I'm a researcher. I love looking into the background of things because, for most of my life, I took things at face value and never questioned anything. I never questioned anybody. So maybe I have gone to the opposite extreme? I dunno....
For years I have followed a particular evangelical leader, listening to many of his talks from various conferences online. Recently, I noticed he had been quoting a particular person quite a bit on Twitter----actually, it turns out he has quoted him 185 times since last March. This would lead anybody to believe he endorses him, right? I mean, you're not going to quote someone that many times if you don't fully stand behind this person. Well, I wouldn't, at least!
So, what's a researcher to do but to study the background of the person he's quoting? Well, I truly wasn't prepared to read what I found. Now, just so you know, I can offer grace to somebody who quotes someone once or twice who actually said something good, but maybe is a heretic or "off" on their theology. Oh well. It happens. But I do not understand it when someone (who should know better) tweets quotes from the same guy 185 times
within a seven month period. To me that screams, "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS GUY'S BOOKS, BECAUSE HE'S THE BEST THING EVER!" And the first thing I (would normally) want to do is read one of his books as soon as I can! My bookshelves are filled with books acquired through this method. Ask my husband! But I've changed. Now I'm all about asking the hard questions first. I'm all about stopping to check ingredients first before ingesting anything.
So as I set out to understand the worldview, beliefs and philosophy of this "well quoted" person, I found some disturbing things that didn't line up with Scripture. Big red flags. Here's a brief list of what I found. This person:
fully promoted Keswick theology;
believed anybody could attain eternal life while staying in their own religion, worshipping their own gods;
believed nature revealed all that was necessary for salvation;
considered to be a "Protestant Mystic;"
presided over Keswick Open Communion services where he would welcome those in different faiths to participate;
taught that even Jesus Christ needed a post-conversion anointing or second blessing before He could do the work of God;
believed direct communication with the dead was possible;
taught that pagans, idolators, or just anybody could be saved without ever hearing about or knowing the Lord Jesus;
wrote a book promoting the heresy of a Christ-less salvation;
received revelations; claimed he had a vision in which he engaged in conversations with Jesus;
wrote a book with the foreword written by Dallas Willard, who basically referred to him as an early predecessor in the spiritual formation movement, one who taught spiritual disciplines;
Needless to say, my hair was standing up on end. Made me wonder if this "evangelical leader" was oblivious, or complicit. As the head of a seminary and the pastor of a church, the former wasn't possible, was it? So why would this person promote somebody who clearly was way off in his theology?
Years ago stuff like this didn't matter to me. I trusted everyone. Believed everyone. Now I'm learning to be very careful of what I ingest. And I'm teaching the women within my circle of influence to be careful, as well. We must compare anything and everything we read, listen to, and are taught, to God's Word. If "deception is the greatest mark of the end times," as a pastor recently said, then it sure seems as if we're close to Christ's return. Truth mixed with error–Satan's greatest scheme–is prevalent everywhere within evangelicalism. We must be on guard. We must stop to check ingredients before ingestion. Our spiritual health could be at risk.