The Book Judges, chapters 13-16, outlines the story of Samson. Chapter 16 chronicles the demise of Samson by the lust, allure, and deceit of Delilah. For 1100 pieces of silver, as an agent of the Philistines, Delilah succeeds in identifying the secret of Samson’s strength. At the end of the chapter, we find Samson a prisoner, blind and bound between two pillars, being made sport of by the Philistines. In a broken spirit, Samson prays to God, asking God to remember him, and prays for strength one more time to avenge the Philistines. A prayer that results in his death, and the death of 3000 Philistines.
Having fought the flood of modernism of the early 20th century, has the SBC allowed itself to fall into the hands of the alluring, charming and successful? Is the Southern Baptist Convention on the edge of the Samson Effect?
Market-Driven church growth approaches continue to sweep through the Convention and the Evangelic community. As churches experience numerical growth, success is used to validate the process, instead of the Bible. The mixture of consumerism, pragmatism and self-esteem is not only acceptable, but required to sustain this new religious economy.
America's Pastor, Rick Warren continues spreading his omni-denominational, Schuller-driven gospel without comment from the SBC. Warren’s Purpose Driven program now has an official Catholic contigent Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is wrought with goodwill and ecumenicalism, all in the name of the kingdom of God. On several occasions, Warren has made it very clear that he doesn't care what your motivation is, as long as you do good. Warren also says "I am not going to try to change other denominations." Warren has aligned himself with Chuck Colson who is a strong advocate of Catholic-Evangelical relations in the name of good works. Colson is a strong proponent of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Born again believers who have come out of Roman Catholicism don’t know what’s worse; the ecumenical hand-holding or the silence of the SBC leadership.
Other SBC pastors are leading the way back to "Vintage Christianity". Erwin McManus , Brian McLaren and others continue to move from Biblical doctrine toward the emphasis of religious experience in worship. Elements such as contemplative prayer, lectio divina which are rooted in Catholic mysticism and Buddhism, are endorsed. The use of prayer beads and icons also add
to the feeling of "experiencing" God. Ray Yungen, a former New Age mystic, now a born again believer documents the dangers of these influences in his book, "A Time of Departing". Another perspective of the ecumenical embrace of religious practices reveals the roots of Catholicism growing within the SBC.
Interesting to note the number of these “liberal” SBC pastors on TIME Magazine: The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.
There is not total silence from the SBC. There was a glimmer of hope when the second vice president of the SBC publicly criticized Warren for his partnership with pro-choice Barach Obama at Saddleback’s AIDS Conference.
The recent alignment of popular Southern Baptist pastors with men such as TD Jakes and Robert Schuller would have gone unnoticed, except for one Southern Baptist Pastor
who sounded the alarm. To his credit, the second vice president of the SBC did rebuke the association with TD Jakes. However, the impact of the rebuke seems ineffective and impotent. No comment from the SBC regarding the same SBC pastor sharing the stage with Robert H. Schuller.
On the other side of the pulpit, Dr. Thomas Ascol will again promote a resolution at this year’s convention calling for all members of an SBC church to actually be born gain. If it is necessary to make such a resolution, the SBC should not hesitate to evaluate it’s condition.
Dr Albert Mohler, Dr. Mark Dever, Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. John Piper have gone on the offensive by emphasizing the return to the Biblical foundations of the Christian life and the Body of Christ. Together for the Gospel Conference is designed to get pastors on track and stay on course as the shepherds and servants of the flock.
The 2006 Southern Baptist Founders Conference identified the seeker-sensitive movement as a dangerous revision of the Gospel and the call of the church.
The Bible Presbyterian Churches issued a resolution in 2005, urging “ our congregations and all believers of whatever denomination to fiercely repudiate and expose the egregious error espoused by Rick Warren and other proponents of the so-called “purpose-driven” paradigm of Church growth. “
International fellowship of Calvary Chapel Rejects Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church, and the influence of the purpose driven church growth movement.
Though individual efforts have been made to resist the influence of the seeker sensitive,
purpose-driven and emergent forces within the SBC, the Convention itself has not spoken out against these aberrant elements.
Will the lust of worldly success eventually blind and bind the Biblical witness of the SBC?
Will the SBC find itself chained between the pillars of Toleration and Compromise in the House of the Worldly?
Will the SBC repent and ask God for one more move of His Spirit, to give it the strength and courage required to rebuke, at any cost, the false teachings that it has promoted by default?