John 17:11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
Jesus is talking to the Father, praying that those who are His will be in unity … This is an exclusive statement. It excludes Christian unity from those who do not belong to Christ. And let me preface this by saying that whether or not someone belong’s to the Father is a choice that person makes by either rejecting or submitting themselves to Christ. There is a movement about, and has been to some degree for a long time, to promote peace and unity by creating a melting pot of beliefs, merging Christianity with other things. I guess Chrislam is what is getting the most attention these days, but when you look back through history, you will find that certain wolves among the church have sought to mix in spiritism, wicca, psychology and even environmentalism over stewardship (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:6-8). We see this on the increase today, perhaps empowered by the idea that by watering down the offense of the gospel more people will receive the gospel. The problem is that those very things that make the gospel offensive are also key components to the gospel, and so a watered down gospel usually leads to unrepentant false conversions based on an incomplete understanding of sin, hell, repentance, salvation and submission to Christ.
In America and around the world there are movements underfoot to subject clear Biblical doctrine to interpretation and change based on cultural opinion. We find religious pluralism, wrongly thinking that Jesus is just one of several valid ways to God, making inroads in the church today. Subjectivism is gaining ground. Subjectivism is saying, “If I can’t know what’s really ‘out there,’ I’ll just have to form my own beliefs based on my own thinking, feelings, desires, and circumstances.” Pragmatic religion is a major force in the church today. Pragmatic religion says that if it works, then it must be right, whether it contradicts the Bible or not (a good example would be having secular music during the worship set because it brings people to the church.) Therapeutic religion says it’s God’s job to make us happy and so pastors should be cheerleaders rather than shepherds. Finally, there are other things like materialism and placing style over substance which lead to congregations more concerned with showtime and being entertained than growing in God.
I follow quite a few churches and pastors on my twitter account and I’m often encouraged by what is posted, sometimes I’m amused and occasionally I’m disturbed. One church in NC posted (on their official Twitter feed) this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The highest revelation is that God is in every man.” There’s a big problem with that quote, especially coming from a Christian church. First of all, it’s from a man who was immersed in mysticism and transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Secondly, it contradicts, well, the whole Bible. So, you understand why the fact that it was posted on the official twitter feed of a church is disturbing. A pastor I follow recently quoted the Spiritist, Wayne Dyer, “If you are living out of a sense of obligation you are a slave.” Wayne Dyer meant both obligation and slave in a negative light and since there was nothing else posted to explain his reason for posting the quote, I assume that pastor agreed with that statement. A baby or immature Christian who reads that or hears a teaching using that quote may conclude that he bears no obligation to God nor any need for righteousness. The Bible speaks of both our being obliged to God and our being slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 12:1–2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
There is a fallacy making its way through the church that says serving God out of love has to be exclusive of obligation; that love and obligation will not go hand in hand. That if you are in any way serving God with a sense of obligation, then you must have some problem or deficiency in your love for Jesus. That same sentiment has brought an end to many marriages. Obligation is the recognition of both noble calling and heavenly purpose and when obligation does not seek to win approval but to demonstrate thankfulness for approval, obligation is then by love, from love and demonstrates a productive and fruitful relationship between the Source of Love and the beloved. It bothers me for a church or a pastor to be tweeting those things, because it has the potential of misleading so many. It’s emblematic of the ecumenism and apostasy that is on the rise in the church today. Be very careful with any teaching that adds to or takes away from the scriptures that God has given to us.