SBC President Ronnie Floyd, Featured Speaker at New Apostolic Reformation’s IHOP, which teaches Heresy

SBC President Ronnie Floyd, Featured Speaker at New Apostolic Reformation’s IHOP

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley takes prominent Christian leader Ronnie Floyd to task for uniting with wolves in sheep’s clothing and then inviting the sheep that he’s supposed to keep watch over to join him in the wolf’s lair.  What kind of Church leader would do such a thing?

 

About two months ago, I was deeply grieved to learn that the president of my own denomination (the Southern Baptist Convention) would be be appearing as one of the featured speakers at the International House of Prayer’s (IHOP) "Onething 2015" conference. (If you’re not familiar with the demonic {and, no, that is not an exaggeration} doctrine and practices of IHOP, please examine the resources on the webpage: "The Emergent Church").

 

I (and others I’m aware of) attempted several times to contact Dr. Floyd to plead with him not to do this, but was unable to reach him. Several of my readers suggested (and I prayed) that perhaps Dr. Floyd would use his speaking time at "Onething" to rebuke IHOP’s false doctrine as pastors are instructed by Scripture to do, or, at the very least, that he would preach the gospel in order that attendees might be saved.

 

Unfortunately, to his and the Southern Baptist Convention’s shame, Dr. Floyd did not do either of these things, but spoke in a conciliatory, brotherly way to the IHOP leadership and "Onething" audience about working and praying together in unity to bring about revival in the United States.

 

Why was this a grievous and shameful thing to do? Because, as I mentioned in my previous article, Scripture forbids Christians from joining ourselves to those who preach a false gospel regardless of how noble the cause might be. And as a seminary graduate, pastor, and president of the largest protestant denomination in the United States, if anyone should know these Scriptures and obey them, it should be Dr. Floyd.

 

Here is Dr. Floyd’s speech (starting at approximately the 7:32 mark) in its entirety. I’d like to take this opportunity to examine some of his most troubling remarks in comparison with Scripture. (The particular remark I’m addressing can be found at the minute mark preceding the comment.)

 

(Here is the You Tube website: https://youtu.be/4RB9YDQuTyM)

 

8:24- I’m not here tonight to highlight our theological differences but to bend my knee next to yours and to ask God to have mercy on America.

 

Can you imagine Jesus saying this to the scribes and Pharisees? Or Peter saying this to Simon the magician? Or Paul saying this to Hymenaeus? Or John saying this to the gnostics? There is absolutely no New Testament precedent for a pastor to stand in a place where false doctrine is proclaimed and blithely sweep it aside in order to pray with those who promote it or believe it.

 

In fact, the New Testament paints the opposite picture, both implicitly and explicitly. Jesus and the apostles, when approaching unrepentant false teachers, always highlighted their theological differences, rebuked them sharply, and called them to believe the truth of the gospel. There is not a single instance in the New Testament in which Jesus or one of the apostles brushed aside false doctrine in order to work or pray together in unity with false teachers. Not one.

 

8:41- I also know that my being here is not an endorsement of your theology…

 

This statement is clearly at odds with Scripture. Second John 10-11 says:

 

10. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11. for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

 

Don’t even greet a false teacher, never mind accept an invitation (most likely a paid invitation) to speak cooperatively at his conference. If you do, you are taking part in his wicked works. That’s more than just an endorsement. That’s participation in the spreading of false doctrine.

 

9:10- …we’re not in total agreement about a lot of the secondary matters of life, ministry, and even the Bible.

 

There would be nothing wrong with this statement if Dr. Floyd were talking about partnering with, say, a parachurch organization which believes in paedobaptism instead of credobaptism, elder-led churches instead of congregational churches, or pre-millenial instead of post-millenial eschatology. Those are the sorts of things that qualify as “secondary matters,” and Christian individuals, churches, and groups can certainly partner in ministry with other Christian individuals, churches, and groups while not seeing eye to eye on those types of issues.

 

But that’s not what’s going on with IHOP.  IHOP intentionally and unrepentantly preaches egregious false doctrine (again, see the resources at the end of my previous article for details). Scripture is crystal clear that we are to “watch out” for those who teach false doctrine and “avoid them,” not speak at their conferences.

