Christian compromises - demagogues and heresy
Christianity is supposed to be all about Jesus. We are to follow Jesus, learn of him, exhibit his nature. It may be difficult at times but it is not complicated. But it has become complicated and confusing with so many different voices through books, seminars and cult groups overarching their influence on the church.
The church has been changing - when we look at what the church has become it far different than 20 years ago. The “Word faith prosperity teachers” focus on power of words, money and abundance. The “Latter Rain” movement is about power and doing miracles to persuade people about Jesus and establishing his government. To the “Seeker friendly” it is about friendship without producing guilt and telling people about Jesus without giving the gospel and cure there sin. The “Indigenous people movement” makes use of the many pagan cultures gods to bridge people to Jesus; accommodating them by saying God was working among their culture and through their religion before the message of Christ arrived. To “Christian humanists,” it is about promoting the social gospel, helping people by feeding them, finding them shelter and speaking of peace for us all by working together for world improvement. I can go on with so many other examples of how things have changed the church in the last 20 years, but let me focus on the subject that has accelerated the change from orthodoxy to apostasy.
The “Emergent movement” as a movement, is questioning the Bibles accuracy and the doctrines of historic Christianity by using the dialectic process, convincing people to side with the new concepts they are introducing into the church.
When the church stops presenting the core teachings and have expository preaching from the pulpit you will always have false teachings rise up to fill in the vacuum - in our current time liberalism, humanism is predominant. What we are seeing today is not just a system of false Bible beliefs replacing the genuine, but a challenge to the Bibles basic beliefs themselves, replaced with other religions practices to form something new.
The concern is seeing the emergent movements teachings infiltrate into good churches, and influence them into the next step away from the Bible through their speakers, books and audios. For those of us that came from other religions and their practices, it is obvious what is being introduced into the church, but for others it is not so obvious. They need to listen and weigh what is given as a warning.
Those who are already practicing Purpose Driven programs will be willing to take this next step unhindered. Since Rick Warren (America most popular pastor) already endorses and speaks with a number of the liberal adherents and leaders of the emergent movement that are introducing this new paradigm of Christianity.
What was the way Satan used to have Eve disobey, he had her go against the revealed word of God. What would be the fastest and most efficient way to deconstruct the church? Remove the church from the word and substitute it with the current world philosophies and foreign religious practices. Using other religious practices with Christianity compromises you, diminishes your faith, your devotion and obedience to the word. Ask yourselves if Jesus would approve of this unity? Then search the Scripture to see if he quoted any other religious teachers words that were not from the Bible or the prophets of Judaism.
Satan, who is a deceiver, will always make us to think we can gain spiritual growth outside the parameters and instruction of the word. God does not change and neither has His instructions in the New Testament (2 Tim 3:16-17). Too many are listening to leaders who lead them astray by adopting other religious practices instead of what is in the Scripture. This means they are not intent on following God’s instructions for the church but are willing to find their solution elsewhere.
Combining other religious practices with Christianity was formerly unheard of. The Holy Spirit is sent into the world, into all cultures and nations, to convict people of their sin, not unite them with the culture or other religions. He is to guide us into what Jesus spoke. The Holy Spirit does not bear witness or teach us of Buddha, Mohammed or Baha’u’lla, you must leave Christianity for that. How can other religions, whose source is from other gods be united with the words of truth Jesus spoke? But this is what it is fast being transformed into.
Thomas Keating who teaches on centering prayer explains, “He is acquainted with eastern methods of meditation …and writes “many serious seekers of truth study the eastern religions,…”
But a Christian is no longer a seeker but a possessor of the truth - when he walks by the word of God and in the Spirit. A believer in Christ does not call himself a spiritual seeker (beginner or seasoned) they have found the truth in Jesus Christ. But this is what the emergent movement is about, they are restless not finding peace in Christ they continue their spiritual journey.
