I wish the reader to know that I truly was grieved to see that Richard Abanes felt that he needed to continue his dealings with me. As the pastor of a very small congregation known as
Connecticut River Baptist Church (CRBC), who had seen their teacher attacked by Mr. Abanes concerning a pastoral article which I had written called The Falling Away of the Evangelical Church, I felt that it was incumbent upon me to then protect my integrity in front of them. One needs to keep in mind at this point, that prior to all this, I was simply teaching a precious few, and really had no personal intentions of elevating my work beyond that scope.Now, however, as one who has very recently felt strongly led into ministry on a full time basis, and that even while receiving no full time salary from any of my Christian work, nor any financial assistance from any agency in point of fact, my Master has apparently seen fit to offer me the privilege to live what I write. And, it is from this strong conviction that I offer what I am about to share, for it is written: A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23, NASB) My walk with Christ is my life.
Actually, my initial feeling was to simply let this whole matter drop right from the beginning, and the truth be told, it was really at the behest of my wife Donna that I would end up writing the previous response Setting Richard Abanes Straight On My Rick Warren “Attack.” I am further persuaded that I am blessed to have a wife who is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside me, and to also pay with me, whatever price we must pay in our humble stance (see–1 Corinthians 15:10) in this tepid generation for the absolute Truth contained in the Bible–no matter what–to the end. We had nothing before, and we are nothing now. What our Master may choose to do with us, we leave to His infinite wisdom.
It must be noted at the outset, that it was Mr. Abanes himself who made the decision to open up this forum for a virtually unknown work in Christ, when he originally chose to include me among his “critics of Rick Warren.” He subsequently made the decision to respond back to the defense of my character as a teacher and a researcher I had put forward, with his short, and more pointed rebuttal of my work.
By doing so, Mr. Abanes has now kindly presented me an even further forum. And this time as I prayed and asked Jesus what I ought to do, I was quickly led to the conviction that my Lord was helping me to realize that the lack of respect shown to me by Mr. Abanes in an international forum, and his completely groundless criticism of my research skills, yet again, would certainly have the potential to cause some that I teach to stumble.
And with joy in knowing that Apprising Ministries and CRBC truly belong to my Master anyway, as I read, and prayed about, Mr. Abanes’ rather shallow rebuttal, I began to feel that God would wish me to dialogue with him again, but this time specifically as a pastor/teacher in Christ’s Church, my biblical office in the Lord. For me personally, the mandate for this is found in the pastoral epistle Titus, chapter 3, and verse 10 – Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.
It is my leading that the time has arrived for Mr. Abanes, regardless of who he might see himself to be, to come to understand that it is no light matter, in the midst of this growing apostasy, to continue to put forth his campaign of misinformation within the Church of our Lord.
What I See As The Bigger Issue
From where I stand, it has now become clear to me that Mr. Abanes feels anyone who disagrees with him is simply wrong, no matter what evidence may be presented to him. It is my sincere prayer that the following might cause him to come to a position where he will at least show some semblance of respect for others in the family of Christ with whom he does not agree. Perhaps he might wish to consider Philippians 3:15 – Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you (NKJV).
It has become quite apparent that Mr. Abanes has no respect for me, which, to be perfectly honest with you, does not matter to me in the least, as I do not choose to take this personally. As one of my mentors, Dr. Walter Martin, used to put it: We can agree to disagree agreeably. And, as I told my church during a recent sermon: Ken Silva is nothing! Isn’t that great; Christ is all!
However, I cannot help but wonder why Mr. Abanes just can’t seem to humble himself and see that other men of God, the stature of a Dr. John MacArthur for instance, have a stance regarding this eternally harmful “seeker-driven” fad which is sweeping through the Body of Christ, that is virtually identical to mine. Not knowing brother MacArthur personally, but having willingly humbled myself under the teaching ministry of someone Christ has chosen to make more prominent in His Church than I, (see–1 Corinthians 12:14-18), I do feel safe in saying that Dr. MacArthur would agree with me when I say that Rick Warren’s flawed view of church growth is but the tip of a veritable iceberg of bad teaching that is currently freezing the spiritual growth of so many churches in this nation.
