The Heresy of Evangelical Prayers

Monday Discussion

According to an article siting a new Barna poll:

  • 25 percent of “Born-again Christians hold universalist views.
  • 26 percent say a person’s religion doesn’t matter–they all teach the same lessons.
  • 40 percent say Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Dr. D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, had this to say about the latest finding:
“There are pressures in our culture to reduce the truth content of Scripture and then simply dismiss people by saying that they’re intolerant or narrow-minded … or bigoted without actually engaging the truth question at all. And that is really sad and in the long haul, horribly dangerous.”

Personally, I have been concerned for sometime at the lack of doctrinal specificity in the belief structures of Christians. Listening to worship leaders who truly love Christ and pastors who love the word of God who nevertheless reveal a shallowness of biblically saturated reflection on the nature of God.

Listen for instance to the prayers that are prayed on a typical Sunday morning by worship leaders, pastors, elders and deacons, and you will be subjected to prayers that reflect almost zero understanding of the Trinity. Now on one level we can sympathize. The Trinity is a great mystery. But can we at least avoid heresy that the church has condemned and brothers and sisters in Christ have died for?

The Father did not die on the cross. The Son did. The Father did not rise from the dead. The Son did. Jesus was not “100 percent man and 100 percent God.” That is a logical contradiction (see J.P. Moreland on this issue here.) He [Christ] was God “incarnate”, God in human flesh. He was one person, with two natures, one human and one divine.

These are truths that our brothers and sisters in the past have died for. These are biblical doctrines, designed to state what the whole of the Scripture teaches about the nature of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

This BLOG is a trumpet for evangelism and engagement with neighbors in the practical, nitty-gritty of life. But rich evangelistic thrust is not an excuse for soft-headed thinking about the nature of God. We need deep theological reflection over the greatness Christ, (“God was in Christ” [2 Cor. 5:19a]) and the greatness of the gospel (“reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” [2 Cor. 5:19b])

Our Christ and our gospel are both glorious. Let’s make sure that is reflected in our prayers. It might help us produce a more theologically literate congregation for the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

11 thoughts on “The Heresy of Evangelical Prayers

  1. I think that there has been an emphasis on “getting people into the Church”, or worse, simply “getting them through the doors”, without focussing that Christ did not commission us to simply make converts, but to make disciples.

    Thank you for this post. I left a church a while back to move back into the Church of England. Now, whilst the Church of England is oftentimes succumbing to false teaching, I was astounded to learn that the senior leader at my previous church believed that Jesus was born into sin. A dangerous and profound error.

    I do pray that you, I and all those who belong to the Church may be filled with doctrinal soundness as well as missional zeal.


    1. Mark of Faith,

      Thanks for your comment. I took a look at your blog too. Here is a link to a chapter I contributed in a 2010 book by Moody Press. Based on your blog, I think you will find it helpful and interesting. My prayers are for you this morning. May God’s peace continue to be your light.


  2. Thanks for the post Marty! A message apart from sound content, reduces the gospel to the message of man, rather than God’s offer of salvation. Kudos for posting this. While many are playing the ‘get them in by all means’ game, it is refreshing to know some are still contending for the faith! A quick look at many ‘new church plants’ reveals a lot to be desired in relation to biblical Christianity. Content is giving way to entertainment as leaders see rock star status instead of the heart of a servant. Thanks for your burden and call to pour your life into those looking for mentoring and training. God bless….. Terry


  3. Hi Marty,

    I’ve been thinking about one part of this blog post, and I am a little uncomfortable with how you’ve expressed this.

    Jesus was not “100 percent man and 100 percent God.” That is a logical contradiction (see J.P. Moreland on this issue here.) He [Christ] was God “incarnate”, God in human flesh. He was one person, with two natures, one human and one divine.

    Now, I know that the liturgies are not to be taken as having the same authority as Scripture, yet I believe that the best of the liturgies are inspired works that can be safely used to express Biblical truth.
    In the Anglican church one liturgy goes: “He [Christ] is fully God, yet fully Man”.
    Obviously this does not transfer into a mathemtical equation. The idea of translating English (or any other spoke language) into the mathematical language is a modern scientific effort (possibly based on Greek ‘wisdom’) that does not work too well for spiritual matters. Hence, I agree that “100% God and 100% man” is not true.
    Yet Jesus is the very fullness of God (John 1 – the “Logos”, or “Fullness”), yet He is also fully a Man (“He is like us in every way, yet without sin.”).
    I would very much like your thoughts on this Marty.

    Thanks, Mark.
    (P.S. I still think it’s a great blog post, just seeking clarification.)


    1. Mark,

      Just found your question. (Don’t know how I missed it ???) Anyway … Yes I don’t think there is anything wrong with the Anglican liturgical statement, one that is repeated in many non-Anglican fellowships I might add. And you are right, there is the difficulty in translation from the Greek to English. This is why words matter and also why we must be careful.

      The liturgical statement you reference is a statement of the “fullness” of the each of the two natures that Christ possesses and is completely true and logically consistent. The statement “Jesus is 100% God and 100% man” is an attempt at further clarification of that great biblical statement that says something that is no longer logically consistent. I hope that helps. Did you get to see Dr. Moreland’s video with the link I provided? that might help too.

      God’s best to you my brother. Marty


      1. Hi Marty,

        Yes, your perspective on this is the same as mine. I am glad for the clarification of your perspective on the Biblical truth.

        Thanks, and God bless.


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