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Brian Zahnd's Troubling View of Jesus and the Gospel


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Published: 2 months ago
I recently read Brian Zahnd's book "Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God" and discovered concerns with his theology, his view of Jesus and his teaching on the gospel itself. In this video I will go over specific passages of scripture which Zahnd has misinterpreted and offer an explanation of why his version of Jesus does not match the Jesus we read about in the Bible. I'll also deal with Zahnd's extensive use of rhetorical tactics of shaming those who don't hold his view and straw manning the position of biblical Christianity. Brian Zahnd functions more strongly as a rhetorician and poet than a theologian but I'm going to try and bring clarity to exactly where his gospel goes wrong and why his Jesus is really just a mirror image of Brian Zahnd rather than the true Jesus. Please share this content with anyone you know who may need to hear it.


comment  Comments

Forget Zahnd's theology. Those in St. Joseph who know him knows he is only about himself. Arrogant aloof narcissist. For people who are good at reading people that comes across in everything he does.

1 day ago

Mike yo are the lie.U don't know the gospel sir so just shut up

1 week ago

Evangelical Christians do in fact believe that hell is worse than a "dark dungeon of eternal torture" Mike calls this a triggering term. Well, if this term "dark dungeon of eternal torture" triggers you, it should. This is what most Christians believe where God is going to send 99% of humanity.

2 weeks ago

LOL...Brian Zahnd nailed it! Most Christian Evangelicals really do believe that hell is going to be much worse than anything Hitler did to the Jews because Evangelical Christians do believe that hell is unimaginable eternal place of torment. In regard to what the Bible says about slavery, Brian was correct. Mike said this was slavery case law....hahaha. Mike should have mentioned that this case law was implemented supposedly by God to settle slave injury disputes. Also Mike said that in verse 26 the slave could also go free if the slave got a broken arm from the owner. Ummm NO, it does not say that. It's case law remember that. Seriously, do most of you reading this really agree that this case law thing about tolerating and legitimizing slavery was a good thing? Would you want your children to be cool with this? Brian exposed this slavery thing as the crap that it was. Overall, Brian had very legitimate points that Christians ought to at least consider.

2 weeks ago

Thank you so much Mike. I started listening a bit to this guy. The Lord has really opened my eyes to many things going on in the name of Christianity. I was not buying into what this guy was saying; no way but was very glad to see you had done a video on him. Thank you again. Keep up the great work.

2 weeks ago

Thank you.

2 weeks ago

Great refutation

3 weeks ago

I just want to thank you so much for the work that you do, it is incredibly relevant and has gotten me out of some twisted thinking many times.
If I were to describe your ministry this is how I would do it: Even though I do not need another person to get revelation for me, that I can perfectly get it for myself from the Bible and through the Holy Spirit, I still find myself wondering into some weeds that prevent me from seeing truth and hinder me in my fellowship with God. You help clear away those weeds. I study, I read, and I pray, but I really don’t have the time to fight against all that the enemy throws against me and you cutting through the thicket for the rest of us is... it’s really good.

Thanks man

3 weeks ago

(Rev 21:7) Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

The enemy of God will do its best to lead may people to losing their eternal lives. But Jesus should be within you and hold on to him till the very end.

3 weeks ago

Thanks Pastor Mike - Another awesome teaching - It's getting scary out there in Christendom - "A text, out of context, is a pretext for error"

3 weeks ago

Re the slave thing???? SEriously, not endorsing? How about genocide???? So you are okay with that? The Bible writers claim GOD COMMANDED IT. Um, no God did NOT. Jesus is the Word of God and THE Truth, not a book. Jesus challenged and contradicted different Scriptures. You, sir, are a master at building, dressing, and hugging a straw man by focusing on "case law".

3 weeks ago

LOL. They said Jesus blasphemed too. He kept leaving violence out of verses he quoted. He let sinners off the hook. He wouldn't let them make him king. He refused to use force, or endorse it. Made the religious crowds crazy and they picked up stones to kill him. Seems nothing has changed. It's ok. In time you will see how wide, deep, long and high is Christ's love. We will wait for you all to catch up.

