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Shoemaker Destroys Souls (John 10:10)
Dr. H. Steven Shoemaker is senior minister in Charlotte, NC at:
Myers Park Baptist Church
"An ecumenical church in the Baptist tradition!" (www.mpbconline.org, hard copy on file, as with all other quotes)
Just how ecumenical are they? In a sermon dated September 15, 2002, entitled, "THE HONDA AND THE BAR MITZVAH: SPIRITUAL IDENTITY IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD," Shoemaker begins with these words:
Today's sermon urges us to embrace the particularity of the Christian way while being open to the truth of other faith traditions. Philosopher George Santayana once remarked:
. . . every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. Its power consists in its special and surprising message and the bias which that revelation gives to life. (www.mpbconline.org/2002%20Sermons/091502.htm, bold added)
Shoemaker speaks of "the truth of other faith traditions" when the word of God teaches,
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . he is proud, knowing nothing, . . . and destitute of the truth. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
There is no "truth of other faith traditions." No true faith or truth exists other than the one faith tradition of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 4:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6). There is only one "living and healthy religion" (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). All others are of the world and the devil (1 John 4:5; 5:19; Revelation 12:9) and have no light (Isaiah 8:20; For more on this, see Unity of the Saints.) The people at Myers Park Baptist Church have no light in them as they deny the word of God in their ecumenism folly and walk in darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:14).
A little later in this sermon, speaking of his church, Myers Park Baptist Church, Shoemaker says,
In this remarkable church we live with a genuine openness to and respect for other faith traditions.
It is evident Shoemaker and his church do not trust in the Lord, because those who do trust in the Lord hate other faith traditions (Psalm 26:5; 31:6; 119:104, 128) and do "not respect the proud nor such as turn aside to lies" (Psalm 40:4). Other faith traditions are proud (Psalm 119:21; 1 Timothy 6:3-4) and have turned aside to lies (e.g. Proverbs 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9; Isaiah 44:20; 1 Timothy 4:2; Romans 1:25; 1 John 1:6).
Shoemaker continues in this evil sermon and gives specifics of their ecumenism.
For example, in the new member class in the spring of 2001 we had twenty-seven adults join who represented thirteen different faith traditions:
Baptist (from two different denominational groups
Church of Christ
Presbyterian (two different denominational forms)
Roman Catholic (a former nun)
Church of the Savior, Washington, D.C. (Interdenominational)
United Church of Christ
We are either a very interesting congregation, or very confused!
We also have several interfaith families (Jewish and Christian) as key participants in our congregation and a number of "seekers" from other spiritual traditions. (links added)
This is a very confused congregation indeed! Their way is quite broad (Matthew 7:13), and Shoemaker actually speaks evil of the way of Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), the narrow way (Matthew 7:14). In the context of warning "against the narrow and exclusive spiritual identities fostered in fundamentalism of all stripes: Muslim, Christian, Jew," Shoemaker says,
Our identities in such religion become oversimplified. The complexity of our human selfhood is denied. The sacred mysterious complexity of human personhood is turned into slogans: If you don't believe in substitutionary atonement, you can't be saved. If you have sexual thoughts you are impure . The rich are demons; the poor are righteous. Islam is an evil religion; America is the great Satan. And so on. Our wounds can turn into dangerous identities in which we paint ourselves as children of light, and all those who are different as children of darkness. (ibid., bold added)
Shoemaker blasphemes (2 Timothy 3:2) the Biblical teaching of Christ's substitutionary atonement (1 John 2:2) as the only way of salvation (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Colossians 1:14, 19-20; Hebrews 9:13-14; 13:12, 20; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5). He speaks evil of children of light who know "all those who are different" in doctrine are indeed "children of darkness" (John 8:47; 14:23-24; Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 4:6). And he mocks at the fact that Islam is an evil religion (see our report on The Quran). He does this because he is radically ecumenical. He accepts deceit from false religions.
For example, in an August 18, 2002, sermon entitled "THE MEANING OF COMMUNION," Shoemaker says,
I want us to open ourselves to a deeper and broader ecumenism than we could have imagined forty years ago -- though Marney pointed us there and Owens helped carry us there. It will join us in conversation with all the world religions, not just with other Christian denominations. (www.mpbconline.org/2002%20Sermons/081802.htm)
And how does he define this "conversation with all the world religions"? In the next paragraph he rephrases it calling it "to be open to other religious persuasions." In other words, be open to deceit!
