The Emergence of the "Mystical Church"
We are in a time where there is a re-emergence of mysticism both outside and inside the Church. The Sept. 5, 2005 issue of Newsweek documented our changing religious climate- that numerous people are looking for a mystical experience in America. It is the popular trend to take what one wants from the different religions and use it in their own spiritual belief system. This is what we see happening in our day inside certain churches where meditation, Yoga and other religious practices are “Christianized” for use in the church.
Kabala is Jewish Mysticism, an esoteric theosophy, its origin is found in The “Sefer Yetzirah” (Book of Creation)- which explains that God created the world by the means of thirty-two secret paths of knowledge which are the ten “sephirots” and the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. These ten emanations (sephirot[h]) form what is called the Tree of Life. The Tree also describes the path by which the divine spirit descended into the material world, and gives the path which mankind can ascend to God. The origin and dating of the book is unknown, though the Kabala, we are told dates back to antiquity. It is known to have been popularly used in the tenth century, we see it being made popular today by those in Hollywood who want to be spiritual on their own terms.
The most prominent book of the Kabalah is the Zohar. It became popular among Christians in the Middle- ages (claimed to be written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai). Kabalah was passed on as secret doctrine to only a chosen few. The accounts of Abraham, Hagar, Esau are more than history to Kabalists’. The believed the letters, words, and names have hidden divine mysteries. They do not pursue a literal interpretation of the Bible since this is inferior. The Scripture is often allegorized; words and letters are interpreted by their numerical equivalents. The Hebrew letters are hidden angelic power sources (The Kabalah, p. 6), the Stars and planets affect everything on earth through the angelic personalities that rule them (Book of Zohar, p. 663).
In the Kabala God is in everything and everything is in God (The Kabalah, p.18). This is called pantheism, it is a non Judaic/Christian view. It also says Creation was not made out of “nothing” (The Kabalah p. 115). Creation was fashioned from the four elements-water, fire, earth and ether. This concept is also found in some ancient nature religions, but not in Judaism. In the Kabala it teaches that the soul is pre-existent, before conception (The Kabalah, p. 17). That one may recollect their previous existence. “The pure soul becomes present among the emanantions(10) who control the world. An impure soul must be reborn in another body, and the process continues until it has been made pure” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology by W. Elwell, p.598).
The Kabala also has archetypes for everything in the world of creation. Like its cousins Gnosticism and occultism, there is a deeper hidden meaning made known only to those who learn to discover it (the initiated). “According to Masonic historian Albert Pike, Gnosticism was an offshoot of Kabalism…. On page 626 of Morals and Dogma-the most esteemed work of Freemasonry-Pike states, “The Kabalah is the key of the occult sciences; and the Gnostics were born of the Kabalists” (p.249 The New World Order by Gary Kah).
The mystics Saint Theresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, were both interested in the Zohar (Kabala). Here is what John of the Cross says about God, “My beloved [God] is the high mountains, and the lovely valley forests, unexplored islands, rushing rivers.” In other words pantheism is promoted, an eastern religious viewpoint, not a Biblical one. Mysticism will always lead one into opposing the biblical view.
Like the mysticism of the Kabalah we have the Emergent church movement, an admitted mystical movement within the church that looks to ancient mystics for their spiritual practices. Numerous new leaders are teaching and introducing concepts foreign from the Scripture as if God approves of them. The promotion is done through books, church conferences and the Internet.
Laurie Beth Jones is a corporate leadership coach who is on the Board of Directors of Ken Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus ministry (along with Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and New Age proponent Mark Victor Hansen. Lead like Jesus conferences are also advertised on Rick Warren’s website-pastors.com.)
Jones travels the world speaking to business leaders how to be more effective using “spiritual” concepts. She speaks along with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Neal Donald Walsch, Matthew Fox and other New Agers. On one site she is a listed as a featured presenter at the Eighth International Conference on business and Consciousness, which also advertises and promotes altered states of consciousness conference, sacred sexuality conference and shamanism conference.
Laurie Beth Jones is the author of several books. One is “Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership,” which is endorsed by Ken Blanchard. On the back cover it states Jones presents Jesus not as a religious messiah but as an executive leader...a kind of how-to manual for succeeding as corporate officers (San Diego Union Tribune). There are serious issues that one needs to be aware of in her teaching. On the back cover it states, "Following the example of Jesus-a "CEO" who took a disorganized "staff" of twelve and built a thriving enterprise." The corporate business world has adopted the example of Jesus as a good business executive who succeeded with only 12 men. There is nothing like this presented in the Scripture; Jesus did not run a business in His ministry. Certainly one does not need to be a Christian to adopt this view into their business.