3 weeks ago

The associate pastor at my church did a sermon promoting Brian Zahnd‎ and his book(s). It burned in my heart to not do anything, so I confronted him and the pastor, and we had a meeting with a board member and I presented my arguments to Brian Zahnd‎ and his teachings, and I was told that I'm wrong, Brian Zahnd‎ is okay, and that the Bible, while inspired by God, isn't the only book we need to read, etc blah blah bah. I have since stopped going to church as I can't stomach false doctrine being taught from the pulpit.

1 month ago

I had a pastor who went after this heresy. It's a spirit of antichrist. I pray against this teaching three times per day....mostly by praying for true, sound teaching to prevail among Christians.

1 month ago

The sad thing is that there's ideas are catching especially among the younger millennial generation. Peter Enns, Brad jersak, as well as bethel and many others are going this route. What they all seem to have in common is the exhaltation of emotion and downplaying the word of God.

1 month ago

Your pastor isn't your Shepherd.
That positioned is filled.
True sheep hear the real Shepherd's voice.
Pastors are lead sheep.
Find out where they are leading you.

1 month ago

I'm not familiar with Zahnd but some of the arguments presented in this video seem to align with some of the arguments I have heard coming from Dr. Kay Fairchild. I can't watch her videos because of the way she seems to throw Moses and others under the proverbial bus (using these same arguments about David vs Moses). Dr. Don Keathley uses some of these same arguments, as well, and I have seen him go so far as to claim (in less direct terms) that the only person you can quote from scripture to get an accurate view of the gospel is Paul. That said, all three of these people will use and quote from the Bible in their teachings, as if the book still has some value, even is they discredit large portions of it while doing so. Not sure they have much of a choice unless or until they reach the point of throwing out Jesus, too, since the Bible is our source document on his life and ministry. I don't recall you mentioning Greg Boyd in the video, but that name has come up several times in the comments. I didn't realize he was so well-known in the Christian community. I only know him from a Facebook group we both belong to, though I am not familiar with his teachings, as I try to avoid his comments that so frequently begin with: "In my book,...." His incessant self/book promotion has always rubbed me the wrong way, so I am actually surprised by some of the comments made about his theology. I only knew him to be a Universalist. All that said, most arguments that I have seen against "Substitutionary Atonement" are not arguments against the value or necessity of the Atonement or what it accomplished; they are only arguing against the Atonement being presented as a sort of "human sacrifice" that was "pleasing to God." I disagree with that view of the Atonement as well, though I do not know what Zahnd's argument against it is, so don't know whether or not I would agree or disagree on that point. Interesting topic. I recently bought "Saints in the Arms of a Happy God," but haven't read it yet, though I have enjoyed listening to some of Jeff Turner's old podcasts. I have yet to see him go down this same road, which does seem to be a road that a few Universalists have, ultimately, gone down, sadly!

1 month ago

I don't believe that Zahnd does this out of ignorance! This is so antiChrist at it's core.

1 month ago

Most conservative Christian churches today are all about reserving your place in heaven after you died. You have to believe in Jesus to go to heaven, otherwise you are bound to tell automatically. This was NOT Jesus's gospel!

1 month ago

The problem with many Christians today is thatvthe failed to see that there are two gospels in the new testament. One gospel taught by Jesus is the kingdom of God (reign of God). The other gospel taught by Paul is about personal salvation. This 2nd gospel is the gospel taught today. It is all about who the person ofJesus, who he is, etc. It is not about what Jesus taught at all. Read the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and tell me what did Jesus taught? Did he taught about himself or ?

