Tag Archives: marcus borg

Who is a Christian? Who is a Muslim?

church.jpgIf I claimed to be a bacon-loving, Jew-loving, Koran-denying, Mohammad-denying Muslim, would you take me seriously?  I doubt it.

I have found that for many people the word “Christian” has lost or changed meaning.  It used to mean someone who was an authentic follower of Jesus.  Now it is often used as a synonym for “nice,” as in, “She’s a really Christian person,” or to describe someone who goes to church sometimes but rejects the essentials of the faith.

Theological liberals tend to get very wounded if you imply that they don’t hold Christian views.  They’ve been in theologically liberal churches so long and have such a low view of scripture that they think that is the way church is supposed to be.

Mind you, I don’t go around saying who is and isn’t an authentic Christian.  That’s God’s job.  I’m not qualified and wouldn’t want it even if I were.

Jesus did say that you will know them by their fruit, so it is fair to examine people’s lives to see if they have evidence for their faith.  But mistakes can be made during fruit inspection.  We would have probably thought that Judas was the real deal, and we probably would have thought that the criminal on the cross was not.

But it does seem fair to point out when self-described Christians don’t hold views that have historically applied to Christians, as evidenced in the Bible, countless creeds and denominational statements of faith.  That means that they are either “saved and confused” or not real Christians.

First, consider this conversation:

Me: I’m a Muslim.

Real Muslim: No, you’re not.

Me: Really, I am, and I’m offended that you say I’m not.

RM: Do you believe the Koran is the word of God?

Me: No, of course not.  It was written by a man, and has obvious historical errors like saying that Jesus didn’t die on the cross.  It was written hundreds of years after Christ, and even sources outside the Bible claim that Jesus himself died.  And don’t get me started about all the violence it encourages!  Why trust the Koran?

RM: Do you believe in Allah as the one true God?

Me: No.

RM: Do you like Jewish people?

Me: Yes.

RM: What do you think about pork?

Me: Mmmmmmm . . . bacon!

RM: You aren’t a Muslim.

Me: Yes I am!  How dare you question my faith!

Sounds ridiculous, right?  Now consider this:

Me: Are you a Christian?

Liberal theologian: Yes.

Me: Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?

LT: No.  Even though it claims to speak for God roughly 3,000 times, I think those are all made up by people.

Me: Do you think Jesus is God?

LT: No.

Me: Do you believe any of the miracles as recorded in the Bible are true?

LT: No.  Miracles can’t happen.  Writers made those up.

Me: Do you think Jesus is the only way to salvation?

LT: No.
Me: But the Bible teaches that in over 100 passages!

LT: [Pause] Uh, so what?  The Bible was written by men . . . [trails off because he didn’t know that]

Me: Do you believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead?

LT: No.

Me: Do you look for opportunities to share the Gospel as outlined in the Bible?

LT: Of course not.  All religions (or no religions) are valid paths to God.

Me: Do you realize how radically different your basic views are compared to Christians throughout the last 2,000 years, especially to the countless Christians who died rather than recant their faith?

LT: Sort of . . . but we’re smarter than they were.

Me: Indeed.  But you say you are Christian?

LT: Yes.  How dare you question my faith?!

Is the first conversation that much different than the second?

I haven’t had that precise conversation with any liberal Christians, but it is a highly accurate composite.  Try it yourself.  I’m virtually certain that any of the “Jesus Seminar” members would answer the questions that way.  For example, I read a book co-authored by Marcus Borg (a member of the Jesus Seminar) and he held all the heretical views noted above, plus more.  Most of the theologically Liberal people at the Sojourners’ blog are just like that.

These people may be terrific citizens and friendly neighbors, but calling themselves Christians distorts the traditional and real meaning of the word.  Again, if I claimed to be a bacon-loving, Jew-loving, Koran-denying, Mohammad-denying Muslim, would you take me seriously?  So why take seriously those who claim the name of Christ yet mock the essentials of the faith?

Normally I wouldn’t recommend this . . .

. . . but I encourage Bible-believing Christians to visit the Sojourners’ blog and comment there.   Yes, I know they are led by Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis and they live a lie each day, pretending to be centrists — and Christians — when they are really to the left of the Huffington Post.

But oddly enough they are letting Bible-believers post comments now without moderation.  I’m not sure if it is because they moved to a Facebook comment format or if their moderators changed.  Either way, there are several solid commenters there and we often outnumber the Leftists!  So be sure to visit and comment or at least “like” the comments you agree with.  It is great to know that visitors who read the comments will see some balance and the truth.

The commenters are often used to an echo chamber (they know that Sojo is really a Leftist front) so they go into full freak-out mode when their assertions are politely but thoroughly debunked.  I have had multiple theological Liberals get so frustrated with having their arguments annihilated that they deleted entire threads that they started!  Think about that: If you were winning a debate would you delete the thread?  It just happened again on this post where a Leftist calling God a “she” was referring to Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, etc. as Christ-followers and great theologians.  I need to start copying those before they get deleted!  (Unfortunately, if the originator deletes a comment then the replies go with it.)

So be your usual polite, fact-based, Bible-based selves and weigh in when you have time, or at least “like” the comments you agree with.  It is a great opportunity to stand up for the truth and expose their dark, anti-biblical views.

False teacher follies, Easter-style

Easter eggs?  Check.  Gay pride flag?  Check.  Not one mention of sin?  Check.  Anti-biblical statements on why Jesus was killed?  Check.  Anti-biblical statements on the resurrection?  Check.  Explicit denial of the atonement?  Check.  It must be an Easter sermon by false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie:

Theologians and lay people debate to this day whether or not Jesus was physically raised or whether the disciples (and later Paul) interacted with the spirit of Christ. Like Marcus Borg and others, I think that debate asks the wrong questions. It doesn’t matter. What matters is in ways that may very well surpass human understanding Jesus revealed himself after the cross with the ones he taught and loved, and that his spirit still moves many today in wondrous ways.

Yes, people debate it.  Christians are on one side (physical resurrection) and everyone else is on the other, including Chuck.  Marcus Borg is a notoriously bad thinker.

Of course it matters.  Ironically enough, my authentic, Bible-believing pastor preached on 1 Corinthians 15 today, which couldn’t be more clear: If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we’re wrong.

But He did rise again!  Here are some minimal facts attesting to that.

His “sermon” acted as if we just can’t be sure why Jesus died.

Jesus did not go to the cross as part of some vengeful God’s need for a sacrifice. He went to the cross because the Roman authorities saw the Kingdom of God as a threat to the Empire of Rome. Crucifixion was a crime reserved for enemies of the state.  Jesus went knowing what his fate would be but believing there are ideas and principles worth dying for.

Note how Chuck teaches the opposite of the Bible in literally every sentence.  He doesn’t have a single verse to back any of that up.

Run, don’t walk, from fakes like Currie who steer people to Hell.

Hear the good news: Jesus came to die for lost sinners.  Repent and trust in him, then God will adopt you, forgive all your sins and bring you to be with him for eternity.

“Saving Jesus” project = Who’s who of false teachers

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie is boo-hooing because listener complaints resulted in some progressive “Christian” ads being pulled.

Living the Questions is a respected resource of video curriculum for progressive Christian communities around the world. The Portland radio spots advertised a new series called “Saving Jesus” with the seemingly balanced introduction:

“Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped and taken hostage by the Christian Right? Or maybe even worse, simply cast aside as irrelevant by those on the secular left?”

via Why Are Portland Radio Stations Banning Progressive Christian Advertising?.

If you can watch the video at his link (the FDA has approved it as a substitute for Syrup of Ipecac) you’ll find fakes like Brian McLaren, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others making up a god then pretending to worship it.

See the comments section where Chuck says that if you don’t vote for oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” — which, of course, is nowhere to be found in the Bible — then you have kidnapped Jesus and held him hostage.  What a self-parody.

It is almost comical watching people dismiss the virgin birth because that somehow takes Mary’s power away.  That’s the kind of thinking you get when they worship radical feminism instead of seeking the real God on his terms.

In fact, that’s the core problem with all these false teachers and seriously confused people: They refuse to seek God on his terms and instead they make up their own god.  They are either members of the “Jesus Seminar” or ideological siblings who think they get to literally vote on which verses of the Bible belong there.  But just because they find a few verses they agree with doesn’t make them Christians any more than finding a few verses they like in the Quran makes them Muslims.

I respect the religious freedom of these fake Christians to make and publish all the ads they like, and I respect the freedom of the radio stations to pull them if their customers are offended by such nonsense.

I just wish that Chuck Currie et al weren’t so dishonest and would just make up a new name for their religion.  They are the ones who “stole” the name of Jesus.  The real Christians accept the Jesus of the Bible whether we like all the verses or not.

Jesus doesn’t need to be saved, we do.  Jesus doesn’t need to be saved, He does save.  And these fakes will never tell you that.

Marcus Borg: False teacher

This is an oldie from my other blog.  If anyone takes Borg seriously you can be pretty sure you have a false teacher on your hands.


I am disappointed that false teachers have so much influence on the church today.  I realize that Jesus said it would happen so I shouldn’t be surprised.  But that doesn’t mean we should stop identifying and removing these teachers.

I have no problem with people asking questions about the faith.  In fact, I strongly encourage it.  Getting answers to tough questions was a major part of my path to being a believer.  The Bible encourages critical thinking and examination of the evidence.  You don’t have to be a Bible expert to be saved (the criminal on the cross probably hadn’t led too many Bible studies).

But the church often gives the microphone to false teachers who harm people with their lies. Here is an example.  It is a Q&A by Dr. Marcus Borg, liberal theologian, from explorefaith.org.

How can I know the truth about Christianity if I question the Bible’s status as the literal Word of God?

For people who are literalists and see the Bible as a divine product, having a divine guarantee to be true, if that set of beliefs isn’t getting in their way, if it’s not causing them intellectual problems, and if they’re not using those beliefs to judge other people and beat up on other people, then I have no need to try to change them.

The question is a good and fair one.  It is the answer that is the problem.  Notice the sleight of hand where Borg assumes that the Bible is not divinely inspired and that it is OK to believe it is as long as that false “set of beliefs isn’t getting in their way” and “if they’re not using those beliefs to judge other people.”  Looks to me like Borg is judging people quite a bit here.  He doesn’t “need” to change you from your wrong beliefs as long as you follow his rules – i.e., believe whatever you want as long as you don’t act as if it is true.  Where did he get his notion that judging was wrong?

The spirit can work through Biblical literalism.

Really?  It can?  Which spirit?  I wonder what his source of information is for that?  It can’t be the Bible, as he has already eliminated that as a source of truth.

Most often, of course, it does lead to a division of the world into the “saved” and the “unsaved .” But basically, if a literalistic way of seeing the Bible is leading to a life that is more and more filled with the spirit and filled with compassion, I have no problem with people staying in that place.

He dogmatically assumes that the world isn’t split into “saved” and “unsaved” people.  Again, what is his source of truth for that grandiose claim?  That immediately puts him at odds with nearly all religions, including his professed religion of Christianity.   Again, what “spirit” is he referring to?  Isn’t that nice that he doesn’t mind you staying “in that place” (a belief in the authority of scripture) as long as you meet his definition of compassion?  What is his source of truth that compassion trumps all other virtues?

But for people who can’t be literalists and for people who are literalists and are fearful if they let go of [their literalism] then the whole thing falls into ruin, I would say that in one sense of the word know, we can’t know that Christianity, or any of the religions, is true in the sense of being able to demonstrate it. One use of the word “know” in the modern period is something you can verify. In that sense, we can’t know.

Christianity is an evidential and historical religion.  The Bible contains information about real people in real places at real times.  Archeology is the Bible’s best friend.  The manuscript evidence for the Bible is far better than for any other work of antiquity.  The fulfilled prophecies had to have come from God.  Perhaps we can’t prove every item to Borg’s satisfaction, but there is much evidence to point to the literal life, death and resurrection of Christ.

But we can take seriously a different kind of knowing. It’s a very ancient kind of knowing. The ancients called it intuition. And, unfortunately, in our world, intuition is seen as kind of a weak thing. It’s associated with women’s intuition, a vague hunching or something like that. But the ancient meaning of the word “intuition” or “intuitive knowing” is direct knowing, a knowing that’s not dependent upon verification. A synonym for intuitive knowing would be mystical knowing. There are people in every culture who have had what they regard as direct knowing experiences of God or the sacred. That kind of knowing is possible, and for me personally, it’s that direct knowing, that intuitive knowing, that is the most persuasive soft data for affirming that God or the sacred is real.

OK, this is where it gets even more foolish.  He now explains the source of his spiritual information: intuition.  Read the items in bold carefully [emphasis in original].  Borg is claiming that his intuitive knowing trumps all other evidence that God or the sacred is real.  Presumably this intuitive knowing says that the Bible isn’t God’s inspired Word.  But what if my intuitive knowing says it is?  I’m pretty sure that Osama B. would claim his intuitive knowing is valid regarding spiritual matters.  When your intuition is the opposite of Borg’s, can you both be right?  No, because we are talking about facts, not opinions.

If he wants to appeal to intuition, here’s a much better argument: Intuition tells us that something can’t be “A” and “not A” at the same time.  For example, Jesus either died on the cross (Christianity and secular historians) or a body double did (Islam).  Jesus was the Messiah (Christianity) or He wasn’t (Judaism).  We live one life and after that we face judgment (Christianity, Hebrews 9:7) or we are reincarnated (Hinduism, New Age).  It works with non-spiritual examples as well.  Two plus two either equals four or it doesn’t; the answer can’t be four and “not four” at the same time.

Folks, nonsense like letting your intuition trump all other evidence and logic is the worst kind of postmodern reasoning.  It leads to all sorts of bad thinking.  This guy has a Phd, yet he says these illogical things . . . and people believe him and buy his books.  A group at my church studied a book Borg wrote with N.T. Wright (a conservative theologian) and they actually took Borg seriously and thought he was an authentic Christian.  I sat in on part of the class.  It was pretty painful.  It reminds me of this verse:

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

The Bible claims to speak for God many hundreds of times and there are one hundred specific passages saying that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If Borg and other liberal theologians don’t believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, they are entitled to their opinions.  No one can force them to change.  If they are right then the Bible is hopelessly flawed and useless for any purpose, spiritual or otherwise (name one book you would bother to read if you knew it had that many errors).  But to call themselves “Christians” is to trash the 2,000 year old meaning of the word and replace it with a new definition, and to look to them for spiritual guidance is foolishness.

Also see Biblical literalists? and Doctrine counts.