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Christian Junk Mail, Episode 2
13 October 2014
In Episode 1 of Christian Junk Mail, we consider a fund-raising letter from the American Bible Society which encourages followers of Yeshua (Jesus) to worship the false gods of American imperialism, patriotism and nationalism. In my last article, we explored the history and pagan roots of seminaries.
Dallas Theological Seminary. Bold and italic emphasis were in the original. Links and colored emphasis are mine. I have not quoted the entire letter, because it is simply too long. I have extracted the main points, while leaving out a lot of the details, which is about half the letter.
I hope you will allow me to send you a copy of the bestselling, faith-building book Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible by Dr. Erwin Lutzer....This pagan fund-raising letter — slathered with “Christian” lingo — gushes with so much self-aggrandizement, self-promotion and blatant manipulation that it makes me sick to my stomach! But wait! It gets even worse!
This is an eye-opening, inspiring book. Every committed Christian should read it. I want you to have a copy as my thanks for helping Dallas Theological Seminary pursue a strategy that aims to counter the assault on biblical values.
My name is Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary. Like you, I believe the inerrant Bible alone holds the answer to our national crisis. Yes, a crisis. Consider:
Marriages — including those of Christians — are breaking up at record rates. First graders are being indoctrinated in sexual immorality in public schools — and in some states, their moms and dads are barred by judges from opting them out.... freedom is challenged by the extreme anti-Christian ACLU... Crime is rampant. Teen sex is up (including in our churches). Corruption is up. Pornography has families by the throat. And the media have become an open sewer.
But there is hope! ... let me share with you the key. Christians like you — who care about reaching America for God’s glory — need to get behind ministries that train faithful, conservative, biblical leaders. And that means every committed Christian — without exception — should consider supporting a worthy, Bible-based seminary that trains the truly great leaders we need.
Frankly, there is only a small handful of such seminaries. But I am blessed to be president of what I consider to be one of the very best, one that has been very influential both in America and around the world.For more than 90 years, Dallas Theological Seminary has stood like a mighty oak against the winds of heresy, immorality, and apathy. Our graduates read like a “who’s who” of the best of American Christianity. Names like Chuck Swindoll... J. Vernon McGee... Chip Ingram... David Jeremiah... Tony Evans... Joseph Stowell... Erwin Lutzer... Randy Alcorn... John Walvoord... Dennis Rainey...
Good and evil are colliding today with new ferocity. America needs more leaders like these. So I’m writing to tell you, as a concerned believer, about our two-pronged strategy.... We live in a biblically illiterate culture. How can we counter the massive deception in our society? With our own opinion-shapers. With gifted leaders who communicate biblical truth with impact and surgical precision.
And that begins with seminaries. What is taught in seminary flows into the pews... and then into the culture. Unlike most other seminaries, Dallas Theological Seminary students study the Bible itself, not just study ABOUT the Bible. Unlike most others, we expose students to all 66 books. We teach them how to read it according to its normal or literal meaning. We train them to expertly communicate this knowledge to others.
That’s where the solution starts. But that’s not where it ends. To effectively impact our nation, we must also defend the Bible (1 Peter 3:15).... Dallas Theological Seminary places a high priority on training leaders who can explain and defend the Bible.... But Christians need more defenders, including pastors who can turn their congregations into battalions of vibrant, aware, and confident believers who will stand for Jesus Christ in their personal spheres of influence.
You and I have a shared challenge. The church is crying out for a generation of mature, passionate leaders. But the church is also crying out for people like you — who care about reaching America with God’s Word — to help provide the critical resources to train these leaders. That’s why I’m asking you to:
It is time that committed Christians dare to promote our faith. No priority could be higher. That’s why I’m asking you to send a gift to help train a new generation of committed, biblical Christian leaders at Dallas Theological Seminary. This hub of Christian training has the credentials, history, and strategy to provide leaders who will make the highest impact for Christ....
