."
See how Warren's church "dismemberment" program got the attention of the Wall Street Journal. Read this editorial from Lighthouse Trails Research and Paul Proctor on the plight of the purpose-driven refugees.

Read the no-cost online book, "In the Name of Pupose, Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity" by Tamara Hartzell.

Compare Warren's toolbox instructions to the Scriptures below:

1 Corinthians 11:17-19

19 There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that the approved among you may be recognized.

Matthew 7:15
15 "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.

Luke 12:51
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division...

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 20
29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

Galatians 2:11-14 Paul publicly corrects Peter:
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews"?

Galatians 2:4
4 [This issue arose] because of false brothers smuggled in, who came in secretly to spy on our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us.

Romans 16
17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

1 John 4
Test the Spirits 1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:21
21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good.

2 Peter 2
The Judgment of False Teachers 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.

Colossians 2:8
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

1 Timothy 1
18This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Jude 1:3[ The sin and doom of Godless men ]
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Jude 1
17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit... 20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Philippians 1:27
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

1 Timothy 1:3
[ Warning Against False Teachers ] As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer

2 Peter 2:1[ False Teachers and Their Destruction ] But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

12 comments:

  1. How do you guys still have time to love God and love people? Wow...with the time spent on digging up dirt on everyone in the family of God it seems there is little time to do anything else.

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  2. How do you guys still have time to love God and love people? Wow...with the time spent on digging up dirt on everyone in the family of God it seems there is little time to do anything else.

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  3. Satan's greatest weapon another jesus another gospel another spirit.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. It is because of their Godly love for people that they warn others about those who teach ungodly things. If we read our bibles, know the truth, and refuse to warn others of the judgements of God, we too will be judged. it's not about attacking a person, it's about attacking the lies and deception that the person teaches.

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  6. Amen. Let's thank God that 'These Guys' are out there looking out for us.

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  7. GREAT post! Great research, great scripture, great job!

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  8. So I was reading Warren’s Took Kit piece and reached this:

    "2. Teach troublemakers to repent. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) says, "Those who oppose him [the pastor] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." Most pastors don’t like confrontations. But we can’t run from them. As the pastor, you must gently instruct those creating dissention and opposing the teaching in the church."

    I have emphasized the part of verse 25 that jumped out at me. I use the NASB and it reads:

    “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth”

    The King James reads:

    “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”

    Because I have always used the NASB translation that do not have the word “him” in it, I had always assumed that what these “opposers” were opposing was “The Truth” that they might be brought to at the end of the verse.

    Warren uses the NIV which adds the word “him”, and then he places in brackets for the clarification of the reader that the person who needs to be corrected is the one that is opposing the pastor. But I think that Warren (and the NIV translators) may have added to scripture here.

    I looked up the Greek (I know nothing of Greek so feel free to correct away here) and there seems to be no “him” in the meaning of the word used here, simply someone who stands against something.

    In translating the word “opposing him” rather than just “opposing”, Warren and the NIVers have made the pastor the arbiter of what is Truth. If those opposing the pastor need to repent, then it is sin to correct the pastor, and the pastor is always right. The pastor takes on Pope status.

    So if we read it in the NAS and KJV (the more literal translations) we see a lesson in which those who are in opposition to the TRUTH OF GOD must be gently taught in order that God may bring them to repentance and they embrace the Truth…

    But…

    If we read it in the NIV with Warren’s additional note we see a lesson in which those who are in opposition to the PASTOR must be gently taught in order that God may bring them to repentance and they embrace the Truth…

    The addition of the word “him” is a big freaking deal, because it makes the pastor, a sinful man, the arbiter of ultimate truth. The arbiter of truth in the church is scripture that is sharper than any two edged sword and able to judge the hearts and minds of men.

    I think that Warren has added to scripture here, and we all know how upset God gets about that.

    Thoughts, criticisms anyone?

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  9. Ginger,

    Thank you for sharing your research... it certainly fits Warrren's pattern of twisting and contorting the Scripture. Bob DeWaay's book, Redefining Christianity, chronicles those distortions. You can find Redefining Christianity under the "Books" tab or the Watcher's Lamp Library List.

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  10. Thing is, there's a lot of "unity" in the Mormon church. There's a lot of "unity" in the Watchtower Society (in fact, if you do cause "disunity", you get "disfellowshipped".) There is quite a bit of "unity" among the members of various cults.

    In fact, there is quite a bit of "unity" among the demons themselves. They are "united" in wreacking havoc in Christ's church! And what better way to do that then having an influential "pastor" call for "unity" among those people he is leading astray?

    No, Satan's greatest weapon is not "disunity". His greatest weapon is "unity" among those who are willfully blind, and who lead the blind.

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  11. Saddened ChristianFebruary 03, 2009

    I came across your thoughts when I googled the subject of disunity-enough said!

    Are you a cult-you seem to claim a monopoly on the truth?

    Can anyone join?

    Can anyone leave?

    I have no desire to read or promote any of his books, I have never met Rick Warren but I suspect that you and he will either be in hell or heaven together-probably the latter!

    Do you really think he's going to hell?

    Satan's greatest weapon is getting guys like you, to wreck the church for him.

    Behold how they don't love one another

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  12. You should be happy when wolves in sheep's clothing are exposed 'Saddened Christian':
    False teachers are devoid of the Spirit (Jude 17) and therefore are not Christians and not going to heaven.
    A

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