One Conference: Unite. Ignite. Impact. Confuse.

It looks like there will be a conference right here in my neighborhood coming up in just a few days. It will take place at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami. It is called the One Conference, and purposes to unite and ignite the church so they can impact others. There will be 15 speakers and 3 bands. I’d go, but I plan to be at Monster Jam on Saturday celebrating the 30th anniversary of Grave Digger. The video above asks the questions,

What if the church actually united under the name of Jesus Christ?
What if the church was passionately ignited to live for the glory of Jesus Christ?
What if the church decided that now is the time to impact Miami with the love of Jesus Christ?

Then the video says, “Bringing together the most exciting lineup of modern day church leaders to: Unite the church, Ignite the Passion, Impact the World.” And in between all of this, the lineup of speakers is shown as well as the musical guests. I’m all for unity. I think the church should be united. But that unity isn’t just some shallow getting along with each other. Yes, we ought to be kind, compassionate, humble, forgiving, gentle, patient, and loving with one another (Colossians 3: 12-14). But more importantly we ought to be united in doctrine. It’s obvious. I can’t call someone from another religion a brother because the Bible says that those who are adopted into the family of God are those who believe the gospel. If we believe that the Bible is true in its entirety, then we must also come to the conclusion that anyone who denies Jesus Christ, or believes in a false Jesus is not to be considered a brother or sister. This isn’t a difficult thing to understand. Yet, some people muddy that water all day long.

“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15:5

You might be saying, “Chris. Come on. This video said exactly what you are saying. They want to promote spiritual growth that so permeates them that they can be bold in the world. They want unity in Jesus.” Do they? Sure. They want unity with someone named Jesus. The main concern I have is trying to figure out which Jesus they propose us to unite under. The lineup is like a poisonous stew of Word Faith, pseudo reformed, and seeker sensitive pastors. I’d mentioned here before that there has been a subtle (well maybe not so subtle) movement of attractional/seeker sensitive/purpose driven pastors getting together with Word of Faith guys. And now, throw in Francis Chan and James McDonald. Did I miss another conference where a bunch of these guys came together and said, “Let’s just have conferences together so we can confuse folks” ?

Christine Caine of Hillsong just spoke at the Code Orange revival, where she “preached” a sermon about how Elevation church was the temple of God and she was like the Queen of Sheba coming to check it out after hearing amazing things about it. Ed Young was also there and preached a sermon I’ve heard him do in the past on a life preserver, saying that the “ring is the thing, the rope is the hope, and you gotta pull to make the church full.” He also bashed people who are in the church and want to go deeper theologically, calling them babies who need to learn to feed themselves and leave the pastors alone. James McDonald, of course, just had the Elephant Room 2 conference where they had embraced Word Faith modalist, TD Jakes as a brother. I’d say those are representatives from the three camps that will be there. Christine Caine being a representative of Word Faith, Ed Young of the attractional churches, and James McDonald who is commonly bunched in with the reformed guys (I use the term loosely). I wonder if Bob Coy will be willing to unite with McDonald, since Coy has publicly identified reformed theology as the religion of Satan, as we’ve already pointed out [here]. All different types of Jesus’ in these camps, and yet I think it doubtful that anyone will even notice because no distinctions will be made. I’m sure we will hear the name of Jesus an awful lot. And I do mean awful. The truth is, unfortunately, people don’t think those distinctions need to be made, and would find such distinctions to be divisive. For them, being divisive with other religions is okay. But don’t draw the line between these other guys that seem so close to us.

The Word Faith crowd, aside from a slew of crazy theology, believes that God may save you, but won’t bless you like He can unless you are obedient. Tithing is usually the big way mentioned in these circles to prove your faith. The attractional guys say basically the same thing. They too have a Jesus that can save you if you let Him. And then, once you are saved, you choose to either live a boring same old-same old life, or one of wild expectation for which God will bless you more. Of course, they both fall into the error of the Judaizers, who were deceiving people and making them think that miracles or blessings were given from God as a result of their own obedience. These two camps have been sharing the same campsite for a little while so their messages are pretty much blended together. There are only two religions after all – Christianity and man.

The reformed camp should know better. They have historically believed that man is incapable of believing the gospel without God enabling them to do so, and that no amount of obedience could merit favor or blessings from God. Unfortunately, the reformed guys have done some mixing of faith and works, making justification and sanctification one and the same, saying things like, “The gospel demands everything from you” or “the gospel is a command.” This is a lie too since the gospel is no command at all, but a set of propositions concerning the finished work of Christ. A command requires obedience. A law requires obedience. The gospel is not a law. It requires no obedience. How do I obey the proposition that Jesus lived a perfect life? How do I do that? It doesn’t even make sense. Rather, the gospel only stands there like a blazing light, and I either believe it is true or not. Take the following proposition: It is your birthday. Can you tell me how you obey that news? Where is the command in that? Obviously there is none, and to believe that it is your birthday will cause you to act a certain way because you believe the news. But it does not logically follow that there is any demand.

Anyhow, this conference is like so many out there. It promises unity, and it won’t provide any unless something major happens. They all need to unite on the gospel, and the person of Jesus Christ – not just saying His name, but defining Who He is. All of these different folks with differently nuanced views are only going to confuse folks more by coming together. Imagine if I said, “Yes, I know Jesus, he is the purple Venusian who flew here on a spaceship.” Another says, “I know Jesus. He is a 2 headed Chinese deity.” Another says, “Yes, I know Jesus. He had a horse named Widowmaker and he took his lasso and brought a tornado to its knees.” Another says, “Yes, I know Jesus, he was that kid with the cupboard that you can put toys in and they’d come to life.” Now imagine all of these guys coming together and saying, “Let’s unite in the name of Jesus.” Or better yet, think of all the guys named Chris you know. Then tell yourself, we should all unite in the name of Chris. In both scenerios, do the details matter? What exactly are you left with if they don’t matter?

“For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
2 Corinthians 11:4

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:6-10