Blog has moved, searching new blog...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Trilateral Terror meeting in Damascus to discuss the "Zionist threat"

By Chris Schang

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the terror trio of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and Syria President Bashar Assad have held a meeting over dinner to discuss "threats" in the region. Obviously it does not take much imagination to determine that the "threat" that these terrorist masterminds were discussing was none other than Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah met Thursday evening in Damascus along with their senior advisors, and discussed regional developments and “the zionist threat,” it was revealed Friday. The two were the guests of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who had dinner with the two and participated in the talks. According to Arab media reports, the meeting was not reported upon until after it had taken place for security reasons.

In regards to recent United States overtures from the Obama administration the article went on to report that the trio basically snubbed Washington and demanded that the United States withdraw from the region. The article further reported:

On Thursday Ahmadinejad and Assad together unleashed vicious rhetoric against Israel, with Ahmadinejad declaring that the “criminal” state of Israel is doomed, and Assad charging that Israel “is capable of aggression at any point.” Visiting Damascus, Ahmadinejad vowed that Arab nations will usher in a new Middle East “without Zionists and without colonialists.” In remarks that extended to vicious criticism of the US, and made a mockery of Washington’s efforts to engage his Syrian hosts, Ahmadinejad said the United States should leave the Middle East and stay out of regional affairs.

“[The Americans] want to dominate the region but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that,” Ahmadinejad said during a news conference with Assad. “We tell them that instead of interfering in the region's affairs, to pack their things and leave.” He added that “if the Zionist regime wants to repeat its past mistakes, this will constitute its demise and annihilation.”

It appears that the enemies of the Israel as well as the United States have become very vocal over the last few days and weeks. This increased tension from the resulting comments has given analysts the feeling that Iran could "stir the pot" soon as international pressure begins to be increased on Iran over it's illegal nuclear weapons program. Recent new articles have reported calls for sanctions against Iran that are both "crippling" and "with teeth" as opposed to the mainly meaningless sanctions that have been applied on Iran up unto this point. Chief among those making the calls for these kind of sanctions is both the United States and Israel, hence the reference to the "Zionist threats" that caused the terror trio to meet. With more meaningful sanctions expected or anticipated to be passed against Iran within the next month, it is easy to see that Iran could try to start some serious problems on the borders of Israel. With the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations basically a proxy of their Iranian masters, it is not to hard to see the idea that Iran may try to distract the international community with a brand new conflict in the region centering around Israel and the terrorists.

Many watchers of Bible prophecy have become aware of the prophecies of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17, which basically foretell the destruction of the terrorists that currently reside on the border with Israel and the utter destruction of the Syrian capital of Damascus. As we've noted in previous Rapture Reports, Syria has already taken the move of transferring official state archives out of Damascus as they anticipate a strong reaction from Israel in the next conflict should Syria become directly involved. This move has many Bible prophecy watchers on edge as the bottom line is that something has to give pretty soon. With the continued buildup of arms, missiles, and other weapons on the borders of Israel and the current stalemate with the Middle East peace process, coupled with the tightening of sanctions on Iran gives many of us the idea that a conflict is literally around the corner. As we know from previous conflicts they can breakout very fast and heat up very quickly. With these developments in the region, we need to be watchmen on the walls and keep our eyes peeled for signs that things are about to get out of control.

Stay sober and wake, for if you close your eyes you might miss something.

God bless.

Emergence Christianity - Denial of Hell

By Justin Edwards

Before we delve deeper into the intricacies of the Emergent Church, which has now morphed into Emergence Christianity, I want to share a glimpse of their destructive, heretical doctrines - the rejection of hell as a literal, physical place. While this topic will be dealt with in more detail in the weeks to come, Doug Pagitt explicitly denies hell, and heaven for that matter, as physical places. Moreover, you will find yourself beating your head against a wall sharing frustration with Todd Friel as you hear Doug use the evasive tactics so popular with these apostates. The interview is in 2 parts, and you can also find the whole transcript in the link below.

And this is just scratching the surface...

Todd: Yea, do you think, do you think there's an eternal damnation for people who are not Christians?

Doug: Yeah, well, I think that there's.. I think there's all kinds of … I mean that, that, damnation would sort of be that.. that there's parts of the uh, life in Creation that seem to be counter to what God is doing and those are the things that are eliminated and removed and done away with. And so I think that's what damnation is, and so there's people who want to live out that kind of uhm, wanna have that good judgment – the judgment of God in their life. I mean you know Judge… Judgment in a biblical fashion meaning that God remakes… that God remakes the world.

Todd: OK, Doug, hold on Doug… Doug hold on a second. I have no idea what you just said. Here's what I think Hell is: eternal damnation, God sends lawbreakers to a place where there's weeping, there's gnashing of teeth, a lake of sulpher, the worm never dies, eternal conscious torment. Agree or disagree?

Doug: Disagree.

For the whole transcript go here:

Transcript of Todd Friel and Doug Pagitt on Way of the Master Radio

Emerging Church: Distinctive Teachings and Goals

By Justin Edwards

In the past couple of days we have seen a general overview of the Emergent Church and its adherence to post-modern philosophy. The EC teaches that there is no known universal truth, the church must conform to the culture, there is no clarity in the Word of God, sin is tolerated, morality is relative, and all people will essentially be reconciled to God (universalism).

The following document from Apologetics Index   explains the Distinctive Teachings and Goals of the Emergent Church. It should begin to come clear that this movement is yet another tool being used by Satan to blur the lines and keep people from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Emerging Church – Distinctive Teachings and Goals