That said, since Mr. Abanes chose not to respond specifically to much of my lengthy paragraph by paragraph rebuttal of his previous criticism of my work in Christ, I shall spare the reader a line by line refutation this time. One senses here a collective sigh of relief. Instead, I write this as an appeal to Mr. Abanes, to please carefully reconsider his eagerness to try and turn virtually every comment any of us who are critical of obvious man-centered theology may make, into a reason to import Rick Warren into our discussions.
It is my considered opinion, that by looking for every possible opening to jump to Warren’s defense (and one wonders why he feels such a compulsion) I think that he does himself a huge disservice. And furthermore, I also believe that he does a disservice as well to those who happen to look to Mr. Abanes as a reliable source of information, when he is not willing to carefully consider another person’s views more fully than he does. Please understand I am well aware that this article will possibly furnish another reason for Mr. Abanes to cry “ad hominem attack.” And yet, in love for him, but even more importantly, with love of my Savior’s Church, I will respectfully ask him to instead prayerfully consider the following.
I’m using an “if” proposition here: If Mr. Abanes does indeed see everything through Warren-colored glasses, is it not possible that in his zeal to “protect” Rick Warren, he ends up involving himself in needless dialogue with people that he isn’t going to agree with anyway until Christ helps him to see the bigger issue. Remember, the Bible says: And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24). And might it not be wiser to honestly listen first, and to then carefully consider, that in his apparent sincere zeal to protect Warren, Mr. Abanes might have actually become blinded to what others are in fact trying to say? For in my opinion, Mr. Abanes would benefit greatly by reflecting upon the biblical wisdom found in Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Pride Is A Stumbling Block
Unfortunately, the more I have come to see the way Mr. Abanes presents his arguments with me, the more a not so subtle pride is being revealed which conveys the idea that maybe he’s just a little smarter than the rest of us. I cite one quick example. In the opening of his rebuttal to my response back to him we read:
SILVA: “Recently on his website Richard Abanes, who has just written the book Rick Warren And The Purpose That Drives Him: An Insider Looks At The Phenomenal Bestseller, decided to make a non-issue into an issue when he misrepresented my position concerning Rick Warren, by saying I “attacked” Warren, when the truth is, I have nothing against Warren personally.”
RA: I never say anywhere in my article that Silva attacks Warren “personally” in his “The Falling Away of the Evangelical Church.” So this response by Silva is a strawman. The fact is that Ken Silva does indeed attack Warren in his article “The Falling Away of the Evangelical Church.” The word “attack” means to launch an offensive campaign against someone or to go against someone or to oppose someone. This is exactly what Silva did in his article against Warren. And that is what I was referring to in my article “Ken Silva Attacks: Southern Baptist vs. Southern Baptist.”
Now, at first glance this may appear to be a valid argument by Mr. Abanes, and a “straw man” on my part. But, Mr. Abanes is rapidly finding out that in the discernment camp there are others who are also trained in argumentation, and who will immediately see that he is actually avoiding the obvious inference of his own use of the word attack in his original criticism of me. I will show this as one example of his type of “apologetic” in a moment.
But first, we also would not agree with Mr. Abanes’ equivocation around the word “attack,” by focusing the reader’s attention onto my use of the word “personal.” This is to serve the purpose of diverting attention away from what Mr. Abanes is actually saying in his original piece concerning me. Please note here, the very title of which was: Ken Silva Attacks: Southern Baptist vs. Southern Baptist. And then, in the very first line of paragraph 3 he writes: “This is a particularly odd attack on Warren since Silva is a Southern Baptist minister—as is Rick Warren!”
