In session 2 on "Toxic Intelligence - Modernism" I found Durham quoting this little gem. Considering some of the kerfuffles going on between me and my friends, I thought it interesting. Here we have istory repeating itself:
The Down Grade
From the April 1887 Sword and Trowel
This is part two of the series, also written by Robert Shindler.
As if to show how powerless in themselves are the best defined articles of faith, the first open advocates of Arianism were clergymen of the Established Church. Dr. William Whiston, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Samuel Clarke, Rector of St. James's, Westminster, were the captains in this unholy war with truth. Many of the clergy, and a few among the laity, embraced their sentiments. The majority of professed adherents to the State Church were too indifferent to religion to trouble themselves about the matter. But it was otherwise among Nonconformists. Many of the hearers were not much, if at all, behind their ministers in intelligence and interest in theological matters; and where this was the case, the bungling theories of Whiston and Clarke were readily embraced as agreeable to their taste and flattering to their reason. James Pierce, a Presbyterian minister, first at Cambridge, then at Newbury, and afterwards at Exeter, wrought incalculable mischief. He was a man who, for learning, eloquence, and other natural and acquired abilities, held a high place in the esteem of the congregations to which he ministered. So much the more subtle and powerful was the influence of his teaching, and so much the more disastrous were the results.He did not use the entire passage there, I copied more to give it context.
Among the Independents the leaven worked. In the colleges, or academies, as they were then called, the mischief first came to a head. Doctor Doddridge was as sound as he was amiable; but perhaps he was not always judicious; or more probably still, he was too judicious, and not sufficiently bold and decided. As the pastor of an influential church, and as the head of an academy which ranked higher than any other, his amiable disposition permitted him to do what men made of sterner stuff would not have done. He sometimes mingled in a fraternal manner, even exchanging pulpits, with men whose orthodoxy was called in question. It had its effect on many of the younger men, and served to lessen in the estimate of the people generally the growing, divergence of sentiment. No one, however, could, and certainly the present writer will not, insinuate even the suspicion of heresy against the author of "Jesus, I love thy charming name."
Durham then goes on to explain:
"In other words, a divide occurred between truth and error. And men, such as this pastor and professor, who, while [he] himself was sound in doctrine, actually openly mingled with and ministered with those responsible for bringing new falsehoods into the church. And in the minds of students and the church public at large, it made the divide between truth and error seem less severe than they once thought. An unwillingness to stand for truth at all costs invaded those who held to Biblical Inerrancy. And in the name of tolerance, men who didn't want to be seen as hindrances to progress allowed evil influence into churches and seminaries. Unfortunately, many congregations ate it up.
DISCLAIMER: I listened to some other things of Durham's and to me it seems there's a hint of pietism in some of the things he says, where I get the impression that he believes real Christians don't struggle with sin, don't sometimes struggle to obey, don't sometimes feel it's a burden to obey because they still have a sinful nature to contend with. (Oh... yeah, maybe they struggle with 'respectable' sins... but nothing REALLY bad...) My guess is that he's one of the guys who thinks the Romans 7 wretch is Paul talking about BEFORE he was converted, which makes no sense grammatically.
Then I found a sermon of his where he spoke about a pastor who said he had a hard time with his prayer life and suddenly that changed and prayer became a joy. Then he suddenly said to this Michael Durham guy "you know you're the only one I can really tell this to - but I believe God spoke to me the other day" And Durham was thrilled about this. Literally. He went on "Because we're Baptists we have been told that the canon is closed. So we think that means God suddenly got silent. But no, my God is alive!" (the implication to me is that "God is still speaking" in inner impressions or voices in our heads or whatever, essentially mysticism-lite.)
It's in this video:
2009 Real Truth Matters Conference 01 - What's Wrong With American Christianity?
From about 52 min in he leads into it.
At 53:30 he says "God just needs you to open your heart to all of him" This seems misleading and puts all the oness for God's blessing on the person.
Then at 54:30 he says how much power of God do you have in your life - how much power do you have to pray?"
Then he explains the pastor/prayer "God spoke to me" thing described above. These are red flags to me.