The Hypocrisy of the Christian Celebrity Leadership

By | September 27, 2014

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
John 6:37

I received an email yesterday from a fellow “member” of the Church “universal;” that is to say, he is a fellow believer in Christ and a good friend. He sent this link to a post on the Lighthouse Trails Research blog, which I partially captured in a screenshot below. I would encourage you to visit the blog and read the story in its entirety.

My friend wanted to know if I had heard about David Platt’s outspoken opposition to “the sinner’s prayer” and the terms “asking Jesus into your heart” and “inviting Christ into your life.”

Quite frankly, I had not heard of this.  With all that is happening in the name of Christ these days I find it hard to keep up with everything.  Thankfully I have a band of loyal friends who are kind enough to share newsworthy items with me.

I found myself in agreement with the article and particularly liked their conclusion:

“The Bible is clear that once someone is saved (born again), he is to be discipled by trustworthy God-honoring, Bible-believing teachers and pastors. But the “Gospel” that Platt, Warren, and so many others are presenting is not the “whosoever” Gospel that invites anyone to come in and sup  and commune with Jesus Christ and become one of His; rather it is a works-driven belief system that draws unaware victims in, then harnesses them to a yoke too great to bear. Jesus said,  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The Southern Baptist Convention has done a great disservice to their Baptist members, and no doubt the effect will be felt throughout Christianity in these days when the world desperately needs the simple beautiful life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

2014-09-27 Platt and the sinners prayer

Those who have followed my blog for a while may recall that I have written a few articles critical of Platt.  First he was guilty of dealing less than ethically with his adoring, book-buying public back in the U.S.A.  You can see the story “Truth In Advertising?” for details.

Then I wrote critically about Platt’s quest to convince Christians that if they are truly dedicated disciples of Christ their life should be marked by frenetic energy expended on doing bold, missional things in far-away countries. You can read “Radical Christianity – The New Buzzword” for details.

What really bothers me with Platt, and many other “leaders” of the” gospel Glitterati” is their blatant hypocrisy.  They purport to be Reformed Christians holding to the 5 solas:  “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory).
And they do hold to the 5 solas, except when they don’t! Confused?  Don’t be.  They hold to them when it serves their purposes, but when it doesn’t serve their purpose they quietly disregard them.

Today we have a clear example of what I am speaking about as it relates to the first sola – Sola Scriptura. This “sola” simply means Scripture alone is the only infallible source of divine revelation and the final authority for matters of faith and practice.

Therefore in the first audio below we see Platt making a case against “the sinners prayer” simply because that phrase cannot be found in the Bible. Case closed.  But then listen to the second audio.  Platt admits that “membership” in a local church is a term that is not found in the Bible.  If we apply the same logic which Platt used in the first audio to show the error of “the sinners prayer” then we should conclude that membership in a local church is also an error because the term is nowhere to be found in the Bible.  Right?  Not so fast pardner.  Platt says we can’t discard the concept of membership in a local church simply because the concept is not found in the Bible, after all we  don’t find the term “Trinity” in the Bible either.

I hope I am not the only one who sees the hypocrisy.

So why the constant sales pitch to become “members” of a local church? Is it really out of concern for the welfare of you, the bumbling Christian or, perhaps because membership equates to butts in the pews, which equates to money in the offering plate?  Also not to be discarded is the fact that it is a lot easier to “rule over” individuals who have signed a membership contract.

“And Jesus called them to him and said to them,“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”
Mark 10:42-44

 

 

 

 

Here is another example of hypocrisy, but more on this subject on anther day!

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Todd, you know I love you, but I have to disagree with you for this reason: Platt is correct about the “sinner’s prayer” in my opinion. I don’t necessarily like the guy’s other stances and I think you know what I think about the form of church membership that guys like Platt endorse. Your attack, for lack of a better word, seems to be an ad hominem attack based on inconsistencies in Platt’s other positions rather than on the merits of his explanation about why he has a problem with the “sinner’s prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart.” (I agree with him on both points, by the way) I have the tendency to often immediately disagree with someone because I don’t like their other positions and I often need someone to point out my critical nature and that if I’m to be consistent, I should consider the merits of their argument or position from the basis of scripture rather than my dislike for them or their other positions. I would love to see you take his arguments and make a biblical case for why you would disagree with them. I could then see if there might be a reason to go back and reconsider my position on these issues. Blessings from your friend here in Texas.

Thanks for you comment Jerry. I always appreciate your insights and value them as coming from a man with a much better grasp on Scripture than I have. With that said I hope you will not be offended in what I say. I will attempt to explain why I think Platt is wrong. First is the purely pragmatic aspect – I came to Christ through the “sinners prayer.” I would venture that many others have too. Repeating a prayer by rote may not be ideal, but if you are sincere God honors that, and He sees the heart. Many people who are saved have little idea of what prayer is or how to formulate even a basic prayer.

