Home Welcome Resource Center Bookstore

Svenska

Norsk Deutsch Español
               

 

Volume 3, 2007
   

European American Evangelistic Crusades

 

The Flaming Sword
Contending For The Faith – Jude 3

 

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION

By JOHN S. TORELL

 

I am taking a break from the Dancing Around the Golden Calf series to focus my attention on the destruction of one of the most prominent fundamental Christian denominations in the United States. I have been aware of the inroads that Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven doctrine are having on Southern Baptist churches. It was not until I was sent a copy of Rev. Noah Hutchings’ book, “The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church,” that I realized that the denomination through which I am licensed and ordained is being destroyed by a hideous spiritual cancer.

Some time ago, as our ministry was revising my first study book in English (Christian Dynamics Course 1), I had done research on Rick Warren, his connection with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California and the impact this seminary will have on future ministers. When I realized how destructive the Purpose-Driven doctrine is, I knew that this information needs to come out to a larger audience than what my book would reach in the near future.

THE MACHINE BEHIND RICK WARREN

I did not know that Church Transitions, the organization behind Rick Warren is a well oiled machine that selected and transformed him into a leading “guru” of the New Age Movement in Evangelical/Fundamental Christian churches in the United States. I was saddened and grieved at the information I found when I searched for Church Transitions. Rather than trying to condense what they are about, I am taking verbatim what they say on their website so that you can see how the founder and his helpers describe themselves. One thing is for sure, someone has invested some big money to get this group going:

“The process of transition that we teach is a simple one:

·         Step one - Prepare for change

·         Step two - Define your changes

·         Step three - Plant your vision with your key leaders

·         Step four - Share your vision with the whole church

·         Step five - Implement your changes

·         Step six - Deal with the opposition

·         Step seven - Make adjustments

·         Step eight - Evaluate the result

www.churchtransitions.com/about_cti.htm

“Following 13 successful years as the lead pastor/teacher of Flamingo Road Church, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Dan Southerland started Church Transitions Inc., an organization that trains pastors and church leaders to effectively manage major transitions. Dan has trained over 100,000 pastors and church leaders in the past seven years. His focus is how to implement the purpose-driven paradigm in existing churches. Dan is now one of the pastors at Next Level Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Glen Sartain (right) is an international transition coach that has directly led multiple traditional churches through transition to become fully Purpose Driven as both worship leader and pastor. He currently serves as transitioning coach to multiple individual churches and pastors groups called ‘Coaching Networks.’   He has had the privilege of coaching and assisting hundreds of pastors and churches through transition and change.

“Glenn Wagner (left) is the president and visionary of FutureLead. He is a former pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina with an average Sunday attendance of over 3,000.

“Glenn is an author and contributor of nine books including: The Church You've Always Wanted, Escape From Church, Inc., and The Heart of a Godly Man.

“He served as Vice President and Minister at Large for Promise Keepers, an international Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord; and then helping them grow as Christians.


“Dan Southerland (right) is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church made some major changes:

·         Approach - from being program driven to being purpose driven.

·         Target - from reaching believers to reaching the unchurched.

·         Worship Style - from traditional to contemporary.

·         Pastors - from a senior pastor model to a shared pastor model.

·         Leadership - from a committee led church to being staff led.

·         Ministry - from pastors doing all the ministry to pastors equipping people to do the ministry.

·         Small Groups - from a traditional Sunday School model to a relational cell group model.

·         Services - from one weekend worship service to five weekend services (two on Saturday night; three on Sunday morning).

 “God blessed these changes big time! Flamingo Road grew from 300 in worship to 2300 in average attendance. They also started 23 other churches. And today, 60% of those who join Flamingo Road Church are unchurched when they first attend.

“Dan Southerland has had the privilege of training 100,000 church leaders in these principles of transition over the past 7 years - in 30 different countries! He has been teaching at the Purpose Driven Church conference held by Saddleback Church for the past 7 years. About half of the events we do each year are co-sponsored by Purpose Driven Ministries.”