  • The world is radically changing and the church must radically change with it
    Emergents believe postmodernity represents a dramatic break with the past and that only an extreme transformation in the church can keep the church relevant and effective in this environment. What is needed, they say, is not just a change in methodology. We need a new kind of Christian.
  • Since the Church has been culture bound for so long we must reexamine and question every belief and practice in the Church, finding new ways to define and express these
    Visiting emergent blogs, one will find that absolutely any doctrine or moral standard can be questioned. It seems at times that emergents are engaging in a complete reinvention of Christianity accompanied by a radical redefinition of Christian terms.
  • We have no foundation for any beliefs, therefore we cannot know absolute truth
    Critics of the Emerging Church movement insist that emergents misrepresent epistemological foundationalism (the belief that we do possess some knowledge that serves as a basis for further knowledge) as requiring “bombproof certainty,” something contemporary foundationalists insist they do not hold to. What contemporary foundationalists do believe is that we can possess real knowledge that is so certain it requires extraordinary evidence to refute it. [13] D. A. Carson points out that emergent postfoundationalism is based upon yet another of their false antitheses, saying “In effect the antithesis demands that we be God, with all of God’s omniscience, or else forever be condemned to knowing nothing objective for sure.” [14] Additionally, emergents fail to consider the scriptural teaching of faith as something God-given which does possess supernaturally certain knowledge (Mt 21:21, Eph. 2:8, Heb 11:1). Emergents do not seem to realize that critiquing secular foundationalism is not the same as critiquing Evangelical foundationalism. In A New Kind of Christian McLaren’s fictional altar ego, Neo, says even Scripture is neither authoritative (in a “modern” sense) [15] nor a foundation for faith. [16]
  • Since we cannot know absolute truth, we can only experience what is “true” for our communities
    Postmodern philosophers and theologians insist that truth is only known and validated within communities (“There are no Metanarratives only local narratives”). While this implies that truth is culturally relative and that true cross-cultural communication is impossible (those outside a community must first join a community before they can understand the community’s ideas), postmodern authors communicate to people of various communities simultaneously, apparently expecting them to all equally understand their intent.
  • Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about doctrine
    Emergents see orthodoxy as “generous,” [17] that is, inclusive of many beliefs Christians have historically thought of as aberrant or heretical. Many leading emergents echo McLaren’s refusal to assert Christianity’s superiority to other world religions.
  • Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about moral standards
    Absolute stands on issues such as homosexuality are viewed as obsolete. Activities such as drinking, clubbing, watching sexually explicit movies, and using profanities are seen by some emergents as opportunities to show those who are not part of the Christian community that postmodern Christians do not think they are better than them through any false sense of moral superiority. [18]
  • Since we cannot know absolute truth, dogmatic preaching must give way to a dialogue between people of all beliefs
    Emerging Christians do not posture themselves before the world as though they were the light and the world were in darkness. Instead of “preaching” to the “lost” they join in “conversation,” with people of various beliefs. Conservative Evangelicals seem not to be truly welcome to contribute their distinctive content to this conversation since they represent the old, rotting corpse of “modernism.”
  • Since propositional truth is uncertain, spiritual feeling and social action make up the only reliable substance of Christianity
    Emergents consider propositional truth a “modern” (and thus outmoded) fascination. Postmoderns think and communicate in narratives. [19] Since the pursuit of truth is portrayed as a never ending journey with no solid starting point, they consider the only legitimate measuring rods of Christianity to be experience and good works. Without a solid footing in revealed truth, however, emergents have no firm foundation for knowing which experiences are valid and which works are good (something they do not seem to notice).
  • To capture a sacred feeling we should reconnect with ancient worship forms
    Trappings such as burning candles and events such as silent retreats are popular in the movement. Embracing these premodern forms further breaks their connection with “modern” Christianity.
  • Since sublime feeling is experienced through outward forms, we should utilize art forms in our worship
    Many participants in the movement see appreciating art for art’s sake as a spiritual experience.
  • Through conversation with them, “outsiders” will become part of our community, and then be able to understand and believe what we teach
    The postmodern approach is not to try to persuade people to believe, it is to try to befriend people into joining. This is commonly expressed as Robert Webber does when he says “People in a postmodern world are not persuaded to faith by reason as much as they are moved to faith by participation in God’s earthly community.” [20] There is a false antithesis in such statements, however. We do not have to choose between a purely cerebral attempt to talk others into believing correctly on the one hand and offering an open, unqualified invitation to our group on the other. The Bible teaches us to proclaim the gospel message with reliance upon the Holy Spirit to empower, illuminate, and convict (1 Co 2, 1 Thess 1:9). When such proclamation is absent, as it is in the Emerging Church movement, there is no prophetic voice coming from the church calling sinners to repent and believe the Gospel (Ac 2:38, 16:30-32).
  • All are welcome to join the “conversation” as long as they behave in a kind and open-minded manner.
    Emerging believers reject any posture which hints at exclusivism. Dogmatic Evangelicals, however, are not treated as kindly in the conversation as others are (something many emergents admit).
  • The ultimate goal is to make the world a better place
    The Emerging Church movement envisions a utopia in which the oppressed of the world are free, the poor are no longer impoverished and the environment is clean. This paradise is achieved through social activism. Many emergent leaders think it is selfish folly to live for the return of Christ.
The accomplishing of all of the above is seen by those in the movement as evidence that the Church is emerging to reach the culture, adapting to it. Critics of the movement see these things as signs that the Church is submerging into the culture, being absorbed by it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

13 Heresies in The Shack

From: The Crosstalk Blog

The Shack continues as a best seller, and evangelicals and otherwise conservative churches are eating it up.There are 13 separate heresies about God in the novel. We know they are heresies because they contradict what the Bible plainly teaches about God. Without the Bible as our standard for truth, we are making God over in any image of our choice. Today on Crosstalk, our guest is Pastor Larry DeBruyn who has written a book on the seductive spirituality of The Shack. The book is, Unshackled: Breaking Away from Seductive Spirituality and it is available by calling 800-729-9829. It has caught on like wildfire because Christians today let their feelings determine truth rather than let truth dictate their feelings. Here are the false representations of God found in The Shack. They are written by Dr. Michael Youssef, a nationally televised pastor, who preaches an entire sermon on the book. Scroll down at this link to see the video box that says, “Michael Youssef’s Message.”

Thirteen Heresies in The Shack

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.

The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).

7. God submits to human wishes and choices.

Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).

8. Justice will never take place because of love.

The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).

9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.

Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).

10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.

Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).

12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).

13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.

The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation.

Listen here as William Paul Young denies the penal substitutionary atonemenf of Christ, cardinal doctrine, folks. (Fast forward to hear the specific denial 16 minutes in.)

**Note**Last July, Elmbrook Church, a large evangelical megachurch in Waukesha, Wisconsin, featured William Paul Young as a speaker and promoted it on secular media to draw in outsiders. They defended their hosting of Mr. Young with a shocking set of lies that are so obviously refuted it beggars belief. You can read Elmbrook’s claims here about Young’s book. Then get Pastor DeBruyn’s book, filled with footnotes and see for yourself. When pastors at Elmbrook include no proof or Scriptures to defend their positive claims about The Shack, and Pastor DeBruyn has filled his book with footnotes and detailed claims, it says volumes. These pastors have so dumbed down their congregations that a line or two of assurance is all that’s needed. They are trained to believe whatever they are told, not to go to the Scriptures themselves. Decades of not teaching the Word results in this kind of seduction. That members would accept their pastors’ word on this without any kind of Berean approach to Scripture is symptomatic of the times in which we live.

What's So Dangerous About the Emerging Church?

By Justin Edwards

As we continue defining the Emerging Church (EC), the following interview between John MacArthur and Phil Johnson helps explain how destructive this movement is. MacArthur begins by explaining that the Emergent Church is an amorphous, loose-knit association of churches that have decided there is value and virtue in uncertainty of Scripture. He further says the Emergent Church believes we are not even suppose to understand what the Bible says, and that it is an attack on the clarity of Scripture.

