There are two videos below we'd like you to watch, as well as a written explanation (with contact information) under the videos.
Watch this first!
Ed explains why he felt compelled to take the action he did on Easter Sunday.
This second video is short (6 minutes.)
Ed talks about his relationship with others involved with the Sunrise Service.
An Explanation for Wrecking the Easter Sunrise Service
Take a provocative journey inside my head
As a shepherd/pastor I took an oath to try to protect the sheep and the community at all cost. This year’s Sunrise Service message was a wolf in sheep’s clothing situation (irrefutable evidence for this claim momentarily). In pre-service conversation Sunday morning Kiwanis leadership did not receive my plea to change the sermon speaker (who I did not research until the night before; a major mistake on my part). What to do? In Bible lingo: we have an eternally lethal predator, “a wolf” or “a viper” to use Jesus’ words for false teachers. In today’s vernacular, we have “an active shooter” with eternally lethal bullets. What should I do as a shepherd? What would Jesus do?
I/we serve at inclusive events (Bayfest, etc.) because they deliver what is advertised. Anyone can believe, speak and sing about almost anything. However, when we pretend that a gathering is about our Lord and Savior and then put forward a false teacher to mislead people away from Him, we are being dishonoring to Him and we are deceiving those who attend with the result of possible eternal consequences. If we desire inclusivity in the Sunrise Service let’s move the event a week or so to Earth Day and invite leaders of all religions to the platform such as the new age belief that God is in everyone that was presented Easter morning.
These words and instructions from The Shepherd's manual (The Bible) were ringing in my mind:
(1) The example of the Chief Shepherd. John 10:11-13 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.”
Jesus set the continuous example of sternly warning the communities at public gatherings about false religious leaders. These leaders were highly respected in their communities and said they believed the Bible and the God of the Bible. Jesus "wrecked" just about every public gathering where false teachers were present. Jesus gave public warnings such as Matthew 23:13 “… woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." Verse 33: “You serpents, you brood of vipers (your teaching is eternally lethal), how shall you escape the sentence of hell?"
(2) 2 John 1:9-11 is a warning to all of us. "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God (the central teaching of the Sunrise sermon was that everyone has God); the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house (or gathering), and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (the application for the Sunrise Service is clear).
(3) Paul gave shepherds this instruction in Acts 20:28-30 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
(4) and this example, 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 "What I (Paul) am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds."
(5) In Titus 1:9-11: a shepherd must "be holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach…"
(6) 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 "Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."
(7) Galatians 1:8 "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed."
(There are a bunch of other passages because the early church had to warn about the deceptive work of counterfeits everywhere they went.)
With passages like these in my head what should I do? If I open my mouth, it could "wreck" the gathering and it would probably result in reputational and relational suicide. Do I wimp out, stay quiet and let my presence endorse the coming new age message and be party to misleading those in our community who trust me? Do I abandon the sheep and my neighbors and leave? Do I try to say something; and if so what? Could I say something that wouldn’t destroy what the Kiwanis worked so hard to provide? Is it possible to give a warning in a polite way? Could I say something without saying it? If I am clear the anger level would be intense. Could I give a stern warning in a polite and vague way? Maybe a smarter guy could but I definitely didn’t pull it off.
I think I said something to the effect, “The thoughts and views expressed on this program are not necessarily those of the other guys on the platform.” It was not spoken in “wrath,” or anger, was not about “defending my beliefs,” and did not mention anyone’s sexual orientation. However, it probably came off as, “I don’t associate with these guys.” I don't know. If you have a video of that portion of the Sunrise service, please send it to me.
After the lame warning I chose to present the biblical gospel and hoped that the counterfeit would be able to be recognized in light it the real. I used one of the most recognizable passages in the Bible presenting the true gospel spoken from Jesus’ lips.
John 3:16-18 "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish (remain separated from God forever) but have eternal life (have a tight relationship with God forever). For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved (from their sin and separation from God) through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already (separated from God), because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Please read John 3:1-21 for the whole teaching.)
In opposition to this clear teaching by Jesus in John 3 that we are all under God’s judgement and need to trust Jesus to have eternal life with God, the main point of the Sunrise sermon was that God is in everyone already; no need for God to give His only Son; no need to believe in Jesus; no one is under God’s judgement.
The same message was given at the Lutheran church Easter Sunday morning. To hear the central point of the teaching, click here and begin listening following the set up at about 7 minutes and 45 seconds into the message. At the 7 minute 55 second mark you will hear that God is present and Christ is present in everyone, period. Then at 8:08: “Everybody is Jesus. That’s the safe assumption and the correct one.” (No qualifier; no need to believe in Jesus.) If you desire to blow God off and live any way you want and be affirmed that God is in you anyway, you’ll love the message. Vladimir Putin would love this message.
In contrast, the Bible says that every person is made in God’s image by God Himself and is loved by God. On the other hand, the Bible also says that every person has a sin nature, has sinned (broken God’s laws) many times and is separated from God because of sin. The Bible says a person remains separated from God until a person places their faith in Jesus. All Christians are unified in this teaching because it is emphasized and is redundant in the Bible. A few of the many passages:
Isaiah 59:12 "…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear."
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Romans 1:16 …I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… (so many other passages teach the same thing.)
At the Sunrise Service through the years, we have had pastors who doubt the accuracy of the Bible present the sermon. However, they have avoided teaching the type of lethal heresy presented this year.
I had hoped to be able to expose the heresy following the sermon but was prevented from doing so.
I love the man who presented this message. I pray for his salvation. I will continue to oppose his deceptive, anti-Christian, new age message.
If you are not a follower of the biblical Jesus everything you just read is a bunch of stupid religious mumbo jumbo. Your advice will probably be that I needed to simply swallow my pride, stop trying to justify my remarks and just apologize for wrecking everyone’s morning. I do apologize for being unclear and confusing but to apologize for trying to bring a “Listener, beware” warning would be to imply that I would not do it again. I will continue to present the biblical gospel and I will continue to try to protect our community from the false gospels wherever I have opportunity.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you understand that there is no greater purpose in all of life than to honor the person and work of Jesus Christ and to accurately make Him known. As well, you know that the eternal destiny of our friends and community members is in the balance.
To everyone in our community, I love you and will continue to love you enough to remind you of Jesus’ words, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6).
All Bible quotations are from NASV 1977
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