Shoemaker has a debased undiscerning evil mind (Romans 1:28-31). He not only sees merit in the false religion of Islam, but "all the world religions," because Shoemaker believes there are many roads to heaven and it doesn't really matter what you believe.
In a sermon dated 11-3-02 entitled, "IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?" Shoemaker says,
We may worry about what will happen to those of other beliefs; we may worry about what we believe. Do you have to believe the right thing to get there? Jesus said,
I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also.
And he said,
In my Father's house are many rooms.
Not one, not a few. Many!
It was to his disciples that Jesus returned in his resurrection appearances. In these appearances in what we could only call his "spiritual body"- - a paradoxical phrase because we had not better words - - he gave his disciples, and gives us, hope in the life to come, a hope based not on our goodness or moral perfection, but upon the grace of God, based not on our correct belief, our faith, but on God's faithfulness. (www.mpbconline.org/2002%20Sermons/110302.htm)
If it wasn't clear exactly what Shoemaker is getting at, note how he ends his sermon.
Harry Emerson Fosdick told the story of the traveler in Switzerland who lost his way. He asked a small boy by the road where Kandersteg was. The boy replied, "Sir, I do not know where Kandersteg is, but there is the road to it."
I do not know where heaven is, or what it will be like, but there, the one named Jesus, he is the road to it.
Are there other roads? One should never underestimate the reach and breadth of the love of God. But this road is the only one you need.
What is Shoemaker strongly implying? He suggests that there are other roads to heaven other than Jesus Christ. But what does it matter? Shoemaker doesn't even believe in an eternal hell. In this same sermon he says,
The history of the doctrines of heaven and hell have their own interesting histories. I personally find it impossible to believe in hell as a permanent place of assignment by God. The New Testament says that when Jesus died he descended into hell, preached the gospel to the spirits imprisoned there and opened the gates of hell's prison (I Peter 3:18-19). If there is a hell, the gates have been opened! God is forever drawing all persons to himself/herself.
Shoemaker perverts 1 Peter 3:18-19. This text speaks of particular spirits in prison who lived during the time of Noah. It does not address those in hell of all ages. For the reality of an eternal hell see, Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:44, 46, 48; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Jude 7; Revelation 14:11; 20:10 (see also our report on Hell).
It is quite apparent Shoemaker rejects the word of God, and a sermon dated 6-30-02, entitled, "THREE FAITHS IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH OF A TEXT," reveals this even further. Shoemaker remarks,
The story of Abraham and Isaac brings revulsion in parts of me where it has brought holy awe to people through the centuries. I have long wrestled with it, hoping to find some blessing, some good news in it.
Would God, the true God beyond the god of our religious imaginations, ask a parent to sacrifice a child? I cannot imagine.
Would God, the true God beyond the gods of our religions, ask a parent to kill their beloved child as a test of faithfulness, only then to save the child at the last moment? I cannot imagine. (www.mpbconline.org/2002%20Sermons/063002.htm)
He cannot imagine because he does not believe God (Genesis 22). In this same sermon, a little later Shoemaker says,
I would hope this text could be used to say that Yahweh, Allah and Abba, the God of Abraham, the God of Mohammed, the God of Jesus, will not command what is morally wrong. God will not contradict the deepest sense of right and wrong which God has given to us. Blind obedience to the will of God or Allah can lead us badly astray.
Here Shoemaker gives credence to the false Islamic god "Allah," the god of Mohammed. David, a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), would not even dare take a false god's name upon his lips (Psalm 16:4). Shoemaker takes up the name of another and provokes the jealously of God (Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 32:16, 21).
A little later in this same sermon, Shoemaker reveals his hatred of God's eternal plan of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
At one level this is sublime truth: God's love allowed God's own son to enter the world and represent God's love and truth even when that meant the world would turn on him and kill him.
But at another level it can become what feels morally abhorrent to me. I cannot conceive of a loving God who would require the sacrifice of his son in order to save the world or forgive our sins or satisfy the divine justice. This makes God the opposite of the God of Abraham, who said, No, I do not want or require the sacrifice of a child! (bold added)
What is "abhorrent" to Shoemaker is awesome truth to a believer.
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin. (Isaiah 53:10)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
In this same sermon Shoemaker says, "If I get to heaven . . . ." He will not. The blackness of darkness is reserved for him (2 Peter 2:17), and all who follow any such deceit will likewise perish (Revelation 21:8).