- Chuck Swindoll (born 1934) is a 1963 graduate of Dallas Theological
Seminary (DTS). (Swindoll does not have a college undergraduate degree; he was
admitted to DTS in 1959 as a "special student" through the influence
of R.B. Thieme, Jr.) He was senior pastor of the First Evangelical
Free Church of Fullerton, California for 23 years (1971-1994). Swindoll
resigned the Fullerton pastorate effective 4/15/94 to take the post of president
of DTS, the sixth largest seminary in the world (effective 7/1/94). The 5/25/94 Dallas
Morning News said Swindoll, "hedged on specifics but said the focus
[at DTS] will be on spicing up the image of the seminary." An interview in
the 10/25/93 Christianity Today said: "President-elect Charles
Swindoll says get ready for a kinder, gentler Dallas Seminary." He said the
"dispensationalism" term may disappear, and "perhaps it
should." (Reported in the 11/15/94, Calvary
Swindoll's installation as DTS's fourth president was held 10/27/94 at Prestonwood Baptist Church (Southern Baptist Convention) in Dallas. The next day's events included a general conference featuring ecumenical psychologizers James Dobson, Stuart Briscoe, and Chuck Colson (who gave the keynote address!). The following day, Swindoll spoke at a local Promise Keepers conference. [Swindoll also spoke at both neo-evangelical Moody Bible Institute and at church growth guru Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Church in 9/94.] (Reported in the 10/15/94, Calvary Contender.) [In May of 2001, former provost and v-p for academic affairs, Mark L. Bailey, assumed the presidency of Dallas Seminary. Swindoll now serves as chancellor of DTS and senior pastor of the Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas (established 1998).]
- When Swindoll originally assumed the DTS presidency, he had planned to move to Tennessee, relocating his radio and publishing ministry to Nashville (one of his children lives in Nashville). He also planned to establish a non-denominational church in Nashville while maintaining a second residence in Dallas. But his residence and church-planting plans were put on hold and are now merely "long-range goals." Also, original plans called for Dr. John Sailhamer of Trinity International University (TIU) [formerly Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS)] to be Dallas Seminary's Provost, but DTS' then current vice-president, Wendell Johnston was designated Executive Vice President with responsibility for day-to-day operations.
As Swindoll began his second year at DTS's president, he set forth his priorities for the 1995-96 school year. Three of the items on Swindoll's agenda are of particular interest: (a) "Soften and change the image of the school from 'exclusive' to 'distinctive'"; (b) "Provide training in and exposure to a variety of worship styles to lead worship creatively"; and (c) "Promote the importance of affirmation and encouragement." Is this not an agenda that any card-carrying neo-evangelical compromiser could be proud of?
- Swindoll is one of the eminent popularizers of new evangelicalism in
general and of pop
psychology specifically. His psychological gospel is perpetrated mainly
through the print and broadcast media, the latter over the radio airways where
his 30-minute Insight For Living (IFL) broadcasts continue to be
carried daily, in 16 languages, on more than 2,100 radio stations worldwide. [IFL
is the radio ministry developed by Swindoll and E-Free Fullerton in 1977, when
it began broadcasting as a church ministry on 27 stations in the U.S. It is
still operating today (but in Plano, Texas, as of March 2001), with 150 staff,
broadcasting Swindoll's sermons and distributing his Bible study guides.
Swindoll continues to officially head up IFL, with day-to-day operations under
the control of his wife Cynthia (president and CEO).]
Swindoll has also authored 59 books, 5 mini-books, and 38 booklets; he has received eleven Gold Medallion Awards to date. He is also a regular featured speaker for the ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement known as Promise Keepers. [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. (At the 7/94 Boulder, Colorado National Promise Keepers Conference, to the band's playing of "Born to Be Wild," Swindoll roared onto the stage astride a motorcycle, and then delivered a sermon on avoiding temptation. Could this be what Swindoll means by "spicing up the image of the seminary"?) Swindoll and his two sons were also on the cover of the Jan/Feb 1996, New Man, the official PK magazine published by Charisma.]