 

The study note in my Bible on 2 John 10 (quoted above) says it well:

 

John’s prohibition is not a case of entertaining people who disagree on minor matters. These false teachers were carrying on a regular campaign to destroy the basic, fundamental truths of Christianity. Complete disassociation from such heretics is the only appropriate course of action for genuine believers. No benefit or aid of any type (not even a greeting) is permissible. Believers should aid only those who proclaim the truth.¹

 

And, by the way, when did the Bible become a “secondary matter,” especially for Southern Baptists? Anyone even vaguely familiar with the recent history of the Southern Baptist Convention knows about the hard fought inerrancy controversy. The Scriptures is the very first point of the Baptist Faith and Message, for heaven’s sake! Regarding the Bible, the BFM 2000 says, in part:

 

[Scripture] will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.

 

Does it sound like Southern Baptists regard the Bible as a “secondary matter”?  Did Dr. Floyd follow the standard of the central document outlining our statement of faith as Southern Baptists and try IHOP’s “conduct, creeds, and religious opinions” by Scripture? Did he act in accord with the Baptist Faith and Message by holding Scripture paramount as the “true center of Christian union” when he decided to unite with an organization that flouts Scripture on so many levels?

 

At the 9:49 minute mark, Dr. Floyd mentions the high regard Southern Baptists have for Scripture, and that it is the “final authority for all we believe and practice, period.” Then why did he not practice submission to the authority of Scripture and its many passages instructing Christians to refute false doctrine and rebuke or avoid those who teach it instead of disobeying these Scriptures by appearing at "Onething"?

 

Which is it? Do Southern Baptists, and our president, have a high regard for and “zealous commitment” to Scripture, or is it a “secondary matter”?

 

9:20- …yet my being here is a clear indication that these are times when people must come together and pray. And when the ship feels like it’s sinking, everyone needs to grab a bucket.

 

If you’ve ever read anything about the social, religious, and political conditions under which Paul lived, you know that the situation was much worse in Rome and the lands under its control at that time than it is in 21st century America, especially for Christians.


Christians were used as torches for Nero’s nighttime garden parties, and subjected to all manner of other gruesome tortures. Yet despite the extreme persecution and rampant immorality of the world in which he lived, Paul did not call for Christians to “come together and pray” with false teachers or for everyone to “grab a bucket.” Instead, he steadfastly and in no uncertain terms condemned false doctrine (as did others, including Jesus, Peter, and Jude) and exhorted Christians to separate themselves from those who had proved themselves unbelievers by teaching false doctrine, even writing these words to the church at Corinth:

 

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15. What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16. What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

 

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,

    and I will be their God,

    and they shall be my people.

17 Therefore go out from their midst,

    and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch no unclean thing;

    then I will welcome you,

2 Corinthians 6:14-17

 

Why? The purity of doctrine and the right handling of Scripture are more important than the socio-political climate. They are paramount, because the truth of the gospel is the only means by which people can be saved. When you get the gospel wrong, people die and spend an eternity in hell. Maybe the Holy Spirit, who inspired Paul and the other New Testament writers to write so much about refuting false doctrine and rebuking those who teach it, thought that was just a little bit more important than light, temporary earthly suffering and the transient moral decay of society.

 

11:30- But tonight, I come to you as a pastor of a local church, not as the president of America’s largest Protestant denomination.

 

That’s all well and good if Dr. Floyd wants to view himself that way with regard to his obligation to the word of God. The Bible never mentions the office of president of a denomination. It gives instructions for pastors and Christians, both of which apply to Dr. Floyd. As a pastor and a Christian, he is still responsible for obeying the Scriptures.

 

However, for Dr. Floyd to say that he is not appearing as the president of the SBC, but as the pastor of a local church is ludicrous for two reasons. First of all, take a look at the lineup of speakers for "Onething." None of them are simply “pastors of a local church.” They all have high profile and powerful positions in large ministries. If Dr. Floyd were merely the pastor of a local Southern Baptist church, it’s extremely unlikely he would have ever been invited to speak. Just ask the other 50,000+ Southern Baptist pastors of local churches who were not asked to speak.

