Posted by: judy | December 12, 2009

Museum of Charlatans: Chris Seay

Chris Seay is a leader in the emerging church discussion. He was the founding pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, one of the earliest examples of generational church planting. Currently, Chris pastors Ecclesia of Houston, TX, and is the author of many books, including: The Gospel According to Tony Soprano, The Gospel Reloaded, and Faith of My Fathers.

Chris serves as President of Ecclesia Bible Society, which leads the effort for a new Thomas Nelson translation of the Bible called The Voice. His newest release (in December 2009) is The Gospel According to Lost, which explores life, faith, history, science, philosophy, hope, and the basic questions of what it means to be human as explored through the characters and themes found in the hit TV series Lost.

Visit Chris’ blog promoting The Voice.

Ecclesia of Houston: What We Believe

Holistic Missional Christian Community  

  Holistic: We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person’s life and culture.  We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular.  God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.

  Missional: We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself – she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.

  Christian: We embrace the teachings and divinity of Jesus Christ as well as His unique role as the means of salvation from sin for all who believe.  We embrace the Scripture as God’s primary instrument by which He introduces this message to the world.

  Community: We believe that salvation brings people together as a reflection of a triune God: Father, Son and Spirit.  Saved from sin by faith through grace, the people of God are able to live in unity as was intended by God in the beginning.

Chris Seay is a speaker at Jubilee (February 2010),

which is sponsored by Coalition for Christian Outreach,

who is supported by 84 Colleges and universities, churches (who partner with additional colleges and universities), and community organizations.



  1. What does this mean?

    ” We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.”

    Isn’t God’s Word uniquely sacred?

    Aren’t there purely secular entities?

    That last statement: ‘God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus’–sounds like Dominion Theology to me. I don’t believe ‘all creation’ will be redeemed.


  2. Chris is a lovely guy, really

    • Hi Andrew — Glad you visited! Excellent point — It is not about how “lovely”, nice, kind, generous, or good anyone is — I would guess that hell is filled with many “a lovely guy”. It brings me no joy but a deep, deep sadness as someone who personally knows Chris to be “a lovely guy”. Imagine if Chris used his energy, creativity, and passion to be a contender for the faith — to be a soldier for Christ — Oh, how the young adults, especially, would love him and listen to him.

  3. Judy,

    You have said that we have met, and I may have done you a dis-service by selling you imperfect books. So I feel like I care about this, even though several friends have suggested that writing like this isn’t useful or edifying. So against the wishes of several, I’ll continue for a bit, seeing if I can understand you better.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and reply.

    You say, on the headline, in bold print, that Chris is a charlatan. I presume you know the popular meaning of the word, and chose it as your headline intentionally. You are not saying he’s confused or in error, but knowingly being a fraud.

    The original meaning, I gather, is that such as one is a quack. Maybe you think he is nuts, but I’ll let that accusation pass, not wanting to presume you would really think he is mentally ill, and make fun of that. So I’ll suppose you are using the term as it is typically used, meaning a wacky person pretending to know stuff, but deep down, he knows he doesn’t. Not quite a hypocrite, but one in disguise, pretending.

    It is my understanding (and I would guess I’m not alone) that for you to say this with integrity, you would have to know something about his motivations, his intentions, his “real” views (since you imply that this stuff that he says he believes are not his real views, since he’s a fraud.) You have accused him of being a trickster fake, not really being honest about who he is, pretending to believe this stuff, but really he doesn’t. That is quite a claim. Maybe it would be nicer for you to say he is sick and mentally disturbed.

    Since you have gone public with this insinuation, it is fair for your readers to determine if you have reason to say this or you are just being ugly, making stuff up. We have the right to know if you have some inside scoop that makes you aware that he is not being honest about who he is, that he is wearing a mask, being two-faced.

    SO, please tell us: how do you know he is a charlatan? I am not asking if you disagree with his views or if his views are Biblically orthodox. Rather, I am asking why you called him a charlatan and what you intend to say by that. In the post (unless I missed it) I didn’t see any argument for this large claim you make about him.

    OR, did you not mean he is being knowingly deceptive, performing trickery on purpose, but rather you just meant he’s just a bad, or non-Christian.

    You appropriately give us his view about The Voice in his own words (or, really, the promo words of the marketing department of Nelson, the publisher, I’d guess) and we can see for ourselves what they say. Fair enough.

    But your headline clearly implies that he is knowingly tricking people, faking us into thinking he believes that stuff when he does not. You suggest he’s not being honest about this, that he is a fraud.

    What part of those four points do you think he really doesn’t believe? How do you know what he really believes and what he doesn’t? Again, to say he believes wrong stuff is one thing, and you could make that case if you were careful to do your homework and write well on your blog, exposing and explaining what you find in error. Such a caring ministry is needed these days, with all the nonsense that is written and published.

    But what you’ve done, here, on this post, is an audacious claim that implies and insinuates that he is up to tomfoolery, a charlatan, like Elmer Gantry, without a shred of argument to make your case, no proof of anything, no indication of what makes him a trickster or why you know this to be true. This is unacceptable.

