pt.3 The Goal of the Journey- to be one
Besides being the main point of division in the Episcopal Church U.S.A. the gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson revealed what he is about speaking in an NPR interview:
"I have actually read back over the inaugural prayers of the last 30 or 40 years, and frankly I've been shocked at how aggressively Christian they are. … I want this to be a prayer to the god of our many understandings and a prayer that all people of faith can join me in." (posted on Worldnetdaily)
On his blog, Robinson writes, “acknowledging that no one Christian denomination nor no one faith tradition knows all there is to know about God. Each of us is privy to a piece of God, as experienced in our faith tradition. My hope is to pray a prayer that ALL people of faith can join me in.”
Spoken like one who never knew who Christ or the God of Scripture is.
Robinson: “I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”
Bishop Robinson said “the God of our many understandings,” is language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.
Portions of Bishop Gene Robinson’s Prayer:
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance - replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
… remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.”
It was reported that Rick Warren thanked Obama for inviting the homosexual bishop to pray at an inauguration event. Christianity Today quotes a statement from Warren, who said "President-elect Obama has again demonstrated his genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in search of common ground.
Our common ground is not to be in our opposition to the will of God.
Warren has shown numerous times his willingness to work with various unbelievers for a goal of peace (his PEACE plan).
Rabbi David J. Wolpe wrote the book “Why Faith Matters” responding to the new atheists. While I commend him on this stance and his arguments for the usefulness of religion to improve society, whatever areas he may have insight on is incomplete without Christ who is the author and finisher of “our Faith.”
I became concerned what I heard in his interview on the Dennis Prager radio show Dec. 9, 2008. On the program he stated that religions are a means toward God. Wolpe thinks of Judaism as more excellent but accepts other religious paths. This is what one would expect from a modern day Rabbi. What made this a disturbing is that Rick Warren, called “America’s pastor”, wrote the forward to his book. In the very beginning of the book Meister Eckhart is quoted: “If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it is sufficient.” Is this all God asks to be acknowledged? And does the position of Warren reflect a true biblical view or the view of a modern day church that is moving away from the word of God as the final authority to a more ecumenical view?
The god within us all
Meister Eckhart “believed that in every human soul there is something of the very nature of God. Here it is that the human soul meets God…. [His] doctrine of the human soul has lasted to the present, and is reaffirmed whenever one speaks of a Divine Spark within each of us.” (Georgia Harkness, Mysticism, (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1973), p. 106.
Churches that teach a mixture of God immanent and God transcendent. And as they do, teachings on the “divine spark” (the “fragment” of God within all) are becoming more accepted.
“The Eastern faiths have ever emphasized God immanent … The Western faiths have presented God transcendent … Today we have a rapidly growing emphasis upon God immanent in every human being and in every created form. Today we should have the churches presenting a synthesis of these two ideas which have been summed up for us in the statement of Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: ‘Having pervaded this whole universe with a fragment of Myself, I remain.” (Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul http://inthenameofpurpose.org/chp9.htm)
On Page 88 of his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme describes how immanence—the teaching that God is in everything—is at the heart of the New One World Religion:
“But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.
Occult and New Age teacher Alice A. Bailey described how a future One World Religion will be based on this same “immanent” aspect of God. This is the foundation the world religion is based on today and it includes nature.
The church is in a war of worldviews.
Leonard Sweet a representative of the Emergent movement writes “Keep breathing quietly while holding your Bible. You have within you not just the powers of goodness resident in the great spiritual leaders like Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, Lao Tzu” (Quantum Spirituality p.300)
Benedictine monk Dom Bede Griffiths was a great influence on interfaith. Griffiths tried to convert Hindus by showing them how much, in their religion, was intrinsically “Christian”. “I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have. The combination of the natural techniques and the graces of the other things that have been manifested in Asia and the Christian liberty of the gospel should bring us all at last to that full and transcendent liberty which is beyond mere cultural differences and mere externals - and mere this and that.”
This same Interfaith is specifically found and taught in the emergent church.
The synthesis is the broad road concept – it is being promoted by many of the emergent church leaders. For example Sweet In his book Quantum Spirituality: “One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.
Sacred in other religions? Notice he puts Yahweh (the God of Judaism/ Christianity) in the mix of having only flickers.
Sweet speaking of a New Light movement of “world-making” faith, he refers to Thomas Merton in his book Quantum Spirituality: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity” (quoted on p.12)
Being open to other religions teachers changes one from a faith that is christocentric to the new age synthesis. When you attach other religious/spiritual practices to Jesus Christ’s teachings, you cannot help but diminish and corrupt the truth.
The old saying is that “The devil is in the details.” No, God is in the details and the devil does not want you to see the details, he blurs them.
Example of this in the emergent movements interfaith and universalism is found in the Emergent Manifesto of Hope. Released from Emergent Village it reveals the real emerging church movements goals. The book is a collection of essays by various emerging church leaders edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones –one writer in the book has this to say:
"I am a Christian today because of a Hindu meditation master. She taught me some things that Christians had not. She taught me to meditate, to sit in silence and openness in the presence of God.... I believe that all people are children of God" ("Emergent Manifesto of Hope," Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, ed., Emersion, 2007, p.45.)