-- END OF QUOTE --

RICK WARREN – THE SPIRITUAL JUNK BOND KING

During the 1980s, there was an American Jewish financial investor by the name of Michael Milken (right) who became a dreaded word in the business world. Born in 1946, he was in his forties when he led corporate raids and hostile takeovers of factories and other businesses in the United States. He financed his empire of destruction by issuing the so-called junk bonds (high-yield debts). Milken and his robber barons targeted successful businesses and over powered them with their large amount of cash. Once a business had been taken over, Milken sold off the company assets in order to pay back the loans. The end result was that jobs were lost and the business was irreparably damaged and unable to rebuild. Milken and his cohorts did not care about the workers, their retirement funds and the future of their children. Once businesses had been plundered, many of them closed their doors to never open again.

            Eventually Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and security fraud in 1989 as the result of an insider trading investigation. After a plea bargain, Milken plead guilty to six securities and reporting felonies and was sentenced to 10 years in Federal prison. He served less than two years.

            Rick Warren is using a different tactic in taking over churches and getting them under his control. Using an eight point program, he is luring pastors to the seminars that are set up to promote the Purpose Driven programs. Pastors are instructed how to take control of a church, destroy its foundation and become a clone of the Saddleback church.   

RICK WARREN AND HIS PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE

Richard D. Warren (right) was born in San Jose, California in 1954. He grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) his father being a Southern Baptist preacher. As a PK, he was moved around and attended high school in Ukiah, California and graduated in 1972. He enrolled at the California Baptist College in Riverside, California, where he graduated with a BA degree in 1976. He then moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1979. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and graduated with a Ph.D. in Ministry.

Since I was in the Southern Baptist Convention from 1966 until 1973, attended district conventions, and graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in 1973, I can easily see the transition in Warren’s theological thinking. The Southern Baptist pastors working in California after World War II were humble men, most of them coming from the South and Midwest, who toiled hard as they pioneered new churches. Their faith was simple as they preached salvation and holiness with Jesus Christ at the center. Many of the pastors worked in secular jobs to feed their families since the congregations were small and most of the converts were either poor or lower middle class people. Church buildings were simple, and as the phrase went at the time, “they were located on the wrong side of the railroad track.”

People born after 1970 do not have any knowledge of what life was like in a typical Southern Baptist church from 1945 until 1970. Services were simple, with hymn singing and preaching on Sunday morning and evening. Before the Sunday morning service, there was Sunday school for all ages. In the evening there was a teaching program called, “Training Union.” The material was uniform and produced by Broadman, a Southern Baptist publishing house. The Sunday school program was designed so that the entire Bible would be covered in a five year cycle. “Training Union” taught doctrine, Christian ethics, mission history and current outreaches. My wife and I attended all services on Sundays, and during our three and a half year stay at our first church home in Salt Lake City, we were firmly grounded in the Word of God and sound Christian doctrine. Wednesday night was prayer night and this is where we learned to pray. Thursday night was visitation, where we would go out and witness to people in the area. Saturday was occasionally used to repair the church building. From time to time, there was a fellowship dinner in the church after the morning service, and on those days, we stayed in church all day till the evening service started.

My wife and I were on fire for the Lord and we loved to spend time with the people in the church. Winning people for Christ was the highlight in our lives. We lived for Christ and for the church, and even though we spent much time in church, our marriage grew stronger and stronger. The church would put on a week of revival every spring and fall. An evangelist (usually a pastor from a different state) would come as the speaker for that week and there would be special music from a singer or gospel group. Prior to the revival, we would hand out flyers and double our visitation outreach to bring in the lost to the church. We learned the phrase, “pack a pew,” in which each family would be responsible to fill one pew with visitors. Smaller churches did not have a bus ministry to bring in children for church, so members would leave an hour early on Sunday mornings and pick up children whose parents would not come to church, but who allowed their children to do so. There was no griping about giving too much time to the Lord, as all of us were on fire and we would do anything to find a sinner and lead them to Christ.

This is the way Rick Warren grew up. These were the times before mega television ministries began to dominate the American landscape with networks like PTL (Jim and Tammy Bakker), TBN (Paul and Jan Crouch), and CBN (Pat Robertson), which destroyed the fiber of local churches and got people used to “high class” Christian entertainment.