Mr. Bailey must have realized that this letter would be hard to swallow, so with it there was a separate letter from the well-known pastor Chuck Swindoll — who also just happens to be the chancellor (chief administrative officer) of Dallas Theological Seminary:
Dear Christian Friend: As a personal favor, I ask that you read the enclosed letter from my dear friend and colleague Dr. Mark Bailey. Mark is the leader of a ministry that I consider to be “ground zero” for the solution to the intense need for solidly biblical leaders for America and the world today. I believe his words will fill you with great hope. You will see the immense opportunity you personally have to impact the future of Christianity.Oh boy, the Dallas Theological Seminary self-love-fest and manipulation continue in Mr. Swindoll’s letter! Would he be happy to know that I have taken his advice to heart? I have read Mr. Bailey’s pagan propaganda letter. I have prayed. And I have responded as God has led — the result is this article. Unfortunately for Mr. Swindoll and Mr. Bailey, it’s not the financial response they were hoping and praying for!
Mark’s words carry much weight with me. He leads what I consider to be the best seminary in the world — Dallas Theological Seminary. I have served as its president and now serve as its chancellor. For more than 90 years, it has been on the cutting-edge of biblical leadership training. As with so many other men and women, God used Dallas Theological Seminary to change my life and equip me to reach lives in a way I never dreamed possible.
Please set aside a few moments! Christians who love God’s Word must step up and face the future. I suspect your heart, like mine, is weary of so much shallow Christianity, biblical illiteracy, and yawning indifference. You and I yearn to see a vibrant Christianity grip the minds and hearts of millions. And so ... read on. Pray. Then, respond as God leads.
Both of these leaders declare that THEIR institution is the BEST seminary in the world. Such brazen self-promotion might even make a Hollywood star blush in embarrassment! As for me, I’m feeling something much stronger than the blush of embarrassment — shock, anger, outrage, and shame that “Christian” leaders would stoop so low.
Even worse, I think that most “Christians” in this country would not see anything wrong with these fund-raising letters. We are so used to centuries of Pagan Christianity and being the Harlot Church that most “Christians” don’t even realize how far their religion has strayed from the teaching of the New Testament.
It is very ironic, and tragic, that these letters from Mr. Bailey and Mr. Swindoll are clear examples of the “massive deception, shallow Christianity and biblical illiteracy” which they lament. Instead of promoting MORE seminary-trained leaders as the solution, it would be more in keeping with the New Testament for them to quit their seminary and sit once again at the feet of Yeshua to learn HIS ways.
Mr. Bailey insists that “our overhead costs are low and there is no ‘fluff’ here.” The unfortunate reality is that his theological-training system, his multi-million-dollar campus and his pagan fund-raising letter are all more stuffed with fluff than Winnie-the-Pooh! The entire system is hopelessly stuffed with fluff by its very nature.
Can you imagine Yeshua or the apostle Paul writing such worldly, manipulative letters? I sure can’t! Yeshua’s ministry had such low overhead that He didn’t even have a place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). He certainly didn’t have a multi-million-dollar campus on which to train His future leaders!
The only fund-raising we see the apostle Paul engaged in was soliciting money for the poor, NOT for funding his own ministry! On the contrary, he worked day and night at his tent-making in order to support himself AND his co-workers, so that they would not be a financial burden to those they were ministering to (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:9).
Don’t Mr. Bailey and Mr. Swindoll practice the very New Testament that is taught at their “best seminary in the world”?! Apparently not. Paul said, “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold” (Acts 20:33), yet Mr. Bailey and Mr. Swindoll seem to be coveting the money of each recipient of their letters, and they use a heavy hand to manipulate the readers into giving that money to their organization!
Of course, not everything they wrote in their letters is wrong. They correctly identify many of the problems plaguing our society and the church: Divorce, sexual immorality, crime, corruption, pornography, the Media, the assault on Biblical values, massive deception, shallow Christianity, biblical illiteracy, and apathy. Unfortunately, their solution to these huge, deep-seated problems — raising up more seminary-trained church leaders — is actually one of the major factors contributing to these problems!