This is rejecting that we only come through Christ as the way. A Hindu taught about Jesus? Which Jesus- how could she know of the presence of God and knowledge of Jesus that is not found in the Bible? Notice that meditation is the bridge to the synthesis. The New Spirituality—says God Indwells all Mankind, we are all his children- universalism. God dwells in all of nature- pantheism
The Bible teaches we are not indwelt by God’s spirit until something happens first-Jn.1:12 “as many as received Him,(JESUS) to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Gal. 3:26: “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Samir Selmanovic is one of the co-authors of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope and a EC leader in New York, is recommended by Brian McLaren who is on the board of their Sojourners Magazine, also endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Sally Morgenthaler and Tony Campolo. Samir says his ministry seeks “to bring progressive Jews, Christians, Muslims, and spiritual seekers of no faith to become an interfaith community for the good of the world. We have one world and one God.” (from Faith House project website.)
His statements represent are exactly what I’m talking about- He states: “to believe that God is limited to it [Christianity] would be an attempt to manage God. If one holds that Christ is confined to Christianity, one has chosen a god that is not sovereign”
“Is our religion [Christianity] the only one that understands the true meaning of life? Or does God place his truth in others too?
COMMON JOURNEY, DIFFERENT PATHS: We are sojourners who acknowledge that every faith has its own story, calling, and mission.
Generous belief: We believe that our faiths can always grow deeper and that none of our religions, worldviews, philosophies, or belief systems no matter how true, beautiful, or powerful, can ever contain all wisdom, blessing, or power.”
There are not faiths but only one faith, The Bible does not teach of a universal faith that encapsulates other religions. This is what meditation and mystical experiences practiced in and outside the Emergent church lead too, a synthesis.
The Holy Spirit is sent into the world, to cultures, to nations, to individuals to convict people of their sin, not unite them with other religions but Jesus Christ. He is to guide us into what Jesus spoke. The Holy Spirit does not bear witness or teach us of Buddha, Mohammed or Bahaulla, you must leave Christianity for that. How can other religions, whose source is not from God have anything sacred or genuine. They do not carry the Judeo Christian distinctive. God has not spoken to them.
McLaren "The Secret Message of Jesus" "…many Hindus are willing to consider Jesus as a legitimate manifestation of the divine… many Buddhists see Jesus as one of humanity's most enlightened people…. A shared reappraisal of Jesus' message could provide a unique space or common ground for urgently needed religious dialogue-and it doesn't seem an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet may depend on such dialogue. This reappraisal of Jesus' message may be the only project capable of saving a number of religions." (The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that could change everything, p. 7.)
Yes, if one changes the message of Jesus or who Jesus is, it becomes more appealing to other religions, he is no longer exclusive. But we do not save religions, we save people out of them.
Anyone who has been to India knows that Hinduism is willing to incorporate other god type manifestations into their religions acceptance.
Mankind rejected the true God as Rom.1 states, and believes all ways as acceptable-- God does not. Deuteronomy 12:30: “be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods?”
Deut. 11:16: “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them”
A hybrid form of Christianity is being introduced- Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy " I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.”
How do you follow Jesus if you stay in another religion, a different religious system? Rick Warren also seems comfortable to say “I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions”
These kind of statements are typical of the liberal Christianity that is in the church today. Jesus has us forsake all other false ways. The Bible continually gives examples of the pagans leaving their religion. In Acts 19: those who practiced the occult burned their book publicly. They did not find the good parts and incorporate them into their faith.
“For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Brian McLaren states “It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts." (Brian McLaren A Generous Orthodoxy).
To have a relationship with God you must come to him the way he has asked- through Jesus and the cross and resurrection. We call it the gospel. What kind of belief can one have if they believe Jesus and stay in their false religion. When one is affected by the gospel they abandon their false religion and beliefs and replace it with the truth otherwise their belief is in vain.
A "Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace" in June 2005. It was sponsored by a tripartite group that included sixteen governments, three UN agencies, and eight religious and civil society organizations. The Community's principal representative to the United Nations, Bani Dugal, stated:
"It is this essential unity of religion, across the tremendous diversity of history, culture, tradition, philosophy, and practice, that should now become the operating principle of religious discourse," Growing numbers of people are already coming to realize that the truth underlying all religions is, in its essence, one.
Listen to L. Sweets words carefully – he speaks of “A globalization of evangelism “in connection” with others, and a globally “in-formed” gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim--people from other so called “new” religious traditions (“new” only to us)--without assumption of superiority and power. He then quotes favorably a Caribbean theologian “It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing” (pp.130-131 emphasis mine)
Genuineness in other faiths? There is only one faith. If there is one faith (Jude 3) how can these other “faiths” that are not of Christ be genuine? This constitutes a value change a doctrine change in the church, one that moves us toward interfaith.
Are we ALL believers in the same thing? Do these other religions believe sin is the problem- that Jesus Christ alone is the solution? No, of course not. Sweet is introducing the concept of inter-faith to his readers, because what the Emerging church presents is a god who crosses over any religious barriers.
"The god of this age" spoken of by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 is the god of all, not the few. This plainly shows us the times we are living in. This is an example of the effect of the apostasy of these latter days. The consensus is that people want to drive out the truth, make their own definitions of what sin is (or abolish the concept entirely) and embrace lies as the new truth. This is the shift, the dialectic at work. This carnal movement is an opiate for the spiritually corrupt, those who deny Christ as their Lord (2 Pt.2:2-4). When the only name for salvation is diminished or ignored, this brings Christianity to be on equal terms with the other religions.
Hybrid religion is their answer to changing church to adopt ourselves to the times we live in. The Gospel has a universal call but it does not teach universal salvation to all, nor does it teach that there are “other faiths” acceptable to God. One must believe and forsake their religion to have the gospel (1 Cor.15:1-4). When you adopt Interfaith/universalism you deny the Gospel, for the Gospel is salvation only to those who believe its message.