Fox Cities Evangelical Ministers Fellowship (FCEMF) Issues A Statement On Modeletics

July 8, 2009

June 2009

 To: The Body of Christ at Large

From: The Fox Cities Evangelical Ministers Fellowship

 Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As evangelical pastors and ministry leaders in the Fox Valley in Northeastern Wisconsin, we have become concerned by the teachings known as “ModeleticsTM,” contained in the book, Modeling God, by John Lenhart, an author from within our local area.  Members of our fellowship have investigated the teachings of this book through personal study and analysis, as well as email exchanges with the author and others in the “Modeletics” movement.  As those entrusted by God to “guard the flock of God” in this area, we want to let you know that the teachings of Modeling God trouble us deeply.

We find that the teachings of Modeling God significantly contradict the basic tenets of Biblical Christianity, as summarized in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.  The errors in this teaching include:

  • The nature of God – Modeling God tends to depersonalize God, describing him as “a set of noncontradictory principles,” and to limit God’s sovereign ability to act according to his will.
  • The nature of Christ – Modeling God says that Jesus is not fully God in his essence and nature, but only becomes fully God through his choices and actions.
  • The nature of sin – Modeling God says that sin is not the violation of God’s objective standard, but is subjectively and relatively defined, depending upon the understanding and experience of the individual.
  • The nature of grace and salvation – Modeling God denies salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Instead, salvation depends upon the actions of the individual moving toward righteousness.  The atonement of Christ on the cross has little or no role in the salvation of individuals.  Grace is the divine influence on a person, for which the person must “pay” through accumulated acts of righteousness.
  • The nature of prayer – Modeling God sees prayer as an exchange between God and the person praying.  Only if the person praying has accumulated enough favor with God will the prayer be answered.
  • The basis of theology – Modeling God bases its theological system almost entirely upon logic and self-authenticating assertions, with little attempt to base its teachings upon the revelation of God in Scripture.  There is little attempt to engage with 2,000 years of Christian theology, other than to simply dismiss it.

Further detailed exposition of the teachings of Modeling God, along with analysis and refutation, is available at the web site www.modelinggodheresy.com.

We in the Fox Cities Evangelical Ministers Fellowship represent a wide variety of denominational and non-denominational churches and ministries, united in the purpose of promoting prayer, fellowship, and encouragement among the member ministers and ministries, as well as provide a united evangelical “voice” in the community when necessary.  In response to the teachings of Modeling God and the loss of a number of families in several of our churches to these erroneous teachings, we are compelled to respond.  We deem the teachings of Modeling God to be heretical teachings that are incompatible with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as laid out in Scripture and the Church’s teaching through history.

 We are attempting to be guided by God’s Word:

We proclaim [Christ], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ … My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments … See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 1:28, 2:2-4, 8

As the Lord’s undershepherds, our goal is to present everyone under our care perfect in Christ.  Accordingly, we want to collectively and strongly warn the Body of Christ against the teachings of Modeling God, which appear to us to be based on human reasoning and deceptive philosophy.  Only in Christ will we find all the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge.  We believe that the teachings of Modeling God have the potential to lead people significantly astray from the only One who can truly save, Jesus Christ.  We would encourage all who encounter this teaching to have nothing to do with it.

 We write this for the encouragement and building up of the Body of Christ and for the glory and praise of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 Sincerely in Christ,

 Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht, Chairman
Fox Cities Evangelical Ministers Fellowship
N1966 Julius Drive, Greenville, WI 54942
 
Rev. William B. Acker,
SecretaryFox Cities Evangelical Ministers Fellowship
1750 Olde Buggy Drive, Neenah, WI  54956

Josh Staton with Trinity Grace Church

June 2, 2009

Dear Tim,

We recently had an encounter with a young man who was a follower of modeletics who began attending our worship services.  He later got involved in a community group as well.  We found the fruit of this false doctrine to be overly simplistic thinking and senseless argument over words, confusion, and an exceedingly divisive spirit.  We found core tenets of modeletics to be in many cases heretical and occasionally blasphemous.
After better familiarizing ourselves with the teachings of modeletics, we found them to be rooted more in the mind of a chemical engineer than even an elementary theologian.  Our prayer remains that God would open the eyes of all those who follow this dangerous and destructive false teaching that denies the rich grace of our Lord Jesus and the true power of his death and resurrection.
In Christ,
Josh Staton on behalf of TGC
Trinity Grace Church

Abraham Wu’s “Modeling God” Book Reviews

March 24, 2009

3.24.09.

True to his word, Abraham posted his review on the Amazon site and his local church’s blog page.  Both were nothing short of amazing!  With his permission I have posted both here.  Enjoy!  The Amazon review is first.

“I read this book because it is causing division in the Christian community. Objectively, it’s far outside of mainstream Christian theology, and often directly subversive of it. Subjectively, it’s bogus: misleading, non-Biblical, and staggeringly pretentious.

Lenhart (the author) claims he has discovered spiritual principles that define God completely, and guarantee their followers lives of perfect spiritual harmony. (I’m not exaggerating.) But he reduces God to a depersonalized abstraction, governed by a ridiculously concrete notion of “justice.” Basically, Lenhart considers justice a cosmic currency that can’t be created or destroyed, only traded between God and man according to curious rules.

As a result, Lenhart claims that God cannot have free will, and that prayer is just a crude transaction of spiritual “value” that must be “justly” earned. Other preposterous claims: praying for someone’s salvation is “witchcraft,” and we all need to discover something called our “physical ARE.”

Lenhart builds arguments upon invented maxims and definitions. Only the God Model, he claims, is not “contradictory.” But contradictory to what? That’s Lenhart’s seductive but huge fallacy: he wants us to accept his model based only on his peculiar and self-serving terms. But internal consistency has no bearing on the truth without external validity, and he provides no credible Biblical or philosophical grounding for his theories.

Normally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to criticize a book. But Modeling God’s unbridled hubris deserves critique. “My principles can instantly find the flaw in every belief system,” Lenhart proclaims. “Throughout history, every error could have been prevented if these principles were followed completely.” Would you believe any book that makes such boasts, especially one that purports to overturn the wisdom of many theologians and doctrines throughout history? I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.”

His review for his church was a little longer and even more hard hitting.

Modeling God, a kind of self-help/theology book by inventor and entrepreneur J.G. Lenhart, is nothing if not ambitious. Its “God Model” is a set of spiritual principles that supposedly define God’s nature completely and guarantee followers perfect harmony with the Almighty and with other men.

As you might guess, the book doesn’t fulfill these breathtaking claims—not even close. Its philosophy is extra-Biblical and subversive; bogus is not too strong a word. Unfortunately, it has been a troubling influence on some readers and needs to be taken seriously.

The premise is that God operates exclusively by certain principles, of which the most fundamental is the preservation of justice. But Lenhart isn’t really saying that justice is an attribute of God, which is not controversial. Lenhart’s actually using his concept of justice to define God. Initially benign platitudes are pushed to logical extremes, without any qualification.

This reduces God to a depersonalized abstraction, governed by Lenhart’s principles which he practically regards as scientific law. God cannot have free will, for example, because He can only act according to “justice.“ And this conception of justice is ridiculously concrete: a cosmic currency that cannot be created or destroyed, only traded between God and man according to certain rules. Prayer becomes a crude transaction of spiritual “value” that man cannot receive from God unless it is “justly” earned.

Lenhart makes many other disturbing assertions. For example, whether you are saved depends only upon whether you’re growing spiritually closer to, or further from God at the instant of death. Being born again is irrelevant, like any other doctrine Lenhart can’t reconcile with his supposedly clear-cut, universal rules.

We’re supposed to believe this “God Model” because it explains the spiritual universe without contradicting itself. But this spin obscures a huge fallacy: Lenhart “proves” his model by showing it satisfies his preset conditions, but provides no good reason to accept his conditions in the first place. What’s the point of internal consistency if there is no external validity?

Take Lenhart’s definitions of key words, which are crucial to his arguments. Life is “the ability to repair.” Sin is “anything we do that does not look Long Term.” Can such peculiar definitions possibly express the entire spiritual truth, for every circumstance, behind these words? Modeling God requires us to accept this. Bible verses are also interpreted narrowly, ignoring their context and multiple levels of meaning.

Without solid Biblical or even philosophical anchors, Modeling God’s core arguments sound logical but end up unmoored from reality. Lenhart also says things that don’t even fit into his own twisted context, such as the bizarre notion that praying for a person’s salvation is “witchcraft” if done against his or her will. The book concludes with even weirder exhortations to discover something called your “physical ARE.” By this point, even the pretense of Biblical foundation has been abandoned.

The reason Modeling God deserves such criticism is its incredibly arrogant tone. Lenhart considers his ideas a revolutionary improvement in Christian theology and doesn’t hesitate to label traditional doctrines wrong. “These principles can instantly find the flaw in every belief system,” he proclaims. “Throughout history, every error could have been prevented if these principles were followed completely.” Seriously? The Bible itself doesn’t make such simplistic, smug claims.

Ultimately, this book will have you consider: just because a theory is logical and elegant, does that make it true? Lenhart wants us to reject other theologies if they contain any apparent inconsistency, but his contrived reductionism diminishes God and inflates human wisdom. The study of Scripture and sound doctrine, acknowledging our limitations and God’s infinite complexity: this may not yield answers as definite as the ones Modeling God advertises, but it will bring us much closer to the truth.

From NYC

December 13, 2008
3.3.09
I came across your site by following the reviews on Amazon. I read this book because a friend’s roommate had gotten sucked in by it, and is now almost falling away from authentic Christianity altogether. I found the book appalling–neither Biblical nor even particularly compelling on its own merits as philosophy. I’m frankly baffled why anyone would take it seriously.

Anyway, thank you for such a rigorous and thorough refutation of its deep, sinister flaws. I will be writing a review for my own fellowship’s blog in the next few days, though of much more limited scope than what you’ve done here.

God bless.   Abraham Wu


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