I could enter into a lengthy discussion on the whole process of regeneration, but I think you and I would probably not have a lot of differences on the subject and it would likely bore most readers. Suffice it to say that we are both believe the process is carried out by the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. John 6:44 states: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Many who agree with Platt’s line of thinking seem to denigrate the sinner’s prayer as a form of easy-believism; that is, an individual spits out a rote prayer, is told he is now a Christian, and believes he has his ticket to heaven punched but his life never changes, or if it does it is only for a short time and then he returns to living as he always has. I will not deny that this happens, but I also will not deny that it appears there are many who have been soundly converted. Platt seems to think the conversion process should be more difficult, complex or detailed than that. I am placing words in his mouth, but it seems he feels it shouldn’t be so simple. A person must repent and cry out for God. Visions of John Bunyan agonizing over his salvation come to mind. This type of conversion seems to be what is acceptable to Platt. I would guess that the end result is roughly the same as those who utilize the sinner’s prayer. Some are solidly converted, some appear to be converted, but after a season return to their worldly ways. I have seen both. And I would add that I believe that everyone that is converted can tell a unique story.

I don’t believe the conversion experience should be some complex theological event. Christ Jesus, in Mark 10:15 says: “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” There is probably much that can be culled from this verse, but surely one thing is the simplicity of child-like faith is what is necessary to becoming a Christian.

Then in John 6:47 Christ states: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Again, that sounds quite simple to me. I suppose you could get quite detailed in what “belief” means, and how is it expressed or displayed, but taking the verse at face value, I just have to believe in Christ. Implied is that I believe that I am a sinner, Christ lived the perfect, sinless life, took my sin upon him and died the sacrificial death making atonement for me.

Next is another example of simple belief. No detailed requirements such as Platt outlined.
“And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Acts 16:29-31

And here is another: “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.”
Act 8:36-38

Finally I will quote a verse that Platt himself quoted:
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.”
Rom 10:9-12
Again, I think it points to the simplicity of salvation. I will quote again the verse I used at the top of this article: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
John 6:37
Children, mentally handicapped, illiterate and uneducated can all come to Christ. He doesn’t cast any of them out, even though they may be unable to say much more than “I believe.”

Let’s not make it harder than Christ has made it, lest we run the risk of becoming like the pharisees. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15

Joe Pewsitter

Like the Stanley’s, the Piper’s, and the Chandler’s, the Platt’s believe…hey, the rich need a witness too!

Larry

The glaring flaw I always saw with “Radical” was that while the idea was that we should teach our kids to sacrifice for the Lord by living and giving in some radical way by doing something like selling belongings and moving to the mission field came from a man whose radical life involved pastoring a mega church in an affluent suburb of Birmingham, AL. So radical is good enough for me, but not the teacher?

A. Amos Love

Todd

Yup – Church membership is NOT mentioned in the Bible – And…
In the first recording Platt says be careful about using terms NOT in scripture.

But, does he really believe what he says? Because…

Here are a bunch of “Church Terms,”
Used today by “pastor/leader/reverends”
That are NOT mentioned in the scriptures…

As WE, His Sheep, search the Bible for these “Church Terms” – WE, can ask…
Did Jesus, or any of His Disciples, teach about, or ever…

1 – Go to Church? 2 – Join a Church? 3 – Tithe to a Church? 4 – Give silver, gold or money to a Church? 5 – Build Buildings with crosses called Church? 6 – Apply for Church membership? 6a – Formal Church membership. 7 – Administer Church Discipline? 8 – Call it – MY Church? 9 – Your Church? 10 – Our Church? Nope, His Ekklesia, His Church, the body of Christ, belongs to Jesus. 11 – Call themselves, Church Leaders? 12 – Teach – Church Growth. 13 – Teach – Church Planting. 14 – Use the term – Local Church? 15 – Have a – Church clean up Day? 😉

If, in the Bible, Jesus, the “ONE” Shepherd, did NOT use these terms?
And, NOT one of His Disciples, ever used these terms?
Or, taught about these terms? Or, did these things?

Why do today’s self pro-claimed “pastor/leader/reverends?”
Who pro-claim to be making Disciples of Jesus?
Who pro-claim “Sola Scriptura?”

Teach, and tell WE, His Sheep, to do these things? NOT in the scriptures?

Seems, these terms all relate to, and are taught in, “Today’s Religious System.”
The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation…
That the IRS calls church.

Should His Disciples, today, call and IRS Corporation, “The Church?

When you believe the lie you start to die…

A. Amos Love

Todd

Ive noticed this hypocrisy also in those who claim “Sola Scriptura.” 😉

Well said…
“And they do hold to the 5 solas, except when they don’t!
Confused? Don’t be.
They hold to them when it serves their purposes,
but when it doesn’t serve their purpose they quietly disregard them.”

“Today we have a clear example of what I am speaking about
as it relates to the first sola – Sola Scriptura.
This “sola” simply means Scripture alone
is the only infallible source of divine revelation
and the final authority for matters of faith and practice.”

“ …perhaps because membership equates to butts in the pews,
which equates to money in the offering plate?
Also not to be discarded is the fact that
it is a lot easier to “rule over” individuals
who have signed a membership contract.”

What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

Joe Pewsitter

Dear friend, I am not familiar with David Platt or his work. Your article, however buttresses a point I’ve labored to make for many years. With the preponderance of neo-calvinism in American evangelicalism, the simplicity of the gospel is being lost. I believe within 10 years, the American church will not even be able to clearly state the gospel in terms that can be clearly understood by a non-believer. “Whosoever will, may come (except, not really)” I weep for what I see on our horizon.

Dee

Darn-that was a good catch on the membership things versus the sinners prayer thing. We have to discuss this at TWW.