Why is a Saddleback pastor teaching on the Kingdom Circles?

This photo is satirical

March 12, 2012 by

With all the buzz about the interfaith aspect of Saddleback Church’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan and the controversy over the King’s Way initiative that partners Rick Warren’s church together with the Islamic community, many question just how Saddleback is reaching Muslims after promising not to convert anyone to Christianity.

Could it be that not converting anyone is one reason Pastor Warren is getting so many questions about Chrislam?

This is a photo of Emmaus Weekend Pentecost, an event held last June 11 and 12 in The Parish of Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church in Sophia Antipolis, a town near Nice, France:

In “The Mission” workshop, which was part of an International Ecumenical Fellowship, Saddleback Pastor Abraham Meulenberg and his wife Marieke spoke to a small group of attendees.

If you’ll notice the diagram behind him, the Kingdom Circles are part of the session. Basically, it’s a simple but highly questionable evangelical tool that people are being taught to draw (sometimes called the “napkin drawing”) to demonstrate how those of other faiths can enter the Kingdom of God without converting to Christianity. If you’ve not heard of this, you need to. The video from the Common Path Alliance as well as this article from the Jesus in the Qur’an organization explains it:

The question is, does Meulenberg teach this? Or were those Kingdom Circles diagrams left over from a previous speaker, and Meulenberg taught on a different subject?

Who else teaches the Kingdom Circles methodology? Those who are proponents of “C-5 Contextualization,” a highly controversial movement that many believe is pure syncretism; the blending of two faiths—Islam and Christianity – into Chrislam. Those who are C-5 proponents say that just like Messianic Jews, there can be Messianic Muslims. Never mind that the “Isa” found in the Qur’an is NOT the Jesus of the Bible.  Isa is not the Son of God.

Yet these Isa-worshippers say that they are Christian, and a growing number of Christian leaders are changing their paradigm from No way to Maybe to Sure, why not, in this “global conversation”:

There are many questions about how Christians should be reaching out to Muslims with the truth of the Gospel.If the gospel must be contextualized, how far can contextualization go without violating the gospel? And do the Kingdom Circles do that?

The one answer we can be sure of: There is no hope, no atonement for our sin and no way into the Kingdom of God without Jesus Christ. Christianity is the only faith that worships Jesus as the Son of God. He is our Messiah; our King.

Any movement that tells believers of other faiths and beliefs (Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Muslims, etc.), that they can enter the Kingdom of God without converting to Christianity must be questioned.

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6 thoughts on “Why is a Saddleback pastor teaching on the Kingdom Circles?

  1. Is that towel a part of the sauna routine in the Daniel Losing Weight Diet thing? Or did it just land there by accident before the photo was taken? Either way, that is a very nice rock feature…

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  2. I think the central question is whether we are saved by Jesus Christ, or by accurate theology. Considering the conflicting theological understandings even within Christianity, I certainly hope our salvation is dependent on who Jesus is, rather than our theological capacity. What about those with mental or educational disabilities, incapable of understanding theological nuances like the trinity, atonement theory, or the homeostatic union?

    No, I have to believe that salvation is found in Jesus, not in theology. Considering that God saw fit to use astrology and Zoroastrian prophecy to lead three Persian priests to the manger of Jesus, I think scripture affirms such a view.

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    • Thank you for you comment. I paid a visit to your blog and I’d like to commend you for your well written articles and considered opinions.

      I am in full agreement that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, who He is, the perfection of the sacrifice He made and that Scripture provides undeniable assurance of these truths. By the very nature of His atonement, theological understanding and accuracy, or the complete lack thereof, can play no role in the salvation of the spiritually unregenerate, whether they possess the capacity to develop such an understanding, or not.

      Notwithstanding the fact that, as you rightly point out, there exists a myriad of conflicting theological positions within Christianity, the singular truth regarding salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, cannot be disputed by the saved believer, without the accompanying denial of the inerrancy of Scripture. This would account for those who are saved despite their mental or educational disabilities, their inability to “make a decision for Christ” or to follow theological prescripts.

      Nothing could be more worthy of our defense than these precious truths, which makes it imperative that, when someone who has for whatever reason become as visible as Rick Warren has, preaches a gospel which willfully contradicts the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, it be addressed by those who have been saved by the grace of God. New Testament scripture most certainly emphasizes this.

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      • I guess the point that I was making was that you can be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and still be theologically inaccurate on the doctrines surrounding Christ. I believe that everyone has the opportunity to be saved by the person, if not the name, of Jesus. If I come to know, love, and submit myself to Jesus Christ as I have come to know him in the context of Islam, can I still be saved? If our salvation is dependent on Jesus, and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life… then yes, I can.

        At least, that’s my take on it, for what it’s worth. 😉

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  3. I guess the point that I was making was that you can be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and still be theologically inaccurate on the doctrines surrounding Christ.

    Yes, I agree.

    I believe that everyone has the opportunity to be saved by the person, if not the name, of Jesus.

    Again, I fully agree.

    If I come to know, love, and submit myself to Jesus Christ as I have come to know him in the context of Islam, can I still be saved? If our salvation is dependent on Jesus, and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life… then yes, I can.

    From a Christian and biblical perspective, I have to disagree entirely with this statement, that is, if I understand your point correctly.
    If I come to know, love and submit myself to Jesus Christ, it cannot be in the context of Islam or any other false religion for that matter, as the person who is represented as Jesus by Islam, is in direct opposition to the Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
    The raison d’etre of the Islamic religion is to expressly deny the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore those who believe in the false Jesus of the Islamic religion are deceived, are not saved and do not know the true Christ.
    If our salvation is dependent on Jesus Christ, the Son of the God of the Christian Bible, as thus it is, we will not be left with an Islamic understanding of who He is, but will know Him as He truly is.

    Grace to you.

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  4. Pingback: Should we pray for God to comfort those who oppose the Gospel, like Rick Warren? | For the Love of His Truth

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