Choosing to leave aside the rather condescending explanation of the word “attack” from Mr. Abanes, as anyone can clearly see, the evidence itself does show that Mr. Abanes is in fact accusing me by logical inference of attacking Rick Warren “personally.” As nowhere here does he specify “Ken Silva Attacks” Rick Warren’s theology–which is clearly what I was “attacking” in my pastoral article which Mr. Abanes was criticizing. And I wish him to know that as long as the Lord decides to sustain me, I will continue do so without apology.
However, on closer examination, when Mr. Abanes says: “I never say anywhere in my article that Silva attacks Warren ‘personally’ in his ‘The Falling Away of the Evangelical Church.’ So this response by Silva is a straw man,” it is actually Abanes himself who has created the straw man. He has simply attempted to divert the reader’s attention away from what was actually said. And this is not to argue your case; rather, it is almost a kind of “bait and switch” technique in order to avoid dealing specifically with a particular subject, or to try and escape having to answer a question directly, which I have seen him do before.
Style Is One’s Prerogative
This is a clear example of the apologetic style of Richard Abanes, as evidenced in his diatribes against me, and apparently as also witnessed by many others who have discussed with me their reading of his voluminous posts all over the Internet. This, I cannot speak to personally, as I frankly do not have the interest, nor the time to waste (in my humble opinion) on this type of endeavor–feeling rather sure here that another of my mentors, A.W. Tozer, might have said exact the same thing, were he with us today.
Now, this type of argumentation on the part of Mr. Abanes, the use of many words, while not really answering the question, or dealing with a subject directly, might work with those who aren’t as familiar with this particular style of rhetoric. However, for those of us who over the years have had numerous dealings with non-Christian cultists–most particularly Mormon Missionaries–we will recognize its source immediately. I have often referred to this type of dialogue as “wrestling with a snake.”
And finally on this subject, let’s look at one more succinct example of the way Richard Abanes defends Rick Warren against what he sees as “attacks” on Warren personally. I offer this in hopes that it may help Mr. Abanes to realize that he really does appear to be blinded to literal facts by his own zeal, and then prayerfully, we can put this whole unfortunate chapter in our Lord’s Church to rest.
In his rebuttal Mr. Abanes quotes my response:
SILVA: “For the record, one would be hard-pressed to call the following “urban legends” and a “widespread false notion.” The examples I’m about to show you are from primary sources, which I have personally read . . . it would seem that my conclusion [that] Warren ‘is some kind of ‘disciple’ of Robert Schuller,’ is actually based on some solid evidence. So, rather than ‘widely’ missing the mark–it would instead be the mark.”
RA: Silva is wrong again. He doesn’t seem to even know that the so-called “primary sources” that he is quoting have no bearing on his faulty conclusion that Warren is a kind of disciple of Schuller’s. Indeed, the examples Silva gives just show even more clearly how right I was when saying that Silva’s research has widely missed the mark.
One quick note, when Mr. Abanes writes: “Silva’s research has widely missed the mark,” by his own definition of “attack,” as evidenced in his numerous “defenses” of Rick Warren, this would constitute a “personal” attack. That aside, I do not wish to go through each of these sources, which he just simply dismisses out of hand, here in this piece. For the interested reader, please let me refer you to my previous rebuttal for all four of the source quotes that I, in fact, used. (http://www.apprising.org/archives/2005/08/setting_richard.html)
But notice Mr. Abanes’ reply in the above quote: “Silva is wrong again.” Now, why am I wrong? For no logical reason, except that Richard Abanes says that I am wrong. Can you see the circular reasoning? Mr. Abanes himself doesn’t like the source material I personally culled in my own research, so in is eyes they all just become nothing more than “so-called ‘primary sources.’”
And why do these actual quotes, used in context, from currently existing publications suddenly become only “so-called” primary sources? Because Richard Abanes says so, that’s why. Believe me, I am sad to point this out, but here Mr. Abanes reminds me of a little child who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and when his parent asks him what his hand is doing in the cookie jar, he simply replies: “What cookie jar?”
