“Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center….” Emergent leader Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality)
This post follows on from Mysteries and Mysticism. Unfortunately the Emergent Church has now not only fully embraced ancient pagan spirituality, or mysticism, as part of their worship, but is also promoting it. This isn’t just a fad or phase, nor is it a minor side-issue within Christendom! Rather it is a cleverly planned strategy by Satan himself to infiltrate Evangelical Christianity with his greater purpose in mind – to synthesize it with the other world religions in order to make way for a One-World Religion, and ultimately the Anti-Christ.
“New Age Philosophy has conquered the West intellectually and Western culture is currently experiencing a phenomenal shift – sociological, spiritual & ideological. It’s a secular, multi-cultural, multi-religious synthesis, of the Oriental mystical philosophies, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism & Western Occultism, emphasising Holism, the doctrine that Reality is organically One” From New Age website : http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm
Let’s re-visit the Hegelian/Kant principle, which we saw briefly in Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church. I think it is important to consider this principle at work because the distinctions between Christianity and other religions are being corroded within the Emergent church right now, making for a religious-fusion.
Hegelian dialectic philosophy, is “usually presented in a threefold manner, (and) was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_method).
It looks like this:
Thesis Synthesis Antithesis
Christianity Emergent Church Post-Modernism
Christianity Emergent Church Eastern mysticism
Christianity/Judaism One World Religion Mystery Religions
The Corrosion of the Thesis (Christianity)
How are the contradictions and opposing doctrines between Christianity and other religions being corroded by the Hegelian principle?
1. By the re-definition of language, particularly in the area of Christian doctrine
Previously we have seen that Satan, using the tool of the Emergent Church, has been breaking down Absolute Truth through “deconstructionism” (Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church).
It is the old lie: “Has God really said…?” (Genesis 3). For Satan to cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word is imperative to the advancement of his plan because he knows that :
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him,” (Proverbs 30:5). Should a Christian relinquish the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit Satan knows that his defenses are removed and that he becomes like a “broken down city without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
2. By finding “common ground” in mystical spirituality
“…if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?” Tony Campolo
The primary mystical practice being used to bring “synthesis” between religions within the Emergent Church is that of meditation*, or contemplative prayer.
“Western Christianity has (for the last few centuries anyway) said relatively little about mindfulness and meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another, on occasion at least.” Brian Mclaren
Although different methods are employed ie, multi-sensory worship, prayer stones, labyrinths or “centering prayer’, each is designed to lead to an altered state of consciousness. Repetitive music, mantra-chanting, darkness, smells, sounds and pictures of Jesus all aid in this process.
A couple of years ago I visited a Protestant church and was handed a box containing a colourful stone. The pastor encouraged us to hold the stone as we prayed, as an aid to bring us into God’s presence. This is paganism and is unfortunately becoming more and more common. (See where prayer stones originated : http://dharma-beads.net/pagan-prayer-beads-rosary
It is interesting to note that an altered state of consciousness through meditation, in some form or other, is common to all of the Mystery Babylon religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Kabbalah, Freemasonry, Occultism, New Age etc, you name it. This is the primary means the serpent uses to communicate his secret knowledge.
“For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
The Emergent Church & Meditation
Meditation or “contemplative prayer” was also the practice of the ancient Catholic/Jesuit monastic desert fathers. One such desert father, Ignatius of Loyola, practiced mystical prayer, culminating in visions of a serpent, who lead to him gain “secret knowledge” (sound familiar?) from which he wrote the “Spiritual Exercises”. Ignatius of Loyola became the founder of the order of the “Jesuits”. (View the evil-ness of the Jesuit oath here: http://www.reformation.org/jesuit-oath.html )
Disturbingly these desert fathers are being promoted by the Emergent Church as inspirational and worthy of emulation in their prayer and “spiritual discipline” practices:
Brian McLaren: http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/from-st-ignatius.html
Rob Bell: http://marshill.org/teaching-resources/spiritual-practices/
(Notice on Bell’s website in particular Catholic monastic “lectio divina” and “prayer of examen”.)
Tony Campolo: “…during times of reflection I sensed that believing in Jesus and living out His teachings just wasn’t enough. There was a yearning for something more, and I found that I was increasingly spiritually gratified as I adopted older ways of praying–ways that have largely been ignored by those of us in the Protestant tradition. Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word (a mantra) is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”
Here you can listen to Rob Bell actually leading his congregation through meditative breathing techniques that have no place in scripture:
From Emergent founder Doug Pagitt’s “Body Prayer” book: “As you begin to pray, close your eyes. Then inhale and exhale with deep breaths. Put your hands in a comfortable position, consider turning both hands palms up. Notice the tension in your head – and let it go as you take in a deep breath – and then exhale. Notice the tension in your shoulders and let it go, again by breathing in and then out. Notice the tension in your stomach and let it go. Move down your body doing the same.”
I did yoga when I was a teenager and this is the exact process. But then, “Christian” yoga is now being promoted too! Whilst it may be wrapped in Christian terminology, while it may be “Christian” words that are chanted as a mantra, don’t be fooled – it is still the same old Mystery pagan techniques cloaked in “Christianity”.
Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
Of course the emphasis on meditation is no accident – it is part of a definite strategy. The process is this:
- Detachment – empty your mind by repeating a mantra (one word) over and over
- Illumination – knowledge or “enlightenment”
- Union – a mystical experience with “God”
No 1. – a glimpse of emptiness or a state of emptiness is aimed for by the practitioner.