- Since at least 1987, Swindoll has completely psychologized his message; a mere cursory glance at the footnotes and "Books for Probing Further" section of his Insight For Living Bible study guides will find glowing endorsements and recommendations of such Freudian, humanistic, and/or behavioral psychologists/psychologizers as Larry Crabb, James C. Dobson, Tony Campolo, Jerry White, Carl Rogers, Max Lucado, Tim Hansel, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, Philip Yancey, David Seamands, Gary Collins, Gary Smalley and John Trent, John White, Josh McDowell, David Hocking, David and Karen Mains, Bruce and Clyde Narramore, H. Norman Wright, Paul Tournier, Grace Ketterman, Karl Menninger, Kevin Leman, etc., etc. [Amazingly though, Swindoll sees himself as part of the solution to the problem of the psychologizing of the Church rather than part of the problem! In a 5/17/93, Christianity Today article, "The Therapeutic Revolution: How Christian Counseling Is Changing the Church," Swindoll says, "There's a lot of schlocky stuff being passed off as Christian counseling by a lot of schlocky people."]
- In a personal web site Q&A posting (titled "Who am I,
really?"), Swindoll further reveals his neo-evangelical and psychological
preferences. To the question, "Who
are your favorite writers and what books have made an impact on your
life?," Swindoll lists psychologizer Philip
Yancey's Fearfully and Wonderfully Made as his number one pick. He
picks ecumenical psychologizer J.I.
Packer as number 6, and Catholic-sympathizer and author of occult fantasy C.S.
Lewis as number 7. Easy-believism
poster boy Charles
Ryrie comes in number 11, Eugene Peterson (author of the blasphemous Bible
Message) comes in 12th., and psychologizer Warren
Wiersbe 13th. To the question, "Who do you consider to be the best
Bible preachers of all time?," Swindoll picks as number three John R.W.
Anglican ecumenical who denies the reality of a literal hell. (Source:
Chuck Swindoll personal web site, 2/02.)
In addition, Swindoll frequently quotes as authorities and sources helpful to Christians, various New Age spokespersons, e.g., futurist Alvin Toffler (1/16/89 radio broadcast); transpersonal New Age psychologist and occultist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (Abraham: The Friend of God Bible Study Guide, p. 136 & 1/23/89 radio broadcast); psychologist, spiritist/occultist, and anti-Christian, Carl Jung (6/89, Insight For Living monthly letter); author and occultist, Edgar Allan Poe (First Corinthians Bible Study Guide, p. 56); New Age pastor, Bruce Larson (Strengthening Your Grip Bible Study Guide, p. 89); pantheistic, "evangelical" liberal, social activist, Tony Campolo (Discipleship Bible Study Guide, p. 42); and pantheistic New Age psychologist, M. Scott Peck (6/89 & 2/92 Insight For Living monthly letters and Second Corinthians Bible Study Guide, p. 104). He recommends and uncritically quotes from the books of a wide variety of false teachers; he has promoted the neo-orthodox theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, praised the work of Roman Catholic "Mother" Teresa, and promoted and spoken for the ministry of Billy Graham. In his book The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, Swindoll quotes Robert Schuller with no qualification, in spite of the fact that Schuller preaches a false gospel of self-esteem.