Let Us Make A Right Judgment
When all is said and done, because of my increased responsibility as a pastor and teacher through the medium of the Internet, Jesus has made me acutely aware, and especially so through this incident with Richard Abanes, that my Master has now given me many who are looking to me as a voice of reason during this critical time in history, within what Dr. Martin himself once called “a rapidly accelerating apostasy” in our Lord’s Church. And the truth is, James 3:1 has some very sobering words for men like Mr. Abanes and myself – Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment (NASB).
So, with the above in mind, while remaining true to my commission from God as a teacher and pastor in His Church, and also with these words from our Lord, Christ Jesus – “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (John 7:24) as my guiding principle, I feel that I must now offer the following assessment of the fruit of Rick Warren’s teachings, as evidenced through the example set by Richard Abanes, who is a member of Warren’s church, and is beyond question, a very prominent proponent of his doctrines.
It is beyond all doubt, to all but the most biased, that Mr. Abanes has left the indelible impression he feels that he is the defender of all things Warren. And, from his own website we read of Mr. Abanes:
i am a mainstream evangelical christian, who lives each day in what i believe is full-time service to God.i live out what rick warren has called the five purposes of God (see the purpose driven life by rick warren, senior pastor of saddleback church). this is known as the “purpose driven” life. according to warren, all of us were planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to be like Christ, shaped to serve God in ministry, and made to live out a mission. (http://www.abanes.com/abanespurpose.html, lower case in original)
The Role Of A Pastor
A very definite, and crucial, part of every pastor’s labor for Christ is to make right “judgments” concerning individual members of the flock that he is entrusted to under-shepherd by the Great Shepherd Himself. It is so tragic today that this vital role of the pastor in the local church is much too often neglected by us in these times which are so marred by relativism. Couple this with the sad truth, that more and more, the office of the local pastor is being usurped by parachurch groups, television ministries and the like, and here you have a ready recipe for apostasy.
So, what I wish to do now, for the possible edification of the reader, is to share with you the thought process behind just how it is the pastor arrives at his prayerful assessment of a member of his congregation while using Mr. Abanes an object lesson in the process. I have decided to do this publicly, because he made the chose to criticize me publicly. If one were to go to my website, they will find all the appropriate contact information quite prominently displayed.
My point here being, Mr. Abanes could have very easily literally called me on the phone, and handled this situation privately. Both times Mr. Arbanes has taken issue with me he has decided not to do so, and instead chose to use this forum to address his concerns about my labor on the outskirts of our Lord’s Vineyard. This is fine by me, as I believe very strongly in personal accountability, and so I shall return the favor.
Abanes As An Example Of Purpose-Driven Christianity
The first thing we must do is to take into account the words I quoted previously from Mr. Abanes himself on his website. Please know I do not offer the following for any other reason than for those I have just stated.
i am a mainstream evangelical christian, who lives each day…what rick warren has called the five purposes of God…known as the “purpose driven” life. according to warren, all of us were planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to be like Christ, shaped to serve God in ministry, and made to live out a mission (lower case in original, emphasis added).
Without being “judgmental,” I think we are well within Christian ethics to look a little more closely at Richard Abanes as an example of the kind of Christian that Warren’s theology produces. So, let’s see what we might learn from listening carefully to the things Mr. Abanes has chosen to tell us about himself in the public forum of the Internet. And as we do, because he is a member of Warren’s church, we should then be able to understand even more about this purpose-driven Christianity, a lifestyle that is based on teachings “according to [Rick] Warren,” that Mr. Abanes himself informs us he personally lives “each day.” I also offer, that this in itself would pose no problem whatever.
From Tim Challies’ rather revealing interview with Mr. Abanes, we will see an arrogance emerge as he “attacks” (personally?) Dr. John MacArthur. Whatever one may think of every area of Dr. MacArthur’s theological positions, the fact remains that he is widely acknowledged as one of the finest Bible teachers we have in the Christian Church today. Further, MacArthur is also a man who is a senior pastor–and an elder–if you will, within the Evangelical church at large.