Paul & Jan Crouch Jim & Tammy Bakker Pat Robertson

California Baptist College and Golden Gate Seminary were established by humble pastors, led by Area Missionaries (district supervisors). The goal was to establish learning centers for Southern Baptist young people and train them to become strong fundamental Bible believing Christians.

In the 1960s, a new generation took over; they were influenced from the Southern Baptist seminaries in the East and South. The professors at these schools had received their Ph.D.’s from prestigious seminaries like Union Theological Seminary, Princeton, etc., but they had lost their faith in the Bible. They bragged about their knowledge of liberal German theologians whose faith had been shipwrecked and were nothing but proud empty vessels believing in higher criticism (i.e. the Bible is not infallible).

As Southern Baptist Churches had attracted upper middle class people with college and professional degrees, there was no more room for humble pastors. Before 1950, it was enough for a pastor to hold a preaching license from his home church, but that changed in the 1960s as most churches required a Bachelor’s degree (BA). It was mandatory in the 1970s to have a M.Div. (Master of Divinity) and no man today will be called to a well-established church unless he holds a Doctor of Ministry or Theology.

Church boards nowadays are just like investors in the stock market, demanding ever increasing profits, not concerned about the people working in the factories and businesses. In much the same way, church boards want growth at any cost. They couldn’t care less about the quality of Christian living as long as the churches are packed full with potential tithers and the money is flowing in. This is what happened as the spirit of Pride ruled the churches and it became a competition to see who could have the largest crowds and biggest church complexes. The more people a pastor could attract, the bigger his salary would go, and in time he could put in his application for a bigger church. Church conventions turned into bragging times, where pastors would size each other up to see who had the fastest growing church, the biggest attendance, etc. Church Boards would attend these conventions to scout out new pastors, just like in the sports world where talent scouts look for better players, and then pay them large sums of money to come and play on their team. The ambition of becoming a pastor in a mega church is what drives young ministers coming from the preacher assembly lines (seminaries) today.

In order to be successful in any denomination in the United States and the Western World, a seminary student must toe the line, be politically correct, and lick the boots of the power brokers in the denomination.

During the 1970-80s, Southern Baptist seminaries became graveyards, so if a man was on fire for the Lord when he arrived, by the time he graduated, he had been transformed to a proud scholastic individual, void of faith in God but well trained in the profession of running a modern day church. The young preacher would be well-schooled in psychology and marketed as a social engineer. Local churches wanted growth at any cost, and the Gospel of the cross, repentance, hell and a holy life had to go by the wayside as churches became “seeker friendly.”

Rick Warren became a typical social engineer by the time he started his studies at Fuller Theological Seminary which is well-known for its ultra-liberal theology. Having been raised as a PK, Rick came from a humble financial background where the children learned to live a frugal life because there was not a lot of money to go around. He was like a ripe fruit when he began to attend the Crystal Cathedral and listen to Robert Schuller (right), a master deceiver and a slick worker in religion much like Herbert W. Armstrong. The principal teaching in “The Purpose Driven Life” is nothing but New Age teachings from Robert Schuller.

As of 2007, more than 20 million copies of “The Purpose-Driven Life” have been sold and 400,000 pastors and leaders from all over the world have attended a seminar or conference led by Rick Warren. Saddleback Church has started a non-profit website where Christian leaders in 162 nations are using material developed by Warren and his staff and 189,000 church leaders subscribe to his weekly newsletter.

What is the reason that Rick Warren has catapulted and become known worldwide as a religious leader? After all, he is not a charismatic evangelist holding mass meetings to vast crowds of unsaved people?

A KISS OF DEATH

The leadership of the World Government is always looking for young people they can harness, train, and use for their own purposes. Just like Bill Clinton, as a young college student, was given a Rhode’s scholarship and trained to carry out the policies of his handlers, so Rick Warren has been snared by the powers that be. It is difficult to trace every step taken by Rick since his handlers are very cautious about people knowing the workings behind the scenes, but Rick has left enough of a trail behind him that it is possible for us to know partly for whom he works and their agenda.