1 month ago

It amazes me how many of Winger's followers say you have to keep studying for yourself and need to do your homework, and then they just take his word for it when he's responding to other Christians or non-Christians. He seems so offended by Zahnd using the word "torture" when talking about hell, and then follows it up by affirming conscious eternal torment. Hey Mike, torture is a synonym for torment. You can act butt hurt about his depictions of hell, but as soon as you define what you (and most Christians) mean by hell, it's a distinction without a difference. It's not a straw man version. I also find it amazing that Winger wants to be taken seriously as a theologian and apologist, and he's never heard Jonathan Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon. He wants to pretend like most people have never heard this sermon when it's taught in American literature classes in high school and college. I first heard it when I was a sophomore in high school in a literature class. I found this quote on Pastor Dave Durham's blog: "It is read in high school and college classrooms all across the U.S. and because of the imagery, language, and overall content it is often hated and despised." So maybe you should talk to your brother in Christ, Mike. If you're unfamiliar with Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening and the impact that it's had on Christianity in the America, maybe you should stop reading Zahnd, and start reading the history and development of your own faith. Anyways, I could go on and on about Winger's comments. He's so ignorant and dishonest. Just because he seems knowledgeable and honest (I know, I know, he seems so nice) doesn't mean he is. You wouldn't take Joel Osteen's word for it when he lies to you with a smile, so don't take Mike's word for it because he's got a big smile on his face.

1 month ago

Austin Powers is a preacher?

1 month ago

Let me first say that I enjoy your videos and do appreciate the tone of most of your discussions. My question here, and I don't want to sound antagonistic, is what has provided you the authority to the be arbiter of what is true Christian ideology? Isn't this task assigned to the Holy Spirit, or do you see yourself as simply a vehicle for the H.S. to work through?

1 month ago

The Jewish Torah,Talmud were written by jewish MEN...and they called the goyim Beasts, animals, they say its ok to rape non jewish kids....to steal, to lie, to rob, and kill goyim its OK...those are divine books????? those are abominations..

1 month ago

So, have you raised your concerns with him directly, you know, as we are commanded to in the bible when we have an issue with a brother? I ask because it is so much easier to sit back and scream heresy than to correct our brother and you do it well, but how does that help him? You have the issue in hand. You have the knowledge. Please help him out.

1 month ago

It should come as no surprise to you that Zahnd misrepresents Edwards' sermon (and I would commend it to your study, as the church today would do well to read the Puritans) nearly as badly as he misrepresents scripture. Yes, Edwards speaks at length of God's wrath in judgment, and of how close the unsaved are to hell. In this he is correct--none of us is assured of so much as another hour of life, much less another day, and we agree that those who die without Christ will spend eternity in hell. Edwards also speaks at length of the grace and mercy of God in delaying that judgment. His message is "Sinner, repent and come to Christ now, while you have the opportunity! You may not have another."

What Edwards does not do is speak of a God who delights in the death of the wicked. He is not toying with them, as a cat does with a mouse. It is not in that sense that he is holding them over the pit of hell, but in the sense that he is restraining them from it--but his restraint will end, and none know when that will be.

1 month ago

This statement is EXACTLY true! "Brian Zahnd functions more strongly as a rhetorician and poet than a theologian" I went to his church for several years in the late 90's and am just disgusted with his elitism and shaming of everyone who doesn't "get him" or is not at his supposed intellectual level. And a little closer to home, he has no interest in involvement of his local community or shepherding his flock. He is more interested in marketing to his social media base. His gospel is not to the poor, downtrodden, or uneducated because if you are not on his supposed intellectual level then you just don't understand and are a xenophobe or any other number labels he puts on others. I can't hear anything he says without hearing the scripture ring in my ear "professing to be wise, they became as fools"

2 months ago

Can you do a video on certain posts people are participating in on Facebook and other social media cites like: what 2019 might bring, who will like me in 2019, what does your loved one in heaven has to say about you, what will I look like as the opposite sex, what does your guardian angel's name start with or what your bible verse for 2019 will be??? I see these all the time. I see them as occult. Some of these ask questions like what does your guardian angel's name start with (why do you need to know that name, is it biblically moral), what does your loved one in heaven has to say about you (sounds dangerously like necromancy) and others one might get answers from the horoscopes, a medium or spirit guide. The last one, "bible verse for 2019 will be" is obvious if one wants to know what their bible verse for 2019, read the bible.

2 months ago

56:18. That's the danger and subtlety of this deception. What he said isn't wrong. We do understand everything properly through Jesus. However I don't think the plain reading of his statement, what he means is not the plain understanding of what he said. Often they mean that they can redefine the bible and terms based on their personally understanding of Jesus. What it really means is we pay close attention to the words of Jesus given by the Father to us. That Jesus perfectly revealed the Father in a way the law never could. Just as my eulogy won't be a clearer picture of me then if I were alive and with you. Most deception is based on half Truths, and this is what makes it so dangerous. I heard a lot of statements he's made that are True, however his use of the statements shows he doesn't mean the plain clear understanding of those statements. Instead he wrestles them from their context and intent in order to tickle ears and draw people after himself.

