I was shocked when Ted Dekker, a well-known Christian author–son of missionaries to Indonesia–ripped off the mask to reveal himself as a prophet of Baal.
I’ve written about it here for part 1 and here for part 2. Like all heretics, he declares that he received an audible-yet-not-audible word directly from God telling him to forget everything he knows about God and embrace the new way that God was going to reveal to him.
There’s a long list of people who will have similar stories. Some are more heretical than others, but they all bring strange fire before the Almighty. They all claim to have a New Way that nobody knows about. For Ted, it’s the ‘Forgotten Way.’ And it can be yours, for as low as …
Funny how that works. I’m fairly certain that Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and John never charged for their inspired works. How times have changed.
I continue to see Ted–in unrepentant fashion–promote his new cult. Here’s a quote:
Why are people leaving churches? We’ve lost sight of the power found in our true identity as the light which manifests in a radical love without which all else is found worthless, as Paul wrote. Ignorant of who we are, our own self-limiting beliefs sabotage us and keep us in darkness every day. But that can change today. Watch this eye-opening 2 minute video and see the only problem Christians face today. You don’t have a light. You ARE the light.
Good marketing always tells people what they want to believe.
This pill will shed all your excess fat without any exercise or special diet!
Drinking beer will make you popular and sexy!
Drive this car and you’ll command respect from everyone around you!
Wear this bracelet and you’ll have energy all day!
You can write a novel in 3 days if you follow these two simple steps!
I think we’ve all seen these types of things. The Superbowl is coming up and we’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll … buy. We even know that it’s pure marketing, but we still really, really want to believe it.
Same with what Ted’s selling. It’s actually no different than what Rob Bell advanced in his book, Love Wins. The premise is that our ignorance of God’s love is our ‘hell’ or ‘darkness.’
Rob says that everyone is a child of God and are already in His family. They simply choose to leave, like the prodigal son. Or, like the older brother, when the prodigal’s father throws a party upon the younger son’s return, everyone is at God’s ‘party,’ though some create a ‘hell’ for themselves because they allow envy to get in the way of experiencing the Father’s love.
Ted’s doing exactly the same thing: Our ‘ignorance’ of ‘who we are’ is ‘keeping us in darkness.’
But that’s not the most startling thing. He goes on to say who we are is The Light.
You don’t have a light. You ARE the light.
Ted rips this from Luke 16:8, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Context is key. Just like Mr. Bell can offer a plausible twist to parables and other verses to support his universalism, so does Ted.
The context of Luke is the testimony of the believer. If we turn to John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Again in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John the Baptist was sent as a forerunner to testify to the ‘light that shines in the darkness.’ John 1:5-8.
Ted and Rob’s message to the world is the same: We’re ignorant of who we are and we need to simply ‘wake up.’ In fact, that’s the title of Ted’s e-book promo for his Forgotten Way study. Once we let go of our “self-limiting beliefs,” we will be free to experience God the way we are meant to.
This message is appealing because it comes packaged in terms our culture loves. It’s a ‘cleanse,’ as if we need to clean out the toxins that have polluted us. Evidently, orthodox theology is one of those toxins!
It’s easy! 12 days, or 20, or 30, or, gasp, 40. Those are always the quick 12-step-program words that promise we’ll be kicked into high spiritual gear!
Do this study and in 20 days you’ll be experiencing heaven on earth, here and now!
What if you could take a simple spiritual cleanse to free you from all the negative thoughts and beliefs that are keeping you from experiencing life to the fullest?–Ted Dekker
Sign me up! I don’t want to wait! I want my milk and cookies now!
It also appeals to us because we all crave acceptance, but we loath repentance. We desire love, but hate truth that allows intimacy.
Ted and Rob’s version of the gospel offers a mirage of love. It’s actually more like infatuation, or puppy love. It’s self-centered and experience-based. It sits and dreams of an image of our ‘loved one,’ but knows that when we get to know the actual person, things will fall apart.
Hence the term “fall out of love.”
I thank God that His version of love is not this insipid, gooey Valentine’s Day box of chocolate love. God didn’t send us a glittery, cheesy card with Hallmark sentiments.
No, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ who had to bear the weight of our sinful rebellion against the demands of God’s Righteousness. It was a burden you and I could not carry or pay. Not in a thousand lifetimes could we compensate for the offense against an eternal God.
Puppy love knows nothing of the demands of true Love. Puppy love doesn’t look at our sinfulness and die to redeem us from it!
This is why it can be so sugary-sweet and then so desperately empty. It’s the donut compared to the true meal. We may prefer the pastry, but our bodies will waste away.
True Love required a heavy price. True Love depended on God, not us. For He loved us while we were still in open rebellion to Him. Romans 5:8.
Love demands we turn from our sin and make Jesus our Lord because he bought us on the cross. Love will then show itself in our obedience to Him, as our Lord.
Dekker references “radical love,” as evidence that we’ve found our true identity as “the light.” His version of love, however, doesn’t cross paths with obedience. It simply “holds no account of wrong,” and is the genial non-judgmental acceptance of everyone.
This is where heresy gets it’s power. It sometimes has 90% truth to it. It’s true that we must forgive those who sin against us. We are to turn the other cheek. We are to go two miles when someone compels us to go one. We are to love our enemies. We are to do good to those who hurt us and despitefully use us.
But, how are we to love them? Though we don’t strike back, but turn the other cheek, we should wonder, why do they keep striking us? Why would they be enemies to us if we go extra miles and love them?
Because, what we love more than the acceptance of our fellow man is the acceptance of God. And God calls us to run the race, put to death the things of the flesh, and grow the fruit of the spirit through obedience to Him.
Paul compared his spiritual life to an athlete in severe training, working his body so that he’d find favor from God at the end of his course. He’d rather die than deny his Lord through disobedience or hypocrisy.
We are to hold every thought captive to God. Each attitude must be passed under God’s gaze to burn away our self-life (pride, selfishness, greed, envy, etc.).
The Christian life is not about letting go our ignorance or our ‘self-limiting beliefs.’ It’s about putting to death the works of the flesh.
Apart from Christ, and His life within us, we most certainly are not the light.