The road to success began in 1979, when Rick Warren and his wife Kay (right) drove from Texas to the Los Angeles area to attend a workshop on church growth held at the Crystal Cathedral with Robert Schuller. At that time, Rick was in his last year at the seminary, and when he graduated he moved to Orange County, close to the Crystal Cathedral. Both Rick and Kay became great admirers of Schuller and attended a number of workshops as Rick studied at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Twenty-three years after attending his first Schuller workshop, “The Purpose Driven Life” was released and printed by Zondervan publishing house. Why would a mainline Christian publishing house take on a book that quotes time and time again from “The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language?” It is the worst bible produced in the United States. Worse than that, the book is the hidden life work of Robert Schuller but penned by Rick Warren. Educated Christian leaders know very well that Schuller is deeply involved in the occult and has based his theology and writings from people in the New Age and occult societies. What Rick has done is to take his study notes from Schuller seminars, the books Schuller has written and presented it in such a way that the average church member wouldn’t know it was Robert Schuller’s material.

It is not feasible for me at this time to list all the New Age teachings in “The Purpose Driven Life.” Instead, I will refer you to an excellent book written by Warren Smith called, “Deceived on Purpose,” where this former New Age disciple has done a tremendous scholastic work in exposing Rick Warren as a disciple of Robert Schuller. We carry this book in our bookstore, so please contact us if you wish to obtain a copy.

Robert Schuller has been on the inside of the World Government for years, he even had Mikael Gorbachev appear on the televised Hour of Power service. I’m sure that Schuller noticed Rick Warren and developed him into a so-called “pied piper” to lead the Southern Baptist Convention into the hands of the World Government leadership. At his seminars, Schuller has “talent scouts” looking for bright young men and women who can be led astray to embrace occult concepts. The fact that Rick Warren is a disciple of Schuller can be seen in this quote by Schuller from the Hour of Power program which aired on April 4, 2004:

 “And there’s Rick Warren, a pastor who today is phenomenal. He came to our institute time after time. And in ‘Christianity Today,’ his wife was quoted as saying, ‘When we came to that institute, we were blown away.’”

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Christianity Today is a liberal magazine started by Billy Graham, but the thoughts, ideas, references, words, terms, phrases and quotes in “The Purpose Driven Life” are from the speeches and writings of Robert Schuller, who in turn has taken much of this from occult writers and New Age people.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST IGNORANCE

During the month of May, 2007 I decided to contact the Dr. Jeff Iorg (right), who is the president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Baptist) in Mill Valley, California. I wanted to know where the seminary stood on the question of “The Purpose Driven Life.” Here are the e-mails we exchanged:


Dear President Iorg,

As I was reading through Gateway, Spring 2007, I became very curious about your stand on “The Purpose Driven Life” as presented by Rick Warren. My wife and I lived at the seminary in Mill Valley from 1969-73 when I graduated with a M.Div. degree. When you have the time I would appreciate a response from you.

Yours in Christ,

John S. Torell

Pastor of Resurrection Life of Jesus Church


Dear John,

We are partners with Rick Warren for seminary education. He has about 40 students from Saddleback that we have enrolled at our Southern California Campus. I have never been asked for "my stand" on “The Purpose-Driven Life” but I would endorse the book as a good tool to help people discover a relationship with God.

Jeff Iorg


Dear President Iorg,

Thank you for your very fast reply. It surprised me greatly.

In our ministry we carry a book called, "Deceived on Purpose," by Warren Smith, who came out of the New Age movement some years ago. A friend of our ministry sent us a copy some time ago, and when I read it, I was deeply troubled. Rick Warren is not only a Southern Baptist, but he spent time under the training by Robert Schuller, who is deeply involved in the New Age. Portions of Rick Warren's book are taken from Schuller's teaching.

Would you be willing to receive a copy of Warren Smith's book as a gift from our ministry and read it? I know that you are more than busy, but I believe that when it comes to Biblical doctrine, we must not overlook this and get into a belief system that is not in harmony with the Bible.

When I attended the seminary, I came into conflict with some of the professors over their stand on the Bible. I was around 26 years old when I started and had been working in civil engineering for six years; I was married and had been active at Central Baptist Church in Salt Lake City from my conversion in 1965 until we left in 1969 to attend the seminary. My pastors were from the south and very conservatively held the Word of God dear.