- Apparently as a result of his close friendship with Dr. James C. Dobson (circa 1987), Swindoll has become a full-fledged advocate of the gospel of religious humanism -- self-love and self-esteem. [Swindoll was also at one time involved with James Dobson's Focus on the Family (FOTF) ministry in the making of cassette tapes in FOTF's "Pastor to Pastor" series. FOTF describes this series as: "These tapes, produced six times a year, feature interviews with the most popular and well-informed religious leaders of our day."] Swindoll's book and Bible Study Guide, both titled Growing Wise in Family Life (and both re-titled and republished in 1991 as The Strong Family), shockingly develop the primary teachings of this false gospel; i.e., that the Bible purportedly teaches that we are to love ourselves, that we are unable to love God and others until we do learn to love ourselves, and that most, if not all, of society's social and moral ills are the result of its members having low self-image/low self-esteem. (Particularly abominable is Swindoll's so-called exegesis of Ephesians 5:29, i.e., that that verse is a command to love and cherish oneself, rather than its clear meaning that man already loves and cherishes himself.) Therefore, progressive sanctification for the Swindoll disciple primarily involves improving his feelings about himself. (See pp. 131-148 and 99-114 of the books, Growing Wise in Family Life and The Strong Family, respectively, and pp. 66-71 and 63-70, respectively, of the Study Guides by the same names.) (See also Swindoll's 1990 Bible Study Guide, The Grace Awakening, pp. 110-111, for further evidence of Swindoll's self-love teachings supposedly "exegeted" from Eph. 5:22-30.)
- On Swindoll's 9/1/89 Insight For Living radio broadcast, he developed the thought (from Matthew 6) that we are worthy because Jesus says we have more worth than the sparrows, proceeded to follow with the thought that our value is so high because of the high price paid by Christ (another example of Swindoll's "shopping mall" theology, having no Biblical basis whatsoever), and ended with, "... if it hadn't been for you and for me, there wouldn't have been a Savior!" Swindoll is in effect saying, "Isn't it great to know that our utter depravity and sinfulness is the source of our value in that we made it possible for Christ to come into the world!" This gross heresy (some would say blasphemy), that man is not only something worth dying for, but worth the life of the Son of God, makes an utter mockery of the doctrines of grace and redemption. The value placed upon man as described in Matthew 6 is value that is based upon the grace (undeserved, unwarranted favor) of God, not the grandeur of man.
- On a 1995 Insight for Living radio program, Swindoll was commenting on Galatians 1:8,9. Swindoll did not like the apostle Paul's viewpoint here, and said so. He then read a poem by Sara Teasdale that talked about compromising: Swindoll said, "To learn to compromise is the mark of a mature Christian." Teasdale's poem that Swindoll read on the air follows:
"WISDOM -- When I have ceased to break my wings / Against the faultiness of things / And learned that compromises wait / Behind each hardly opened gate / When I can look Life in the eyes / Grown calm and very coldly wise / Life will have given me the Truth / And taken in exchange -- my youth." (Sara Teasdale:c.1916 -- emphasis added.)
The fact is that Sara Teasdale never claimed to be a "Christian,"
and died a suicide. Yet, Chuck Swindoll prefers her views to those of the
- Swindoll endorses and recommends David Seamands (e.g., Abraham: The Friend of God Bible Study Guide, p. 170: Healing for Damaged Emotions), the "Church's" leading proponent of Healing of the Memories/Inner Healing (which uses one or more psychological and/or occultic techniques, such as regression, visualization, guided imagery, dream analysis, and the various Gestalt therapies consisting of primal scream, ventilation, role plays, etc.). [Swindoll also endorsed another psycho-occultic book, Secrets of Your Family Tree: Healing for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, by Carder, Townsend, et al.]
- Swindoll teaches an "unconditional forgiveness/carnal Christian" gospel that says, "nothing we do can hinder or halt His giving ... Love prompts Him to keep on giving ... without expecting anything in return" (9/98, Insight For Living newsletter). (Emphasis added.) Swindoll completely ignores the necessity of confession and repentance to restore "broken fellowship" with God -- in fact, Swindoll apparently doesn't believe that a Christian can ever do anything that could hinder man's free flow of communication with God, such as willful disobedience and unconfessed sin (cf. Isaiah 59:1,2). [See Paul Brownback, The Danger of Self-Love, pp. 109-116, and Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Prophets of PsychoHeresy II, pp. 91-96 (reissued as James Dobson's Gospel of Self-Esteem & Psychology), for a proper, Biblical analysis of so-called unconditional love and acceptance.)