As MacArthur explains in the interview, this movement is another form of liberalism. Where at one time human reason reigned supreme during the era of modernism, mystery reigns supreme in this era of post-modernism, and both philosophies are an outright assault on the Word of God. The EC sanctifies modern culture and seeks to become like them. They want to conform to the world which is a blatant contradiction to what the Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 and 1 John 2:15-17. They claim that the culture should define Christianity and remain relevant to the current trends - basically that means it should adapt to society and accept sin.

The interview gives great insight on the three philosophical periods of pre-modernism, modernism, and post- modernism. Essentially pre-modernism is the time from the beginning of humankind until the Enlightenment where man understood that truth came from a supernatural source. Modernism came along and sought to remove God or supernatural force, and claimed that truth could be found through human reason. Science became god and the world deteriorated to its worse condition. Fascism and communism rose out of modernism, and of course this led to the millions and millions of lives massacred. When the Berlin wall fell, we essentially entered into the era of post-modernism. This philosophy states that there might be truth, but we cannot know it. Some might even say there is no absolute truth, but at the minimum they will say that no universal truth can be known. Ambiguity is considered a good thing, and mystery is embraced with open arms. Moral relativism becomes god, and you are free to invent your own religion. The Emergent Church LOVES post-modernism.

Post-modern thought allows you to sin without guilt. It operates outside the realm of Scripture like all man-made philosophies do. And the Emergent Church capitalizes on this relevant culture and it deconstructs the only Gospel that saves, thus leading people away from the cross of Jesus Christ.

The following link will take you to an hour interview between MacArthur and Johnson. It is well worth your time to listen and it really helps explain this cultish movement in layman's terms. The second link provides you with the transcript from the interview if you are unable to listen to the podcast. I encourage you to listen or read this material and arm yourself for the defense against the most dangerous movement in the church today.

Audio - What's Do Dangerous About the Emerging Church?

Transcript - What's So Dangerous About the Emerging Church?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is the Emerging Church?

By Justin Edwards

Because this blog is dedicated to defending the faith, it is essential to define the greatest threat to biblical Christianity today: the Emerging Church Movement. The leaders of this not-so-New Age-movement seek to destroy the essential doctrines of Christianity, which are core fundamentals of the faith even unto salvation. Such doctrines include the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the reality of a physical hell, original sin, and even that Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

The energy that binds these heretical teachings is contemplative spirituality and mysticism. Contemplative prayer (also known as centering prayer)  is nothing short of transcendental meditation (TM), and its religious system is mysticism, which provides a bridge for all religions leading to universalism.

The following article from Got Questions provides a general overview of the Emerging Church, and in the days and weeks to come I will provide key resources explaining this movement in more detail including the occult religious practices it offers. I will indeed be naming names.

If you are part of an emerging church or are seeking more information about the dangers of this movement, I encourage you to stay tuned.

Question: "What is the emerging / emergent church movement?"

The emerging, or emergent, church movement takes its name from the idea that as culture changes, a new church should emerge in response. In this case, it is a response by various church leaders to the current era of post-modernism. Although post-modernism began in the 1950s, the church didn't really seek to conform to its tenets until the 1990s. Post-modernism can be thought of as a dissolution of "cold, hard fact" in favor of "warm, fuzzy subjectivity." The emerging / emergent church movement can be thought of the same way.

The emerging / emergent church movement falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking—it is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward, feelings over truth. These are reactions to modernism and are thought to be necessary in order to actively engage contemporary culture. This movement is still fairly new, though, so there is not yet a standard method of "doing" church amongst the groups choosing to take a post-modern mindset. In fact, the emerging church rejects any standard methodology for doing anything. Therefore, there is a huge range of how far groups take a post-modernist approach to Christianity. Some groups go only a little way in order to impact their community for Christ, and remain biblically sound. Most groups, however, embrace post-modernist thinking, which eventually leads to a very liberal, loose translation of the Bible. This, in turn, lends to liberal doctrine and theology.

For example, because experience is valued more highly than reason, truth becomes relative. Relativism opens up all kinds of problems, as it destroys the standard that the Bible contains absolute truth, negating the belief that biblical truth can be absolute. If the Bible is not our source for absolute truth, and personal experience is allowed to define and interpret what truth actually is, a saving faith in Jesus Christ is rendered meaningless.

Another area where the emerging / emergent church movement has become anti-biblical is its focus on ecumenism. Unity among people coming from different religious and ethnic backgrounds and diversity in the expression of corporate worship are a strong focus of the emergent church movement. Being ecumenical means that compromise is taking place, and this results in a watering down of Scripture in favor of not offending an apostate. This is in direct opposition to passages such as Revelation 2:14-17, Jesus' letter to the church of Pergamum, in which the Church is warned against tolerating those who teach false doctrine.

False doctrine seems to abound within the emerging / emergent church movement, though, as stated previously, not within every group espousing emerging / emergent church beliefs. Because of this, care must be taken when deciding whether or not to become involved with an emergent church group. We all need to take heed of Matthew 7:15-20, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

While seeking new ways to witness to a changing culture is admirable, utilizing ways which compromise the Truth of the Gospel in any way is nothing more than promoting false doctrine and leading others away from Christ instead of to Him.

Recommended Resource: The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception by John MacArthur

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes

By Andrea

Isn't it amazing how the things we take in through our eyes have a tendency to stick in our brains, somewhere in subconscious la-la land?

Before I came to know Christ, well...even after that, I would watch horrific things on the television and in movies and look at grotesque things on the internet. In some weird way it pleased my flesh. I liked the gore and the violence and the sick twisted movies. Who knows, maybe it made me feel better about my life or the high from the adrenaline rush appeased my dark side, feeding it and fueling it for darkness....I started watching horror movies when I was 7 years old and stopped watching them about a year and a half ago....about 20 years worth of that stuff has been imprinted on my brain...our brains remember EVERYTHING, even if we can't consciously remember something.

Before I was personally convicted of letting those kinds of things into my soul, my husband would not watch such things with me. He is very affected by the things he lets into his spirit through his eyes, admittedly. I would tell him, "I'm not affected by things like that" and "I could look at this and go to bed and dream about puppies". That was true, I would, that very same night! That is what the enemy wanted me to think and how my flesh rationalized watching evil.

Today, and for years really, I have struggled with nightmares but never made a correlation between what my eyes/soul seen and the recurring nightmares of tragedy and torture being imposed upon me. Oddly enough, but maybe not odd at all-maybe just the works of a spiritual enemy, I would never have those night terrors directly after watching what I watched. King of trickery and demon of deceit, that's what we are up against.

It dawned on me, just the other day, after awaking from yet another night of being chased by serial killer and backed into a corner;ready to be slaughtered, that that 20 some years of watching scary movies and reading books about serial killers invited evil into my mind, into my very soul....stamping my subconscious with a cloud of darkness.

