Dr. Warren Wiersbe
Taken from Chapter Nine of the book "New Neutralism II: Exposing The Gray Of Compromise". by John E. Ashbrook
One of the most likable of the popularizers is Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Outwardly he is not as aggressively new evangelical as some. He has a soft, encouraging voice which convinces his listeners that he understands their problems. Perhaps this is a reason he speaks in more borderline fundamentalist pulpits than most of the other popularizers. If you check the speakers list at Tennessee Temple University, at General Association of Regular Baptist Schools like Cedarville College and Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary, Word of Life, Moody Bible Institute and many G.A.R.B.C. fellowships and churches, you will find that Dr. Wiersbe has been there.
Dr. Wiersbe has pastored at least three churches, the most well-known of which is Moody Church of Chicago. From 1957 to 1961 he worked with Youth for Christ as editor of Campus Life. He joined the Back to the Bible Broadcast in 1981 and served as its main speaker and the editor of the Good News Broadcaster. He has had a prodigious output of books, more than seventy volumes, For a number of years he wrote a column in Moody Monthly magazine, in which he revealed his fondness for quoting unbelievers such as Helmut Thielicke, Methodist Bishop Gerald Kennedy and blasphemous George Buttrick. He had the habit of quoting helpful sayings without pointing out that they came from harmful heroes.
Dr. Wiersbe is a board member of the National Religious Broadcasters. In 1991 he was scheduled to speak (and I assume he did) at Samford University This is a Southern Baptist Convention school which is no bastion of fundamentalism. His fellow speakers were to be Dr. E. V Hill whom we have already identified, Dr. Billy Melvin of the National Association of Evangelicals and Dr. Mack Stokes, a United Methodist Bishop. That seems like covering the religious waterfront in one easy step. He was a main speaker at the 1991 N.A.E. Convention, along with Evangelist Luis Palau. It would be impossible to give a complete list of the schools, missions, retreats and church conventions where Dr. Wiersbe has spoken.
I suppose that the epitome of success in the new evangelical league is to appear with or for Dr. Billy Graham. The famous evangelist has a new training center in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina called, "The Cove." The subject of these paragraphs was the scheduled speaker there April 30-May 3, 1991. Obviously, Dr. Warren Wiersbe has no conviction against Billy Graham's communist, Catholic or ecumenical connections.
If health authorities are to battle the outbreak of any new disease, they must determine how that disease spreads. I would submit that the men whom I have called "the popularizers" are an effective network for spreading the virus of new evangelicalism. They speak with and for those who are more liberal than they are - the National Council of Churches, Southern Baptist Convention, National Religious Broadcasters or some Billy Graham program. Then, they speak with and for those who are more conservative than they are. The latter group would not associate with the former group. However, the popularizer speaks for both and forms a bridge between them. In so doing, he softens the attitudes of the more liberal and more conservative to each other. Both sides decide that the other cant be that bad, because the popularizer speaks there, So, the virus spreads.
As they move from school to school the popularizers soften the attitudes of impressionable young people. Many of us remember sitting in college chapel and considering as spiritual heroes those who spoke in the pulpit. Because we got a blessing from the speaker we assumed that wherever he spoke must be all right. Every pastor learns that he must be careful where he goes, for his actions sanctify that place for his people. The pastor's presence at an entertainment, a restaurant or an event sanctifies that place for his people, The popularizers' presence with any group, speaker or school sanctifies that for his young disciples.
The presence of the popularizers, without protest, in dubious places, vitiates the influence which they might have for good. These speakers could do a world of good for the stand of friends if they had the courage to say, "No, I cannot speak for you as long as you remain in the National Council or the Southern Baptist Convention." They could do a world of good by saying, "I do not believe the charismatic movement is Scriptural and I cannot speak. with charismatics," I have a hunch that some of these popularizers feel as uncomfortable in the company they keep as Jehoshaphat did in the company of Ahab's false prophets. What a difference there would have been in Jehoshaphat's story had he had the courage to stand and say, "I do not belong in this company and I am leaving." He would have done a world of good for his own nation and for other onlookers.
I am sure that some of my reader,-, will want to say to me, "You are another Joe McCarthy, dealing in guilt by association." (Poor Joe, resurrected again!) The fact remains that whom I speak with, whom I speak for and whom I have in my pulpit indicates what I believe. Every faithful pastor will make some mistakes in this area. I have not mentioned men who have made mistakes. I have cited only those who have made such mistakes an official policy.
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