- Swindoll's position on unconditional forgiveness/acceptance is even more clear in his 1990 book, The Grace Awakening :
"Because there are differences of taste or preference, grace frees us to choose. My counsel is this: Let people make their own choices. Accept them as they are [p. 141)]. ... Freeing others means we never assume a position we are not qualified to fill. This, in one sentence, is enough to stop any person from judging another. We're not qualified" (p. 164). (Emphasis added.)
Swindoll seems to be ignorant of the fact that it is not possible for a
Christian to function Biblically without making judgments (John 7:24; Gal. 6:1).
Yet many professing evangelicals whose conduct and/or doctrine clearly call
for judgment, seek to avoid being called to account by claiming it would be
legalistic to do so.
- One of the habits of new evangelicals is to use the testimonies of prominent worldlings who claim to have received Christ -- movie stars, entertainment figures, and professional sports celebrities. Swindoll took this penchant to a new height in his Winter 1986, Insights by using the testimony of brewery magnate Adolph Coors IV. (Source: New Neutralism II, p. 72.)
- Swindoll has fully endorsed the general teachings and counseling model of so-called Christian psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb (4/89, Insight For Living monthly letter; Strengthening Your Grip Bible Study Guide, p. 121; Discipleship Bible Study Guide, p. 108; You and Your Problems Bible Study Guide, p. 122; etc.). Crabb's model of counseling is primarily a psychological system of unconscious needs motivating behavior, which is derived from Freudian (the unconscious being a hidden reservoir of the mind with drives and impulses which govern a person's thinking and behavior) and humanistic psychology (with its hierarchy of needs [Maslow/Adler], with great emphasis on so-called emotional needs). (See Prophets of PsychoHeresy I, pp. 105-222, for an excellent analysis of Larry Crabb's teachings [reissued as Larry Crabb's Gospel].)
- Swindoll is a primary supporter and endorser of so-called Christian psychologist, Gary Smalley, the "Church's" leading proponent of Right-Brain/Left-Brain pseudoscience (Esther Bible Study Guide, p. 108; 2/28/89 radio broadcast; 3/1/89 advertisement of Swindoll's Alaska cruise with "Gary Smalley teaching marrieds"; and the 2/89 Insight For Living monthly letter). This right-brain/left-brain myth, which claims to describe personality types by brain hemisphere dominance as well as give insights to male/female communication effectiveness, has been thoroughly discredited by secular neuroscientists (to say nothing of the fact that it has no support in Scripture). The popularization of right-brain/left-brain has been largely due to the book, The Language of Love, co-authored by Smalley and fellow psychologist, John Trent. (Both also have theological degrees, but apparently believe that the Bible alone is insufficient to handle people's problems of living.)
The Language of Love was published and promoted by Dobson's Focus on the Family Publishing, and was endorsed by Swindoll as, "two extremely gifted writers. This, their latest book, provides time-tested techniques for expressing our love in ways that will be understood ... and remembered" (2/89, Insight For Living monthly letter). [In the second edition of The Language of Love, due largely to the discrediting of the right-brain/left-brain silliness, all references to such were removed. Sadly, this "revision" was only cosmetic. The delusion that "emotional word pictures" are the key to relationships and spiritual growth, remains the false message of this deceptive book (1/92, CIB Bulletin).]
- Swindoll recommends the books of so-called Christian psychiatrists Frank Minirth and Paul Meier (numerous Bible study guide recommendations; 9/90 radio interview; 5/92 Insight For Living monthly letter; etc.), and wholeheartedly endorses the Minirth-Meier New Life Clinic in Dallas. (In early-1996, the Minirth-Meier team split up.) Minirth and Meier are perhaps the "purest" of the Freudian psychologists in the professing Church today, who by cleverly masquerading their discredited Freudianisms as "Christian," have gained widespread acceptability. (See Prophets of PsychoHeresy I, pp. 223-334, for an excellent analysis of Minirth and Meier's Freudian teachings with respect to the unconscious, infantile sexuality, psychic determinism, defense mechanisms, ventilation therapy, birth order, five stages of grief, etc.) [See You and Your Problems Bible Study Guide for evidence of Swindoll's acquiescence with these Freudian concepts.]