    Being in this expose work you feel called to must be hard work. You apparently like to cut corners, blasting folks without documentation or evidence. If I could make this suggestion–and I am speaking with my heart pounding and my spirit deeply sad—if you can’t do this work right, maybe you should stop for a while. Your mean-spiritedness is keeping you from Godly character. The virtues of Christ aren’t evident in these insinuations, clever name-calling and snarky accusations. Maybe political bloggers act like that but Christians are simply called to different sorts of habits. Do you disagree?

    This post is unfair unless and until you tell us how you know he is a charlatan. Or apologize for choosing the wrong word. Now that you’ve posted this, it is incumbent upon you to clear up this matter. You owe him and your readers an apology or you need to tell us what you know about his motivations, and how you know them.

    (My hunch is you just mean you disagree with him and that you feel strongly that he is a poor representative of the God of the Bible and the gospel. If that is what you meant, Judy, why not just say he is in error. Why call him a charlatan, thereby accusing him of being a sad quack or an evil liar?)

    Thank you for your attention to this concern.

  4. Yvonne,

    You wrote something that really struck me as important and I hope that you don’t mind if I ask you to clarify. I know these blogs are hard places to explain things with clarity, but it would be great if you could explain yourself here.

    You say that you believe that not all of creation will be redeemed.

    It seems to me this is not a Biblical view (Colossians 1 alone uses the phrase “all things” repeatedly, as I am sure you know, and I presume you believe that portion of the Bible is true.) I understand that not everyone takes the Bible literally on this, and really thinks that God is not intending on saving His planet. (I assume you know that in John 3:16 the greek word for what God so loves is kosmos, being the entire created order. I wonder if perhaps you not love the kosmos as much as God does? If not, I hope you will repent and allow your heart to be shaped by Biblical revelation on this. )

    This matter that you’ve raised in one quick sentence is fascinating to me and I am glad you stated your view. I believe it is very important to explore for those that want to take the Bible seriously; I applaud the Voice folks [who I do not know] for saying this as it seems to me to be an important aspect of a faithfully Biblical worldview.

    Since you have said this as if it is important to you (and I agree that it is) I wonder if you could share what you mean by that. Which part of God’s creation, declared good, and named as under Christ’s Lordship (see Eph 1:10 for another “all things” promise) do you think isn’t being restored by the King when He returns? What dimension or sphere or aspect of God’s world do you think He will discard and not save?

    One aspect (for what it is worth) that could be debated is marriage. Christian thinking has always affirmed that marriage is rooted in the order of creation, yet Jesus clearly states that no one will be given in marriage in the new creation. Hmmm. (He doesn’t say, does He, that marriage will be abolished, just that no new marriages will occur.) That could be one part of God’s good world one could suggest that that is an area of creation that isn’t going to be restored. I have read a few different theologians on that, and the Biblical meaning is unclear, some think. I suppose I’m not asking you what you think of that, per se, but you have said that you think that some parts of the world are not going to be saved. What parts would that be?

    The Bible speaks of land, streets, rivers, animals, ploughshares—-no swords, though!—and the new Earth is peopled with various races, tribes, bringing “the wealth of the nations” into the New Jerusalem. It sure seems like God is saving His world, redeeming all things, restoring the kosmos.

    I wonder what part of “all things” in Colossians 1 you don’t quite agree with?

    Thank you.

    • Byron,

      I stand by my comment. Here’s why.

      The statement from Seay’s church says:

      “God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.”

      There is not one Scripture reference with which to support this statement.

      You suggested Colossians 1 as a possible reference.

      In chapter 1 verse 20, Paul says, “…to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of the cross.”

      I am going to assume that this is the portion of Scripture that Seay’s church and you refer. The problem with their statement is the word ‘redeem’. Because they changed the original intent of God’s Word from ‘reconcile’ to ‘redeem’ they have corrupted the true meaning of this passage. These two words are not synonymous; they do not have the same meaning.

      To be ‘reconciled’ does not mean that creation is no longer under the curse that God pronounced in Genesis; the world is still in sinful rebellion against God. It means that by the death of Christ the relationship between God and the world was changed; the barrier because of sin being taken away judicially, enabling God to show mercy where judgment was deserved. (from my study Bible notes)

      We must extrapolate from their statement that everything AND everybody will be/is saved. This smacks of universalism and is deceptive to Christians who are not discerning. By ‘applauding these folks’ you reveal your lack of discernment.


      You say, “I wonder if perhaps you not love the kosmos as much as God does?”

      You are absolutely correct!

      I do not and can not love the world as much as God does.


      Lastly, Byron, you have called us to repentence on a number of issues. Despite many of your ungracious zingers, I choose to believe that your call is genuine. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, I obediently repent. I suspect, however, that if you chose to spend as much time and effort critiquing the writings of some of the authors/teachers that you sell and promote (Brian McLaren, Thomas Merton, Kay Warren) you may find that it is you that is in need of repentence. Is there any book that you won’t sell?

