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Pagan Anti-Christian Scholar To Be Featured At North Illinois UM Teaching Event

Subject: Marcus Borg preaches at NIC pulpit
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2001 14:59:10 -0500
From: "Michael L. Gonzalez"

Marcus Borg, mentor to C. Joseph Sprague, will take the pulpit for worship services at FUMC Downers Grove in November. Borg, a top name in the Jesus Seminar, commandeers the moniker "christian," but he actually classifies himself as a panentheist. As you can read below, he uses the Bible, not as the Word of God, but rather as a philosophy student uses ancient books of mythology. Borg denounces the doctrine and beliefs of the United Methodist Church (as well as those of every truly Christian church). This man is everything which the Bible teaches us to remove from our midst. We are warned of his kind of false teaching in the Bible in more ways than we are warned of those who teach witchcraft and sorcery. Would we sit idly by if one who practices witchcraft were to "preach a sermon" in our church? If not, then why would we watch a false teacher of the sorts of Borg "preach" while we do nothing?

If you noticed the announcement of the NICEA "Meeting Jesus Again" in the UMReporter this past week http://www.gbgm-umc.org/nillconf/Calendar.htm#mjaws, you couldn't have missed the announcement of Marcus Borg at Downers Grove, just below the NICEA announcement:


Nov. 2-4: 'The Battle for the Bible Today'
First UMC, 1032 Maple Ave., Downers Grove
Program features theologian Marcus Borg, author and member of the Jesus Seminar.

  • On Friday from 7:30-9:45 p.m., a free lecture will be on “The Battle for the Bible Today.” Reception and book signing will follow.
  • On Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Borg will deliver three lectures: “Seeing God Again,” “Seeing Jesus Again” and “Seeing the Christian Life Again.” Registration fee of $25 includes lunch.
  • On Sunday, Borg will lead worship at First UMC, 8:15 and 9:30 a.m.; and lead 11 a.m. adult Sunday school.

Contact: (630) 968-7120. _______________

Please join me in prayer that people of the NIC will attend the NICEA event and become empowered by God to resist the forces of evil that are running rampant in this conference of the UMC. Let us pray that the words from Marcus Borg will fall on deaf ears, and that he will not lead people away from Christ and His salvation imparted to those who follow Him.

Read below the beliefs of Borg, and you will hear a heretical philosophy. If any candidate for the ministry in the UMC espoused in the ordination process any of this philosophy, which consistently denounces UMC doctrine, that candidate would be dismissed from the process. And yet, this heresy is to be preached from the pulpit in a conference church?!

Let us pray: Where, oh Lord, is the shepherd of your flock here in the NIC? You have shown us, Lord, that C. Joseph Sprague is NOT your follower, and we will NOT follow him; and so we search, Lord, for the defender of the faith in the NIC. Who, Lord, will lead your children away from the false teacher who will preach in Your house in Downers Grove in November?

Background profile on Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg, one of the Jesus Seminar's founders, is frank about what he does NOT believe. Borg does not believe Jesus was born of a virgin, walked on water, multiplied loaves of bread, performed any miracle other than "healing," ever claimed any divinity for himself or sonship with God, ever claimed his death would be a sacrifice for the world's sins, or ever physically rose from the dead.

Similarly, Borg does not believe in the miracles recorded in the Old Testament, such as the parting of the Red Sea, because he rejects notions of an "interventionist" God. Although he does not believe God answers prayer, Borg does think prayer can be therapeutic for its own sake.

According to Borg, the Bible was not in any way divinely inspired and is completely a human creation. Not surprisingly, he does not believe in an afterlife and thinks Christians are wrong to focus on it. Borg does not believe Christianity is in any way more true or preferable to any other religion, and expects the Christian faith eventually to fade away either into an obscure sect or complete oblivion.

He professes not to believe in any firm or unchanging standard of truth, as all perceptions of truth are culturally relative. He makes it clear that he does not believe in a creator God or even a personal God, both concepts being more suitable for children who lack "critical thinking" than for sophisticated adults.

What does Borg believe? Borg believes Jesus was a Jewish mystic, spirit person, and social prophet, who, like the Buddha, experienced altered states of consciousness and "shamanic journeys." Jesus was killed for politically opposing the "domination system" of his day.

The early church, Borg believes, elevated the "post-Easter" Jesus to the exalted titles of Lord, King, Savior and divine Son merely to express a personal faith and sense of spiritual community, and did not intend these concepts to be literally believed.