- Swindoll clearly shows his fascination with the New Age/occult in his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity. In this book, he praises a New Age mind control book by Roger van Oech titled A Whack on the Side of the Head (e.g., "you owe it to yourself to read it," p. 25), and openly endorses visualization (a popular technique of New Agers that has deep roots in the occult) as a technique for spiritual growth! In clearly New Age jargon, Swindoll describes visualization as one of the key high-powered secrets to success, and encourages those who want to break through the "mediocrity barrier" to "mentally visualize being on a higher plane" (p. 29). [Swindoll also favorably quotes Denis Waitley (Abraham: The Man of God, p. 154), who encourages the use of "positive self-talk" and "positive imagery" (both occult techniques). Also, after Swindoll praised the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he was confronted with a critique of its New Age teachings, to which Swindoll replied, "All truth is God's truth, regardless of the source"! (personal letter on file).]
- 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
& Beverly LaHaye, Erwin
Robertson, Ronald Sider, Charles
Stanley, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, Bruce
Wilkinson, and Ravi Zacharias; also endorsing EC were hyper-charismatics Jack
Hayford and Steven Strang.]
ignorant Chuck Swindoll 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).
- Swindoll supports and encourages participation in Operation Rescue and other avenues of civil disobedience. (Although there are numerous cases of civil disobedience in the Scriptures, it was never engaged in for the purpose of forcing an ungodly society to obey Biblical principles.) Since Operation Rescue's stated purpose is to create social upheaval, and thereby pressure governments into changing the abortion laws, Swindoll's philosophy seems to be one of "the end justifies the means." In the event a "rescue" fails, however, Swindoll recommends that psychological counselors and support groups be used in counseling those who have had abortions, "to assist them through the therapy of recovery" (Focus on the Family magazine, August 1990, pp. 18-21).
- Swindoll's 6/92 Insight For Living newsletter was devoted entirely to "feelings." Swindoll relates how his sister asked him "What is your favorite feeling?" Swindoll's response: "In computer-like fashion my brain began to think through a dozen or more possibilities. Being a person to whom feelings are extremely important, I had a tough time selecting one." (Emphasis added.) [The Bible knows nothing of this feeling orientation that Swindoll and his fellow religious humanists (Dobson, McDowell, Hocking, MacArthur, Kennedy, Ezzo, etc.) in the professing church today are so fond of. Instead, the Bible speaks of action -- giving, obeying, doing, etc. -- and then only in the truth (John 3:16; 14:23,24; Rom. 5:8; 12:9a, 20a; Eph. 5:25; 1 John 3:16a,18; 4:9,10,19,20; 5:3; 2 John 6; Rev. 2:4,5).] (Swindoll revealed that his favorite feeling is accomplishment, while his sister's is relief.)
- Swindoll is also quite sympathetic to the unbiblical doctrines of the charismatic movement and its leaders, all under the guise of grace and non-judgmental acceptance (From The Grace Awakening): (Emphases added.)
"Here's another grace-binding example: I'm not a charismatic. However, I don't feel it's my calling to shoot great volleys of theological artillery at my charismatic brothers and sisters. Who knows how much good they have done and the magnificent ministries many of them have? Thankfully, I've grown up a little and learned that God uses many of them, in song as well as in writing and in pulpits today. Grace helps to hold us close [p. 188]. ... More than ever we need grace-awakened ministers who free rather than bind: Life beyond the letter of the Scripture ... absence of dogmatic Bible-bashing" (p. 233).
Swindoll's "grace" is not only gullible, but is out of control.
"Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
Grace that disregards its bounds of doctrinal truth, as Swindoll's clearly does,
amounts to just another form of antinomianism! (Miles Stanford's 4/91 report on
Charles Swindoll: The Grace Awakening).
- In Swindoll's booklet titled Demonism, published by Multnomah Press in 1981, Swindoll clearly teaches that believers can be demon possessed:
"Can a Christian be demonized? For a number of years I questioned this, but now I am convinced it can occur. If a 'ground of entrance' has been granted the power of darkness (such as trafficking in the occult, a continual unforgiving spirit, a habitual state of carnality, etc.) the demon(s) sees this as a green light -- okay to proceed. ... I have worked personally with troubled, anguished Christians for many years. On a few occasions I have assisted in the painful process of delivering them of demons. ... while present within the body (perhaps in the region of the soul) that evil force can wreck havoc within the life." (Emphasis added.)
This teaching coming from Swindoll should not be surprising considering that it is taught at Trinity International University (E-Free's denominationally supported seminary and college), and can easily fit into the theological framework of those holding to the "free-grace/cheap-grace" position -- "the devil made me do it" can become a convenient alibi for those "living-out their freedom in Christ."
- In 1990,
Swindoll promoted the corrupt Living Bible paraphrase, saying: "The
Living Bible is like a stream of sparkling water wandering across life's
arid landscape: intriguing, refreshing, nourishing, comforting. My thirsty soul
is often satisfied by this invigorating wellspring" (Charisma,
December 1990). Actually, the Living Bible is crude, inaccurate, and
promotes false doctrine. For example, in 1 Kings 18:27, the Living Bible
says, "Perhaps he is talking to someone or else is out sitting on the
toilet." A footnote in the Living Bible at Zechariah 13:6, which
refers to the wounds on Christ's hands, claims that the passage is not
Messianic. A footnote in Genesis 1 says "evening and morning" could be
translated "a period of time," which is an error and a capitulation to
the false doctrine of theistic evolution. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says our sins were
poured into Christ, which is a false doctrine. A footnote at 1 Peter 2:2 says an
alternative translation is, "Eat God's Word, read it, think about it, and
grow strong in the Lord and be saved." This was the actual reading in the
text in early editions of the Living Bible, until it was transferred to a
footnote. 1 Peter 3:21 says, "in being baptized we are turning to God and
asking him to cleanse our hearts from sin." This is false doctrine, because
in being baptized properly and Scripturally the candidate is not turning to God
and asking for forgiveness, but is merely showing forth publicly the death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ. (Source: 3/12/01, FBIS.)
Shopping Mall Theology -- First popularized and brought into the church by Josh McDowell:
"You are special because you are of great value and worth to God. ... The value or worth of an object is usually determined by the price one is willing to pay to purchase or redeem it. It couldn't be more true for you and me ... I am worth the price God paid for me, which was 'Jesus' ... the real basis for a healthy self-image is to understand and accept the value God has placed on you. ... Christ's loving actions on your behalf have demonstrated and documented forever the great value you have to God" (Building Your Self-Image, pp. 24-25). (First emphasis in original.)
This "shopping mall" theology -- that the value of an object is equal to the price paid for it -- has become quite a popular concept among the psychologizers in today's professing church. This "theology" goes something like this: "The death of Christ on the cross is God's price tag on the human soul; it means we really are somebodies, that we are of great value to God. After all, why would God pay such a great price if we're not worth it?" On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Christ didn't die for somebodies but for sinners. The price He paid on the cross does not establish my personal worth, but instead was required to meet the claims of divine justice. In fact, the greater the price the costlier my sin, not the greater my worth! That the sinless Son of God had to die upon the cross to redeem me is not anything that should make me feel good about myself, but instead humbled and ashamed, for it was my sins that nailed Him there. How could that fact possibly build up my self-esteem? (Adapted from Beyond Seduction.] [Return to Text]