      Because I recognize the obvious bias and serious deception under which you comment, this will be my last, direct response to you.

      My prayer is that the Lord will open your eyes.

  5. Byron, you may have a point — perhaps one may not be able to be both a “Charlatan” and “Deceived” simultaneously — will take that nugget under consideration.

    . . . and I would urge you to listen to your friends.

  6. Yvonne,

    Oh, come on. You are in this line of work, posting stuff about troubled thinkers, so don’t give up.

    I think, actually, your reflection on the differences between “reconciled” and “redeemed” are helpful and it sounds like a helpful distinction. My NAS uses the word “reconciled” too, so that is how I always quote it. I think when doing Bible study we have to study the word carefully in it’s original language and what it meant in common usage in that day, and from that writer. God didn’t choose to reveal Himself in words for no reason! So we have to study the words, and I’m going to pursue that little observation of yours. You say the words don’t have the same meaning, but I don’t know why. I’ll check that out. Thanks.

    (While we are on Colossians 1, it is interesting that in v 15 is mentions Jesus as “the first born of all creation” implying that his resurrection is only the first of other resurrections. I think bodily resurrection is an essential cornerstone to orthodox faith. But that “of all creation” implies that creation itself will be resurrected, released from the death curse upon it. Just a thought…

    And in v 16 it says that “all things” are for Christ. It doesn’t say that those “things” will endure into eternity, but that are for Him. Later it says he will be have first place in all those those things.

    However, I hope you agree, that another way to study words is to see how they are typically used in Scripture overall, to see echoes of older Testament usage as it shows up in New Testament uses. There is much about the healing of creation. and of course repeatedly we are told that the things of creation testify to God’s greatness. He enjoys the works of his hands and even the stuff of Earth are his servants. I was thinking of this just today as I was shoveling snow, which Job says comes from His hand. Romans 8 talks about the groaning of the creation, awaiting something (people to get right with God, of course) so it can be “released.”

    I have no idea about what Seay’s church uses to come up with the idea that all of creation is being redeemed. I would use the word “restored” (through the refiners fire) at the end. I sure don’t think that (now) the creation is redeemed or restored or released. It is under the curse of sin, but in Christ, the payment for that sin has been paid and the hope is certain that He will “restore all things.” Do a word search on that and it is really fascinating, how often that is said. I am not sure I can grasp the wonder of Ephesians 1:10 but it surely has that sense of the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemption.

    The old carol says it well, good to ponder this time of year: He comes to allow His blessings to flow “far as the curse is found…” Yes, as far as the curse is found (everywhere) His blessings will bring healing, if even through judgment.

    I can see that you might think that Seay’s church thinks this is some indication of a universalism. I don’t think you “have” to think that…he might, but I do not. (And to be fair, I don’t think you should think that about his view until you know it to be true.) My view of paradise regained is that of Augustine, Calvin, Kuyper, Bunyan (it seems) and a host of historic thinkers who believe that all creation (except for rebellious sinners who are not among the elect) will be restored and the saved will live in resurrected bodies on a (re)new(ed) creation. The new earth is one that is healed and made new. This is good news for the planet itself, but not all of us who hold to this view thinks it has to suggest universalism. It might for some, I suppose, I can see that. Not for those who are orthodox.

    My favorite book on this is Al Wolter’s Creation Regained, who is very solid, which has influenced Randy Alcorn’s Heaven and and is somewhat similiar in end times and heaven and new creation as Surprised by Hope by Wright. None are universalistic. You may not agree with them, but they sure aren’t emergent or anything like that.

    I think you are mistaken that there aren’t Biblical text about the restoration/healing/redemption of creation itself although it is admittedly a matter which Bible scholars have disagreed. Are the lambs and lions just metaphors? I rather take that pretty literally.

    I haven’t tried to make ungracious zingers, I don’t think–although if I did I am sorry. I spoke bluntly at times when there were egregious examples of gross dishonesty. Saying stuff about the Jubilee conference that was reprehensible. Speaking falsehoods about CCO. I used the language of repentance only on a few specific matters, mostly dealing with her cavalier attitude about truthfulness. I chided Judy for sloppy word choices and it’s a good thing, too, to insist on clarity and fairness. They weren’t zingers, but Bible-based rebukes.

    Of course we don’t love as much as God does, but we should, shouldn’t we? I mean that if God tells us that He loves something, we should, in our human way, do likewise. Loving creation is apparently what God does.

    You asked if there are any books I won’t sell. Sure, plenty. But there are lots I do. Love it! My mother in law and my daughter were/are librarians. My grandma was a real fundamentalist but a teacher in a poor Appalachian school where she taught classic poems and great literature and some silly stuff, too. We love books, even though they are dangerous! It would be like asking a chef if there are some foods she won’t eat. We’re broke, though, since folks don’t read much like they use to.


%d bloggers like this: