- Max Lucado is pulpit minister of Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas, and the author of 37 books since 1985, including the following best-sellers: And the Angels Were Silent, He Still Moves Stones, He Close the Nails, Traveling Light, The Applause of Heaven, God Came Near, In the Eye of the Storm, On the Anvil, Six Hours One Friday, In the Grip of Grace, You Are Special, When God Whispers Your Name, A Gentle Thunder, The Great House of God, and No Wonder They Call Him the Savior. His popularity as an author is evidenced by the fact that at one time he had three top ten best-sellers simultaneously. When God Whispers Your Name was the number one hardback seller for eight straight months. In addition, at the time Lucado had 11 books in print, all of these books simultaneously appeared on the Christian Booksellers Association hardcover, paperback, and children's best-seller lists. Lucado has won six Gold Medallion Awards, and served as general editor of the New Century Version The Inspirational Study Bible, a so-called "everyday language" version. Lucado's 15-minute radio program, UpWords, is heard daily in 47 states on more than 1,000 stations.
- Lucado's Oak Hills Church teaches an unbiblical unconditional love/acceptance concept quite typical of feelings-oriented churches. They state: "At Oak Hills We Teach ... LOVE -- We are a family of believers who accept each other because God has accepted each of us." Lucado also makes it clear that doctrine will not stand in the way of unity at Oak Hills: "While avoiding entanglement in the creeds and traditions, we make a diligent effort to follow Christ. The original followers of Christ (the first century church) provide an inspiring model of lifestyle, worship, doctrine, and organization that, in principle, is to be followed in our century." (Emphases added.)
- Lucado also teaches the Church of Christ's false doctrine that salvation comes only after baptism (i.e., "baptismal regeneration"). The following quote came from the Oak Hills Church of Christ official Internet web site -- updated 7/15/95; copied 7/12/96; and re-verified 2/98. (The Oak Hills Church pulled this statement from their web site in 1999, apparently due to complaints from evangelicals, and replaced it with a rather generic statement.):
"It is necessary to respond to God's free offer of salvation by faith, repentance, and baptism. As we confess Christ as our Lord and are baptized by immersion, God meets us, forgives our sins and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit that empowers each of us." (Emphases added.)
Most Christians are not aware that Max Lucado is the pastor of the Oak
Hills Church of Christ. Sadly, most Christians are not even aware that the Church of
Christ adds baptism to the Gospel. Some say that perhaps because Max Lucado is not a member of the
radical Boston Church of
Christ, the fact that he pastors at the Oak Hills Church of Christ is not a problem.
But baptismal regeneration is the bedrock of EVERY Church of Christ's
statement of faith. If Lucado's church no longer believes in baptismal
regeneration, then it should change the name of the church and renounce any
affiliation with the Church of Christ. Without this renunciation, one can only
assume that Max Lucado and Oak Hills Church continue to believe this false
gospel, and are thereby condemned (Gal. 1: 6-9). [In June of 1997, David Cloud
of the Fundamental Baptist Information Service, spoke by telephone with
Lucado as well as with Elder Doyle Jennings of the Oak Hills Church of Christ.
Both stated that they believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, but they
do not believe in baptismal regeneration (even though they mean the same thing
-- i.e., baptism necessary for salvation is the definition of baptismal
regeneration). Jennings also said he does not accept the doctrine of eternal
security, while Lucado said this doctrine is not an issue in the church, and his
elders and people are free to accept it or reject it. This is very telling since
a proper understanding of salvation requires eternal security for the believer.
Those who believe a born again child of God can lose his salvation simply do not
understand the Gospel.]
- Lucado has a touchy-feely writing style that appears to be an attempt to get the reader to identify with the human side of Jesus. The result is heresy at best and blasphemy at worst. In his book, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior (Multnomah, 1986:199pgs.), Lucado blasphemes the Lord Jesus Christ with the following statement (pp. 131-132):
"Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What's he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead? That's Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. ... Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. ... We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a 'man of sorrows.' We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief." (Emphasis added.)