The bit at the beginning about the youth camp really made me angry. Wolves dressed in sheep clothing,not sparing the flock. The enemy, comes only to kill steal and destroy. It's no wonder the ministers of satan disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, but their end will be according to their deeds. Lord please send someone into the lives of these children and point them back to yourself, in Truth and Spirit. I'd hate to be this guy on the day of judgement, that it seems he doesn't believe in.

2 months ago

I think he's a warning of the type of fruit Calvinism produces. His response seems to be against Calvinism to start with, then instead of going to biblical balanced Truth, he instead draws people after himself with equally false teaching. Many unbelievers I encounter I spend more time undoing bad theology they have been taught, then sharing the gospel. It's like a mine field of stumbling blocks you gotta walk through to reach them. 5/10 times the stumbling blocks come from Calvinism and Catholicism. Thanks for the video. Itll be helpful I'm sure.

2 months ago

This sounds like a beginning of a new cult.....didn't know that Muslims belivex that way....JWs???

2 months ago

Is Mike saying that the Muslim girl will indeed enter hell?

2 months ago

Most educated people are familiar with this Jonathon Edwards sermon; sad state of affairs that you weren't aware of it. I don't blame you but modern education.

2 months ago

Strong reaction to a minor misreading. What Zahnd does in his interpreting (is he interpreting the bible or simply interpreting others interpretation of it?) is not worse than what the right wing, flag waving, war mongering Trump loving, pseudo-christian fascists do. Zahnd is countering that which badly needs countering, i.e., American right wing pop evangelicals. Correct him where he is wrong, sure, but also help him in the struggle to fight the bigger heresy. BTW, don't bad mouth Greg Boyd or you will be going out the window with Hagee and the like.
I tend to side with Zahnd on the atonement issue... God did not punish Jesus for our sins, we did with our sins. The Romans did with the law of violence which still reigns to this day.

2 months ago

Without the shedding of blood their is no remission of sins.

2 months ago

Debate Richard dawkins

2 months ago

SMH not familiar Brian Zahnd but you start out telling us what he "thinks" and not what says. You are clearly framing the discussion so viewers will more readily accept you taking him out of context and putting words in his mouth.

Didn't watch past 15:24.

First Brian Zahnd clip starts at 13:18

He said nothing controversial but Mike Winger does a pan seemingly shocked and appalled.

This channel is a joke.

2 months ago

Brian Zahnd is the first Atheist Christian... a non-bible, bible reader...

2 months ago

Love your studies Mike... even if your not Calvinist (no one is perfect lol). Love ya brother

2 months ago

I did the same thing de-constructing Rob Bell's book, "Love Wins" .... another false teacher .. Thanks for the info on Brian, ... I live in Kansas City and am just a little familiar with him ...

2 months ago

wow..it is so hard sometimes because of the way some preachers (Bill Johnson, Brian Zahnd and others) use words. the way they use them sound so similar to truth, so similar to who Jesus actually is that if it was not for preachers of the truth the Bible itself and those who have wisdom to see the truth, some of us would not understand. It is so confusing the way these (Bill Johnson and others)preachers use words. We as Christians need to read and spend time in the word and be like the Bereans examining the scriptures to see if what is preached is true or not.

2 months ago

Who is this kid putting Walter Brueggemann on the naughty list? Lol. Honey, Brueggeman’s list is the only list you want to be on.

2 months ago

Brian Zahnd is lost that is why he can't understand the Bible. Also the word slave in the newer Bibles really means servant. If this man had the Holy Spirit, God would reveal that to him. Instead he chooses NOT to believe God and seek the truth and is only wise in his own vain philosophy. What disturbs me about this man is that he is giving children a distorted view of God and could be putting many of them on the road to Hell!!

2 months ago

It's scary what is out there.. so many false teachings. Cling to the Bible. Thank you for teaching truth Mike.

