Engaging Culture

Who Knew I Would Be A Heretic?

Check out my new classification here.  Don’t know what he’s got against me – I certainly have never met him….

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8 Comments

  1. Did you notice that his blog has almost no comments? This is the same tired "enemy within our ranks" gnosticism that leads people to believe that if you get someone to leave one church and join yours, you've made a "convert".

    You are certainly no heretic. The irony here for me, as a Catholic, is, of course, that lack of discourse and rigid intolerance of differing views, is what lead to the reformation. And it did us a lot of good in the long run.

    And what a horror! Imagine, the idea of teaching children to see God in everyday events and object, and to contemplate God's glory as expressed in all of creation. Shocking! Idolatry, that's what it is. Children should be taught to fear God, and everyone else, especially other Christians. That's what Jesus wanted.

    Keep up the good work, my friend. You are a missionary to the media, and that takes courage. Even your mistakes are more honorable than taking snide, condescending pot-shots at the people in the trenches.

  2. I accept your comments. I included Phil Cooke's name with that of  Erwin McManus and Leonard Sweet (who I definitely believe do promote heretical teachings) mistakenly. While I am not familiar with the ministry of Phil Cooke, and I very familiar with the teachings of Sweet and McManus and fidn them to be totally contrary to the Word of God and the orthodox Christian faith and . I will work today to learn more of Cooke's work and reserve the option to comment more later.

  3. Well, it seems like you merely associate with heretics, and therefore may or may not be one. Hopefully we will have a final judgment soon as all of your friends will want to know whether you are a true heretic or not. Maybe you're just a closet heretic.

    But really, I think a contemplative heretic is better than a non-contemplative heretic. And far better than slovenly heretic or even an ignoble heretic. Perhaps you bear some resemblance to the post modern hairy tick. If the guy really wants to learn more about your work have him contact me and I'll provide some college yearbook pics. There are a couple that are bug-like for sure.

    Maybe you could put a poll over there => in the right column where your readers could rate your heretic quotient. It's not good that one guy gets to pass judgment on this by himself.

     

  4. Mike – I have the feeling that you'll still consider me a "heretic" after you've "reserved the option to comment more later." The real issue here isn't theology – although I always love a good discussion of doctrine and theology. The issue here is that you would toss my name into the mix without any research or homework on who I am or what I represent. Not to mention that we've never actually met.

    The secular world calls that "character assassination." It's a shame that in the Christian world we can't be held to at least that standard. I recommend you get out more. Working in the trenches of trying to reach the culture is a different world that sitting in our PJ's writing blogs condeming people. Reaching the world gets messy sometimes, but it's a thrilling thing to see someone's life transformed.

    i believe that you're trying to follow Jesus Christ the best you know how, so I have no judgement of your motives. I'd love to have you continue to respond to our posts. We love a lively discussion here, so please don't hesitate to join in the conversation…

     

  5. So you’ve been declared a heretic too? Good for you, you’ve officially made it. I myself was declared a heretic by a website called the Belfast Berean a couple of years ago for a piece I wrote for GOD TV on The Passion of the Christ. What was particularly amusing was they kept quoting renowned theologian AW Tozer (who died in 1961) in their scathing attack. It was like they dragged him up from the grave to argue with me using remarks he’d made about religious films in an essay from the 1950s! I subsequently read his essay and in context Tozer was merely expressing an opinion that he felt religious films to be of limited or no evangelistic value.

    By the way, the Belfast Berean home page is hilarious – LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST GOD TV!!!!

  6. Phil,

    I may have rushed my comments in labeling you as a heretic along with Erwin McManus and Leonard Sweet without doing more research and if I am incorrect then I apologize. I have had the opportunity to do some checking and found two instances where you have endorsed the wiritings of Sweet and McManus (http://www.cookepictures.com/resources/newsletter/volume04_issue09

    http://www.cookepictures.com/resources/read).

    I hope that you have just been named with these two people for the purpose of promoting the NRB event and that you do not endorse their ministries. But I can only conclude that since you recommend their writings, that you do endorse their ministries. If so, that is your priviledge and again I will retract my use of the term heretic as it applied to you. I do encourage you however to distance yourself from these two individuals.

    I do not not recant my labeling of McManus and Sweet as being heretical. Leonard Sweet stated in his online book Quantum Spirituality, P. 122,

    "The first of these five untheorized observations is that New Light embodiment means to be "in connection" and 'in-formation' with other Christians. Deeper feeling and higher relating go together. The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a comm-union whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness."

    In the same book on page 93,

    "Energy-fire experiences take us into ourselves only that we might reach outside of ourselves. Metanoia is a de-centering experience of connected-ness and community. It is not an exercise in reciting what Jesus has done for me lately. Energy-fire ecstasy, more a buzz than a binge, takes us out of ourselves, literally. That is the meaning of the word 'ecstatic.'"

