By Bob Picard
Once upon a time there were a couple of stalwarts within Christianity; the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. These were created to stem the rising tide of liberalism that was entering the church.
Where once Biblical doctrine was the driving force in both, there has been an erosion away from their former solid foundation, which in recent years has become a landslide.
Instead of Christ, the Solid Rock, these fellowships / conventions are now being built on
the shifting sands of pragmatism. The focus is now on building big churches, rather than solid Christians. Sadly, many professing Christians do not know Biblical doctrine, because it is not being taught. In the place of doctrine, there are now life coaching and success for the here and now. These are indeed the “in” thing.
With Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, and The Purpose Driven Church, many churches, and individuals, have been following this “Pied Piper of Purpose” down the rat hole of self love, rather than exalting the Savior, and His wonderful gift of eternal life!
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Numbers 20:3
The “Purpose Driven Command” is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before yourself!”
The role of a New Testament shepherd is not to lead the flock down their journey in finding their purpose. Their role is to “preach Christ and Him crucified as the only hope!”
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
We do not find our purpose in this mortal life. We do, however, in Christ, find the end of ourselves.
Though much more could be said about Rick Warren, and those that follow his pernicious ways, let us now turn to the Baptist Bible Fellowship International (B.B.F.I.).
By way of comparison, I see a parallel between Israel and Judah. The SBC has forsaken the Truth for quite some time, as Israel did. The BBF has held onto Biblical Truth longer, but now, like Judah, has been taken captive by pragmatism as well.
A glaring example of this is in the upcoming B.B.F.I. National Conference, which takes place this September.
The featured speakers include Gordon MacDonald and Mark Batterson.
The former has a chequered past of ecumenism, psycho-babble and abhorrent views on church growth and leadership. These things have permeated much of the Evangelical church, and continue to do so. Not to mention, though I will, that Mr. MacDonald had once been involved in a well publicised extra-marital affair that garnered much attention. Praise the Lord that he was reconciled to his wife, and has been married for well over 50 years. The sad thing is that this affair should have disqualified him from the pastorate. He would leave his position of Lead Pastor of Grace Community Church, in Lexington, Massachusetts, for a time, but they would soon welcome him back. Now, as “Pastor Emeritus” there, the church still holds to his unbiblical church model.
Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., on the other hand, is a rank heretic. There, I said it! His best-selling 2011 book, The Circle Maker, subtitled, Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, is an occultic foray into non-biblical doctrines based on the extra-biblical “legend” of Honie the Circle Maker. The idea of the book is that you can draw circles around your dreams and fears, and God will answer them the way He allegedly answered Honie’s prayer for rain when he drew a circle, and went inside it. This is shear occultism! Not only has he NOT based his work on Scripture, he uses extra-biblical stories.
When he does use the Scriptures he ABUSES them. Misapplying the Bible is possibly the most common plague that affects the Body of Christ today. This is something that will leave one shipwrecked.
For instance, Batterson uses the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE of the destruction of Jericho in Joshua 6 as a pattern for Christians to follow. What is your Jericho? That is the question. One needs to define it, circle around it, and, hot diggity dog, the Lord will answer you, and bring your Jericho down! Isn’t that convenient? It sells a lot of books, fills lots of seats in ear tickling experience venues, but is not Biblical. We do not have a Jericho! The story of Jericho is not about you. It is about the Glory of the Lord being shown to His people.
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. – Joshua 6:1-5 (emphasis mine)
One of the biggest problems in the Church today is not the effect of culture, or its relativeness, or lack of. The greatest problem in the Church is that her teachers have departed from the expository / expositional teaching and preaching of God’s Word, in favor of liberalism / post-modern “name your own truth” philosophy.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2 Timothy 4:1-4
The B.B.F.I. and S.B.C. must return to the Biblical foundation they once stood upon. Or, else they need to drop the word “Bible” from their name. Unfortunately, many of their churches have, in fact, dropped the Ir-relevant term “baptist,” and even “church” from their names.
The Lord may just have to write “Ichabod” over their doors…