BUT, Praise God because He is our Victor, our Healer and Deliverer and He alone is renewing this mind that I have tainted. He protects me from the fear the enemy is trying to create in my soul. Thank you, Jesus! I may be backed into a corner in dreamland, but this girl will not be backed into a corner by any demonic force in reality because He is with me and through Him I will be victorious over evil and laugh in the face of our spiritual enemies.

My whole point of writing this is just to share what I have learned about the sensitivity of our spirits, the sensitivity of my own spirit. To think, I once thought that "I'm not affected by those kind of things"....oh how foolish of me to say. I pray that the Lord continues to renew this tainted soul of mine and I pray that the Lord renews your mind from anything that you may have seen intentionally or unintentionally!

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will". Romans 12:1-2

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Apostasy of Mother Teresa, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campola, and the Emerging Church

By Justin Edwards

The following article by Ken Silva is an excellent summation of where the road of contemplative spirituality and mysticism can lead an individual - universalism. Ken provides examples from Mother Teresa, Shane Claiborne, and Tony Campola (with mention of Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Brian McLaren) illustrating their ultimate belief that all roads lead to heaven and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is moot and non-essential (even useless).

If you are a born again Christian attending an Emergent Church or realize your church is heading into that direction, then I implore you to flee this apostasy and return to sound teaching from the Word of God. The teachings from these men and the Catholic church do not lead people to the cross of Jesus Christ, they lead them away to an eternal hell.

If you read nothing else in this article, please read the words of Mother Teresa (highlighted in red). It becomes clear that she did not uphold the Gospel of Christ, and if she took this belief to her grave, she is eternally separated from the love of God. It goes to show that good works cannot save you; it is only by the grace of God alone through faith alone in the biblical Jesus Christ alone that you may be saved.

It is a tragedy if she died with this belief; it is a greater tragedy that millions are following in her footsteps.


By Ken Silva pastor-teacher

“I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, Then they would have announced My words to My people, And would have turned them back from their evil way, And from the evil of their deeds.” (Jeremiah 23:21-22, NASB)

 Sincere; But Sincerely Wrong

Anyone familiar with Emerging Church icon Shane Claiborne knows that he was quite taken with the late apostate Mother Teresa, who actually took her name out of her respect for so-called “Christian” mystic Teresa of Avila. Below are the words of Mother Teresa from my personal copy of her book Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers.

And therein you will be able to see the resulting deception gleaned from her years of practicing Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM); a gospel of goodness with its resulting denial of the exclusive claims of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ:

We never try to convert those who receive [aid from her organization] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. Growing up in love they will be nearer to God and find him in his goodness. Every human being comes from the hand of God and we all know what is the love of God for us. My religion is everything to me but for every individual, according to the grace God had given that soul. God has his own ways and means to work in the hearts of men and we do not know how close they are to him but by their actions we will always know whether they are at his disposal or not.

Whether you are a Hindu, a Moslem or a Christian, how you live your life is the proof that you are fully his or notWe must not condemn or judge or pass words that will hurt people. Maybe a person has never heard of Christianity. We do not know what way God is appearing to that soul and what way God is drawing that soul, and therefore who are we to condemn anybody? It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation. This is the way God comes into his life. (81, 82, emphasis mine)
Now as loving as this might appear on the surface, it’s very definitely not the Gospel that was preached by Christ and His Apostles. No need to be born again; no making disciples of Christ, and no teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. However, the above fantasy is completely consistent with the delusion received by those who practice the Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) of the spurious CSM aka Spiritual Formation espoused by ordained Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard and his spiritual twin Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

With this backdrop Apprising Ministries now shows you that this past Tuesday The Simple Way tweeted:

Update: On Evangelicals and Interfaith Cooperation (Online source)

If you don’t know, The Simple Way (TSW) is “a community of faith” to which Claiborne himself belongs. It’s also quite telling that under Recommended Books “On Ecclesiology (theology of Church)” are A Generous Orthodoxy and A New Kind of Christian by the heretical Brian McLaren, who’s now also a Living Spiritual Teacher alongside such as Deepak Chopra, the Dalai LamaThich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson; as well as a leading guru in the the neo-liberal cult of the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—that’s now morphed into Emergence Christianity.

Shane Claiborne is also one of the Red Letter Christians alongside the likes of his mentor Tony Campolo, Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr, and Brian McLaren. Now the above tweet takes us to On Evangelicals and Interfaith Cooperation at the TSW website where they tell us: “A few years ago, Shane interviewed Tony Campolo for an article in Cross Currents Magazine. We think it’s still relevant.” Since I discussed that 2005 interview in Emergent Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo, back in February of 2006, this immediately caught my attention because it means Claiborne’s view is unchanged.

So because TSW and Claiborne have just brought the subject back up by linking it at their faith community website, and in light of their recommendation of the warped and toxic theology of EC guru Brian McLaren, I am once again going to highlight a couple of things from that Claiborne’s interview with Campolo. In Brian McLaren Invites You On His Quest To Destroy Christianity I pointed out that with his new book A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC) McLaren has laid out his reimagined i.e. new form of Progessive Christianity aka liberal theology, which so many in the EC actually adhere to as well.

Like Mystics Ala Mother Teresa, Like Shane Claiborne And Tony Campolo

It’s also an incontestable fact that the following view of the false religion of Islam that Shane Claiborne and his mentor Tony Campolo portray below—completely consistent with Teresa—is the result of their own practice of CCP. First here’s Campolo from his book Speaking My Mind:

a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other. I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experience? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism? (149,150, emphasis mine)

Actually Tony yes, they do encounter the mystic mush god with you; but it most definitely is not the God of the Bible. The following section below comes from the interview mentioned above, which TSW has just linked now at their own website. The section contains a very interesting exchange between Claiborne and Campolo about a third of the way down the page:

SC: Both Muslims and Christians are very evangelical in the sense of desiring others to come to faith in their God. When we talk about inter-religious cooperation, does that mean that we need to stop trying to convert each other?
TC: We don’t have to give up trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.
I think that what we all have to do is leave judgment up to God. The Muslim community is very evangelistic, however what Muslims will not do is condemn Jews and Christians to Hell if in fact they do not accept Islam.
SC: That seems like a healthy distinction—between converting and condemning. One of the barriers seems to be the assumption that we have the truth and folks who experience things differently will all go to Hell. How do we unashamedly maintain a healthy desire for others to experience the love of God as we have experienced it without condemning others who experience God differently… (Online source, bold mine)

Resisting the urge here to wrestle with the serpent I’ll just say that, as far as it concerns Islam and hell, Campolo is quite mistaken so I simply refer you to the Quran itself:

And, by thy Lord, verily We shall assemble them and the devils, then We shall bring them, crouching, around hell. Then We shall pluck out from every sect whichever of them was most stubborn in rebellion to the Beneficent. And surely We are Best Aware of those most worthy to be burned therein. (Surah 19:68-70, emphasis mine)
Of course what Campolo and his disciple Claiborne are talking about is not the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ; but it is a primary online source giving you a glimpse at the gospel of goodness that these men personally believe. And this false teaching is completely consistent with the universalism one sees as they study mysticism as I have for years now. However, even if Campolo did happen to be correct when he dreams “even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people,” then this question comes emerging: Then why should they ever need to convert in the first place?