And yet, instead of showing Dr. MacArthur the respect his venerable position within Christ’s church would entitle him to, Mr. Abanes says with insolence:
As for John MacArthur, he simply does not know what he is talking about and has shown himself to be a loose cannon when it comes to Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, and Saddleback Church. I am not sure who is feeding him information, but it is false. But perhaps MacArthur just doesn’t care enough about truth to be careful in his own research. Therefore, I fault MacArthur for either: a) not doing his own research; or b) not doing his own research carefully enough before falsely accusing Warrren of things that Warren has never taught. (http://www.challies.com/archives/001175.php)
And just why is it that Dr. MacArthur is so ignorant on the subject of Rick Warren according to Mr. Abanes? You’ll recognize the circular reasoning once again; because Richard Abanes says so, that‘s why. Now, since Mr. Abanes is incessantly whining for others to produce evidence against Rick Warren in their “attacks,” one can’t help but wonder here: Just where is his evidence against MacArthur? Has Mr. Abanes personally been in Dr. MacArthur’s study?
Just look for yourself at his impudence when Mr.Abanes almost brazenly says: “I fault MacArthur.” Well, based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – I do hope Mr. Abanes has a fine suit made of asbestos on hand, it’s going to get mighty warm on that Day, if he were to continue his attacks on Christ’s under-shepherds. But this is a glimpse into Mr. Abanes as being someone who is leaving the very distinct impression that he himself is lacking the spiritual maturity to be one so quick to pass judgments upon those whom the Lord Himself has called as His teachers.
Further Reflection On Abanes And Warren
Next let us consider the following from this same Challies interview, and I will share with you what I would notice were he a member of my own particular congregation. Abanes is asked what CDs he is currently listening to. And I want to be clear here that there is absolutely nothing wrong in itself with listening to music CDs. However to the discerning, Mr. Abanes’ answer becomes rather telling pursuant to our reflection on Rick Warren, PDL, and upon Mr. Abanes’ himself, when he tells us:
I do not listen to a lot of music, even though I am a musician. And, truth be told, I don’t actually listen to a lot of Christian music at all. Probably because when I have time to spend on Christian music, I tend to want to work on my own stuff for the Lord.
And then Mr. Abanes goes on to say:
As for secular music, I have many groups/artists that I listen to on a regular basis. A own a LOT of country music, which I listen to almost every day: Rascal Flatts, Jimmy Wayne, Tim McGraw, On the harder side of music I listen to Green Day (caps in original).
For those who may wonder why many of us who are pastors are so critical of the Schuller–Hybels–Warren–CGM/PDL-type of teachings, it’s because we are seeing a clear indication in the Spirit of the grave spiritual risk and danger inherent in these man-centered “purpose-driven” kinds of ideals. You must understand that an ecclesiology which is focused on man, will at best create a superficial “Christianity Lite,” and at its worst, will certainly deceive the never got converted “wish-I-were” followers of the seeker-friendly imaginary “Jesus is my buddy” theology that it has created.
And here is what the watchful eyes of a pastor would notice in this example of Mr. Abanes’ choices of music. No matter what the reason, by his own admission, Mr. Abanes does not listen to “a lot of Christian music at all.” However, as for “secular music,” he tells us there are “many” artists that he listens to on a “regular basis,” and “almost every day.” The questions that I as a pastor would hope Rick Warren will soon be asking Mr. Abanes in his office are: So, now can you see who is helping to shape much of your world-view? Richard, why would you, as a prominent Christian, even want to listen to so many non-Christian influences “on a regular basis?” And, just what would the more mature Christian possibly find in common with worldly artists? (see–2 Corinthians 6:15)
So, can you see the problem here? If your Christian church services are so seeker-sensitive, and the teachings you present, and/or you hear there, are so close to the socio-psycho philosophies of the world, then undoubtedly they are going to drag you down from, or arguably to even keep you from, the lofty ideal of total self-denial that the Christ of biblical revelation demands of His followers. The absolute truth is, the denial of self, is a major quality that should be present in every maturing Christian. And in the vapid Evangelicalism of today, true godliness is appallingly lacking in so many churches that they are in fact, instead, becoming more and more narcissistic.