The book “The Seeker’s Way” helps those who seek to open themselves to a journey “We seek for what we do not possess” (p.3 The Seeker’s Way). Brian McLaren has his endorsement the back cover of Dave Fleming's book, “The Seeker's Way.” Fleming: “A seeker admits the limits of particular belief systems and acknowledges that God is far bigger than any human being’s conceptions. This principle is essential, because it keeps the seeker humble and pliable along the way. Seekers are not afraid to simultaneously commit to and doubt their beliefs.”
Thus when this is applied to Christianity – it means we have not found the truth but only a crumb along our journey…
“Perhaps this is why we were created to seek. This kind of seeker’s heart moves us into the environment of
the unknown, where we can embrace the Mystery who does not desire to be explained but longs to be experienced”(p.5)
Samir Selmanovic is one of the co-authors of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope and Emergent Church 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. On Samir Selmanovic's website, Faith House project, “What is the Faith House project?”
“Imagine: Jews Christians Muslims Atheists All wrestling with God together”
Imagine:…All learning from one another and cherishing the traditions of one another Imagine: A synagogue A church A mosque Sharing lives in one community”
Imagine John Lennon’s song becoming a religion? His interfaith vision is to “...seek 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.” (Faith House Project website: http://samirselmanovic.typepad.com/faith_house/2.WhatisFaithHouseProject.pdf.)
The seekers Christianity is to be inclusive alongside all other religions. This is hardly what Jesus meant when he said to follow HIM; by forming a universal faith that includes other religions. This is a revelation that we are each other.
Their goal is to change Christianity. Christianity without the blood of Christ has no help for the sinner, Jesus is being reduced to just another spiritual teacher among the many.
Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
The New age Movement is a liberal movement, the “Emergent church” movement is a liberal movement. They open themselves to everything outside the Bible, accepting it as if it is just as true as the Bible. They are now influencing the church to join them in this new adventure of liberalism and questioning the Scripture.
This has become a toxic mixture, bonding other religions to Jesus where everything in the Bible takes on another meaning. Understood through the lens of whatever religion or practice it is seen through. They are gorging themselves at a spiritual smorgasbord that has no end to eating.
To search outside the pages of the Bible is a pursuit for a new spirituality. Some argue that not everything is mentioned in the Bible. After all, the Bible does not mention cars or electricity and we use them! This is bad argument – because these are not spiritual practices. All that we need for a Spiritual life is instructed in the Bible - 2 Tim. 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When we do not believe this we are not held to the Christian distinctive. Jesus said thy word is truth (speaking of the words found in the Scripture). Jesus never quoted another religious leader or another prophet outside the Hebrew Scriptures. But today many see Jesus as inclusive to all religions and not exclusive to the Judeo/ Christian teachings. When we relax Bible standards we will lapse into liberalism, and become open to inter-spirituality- which is what we are seeing taking place today.
The seekers of the emergent movement want us to re-evaluate our doctrines, the church holds from the Bible. Nothing is excluded all is on the table to be overturned. Liberals always attack the authority of Scripture you can count on it like night following day. They enjoy changing things, because they do not hold to any absolutes. They rejoice in the church moving away from Scripture and open to substitute other practices for the scripture. We are watching an open rebellion against Scripture that is led by Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and a host of others. Each of the re-shapers of the church have found their own platform to speak on the Emergence; Erwin McManus' “Awaken,” Leonard Sweet's “christ-consciousness and new light, 3rd testament," Erwin Rob Bell's co-creation, Brian McLaren's God's Dream are all parts of reshaping the church into something we can no longer recognize. Not excluding Rick Warren's global peace plan and new reformation.
So lets look at what they are challenging and how they are doing it. Tony Jones national coordinator of emergent village on his “new Christians” blog opened an internet discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage. who recently stated that he believes "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer” individuals can and should live out their sexuality in – and blessed by – the Christian church”(Emergent church leader says 'gay' can be biblical lifestyle). He said “I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!) “writes author and church leader Tony Jones, "and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state." Jones admits his experiences and feelings has led him to this conclusion. (source- Cutting-edge Christianity debates: Should we accept homosexuality? November 23, 2008 By Drew Zahn).
