Topics > Church

A broad collection of bible studies on the church of Jesus Christ, addressing both good and bad aspects of modern-day congregations.

Hall of Shame

Critical reviews of several popular teachers claiming to be conservative.

(Commentary with links; updated Feb. 2021)

The OPC and Sexual Abuse

It is very sad when the presbytery of a major conservative denomination cannot address sexual abuse of its female members by its leadership (meaning, abuse by a regional home missionary and an elder).  There are not one but two cases of abuse in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC):  Jennifer Greenberg, and Aimee Byrd.  Jennifer's story in particular is extremely egregious, as it went unaddressed for decades, in spite of numerous attempts to notify so-called godly leaders to help resolve her plight.  Only one Pastor, not in her presbytery, began to address the allegations, but only after the abused lamb went public with her claims (a very bold and difficult move for any abused woman) and began to tarnish the OPC's reputation. In my experience, an OP presbytery will defend her own ministers relentlessly, even when flagrantly in violation.  This is yet another reason to avoid the OPC.

The PCA and Gay Pastors

Not to be outdone by the OPC, the Presbyterian Church in America now accepts and promotes a gay youth pastor.  Folks, I'm not making this stuff up.  The PCA has held a watered-down view of a literal six-day creation for some time, as well as an ever-loosening stance on requirements for the offices of teaching and ruling elders.

RAVI ZACHARIAS

His own "Ravi Zacharias International Minisitries" (RIZIM) has confirmed that Ravi had sexually assaulted numerous women at a spa in which he had partial ownership. Sadly, he won't be prosecuted, because Ravi died May 20, 2020 and this news surfaced December 24, 2020.  The law firm examining the case (Miller and Martin PLLC) produced a full report in February 2021, concluding that "Zacharias used his ministry as a launching pad to gain sexual favors from women other than his wife."  That's putting it mildly; read the sordid details from a religious news outlet (which may be de-platformed, so I stashed a copy of it here).  Bro. Vince was at first mesmerized at Ravi's deep philosophical command of the atheistic community, but grew weary of Ravi's arguments as they notably lacked sufficient "thus saith the LORD" in his presentations.  It became evident to me that the sword of Ravi was preferred far more than the sword of God's word, and thus I stopped listening to him after 2-3 months, around 2013.

JOHN PIPER

Piper's foreword to a new book by Tom Schreiner can be found here, where we read his statement that clearly approves and commends a Heaven-By-Works message:

As Tom Schreiner says, the book 'tackles one of the fundamental questions of our human condition: how can a person be right with God?' The stunning Christian answer is: sola fide - faith alone. But be sure you hear this carefully and precisely: He says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone. There are other conditions for attaining heaven ...

In a recent Trinity Review, "John Piper on Final Justification by Works", authors Timothy F. Kauffman and Tim Shaughnessy address Piper's recent statement on justification, and analyze his comments throughout his various works over the last 20 - 30 years. They conclude he has a justification by works (plus grace, of course) plan of salvation, which thing the Apostle Paul sternly warned against in Galatians.

Author Enoch Burke wrote a 165-page book on "The Hedonism and Homosexuality of John Piper and Sam Allberry".  The Castlebar, Ireland author has a Bachelors of Theological Studies, BA in History and Politics, and a Masters in Education.  Mr. Burke exposes Piper's preaching of mysticism which "rejects the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture [where] no longer does the Christian have enough in the Bible to teach him how God would have him to live: instead he needs a copy of  Desiring God."  Sam Allberry, promoted heavily by Piper and others in the Gospel Coalition, is a same-sex attracted Anglican who turns grace into lasciviousness. (Apparently, the term "gay" is bad, but "same-sex attracted" is OK.)  How much evidence does one need to reject Piper?

RC SPROUL

While we appreciate his broad platform of Reformed theology, R.C. Sproul (1939 - 2017) has sadly held heretical ideas concerning saving faith, as revealed by the Trinity Foundation. For instance, he refers to Roman Catholicism's "godly leaders"; calls the doctrine of justification by faith "Luther's View" (rather than the biblical view), appealing to Latin terminology to assert a complicated view of saving faith.

Concerning creation, Sproul sounds a confusing trumpet.  He was never a solid six-day creationist nor held strongly to a young earth.  From a Ligonier Ministries' page addressing his stance, Sproul admits that for most of my teaching career, I considered the framework hypothesis to be a possibility.  (The framework theory, one of at least 4 different views, was advanced by Westminster Seminary Professor Prof. Meredith Klein.  It strictly views Genesis 1 and 2 as allegorical, not literal.)  That statement was posted to his site in 2011.  He allegedly changed his view back in May 2008, but by August 2012, he distanced himself from a young earth position, leaving the hedge broken for a theistic evolutionary viewpoint.  He still didn't get it, nor did for most of his career starting in 1965; i.e. for 43 years up to 2008.  His heretical views on creation are baked into his popular Reformation Study Bible (RSB), where a review of his Bible states the [RSB is] consequently more inclined to allow for alternative understandings of the days of creation. Ken Ham wrote a book detailing the massive damage done to the church's young people who leave the faith when they encounter evolutions bold assertions in college, since they've never been taught the Bible's credible and compelling case for 6-day creation (or taught evolution's long history of hoaxes).