“For Out Of The Overflow Of The Heart The Mouth Speaks”
Now, let’s look a little further what else the Challies interview should indicate to a loving pastor about where Richard Abanes may be in his walk with Jesus, and particularly, as to how this relates to the maturing Christian who feels he has been called to teach within Christ’s Church universal. And, as we have previously mentioned, from Mr. Abanes himself on his website, we also know that he lives out “what rick warren has called the five purposes of God (see the purpose driven life by rick warren, senior pastor of saddleback church). [And] this is known as the ‘purpose driven’ life according to warren.” As such then, here we will also be able to see further example of the fruit that this PDL lifestyle theology, “according to [Rick] Warren,” is producing.
Mr. Abanes tells Tim Challies:
As for secular music, I have many groups/artists that I listen to on a regular basis. A own a LOT of country music, which I listen to almost every day: Rascal Flatts, Jimmy Wayne, Tim McGraw, On the harder side of music I listen to Green Day.
The fact that Mr. Abanes himself says emphatically, “I own a lot of country music” immediately gives a pastor reason for concern about where Mr. Abanes might be in his Christian life. For here is a man, who makes at least some of his income from teaching our Lord’s people, who then in turn, plunks down a portion of his money in support of unbeliever’s “ministries.” A pastor should see that this does not at all seem very consistent with the more mature comprehension of the Christian world-view that someone who presumes to instruct others about the life of a Christian must possess.
Certainly a faithful pastor would expect a higher standard of conduct from someone who has a prominent place as an author and an apologist in the Evangelical community, and one who is also so quick to judge the ministry of a widely respected pastor within the Church of our Lord, such as Dr. John MacArthur. And this should be especially so, if this man also happened to be one of the leading spokesmen for a pastor’s ministry and teachings, because this, at the very least, would have a direct bearing on the local church involved.
And, it is without a doubt quite an appalling witness for Christ Jesus that Mr. Abanes would then go on to tell us that he listens to Green Day, which is a punk rock band! Now, it is true, that as far as this rubbish goes, it is a more “pop” version of this “harder side of music.” However, how can this noted apologist for the faith of our Lord, possibly lend his support to “punk” music, which is undeniably antithetical to a Christian lifestyle! This is an especially rebellious form of music, replete with many anti-social aspects (including self-mutilation), which so many arrogant and disobedient young people in this rapidly decaying nation are already readily embracing today.
Without question this music has been responsible for creating scores of “punks” – which is exactly what the name clearly tells you this particular anarchistic subculture is all about. A pastor obedient to His Master would know that this is an issue he would certainly have to address, as it is most definitely an inconsistency with the mature Christian example that must be set by those who would be teachers in the Church of Christ.
Just His Lord, a pastor would be grieved, that Mr. Abanes, who is a leading author and apologist for the Christian faith, would by his own admission, say that he actually enjoys a music that is unquestionably contributing to the fulfillment of the following passage of God’s Word:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
Please believe me, I derive no pleasure by setting this before you as a sorry role model for a leading Christian spokesman. Rather, I offer it solely as an object lesson to illustrate just how low the acceptable standard for Christian service has apparently sunk in today’s Evangelical church. Now, lest Mr. Abanes think that I have been too harsh with him personally, I am in fact, only being critical of what I see as a poor example which has been set by a well-known Christian figure. I cast no aspersions about Mr. Abanes as a person, since I do not know him personally. And, might I also further remind the reader, that it was not I who chose this forum, for Mr. Abanes had already made that choice for us.