Jones had said on Theology Blog:
“Anyway, my point in all this is that the doctrine of the Trinity is still on the table. Some people, it seems to me, would like for us to no longer debate certain "sacred" doctrines -- the Trinity, the nature of Christ, the nature of scripture, the nature of marriage etc. And these persons tend to get very jumpy when emergent-types discuss these sacra doctrine, especially in books and at conferences that are being taped. "This is dangerous," they say. (Theology Blog post by Tony Jones)
Yes it is, because it puts you in the category of the cults which agree with there being no Triune nature.
Rob Bell in his book “Velvet Elvis,” seems to have the same position of questioning the doctrine of the Trinity:
“This three-in-oneness understanding of God emerged several hundred years after Jesus' resurrection. People began to call this concept the Trinity. The word trinity is not found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus didn't use the word, and the writers of the rest of the Bible didn't use the word. But over time this belief, this understanding, this doctrine, has become central to how followers of Jesus have understood who God is. It is a spring [Bell’s term for a removable doctrine], and people jumped for thousands of years without it. It was added later. We can take it out and examine it. Discuss it, probe it, question it. It flexes, and it stretches.” (Velvet Elvis)
Beside the apparent misrepresentation of ignorant men; the word Bible is not found in the Bible - braniac. One could take the flip flopping position of a politician like Brian McLaren who states in A Generous Orthodoxy:
“I don’t mind if you think I’m wrong. I’m sure I am wrong about many things, although I’m not sure exactly which things I’m wrong about. I’m even sure I’m wrong about what I think I’m right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I’m wrong, you could be right.”
I agree he is wrong on many things; unfortunately it is on the things that count. But can McLaren see them when they are shown to him and is he willing to change from unorthodoxy to being orthodox?
In 2005, I attended the Emergent Convention in Nashville. This same seminar was offered, only Jones was unable to co-teach so Pagitt taught alone. In that session, Pagitt made the same argument. “God’s story is changing.” Thus, “theology is inherently temporary” – it is “our current best guess.”
During the Q & A, I asked a clarification question to make sure I understood Pagitt’s view. I asked if his view implied that one day we may need to reconstruct our views about the very nature of God. For instance, the idea that Jesus is God Incarnate may actually be completely wrong (after all, it is only our current best guess) and we would need to reconstruct our view of Jesus and God. Here was Pagitt’s answer: “Yeah, probably. Could be. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. It’s dangerous.” He went on to say that we are already adjusting our concepts of God – there is an adjustment about who God is and what he is like. Thus, according to Pagitt, “the Trinity is not wrong but it may not be the only way to understand God.” (Doug Pagitt. “A New Theology for a New World,” A workshop for the 2005 Emergent Convention in Nashville, TN. http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/happy-reformation-day-was-john-wesley-emergent
[Pagitt will speak in both the first and third person here] “Also, Doug does not believe in the Trinity. I have tried to be clear so many times on this; the Trinity is not something to be believed in, it is an explanation of how God interrelates. The language of ‘not believing in something’ is far too limited. It is fair to suggest that the third century version of how God relates is not the most accurate in light of what we currently know... I simply suggest that the issues that were in place that caused the concept of the Trinity to be formed are no longer an issue. I am not suggesting a lesser understanding of God, or God not dwelling in Christ Jesus. I am suggesting that we not debate the Trinity – that concept did its job, rather we need to have Christian understanding of God that fits our day as well as the Trinity fit the third century. I am not saying it is wrong, but it is not complete. No view is complete. That is why all belief is progressive.” (Doug Pagitt. “Also, Doug does…” “De Trinitate” Tony Jones. Theoblogy Weblog. Dec.29, 2004. http://theoblogy.blogspot.com/2004/12/de-trinitate.html.
So the main teachers in the emergent movement are denying the Christian distinctive in a most subtle way possible and united themselves with the cults. Why debate on what was settled in the 3-4 the century. Have they not read up on this, this was one of the main issues for the early church and they made no bones about heretical teachings on God’s nature challenge the orthodoxy they held. These were settled by a series of debates that the emergent doubters could not wear these mens shoes. They were far more learned and articulate than all these so called Emergent’s put together, yet they want us to question along with them this teaching of God’s essential nature. Now who would be happy to have this happen? God or the Devil. Of course one could question whether the devil exists and settle it all at once.
