Cluelessness may not be the right word here. That we have all sorts of Christian leaders who do not have a clue about all sorts of things, even though they should, is beyond dispute. But what scares me even more is the fact that many of these leaders do have a clue, but for various reasons still will not do the right thing.
That is, because of the desire to be men-pleasers, to keep people happy, to not rock the boat, to have everything safe, and to ensure the weekly offering keeps rolling in, they will not speak out on the things that matter. Or worse yet, they will promote and endorse that which is clearly unbiblical, dangerous and counter to the gospel.
Examples of this are legion. One recent case in point involves two individuals I have written about previously. One is a big cheese Hillsong pastor and the other is the world’s greatest promoter of diabolical New Age mumbo jumbo. New York pastor Carl Lentz and Oprah Winfrey are whooping it up together, and sadly this is what we expect from both individuals.
They really belong with each other. Just as Rob Bell kept on pushing the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, rejecting one core biblical teaching after another, until he was well and truly on the road of apostasy, eventually dumping his church and joining up with Oprah, so too we have the same thing happening here it seems.
The ongoing heresy of Bell, including his final acts of apostasy, I have documented elsewhere. See here for the most recent piece on this sad saga: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/19/the-appalling-apostasy-of-rob-bell/
Hipster Hillsong NYC leader Carl Lentz has drawn concerns over the past week after he posted a photograph on social media announcing his upcoming appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” television broadcast. “I really enjoyed my time with @oprah filming for her Super Soul Sunday show,” he wrote on May 18. “She is truly a special woman and a culture changer. To come from absolute poverty in Mississippi and reach the point where she became the first African American multi-billionaire takes a passion and drive that is exceptional and tireless.”
He continued to praise the talk show host, and said that others should emulate Oprah’s practice of thanking Jesus with each new day. “What struck me most about her, was her ease and kindness,” Lentz remarked. “She told me her key was ‘waking up each day and thanking Jesus for loving me and thanking Him for all he has done.’ That practice, in that order, is one to be copied.”
The article goes on to note that many Christians were deeply upset by this. It featured three such individuals and their comments:
-“Oprah is a pagan with New Age beliefs. For many years she has stated that there are ‘many paths to God.’ She denies that Jesus said the way is narrow.”
-“This is very disturbing. I actually am not surprised by Carl Lenz. I am disturbed about the lack of discernment in the Church. … Please Church wake up. Stop following men. Stop looking to be entertained.”
-“Lol c’mon man, do you need us watch-people to talk to you about Oprah, or can you figure out yourself? She openly denies John 14:6 is true, yet you’re claiming she wakes up every day and thanks Jesus, the Jesus of John 14:6 she denied. This is the fruit we’re talking about man. Right here.”
Yet Lentz fully defended himself in a most worrying fashion:
Lentz replied to the comments on Instagram, remarking that he doesn’t like followers arguing about the Bible on his page. “I don’t check these comments often, and the further I read on this thread, I’m reminded to do it less and less!” he said. “I will say that I can no longer allow people to use my comment section as their own personal theology blog! Can’t do it. Wrecks my picture and becomes almost embarrassing. To all those leaving encouraging messages, it is good to read.”
Good grief. He does not like the Word of God to be discussed on his page? Really? He refuses to take correction from concerned believers? He only wants the yes-men to pat him on the back and affirm him in his deception? This is scary as all get out – this is the stuff of cults in fact.
This is just appalling behaviour and utter cluelessness. It is not just men-pleasing, but it is rank compromise, carnality and religious syncretism of the worst sort. In order to get a clearer picture of just how bad this act of surrender and capitulation is, just imagine a few related scenarios:
-Can you imagine Elijah appearing on a Baalist show, praising the Baalists, taking selfies with their big cheeses, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from them?
-Can you imagine John the Baptist appearing on a show with King Herod, praising him, taking selfies with him, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from him?
-Can you imagine Paul appearing on a Judaiser show, praising the Judaisers, taking selfies with their big cheeses, and saying what a neat time it was and how much he learned from them?
But none of this should surprise us. Both have well-earned reputations of dishonour by now. As to Lentz, he has been on this popularity bandwagon for quite some time now, refusing to speak up about some of the most pressing moral challenges of our day, such as the war on God’s intentions for human sexuality, marriage and family, and the like. I have documented this elsewhere:
As to Oprah, she is the queen of mass deception, and her anti-Christian beliefs and practices are sending millions of people to a lost eternity. That is a very serious matter indeed. I have written often about this, eg.:
Not only is she leading millions astray, but a number of big cheese Christian leaders have been quite happy to jump in the spiritual bed with her and partake of her adulteries and idolatry. Not only Bell and Lentz, but folks like Joel Osteen have also gone all soft and mushy when around her.
Indeed, as I have shared before, the sad truth is their messages are often hardly distinguishable from one another. Both are leading folks away from the biblical gospel and both are doing this unapologetically: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/08/osteen-once-more/
Christian leaders are meant to be standing strong on truth and the clear teachings of the Word of God. They are never to seek to be high up in the popularity grandstand, cosying up to known frauds, deceivers and false prophets. This kind of diabolical syncretism is always condemned in the strongest of terms in Scripture.
Elijah would never have stood for it. John the Baptist would never have stood for it. Paul would never have stood for it. And neither would have Jesus. He was uncompromising with truth and did not coddle false teachers and false prophets. Instead he challenged them forcefully and firmly.
But here we have the logical conclusion to a “gospel” that has been stripped of all its solid biblical elements, replaced with worldly entertainment, celebrity worship, feel good sermons, men-pleasing advice, a never-ending desire to be “relevant’ and liked, and a refusal to say any hard words or step on anyone’s toes.
This is a religion by and for men-pleasers, but it is one that reeks to the high heavens. Millions of Christians have and still are giving their very lives for the cause of the gospel, while all these charlatans can do is make friends with the world, idolise its false shepherds, and ramble on about being nice and positive and acceptable.
They will one day stand before their Lord and deal with their abandonment of the gospel and their embrace of the world.