Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's never enjoyable to point a public finger at someone in grave spiritual error, but every single one of us is required to do it.

Mariners Church in Irvine, California has ventured once again into the Mormon PR spider web currently inhabited by Robert Millet, Brigham Young University, and his blissfully cocooned evangelical Greg Johnson of Standing Together Ministries. Apparently, the pastor and staff of Mariners have joined the ranks of the cultural apologists (populated by such luminaries as Richard Mouw, Craig Hazen and Greg Johnson). Life is so much easier when everybody likes you.

In 2005, Mariners lent their parking lot to Mormons and other visitors in order to make it more convenient for them to view the shiny new Mormon temple. They wanted to express love to their new Mormon neighbors.

They also flatly forbid Christians to share the gospel with anyone in the parking lot.

Now . . . they're back at it again. Yes, any of you who have the night free on May 20 can attend a pulse pounding "Night of Conversation" with Greg Johnson and Bob Millet. How comfy cozy . . . a Mormon preaching his gospel in the Mariners Church Worship Center as evangelicals smile and nod (think Stepford Wives). Previously recorded sessions just like this one indicate it should be another slam dunk for Millet. (Checkout James Spencer's DVD - Mormonism: Has Anything Changed?)

It seems that spiritual discernment at Mariners is as weak as their defense of the faith.

You can find out more info on this in a revealing article by Keith Walker, Evidence Ministries:

Unhappy with Mariners? Here's one of the guilty parties (they won't let you near the pastor): Chris Lagerlof - 949-854-7030, x416


JohnD said...

What Christians forget (or are in denial about) is that cultists and false religionists are not trying to be won over by the truth, but rather they are trying to win us over to "their truth" (which is no truth at all).

So trying to buddy up to them is a fool's venture at best.

Keep right on pointing that public finger, Jill. Your Dad would be so proud!

8:30 AM  
Ahmed said...

Hi Jill,

I am curious if you are planning on attending the event yourself. I think that calling your fellow Christians who attend Mariners church "Stepford Wives" is demeaning and unfair to them. I encourage you to get to know them (the Mariners faithful) before resorting to name-calling.


5:11 PM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Hi Ahmed,

If I still lived in California, believe me Kevin and I would attend--although I don't think Greg or Bob would welcome us.

Anyone who smiles, nods or applauds while the Mormon gospel is preached in the sanctuary of Jehovah God is certainly not thinking (at the very least). This is where the analogy of the Stepford Wives fits quite well.

An analogy is not name-calling, Ahmed. If I said they were foolish, theological lightweights with zero level of spiritual discernment and no heart for the defense of the faith--THAT would be name-calling . . . but I didn't say that.

God does not require me to know everyone at Mariners personally in order to be able to comment on their leaders' spiritual error. You are posting here to correct me . . . do you know me personally, Ahmed? :)

Biblically, we are all required to hold leaders accountable, whether or not we know them personally.

Thanks for posting,


9:29 AM  
Keith Walker said...


You encouraged Jill to get to know the Mariners faithful before resorting to name calling. How do you know they are faithful? From my interaction with Mariners, that is not an adjective I would have chosen to describe them.

Priorities seriously need to be reevaluated when you are more faithful to your Mormon neighbor than you are to defending your flock.

Jill, thanks for sharing my "Offending Fish" article.

1:16 PM  
Mike said...

Everyone plug your ears and shout "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA". No need to actually talk to people of different beliefs to find out what they think. Just keep your eyes closed and keep repeating the same countercult lines. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

"For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matthew 13:15)

8:07 PM said...

My church had Jason Carlson at our men's retreat. In talking to him his dad worked with yours for years, and considers him his mentor. What a wealth of information about Jesus being the only way. What a weekend. I just had to brag to someone, and your the first. I know it doesn't have anyting to do with your post, but if anyone has an opportunity to hear him he is good.

6:48 AM  
Dwayna Litz said...


Jill's connotation of "Stepford Wives" only means that people are not thinking for themselves which is an appropriate observation taken in context with what is happening. Do I have to hear the Dalai Lama in person to make a qualified statement about his beliefs in comparison to the Bible? No. If I know what the Dalai Lama believes I can write about it and discern whether or not the man's teaching is True, after all even the Dalai Lama believes there is no truth. Knowing what I know about the Dalai Lama, I am a rational human being who can compare Buddhism to the Bible. Jill does not have to attend this event to make this equivocation. For you to suggest such would be chasing a red herring, a logical fallacy often used by people to take the audience off the topic when truth is being exposed. It is irrelevant whether she attends or not because of the teachings of Johnson, Hazen, and Millet as quoted previously on this blog. What is relevant is whether or not they are going to apologize and repent. They are the ones who owe the church an explanation, not Jill. She is only speaking in defense of the Bible, as a response to the attacks on it. Hazen, Millet, and Johnson are on the offense. Why not come and join Jill and DEFEND THE BIBLE AND CONTEND FOR THE FAITH AS WE ARE COMMANDED IN JUDE 3? WHY NOT BE OUTRAGED WHEN THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS BEING TREATED LIKE A TEMPLE FOR IDOLS? If this does not outrage you, please take your heart to the Lord, as it is a matter of your own examination before God as His Word states in 1 Cor. 10:19-24. It actually has nothing to do with Jill. It is spiritual. Our battle is against our own sin (rebellion) and God's Word and the humility of the Holy Spirit.