We read that Laurie Beth Jones’ work “centers around the four elements of Earth, Wind, Water and Fire - the fundamental elements of our existence. Each element represents a personality type that is easy to understand in yourself as well as easy to identify in others.”
“The elements you find in the PEP Profile are universal. Every culture understands and respects the elements. Native Americans used pray to the elements, Hindus incorporate the elements into their healing rituals and the Chinese words “feng shui” actually mean “wind and water.” The Kabbalah states that the four letters which stood for Yahweh (YWEH) are actually a tetragrammaton meaning Earth, Water, Wind and Fire. Lastly, in the Bible, there are more than 215 references to the elements, beginning in the book of Genesis” (Laura Beth Jones website).
Should we care about the elements? If the tetragrammaton is God’s name, then are we to pray to the earth, the creation? Jones is certainly teaching to adopt other spiritual practices; practices that go against the Scripture? First- the Tetragrammaton is YHWH -not YWEH. In Exodus 3 when Moses asked God at the burning bush who shall I say sent me, did He say earth, wind, water and fire? According to Jones He did! This is far from a sound Bible interpretation; no scholar or learned layman with any Bible knowledge would say this. She is intentionally using the mysticism of the Kabbala to explain God’s name in a different manner. This is unacceptable. She does not know what she is talking about, because the Kabbala does not even state this and neither does the Bible. None of the consonants in Hebrew have anything to do with Earth, Water, Wind or Fire. Her interpretation is more related to what is expressed in nature religions, Gaia, which is about the worship of creation. Wicca and earth based religions teach these ideas. The Bibles definition of YHWH is God expressing His essential nature to man- I AM that I AM, means the self- existing one, the eternal one in Hebrew, the cause of all things. Both eyeh and (YHWH) Yahweh are of the root, meaning underived existence. This has absolutely nothing to do with His creation, He is explaining His own nature to Moses. If we are worshipping God's creation then we are NOT worshiping Yahweh? According to Jones’ definition we are. Jones ties these elements to different religions and our personalities, something the Bible certainly does not teach on.
To say that the Bible has 215 references that are in any way relative to how she is explaining it is a complete distortion. These elements are what God created-they are not God nor do they represent Him.
Furthermore, on the name “I am,” in her book Jesus CEO : Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership she states: Christ did not use the term “I AM” in reference to himself until after his experience in the wilderness, Jones goes on to claim, His “I Am” Statements Are What He Became (p.7,8.). Jesus attributed this name of God to himself in Jn.8:24: “Unless you believe ‘I Am’ you will die in your sins,” meaning He was the eternal God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Exod.3). However Jesus said, “Before Abraham was “I Am” (Jn. 8:58), which means he is the same I am from the Old Testament.
Biblically, if “I am” means self-existing one, how can God become what He eternally is? He does not change. This interpretation is nonsense, all one has to do is look up some of the I am statements of Jesus (John 6:51; 8:12, 23; 10:9,11; 10:36; 14:6; 15:1;19:2) to see that this is not so. Yet on page 5 she writes: “The words I AM therefore reflect all the creative power in the Universe” but on the very next page (6): she says “List in detail each of your own 'I ams.” This means YOU have all the creative power in the universe. This is very much like the human potential movement.
Just so we understand what she means on the back of the book Jesus CEO it says, she helps people be empowered ...to review the divine excellence in themselves... On her website it states right at the top "My Mission is: To Recognize, promote, and inspire divine connection in myself and others.
Furthermore on page 295 (Affirmations for Leaders): “I proudly say I AM, knowing clearly my strengths and God-given talents. I repeat my strengths to myself often, knowing my words are my wardrobe.” It becomes clear that Jones does not adhere to an orthodox view of God or the Bible as she takes God's name and applies it to herself.
Jones also mentions Feng shui, which teaches that there is an energy force called chi (also known as the dragon’s breath) flowing throughout the universe. It originates in Chinese Taoism. It is another worldview contrary to Christianity that has no relevance to God’s name. Feng shui is about harmonizing the flow of the invisible universal life force into one’s physical surroundings, balancing the yin and yang energies and the five elements (earth, water, fire, metal, and wood).
