“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” (William Booth)
This post is part 4 in this series and follows on from Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church. I had planned to write about the role mysticism and the New Age plays within the Emergent Church but the Holy Spirit stepped in. He has impressed upon me that another step, in this post, is required by Him, before I post on mysticism.
It is my position that when absolute truth is discarded, then logically the next step is the re-emergence of mystical spirituality. However it is necessary to understand how it is that the breakdown of absolute truth leads to the re-emergence of these ancient mystical practices. And so I will concentrate this post on some of the Truths of Christianity which have been recently changed, diluted or rejected. In the last post we looked at how the philosophical theory of de-constructionism has taken hold within the Emergent Church and that its leaders, such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and Brian Mclaren, to name a few, are unashamedly using this system to interpret the Bible. Now we will look at some of the results of de-constructionism.
“Stamping out faith in Biblical absolutes is central to this transformation (of the “church”). A mind anchored in God’s Word won’t compromise, but when that anchor is removed, the current of change can carry that mind anywhere. As Jesuit scholastic, Mark Mossa, wrote in his endorsement of Brian McLaren’s latest book: “The Secret Message of Jesus, challenges us to put aside our sterile certainties about Christ and reconsider the imaginative world of Jesus stories, signs and wonders.” (Quote from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm)
No doctrine is safe when Biblical absolutes of truth are put aside. Here are some examples of the essential doctrines that are now being re-defined by the Emergent Church’s method of “Did God really say?” They are:
- The doctrine of sin.
Tony Campolo says : ““…Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing “Amazing Grace” was all too ready to call himself a “wretch” … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …”
It seems that Mr Campolo has believed the lie of the serpent that “Ye shall be as gods…” This denial of the sinfulness of humanity leads to the distortion of:
- The centrality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
Take a look at what Mclaren himself has said:
“”[T]his is one of the huge problems with the traditional understanding of hell, because if the Cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching, then I won’t say the only and I certainly won’t say … or even the primary or a primary meaning of the Cross … is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing voluntary sacrifice right? But in an ironic way the doctrine of hell basically says no, that’s not really true. At the end God gets his way through coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”
The substitutionary atoning work of Christ on the cross is pushed aside in the name of voluntary sacrifice. Of course, dismissing Christ’s atoning work on the cross then leads to the rejection of:
- The doctrine of Hell.
Rob Bell says this about hell in his universalistic book “Love Wins”:
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”
(Misguided and toxic?…Jesus Himself said to: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” and described hell as a place “where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”)
Because Jesus Himself said something this “violent” and “elitist”, then naturally the next question would pertain to:
- The person of Jesus Christ Himself, God Incarnate in human flesh, the Son of God.
Tony Campolo writes of his pantheistic beliefs:
““One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere. The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is not that Jesus isn’t in the non-Christian–the difference is that the Jesus who is within him is a Jesus to whom he will not surrender his life.”
If Jesus perhaps isn’t really God in the flesh, then of course the next doctrine to question is:
- There is no other name under Heaven by which man can be saved than that of Jesus Christ.
Tony Campolo again: “Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving.”
This doctrine has been undermined by Rick Warren as well as numbers of other Christian leaders having signed the Yale document produced by Muslims leaders called “A Common Word Between Us and You”. This document is in line with the commandment in the Koran which says to “Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! come to a common word as between us and you: that we worship none but God’“.
The Muslim god Allah and the God of the Bible, YahWeh, are NOT the same. These Christian leaders seem to have no idea that they are signing themselves over to Islam and, of course, paving the way for Chrislam. Read the document here: http://www.acommonword.com/the-acw-document/ .
Here is a list of all the Christian leaders who have signed the document: http://www.acommonword.com/christian-signatories/
And so it goes on. As one doctrine is changed, watered-down or rejected the next domino falls, then the next, and so on.
The changing, dismissing or outright rejection of God’s Word by His “church” is not something God takes lightly.
“For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2.
“God’s Word is His communication, His promise, the revelation of Himself to His people. It is to be a lamp to our feet in a dark and fallen world, without it we would have no way to know God or how to do God’s will. To disregard God’s Word that is holy, pure and absolutely true is to defame God’s name and character. It is to bring ruin upon our walk. So it becomes the main focus point in our daily walk with Christ.” (taken from Let Us Reason http://www.letusreason.org/Doct42.htm)
The result of de-constructionism in the church is to undermine the authority of the Bible, as the Word of God, to question even the most basic fundamental tenets of Christianity and to “re-define” it to become more relevant to our post-modern society. (see “The “Emergent-cy” of Post-Modernist Christianity“) The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth, will only witness to truth, so when truth is discarded, the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness, becomes grieved as Christ is blasphemed and, then, like a dove, eventually takes flight. In Ezekiel 10 the glory of God departed from the Temple as a result of Israel repeatedly ignoring God’s Word through His prophets. Israel became Ichabod.
And so it is with the Emergent church. What remains is but an empty shell consisting of a mixture of religious platitudes and man’s philosophy. But as “nature abhors a vacuum” something must fill that emptiness. Something ancient and spiritual.
And that “something” is mysticism.
Next post: The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism
- The Re-emergence of ancient mysticism
- The Connection with the New Age