False Religions/wolves in sheep's clothing/mark Batterson
Mark Batterson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up in Naperville, Illinois. Mark is married to Lora, and they moved to Washington, DC in 1994 to direct an inner-city ministry. Batterson earned a Bachelor's degree from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri and has two Masters Degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, Illinois. Starting in 1996 Batterson has served the as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. National Community Church was recognized as one of the Most Innovative and Most Influential Churches in America by Outreach Magazine in 2008.
As if being a pastor is not busy enough Batterson in true emergent style tries to cast his fame and exceeds his pastorate position by authoring multiple books, including us In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day , Wild Goose Chase, and Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity. His latest and most erroneous writing is "The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears" which hit book stores this last December 2011. Seems to me if he would spend less time writing and more time being a pastor he may be a better pastor but that would go against the Emergent Pastor protocol to actually feed the members of their church.
Mark Batterson is your typical Emergent "Seeker Friendly" pastor by in which if you mean typical by the way he commandeers Scripture and twists it to mean what it is not. Batterson is guilty falling into the trap that most Emerging Pastors fall into; the pit of narcissistic eisegesis. That is to reading oneself into biblical text that has nothing to do with that person, situation or church. His typical Sunday message resonates more about social justice and biblical obfuscation than actual solid exegesis of biblical Scriptures. When preaching he is of guilty of Long Law preaching. In other words he is preaching more on the Law making the Law take the place over the Gospel. This can be seen in many of sermon series, including in his most recent one entitle “IF” which can be found at http://goo.gl/epdsS. This sermon series is base on “IF” you do these certain things than God will…. The use of the word “IF” turns God’s love in these sermons to conditions based on our obedience to Him in order for Him to love us. This is not the Gospel neither is this the truth of God’s Word. God’s love is not dependant on us and what we do. God has foreknown His elect before time; Romans 8:28. If this was the case their would be no Grace. Batterson’s “IF” series violates the very tenants of Scripture and teaching on what the Grace and unconditional love of God is.
The Apostle Paul carefully lays out how we as New Testament Christians are to handle the Law while addressing the Galatian church in Chapter 3 of the book of Galatians. Paul say the following:
- Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
As you tell from the Apostle Paul's writing the way we are to handle the Law as New Testament Christians is not the way Mark Batterson handles it or preaches how to handle it from his pulpit.
Batterson is also guilty of associations with new age mystics and teachings and openly supports their writings and philosophies, which would explain a lot of his new age philosophies and principles in his preaching at NCC and in his books. Back in April of 2008 Mark Batterson, pointed readers on his website to Eckhart Tolle, a New Age guru who is has been heralded by Oprah Winfrey. Batterson says that Tolle’s book, Practicing the Power of Now, is “instrumental in the way I think about life.” His public reading list also includes several other New Agers and mystics: Jack Canfield, Daniel Goleman (The Meditative Mind), Gary Thomas (Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways), Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, along with several others.
In another typical almost now comical Emergent swagger Batterson violates one of the basic characteristics of being a pastor, that is to be above reproach as found in 1 Timothy 3:2 and in Titus 1:7. According to Ken Silva, pastor-teacher and author of Apprising Ministries in his article entitled “THE COMMENTS THAT MARK BATTERSON DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE” Batterson when question by Silva in a blog comment erased the questioning and called Silva a “Pharisee”. The full article can be found at http://goo.gl/dKc5G. This thus proving that Batterson believes he is above reproach.
This type of attitude as seen above is typical of not only Batterson but many of his emergent cohorts. This type of “don’t touch the visionary” leadership can not only be found at National Community Church but many other “seeker friendly” churches that elevate the pastor over the Word of God to the level of Fuehrer. One way of achieving this is to use “multi-site” locations like used at NCC. Multi-site locations, if you are not familiar with them, are when you have one church and with one pastor that is simulcast to multi locations thus making many little “churches”. In this set up you have one pastor that leaded all locations and no pastors at those other locations thus leading to a figurative CEO Pastor figure head that has rain over all sites and power. This type of site control allows complete control over each site and thus allowing that one pastor to project his “vision” of what the church should be to everyone with out a challenged. This use of “multi-site” campuses can lead to a dangerous a style of pastor worship in which what the pastor say and what his “vision” calls for supersedes what the bible teaches. Batterson seems to make use of this “multi-site” style a preaching with much effectiveness.
Over all Batterson is your typical “vision” , "seeker friendly" oriented pastor that follows the leads of his special “vision” from God that trumps the written Word of God. If you are attending National Community Church in DC or any of it’s multi-sites be very leery of Batterson and his teachings and promotion of Law over Gospel. While the Law is good for showing us our sins it won’t save you only preaching Christ died, buried and resurrected, in other words the Gospel will save you. Preaching the Law all the time will only leave you trenched in your sins.
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