Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walk Through the Bible Seminar: To Go or Not?

For those who don't want to take the time to read the full discussion:

Don't bother going to the seminar, open your Bible instead and read it regularly instead of going to seminars that refuse to tell you what is in them.

Their logo
For the rest:

I'm sorry I got to this so late. A few members asked me about a seminar that is being promoted for this weekend at an area church. The seminar is called Walk Through the Bible. And the promoters promise that it will open up your understanding like nothing else ever has.

Of course, the founder and author, Bruce Wilkinson, says this about everything he sells to popular Christian groups and individuals.

Some readers may remember his book The Prayer of Jabez (useful review) where he wrote
"I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief—only one sentence with four parts—and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains they key to a life of extraordinary favor with God. This petition has radically changed what I expect from God and what I experience every day by His power. In fact, thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing miracles happen on a regular basis."
 Yes, it was all works righteousness. Wilkinson went to Africa and a widely self-promoted mission. That mission was specifically designed not to preach Christ (his own description) but to reform society. Wilkinson's mission failed, in spite of fervently praying The Prayer of Jabez the way Wilkinson taught.

Wilkinson's own website is a very slick and powerful self-promotion. The website for Walk Through the Bible seminars is also very slick, extremely low on teaching content, high on promises and accolades, and offers a large variety of products for sale on the basis of this minimal information.

They do offer a pdf sample of a Walk Through the Bible study Bible. It contains the opening chapters of Genesis and their notes for study. There are a lot of motivational notes, very little about sin and redemption. There are no notes on the sins in Sodom and Gomorrah. This is probably to avoid controversial topics. The main focus is how to do better by conforming one's self to God's plan, and that plan is kind of tricky to see, but they find slogans for the things they like.

Another Lutheran pastor suggested to me that the content was likely based in the false doctrines of Dispensationalism because of the local radio promotions. I didn't find Dispensationalism on the product's website. So that view may be due to the nature of the promoters in our area.

What I did find in the website, besides all kinds of slick products on which to spend money, was this:

The Walk Through the Bible product is aimed at people who feel they don't know the Bible like they should and are looking for a quick and easy way to feel like they have a good sound understanding.

My sense about it is that those who don't really know Scripture will be amazed about what they learn and disappointed that their own pastors have failed them so much in teaching them the "real" truth about God's plan for them in this world. I think that the program will focus on false doctrines that the health and prosperity of the Christian is a sign of God's blessing and promote the false doctrine of social justice as "acts of Christian brotherly love."

I also think that if you know your Bible well you will be sadly disappointed with the seminar, even if some of the teaching gimmicks are cool.

Wilkinson has a track record. We know him by his fruits already. He is a false prophet. Maybe he's good at packaging, just like Rick Warren's 40 Days materials. But in the past it's all been packaging without real sound Biblical content.

Don't waste your money or time. Just open up your own Bible and start reading.

Text Criticism News

Ancient History and Archaeology