As we saw in my last article — Seminaries: Swelling the Cranium — for over a thousand years, pagan-inspired, intellectually-centered theological training at cathedral schools, universities and seminaries has been a major part of the problem of non-Biblical “Christianity,” and NOT the solution.
Another statement by Mr. Bailey is VERY true: “What is taught in seminary flows into the pews... and then into the culture.” He hit the nail right on the head! This is exactly why the church and society are drowning in the above-mentioned ills.
Despite the Dallas Theological Seminary “standing like a might oak against the winds of heresy, immorality, and apathy for more than 90 years‘ ... despite their graduates who “read like a ‘who’s who’ of the best of American Christianity” ... despite all this, American society has been going to Hell in a handbasket for the past decades, with no end in sight except catastrophe.
It is the height of folly and deception to expect that MORE of this broken seminary system and MORE of these ineffectual Christian leaders are actually going to make things BETTER. Because they are part of the problem, MORE of them is only going to make the situation WORSE!
If the Christian religion were to abandon the pagan, man-made system of seminaries and revert to the New Testament model of leadership development instead, the church and society would be transformed as a result! In his book The Harlot Church System, Charles Newbold gets to the root of the problem:
The one in THE Ministry feels obligated to perpetuate the industry of THE Ministry. THE Ministry is big business. It drives the economy of seminaries and Bible colleges... It is a web of economic support in which the Minister himself becomes entangled and from which he cannot easily break away. Those in THE Ministry live compromised lives under the influences of man-pleasing spirits....If all of this were not bad enough, the manipulation in these letters is SO disgusting! Mr. Bailey and Mr. Swindoll imply that if you REALLY care about the deplorable state of society and the church, and the future of the Christian religion, then you WILL make a sacrificial financial commitment to Dallas Theological Seminary.
The one in THE Ministry feels obligated to perpetuate the institution of THE Ministry as well as the institution of church. THE Ministry is an institution within the institution of church and is the singular most powerful force that perpetuates the institution of church. If we were to remove this erroneous notion of THE Ministry from the equation of church, this Thing we call church would fall apart.
Similarly, without the church system, THE Minister would have no context in which to practice his craft. Church is sustained by money. Once the money ends, the church institution folds. Likewise, when the money ends, THE Ministry ends because those in THE Ministry depend upon the money and the system.
Conversely, they are also implying that if you do NOT give money to their seminary, then you do NOT care about Christianity, the church, and society going to Hell. This type of manipulative reasoning is very common in pagan “Christian” fund-raising letters.
In addition, they entice their potential donors with a “free gift.” I detest such blatant manipulation, which so many “Christian” ministries practice. If you REALLY want to read that book — which could be highly doubtful seeing that the author is one of the above-mentioned luminaries who graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary — I suggest that you simply purchase your own copy on Amazon.com ... no strings attached!
For years I have been following Mr. Bailey’s advice in this letter by supporting a number of worthy ministries which labor in the work of God. But based upon the content of his and Mr. Swindoll’s letters, I am convinced that Dallas Theological Seminary is NOT one of those worthy ministries. And based upon the pagan roots and centuries of bad fruit from mainstream theological training, I am convinced that NO seminary or similar institution is worthy of such support.
Mr. Bailey wrote: “It is time that committed Christians dare to promote our faith. No priority could be higher.” I wholeheartedly agree! Because I want to promote the TRUE faith of the New Testament, and not the false faith of man-made “Christianity,” I am NOT sending a financial gift to Dallas Theological Seminary.
Because no priority could be higher, I am writing this article and all of the other articles on this Web site in order to promote New Testament faith. And that’s why I want to live as a crucified one in conformity to THE Crucified One.
This article is 57th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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