Jones further teaches on God “I believe that God is equal parts female and male. “For me to refer to God as “She” would unfortunately put this work beyond the boundaries of acceptance and understanding for too many people. We must search for an all-inclusive terminology.” (Laurie Beth Jones, Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership, p. 305.) newer editions has apparently removed I believe that God is equal parts female and male. (reference Jason Barker)
Yes this is beyond acceptance, but not if one is into a feminine spirituality. The Bible speaks of God in the terms of as Father and Son; she is comfortable changing God’s revelation! This is a perfect example of what takes place with those who hold to mystical views (Kabalah). We have a group of leaders that are promoting to the church mystical concepts that do not belong in Christian churches.
You can understand the Kabalist meanings from practicing occultists: “The christian writers and even christ himself, recognized it as truth, that all scripture had an inner and an outer meaning” (Morals and Dogma, Albert Pike p.265- emphasis mine). Mysticism/Gnosticism is a pursuit of an esoteric meaning behind the literal words of Christ.
Emanuel Swedenborg, a medium, stated, the spiritual sense of the word is not the sense which shines forth from the sense of the letter. The spiritual sense does not appear in the sense of the letter, being within it as the soul in the body” (The Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures Four Doctrines, Emanuel Swedenborg, p.4).
This is the essence of Kabala, Gnosticism, and Mysticism; to discover hidden meanings, to engage oneself into an experience of the divine through various methods, rituals, symbols, allegories and icons.
What do we do when we have so many teaching, leading and saying the wrong things to our youth? Can we afford to sit by quietly while people are brought into this new paradigm that is found in the emergent church. Brian McLaren is one known for over the top statements. He challenges us by saying “The “old, old story” may not have been the “true, true story,” and so we must continually rediscover the gospel.” (Emergent Convention, Brian McLaren PowerPoint presentation on www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com)
Why does the gospel need to be rediscovered by those who are already know it and are saved by it! If you don’t understand the gospel requirements then how do you know Jesus? The gospel is something we are saved by and we stand in, if we have to rediscover it then we have never been affected by it (see 1Cor.15:1-4).
Consider this statement from Erwin McManus who is pastor of the Mosaic church: My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ,” McManus, author of a new book called The Barbarian Way, said in a telephone interview. “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” (Erwin McManus, from The Barbarian Way, - noted author takes uncivil approach in new offering Book seeks to uproot ‘Christianity’ to return to its roots by CE Staff Reporter Christian Examiner)
This kind of speaking is irresponsible shock treatment, and one of the more foolish statements I have heard from any pastor. Certainly there are things we can all disagree with inside Christianity, but to say ones goal is to destroy it, that one can be considered antichristian should elicit disapproval from those who love God’s people and His Church. Its time the church starts obeying the Scripture on those who OPENLY oppose and contradict. We are to mark those who cause divisions and have nothing to do with them (Romans 16:17).
McManus has been noted to integrate ideas from philosophy, sociology, evolution, and aspects of other religions into his new way of doing church. What is disturbing in this new movement is the use of other religious symbols that have nothing to do with Christianity. McManus uses a Tao water symbol for Jesus’ oneness with the Father. The symbol of the Yin and Yang, (Tao) a Chinese symbol that symbolizes a harmony of opposites (dark/light), representing oneness of life. “The second element is captured in the imagery of water. The apostolic ethos is fueled by intimacy. Jesus prayed that we would be one, even as he and the Father are one.... Water is a great metaphor for community” (Erwin McManus, “An Unstoppable Force, p. 118).
This shows that McLaren does not understand the other religious symbol he misused. The Bible uses water as symbol for the activity of the Holy Spirit who is peaceable and gentle and keeps us under His control which produces the fruit of the Spirit. McManus’ new book is The Barbarian Way. In the publishers comments it says: “Erwin's way was passionate and rough around the edges-a sincere, barbaric journey to Christ. Barbaric Christians see Jesus differently than civilized Christians. They see disciples differently, and they see Christ's mission differently. The Barbarian Way is a call to escape civilized Christianity and become original, powerful, untamed Christians-just as Christ intended”.
The Bible teaches us to have self- control, temperance, purity and holiness, to not be part of this world or be influenced in it. To be Barbarian is to be rebellious. The Church was never considered barbaric and this is a very inaccurate description for what God has set in order as His body to represent Him on earth.
What does the word Barbarian mean? Barbarian 2: lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture — barbarian. barbaric 1: barbarian 2: marked by a lack of restraint: wild 3: primitive, unsophisticated. barbarism 1: the social condition of barbarians; also: the use or display of barbarian or barbarous acts, attitudes, or ideas 2: a word or expression that offends standards of correctness or purity (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
An example of Barbarians in history are the Vikings, or the Celts who would pillage, kill and rape women. The Roman Empire was repeatedly threatened by barbarian invasions. Even the Romans were considered civilized compared to these barbarians.