Why should we even waste our time and money, not to mention risking our lives in Islamic controlled countries, to try and convert “God’s people”…ah, into…um, “God’s people” I guess? McLaren’s  already on record saying hell is false advertising for God, and we also know that the other two thirds of the Emergent trinity heretical EC pastor Doug Pagitt and his equally heretical “theologian in residence” Tony Jones, both deny the doctrine of original sin along with guru McLaren so in their bankrupt Emergence theology there’s nothing to be save from anyway.

In other words, conversion has now been redefined to mean joining them in their social gospel of goodness, which they usually express something along the lines of living the way of God in Jesus and being co-creators with Him in order to make God’s dreams for the world come to pass. But it’s well past time now to finally awaken from your slumber and realize that if this reimagined Emergence Christianity, where all of mankind is already the family of God, is true then there really is no Gospel left to preach. And so I wonder; just who might have come up with that little idea?

No, this is more than enough reason for me to tell people to stay away from this “missional” Emerging/ent/ence Church. And remember, Emerging Church spokesman Dan Kimball has revealed to us that  Emergent Wolves Enter Your Sheep Pens Through Youth Groups. The truth is that the time has arrived when we must reject these Emergent dreamers and their quasi-Christian universalism with its warped and toxic neo-liberal repainted social gospel ala Walter Rauschenbusch. And when all said and done, in the end, Claiborne is really just a Rob Bell with dreadlocks.

See also:


Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Ruinous" Heap?

By Justin Edwards

When was the last time you used or heard the word, "ruinous"? I just asked my wife the same question. She answered, "well, I don't know....maybe in the Bible where it talks about Sodom and Gomorrah being a ruinous heap?" I responded that was close, and I then read Isaiah 17:1, "The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

What's more, as Michael Mickey points out, the Jerusalem Post staff incidentally or intentionally used the same word. I think the latter is more likely. I don't recall ever hearing "ruinous" being used outside the context of Isaiah 17:1. I personally think the usage by the jpost staff is rather remarkable. War in the Middle East could spark at any moment. It's imperative your priorities are in order - we are one day closer to the return of Christ. Are you ready?

Syria: Next War with Israel Will Be Ruinous

Michael G. MickeyBy Michael G. Mickey

In yesterday's commentary, I wrote of reports that Lebanon was blasting large areas of rock near the Lebanese-Syrian border to build a staging area for the deployment of Syrian tanks, presumably in preparation of Syria getting involved in what we can be sure is on the horizon, another military conflict between Israel and her enemies.

Today's headline in The Jerusalem Post, perhaps by the design of its staff, seems to make reference to Isaiah 17. It reads "Syria warns: Next war will be ruinous".

Ruinous? If that doesn't take one's mind to Isaiah 17:1, nothing will!

Isaiah 17:1: The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

In the Jerusalem Post article, we find that Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, after what has been a quietened level of rhetoric between the two nations following a period of ominous declarations made by each side several weeks ago, today stirred the coals of conflict once again, warning "Israel that any new Mideast war would be catastrophic for the region and beyond."

The following is an excerpt from the JP article highlighting some of the recent saber rattling that has taken place between the two:

Syria's foreign minister warned Israel earlier this month that any new war would reach Israeli cities, to which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded that the Syrian army would be defeated and its regime would collapse in any future conflict.

Based on everything being said, both by Israel and Syria, the probability of a military conflict exploding in the Middle East at any moment - potentially elevating rapidly to prophetic, downright wrath of God levels - is very high.

Today Damascus is here, but tomorrow? Who knows? Things are that tense.

Keep looking up! Our redemption draweth nigh!

Falling on Deaf Ears? — Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

By Justin Edwards

The following article by Albert Mohler underscores the watered down messages we hear from pulpits today. God's holy and authoritative Word is tossed to the wayside for the sake of holding the audience's attention, entertainment purposes, or so to not offend the masses with the piercing truth of the Gospel. The modern/post-modern church is collectively lost. This passage of Scripture comes to mind:

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. - 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We are in the time that men do not put up with sound doctrine. They have surrounded themselves with smooth talkers for their ears to be tickled with nonsense. They no longer care for the truth, and they will reap what they sow. If you are one of these teachers who has lost sight of the poignant Gospel, repent and return to your First Love. If you attend a church who is more concerned about entertainment and keeping your attention span than it is for saving the lost and making disciples, then it's time to come out from that church and find one (yes, it's still possible) that stands on the sole foundation of our faith, the Word of God alone.

Falling on Deaf Ears? — Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible
By Albert Mohler

"It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity -- an impatience with the Word of God.

The sentence above comes from Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled "Yawning at the Word." In just a few hundred words, he captures the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible. We may wince when we read him relate his recent experiences, but we also recognize the ring of truth.

Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references in his sermon. "You'll lose people," the staff member warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to take questions at the expense of reading the relevant scriptural texts on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number of Bible verses "would save time and, it was strongly implied, would better hold people's interest."

As Galli reflected, "Anyone who's been in the preaching and teaching business knows these are not isolated examples but represent the larger reality."

Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation's concerns - not by an adequate attention to the biblical text. The exposition of the Bible has given way to the concerns, real or perceived, of the listeners. The authority of the Bible is swallowed up in the imposed authority of congregational concerns.
As Mark Galli notes:

It has been said to the point of boredom that we live in a narcissistic age, where we are wont to fixate on our needs, our wants, our wishes, and our hopes—at the expense of others and certainly at the expense of God. We do not like it when a teacher uses up the whole class time presenting her material, even if it is material from the Word of God. We want to be able to ask our questions about our concerns, otherwise we feel talked down to, or we feel the class is not relevant to our lives.
It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out. Don't spend a lot of time in the Bible, we tell our preachers, but be sure to get to personal illustrations, examples from daily life, and most importantly, an application that we can use.
The fixation on our own sense of need and interest looms as the most significant factor in this marginalization and silencing of the Word. Individually, each human being in the room is an amalgam of wants, needs, intuitions, interests, and distractions. Corporately, the congregation is a mass of expectations, desperate hopes, consuming fears, and impatient urges. All of this adds up, unless countered by the authentic reading and preaching of the Word of God, to a form of group therapy, entertainment, and wasted time -- if not worse.