JOHN MACARTHUR

Like Sproul, while we appreciate John's platform of mostly conservative theology, yet John has structural issues in his theology.  By his own admission, is a dispensationalist and thus wrongly divides scripture.  He confuses justification, regeneration, and sanctification, mixing works with faith in the wrong context, and from misapplied verses.  He subtly slips in a works-righteousness before God's throne, as noted here. Dr. Elliott (TeachingTheWord ministries) has an excellent assessment of MacArthur's doctrinal confusions. Starting at the section titled "A Warning: John MacArthur's Doctrinal Confusion", Dr. Elliott points out four of MacArthur's most significant errors:

  1. Lordship Salvation (a form of works salvation),
  2. John's denial that Jesus is the Son of God from all eternity, 
  3. John's repeated statements denying the saving efficacy of Jesus' blood, and
  4. his broad ecumenical partnership with numerous ungodly religious leaders.

Trinity Review's assessment of John's book, The Gospel According To Jesus, does a comprehensive job showing how John mixes works with salvation.  Remember, this is John's peer-reviewed, carefully written book to explain salvation - and he blows it.

John promotes music showing no difference between the holy and the profane.  Jesus through the Apostle John said Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1Jn 2:15-17). Likewise, if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1Cor 14:8).

For instance, consider these musical selections promoted by MacArthur's The Master's University:

  • "Lord of All", 2009.  The opening lead tracks show no shame for using hard rock.
  • Chapel Band's "Foundation" album, 2014.  Tracks 1, 2 and 4 just take it.
  • Getty Conference, 2018.  Still doing contemporary music that claims to be from Psalm 67, but the lyrics aren't even close.

2020's "Getty Worship Music Conference" has a host of errors, with MacArthur sharing the stage with John Piper, Trip Lee, Travis Cottrell (another rock artist), etc.  Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3).  Ecumenism remains a stumbling block to John's ministry.
Concerning remarriage, MacArthur wrote remarriage is permitted for the faithful partner only when the divorce was on biblical grounds. In fact, the purpose for a biblical divorce is to make clear that the faithful partner is free to remarry, but only in the Lord.  This is in direct opposition to the Bible.  In Romans 7:1-3, Pauls pivotal point of the law's dominion over man hinges on its lifelong affect, only fully terminated by death.  The prime example Paul gives is marriage:  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. In Matthew 19:9b, the Lord Jesus said whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.  In 1Corinthians 7:39, the Apostle Paul wrote the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth.  No exceptions for divorcees were made; and a divorced woman is not considered to be "unmarried".  For further information, see our paper on the entire topic of divorce and remarriage, covering every verse in the Bible which speaks to these topics.

DR. JAMES WHITE

Jim White is a deceiver to be avoided at all costs.  Though he boldy defends many conservative views of theology, he is like a house built on sand, not the rock.  Find below an audio clip from FaceBook where James White declares he is a biblical errantist when it comes to scripture.  A citation for the original source cannot be found, so if you know where this originally came from, let me know.

In my experience, this is not unusual for wolves to cover their tracks especially in this area, for they know those words alarm the sheep.

However, in practice, it is clearly obvious that Dr. White is an errantist, because the errantist insists we do not know which Scripture (meaning, the Grrek and Hebrew) are inspired and should be treated as divine, truthful and preserved down to the jot and tittle.  His unflagging support for the critical text, the counterfeit Hebrew and Greek text behind nearly all modern translations, is my Exhibit A in the courtroom of inerrancy!  The critical text is in at least its 28th edition, meaning over 28 revisions of puts-n-takes as to what actually are the Words of God.  

The Textus-Receptus site notes the following: James White is strongly opposed to the infallibility of the Greek Textus Receptus and the Hebrew Masoretic Text and rejects the King James Version as a corrupted translation. White casts doubt upon 237 verses of scripture. White does not believe any bible or any text in any language is at present the complete, inerrant, and 100% true Holy Bible, but believes that through searching for more manuscripts, people are getting closer to that goal.

Anyone who rejects Jesus' Words is to be rejected. Period. 

Visitor Comments (2)

Response to Berean Advocate

Thanks for reading and commenting. Identifying a wolf in sheep's clothing is difficult. Consider how good Balaam sounded in the OT, saying If Balak (a Moabite king) would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. (Num 22:18) In fact, he declared a great deal of truth, saying God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num 23:19). Yet from the NT, we know he was a false prophet, pointing to a small but discernible red flag: he loved the wages of unrighteousness and ran greedily after reward (2Pet 2:15, Jude 1:11), since the elders of Moab departed with the rewards of divination in their hand (Nu 22:7). My family has personally faced deep impacts by passing over such red flags, and I offer them here as well.

Regarding our stance on the Textus Receptus (TR) only, there are several legitimate translations based on the TR. Dr. White, by his own admission, is an errantist, which is flatly contrary to orthodox Christian doctrine. Look, it's kinda simple: Jesus is the Word incarnate (John 1:14), and my God never changes.

A good source to read would be Theodore Letis The Ecclesiastical Text which has an exceptional appendix debunking White and many audacious claims. Check out our other resources under Topics - Canon and Topics - Critical Text.

Holding Fast!

The Ravi situation is extremely sad. Re John Piper, I do believe that his Soteriology is more akin the the Counsel of Trent than Scripture. JMac & R C Sproul I largely pass over. Despite some differences I may have I do hold them both as Godly servants of Christ, not worthy of being unjustly tagged along with Ravi.
Your allegations against Dr. James White are blatant falsehood and a slur. All translations carry errors for various reasons. The 1611 translators recommended comparing that work with other existing versions. What the KJVO advocates like yourselves have done is make an untouchable Golden Calf of a Bible translation. 3 fingers point back at you when you point a finger at others. Take note.