Borg believes everything is a part of God, and God is part of everything. For this reason, Borg calls himself a "panentheist" who rejects the "supernatural theism" of traditional Christianity.

He believes mainline churches have declined because most people cannot any longer believe in "literal" versions of Christianity. Although Borg cannot believe in divine miracles, he does believe in "paranormal healings," visions, and altered states of consciousness.

He believes the church, instead of focusing on its concepts of personal "sin," should combat the political and economic systems he believes are at fault for the world's misery. Borg believes that Christianity's symbols and language are a useful "lens" through which to view life, so long as we do not take Christianity's teachings too literally.

Borg calls for a "revisioning" of Christian theology. He would like to discard the "older understanding" of the faith reflected in the Nicene Creed. He would drop the "moralistic" warnings about sin, the call for persons to seek forgiveness, the proclamation of Christ as the only author of redemption, and the promise of eternal life for Christian believers.

Borg urges moving beyond "fact fundamentalism" and suggests accepting that Bible stories can be true without being literally true. "We need to be clear and candid," Borg says. "The Bible is a human product." Ascribing it to divine inspiration leads to "massive confusion."

He recalls that he once believed in the Christmas story as literally involving a virgin birth, a "magic star," and Wise Men with gifts. He did so because he lacked the "mental equipment" at that age to think otherwise. Most people develop the ability for critical thinking in late adolescence, he noted. "Fundamentalists" reject this route and instead uncritically cling to stories of Noah and the Garden of Eden. But maturity involves moving into "post-critical" thinking so as to accept Bible stories as not factual but still spiritually true in some mystical way, Borg affirms.

He relates that his own spiritual development has rejected "supernatural theism" altogether in favor of panentheism. The former hails God as creator of the universe, while the latter sees the universe as literally part of God. Borg says the old supernatural theism, which described God as separate from the universe and occasionally intervening in it, made God "remote and irrelevant." But panentheism recognizes that "we and everything that is are in God. God is not something else. God is right here and all around us. We are within God."

Panentheism, Borg claimed, is very "ancient" and was a "foundational element in the Christian tradition." This panentheism allows us to pray to a "reality that is all around us," Borg affirms. "The best way to refer to God is You, the You who is right here." Borg calls himself a "happy agnostic" regarding life after death. "Salvation is something that happens in this life."

According to Borg, "I don't think God cares if we're Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or something not yet born. We're not talking about a divine requirement that we be Christian."

Borg distinguishes between the pre-Easter and the post-Easter Jesus. The pre-Easter man was simply a great historical figure who fought for social justice. But the post-Easter figure, which the early church developed in its traditions, became a divine miracle-worker who was raised from the dead. Borg said Jesus could be viewed as the "decisive disclosure of God" without having to say he's the "only one or without even saying he's the best one."

He describes the Bible and Jesus as simply a helpful "lens" through which to view the sacred. "If we stop using the Christian lens, then we cease to be Christian, and that's not the end of the world. If humanity lasts 10,000 years, then I expect that, if Christianity lasts at all, then it will be a tiny sect like Zoroastrianism. We're not going to last forever in the Christian tradition. The Christian lens will eventually fall into disuse."

According to Borg, "fundamentalism" has "reached its high water mark." He forecast a "very bright" future for mainline churches if they understand their traditions "metaphorically" and not literally. To be successful, churches will have to recognize that Christianity is not the only way of salvation, he concludes.

Borg further refutes the biblical tradition's notion of a personal deity as a "childlike literalization of the personifications of God." Seeing God as a "person-like being out there" makes it impossible to appreciate God's presence "in everything" and makes the deity seem "unreal or remote." He also complains that notions of a supernatural God who intervenes in the universe make it impossible to understand illness, car accidents, airplane crashes, or the Holocaust.

According to Borg, we cannot believe that God literally raised Jesus from the dead. The "pre-Easter Jesus is a figure of the past, dead and gone. He isn't anywhere." Talk about his corpse or an empty tomb are "irrelevant distractions." But the "post-Easter Jesus" as a spiritual creation of the early church is alive in the hearts of believers, Borg claims.

It would have been an incredibly arrogant Jesus who claimed equality with God and predicted his own resurrection. "We have categories of psychology for people who talk that way about themselves," Borg has said. Borg says modern people rightly are "suspicious that any particular collection of teachings or doctrines can be absolute truth." Every notion of truth is actually "conditioned and relative to the time and place in which it originated."

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