Galli has this situation clearly in his sights when he asserts that many congregations expect the preacher to start from some text in the Bible, but then quickly move on "to things that really interest us." Like . . . ourselves?

One of the earliest examples of what we would call the preaching of the Bible may well be found in Nehemiah 8:1-8:

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading with their faces to the ground. [English Standard Version]
Ezra and his companions stood on a platform before the congregation. They read the scriptural text clearly, and then explained the meaning of the Scripture to the people. The congregation received the Word humbly, while standing. The pattern is profoundly easy to understand -- the Bible was read and explained and received.

As Hughes Oliphant Old comments, "This account of the reading of the Law indicates that already at the time of the writing of this text there was a considerable amount of ceremonial framing of the public reading of Scripture. This ceremonial framing is a witness to the authority of the Bible." The reading and exposition took place in a context of worship as the people listened to the Word of God. The point of the sermon was simple -- "to make clear the reading of the Scriptures."

In many churches, there is almost no public reading of the Word of God. Worship is filled with music, but congregations seem disinterested in listening to the reading of the Bible. We are called to sing in worship, but the congregation cannot live only on the portions of Scripture that are woven into songs and hymns. Christians need the ministry of the Word as the Bible is read before the congregation and God's people -- young and old, rich and poor, married and unmarried, sick and well -- hear it together. The sermon is to consist of the exposition of the Word of God, powerfully and faithfully read, explained, and applied. It is not enough that the sermon take a biblical text as its starting point.

How can so many of today's churches demonstrate what can only be described as an impatience with the Word of God? The biblical formula is clear -- the neglect of the Word can only lead to disaster, disobedience, and death. God rescues his church from error, preserves his church in truth, and propels his church in witness only by his Word -- not by congregational self-study.

In the end, an impatience with the Word of God can be explained only by an impatience with God. We -- both individually and congregationally -- neglect God's Word to our own ruin.

As Jesus himself declared, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mark Galli, "Yawning at the Word," Christianity Today [online edition], posted November 5, 2009.
Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, vol. 1, "The Biblical Period" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), pp. 98-99.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Saving the Lost

From The Berean Call

Christ's call is to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers, and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil's clutches and the very jaws of Hell. This can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered devotion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

--C.T. Studd (1860-1931) was an English missionary who faithfully served His Saviour in China, India, and Africa.

Sola Sisters: Universalism: The Gospel Message of Emergent and New Age Spirituality

From the Sola Sisters blog:

Universalism: The Gospel Message of Emergent and New Age Spirituality

One of the greatest misconceptions in this country today is that the New Age Movement of the 80s and 90s is (1) a thing of the past and (2) has nothing whatsoever in common with Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth on either count. Let me explain.

Most Americans today have sort of an eye-rolling, amused response to the phrase "New Age." Perhaps their minds are conjuring up an image of Shirley MacLaine on the beach, talking to the sky, a spiritual eccentric who became the punch line of many jokes for her interest in reincarnation and channeling. Perhaps they think that, like Shirley MacLaine, the New Age has passed gently into history, much like the rubix cube and Duran Duran. Well, the truth is that the New Age is still very much with us today. It never really went away, it just went mainstream. New Age practices or beliefs that were once considered borderline occultic or kooky are now widely accepted and embraced, including yoga, mantra meditation, muscle testing, acupuncture, reiki, sustainable living and going green. Don't believe it? Just pick up any newspaper or popular magazine today (Reader's Digest, Ladies' Home Journal, Parade) and you will most likely read at least one, usually multiple articles, on the benefits of these practices. Heck, even my husband's Golf World had a lengthy article in the February 2010 issue on how golf courses around the country are trying to "go green."

So just how did this New Age worldview get so powerful so fast? The short answer is that although it's actually been around for a very long time, it got its greatest push into the mainstream through America's most beloved talk show host, Oprah Winfrey. For some reason, people think that this New Age Spirituality direction that Oprah has taken is a new thing. It is not. I know this because I was on the same path that she was for a very long time, and at about the same time. Along with Oprah, I became completely immersed in New Age beliefs and practices, about 20 year ago, and yet at the same time used Christian terminology for all that I was doing. But the catch was this: all the Christian terminology I used had been redefined to fit the theology of my New Age belief system. And this is exactly how Oprah has made the New Age worldview palatable to the average Americans who were watching: she was using the same terminology that many Americans were. We were still, at least at that time, a "Christian" nation, and by that I mean, the majority of Americans made some kind of Christian profession and had at least some knowledge of the Christian faith. So although Oprah was going in a distinctly occultic, eastern direction spiritually, she was using words like "Holy Spirit," "God," "Jesus," "atonement," and "salvation." And because Oprah was using terminology that everyone was familiar with, everybody's guard went down....and that's how the deception flooded in. Not to get too creepy about it, but this is exactly how many cults "reprogram" their new recruits. Same terminology, redefined terms.

One example of these redefined terms is a teaching from A Course In Miracles on the "atonement." For those not familiar with A Course In Miracles (ACIM), it is a book that was originally published in 1976. The teachings of this book were channeled by a demonic entity to a woman named Helen Schucman who transcribed them. New Age author Marianne Williamson brought the teachings of ACIM into the mainstream after being enthusiastically endorsed on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the early 90s by writing her own book about ACIM and helping to explain its principles in laymans' terms, sort of "A Course In Miracles for Dummies" (its real title: "A Return To Love").

But back to the "teachings" of A Course In Miracles. We know that it was a demon that channeled this book because the demon plainly revealed himself that way. Nah - just kidding on that one. The demon actually called himself "Jesus" when he delivered this occultic book to Helen Schucman. And how do we know that this demon wasn't the "Jesus" he claimed to be? Well, we go by Scripture that warns us not to let anyone come to us and preach "another Jesus" other than the one that Paul preached, and warns not to receive "a different gospel" from the one delivered by Jesus and the apostles. ACIM's foundational principle, which is its view of the atonement, preaches a "different gospel" and "another Jesus." The ACIM view of "atonement" (paraphrased) is this:

There is no separation between human beings and God, and the belief that we are separated has been the cause of most of the world's problems. People grow spiritually by awakening to the view that they are already united with God. When this happens, we achieve "At-one-ment," meaning, we grasp our unity with God and because of this new understanding, we take a huge spiritual leap forward and begin living in more loving, Godly ways. This will eventually bring about a spiritual transformation on a global scale as more and more people awaken to this belief - and ALL people will eventually awaken to this belief.

