Is John Mark Comer a false teacher?

Category 2

Verdict: There is reason to be concerned on multiple theological issues

 

Preface

At the request of one of our readers, we have been asked to investigate whether John Mark Comer is a false teacher. You can make a request here, and we will honor it within reason. It is a source of joy to be trusted in such a way.

It is most reasonable to have never heard of John Mark Comer, but part of what we want to do in our Discernment ministry is to go beyond the low hanging fruits like a Joel Osteen or Paula White. This exists to answer people’s questions or concerns.

Background

John Mark Comer was leading a Portland megachurch called Solid Rock, which experienced tremendous growth. Amidst the growth, he became burnt out and Solid Rock dissolved as a megachurch, choosing for each franchise to become an independent church. John Mark Comer chose to pastor the Bridgetown location which was not the largest.

Bridgetown Church

Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon definitely hides its doctrinal beliefs on its website for a church that actually lists them. Their statement of faith is the Lausanne Covenant but is buried on their website here. Interestingly enough, during the COVID-19 panic, they had a form to submit prophetic visions.

Social Justice Gospel

One of the main concerns of the Lausanne Covenant, what makes it distinct, is a focus on justice. As a result, Bridgetown has a justice focus, not called social justice. But despite not being so obvious, like a Hillsong on supporting social justice over biblical justice, Bridgetown hides it, because John Mark Comer is well aware of what that will do to a church. However he still partakes in social justice causes. Following the 2016 election his current church, Bridgeport invited Mark Charles to speak to his congregation on racial reconciliation.

As racial tension continues to build, this is the beginning of an ongoing conversation about how we, as followers of Jesus, can best respond. Listen to the lecture from writer and speaker Mark Charles, in partnership with Imago Dei Community, as we lament the racial injustice that continues to haunt this nation.

A cursory background check into Mark Charles shows that he is a complete social Marxist. He is currently running for President of the United States as an independent with a platform deep into Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. There is no excuse for inviting this grifter into a church.

Dec 15, 2017

John Mark Comer seems to push the envelop on progressive theology. It’s problematic is a sense that he sees anything positive that can be gained from apostate churches and that theologically conservative churches need to move to his happy middle. In fact we are seeing what is become of compromising on orthodox theology to come to the middle.

But it’s clear that John Mark Comer does dabble in the Social Justice Gospel and progressive theology.

Creational Monotheism

One of the reasons why John Mark Comer is in question here is likely his position on creational monotheism that has some labeling him a polytheist.

Solid Rock family,

Some of you have been asking some great questions about my recent teaching “Yahweh Elohim” and Solid Rock’s theology. To clarify, we are NOT polytheists. We ARE monotheists. We believe there is ONE real, true Creator God with NO equal or parallel. By using the language of “Creational Monotheism,” we are saying there are real spiritual beings in the universe UNDER the Creator God Yahweh. The demonic powers we read about in the scriptures are not “non-entities,” but are real. The New Testament calls them “demons,” “angels,” “spirits,” “powers,” “princes,” and “principalities,” but the primary Hebrew word used in the Old Testament is elohim or “gods.” These beings are “gods with a lowercase g.” They are not on par with the Creator God Yahweh. They are created, but have rebelled against their Creator to wreak havoc on the earth. This is the worldview of Jesus and of the Scriptures.

By using the language of “Creational Monotheism vs. Modern Monotheism,” we are challenging the post-enlightenment, Western European view of monotheism from the last 300 years that says there are no other spiritual beings in the universe. We don’t buy it, and we don’t think Jesus does either. At Solid Rock it is our deepest conviction to know and pursue the ways of King Jesus, to understand and adopt his way of thinking and his worldview. Stay rooted in the Scriptures, keep asking questions, and above all follow the Creator God in Jesus!

John Mark and the teaching team of Solid Rock

The problem with John Mark Comer’s theology here is that monotheism does not fail to recognize the existence of other spiritual beings. No one would assert that the Sadducees were modern monotheists whist the Pharisees were creational monotheists because the latter acknowledges angels and demons. The belief of spiritual powers of angels and demons is a primary belief in Christianity and is a part of every good faith statement. At best, this view is a straw man fallacy that unnecessarily causes strife in the body of Christ.

Though John Mark Comer may be a pioneer of creational monotheism in contemporary Christianity, the idea is nothing new. In superhero comics, there is an unwritten understanding that God of Jacob is above all other god. So despite the fact that DC comics feature Greco-Roman and Egyptian gods, these gods fall below the one true god. This is what creational monotheism is in practice. And this is where creational monotheism becomes as logically untenable as theistic evolution. If you believe that the One true God can create other gods, even if subservient, there still exist other gods; therefore, creational monotheism is polytheism with extra steps. so, creational monotheism is a damnable heresy at worst. There is no plausible case for creational monotheism to be found in Scripture.

Conclusion

It’s commendable that someone is willing to step back from a megachurch structure to focus on their strengths, family, and the Great Commission. There is insufficient reason to question his salvation given what we were able to find. However there are concerning errors. Doubling down on creational monotheism is a serious error as is dabbling in the Social Justice Gospel.

It seems as though John Mark Comer grew up in a “conservative” church, wanted to move to a liberal church but realized theological liberalism is a blight and wanted some sort of path in-between. And I believe this is where all of the error we see stems from. We expound upon two of them opposed to other disagreements and staying out of the spiritual gifts debate so that when we note a pattern of error, this does not get bogged down in the weeds.

 

Updated 04/2020

3 comments

  1. I am a former attendee of Bridgetown. Can assure you that there is more evidence of false teaching occurring. Since realizing what was going on there while attending, I have maintained a watchful eye on what is going on there and have been researching to connect the dots on the movement toward mysticism and the almost complete lacking of a gospel message or scripture, for that matter, coming from the pulpit. Thank you for posting this. It’s a good start to hopefully open the eyes of some who are looking for answers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your feedback. A Cat. 2 is a warning of a possibility, and I try to err on the lower side. JMC has the background of someone who would embrace liberal theology (grew up in an orthodox or legalistic church + embrace of aspects of liberal Christianity), but has yet to go all the way. I can totally see how mysticism could arise, with his changing views on spiritual gifts, leading to abusing these teachings. Ultimately, the evidence compilation is limited by the level of exhaustiveness of the research. If you know of any sermons/articles of his to check out, this post can always be updated as information presents itself.

      Like

  2. Mysticism is most definitely there. They held a weekend seminar on dream interpretation, several enneagram weekend seminars as well as a series on the enneagram taught by Suzanne Stabile. , lectio divina, imaginative prayer (visualization), centering techniques, and the like. These are the examples that can be pinpointed, but it’s woven throughout most every sermon over the last few years. These can all be found over the last few years in their practicing the way sermon series. I will try to find some references for you and am happy to provide further info.

    Liked by 1 person

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