When we further read some of the things McManus has to say we find him promoting a worldview in contrast with the Bible and Christian teaching. “Those who study science have told us that a butterfly fluttering its wings in South America could, in some sense, be the primary cause of an avalanche in Antarctica. This level of complexity strikes us as new and innovative, and yet the Scriptures have advocated this kind of interconnection for thousands of years....”According to Scripture, everything is connected, and every action has at least some effect on the whole. In the same way the church is part of the whole....” (Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force (Group Publishing, 2001), p. 15.) [emphasis mine]
That’s a powerful butterfly. The Scripture does not teach pantheism or panentheism, it says no such thing. McManus’ view is like the universal consciousness of the new age; the church is not connected to the world and its system.
Leonard Sweet has a similar world view of interconnection. He cites “Austrian/American physicist Wolfgang Pauli perceived, are the traceable connections that exist between ourselves and others or objects, and the underlying holism of the uni-verse. Transcendent state of consciousness” (Quantum Spirituality p.234) emphasis mine. This is not a Christian world- view but pantheism.
“New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “in-formation” with other Christians…The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a communion whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness” (Quantum Spirituality, p. 122).
“Postmodern missions must have a geomantic imagination and geomantic design. What I am calling a geomantic style of evangelization will ensure harmonious habitation patterns as the gospel interconnects and interacts with all life-and landforms. (ibid. p.168). This is changing the gospel to be relative to the environment. Earth based spirituality has nothing to do with the gospel that was preached by Paul and the apostles whose intent was to deal with sin (1 Cor.15:1-4).
Referring to Sports journalist/novelist George Plimpton who wrote a book about a “mysterious component” added to the athlete’s natural ability, that gives them a boost- making the whole greater than the sum of its parts (called it the “X Factor”) Sweet then transfers this concept to the church. “If the church is to become a synergic space, it must first be Christianized. It must meet the ABCDE involutions of the “X Factor.” The ABCDE rule for synergic Christbody inter-connections and in-formation is as follows: Alterity, Bonding, Critical Mass, Dirt, Euphonics. The ABCDE involutions, when placed in a biblical framework, represent evolutionary steps to higher spirituality and the ecclesiastics of synergy”. The church must provide postmoderns with an alterity of rituals by which they can turn and tune to one another and feel connected to the cosmos. (Quantum Spirituality, p. 137).
What does Sweet mean for the church to be Christianized? What does any of this mean? Statements like these need to be deciphered in common language. He introduces foreign terms and concepts for the church to use in their transformation. Evolutionary steps to higher spirituality- an alterity of rituals and to feel connected to the cosmos is not taught in the Scripture. This is taught by the mystics- like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Rick Warren’s endorsement of Leonard Sweet’s, SoulTsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture is on the front cover. Leonard Sweet’s books and writings are found on Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox; he states, A sea change of transitions and transformations is birthing a whole new world.” Rick Warren even teamed up with Leonard Sweet to do an Audio set called Tides of Change. Indeed, but the change inside the church is not bringing us closer to God’s word in the Scriptures but the gods of men and their imaginations. What we are hearing from Sweet and others in the Emerging church is a synthesis of new age philosophy to the Bible. We are seeing a reshaping of the church just as the world is changing.
Theosophist Alice Bailey was a mystic and occult prophet she is considered the mother of the modern New Age Movement. Alice Bailey was the chief channeler for Djwhal Khul, the Tibetan Master, who dictated through her nearly 20 books. Alice Bailey rejected the Christ of Scripture to embrace a different Christ because of her acceptance of an occult belief system. Most people do not realize how significant she was in shaping the new world religion that we see surfacing today.
She revealed an ingenious plan in her1957 volume, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. Cabalist agents would infiltrate the Christian Church to modify its message, transforming it as a instrument for the Universal Religion of the 21st Century. Alice Bailey stated: “there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this century… This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle, the TRUE second Coming has been accomplished… the Christian church in its many branches can serve as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished… the church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance. The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.”(Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, 1957, Lucis Publishing.)
Amazing, but this is what we now see taking place, right on cue. The new age movement has always wanted to integrate the church into its goals. Through various alternate spiritual practices they want to work in concert together to create the golden age. Benjamen Crème the spokesman for the Age of Aquarius’ Christ states, “Workers In the field of religion will formulate the universal platform of the new world religion. It is a work of living synthesis and will emphasize the unity and the fellowship of the spirit” (Reappearance of the Christ pp. 168-159).