Well, for orthodox Christians, our view of the atonement is also foundational - and it is vastly different from this New Age view that we simply have to "awaken" to the divinity we already have. The ACIM view of atonement is both a "different gospel" and "another Jesus" in that it presents a different way to salvation rather than the biblical teaching on how we are saved: only those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus, understanding that his sacrificial death on the Cross was on their behalf, will be saved. There is no eventual universal salvation, and neither do we start out with a little "God spark" inside (the inner divinity) that we just have to awaken to: we are born dead in our sins (Eph 2:1). We need a Savior. But ACIM's redefined view of sin reduces this central tenet of Christianity to something akin to spiritual amnesia - in other words, sin gets redefined as "forgotten" divinity, an "awakening" to the belief that we are actually already in union with God. But if this is true, then anyone can approach God by simply "awakening" - muslem, buddhist, hindu, whatever. So at its core, ACIM's view of salvation is one without the Cross. No penal substitutionary atonement, no sacrificial death on behalf of God's people, and everyone eventually gets to God. This is as blasphemous as it gets, and as wickedly deceptive too, given that it is delivered by something claiming to be "Jesus."

Before God saved me, like Oprah I also embraced the teachings of A Course In Miracles, believing that my view of God had been "expanded" out of its narrow little box of orthodox Christianity. It felt more tolerant, more loving to hold to these beliefs. But these beliefs are no longer in one little fringey segment of our culture like they were in the 80s and 90s - remember, the New Age has gone mainstream. This view of God is becoming increasingly more widespread, especially in our culture which has begun to prize "tolerance" so greatly. But, not only are these beliefs held by those who embrace the New Age Spirituality, they are also held by the Emergent Church movement, which, like the New Age, uses plenty of Christian terminology, and positions itself as a more tolerant, loving version of Christianity with its big tent inclusivism and God-loves-you-just-the-way-you-are heresy. The truth is that God loves his own children, yes, but we must approach him in the way He has ordained, and that is through the blood of Jesus. We don't approach God through mystical mantra meditation - which, curiously enough, seems to be the connecting point between Emergent and New Age Spirituality. Both New Age and Emergent heavily promote the practice of mantra meditation, only it's called different names from within each movement. Within the Emergent Church movement, these practices are given "Christianized" names so that they will be more palatable. I mean, what could possibly be wrong with something called the Jesus Prayer, right?

The fact remains that we do not approach God in this way, because here's the rub: as I stated before, if anyone could approach God by use of a mystical practice (a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, etc.) without repenting and confessing Christ, then there would be no point to the Cross, which as far as orthodox Christianity goes, is the hinge that swings the whole door. No, we approach the throne of God through Christ alone, as Scripture plainly tells us: "There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12, my emphasis)

So who are the "players" in Emergent and New Age Spirituality bringing about this merging of these two movements? Well, my money's on Ken Wilber for one, a straight up New Ager who is so admired by prominent Emergent Church leader Rob Bell that Bell tells us to "set aside three months" to read Ken Wilber's book, A Theory of Everything.

John Shelby Spong, an Episcopal Bishop who identifies himself as a "progressive Christian," will probably also be a player from the New Age side. Doug Pagitt, a well known Emergent Church leader, recently interviewed John Shelby Spong, who, though he identifies himself as a Christian, is far, far afield of the orthodox views of Christianity. When speaking of the virgin birth and Jesus' resurrection, he actually sounds much more like a New Ager than a Christian when he says:

"The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed."

Yikes! I'm thinking the scholarly "Bishop" Spong must have somehow skipped Corinthians in the course of his biblical studies:

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve......But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (1 Cor 15:3-5, 12-14)

I say this about Bishop Spong somewhat tongue in cheek, because I quite understand that Spong does not hold to the view that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. How tragic for him, because this means that he is a pagan, not a Christian, and is therefore reduced to feeling around in the dark like all the other lost people, trying to figure out who God is and how to get to him. (Here's a tip: it's why God gave us the Bible, so that we would know....)

Stay tuned on this issue, as an upcoming interfaith conference called Sacred Awakenings features Marianne Williamson (mentioned above as the New Ager who brought A Course In Miracles into the mainstream) and John Shelby Spong, both espousing more of the all-paths-lead-to-God view of Universalism. Since this also seems to be the view held by Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt and other emergent leaders, one has to wonder: how long before New Age Spirituality and Emergent officially merge together?

Exchanging Religion for an Eternal Relationship with God

By Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries

Nineteen years ago we began inviting all the Roman Catholics we knew into our home to watch a video called Roman Catholicism: Crisis of Faith. The video explains the difference between belonging to a religion and having an intimate relationship with God. Former priests and nuns shared how our Sovereign Lord opened their eyes to see and believe the Gospel of grace. Every Tuesday night we had a different group of Catholics watch the video. Their responses varied from one extreme to the other. Some stormed out of the house very upset and offended, but others stayed to ask questions. We invited the truth seekers to return on Wednesday nights for a Bible study on the Gospel of grace. Within three months we witnessed 17 Catholics exchange their religion for an eternal relationship of peace with their all-sufficient Savior. God was glorified as His Spirit and His Word brought forth new disciples for His Son!

The Exchange of Religion

The apostle Paul not only exchanged his religion for an everlasting relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, he considered all his religious accomplishments worthless rubbish. If anyone had reason to boast and be proud of his religious status, it was Paul, "a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless" (Phil. 3:5-6). Yet, he considered all this contemptible compared to changing his relationship with God from one of enmity and hostility to one of peace and harmony (Phil. 3:7-11; Col. 1:20). The notable religious credentials, which he once thought profitable, were actually worthless and damning to his soul (Luke 18:9-14). "Woe to you... hypocrites! For you shut up the kindom of heaven against men...[and don't] allow those who are entering to go in." (Mat. 23:13)

The Bondage of Religion

True disciples of Jesus are those who have been set free by the truth as they abide in His Word (John 8:31-32). Those who do not know the truth will continue to be enslaved to the bondage of religion. Throughout history, the goal of every religion has been to control people. This has been accomplished with religious traditions, legalism, pride and deception. One example of this fierce religious loyalty is a comment we hear so often from Roman Catholics: "I was born a Catholic, and I will die a Catholic." Yet, true conversion can only take place if they confess: "I was born a sinner and will die a saint." And what a way to die! By God's amazing grace, saints are elected in Christ (Eph. 1:4), called to Christ (1 Cor. 1:9), have believed the truth about Christ (Rom. 10:14-17), have turned to Christ in repentance (1 Pet. 2:25), are justified by the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9), are united with Christ (Gal. 2:20), are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), are being kept and preserved by Christ (1 John 5:18) and will one day gain the glory of Christ (2 Thes. 2:14). Why would anyone chose to be enslaved to religion when they can become a blessed and privileged slave of the Lord Jesus?