No 2. – “illumination” or knowledge. Remember that the Mystery religions always promise esoteric knowledge – the triangle or hierarchy of illumination, the higher you go, the more you know.
“Then the serpent said to the woman, “….God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3)
No 3 – “Union” is the ultimate in meditation/contemplative prayer. Mystics also call it “Truth”, “the ‘Godhead’”, “Reality”, “Ultimate Realization” or “The Ultimate Experience”.
“These are direct apprehensions or illuminations – in a word, direct spiritual experiences (satori, kensho, shaktipat, nada, shabd, etc.).” Ken Wilber (writer, mystic, New-ager/occultist who could stop his brain waves through meditation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFMtq5g8N4)
This is where the practitioner has reached such a state of altered consciousness that they are open to the spirit world. They become “One” with the “Supreme Being” and the “ancient wisdom” is then bestowed on them. Thus they are “enlightened”, they know the “Truth”, they’ve reached “nirvana”.
Unfortunately the “One” whom they are being united with is not God, who is “Light and in Him there is no darkness at all”, nor the Holy Spirit whom is the “Spirit of truth”, but rather a deceptive spirit who now has access to an unprotected mind and soul. We know that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) in order to deceive.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)
The “Truth” of the “ancient wisdom” they receive is now being promoted in the Emergent church, even running courses on this subject. But the “truth” is a lie and is always the same old thing:
- That there is a single, universal truth on which all the world’s religions have been based. That there is a common thread throughout them all which is “experiential union with the “supreme being” which can only be achieved by undertaking a programme of physical and mental purification.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy)
- That there is Cosmic consciousness or “we are all One”, “in which the universe is perceived as an interconnected network of individual consciousnesses, each one of which is connected to every other one…It may also be conceived of as an Absolute or Godhead from which all conscious beings emanate.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_consciousness)
It is designed to “usher.. the devotee into “oneness” with cosmic consciousnesses, the eastern understanding of god or divinity, often referred to as the “divine spark”, believed to be synonymous with all nature. The idea of god/divinity IN all is known as pantheism, that god is IN all that is material, but panentheism says the divine permeates everything including all eternity, concluding that all spirituality and all spirits are divine and acceptable.” (http://caryltv.com/36-breath-prayer/278-q-and-a-practising-the-presence)
Thus it comes as no surprise that the Emergents, whom are delving into the Mystery religions, are now using the same language of the New Agers/occultists – and are spouting the same old stuff that they’ve been saying for years!
“We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.” Emergent leader Leonard Sweet.
Next post…The Emergent Church/New Age Connection
- The connection between the Emergent Church and the New Age/occult
- The shift from the de-constructionism of post-modernism to post-post-modernism integral theory
*Meditation – in this context the meditation I am speaking of is distinctly pagan in origin, using techniques in order to bring one into an altered state of consciousness. I am not dis-crediting the Biblical practice of meditation which is used to study, contemplate and think on the Word of God. I believe true godly meditation encourages the use of the mind, rather than the emptying of it.
March 19, 2014 at 11:47 pm
You’ve obviously considered all this carefully. The difficulty is how do we promote spiritual discipline when the words are the same (as you note in your afterword)? I have promoted and taught this for years. I have made the distinction that Christian meditation brings quietness to our busy brains to hear our God’s still, small voice. Pagan meditation, as you call it, brings a person to self-control, to achieve a humility you can be proud of. In our sinful world we cannot achieve self-control, a deception. Our goal in the Spirit is to come to obedient service after the model of Jesus Christ. This quietness also allows our unreconciled grudges, our aching brokenness and our personal plots to scream out to us for repentance.
I do want to affirm in a loud voice your warning against the lie, deception, the caramel-coated magnet that makes it sound so tempting that all religions spring from a common truth!!!! By definition every religion is human-created, and contains a claim for special knowledge, the truth, available only to its adherents. Jesus is real and lives in a relationship with those who follow, with no special secret (all in the open for all to see), because Jesus, the Person, is Truth (and the Way and the Life). It’s a covenant (promise) based relationship, and the covenant is written down in what we call the Bible.
Sorry for writing so much, but the distinction is important. Discipline we need to practice. Deception we need to resist.
March 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm
Hi there. Thanks for making that point, it is a valid one. Yes I agree, there is a distinction between true spiritual discipline and the counterfeit one. It’s like everything else in the spiritual life – there is the genuine which God has created and instituted, and then there is the counterfeit of the genuine, distorted by satan to bring one into deception and bondage. Satan is subtle and crafty and so the counterfeit is often very close to the genuine, making it hard to distinguish.
The language is often similar, or the same, to further muddy the waters. There is true Biblical meditation and then there’s the counterfeit, just like there is true spiritual discipline(s) and then there is the counterfeit of that too. The true of anything spiritual is by the Holy Spirit joining with the human spirit, whereas the counterfeit uses human soul-power, of which the enemy exploits and thereby is able to gain access.
God’s Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is our objective reference point and necessary to provide clarity and discernment in these matters. In answer to your question – How do we promote spiritual discipline when the words are the same? – i think (true) spiritual discipline is essential in the life of a believer and I think it is helpful to teach the difference between the true and the counterfeit to others so that the light is shined on the deceptions of satan.
March 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm
Thank you for your kind response. It models the “true” and I am honoured to be able to engage with you.
March 21, 2014 at 11:22 am
Thank you 🙂
I am honoured that you are reading my blog!