    McManus is equally as in error, when he states in his book The Barbarian Way,

    "They [Barbarians – who he tries to convince readers they should be] see Christianity as a world religion, in many ways no different from any other religious system. Whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity, they're not about religion; they're about advancing the revolution Jesus started two thousand years ago "(p.6).

    Lighthouse Trails Research.com has done very extensive research on McManus, Sweet and others. Allow me to close this post with a piece from their website,

    The concept McManus uses in his book, Seizing Your Divine Moment (and throughout his writings) is not a new one. The idea, seize the day (carpe diem) or the moment, was popular in 16th and 17th century poetry and has the connotation that life is short and you need to get all you can out of it. The cardinal sin would be to live an ordinary life. Rick Warren shares this concept throughout his teachings, as does Bruce Wilkinson in his teaching on "God's Dream for Your Life." In reality, this concept is anything but biblical and virtuous. Jesus taught that we are to lay down our lives in this world, knowing we will receive our rewards in heaven. "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" ( John 12:25). McManus' and Warren's theology might work to some degree with affluent young middle to upper class single emerging "Jesus seekers." But how is it going to work for an African man in Rwanda who has several children (some dying with AIDS or malaria), and he lives in a small hut? Won't he be considered a Purpose Driven failure if he doesn't rise above his earthly barriers and find his purpose? And won't he be considered a failure in not becoming a McManus barbarian because he lives an ordinary life? And how about when Bruce Wilkinson teaches that if we believe hard enough we can achieve our dreams if we will just dream big enough? This earthy, sensual spirituality that Rick Warren, Erwin McManus and Bruce Wilkinson proclaim from the rooftops is exactly that.

    These Christian leaders have missed the point. While they are selling their ideas to an unsuspecting church, and convincing multitudes that this new awakening is from God, believers in Christ, yes I'll call them Christians, are serving their Lord in ministries, as missionaries, as neighbors, as parents – and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, and remembering what He said:

    "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24).

    "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). 

    Recently a very prominent pastor said he read Erwin McManus' book, and he is going to use that book to help his congregation transition toward a "major paradigm shift." In the meantime, countless Christian leaders, publishers, seminaries and ministries are racing towards this shift as well. It is a shift that is indeed earthly, mystical, demonic and sensual, and it is going to deceive a lot of people. Is this really what this pastor wants to offer his church and those who read his books? We hope the answer is a resounding no!

    Christendom is being hijacked right before our very eyes. But while this is taking place, God is opening the eyes of discerning believers around the world. The Bible says the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church. As this paradigm shift unfolds, let us cling to that which we know to be good and true, the biblical message of the One who is the only way to God, Jesus Christ. And in doing so, may those who have not yet heard this message be able to hear and be saved. The time is short – let us work while it is yet day.

     

    Sorry I took so much space with this and I hope I expressed my position well enough to understand. Just to let you know, I own a radio station, host a daily radio program and have served as a pastor and evangelist for the past 25 years.  Thanks for allowing me to be on your blog.

    "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…." Romans 1:16


  7. Wow… does this mean that I willingly associate with a known heretic?  This must help my Christlikeness… hanging with television preachers, producers and now heretics!  "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"   Joe

  8. Mike:
    That’s a very gracious response.  Thanks for writing and you're always welcome on our site. I’m sure an online conversation won’t change the thinking of either of us, but I love having these exchanges in a public forum.   I plead totally guilty to being friends with both Leonard Sweet and Erwin McManus and submit to my fate.
     
    I think our biggest difference is the weight of the issues.  I’ve discovered in working with a massive number of churches and ministries over the years, that most of the illustrations like you’re talking about come either from innocent ignorance or happen while trying to speak to the culture in a language and style they understand.  (Not to mention that I’m not completely convinced that you actually comprehend what these guys are trying to say in these passages).  
     
    But either way, when you look at the sheer body of work done by these men, those things pale in comparison.  I look at Erwin’s church “Mosaic” here in Los Angeles, reaching out to young people – particularly from the Asian and Hispanic communities, and preaching the gospel on the hardest streets of the city.   Young people are responding and lives are being changed.  It’s amazing stuff.
     
    I would far rather err on the side of making mistakes in evangelism and reaching the culture, than get everything perfect and make no impact for the Kingdom at all.  So in spite of my Ph.D. – nit-picking theology and doctrine is not really for me.  I’ll have to fall on the mercy of the cross and let Jesus sort those things out.  
     
    You’re obviously sincere, and I appreciate you writing.  I’m sure it took a lot of work to find those quotes from Len and Erwin. In the trenches of a post-modern culture – particularly in major urban areas like Los Angeles, things can get a bit messy, so I’m always interested in hearing other viewpoints.
     
    Perhaps more than anything, I would also encourage you to consider how much greater our impact on the culture would be if we united around the massive number of things we agree on, rather than the few tiny things we don’t.
    –Phil

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