The Unbiblical Teachings of the "Circle Maker" and Mark Batterson
Right out of the gate within the first 30 seconds of the video we are introduced by Mark Batterson to Honi the Circle Maker. One might be asking who is Honi the Circle Maker and why haven't we heard of him before in my Sunday Bible study or better yet my Bible? The reason we have not heard of Honi before in our Bible text is because he is not found in the biblical canon of Scripture. So where did Mr. Batterson get Honi the circle maker from? Well Mr. Batterson had to look to sources outside the canon of Scripture, or the Orthodox codex, to find the Honi, which by the way is only a legend. To be more specific Batterson had to turn to the Jewish teachings of the Mishnah for his information. The Mishnah is a Jewish oral version of Torah, which is basically equivalent to a story book version of the Torah. The Mishnah is erroneously full of errors and is not highly regarded as accurate within Orthodox Jewish teachings. This why we will not find the Mishnah’s teachings being used as a translation or teaching codex for the Torah. Now the question has to be asked at this point; if Mr. Batterson is getting his information from a non-traditional biblical source, one that is not found to be accurate, then how can we be expected to be praying to the God of the Bible? Answer, we can't. His whole premise is flawed from his beginning in its teaching because he is using an outside un-biblical source to dictate what he 'feels' is a correct method of praying.
The unbiblical sloth of Mark Batterson only gets worse as we hear at approximately 40 seconds into the video we are told that "we will learn how to pray in a new way and dream big".
Mr. Batterson why do we have to learn how to pray in a new way? I believe we were instructed on the proper way to pray in Matthew 6: 9 – 15;
- Mat 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 6:7 "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.6:9 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread, 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Here we see the proper biblical way to pray and nowhere are we instructed to draw a circle around us and pray. Once again in the light of Scripture Mark Batterson’s teachings fail.
- At about the 48 second mark Batterson points out that we can not just to read the Bible; “we have to circle God's promises and we need to pray wisdom into our lives and that we have to pray circles around our children for power.”
Again, the question is; which Scripture and the Bible is this? Oh yeah that's right there isn't any to support Mr. Batterson's erroneous claims.
- At the 1:07 mark we are told; “our job is to draw circles in the sand and if we draw the circle God will multiply the blessings and miracle”.
I always thought his Christians our job was to preach the great commission and proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, not draw circles in the sand. I guess Mr. Batterson has down a new special formula for praying that God forgot to tell us about in the bible and needs Batterson to explain it to us. I wonder if Mr. Batterson is willing to take what he's preaching and put to the test. Maybe he should go to a dying cancer patient and draw a circle around them and pray for the cancer to be healed. What will he do when they cancer patient is not healed? Maybe he would blame it on the fact that circle wasn't drawn well enough.
The bible is very clear in warning us to be careful and to stay away of false prophets and teachers several times both in the Old Testament and New Testament alike. I want to be clear here in representing the verses in the Old Testament in correct context. They are talking to Israel, not directly to us do today as a New Testament church. However, we can still see the fact that God's immutable teaching and standard against false prophets do not change nor does His standards or principles change from Old Testament teachings to New Testament teachings on the subject.
- Jer 14:14 And Jehovah saith unto me: Falsehood the prophets are prophesying in My name, I did not send them, nor command them, Nor have I spoken unto them: A false vision, and divination, and vanity, And the deceit of their own heart, they are prophesying to you.
- Jer 23:32 Lo, I am against the prophets of false dreams, An affirmation of Jehovah, And they recount them, and cause my people to err, By their falsehoods, and by their instability, And I--I have not sent them, Nor have I commanded them, And they are not at all profitable to this people, An affirmation of Jehovah.
- Lam 2:14 Thy prophets have seen for thee a false and insipid thing, And have not revealed concerning thine iniquity, To turn back thy captivity, And they see for thee false burdens and causes of expulsion.
- Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."
- 2 Peter 2:1 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction."Matthew 24:24 "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect"
In 1John 4:1 we are told what to do when encountering a false prophet or teacher.
- 1John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."
We need to follow the advice in 1John 1:4 and test the teachings of Mark Batterson and his "Circle Maker" book and its teachings against what the Word of God says.
- At the 1:36 mark we are told; "that our prayers are like time capsules, we never know when or where they will be answered.”
Well what we have here is new age mysticism. Our prayers are not like time capsules just waiting to be opened up and have her blessings poured out upon us. God hears the prayers of His elect instantaneously. What Mark Batterson actually is doing here is playing down on the omniscience of God and His sovereignty by saying that God actually did not know what we would've prayed for.
- At the 2:00 mark Mr. Batterson says; “ He wish that your small group would turn into a prayer circle, that each one of you would start praying for one another.”
That is all fine, yes prayer is a good thing, but why do we need your book and DVD series to do this? Should we not as a small group already be praying for each other and doing this in accordance to Scripture not in accordance to your booking and DVD series? I don't think we need your mysticism and unscriptural prayer method to pray for each other in our small groups or Bible studies.
In the end of the video Batterson says he will be praying for us. Well I too will be praying for you Mark Batterson that you will repent of this heretical teaching and get back to solid biblical exegesis of the word of God or that he will leave the pulpit altogether and quit making a mockery of the precise communication method that God gave us to talk to Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
As you can see from this promo video Mark Batterson and his "The Circle Maker" DVD and book series is nothing more than new age mysticism wrapped in a feel-good unscriptural methodology for prayer. The Circle maker book and DVD series tries to play on emotionalism highs by introducing the "newest" way to reach for God. Again as stated earlier we don't need a new way to reach God we have the Bible and it has been working great for over 1500 years so far. If I was attending a church that was promoting this material I would be having a strong and him talk with the pastor or small group leader and pointing out the unscriptural practices of this prayer method. The question can be raised if we are not praying biblically will God here our prayers and if they are heard is it the God of the Bible that is hearing our prayers?
*Make sure to read our article on Mark Batterson by clicking here Wolves in Sheep's Clothing to find out more problems and details with the teachings of Batterson.