Wednesday, February 1, 2017

book review--Making Jesus Lord by Loren Cunningham

two abused teachings to support one very bad idea

First, a comment about the Kindle version of this book, which is what I read. It's shoddy and sub-standard. It has no table of content, and doesn't even have paragraph indents or chapter breaks. It was obviously a hurried and slipshod job.

Now, on to the contents.

The author twists two biblical teachings in order to end up pushing one very bad idea.

The first misused teaching is the idea of “giving up your rights”. Now, there is a biblical basis for this idea. One can look in I Corinthians 8 and 9, and see where Paul wrote about how he decided to not exercise certain rights, such as the right to expect the churches to support him financially, or the right to eat certain things when doing so might cause someone else to stumble. Paul's reasons for doing so are love for God and other people, his concern that others shouldn't stumble in his actions such as eating certain foods, though he had the perfect liberty to eat those things, and his concern to preach the gospel free of charge.

But this author uses this idea of giving up rights to smuggle in some very strange ideas, ones not found in the Bible. “He was giving us the strategy for accomplishing the greatest job ever given to man—taking over the earth from Satan and winning it back for God. Jesus was showing us that the only way to conquer is to submit.” (Kindle Locations 114-116) That's something not taught in the Bible at all, but it does lead up to the big bad idea of this book. “It is a rule of the Kingdom of God: Give up something good and receive something of greater value; give up your rights and receive greater privileges with God.” (Kindle Locations 133-134) Wow, great privileges with God? Well, too bad that's not in the Bible. What we're getting here is a quit pro quo, you give up something and God will give you something in return. That's not how it works.

The second abused idea is “moving in the opposite spirit”. Just like the first, this one does a biblical basis. One could, for example, point to Galatians 5:16-26, where the works of the flesh are contrasted with the fruit of the spirit, and show how Christians should turn from those fleshly works and grow more in the fruit of the spirit.

But this author again goes some strange places with his teachings. “God is going to utterly defeat Satan, and He’s going to do it with individuals who move in the opposite spirit to the forces of darkness.” (Kindle Locations 1177-1178) Well, that's quite the claim. Gotta verse for that? Btw he doesn't. “God allows attacks from the enemy in order to extend Christ’s Kingdom on earth. We take literal ground for God in this world every time we respond correctly to Satan’s offensive.” (Kindle Locations 1274-1276) I assume he means “literal” literally, and not figuratively, but he certainly does not mean it biblically, because he offers no biblical support for this claim.

All of this leads up to the last part of the book, where the author introduces his biggest and worst idea. It can be summed up by the phrase “Seven Mountains Dominionism”. “God has told us to take the world for Him. That’s what it says in Matthew 28:18-20 when Jesus tells us that He has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth, all other issues and doubts are settled. Then He turns around and says to us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you….”” (Kindle Locations 1523-1526), Jesus wasn't telling the disciples to go out and take over the world here, that's nonsense. You can look at what the Bible says in many different places about the state of the world when Christ returns, and you'll see a gaping lack of any mention of the Church having taken over the world and setting up a bliss-filled theocracy just eager for Jesus to finally decide it's time to come join the party.

If you have given over your rights, if you are standing barefoot in His presence, He is promising to give you all the land that the sole of your foot treads upon (Joshua 13).” (Kindle Locations 1565-1566) I don't know what this author is thinking, but there is nothing like that in Joshua 13. This is a common practice among people like this author, taking a promise made to one person in the Bible and try to shoehorn it for themselves. God made that promise to someone who lived about 3500 years ago, not to us today. This promise is not God telling us to go and take over the world.

Jesus has promised to give the earth to the meek, to the barefoot, to those who have surrendered their rights to Him. He wants us to claim the nations of the earth as His inheritance.” (Kindle Locations 1807-1808) While Jesus has promised that the meek will inherit the earth, there is nothing in the Bible that tells us that Jesus “... wants us to claim the nations of the earth as His inheritance”. That's just something shameful this author made up.

Like any other Christian, I read my Bible and try to discern what is going on around me. But one thing I do believe very clearly: Jesus told us to occupy until He came (Luke 19:13 kjv).” (Kindle Locations 1632-1633) “He says to occupy until He comes. To occupy means to take leadership.” (Kindle Location 1816) This is so bad, I'm embarrassed for this author. Luke 19:13 is taken from a parable. “12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’” This is from the ESV, and it gives the real meaning of the word translated “occupy” in the KJV which in context would still be a fine word, it only becomes a problem because of this author's dishonest twisting of that word. In a video on YouTube titled “Ruling With Jesus - Loren Cunningham”, this author even goes so far as to compare the Church to an occupying army. It is completely shameful for this author to try to take the “occupy” from both the meaning of the original word, and from it's context in this parable, and try to make it about some kind of need for the church to act like an occupying army.

There is simply so much wrong with this book, that it's just not worth wading into the sludge to find the few good things he says. There are so many better resources out there, ones that don't try to push made-up ideas and fairy tales about taking over the world. Skip this piece of rot, it's worthless.

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