Emegentitis is spreading like influenza and we need to be immunized to the faith changes of the 21st century. It is repackaged liberalism/humanism masquerading as something progressive (belief is progressive - Doug Pagitt). “Question everything and believe nothing” could be the motto of the adventurous spirituality of emergents, whose leaders are willing to take many risks with their spiritual welfare.
Emergent adherents do not want to be called Christian and identified with the body of Christ (the church). Brian McLaren speaks of a “new kind of Christian” which is really introducing a new spirituality. This new kind of Christian is a critic of God and his word. Ps 119: 89: “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven,” its on earth it receives its resistance. Emergents are willing to reinterpret it to accommodate their missionary model of “being all things to all men,” or in better terms, finding common ground for their humanistic unity. The emergent participants see Christianity as too limiting in doctrine and practice. This is where one arrives at the crossroads and no longer wants to stay on the narrow road. The Bible is not an open book and Christianity is not to be mixed with other religious spiritual practices. We are to uphold the Christian distinctive, which is God given truth. Scripture is not open ended, to be reinterpreted the way anyone wants it to be, there are principles of hermeneutics and continual usage that gives parameters to ones interpretation so they arrive at the correct meaning of the authors. Faith is not to be treated as a parable that can be reinterpreted to anyone’s own preference.
I understand that some want to rename the Emergent movement. After all it is now identified by many as cultic. You can rename the Emerging church whatever you like, but it is still a non Christian movement no matter what it is called.
New Age leaders did the same. They changed the term “New Age” and its various identifiable practices so they can more easily accepted. “One of the biggest advantages we have as New Agers is, once the occult metaphysical and new age terminology is removed, we have concepts and techniques that are very acceptable to the general public. So we can change the names and . . . open the New Age door to millions who normally would not be receptive” (New Age leader Dick Sutphen, Infiltrating the New Age Society in What Is, Summer 1986, p.14)
This is how the new age movement’s practices were introduced into society, and it is the same way the emergent church is introducing its other religions practices. The format is the same. Change the meaning of the terms to promote unacceptable practices is not a new tactic. Using postmodern subjectivity, Christianize the practices, reinvent them for the culture.
Their mission is to convince you to let go of the historic Biblical teachings they call the old ways - for the new. This is how the dialectic practice works, by introducing change. They need to introduce this change to make you a disciple of the new inter-spirituality. Taking this to the next level - the experience from these other religious practices teach that no one religion has all the truth, they are all like spokes of the same wheel, how do I know this ... I used to believe this when I was part of the new age movement, before I became a Christian. And I can tell you that this is by far the most dangerous of deceptions that has encroach the church.
We can be absolute that the emerging church will continue to "merge" other belief systems to forge a new spirituality. Inclusiveness has always been the goal of the New Age Movement, and they have sent their light bearers to influence the churches that are not discerning or teaching the Word of God. With this open-minded approach becoming the norm, Christian churches can be open to embrace foreign religious practices without ever knowing what they are.
If I were a new ager (which I NO longer am) I could go attend these churches and continue in my new age practices, because we both would be doing the same thing. A church that does not use Biblical discernment can be easily steered away these days, and become an emerging church. We need to be aware of those who want to introduce “a new spirituality” by stealth. Just call it Christian and pawn it off on naïve church goers that have no knowledge of what these are. Take the example of walking the Labyrinth. This not a rediscovery of some lost form of Christian spirituality but pagan spirituality. No matter what you call the practice now (Christian yoga, silent time etc.) this “New Spirituality,” began apart from biblical Christianity and will stay this way until it finally identifies itself as another religion.
