Monday, March 19, 2007

Up for a heart pounding discussion on Mormonism? Check out

Crosstalk with Ingrid Schlueter on VCY America went great today. We were discussing Mormonism when some glitch booted me off the air. I've never had that happen before, so it was interesting--especially when I couldn't reach them and they couldn't reach me for at least five minutes. I felt badly for Ingrid, with her guest suddenly MIA.

The interesting part about this was that during my boot time, Ingrid took calls and John Morehead got on the air to talk about his missiological paradigm (translated: COMPROMISE). For those of you not in the know, this is the latest division to be sown in the Church by none other than the people who spent their lives defending her.

Definition of Cultural Apologetics . . . whenever possible, sacrifice biblical truth and be culturally sensitive to the enemies of Jesus Christ.

Example - A Mormon tells you his young Mormon wife died in childbirth, and asks if he will he see her again if he accepts the Jesus you're preaching.

What do you say?

A biblical apologist would express genuine sorrow at this man's terrible loss, and then tell him the truth--there is a difference between Joseph Smith's Jesus and the Jesus of the Bible. This difference impacts eternity.

The cultural apologist expresses genuine sorrow and then avoids the truth in order to be culturally sensitive to this Mormon's feelings about Joseph Smith--his religious leader. He uses the only time he will ever have to speak to this man on this earth to reassure him that he might see his wife again someday.

Don't believe me? It's all on DVD.

I was sad to talk to John under these circumstances. I consider him a friend and a brother in the Lord, but I stand by my on air assessment of his position: he and others like him (Craig Hazen and Greg Johnson) have compromised the cause of Christ for a paradigm inspired by the Spirit of this Age.

I will be addressing this philosophy of Cultural Apologetics later this week when I talk about another Christian University heading south into the cultural abyss (yes, it's Biola). Craig Hazen of "Gee let's worship at the Mormon Tabernacle every year" fame is now up for the Presidency of Biola.

Heaven help us.


John W. Morehead said...

Jill, it was good to talk with you yesterday on the radio program, although unfortunately the host did not permit me to respond to your allegations and issues.

I appreciate your respectful disagreement, and am glad that at least you still consider me a fellow Christian. Some of the criticisms of those on your side of the aisle have not been as gracious. Perhaps we can follow the maxim of your father and agree to disagree agreeably on these important issues.

As to the specifics of your post, it is unfortunate that you portray a cross-cultural missiological approach to new religions like Mormonism as compromise. Have you read our book Encountering New Religious Movements (Kregel Academic & Professional, 2004) on the topic, or the sampling of sources on missiological and religious studies included in the book's bibliography? I doubt it. Have you read widely in missiology, the history of Christian missions, religious studies, or the sociology of religion to discern how these disiplines shed light on the missional task to adherents of new religions? Do you recall that our book is endorsed by leading evangelical scholars, apologists, and missiologists, and won the Christianity Book of the Year Award in 2005 in the category of missions/global affairs? The only one's to complain about these ideas are those in the countercult given our critique of their approach. It is a pity that they struggle with the honest criticism and alternative methodology of peers. Can you move beyond simplistic biblical proof-texting in a reconsideration and critique of the missional model?

To make such blanket statements without any attempt at supporting documentation from what I have said or written demonstrates unfairness, and such a dismissive view of missiology also evidences theological and missiological shallowness and naivette.

I would point your readers to the book ENRM, the Lausanne issue paper on this topic, and my other writings for those interested in exploring this issue so that fair analysis can be made. I would also ask that you would be more careful Jill in your public statements about this issue, because the way in which you are sharing your concerns smacks of a form of evangelical McCarthyism among a handful of the countercult community. You can do better than this.

8:51 AM  
Diane said...

I look forward to listening and after I do I'll add my comments. This is good timing since I'm teaching a course on the cults and next week I'm dealing with methodology.

Jeff Downs

10:08 AM  
jpu said...

i don't see how the argument from ignorance e.g. you haven't read all the books i read nor the argument from acclaim e.g. CT liked our book and so did alot of other people answer the question of the hypothetical conversation with the widower mormon. the issue is 1 book and how methods deviate or align with it.
God is good

11:17 AM  
Jay Howard said...