The End of Religion

The Lord Jesus Christ never came to start a religion, in fact He put an end to the only religion God ever ordained. Ironically, the rulers of this God-ordained religion had become so corrupt they plotted to murder their Messiah (John 11:53). There was no more need for religion after Jesus, the perfect and eternal High Priest offered Himself, the perfect sacrifice, to a perfect God who demands perfection. The veil that once separated sinners from their holy God was torn open from top to bottom (Mat. 27:51). The one mediator between God and man provides access to the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). By faith in the shed blood of Jesus, repentant sinners can enter into the presence of God with confidence (Heb. 10:19-20). No more religion, no more priests offering sacrifices for sin and no more religious rituals or ceremonies. In place of religion, the risen Savior mediates a relationship with God through faith in His one sacrifice for all sin, for all time (Heb. 10:10-18).

Christianity in its purest form is not a religion but a Spirit-sealed relationship with the God of all creation. Catholicism is Christianity in its most debased form. It became corrupt when it denied the finished and all-sufficient work of Jesus and perverted His Gospel. This warped Gospel of works leads people to a Christless eternity. To avoid deception, Christianity instructs people to study the Bible and believe what God says. Religion, on the other hand, requires people to believe what man says God says. When people without discernment, submit to men who are naturally prone to error, they are easily deceived. Catholicism tries to overcome this by declaring its popes are infallible in matters of faith. Christianity is when God's children follow the Lord Jesus, the only one who is immune from error. I will never forget what my uncle, a Catholic priest of 58 years, said after I read to him Scriptures refuting Catholic traditions. He said, "God doesn't mean what He says there; let me tell you what He really means."

The Deception of Religion

When you ask most religious people what they are trusting to gain entrance into heaven, they rarely mention the name of Jesus. That's because their religion is ultimately the object of their faith. They trust their self righteous clergy and their religious works and rituals to keep them heaven bound. Tragically, they cannot see the glory and sufficiency of Christ Jesus. They have been blinded from the truth of the Gospel by religious indoctrination, a most effective tool of Satan (2 Cor. 4:4). His primary goal is to confuse people by corrupting and mangling truth as much as possible. Many victims of religious indoctrination are content to blindly trust their unregenerate spiritual rulers, who are willfully ignorant of biblical doctrine and are more interested in holding onto their power than seeking the truth. We have found that indoctrination is so powerful that many Catholics refuse to engage in conversations about spiritual issues with non-Catholics. I recall, as a young indoctrinated Catholic, how "lucky" and proud I was to be born into what I was told to be the one true church. I felt sorry for Protestants who were not as "lucky" as I was. So blinded by Catholic traditions, I did not realize my zeal was misdirected. I was honoring God with my lips, but I was submitting to another Lord - a pope.

The Attraction of Religion

One of the primary attractions of a religion is its appeal to the flesh. The world tells us that “seeing is believing,” that we must see before we can believe. This explains why it is so easy for religious people to believe what they can see or touch. Catholics worship and consume the Eucharist, a "god" they can see. They go to a priest they can see to receive sacraments they can see to merit the graces necessary for salvation. They light votive candles as a visible sign of their offerings. And yes, they bow down and pray toward statues they can see.

Those who have a relationship with their Savior walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Since faith is the conviction of things not seen, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (Heb. 11:1; 2 Cor. 4:18). Jesus said only those who believe will see the glory of God (John 11:40).

All religions teach that you must do things to appease their god or gods. Every religion has a works-based system of righteousness that instructs its followers as to what they must do to achieve spiritual blessings. This checklist mentality appeals to the natural man, but man's best efforts are but filthy rags in the sight of a holy God (Isa. 64:6). Many do their good works because of their zeal for God but they are ignorant of what God's righteousness demands (Rom. 10:1-4). Christianity is set apart from all religions because its founder has done everything necessary for repenting sinners to have a right relationship with God. Spiritual blessings are available by God's grace to all who trust what Jesus Christ has accomplished through His sinless life, death and resurrection. All religions say "DO" but true Christianity says "DONE." Those who desire an eternal relationship with God must trust in what has been done by the Lord Jesus, apart from anything they do for Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Loyalty of Religion

Religion stirs up a passionate loyalty to its rulers instead of to the Lord Jesus Christ. Who can forget the images of Pope John Paul II's funeral? Thousands of misguided Catholics stood in long lines for up to 18 hours to venerate a dead man with an unbiblical rosary in his hands and a twisted crucifix by his side. What a sharp contrast to those who have an everlasting relationship with the only Holy Father. They refuse to listen to the voice of robbers who are out to steal and destroy their souls. They flee from them and instead follow the voice of the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep and calls them by name (John 10:3-11). They come to Him for eternal life mourning over the sins that nailed Him to the cross. They recognize their unworthiness to be in His presence, yet they rejoice in the hope they have in His Word (Psalm 130:5). Christ and His Word are so connected that one cannot have a relationship with Him apart from His Word (John 8:47).

Those who desire to have a relationship with the true God must seek Him from the only infallible source for truth. All religious teachings, including teachings in this article, must be tested for veracity by searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). Those who cling to religious teachings while rejecting God's Word will be condemned on the last day by the very Word they rejected (John 12:48). Conversely, those who believe the Scriptures have been born again through the incorruptible seed which is the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23). As children of God, it is their ambition to be pleasing to the one who set them free from the bondage of religion (2 Cor. 5:9-10).

In closing, we must take the same approach Jesus did by refuting religious error and opposing those who spread it. Religion can never save anyone, in fact it cuts them off from God and the saving power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16; 4:2-8). Let us exhort those who are enslaved to their worthless and empty religions to become privileged slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dr. Oz Tells Millions of Americans: “Try Reiki!”

By Justin Edwards

Please, oh please, be aware of this mystical, New Age, occult practice that has invaded even evangelical churches like so many other New Age and Eastern religious practices. Reiki is NOT safe for anyone, and there is no such thing as "Christian Reiki" though your church may tell you otherwise. If your church endorses Reiki it is time to leave that church. This endorsement is a telltale sign the church is likely engaged in other deceptive practices such as contemplative spirituality and mysticism.

Below the article and video are several links to give you a better understanding of what Reiki is and why it should have no part in the life of a born again believer:

“Dr OZ endorses reiki on TV”

“Dr. Mehmet Oz, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon and host of the third (or possibly second) most popular syndicated television program in America, this week introduced millions of viewers to the natural healing practice of Reiki as part of a program on alternative and natural remedies. The Dr. Oz Show included not only a segment featuring a demonstration by Reiki author Pamela Miles, but an emphatic recommendation to “try Reiki” as the #1 “Oz’s Order” at the show’s conclusion.” Cick here to continue.

For our research on Reiki, click here.

Additional Resources on Reiki:

The Truth about Reiki - A Dangerous and Occultic Practice

Reiki, Thomas Merton and Richard Foster

What does the Bible say about energy healing / energy medicine?

Reiki a universal energy technique to Heal

An occult, new age healing technique

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...