Their goal has been a [false] millennium where all the religions they will unite together as one. As New Ager Brad Steiger says, “Nearly every observer of the contemporary spiritual scene seems to agree that there is some kind of new Pentecost going on at this time, some kind of spiritual awakening process at work. And a good many of these observers feel that this growing mystical consciousness may have something to do with the Last Day.” (Brad Steiger, Gods of Aquarius (New York, 1976) p. 222) emphasis mine.
Steiger is right but it is not a good thing as he views it. The Bible states they will one day say peace and safety, what they get will be something else.
The Bible points to a revival of mysticism as part of Mystery Babylon, (The mystery religions were practiced in ancient times in Babylon). The apostle John in the book of Revelation sees this woman who claims to represent God as a filthy harlot (Revelation 17:3-4). She is pictured as being a beautifully arrayed prostitute who seduces people away from God as they drink her cup of abominations. She is in unity with both the religious and political systems of the world. She is compromised with other religions, committing spiritual adultery, united with the world’s religious systems that oppose Christ.
As we watch Christianity converge today, Alice Bailey already noted that, “We are seeing a surge of new spirituality that is an initiation into the synthesis. It is a mystical revolution that will usher in a mystical age” (The Externalization of the Hierarchy p. 254)
Marianne Williamson repeats Bailey saying, “It is a mystical revolution that will usher in a mystical age”(Healing the Soul of America, Marianne Williamson, p. 254).
Mysticism has never been a friend to the teachings of Christ. There is a huge difference in biblical spirituality and mysticism. Spirituality is walking in the Spirit, being under the Holy Spirits control.
Leonard Sweet writes in his book Quantum Spirituality “In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing”(Quantum Spirituality, p.76)
Why are they all sounding like they are saying the same thing? The spirit of our age moving as never before to counter the true Holy Spirits work, disguising itself as the Spirit of God, leading people into false spiritual experiences and unity. Only the discerning, who hold to the written word will be able to tell in the coming time period.
Sweet writes that “Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology”(p.76 Quantum Spirituality).
Yes, ones theology can be shaped by their experience. The Bible tell us to have our experience coincide with the theology presented in the Scripture or it is not from God. Yet Sweet writes in Quantum Spirituality, “We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience--a new feeling of what it is to be “I.” Is this what we need?
Leonard Sweet's most revealing book is “Quantum Spirituality.” New ager’s refer to a final step of evolution as “the quantum (leap)” to homo noeticus- the new man. Quantum: quantity, amount 2: an elemental unit of energy (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It is a sum of, usually used to explain a leap of consciousness in new age lingo.
Sweet is looked to as the intelligentsia of this emergent movement and has great influence on their leaders. Many of his ideas can be found in the French mystic Jesuit priest, Peirre Teilhard de Chardin who attempted to create a fusion of Christianity with an evolutionary theory within a pantheistic framework (the belief that God is everything, all is interconnected). Hs teachings would be classified by what we call today- New Age.
Sweets utilizes his intellectual use of words and concepts to present the transforming paradigm that will energize and save the church. Despite the intellectualism in the vocabulary that permeates his discourses, sound Bible teaching is vague. What he is trying to introduce and explain are new age concepts in philosophy and science. It is arcane, leaving one to be confused trying to figure out what he is really saying.
An active principle throughout his book is deconstruction and reconstruction process that is used to introduce one to a new way of looking at the world, the church and themselves; it is a spiritual diaprax. Using constant new age terms and concepts brings about a paradigm shift, it introduces one into a new spirituality that has nothing to do with living a Spiritual life according to the Bible.
Sweet employs numerous concepts of people that are trying to change the world through unbiblical methods; by philosophies, sociology and teachings that completely oppose the Bible. He copiously quotes new agers, mystics, many who believe in natural and spiritual evolution.
For example: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin- who taught on quantum transformation, spiritual evolution, and everything being interconnected. In this present crisis, in which we can see and feel the confrontation between the traditional Christian forces and the modern forces of evolution, Is simply the permutations of a providential and Indispensable Inter-fertilization. (Christianity and Evolution. 176) He taught on the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution. (ibid p. 96) I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe. (ibid.p. 128)
Thomas Merton- A Catholic mystic and a Trappist monk who popularized inter-spirituality. Merton blended the scriptures, the Desert Fathers, Christian mystics, existentialism, Taoism and Buddhism together. Merton died in Asia searching the depths of Tibetan Buddhism.
