CIC Ministry

Critical Issues Commentary offers in depth research and analysis of important theological issues from a Biblical perspective.
  1. Recent events at a local Christian university brought the Enneagram teaching to my attention as it was being promoted by a person with authority from that university. Because of this I bought the three most popular Enneagram books on Amazon and carefully read each of them, taking notes for the purpose of this resulting scholarly review. Richard Rohr, a Roman Catholic author, wrote one of the books and is extolled in the other two. Enneagram is essentially an ad hoc religious program with deep, pagan roots. It is called "sacred" though nothing about it is biblical. This article explains in some detail what Enneagram is, where it came from, what its proponents claim, and concludes that it promotes panentheism that is antithetical to a Biblical worldview. It is seductive enough that some unsuspecting students could be drawn away from the truth into Christianized paganism. This review is intended to be a warning to anyone who would take Enneagram seriously.
  2. American Evangelicalism has been characterized by various special teachings, experiences, or revelations that claim to provide sanctification that ordinary Christians lack. This article provides a number of examples of such approaches and links to previous CIC articles that refute those teachings. It may surprise many Christians to find out how simple the truth about sanctification really is. God sanctifies believers in the same manner He saves them - by grace through faith. What God truly provides is not a secret to be discovered by the spiritual elite, but His gracious provision for all who trust in Christ.
  3. Since the 2008 publication of my book on the Emergent Church, the movement has continued and has become a religious version of political liberalism. Tony Jones and Doug Paggitt now use terms like "convergent" to describe their "progressive" theology. What we need to know is that emergent, progressive, and convergent are all terms that comport with the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel and 19th century German idealism, which ultimately is the source of the Emergent Church. The reason that they reject Christian theology derived from Biblical exegesis is that it clearly teaches a future, cataclysmic judgment of the cosmos, with evil being judged and righteousness rewarded. Furthermore, since Christianity has always taught that Christ's substitutionary atonement is necessary for forgiveness of sin and freedom from God's wrath against sin, they reject any theology derived from passages that teach the need for such atonement. Instead, they promote anything that helps their "dream" of a future paradise on earth. Their hope is grounded in what I call "imaginary eschatology." This chapter explains where this came from and how it is based on the romantic ideal of social and spiritual evolution.
  4. Conservative author Rod Dreher has written a popular book that promotes the claim that we must rebuild a Christian culture by learning from the 6th century monastic, Benedict.1 The underlying premise of the book is that Christianity needs a Christian culture in order to insure that our children are not assimilated into a culture of barbarism. This will likely involve removing ourselves from the current culture as much as possible. He compares this to the Jews coming out of Babylon (Dreher: 18). The danger, according to Dreher, is that our faith will not survive more than a couple generations. This warning is particularly aimed at Christians in America.
  5. In 1987, a man published a booklet that presented 88 reasons why Christ would return in 1988. Though many thousands were sold, the book was doomed to be wrong. Christ himself said that no one knows when he will return. In Christian theology, what we can know is revealed in the Bible. When Christ will return cannot be known. When it comes to what cannot be known, multiple reasons, evidence or collaborating authorities are worthless. What by nature cannot be known remains unknown no matter what.
  6. In 1Peter chapter 2 Peter twice tells the church that we are a holy and royal priesthood. One of Martin Luther's most important teachings that brought about the Reformation was the priesthood of every believer. This important, biblical, doctrine protected the flock from Rome's false priesthood. Luther identified seven functions of priests that pertain to every believer. We show that all of these are truly biblical and call for the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer to be taught in the church. When it is neglected, church authorities are given an open door to abuse the flock and often walk right through that door. We need to teach and practice the true NT priesthood so that we all proclaim the "mighty deeds of God." Christ must be extolled as the one High Priest to whom we all have continual access.
  7. Over the years CIC readers have asked me to critique Chambers. Some have told me that his teachings led them into mysticism that was hard to get out of. I set out to do so about six years ago by carefully reading Utmost, taking notes on every page. I found much that was Biblically wrong but still was not sure why. So the article was not written. Finally, reading his biography and other writings has led me to the basis of his theology. There are two key issues: 1) the allegorical method of Biblical interpretation 2) a second blessing teaching in which total surrender is the key to sanctification. The allegorical method takes us away from the meaning of the Biblical authors. The second blessing doctrine colors what he says in Utmost. Not knowing that he believed these things was the cause of confusion in my reading. Knowing his theology has put Utmost into perspective. I will also address the issue of his body, soul and spirit teaching in regard to sanctification.
  8. People are looking for deliverance from evil spirits and Satanic oppression. We receive more emails about the demonic than any other topic. When I point those who send the emails to conversion as the only way out of Satan's domain, many say that they are Christians and they are still harassed. They want someone who can manipulate the spirit world to their benefit and relief. They do not know it, but they are looking for what pagans call shamans. What God offers is removal from Satan's domain.
  9. What do the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Donald Whitney have in common? They all promote freestyle spirituality where feeling close to God replaces drawing near to God on His terms. Religious experimentation replaces practices ordained by God and sincerity replaces revealed truth. We will begin with a narrative from the Old Testament and proceed to revealed truth in the New Testament to show that we must come to God in faith on His terms. We cannot trust our spiritual well-being to experimentation.
  10. Jonathan Cahn, a popular Christian author, claims that his books reveal mysteries and predict the future. He thus portrays himself as like the Biblical prophets, including the claim of having new revelations. The main point of his book is that America is a second Israel and that she is being judged according to the seven-year Sabbath law called "shemitah" that was given to ancient Israel. This judgment manifests itself in seven-year cycles of stock market collapses or other cataclysmic events. The next one is due the fall of 2015, according to Cahn. I will show that these claims are false and that Cahn is not a true prophet of God.
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