 

Second, for Dr. Floyd to try to verbally and conceptually separate himself from the position of president of the SBC in such a venue and say he is speaking only as the pastor of a local church, is somewhat analagous to President Obama appearing at a Democratic political rally and saying that he is not speaking as the President of the United States, but as the CEO of a local corporation. The man cannot be separated from the position. Dr. Floyd is the president of the SBC. That’s why he was invited to speak. And everything he said and did in connection with the "Onething" conference reflects upon the Southern Baptist Convention and influences Southern Baptists.

 

25:10- I don’t know why God brought you here this week…but many of you, God brought you here to wake you up…

 

No. Absolutely not. We can know without a doubt that God did not “bring” – in the sense that God wanted them to be there to “wake them up” spiritually or receive biblical instruction  – a single individual, including Dr. Floyd, to "Onething," because if He did, He would be completely contradicting His word. How could God tell us in His word to rebuke and avoid false teachers, and then “bring people” to a den of demonic false doctrine? God does not contradict His written word.

 

Now, God, in His sovereignty, did allow all of those people to be there. He allows people to disobey Him by following any number of false teachers. He allows people to commit murder and adultery and gossip, too. That doesn’t mean He is pleased by any of those things or that it’s His desire for people to do them.

 

God most assuredly did not bring people to "Onething" to wake them up in the way Dr. Floyd means. The only things God would have brought people to "Onething" to wake them up to is the false doctrine that’s being perpetrated by IHOP and Dr. Floyd’s complicity in the spreading of that false doctrine.

 

 

While there are some other statements Dr. Floyd made that I might take issue with, these jumped out at me as the most problematic ones. I wish I could sit down with Dr. Floyd and just ask him why.

 

Why, if it was biblically OK for you to speak at "Onething," did you spend the first five minutes of a thirty-five minute speech, attempting to justify your presence there?

 

Why were you unable to point to a single “desperate times call for desperate measures” Scripture that says it’s OK for Christians to join with false teachers in ministry and prayer, but, rather, pointed to the problems in America to justify unifying in prayer with IHOP?

 

Why did you ignore the pleas of Southern Baptists and other Christians who begged you – on biblical grounds – not to associate yourself and the SBC with IHOP in this way?

 

Why, when there are over 50,000 Southern Baptist churches in this country – not to mention our seminaries, universities, parachurch organizations, and thousands of other Protestant churches and organizations with whom Southern Baptists truly differ only on genuine secondary theological issues – where you could have spoken, would you purposely choose to speak at an organization that preaches such egregious false doctrine?

 


There is no excuse for Dr. Floyd to have spoken at "Onething." None. There are only three options here:

 

1. Dr. Floyd knew IHOP preaches false doctrine and knows what the Bible says about false teachers and false doctrine but chose to associate with IHOP anyway, which would mean he intentionally disobeyed God’s word.

 

2. Dr. Floyd did not know IHOP preaches false doctrine, which demonstrates extreme carelessness, naiveté, and lack of pastoral concern for those under his leadership.

 

3. Dr. Floyd knew what IHOP teaches but does not know that IHOP’s teachings biblically qualify as false doctrine, and/or Dr. Floyd does not know what the Bible says about dealing with false doctrine and false teachers, a depth of biblical ignorance I would never attribute to anyone of Dr. Floyd’s stature.

 

None of those three options – biblical ignorance, carelessness and naiveté, nor intentional disobedience to God’s word – are appropriate for any pastor, let alone the president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

 

Anyone who is a Christian has people watching him and being influenced by him: your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your fellow church members. The higher your position in the church or ministry, the more people you have watching you and being influenced by you, and the greater responsibility you have to both handle God’s word correctly and set a godly example. (This is why the Bible tells us that teachers in the church will be judged more strictly.) Dr. Floyd bears an immense biblical responsibility in his position of leadership.

 

If anyone reading this happens to know Dr. Floyd, please take this occasion to go to him as Nathan went to David, in a spirit of love and restoration, and open God’s word to him on this issue. Dr. Floyd is in a unique position to influence thousands of churches and millions of people to turn to Christ and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, but he must do so biblically. Nothing would bring me more joy as a Southern Baptist than to see him do just that. I would love to point people to him as a godly example of leadership.

 

If you do not know Dr. Floyd, take this incident as an opportunity to learn. Learn about the false doctrine taught by IHOP and so many other false teachers. Learn your Bible so you can rightly handle it, teach it to others, and submit to its authority and mandates. May we all be ever mindful of those who look to us as ambassadors of Christ and…

 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16