2 months ago

First, it's unfair for you to begin reading ANY book for the sole purpose of disagreeing with it or "making fun of it" as it sounds like this book club of yours does. Any book should be seen as a learning opportunity - even if you read it and decided you completely disagree with it. Second, you're taking everything that Brian is saying out of context and adding your own interpretations to twist what he's saying. Brian's interpretation of the scripture is this: The bible is NOT our GOD. The bible is a TOOL that helps us understand our Creator. You need a hammer to help you build a house, but the hammer itself is not going to give you protection and safety. In the same way, the Bible is not our savior, it is not our God. It is a book that was written by man that, yes, is necessary to our understanding God and growing in our Christianity, but the bible cannot save us. As you know, the only way to the Father is through the son that He sent not to condemn the world but to restore the world. The baseline of Brian's teachings is that the Bible POINTS us to Jesus, whom we desperately need! And that God loves us SO MUCH that he sent Jesus to us to restore the world. Who are we to put the almighty God in a box and say that the only way God could forgive us is if he killed his son? God is so much bigger than that. God didn't send Jesus to the world because he had to, he sent Jesus to the world because he loved us SO much that he wanted God himself (because we know that Jesus that equally man and God) to restore the world even though he knew the mission was doomed from the start because of the inherently evil nature of the world post the fall. God wasn't looking away from Jesus when His son died on the cross. God WAS Jesus and was crucified with Him! How powerful is that? What Brian is saying is that the wrath of God that is used as a scare tactic in SO many ways in the modern day Church is the LOVE of God wrongly received. That God isn't punishing us FOR our sin, but that we are punished BY our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, we don't see God punish them. We see Adam and Eve become aware of their sin and realize the mistake that they made - aware of their nakedness and their shame. And yet who comes to the Garden to restore them. GOD! He comes to the garden and literally atones for their shamefulness. He kills an animal and covers them. God is a LOVING God and the scripture reminds us of that over and over again. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, does the father (which is clearly a picture that Jesus paints of God the father and sinner (you and me) punish his son for running away? Does the father have to kill a servant in order to accept his son back and forgive him? NO! The father opens his arms and receives his son, who has realized his mistakes and has lived the repercussions (punishments) of his sins, who chooses to come back to his father (repent). The father has the best feast waiting on him. That is the picture of God that Jesus wants us to see. It is so unfair for you to have an interpretation of scripture that you claim is superior to others interpretations. Again, who are you to put God in such a small box? I have always struggled with how the church turns their nose up at certain groups of people because of their "sin." Are we not called to Love others above all things except God? "Love the Lord you God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." And so many churches don't accept the homeless and the gay and the prostitute and the criminal. And yet, are we not all of those things? Did Jesus turn away from the sinners. NO. He ate with them. And one of the most beautiful things about the scripture is that it doesn't say who Jesus ate with - did he eat with the homosexual or did he eat with the pastor? It doesn't matter - because they are all sinners. I am so thankful that He doesn't turn me away for the ways that I have lived. I am so thankful that he chooses to Love me and eat with me daily. Brian doesn't say that Hell isn't real. Honestly the way he describes hell is the scariest and realest way I've seen it described. It's the absence of LOVE, the absence of God. Hell is this world at its worse - when people are judging others and not loving and accepting them. I'll end with this: as Brian has asked before, who do you think are the modern day pharisees?

2 months ago

1 Timothy 4:1

2 months ago

I’m guessing you don’t agree with NT Wright either?

2 months ago

I can’t believe that as of now there are 65 downvotes on this video! These must be Brian’s deceived disciples trying to defend his false teachings. This guy is a heretic and should lose his ordination and church.

2 months ago

Hey Mike! Great video as usual.
I wanted to encourage you to check out the original "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon. As with most things in his book, it's been emotionally manipulated and utterly misrepresented--it banks on you having never read it.
I went into this sermon expecting the worst. But was (largely) pleasantly surprised. It can be read in less than an hour, so I encourage you to check it out.
Keep fighting the good fight!

2 months ago

Help, I'm a cult member, I believe God is LOVE.

2 months ago

I lost it when he came to the part about "Becky" the probably white Christian woman. Don't be a Becky guys! hahaha! Love you Pastor Mike! :D

2 months ago