“Do Not Judge So That You Will Not Be Judged”
And finally, there is also this little slip of logic. A little later in that same Challies interview, Mr. Abanes turns to “attack” (personally?) Paul Proctor, who in Mr. Abanes’ words:
is a rabid fundamentalist critic of Rick Warren, [and] has written: “much of my writing time these days seems to be spent rebuking much of the spiritual whiskey he [i.e., Rick Warren] pours his patrons in the name of Christ, rendering them drunk, delusional and unable to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil and sacred from sacrilegious. Like alcoholics, the more his regulars drink, the thirstier they get; the thirstier they get, the more they drink, until they all begin sounding brilliant to each other and yet silly to the sober souls around them that fear God.”
So much for Mr. Abanes’ constant appeal that no one should “attack” Rick Warren, because it would sure seem here like he has a different standard for himself. And then Mr. Abanes concludes:
Is this kind of ugly imagery really necessary? What does Proctor think he is accomplishing by speaking so hatefully/hurtfully about Christians (or maybe he does not even consider them Christians). It seems that he is deliberately using references that are commonly abhorrent to Christians: alcoholism, strong drink, drunks, carousing in bars, etc. etc. etc. This is not apologetics. It is mean-spirited attacking that reflects not the Bible or Christ, but rather, tabloid journalism.
Let us just lay aside Mr. Abanes’ superficial assessment of brother Proctor‘s teachings, and keep our focus on the music issue, which also further gives us an interesting look into the paradigm of purpose-driven conciliation with worldly values. Remember now, Mr. Abanes has previously said: I own a lot of country music. However, I can’t help but wonder, is there just the slightest chance “references that are commonly abhorrent to Christians,” say like, “strong drink, drunks, carousing in bars, etc. etc. etc.” might possibly be found in “a lot of country music” that’s owned by Mr. Abanes?
Further, since Mr. Abanes has said that he personally owns “a lot of country music,” a nurturing pastor is going to be alerted to the very real possibility that Mr. Abanes’ heart may not be quite right with His Lord. The reason being, that Mr. Abanes doesn’t seem to be bothered by these things which, by his own admission, are “commonly abhorrent to Christians.”
And because of voluntary admissions like this, a pastor is going to find real cause for concern about Mr. Abanes’ Christian world-view, since he has also said as “for secular music, I have many groups/artists that I listen to on a regular basis,” not withstanding his also listening “to Green Day,” a band which is very closely affiliated with the socially destructive punk music scene.
Purpose-Driven or Christ-Centered?
What are we to conclude from our object lesson here as we have examined Mr. Abanes‘ public statements? It would appear that we have seen a poor Christian example set by this apologist for PDL while he has been living “according to” these teachings from his pastor Rick Warren and his Christianity Lite philosophies. And that is exactly why so many of us who are pastors find ourselves grieving today as we see the Church of our Lord languishing in squalid compromise while unrepentant arrogant sinners are shaking their fists at our Christ. When will we see that we do these hopelessly lost souls no service by continually telling them that “God loves you, just as you are.” Is it really any wonder why their haughty reaction is: Cool! So God; dude, now You’ll have to show me what Jesus can do for me, if You want to have a relationship with me.
This sickening tripe originates in a type of arminian acquiescence to satanically driven doctrines of demons–which is the actual root of man-centered theology–long before Schuller. Didn’t you know that these abominations would be coming from hypocritical liars that have been given pulpits in our Lord‘s own Church? And didn’t you know it is this kind of rotten theology that has caused every reformation in the long and sordid history of the Christian Church.
George Whitefield, a real preacher of God’s Word, was so right when he said:
Whoever is acquainted with the nature of mankind in general or the propensity of his own heart in particular must acknowledge that self-righteousness is the last idol that is rooted out of the heart. Being once born under a covenant of works, it is natural for us all to have recourse to a covenant of works for our everlasting salvation. And we have contracted such a devilish pride by our fall from God that we would, if not wholly yet in part at least, glory in being the cause of our own salvation. We cry out against Popery, and that very justly; but we are all Papists, at least I am sure we are all Arminians by nature; and, therefore, no wonder so many natural men embrace that scheme. It is true we disclaim the doctrine of merit and are ashamed directly to say we deserve any good at the hands of God; therefore, as the apostle excellently well observes, we go about establishing a righteousness of our own and, like the Pharisees of old, will not wholly submit to that righteousness which is of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (The Lord Our Righteousness, http://www.txdirect.net/~tgarner/whitefield2.htm).
