Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said,…” Gen 3:1
I was once told that when you hear God is doing something new, rest assure that Satan is doing something old.
God is the same and never changes. Well guess what, Satan hasn’t changed his playbook much either.
The newest version of Satan’s attempt is Rob Bell’s “Love Wins.” I don’t want to get into a long drawn out critique of his work, because there are men who are much better at that than I am, but I do want to show you how to spot these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
From the very beginning, Satan has taken God’s truth and twisted it just enough to take someone off the straight and narrow path. He did this exact thing with Eve. Eve knew she wasn’t supposed to eat of the tree, but when Satan gives us an alternative that fits what we really want anyway, we will take it.
I do not mean to give Satan more credit than he deserves, but we have to understand where this age old idea comes from. Satan does not run around placing these individual ideas in the minds of every person, but especially this day in age, he doesn’t have to. There are plenty of people who are planting these seeds for him.
Rob Bell is one of them. And I am going to go ahead and say it that Rick Warren is one of them, too. I wish there was enough time to point out all those who are pedaling God for a profit, but I would wear a hole in my keyboard long before I could list them all.
After listening to a number of different interviews with Mr. Bell, I believe his ideas come more from a desire to be relevant than a planted seed from Satan. Bell has taken an idea that everyone gets to go to heaven, and used that to interpret Scripture. I do not know any born-again Christian who takes this guy seriously, but there are others who are harder to pick out.
It’s the guys like Warren that scare me the most. I have only read one of his books (The Purpose Driven Church), but that was enough for me to know that this man is dangerous. I do not believe I am overstating the issue. Warren is smart enough to say the right thing but then goes in a completely opposite direction.
Warren will state time and time again that the church is not meant to cater to the wants and desires of its congregation. Yet, time and time again he says that the only way you can grow your church is to find out what your congregation wants and desires through polls and go for that. He would make one heck of a politician. (I wonder, why did he really interview McCain and Obama?)
I don’t think that people as intelligent as Warren do this unknowingly. If only Johann Tetzel had his skills Leo would have been drowning in gold.
College professors are another group that are great at taking a little bit of truth and twisting it ever so slightly that its hard to tell which way is up. I am sure I have told many of you about a New Testament class that I took at a secular university where I literally watched a number of kids lose their faith. In the face of criticism their faith did not stand.
People like this poke holes in your beliefs, then stand back and laugh at you.
Warren and his like are taking what God has said and changing it ever so slightly that it is hard to tell what is true and what we wish were true.
I wish everyone got to go to heaven. I wish the purpose of the church was to make everyone in a community feel fulfilled. But, the truth makes them nothing more than wishes.
How do we know what is true? Jesus gave us the example when he was tempted by Satan.
Read Matthew 4. Every time Satan tempted Christ, he wasn’t trying to get Jesus to do anything extreme. Jesus was hungry, turn the stones to bread. Didn’t he turn the water to wine? Jesus was the Son of God, prove it. Didn’t Jesus perform miracles to prove who he was? Jesus is going to rule the entire world, just worship someone different.
Your eyes are satisfied when you think that everything you see can be yours, because God loves you and wants you to be happy. It makes your flesh feel better that you can keep on sinning and not worry, because there is no hell anyway. It strokes your pride when you think that the church is there to make sure that your needs are being met.
Many times Satan doesn’t make it about right and wrong. It’s about intentions. It’s about the heart. It’s about God’s timing.
Do you want to go to heaven? How are you going to get there? Are you going to believe that you are a sinner and put your trust in the work of Jesus? Or are you going to believe that God loves you and you don’t have to worry about a hell because it doesn’t exist?
Do you want your church to grow? How is it going to happen? Are you going to conduct a poll and cater to people’s itching ears, or are you going to hit your knees and ask God for the strength to witness to a fallen world?
So how do we tell if our intentions and heart are pure? What does the Word of God say? This is the example Christ left us with. Satan even quotes Scripture, but Jesus knows how to deal with him. Jesus does not get into a philosophical argument about where people like Hitler go if there is no hell. He uses the Word of God to fight his fight.
As always I’ll let you in on a little secret that isn’t a secret at all. God’s Word is more powerful than any argument you can come up with on your own. Can your tongue but like a two edged sword? Can your argument separate bone from the marrow?
Well it may seem like a secret to some but those are the ones who have their ears plugged and don’t want to listen anyway.
Lord, gives us ears to hear and a heart to learn.