Those of you who follow this blog know that it’s been my primary focus to dissect and study the Word of God and to pass along the things that God teaches and shows me through the written word here. However it has become increasingly necessary to refute those members of the church body that consistently preach and teach a corrupt Gospel. The half-brother of Jesus, Jude, describes this perfectly in the introduction to his book:
“3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 3-4 ESV
Jude had originally felt compelled to write a letter about salvation, but the Holy Spirit inspired him to instead write a message urging the churches to recognize and challenge those who were preaching an alternate Gospel message. Just as the Apostle Paul did in his letter to the Church at Galatia, “6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7 ESV Again in his second letter to the Corinth Church Paul states, “4For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” II Corinthians 11:4 ESV As believers who make up the same body of Christ as those in Paul and Jude’s day, we must realize that these false teachers did not simply “disappear”, instead they are as pervasive as ever, cleverly packaging and repackaging their message to lead as many astray and away from the true Gospel as they can. There are none as dangerously deceptive as those who preach “another Jesus” as Paul alludes and those who use and say all the words to tickle our ears, but in fact the message is completely false. I wanted to provide the biblical background for pointing out these false teachings/teachers so that those of you reading will realize that to speak out against them is not an attack on the Church, but a defense of the Church. We’re not talking about differences in interpreting a Scripture passage, instead the focus of defending the Truth goes to the heart of the issue, a blatant, ungodly perversion of the Word of God.
A few days ago I was getting caught up on some posts in the Christian blogosphere and I ran across a clip from a sermon given by Shane Hipps. For those who don’t know (and I didn’t), Mr. Hipps has recently been named as Rob Bell’s assistant pastor at Mars Hill Church in Michigan. To read more about Bell’s blatant false theological assertions click Wolves are Emerging. This hiring lends additional credence to the fact that Bell could care less about correct, truthful expositional teaching, by not only endorsing Hipps, but hiring him. Listen to the sermon excerpt below, but please pray for discernment first. If you would like to get your Bible and read along, the message comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 1. I’ll discuss more after you listen.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5
I’ll walk through the parts, but click here to listen to the segment (approx. 5:00 minutes) Shane Hipps sermon on wind/sails
Ok, so there’s a lot going on in this brief clip, some of which is just plain wrong, most of which is heretical. Our first point of contention comes 00:48 on the clip. Hipps asserts that by referring to Jesus as the “Word”, the Greek Logos or a word signifying “Wisdom” that the Apostle John is somehow endorsing both the religions of the Jews and Greeks by borrowing from their usages of particular words. This could not be further from the truth because in using this term Logos to refer to Jesus he is speaking to both religions in the hopes to connect to them with the Gospel (and is actually pointing back to Genesis 1:3). This is the Apostle John, this isn’t a 3rd or 4th hand account of historical information, he was there when Jesus died! No Apostle of Jesus is going to condone the religious nonsense that the Greeks and Jews believed. In fact, the Apostle Paul states, “22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” I Corinthians 1:22-24 In this passage, Paul gives reprimand to the religious beliefs of both Jews and Greeks, while affirming the truth of Christ crucified. To say that John’s reference to the Word (Jesus) doesn’t “nullify” other religions, but instead it transcends them, goes against the very gospel that the Apostles taught! This would be like saying it’s ok to be Muslim or Hindu and if you can work Jesus into your religion that would be great.
Hipps goes on next to state at 01:54 that, “To lose your religious identity is like losing a sail at sea. The sail is like religion. The wind is the spirit.” Oh boy. I hesitate to even address this one, but the truth is at stake. First of all, losing your religious identity is EXACTLY what Jesus came to cause. Jesus’ entire ministry centered around telling people that their religion was wrong, specifically the Jews, that the way they were doing things must change and that He is the ONLY way to believe. There isn’t some kind of hybrid religion, there is Christ, period. “6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:7 ESV In the next statement, Mr. Hipps seeks to merge the spirit (which he will later confirm is the Holy Spirit) with multiple religions. His assertion here is that it doesn’t matter what religion, or “sail” you have, you can harness the wind, or spirit. False. Let’s go into the next set of quotes to further address this one. 02:29 he states that the spirit doesn’t need sails (religions) to move about the world. Well he’s correct there. John 3:8 ESV states, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Here’s the thing with false teachers, especially those of the Emerg-ing/ent church, they take you so close to the truth through twists and turns that it’s difficult to spot the fallacies. At 02:48 he begins saying that we need sails in order to catch the wind. No sir, we need Jesus to catch the “wind”, not the religious system that Hipps describes at 02:50. He goes on to say (03:13) that some religions (sails again) are better equipped to catch the Spirit of God. Kind of sounds like “all roads lead to the same God” doesn’t it? He continues (03:23) to say that it matters what religion you “choose.” This is one reason why it’s so critical to understand that through our total depravity, meaning complete sinfulness, we cannot “choose” God. Maybe one can “choose” Islam, Buddhism, or Hindu, but darkness can never choose the Light. Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV tells us that we were chosen in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the earth, yet we still have the responsibility to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. There isn’t a buffet of religions (or sails as Hipps continue to press) to choose from and we pick the one that best suites us. There is only Jesus, believe on Him and be saved. In concluding his confusing discourse on sails and wind, at 04:05 Hipps states, “Just because we claim Jesus as the center of our religion does not make us one and the same with the wind of God.” The only way to receive the Spirit of God is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. John 14:26 ESV says, “26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Finally the portion of the message wraps up with, “This logos affects everybody including Osama bin Laden, as long as he’s got breath, in him, is a spark of the divine.” I don’t even think that ridiculous assertion warrants a response, other than John 3:18-21.
You may be asking why I took the time to walk through this portion of Shane Hipps sermon. The answer is twofold: First, since he is now the assistant pastor of Rob Bell, whom Time magazine ranked as their most influential pastors and whom the Chicago Sun Times declared “The Next Billy Graham”, then it’s so critical to understand what these men believe and teach. The second reason, and more importantly, is to stand up and refute the false gospels being taught using sound biblical truths.
Contend for the faith!
Jude 18-21 18They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
You can find the text version of this sermon excerpt here: Partial text version
Listen to full sermon here: Full audio version