The pastor of Fairview Community Church seems to have taken a page out of Pope Francis’ book concerning grace--if God’s redemption covers everyone, including atheists and non-Christians, it covers Wiccans too.
Last month, Reverend Sarah Halverson invited interfaith dialogue with Wiccans to learn more about Wiccan and Pagan traditions and beliefs. When the church sign was posted, Christians expressed dismay in letters to the editor of the local paper. So Reverend Halverson printed the below letter in response:
Dear Concerned Christian Neighbor,
I want to genuinely thank you for your care and prayers for our church. I’m glad our sign caught your attention and made you stop and think.
I am not worried about your fears of me leading my church down the wrong path. We obviously have different beliefs about God.
That said, we believe that there is power in knowledge. We believe that our faith cannot be destroyed by learning about the faith of another. And ultimately, we believe that God and Jesus call us to be open, loving and tolerant (if not affirming!).
We also don’t believe we’ll go to hell because we have a Wiccan in our sanctuary and have a conversation about her faith.
And while we may seem incredibly radical to you, we’re actually in line with a major Christian denomination: the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis just reminded us that Jesus challenged the disciples’ intolerance of those who were different.
“Jesus broadens the horizon,” the pope affirms. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us … not just Catholics. Everyone! … Even the atheists! Everyone!”
So, you see, even the pope knows that God loves us and redeems us all. Therefore, the most important path is the path of righteousness: doing good deeds, caring for the poor, seeking justice and living peace.
If he’s not worried, neither am I. But thank you for your concern and prayers.
I will reciprocate and pray for you. I’ll pray that we might live in a community that values our differences and seeks to find our commonalities, that we will refuse to let our own ignorance cause us to live in fear of the other, and that we Christians can follow in Jesus’ example.
Finally, perhaps you, like me, know very little about Wicca. If that is the case, I invite you to join us on Sunday morning for our Interfaith Dialogue Day to learn more about the tradition. I think that all of us will leave more enlightened than when we came in.
A follower of that radical peacemaker, bridge-builder, justice seeker and bearer of love: Jesus, our brother and teacher
Okay, where do I start? This pastor is preaching a false gospel:
“So, you see, even the pope knows that God loves us and redeems us all. Therefore, the most important path is the path of righteousness: doing good deeds, caring for the poor, seeking justice and living peace.”
Hardly surprising, since it is the new Pope’s gospel. It is also the emergent church’s universalist/works/unity at all costs gospel. It may surprise you to know that it is also a core part of the New Age/Oneness Spirituality gospel. This is spiritually dangerous, non-Christian teaching, yet it all sounds so…well, good.
God has not redeemed all people. Even a cursory reading of the Scriptures makes that very clear. Whilst we cannot know all whom he has elected to salvation, we certainly know it is not everyone. We also know the most important and ONLY path to salvation is faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ. He then clothes us in HIS righteousness, not our own!! We cannot attain or retain salvation by doing any of the ‘good works’ on this pastor’s list.
Again, this pastor shows us which Jesus she follows, and it is not the Jesus of the Bible:
“A follower of that radical peacemaker, bridge-builder, justice seeker and bearer of love: Jesus, our brother and teacher”
No mention of our Lord Jesus Christ as the beloved, only begotten Son of God the Father, fully God and fully human, the perfect sacrifice freely offered once for the forgiveness of our sins, our Saviour, our Lord and King. Who, by his own words came not to bring peace but division, and warned of false teachers who would come claiming peace where there is none.
Here we find yet another church which lays claim to an orthodox statement of faith (see website), yet espouses emergent/catholic/new age theology in practice. As with most churches such as this, the Pastor incorrectly considers the Roman Catholic Church as a Christian denomination. It is not. So yet again the blind are being led by blind Rome into a social justice, works-based unity gospel that is powerless to save. Now they’ve invited the lost souls of their Wiccan neighbors to join them…not so that they might hear the gospel and be saved, but so that they can promote their own pagan religion. That is not loving.
With the advent of the internet and Google, there can be no justification inviting Wiccans into a Christian church in order to learn about their godless faith. Just read about it! Wiccans are very open about (most of) their beliefs and practices and there is plenty published online or in books. Here is a great starting selection (reader beware):
Wicca is a false, pantheistic belief system that worships nature and the godhood of self. It is full of practices that God considers abominations. The Scriptures forbid Christians to engage in such practices, or to give even the appearance of evil-doing. We can invite unbelievers to church to hear the Gospel message, but we cannot to allow them to preach their own doctrines of demons. What utter foolishness this church has displayed.