Selling “Christian” Down The Muddy River

By Stand Up for the Truth

The old “I’m a Christ Follower, Not A Christian” gong seems to be ringing once again. This time in a new video trailer for a book by Shane Hipps called “Selling Water by the River: A Book About the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion that Gets in the Way.”  In an age where we need clarity now more than ever, this muddies the waters of confusion ever more, but in an oh-so-fresh and appealing way.

Thanks to the Spiritual Formation movement, Christian or Christ-follower is a distinction that is being made more and more today, and it claims to make a clear divide between those who truly follow Jesus and those the well-meaning Christ followers believe are either deluded or faking it.  After all, we don’t want to be linked in any way to those who carry signs at funerals, who might vote Republican, who murdered millions of Jews as few decades ago or who were responsible for the Crusades a few centuries ago. But what about Acts 11:26, where the name “Christians” was given to those who left behind their old faiths to be transformed by Him? These were the men and women who actually converted, repenting of their sins and even dying because of the title Christian:

“For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” –Acts 11:26

Many Christians around the world are martyred today, not because they say they “follow” Jesus, but because of who they are: Christians.

Lighthouse Trails reported that Emerging church leader, Erwin McManus says,

“My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” –Erwin McManus

In McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way, he says,

“The greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity [i.e., Christians].” –Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

Remember that video series on YouTube a few years ago called “Christian No More” (by Christian Community Church)? In a classic Mac–versus–PC parody, the Christian is portrayed as the uptight white guy in a suit and tie with a Jesus bumper sticker, while the cool Christ Follower is the popular young hipster with the whisker stubble and Bono on his iTunes.

As Lighthouse reports:

Interestingly, most of the leaders who seem to be downplaying the name Christian and promoting the appropriation of the term “Christ follower” are contemplative spirituality proponents. One contemplative advocate, Rick Warren, had the term throughout his former website. Lee Strobel refers to it in his book Case for Christ (Student Edition), and Wesleyan pastor David Drury has a Christ-Follower Pop Quiz on his web site to help determine if you are really a “Christ Follower.”

Which brings us to the Shane Hipps video and article over at’s Museum of Idolatry:

Shane Hipps Says “Jesus Doesn’t Claim Christianity As His Own”

Here is Shane Hipps, former co-teaching pastor with Rob Bell at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, blowing winds of false doctrine designed to make you believe in universalism rather than Biblical Christianity.

The Holy Spirit warned us about men like Shane Hipps in Ephesians 4:10-16 which says:

“He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Emphasis added.

This reminds me a lot of emerging church leader and labyrinth promoter Dan Kimball’s book called, “They Like Jesus, But Not the Church,” which promotes the idea that you can believe in Jesus but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. In some missionary societies, they teach people from other religions that they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term “Christian.” Those who teach the highly problematic “Kingdom Circles” method of contextualizing to Muslims and other faiths do that astoundingly well:

This is why the Spiritual Formation movement (which is promoted by Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, the emerging church, etc) is so dangerous and misleading. It not only divides the Bride of Christ, it teaches people that anyone can enter the Kingdom of God just by practicing a few disciplines designed to make you look and act like Jesus. In other words, Jesus becomes a model or an example who can be followed and mimicked. For example, Ken Blanchard says Jesus is a perfect model to follow. That’s why he talks so much about leading like Jesus would lead. But Blanchard has shown time and again that he believes meditation is a key factor in becoming like Jesus. Church, did you know that Blanchard is himself a practitioner and promoter of Buddhist and New Age techniques? And yet many of our churches follow the Saddleback or Willow Creek model that employs Blanchard and Drucker practices!

Jesus did not come to be a business model; He came to be the Savior who died for our sins. And those who know and follow Him are His precious Bride, the Body of Christ: Christians.

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