Greg Boyd—Open Theism, Abortion & More (Part I)

The Myth of a Christian Nation.

Provocative title, right? And the book is as provocative as promised—but way off base. Author Greg Boyd is founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and a leader in the emerging church movement. I read Boyd’s book because I track the beliefs and teachings of Boyd and his emerging cronies.

Perhaps the greatest myth Boyd has successfully sold to way too many people is that he is an evangelical. In The Myth, he spills a lot of ink repeating the claim that he is not liberal and in fact is evangelical, but, a note to Mr. Boyd: words have meanings and you cannot redefine them just so you can have your cake and eat it, too. By definition, you’re no evangelical. The liberal label fits.

Although he first attracted national attention by promoting “open theism” which, among other things, proclaims that God does not or at least chooses not to know the future, Boyd also holds the delusion that he can be pro-abortion and pro-life at the same time. I suppose if you buy the postmodern worldview that truth is created by each individual, then black and white can be the same color, but that doesn’t alter the basic falsehood of the position.

In June 2005 on a Twin Cities radio program, Boyd offered a rationalization of his views on abortion that so upset some of his congregation members, he later wrote a paper to defend his position. He explained:


On June 11th I was interviewed on KKMS and the host, Todd Friel, asked me about some of my personal political views….I was asked if I thought abortion should be legal….I told him I thought it would be best if second and third trimester abortions were outlawed while the decision during the first trimester was left up to the mother.


Hardly a conservative source of analysis, The New York Times even picked up on the disconnect in Boyd’s claims. In July of this year, Laurie Goodstein wrote an article about the series of six sermons Boyd preached in 2004  on which he based The Myth of a Christian Nation. Goodstein highlighted Boyd’s frustration with people in his church who support such causes as promoting a Biblical worldview on the issues of our day, honoring our military, and educating Christians on how to thinking Biblically on issues being addressed by those running for public office. She revealed:


The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?


After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation,” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

…The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul—packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals—was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.


Boyd’s “evangelicalism” attracts a sadly predictable mix of endorsers for his book—Tony Campolo and Brian McClaren among them. If these three have convinced you they’re evangelicals, then I have a bridge to sell you in a swamp in Louisiana.

Perhaps you think I’m being too hard on such nice men. But Jesus himself called the hypocrites and heretics of His day by some pretty stiff terms: dogs, white-washed tombs, vipers. It underscores the fact that “niceness” is not a Christian virtue—despite what many Christians today seem to think.

The word “nice” derives from the word “ignorant.” According to Maven’s Word of the Day:


Nice can be traced back to the Latin word nescius “ignorant” which is actually a combination of the prefix ne “no” and the word scire “know”…In other words, if you were nice, you did “not know.” You were ignorant or foolish.


There are a lot of nice people being deceived by other nice people like Boyd, McClaren, and Campolo. And there are even more nice people that don’t have the courage to call such deviant teachers the snakes that they are.

Among Tony Campolo’s heretical pronouncements, by the way, are that Jesus does not live only in Christians, that Christians should be involved in mysticism, and that Christians can learn valuable lessons from the New Age Movement and Buddhists. He and his wife Peggy also endorse homosexual and lesbian lifestyles (if you doubt me, check out Ingrid Schlueter’s report on the Compolos at

Boyd’s other bedfellow, Brian McClaren, has spouted similarly crazy ideas like:

• Jesus Christ is not the only way;

• Evangelicals should be silent on the issue of homosexuality; and

• The cross and hell are “false advertising” for God.

Boyd, Campolo, McClaren, and the rest of their emerging apostate brigade change the meaning of words in hopes of convincing people to be pro-abortion socialists who endorse the homosexual revolution, reject absolute truth and foundational Christian doctrines, while still trying to wear the label of evangelical. Worse, they’d like you to believe that true evangelicals are the cause of the problems in America—and the church—and that they and their emerging friends are the real Christians with the real answers to the world’s (very real) problems.

Even if some of that sounds nice to you, it’s hardly evangelical.


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