Rev Michael Moran is senior pastor of The Spiritual Life Center in Sacramento, California and he recently announced plans to hold his Easter morning service at a Muslim mosque. He said the idea of holding Easter service in a mosque run by the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) came to him in a vision,
“In my dream state when I was wrestling with this problem I actually saw a newspaper on my kitchen counter that said ‘Easter at the mosque’ and I thought, ‘oh boy that’s really far out, that will never happen,’ but the next morning as I was driving into work it ran across my mind again.”
Acting upon his vision, he called Dr Metwalli Amer of SALAM to ask permission to use the mosque for Easter morning service. After several days of praying about it, Amer called and told Moran that they would let him use the mosque.
Moran’s church has been sucked into the false teachings of the Unity movement that believes in one God but many paths. Founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the Unity movement preaches peace and harmony amongst all of the world religions and believes that we all worship the same God that this all loving God provided many different paths to heaven.
Following the Unity teachings, Rev. Moran says he does not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, but that it was only his spirit that ascended into heaven. He says he believes that all of Jesus’ teachings are valid but they are also transformative. In this context, Moran and other Unity members believe that Jesus is not the only way to heaven even though that is precisely what Jesus said.
Moran explained it this way,
“I graduated seminary from the Unity School of Christianity. It’s s a very liberal form of Christianity and so Jesus is very central to my spiritual path but I would not pass the litmus test of very fundamental Christian beliefs. But for me, Jesus is the most important teacher of my life and he is the one that I strive to be like.”
“I believe it was more of spiritual resurrection and that it’s symbolic of what everybody does when they rise above old beliefs and that we all can have a personal resurrection experience whenever we overcome the world.”
Moran acknowledges that some in his church still believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and some do not. He plans to address this in his Easter service,
“I’ll mention that there are many different beliefs in our congregation. That there is the physical belief, looking at the story as a metaphor for personal resurrection and … that Jesus showed us a different way of living life.”
Some more conservative Christians believe that if you don’t believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, then you don’t believe in true Christianity. Professor Erik Thoennes from Biola University was one such person to comment about Rev Moran and his church by saying,
“A church that does not follow the risen Christ is not a true church.”
Rev Moran also does not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and said that over the years there have been translation mistakes and statements have been added or deleted for political reasons. He did say that the Bible holds a great deal of truth and wisdom, but that not all of it is accurate. When he preaches, Moran not only uses the Bible, but he also uses ‘scripture’ from other sources.
In other words, Moran takes what he wants out of Scripture and rejects the rest as untrue or irrelevant. He picks and chooses what he wants to believe in.
Rev Thoennes added a further comment about Moran and his views of the Bible by saying,
“A pastor who redefines the Christian faith to fit with contemporary sensibilities, rather than the whole counsel of God’s word, is not a pastor, but a false teacher.”
I for one find that I agree with Rev Thoennes’ assessment of Moran and his so-called Christian views. After all, how can you say that you are a Christian and follow the teachings of Jesus while at the same time rejecting some of the most critical teachings Jesus gave us. How does Moran explain John 14:6 who quotes Jesus as saying,
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Was Jesus lying or is this one of those verses that Moran would discard as one of the errors?
So if you can’t trust even one thing Jesus said, then why would you put your faith and trust for eternity in anything else He said? What can you believe or not believe? Moran’s form of compromise is one of the most dangerous forms there is. And as a pastor, that means he is going to be spreading his false teachings to others. All I can say about that is best said by Christ himself in Mark 9:42,
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”