Jesus in a stupor of fear? What we see is blasphemy (defined as the defamation
of the person or nature of God)! It appears that in Lucado's attempt to help us identify
with the "human side" of Jesus, he has engaged in gross speculation, in effect
rewriting the Bible's account of Jesus time in the Garden, and thereby, he portrays a
different Jesus -- a sinful One!
The Bible tells us not to fear, but to trust God. The Bible tells us that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. The Bible tells us that perfect love drives out fear. The Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. If Jesus agonized, strained, struggled, wrestled, and yearned, as Lucado speculates, particularly if he fell into a stupor of fear as Lucado contends, then Jesus would have sinned and could not possibly have been the God and Savior He claimed to be -- and that's blasphemy!
- Lucado was a speaker at the 1995 Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) Convention. Lucado gave a call to unity among Christians across denominational lines. Likening Christians to sailors on the same boat with "one captain" and "one destination," Lucado urged acceptance between Protestants and Catholics, Baptists, and Presbyterians. (Reported in the 12/95, Fundamentalist Digest.)
- Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright fasted 40 days during the summer of 1994, during which he claims to have received a "prophecy from God" that a mighty revival is coming. He then issued a call for hundreds of liberals, charismatics, and new-evangelicals to gather in Orlando 12/5/94-12/7/94 to fast and pray for revival. An Invitation Committee made up of a hodgepodge of 72 liberals, new evangelicals, and charismatics was formed. Included were: Robert Schuller, Charles Colson, E.V. Hill, Jack Hayford, James Dobson, W.A. Criswell, Charles Stanley, Paul Crouch, Luis Palau, Bill Gothard, Pat Robertson, Kay Arthur, and Larry Burkett. CCC's Bill Bright cites "a great sense of urgency to link arms and unitedly call upon God for help in the spirit of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20)." This ecumenical "linking" is in the "spirit of Jehoshaphat" indeed, but the Jehoshaphat of 2 Chr. 18 (instead of 2 Chr. 20) where he "linked" with wicked King Ahab and incurred the wrath of God. (Reported in the 11/15/94, Calvary Contender.) [Another three-day "Fasting & Prayer" conference was held in 11/95 in Los Angeles; it attracted 3,500 "evangelicals" and charismatics. The Invitation/Host Committee for this event included most of those listed above, plus Dick Eastman, Chuck Smith, Bill McCartney (Promise Keepers), Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Shirley Dobson, Paul Cedar (E-Free), Ted Engstrom (World Vision), Joseph Stowell (Moody), and Joseph Aldrich (Multnomah). A third conference was held 11/14/96-11/16/96 in St. Louis. New additions to the Host Committee included Max Lucado, Henry Blackaby, Loren Cunningham (YWAM), Greg Laurie, Dennis Rainey, Randy Phillips (Promise Keepers), Josh McDowell, D. James Kennedy, Howard Hendricks, and Neil Anderson. (Conferences have been held every year now, but there is an uncertain future with Bill Bright's August 2001 retirement from Campus Crusade.)]
- Promise Keepers is the gigantic new (1991) "men's movement" among professing evangelical Christians. Its roots are Catholic and charismatic to the core. PK's contradictory stand on homosexuality; its promotion of secular psychology; its unscriptural feminizing of men; its depiction of Jesus as a "phallic messiah" tempted to perform homosexual acts; and its ecumenical and unbiblical teachings should dissuade any true Christian from participating. Promise Keepers is proving to be one of the most ungodly and misleading movements in the annals of Christian history. Nevertheless, Max Lucado is a promoter of this ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement, as evidenced by his speaking at two 1997 Promise Keepers stadium rallies. He was also a speaker at the October 1997 "Stand in the Gap" rally in Washington, D.C., where he led the crowd in confessing the sin of disunity in the Body of Christ. [Using the same technique that he did at the PK Clergy Conference in Atlanta in February 1996 (see next item), Lucado had people call out all at once the various denominations with which they were identified. Of course, the result was a confused, loud sound. Then they were asked to shout out the name of Jesus, and they willingly did so in unison. In this manner, Lucado shows that PK is unified because they claim to love Jesus.]
- At the 1996 Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in Atlanta, Max Lucado was the keynote speaker. His message dealt with "Denominational Harmony: From Bondage to Freedom." Lucado spoke of PK's statement of faith and emphasized that they are committed to truth and unity, "which are equal." He said, "I submit myself to the Word and there are core beliefs. However, for too long we have allowed our differences to divide us instead of our agreements to unite us." He urged that they subscribe to the premise, "In essentials unity -- in non-essentials charity."
[O TIMOTHY editor, David Cloud: We wonder if Lucado considers the gospel itself "essential"? If so, how can he yoke together with Roman Catholics who add sacraments to Christ's salvation? The phrase "in essentials unity -- in non-essentials charity" is a smokescreen for disobedience to Biblical separation. While not every teaching of Scripture is of equal importance, the Bible does not divide doctrine into essential and non-essential. Timothy's job in Ephesus was to make certain that NO OTHER DOCTRINE be allowed (1 Tim. 1:3). There is no hint here that some portions of apostolic truth are "non-essential." Paul labored to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). The man who strives to be faithful to every detail of New Testament truth will find it impossible to be comfortable in an ecumenical Promise Keepers-type environment. As one wise man observed, "You will have a limited fellowship, or you will have a limited message."]
Lucado then had the 40,000 call out their denominations all at once, and in the mixed multitude none could be identified. When Lucado asked them who was the Messiah, "Jesus" was the immediate response, and that name came through loud and clear. Lucado said, "The sin of disunity causes people to go to Hell!" (No chapter and verse was given.). "The step to unity is acceptance and no longer to speak evil of one another. Would it not be wonderful not to be known as either protestant or Catholic? This is a God-sized dream and no one in our generation has ever seen the Church united."
[O TIMOTHY editor, David Cloud: This is not a "God-sized dream"; it is the vision of the Harlot that John recorded in Revelation 17. [Lucado and Promise Keepers are] confused about the church. It certainly is not all the alleged Christian denominations. The focus on the New Testament Scriptures is upon the church as a local body of baptized believers organized according to the apostolic pattern for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This is the church which is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3). To define the "church" as the denominations and to call for this hodgepodge of doctrinal and moral confusion "to stand together" is utter confusion. The denominations today are more akin to the Harlot of Revelation 17 than to the church of Jesus Christ.]
Lucado then pled that every clergyman who had ever spoken against another group or denomination, find a member of that group and apologize. Steve Green then belted out repeatedly "Let the Walls Come Down." The 40,000 ministers shouted, whistled, clapped, and cheered as they worked to a higher and higher pitch of emotion.
[O TIMOTHY editor, David Cloud: We are to apologize for warning people of false gospels and false baptisms and false spirits and false Christs and false sacraments and false mediators and false views of the church and false views of Scripture? We are to apologize for warning of sin and worldliness and compromise? I have spoken against many Christian groups and denominations, because God commands me to preach the truth AND to expose error (2 Timothy 4:1-6). I refuse to apologize for obeying God. By God's grace I am going to keep on exposing error until the Lord takes me to Glory. And by God's grace I am going to name names and be specific about the error and the sin. Oh God, help us have the courage in these evil hours to honor and obey you rather than man.]
- Dr. Bill Jackson, president of the Association of
Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics (AFEC), prepared a 6/18/99 statement on
"The Gospel of Jesus Christ—An Evangelical Celebration" (EC) (see
the 6/14/99 Christianity Today for the
full text of the EC). This document has been endorsed by Charles Colson, Bill
Bright, and J.I. Packer, all of whom also signed the controversial ECT documents
of 1994 and 1997; as well as endorsed by R.C.
MacArthur, and D.
James Kennedy, all of whom publicly [albeit weakly] challenged and
criticized them for signing the ECT documents. There are a number of helpful
statements in this latest document which deal with areas which were not fully
dealt with in the ECT documents (e.g., imputation is now dealt with favorably,
but has been consistently opposed by Roman Catholic Councils and Catechisms). EC
says, "We cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism by which
God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace." But there is certainly no
better example of "doctrinal indifferentism" than the ECT documents
themselves (James 1:8)! Because ECT
I stated that "Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in
Christ," in order to be relevant the new EC document should be submitted to
the Roman Catholics who signed ECT I and II. It is difficult to see how a person
could subscribe to both ECT and EC. The only logical conclusion is for all who
signed EC to remove their names from ECT. It also appears that the so-called
"evangelical" ECT endorsers have been "let off the hook" by
former critics. We believe EC will be used to rehabilitate those who erred in
1994 and 1997, without their having to admit or ask forgiveness for their error.
(Source: 7/15/99, Calvary Contender.) [Other "evangelical" endorsers of EC
among the 15 members of the Drafting Committee and 114 members of the Endorsing
Committee include John Ankerberg, Kay
Arthur, Tony Evans, Jerry
James Kennedy, Max Lucado, Woodrow
& Beverly LaHaye, Erwin
Robertson, Ronald Sider, Charles
Stanley, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Chuck
Wilkinson, and Ravi Zacharias; also endorsing EC were hyper-charismatics Jack
Hayford and Steven Strang.]
However ignorant Max Lucado and fellow endorsers may be of all this, his participation in EC makes him a party to its consequences. It is also important to note that the EC document (which is supposed to be a definitive and comprehensive statement of the true saving Gospel of Christ), never mentions repentance for salvation, and never mentions the total depravity of man (thereby leaning towards a decisional regeneration). Moreover, the EC promotes an ecumenical unity (via "trans-denominational cooperative enterprises") with all professing believers who attest to the EC's "essentials" of the faith. But this is not the unity of the faith taught in Ephesians. While we are instructed by Scripture to be of one mind, the evangelical today scoffs at the idea of true Biblical unity based on complete agreement with, and submission to, God's holy Word. The only use of the word "unity" in the New Testament is found in Ephesians chapter four. It is a "unity of the Spirit" (v. 3), not of men. It is a "unity of faith" (v. 13) based on sound doctrine for which believers are to contend, not water down nor reclassify into essentials and non-essentials (Jude 3). No real spiritual unity can exist apart from doctrinal unity, and we are to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).
- Lee Strobel, while a pastor on the staff of church growth guru Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois (he is now a pastor at Rick Warren's Saddleback Valley Community Church), authored a number of heretical books, one being a 1993 book titled Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary: How to Reach Friends and Family Who Avoid God and the Church. The book is endorsed in its Foreword by Bill Hybels, and on the jacket is endorsed/recommended by thirteen even more neo-evangelical psychologizers, including Max Lucado, Tony Campolo, Howard Hendricks, Stuart Briscoe, C. Peter Wagner, Joseph Stowell, Elmer Towns, Bill Bright, and Gary Collins. In this book, Strobel makes it clear that he was drawn to Hybels' church, not by the message of truth, but by the music of the world. After he found himself comfortable with the music and modern style of worship, he simply reasoned his way to a conversion experience. Strobel is completely geared to a needs based religion. His purpose is to meet man's needs, based on his own perception, rather than honoring man's obligation to worship and glorify God. Strobel's purpose is to find out what works, and not to find out what is Biblical. His purpose is to please lost, unregenerate men, and not to please God. To read Strobel's book (and by nature of endorsement, Max Lucado's thoughts also) you come up with the idea that the problem with people is that they are simply unchurched. To the contrary, they need to be seen as lost and in need of a Savior. (Source: 1/96, Plains Baptist Challenger, pp. 5-7.)
- In early-1995, Lucado was working on a novel based on the fictional account of Jesus life as if He were born in the South in the United States today. Lucado said he was thinking of titling it The Gospel According to Manny (Manny being short for Immanuel). Lucado's only concern for this title is that "Manny doesn't sound like a Southern name" (June/July 1995, Release).
The interviewer of the Release article suggested to Lucado that he might want to
change the title of The Gospel According to Manny to The Gospel According to
Manny Joe-Bob, in order to better reflect Jesus' fictitious Southern heritage. Lucado
said he liked that idea. [All this is not surprising when one considers the everyday,
flippant, irreverent attitude Lucado has toward the Savior -- in his office, Lucado has hung
a sketch of Jesus laughing hysterically (5/15/96, Calvary Contender)].