The AP reported “Malaysia’s top Islamic body on Saturday ruled against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it has element of other religions that would corrupt Muslims.” The National Fatwa council non binding edict recognized Hindu spiritual elements, chanting and worship “Its inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim” (Malaysia Islamic Body bans yoga for Muslims Nov. 23, 2008). Even the Muslims are concerned about mixing what is not of their religion into it, but Christians who are instructed about their worship ignore the Lords words as if they do not have truth and are tempted to be yoked with unbeliever’s practices.
We need to stop the Demagoguery. Would Jesus approve of practices from another religion? Especially if it is used in connection with another god? Colossians 2:1-4: Paul Writing to the Colossians and those in Laodicea, “attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.” V.6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
If we ignore this -then we are traversing on ground we are already told not to. In the case for Yoga- where did Jesus teach to do a physical exercise for a spiritual result? Hindu’s DO NOT practice Yoga to get in shape. Hatha yoga is a spiritual practice for self realization and undoing ones karma from past lives. Yoga is indeed a spiritual/religious practice - decidedly incompatible with Christianity. Jesus said - He is the way, the truth and the life. Christians are supposed to be in relationship with God by the Holy Spirit. Yet those who promote Yoga claim it is enhancing their spiritual life and it is beneficial using other religious practices.
Let me give an apparent example- The Muslims worship facing Mecca - could we face down toward Mecca and say we are worshipping God? We are to worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). The Holy Spirit does not use other religions practices. The Bible exhorts us to have a PURE devotion to Christ. The examples we have in the Old and New Testament are too numerous to ignore. They think they are getting closer to God and becoming more effective but they are really getting further away.
Something is very wrong with a persons spiritual life when they gravitate toward other religious practices while they claim to follow Christ. They are making their up own spirituality; ignoring the way Jesus said to follow Him. Religious syncretism is probably the most dangerous activity we can involve ourselves in, for it leads one into an apostasy of the faith. If we should learn anything from the churches past mistakes it would be that we cannot mix the world with the things of God and have God’s blessing.
Polls can sometimes be a good indicator of shifts in beliefs. The Associated Press reported from a June 2008 report released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that “57% of evangelical church attendees said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life. How can the progressive Emergent Movement improve this view when they are the ones incorporating these other religious practices into the church?
Sir Francis Younghusband; who in World Faiths, the official organ of the World Congress, wrote: “All formulated religious beliefs, of whatever tradition, are no more than fragmented facets of a central prism, formless and colourless itself, the white light of truth” (The INTER-FAITH MOVEMENT p.7).
Leonard Sweet’s statement is not much different then Younghusband, he says “One Caribbean theologian has called this the “decolonization of theology.” 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 Quantum Spirituality by Leonard Sweet)
Are we ALL believers in the same thing? Apparently this is what they are trying to convince the church of.
Rick Warren who also promotes Sweet and others in the emergent movement says, “there’s truth in every religion, I, I, Christians believe there's truth in every religion. …We believe we can learn truth from, I believe I’ve have learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth” (Larry King Live “Interview with Rick Warren” Nov.22, 2004). Thus Warren offers the church his peace plan, an openness to work with all religions for the greater good of mankind. Humanism replaces the command of preaching the gospel.
A social gospel that is more inclined to the goals of secularism or socialism than doing works in the Lords name and changing lives by the power of Jesus Christ. A example of this change is the “Christian Childrens fund” that changed its name effective July 1, 2009 (on its 70th anniversary) to ChildFund International to have more donations. “The organization shed its religious teachings more than 30 years ago, so dropping the "Christian" reference might clear up any lingering confusion, Goddard said, as well as open up the ability to raise more money from individuals and corporations. "We have had supporters, donors and staffers from all religions.
“It's a very inclusive umbrella now," Goddard said. "And for many people, their Christian faith is to help people of other faiths - and they can still do that. Our mission remains the same." Christian Children's Fund Changes its Name RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- http://www.wtvr.com/Global/story.asp?S=10245435
This sends a secular message and can be construed as being ashamed of the name of Christ. But this is the way of the world and the way the church is going as well. There are humanists that dress themselves in the religion of tolerance and openness. The new Christianity, has nothing to do with the real Christianity, is merging with the worlds religion and can only result in imploding the church.