Yet today, here we are, right back at it once again, with those of the PDL/CGM user-driven churches trying to make Christ’s uncompromising message palatable to decadent sinners, and their fictitious free will, all the while trying to climb back into bed with the apostate Church of Rome, one of the most notorious spiritual harlots in the whole ignominious history of mankind!. This is precisely why we who truly love God’s Word must staunchly oppose all of this nonsense in the precious name of Christ! And, for His sake we must continue to do so, for this kind of sordid compromise is exactly why the Roman Catholic Church, with her Pope–the heretical usurper of God’s glory–is sucking so many unwitting, and undiscerning, Christians right back into her serpentine folds!
Through his own choice, Mr. Abanes has presented this forum to me, and now he will know why it is that I vehemently oppose Warren’s “soft” theology–and his “feel-good” message. Let the reader notice that I am not saying liberal theology–nor have I–but in its true essence, it really isn’t that far from Schuller’s. But it is exactly this watered down view of the awesome holiness and majesty of the LORD God Almighty–no matter how sincere it may be–that is right now sounding the death knell to Evangelicalism, with it’s foolhardy “business as usual” attitude here in the United States. Beloved, the time has come to wake up before we do come fully under the Lord’s condemnation:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:15-20).
And enough with the idea that verse 20 is for sinners! This is clearly written to the Lord’s church. And where is He? OUTSIDE!
Abanes An Apologist For Purpose Driven
While Richard Abanes will undoubtedly cry “foul,” as teaching the Bible within an apologetic is being frowned upon these days around his circle. If he really is a learned man in church history, as his book The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, which was given to me by James Walker, would indicate, then Mr. Abanes will know that I have been nowhere near as rough on his theology as would have been Luther, or Calvin, or Spurgeon. And in no way do I place myself on the same continent as a preacher such as Spurgeon.
Ah yes, now let us pay our homage to the “great” Charles Spurgeon. Is there a website that doesn’t at least pay lip service to the great “Prince of Preachers.” I would have walked for miles to hear this powerful man of God speak, but I can also honestly say, that I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear far too many “preachers” within our Lord’s church today. And, in the end, during the Downgrade Controversy, the Baptist Union of his day would all but throw this man, who was so great in Christ, right out of its decaying and dying ranks. At least Spurgeon was wise enough to turn his back on their compromises, and to walk away.
Doesn’t anyone see the incredible downhill slide we are experiencing in this growing apostasy? How much longer must the Church militant kowtow before self-righteous sinners, begging them to avoid Hell? As Leonard Ravenhill once asked in his awe-inspiring some Spirit-breathed book Why Revival Tarries – “Where are the Elijah’s of God?” O yes, dear Lord, where are the watchmen? Yes, send us the watchmen!
And sadly, though I also have nothing personal against Richard Abanes, he simply chose the wrong time to attack me, in his role as an apologist for things purpose-driven. I fear I must warn him in the Lord that right now he is in a very precarious place. And Mr. Abanes, I, and others I have prayed with while writing this, do sincerely pray that we may work closely one day, and that in His incredible grace Jesus will help you to have eyes to see what I am saying here. But, alas, I know that I cannot change your heart.
I wish you to understand that it is not an ad hominem “attack” for me to follow what I have been commanded to do by my loving Master, Who “sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood.” And so, with heavy heart, I must tell you, that you are currently found among the men in this following admonition:
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
Years ago A.W. Tozer said:
Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God… This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit.
Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be.
“Try the spirits” is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church (1 John 4:1). We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine… To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world (Tozer On The Holy Spirit, August 3).
And…he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Church…and obey Him…to obey is better than sacrifice…
Posted by Ken Silva, pastor-teacher at September 1, 2005 03:16 PM. Copyright © 2006 by Ken Silva. All rights reserved.