Matthew Fox- A mystic who teaches that we should throw out any idea of a "historical Jesus" (The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. p. 7). Wisdom has been made flesh not only in Jesus the Christ but in all expressions of the Cosmic Christ (ibid. p. 147). He has written books on The Cosmic Christ and Creation Spirituality. Matthew Fox wrote books like ,The Cosmic Christ:The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance. Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.
Georges Gurdjieff- was fascinated by the occult who wrote Theosophical works and taught esoteric Christianity" helping students reach the highest levels of consciousness. He was a pantheist (who believe that everything is God). H.P. Blavatsky, G.I. Gurdjieff and Alice Bailey are the most common influences for new age thought of today.
C. Peter Wagner, (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit Encountering the Power of Signs and Wonders Today.) Who is the head apostle of the new false apostolic - prophetic government inside the church.
He calls Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century. Rahner was greatly influenced by Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises.
David Spangler- Director of Planetary Initiative teaches the way to Christ is through Lucifer, a new age initiation.
Joseph Campbell (whom Sweet says, “I want to thank Parker Palmer for first steering me in Campbell’s direction.”) Campbell has been presented by Bill Moyers as a world-renowned expert on mythology. He is famous for his books and public TV series on “The Power of Myth.” (Christianity is a religious myth according to Campbell, like all other religions.) Joseph Campbell tells Bill Moyers, “The Christian separation of matter and spirit. . . has really castrated nature.” Campbell seems to agree with some of those in the emergent church movements mysticism, he states, “I don't have to have faith, I have experience” (Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (Doubleday, 1988), pp. 207-08)
Sweet favorably references Carl Gustav Jung as a psychiatrist/analytical psychologist - Jung practiced astrology, was admittedly possessed by two of his spirit guides, Philemon and Ka. It was though these spirit guides and his occult background which he based many of his philosophies. Dave Hunt points out that Jung's alleged “collective unconscious Carl Jung, came from him being “ heavily involved in the occult, had already postulated his "collective unconscious," a concept which he received by inspiration from the demonic realm. (p.60 Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt) Carl Jung wrote introductions to some of the first Western editions of books on yoga and Eastern mysticism. Reflecting the Hindu view that life is but a dream” (p.222-23 of Occult Invasion).
Sweet references liberal John Shelby Spong, (The Living Commandments), who undermines and denies the fundamentals of the Christian faith. He is pro- homosexual and wants to see the church be opened to a new Reformation that will examine the very nature of the Christian faith itself. “The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed. He has said, “I don't believe there is a soul that knows what God is like I know only what I experience and I cannot universalize from that”
New Ager thinker and Buddhist Ken Wilber- Who is involved in integrating the realms of science and religion. Promotes the practices of eastern religion, teaches on Kosmic consciousness, promotes contemplative prayer, yoga, maybe Zen, human evolution called spiral dynamics. In fact Sweet references him on p. 341 of Quantum Spirituality: 19. Ken Wilber, The Atman Project: A Transpersonal View of Human Development. In The Atman Project, Ken Wilbur writes: “If men and women have ultimately come up from amoebas, then they are ultimately on their way towards God” (cited from Dave Hunt’s, Occult Invasion p.20).
The list goes on with dozens of names like these. The problem should be obvious-all of these men are involved in either mysticism, interfaith, liberalism, false prophecy and anti- Christian beliefs and philosophies.
The new age is spiritually active – it is social engineering from the grassroots level to the highest places in education. These ideas introduced to the church are presented as if God is involved in changing us to adopt other religious practices. What is actually taking place is the Truth in Scripture is being supplanted with a new interpretation and a new way of doing everything. Instead of learning, discovering and celebrating the truth in the Bible, the Bible is obscured, the meaning is refashioned in subtle ways.
The Bible tells us for our own protection- II John 1:9-11 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” We bring these foreign teachings into our home by the TV, books and tapes.
We should understand the meaning of this Scripture: Colossians 2:8-10: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Watch out for someone who will rip you off with philosophy: Gr- philosophia- the love of wisdom; used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. This is referring to mans wisdom and teachings and not the Bible. In other words we are not to learn other spiritual practices, ways or teachings from those who are not saved, or those not found in the Bible.
Principles: Gr stoicheion- the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline. those who seek to explain mans existence or the mechanics of the universe by philosophies.
The reason is because there is another source we are to rely on V:9: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."
pt.4 East meets west