We were about 100 men at the orientation in the fall of 1969 and the professor in charge told us “we were in for a rude awakening if we had come expecting a camp meeting revival style fellowship. This is a strict academic institution, and if you want to keep your Christian faith alive, it is up to each man to take care of this.” We were later told that Moses did not write the five books of Moses, they were written by others and we should not take the content as fact, but just look at the principles. We were told the same thing about the book of Isaiah and that the book of Daniel was forgery, written by Jews in the century prior to Jesus as a political manifesto. The four Gospels could not be trusted, so we should never preach an absolute truth out of them, but only use them as principles for living. The book of Revelation was a fairytale, written as a coded message from the Apostle John to the congregation in Ephesus while John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. 

Many of the young men who came directly from college to the seminary had their faith destroyed; those of us who were older and had been grounded in the Word of God in our churches were able to keep our faith. I felt that the seminary was more interested in making "social engineers," since there was no place for the Holy Spirit and a solid faith in the Bible as the Word of God.

I am sharing this with you so you will know of the grief in my spirit that I have over the seminary. I stayed there and finished my degree because God told me to stay. I learned how to study, write, and know the apostasy that had crept into the Southern Baptist denomination.

Most of the professors who taught me are now retired or dead and one day I will meet them again at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As a result, I could not be silent anymore when I realized the seminary had embraced the teaching of Rick Warren.

When I read some time ago that you had become the president for the seminary, I was happy because what I read and heard from you indicated there was hope for the seminary. Now my heart is broken afresh. I don't really know how you will react but I await your response.

Sincerely yours,

John S. Torell


Dear John,

The seminary has changed dramatically from the days you were here. Our professors love the Bible, serve the church (many are also pastors or in similar roles, and love students. Prayer meetings, mission trips, and evangelism reports are our daily activities. Our students want to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel. Our professors have been there, and come back to send more in their place.

I will be glad to receive your book and put it on my reading list. I have known Rick since he was a seminary student. Like most high profile leaders, I think he sometimes mis-speaks. But, overall, I have been glad to be his friend and support his ministry. I know you have studied this matter and come to your convictions. I won't try to argue them with you.

I believe Golden Gate is on the right track - strong commitment to the Bible, missions focus, pastoral hearts, and passionate students. I hope to meet you sometime and give you a personal flavor for who we have become and what we are doing.

Jeff Iorg


MY COMMENTS

Jeff Iorg is in the same age bracket as Rick Warren and according to what he said, he must have attended seminary at the same time as Warren. Iorg is a well-educated Southern Baptist, yet he has no concerns about the occult and New Age, and he recommends Warren’s book as a great tool for people to discover God. However, the god in “The Purpose Driven Life” is not the God of the Bible. What a tragedy for a man of Iorg’s caliber, who is in charge of training young men and women for Christian service, that he does not have the knowledge or desire to protect them from being indoctrinated with satanic thinking.

There has been no response from Jeff Iorg after he received the book, “Deceived on Purpose.” The following excerpt is from an article that recently came across my desk, and in my aforementioned correspondence with Jeff Iorg, he failed to declare how much of a partnership actually exists between Rick Warren and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

“The Lilly Endowment ‘a private founda-tion...that supports community development, education and religion,’ has also helped fund the Drucker Foundation. But more recently, it has shown its support for Baptist leadership and pastoral training. Strangely enough, the two -- Druckers communitarian vision for the ‘social sector’ and seminary training in community-building -- fit together. The article, ‘Golden Gate Seminary Receives $300,000 Lilly Endowment Grant’ tells us that the funds would provide ‘hardware, software, renova-tions and training needed to fully integrate up-to-date technology’ with the seminary's training program.

This grant makes all the more sense in light of a new partnership between Golden Gate Seminary and Saddleback Church. The Baptist seminary will build a new branch on the Saddleback campus to train church leaders to use the digital data tracking technology needed to meet and monitor community needs around the world.”

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/04/6-purpose-communitarian.htm#lilly

Two questions come to mind: how much money is Rick Warren pumping into the Golden Gate Seminary and how many more seminaries will be infiltrated?

 

CONTINUED: The Destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention
Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

 

Printer-friendly version


Back to Newsletters