I read what John Moorhead said about Jill Rische and his comments concerning her blog. there are few things you need to know about John Moorhead. While it is true, that John Moorhead, at one time, was part of the Christian Counter Cult Community and was a staff person for Watchmen Fellowship. He is now bitterly opposed to to those he used to closely work with. He will tell anyone who'll listen that our approach to ministry is old and no longer appropriate in this post-modern world we find ourselves in

His first salvo begins with his typical priggish attitude, " It is obvious that you are not reading the same books and materials that I am. Until you do, you cannot speak intelligently to me about the issues ." ( you notice this is the same approach that he took with Jill here in his comments) he has said the same exact thing to several of my colleagues in a the Christian Counter Cult Community, among them Bill McKeever, Bill Honsberger, Keith Walker, Don Veinot and Jeff Downs. This is his mantra and he's sticking to it. He talks at great length about his, " Missiological Paradigm ". He keeps telling anyone who'll listen that his is the correct way to deal with unsaved people groups. And the approach that we use is not only out of date but extremely hurtful. A

It is very common for him to whine about how he is misunderstood and that we do not treat him with Christian kindness. But when you read his comments about the Christian evangelical cult of movement, you will see that his comments are more often than not mean-spirited and vicious. A good example of this is his latest blog on what he calls, " Evangelical McCarthyism ". He asks to be treated with civility but his attacks on us are ongoing and relentless.

In the last two or three years many of us who have gone to him and asked for empirical evidence to show that his, "Missiological Paradigm " is bringing people to Christ. Without exception, he refuses to answer the question. So if you have the opportunity to dialogue with him, feel free to ask him for empirical evidence. Hopefully, you will have better luck than we have but do not hold your breath.

Lastly, and most importantly, several of us are aware that at least on two separate occasions John has gone out of his way to sabotage Christian out reaches to the Mormon people. Most recently, there has been attempts, by Christian ministries, to mail and hand deliver thousands of DVDs called, "The Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith". John Moorhead took it upon himself to tell Mormons, through his blog, that the DVD was coming and to disregard it. Over a year-ago there was a Mormon temple outreach in Sacramento, California. John personally contacted multiple churches asking them not to give assistance to those involved in the outreach. He is not simply being neutral but he is aggressively attempting to thwart the gospel from being given to Mormons. This is not a mark of Christian Brother but rather he is acting like those men that the apostle Paul warns about in II Timothy Chapter 3:6 - 9.

For those who will continue to encounter John Moorhead on the Internet, let this be a warning to you, this is the type of man that you will be dealing with. .

11:51 AM  
Mark Scheiderer said...

By clicking on Morehead's info and reading about his interest in horror films - he even has a new blog on the topic - and other ungodly things, it is easy to see why he has strayed so far afield : love of sin.
You can't partake in such sinful practices - and associate with cult members such as JPUSA's own infamous Jon Trott - without being led astray, and coming up with a "cross-cultural missiological approach" that produces no fruit.
All because of a love of sin.
Most tragic of all is that he is now virtually unreachable to those who have tried to correct him. He appears to have the ability to justify any and all of his actions and interests.
A seared conscience, a hardened heart, deafened ears. A truly dangerous state to be in. May God bring him to repentance or remove him from a position of influence if he doesn't repent - SOON!

8:48 PM  
Jeff said...

John has a valid point about the need to understand the viewpoint of those you criticize. John obviously understands counter-cult apologetics. If anyone is going to criticize other apologetic methodologies, it seems reasonable to expect that they are familiar with them.

The problem is...John can not communicate this methology and when he has in the past, it didn't look any different then what we've already been doing...for years!

It is seems though that now, John as moved far to left, so perhaps there might be some major differences at this point.

4:34 PM  
John W. Morehead said...

I find it curious that Jeff repeats the mantra that I cannot communicate my cross-cultural missions methodology and that it allegedly looks so much like counter-cult apologetics that he can't tell the difference. The paradigm I and others are putting forward has been articulated in Encountering New Religious Movements (Kregel Academic, 2004) and a Lausanne issue group paper, as well as our issue group's website and numerous other articles and books. Jeff may be familiar with some of this, but the fact that he makes the claims referenced above demonstrates that he doesn't "get it" and that it indeed requires a paradigm shift.

As to my allegedly moving "left," this cannot be demonstrated either in the theological or political realms, so I would ask Jeff to stop making this assertation and also spend more time reading the background literature in missiology and other disciplines so that he too can communicate more effectivley. One must be able to say "I understand" before one can say "I disagree."

8:34 PM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Please stop telling everyone that they need to read more. It's condescending, repetitive and doesn't reflect well on you.

You're not the only one who reads . . . by the way, why did you remove your post supporting Frank Beckwith's negative comments?


12:53 AM  
Jeff said...


Ho hum...we've been through this before. I've read your material and have come to the conclusions I have. Others have as well. Comments such as, "yeah, we agree on this area" and "he's not saying anything different" have been communicated to me and by me in the past. Mind you, it is couched in different terminology and you are obviously saying some things that are different.

The proof (your blog) is in the pudding, John. The direction you've taken has been progressing in a downward spiral, and from my perspective, not positive.

1:31 AM  
Jeff said...

My review of John's article "Where Do We Go From Here?: Transforming Evangelical Responses to New Religious Movements", maybe of interest to some.

1:40 AM  

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