Also, Hazen and Johnson would do good to read Mark 10:30,31 and Luke 14:7-11. It is such a waste to trust in our own "methodologies." It is much more powerful and humble to fight our battles with the Sword of the Lord.

Poor Robert Millet has another Jesus and is not even saved, so he is truly being duped by the enemy in this whole scheme as the "Christians" continue to enable such deception.

We are contending out of love for Jesus and the protection of His church based on His holy Word. I pray for God's mercy on Craig Hazen and Greg Johnson. They are hurting Jesus more than they are hurting Christians. We have a certainty of persecution in the Bible, and that certainty of persecution comes from the enemy and his minions, not God and His people. How are Craig Hazen and Greg Johnson suffering persecution from the lost? If they call comments such as mine "persecution" they are not experiencing persecution from those who hate (the real) Jesus, as the Bible says will happen when we are following Him.

See Mark 10:30 and Galatians 2:11-16.

5:10 PM  
Ahmed said...

Hi Jill,

Thanks for reading my posts and for treating them as respectfully as they were sent. If you don't want to post this message, that's okay, but I just wanted to let you know that I wasn't trying to correct you, I was just trying to raise a question. I have only posted twice on your blog, and both times it concerned (from my perspective) name-calling. Please let me explain why I posted.

I turned 29 the other day (my last birthday for several years!), and in reflection, I realized that over the last few years of my life, I have seen lots of personal conflicts (vendettas?) in what we call evangelicalism. My wife and I were missionaries in China for a couple of years (and hope to return soon), and I began to see how vehemently people would argue over church planting strategies. Throughout my time in seminary, it was far too common to hear people denounce each other, always from the safety of a book or article, never discussing their issues face to face.

Now don't get me wrong. I've never been against a good rebuking (even if I'm the rebukee), but I think that the reasons for it should be very clear. When someone has clearly led people astray or promoted their own agenda (over Christ's cause) or something to that effect, it merits rebuking (of course after following Matthew 18 principles of going to them first, then with a few others, etc.).

I won't weigh in with my opinion on your stance against Greg Johnson and Craig Hazen and others, and here's why...1) my opinion doesn't matter that much and 2) I've noticed something in all of my struggles with evangelical strife. It's as though we're all sitting at one large round table, and everyone likes the person sitting next to them, but detests the person sitting across from them. I won't use names, but Person A writes a chapter in his book against Person B, who started a church movement that is championed by Person C, who sits on a faculty with Person D, who writes articles for Person A. That's a true example, I just withheld names.

It just seems to me that we spend so much of our energy fighting each other, when we could be making disciples all over the world. I know what the response would be to that statement, "but if it's heresy, we can't go along with that", and I agree, if it's heresy.

I appreciate the work of your father very much. What he did for the cause of apologetics and evangelism is immeasurable. But I've also been to a few apologetics events at Biola, including the one with Greg Johnson, and it seemed like his focus was teaching people how to win Mormons to Christ, not justifying Mormon beliefs. He taught us what they believe, and how different it is from what we believe. He kept saying that as we get to know them and love them, we shouldn't forget how wrong their beliefs are (my paraphrase), and how they need to hear the truth in love. I'm confused, I like the things done on both sides of the issue.

Anyways, I've rambled enough. I only posted because what you had to say about Mariners struck a nerve. I don't go to Mariners. I visited there once for a special event and I heard the truth of Christ preached powerfully. Criticizing their leaders is one thing, but criticizing the flock is quite another, and I thought that's what you did. If it wasn't aimed at the flock, then forget what I said.

In conclusion, I wanted to say that your treatment of Francis Beckwith's news was both courteous and fair. After viewing comments from his blog, your words were a breath of fresh air.

Thanks for reading,


12:45 PM  
Ahmed said...

Hi Dwayna,

Thanks for helping me understand Jill's comments.

I recently visited your website and was encouraged to read about your ministry to the last, least, and lost in the inner city. May God bring many people to Himself through your work.


12:49 PM  
Rhology said...

Ah, Mike must think that we can learn sthg from polytheistic, publicly misleading, psychologically manipulative, Gospel-denying members of a cult whose founder lied, swindled, and murdered his way to power and to multiple women's beds.

Mike, maybe you could clarify a bit - what exactly might we learn from the LDS?

12:59 PM  
Matthew said...

This post has been removed by the author.

8:12 PM  
Andy said...


On what basis do you say that? The Idolatry of relevancy?
You inserted a Bible verse, I think it was misunderstood attempt to justify your thoughts. It has worked against you however, Jesus is speaking of the Gospel, not some false conversation with a belief that the Bible says is anathema. Much of the New Testament was written to combat false beliefs.

I have personally seen one of these "dialogues" and it is nothing more than Mormons trying to blend in with Christianity while an Evangelical sits there and nods and pats the Mormon on the back.

Finally it should be noted that even the fruit is missing. There is the fact that peoples lives have been affected by these conversations. Not in a good way, there are many sad stories of people being confused, and distorted after seeing one of these conversations. I know firsthand how this can impact a true believer trying to show a Mormon the truth.

9:21 AM  

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