Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Mysteries and Mysticism

babylonThis post follows on from The Deep, deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism where we looked at Mystery Babylon, the Tower of Babel, Nimrod and the ancient roots of the “mystery” religions – all  sprung from the root of Satan’s lie:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

It is my belief that the Church is willing to accept rituals, prayer labyrinths and other pagan practices because we have lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit both in our churches and in our prayer closets.  Friends – we desperately need a revival!  Where are those who, like Elijah, will cry out to God until He sends the rain?

I believe we have lost the anointing in our churches and prayer closets because are not willing to pay the price to have it.  The anointing is costly. 

Yes, salvation is free to all because of Christ’s atonement at Calvary – that is undisputed – but the anointing of the Holy Spirit is an expensive treasure.  To follow our Master is not always easy.  The way of the cross is hard, it demands sacrifice, humility, self-denial and death to self.  Are we willing to pay the price?

This is something we need to decide, because there is an influx of Mystery Religions coming – and from the way of the cross they are completely opposed…

treeoflife

The Tree of LIfe

knowledge tree


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

                                                           Which Tree will you choose?

 

Characteristics of the Mystery Religions

In contrast to the way of the cross, these mystery religions all have one thing in common:

They elevate humankind to god-hood.

Rather than death to self, “Self” is exalted.

“.…you will be like God….” Gen 3:5

Just as Lucifer tried to exalt himself above the throne of God; just as Nimrod tried to elevate himself above the heavens by his tower, so too the mystery religions continue to attempt to exalt humankind to deity. What these mystery religions proclaim, in essence, is that : humankind is essentially divine, we just need to realize it.  Our divine consciousness simply needs to be recognized and released.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, the New Age & Western Occultism all hold to this belief.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  Man in his “divinity” seeks to reach up to god-hood.  He tries to elevate himself through some sort of works.  These may include: religious rituals, asceticism, enlightenment through meditation, good works etc.

New Age believes in the essential goodness of Man and the Divine Spark in Man (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

Notice that this “reaching up” is the exact opposite of what God did in sending His Son, Jesus Christ:

who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phillippians 2:6-8

While mystery religions attempt to lift man UP to the heavens, Christ, the true God, humbles Himself and leaves heaven to come DOWN to save us from our sin.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Godliness”.  We cannot save ourselves. Our eternal salvation and redemption required for God to come down to us in order to save us.

  • The Mystery of Iniquity says that humankind is divine – our problem is that we don’t know it (PRIDE)
  • The Mystery of Godliness says that humankind is sinful, unable to save ourselves and that it required God to come down to us in the flesh to save us (HUMILITY)

Which is more appealing to human flesh?

Has the “Mystery of Iniquity” Entered the Church?

For Christianity, the central problem is how God could have become person. How spirit could transform itself into matter. Word become flesh. Consciousness become protoplasm. The direction is from the top down. For Judaism, on the other hand, the problem is how humanity could possibly attain to God’s word and intention. How matter could raise itself to spirit. How simple desert souls could hear the word. Human substance attain consciousness. The intention is “to permeate matter and raise it to spirit.” The direction is from the bottom up. Perhaps the two traditions, one moving down, the other moving up, are destined to meet in the divinity of humanity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 191

We affirm our divinity by doing what is worthy of gods, and we affirm our humanity by taking risks only available to mortals. God had to become one of us before He could become heroic … Robert Schuller affirms our divinity, yet does not deny our humanity … isn’t that what the gospel is? 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 …” Tony Campolo

Um, I’d say that’s a resounding “YES”.

But what does Jesus say? “If any man will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.”

The way of the cross is death.  First death, then life.  Christ Himself died and was raised up.  We also need to die to self and be raised up to resurrection life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to confess that we are sinners only saved by God’s grace, not by any human works.

The anointing has a price: and it comes at the expense of human pride.

Definition of Mysticism

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious mysteriousrituals. In early Christianity the term came to refer to “hidden” allegorical interpretations of Scriptures and to hidden presences, such as that of Jesus at the Eucharist.”

knowledge tree

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

In all of the “mystery” religions, we see that there is something hidden or concealed, a higher knowledge that only the elite few, being enlightened, are privy to, whilst the majority are left in the dark…..Remind you of anything?…

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 3:4, 5

Another mystic described (reality) as “It is hidden, it is hidden and it is hidden“.”  (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

This is why the triangle is a symbol of the mystery religions representing:

      The enlightened few at the top

tri

The majority of the un-knowing at the bottom

This is true for gnosticism, the New Age, Freemasonry, the cults and the occult.  In fact “occult”  is “from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” is “knowledge of the hidden” (source: Wikipedia)

Contrast this with the pure simplicity of the Word of God.  God has spoken through His Word and it is open and available to whomsoever wishes to read it.  It is suitable both for the intellectual ex-Pharisee and for the uneducated fisherman.  God’s plan of redemption is through His Son Jesus Christ and is plainly declared throughout scripture.

The Mystery of God

This is not to say that there is not mystery surrounding God.  Of course there is.  He is so much higher than us, His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  It is impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend God in all His goodness, power and glory – truly now we “see through a glass darkly”.  Yet He has made Himself known to us through His Word, through His Son and by His Spirit and because of Christ’s atonement it is possible for us to have a personal relationship with God.  This is indeed a divine mystery.

However what can be known of God is open and available to the lowest and the highest of the human race.  There are not different levels or hierarchies in the Kingdom of God.  Some are not privileged with a “special” knowing or knowledge whilst the rest of the plebs are left in the dark.  “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”.  God wants us to know Him and has revealed Himself to us through the Word made flesh (Jesus), and the Word of God (The Bible).

The thing that concerns me about the Emergent Church is that they are turning away from how God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity – the Word of God – because, as Leonard Sweet says:

Doctrine does not convey the mystery of God.”

This is very subtle and very clever.  This statement is appealing because in a sense it is true. Reliance on pure doctrine in a Christian can bring about legalism, rigidity and life-less coldness.  Doctrine-only without the Holy Spirit’s anointing is dead.  I have known Christians and churches with a purity of doctrine. They do not tolerate false teachings nor teachers, and yet there is no warmth, no love and no life.   They label anyone who has had a personal experience of God as a “mystic”.  They have run to the extreme of “truth” with no grace.  This is not right. As Christians we need a personal experience with the living God, like Isaiah and Peter did.  We need a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must know not only the Word of God, but the God of the Word.  We need the anointing!

Yet, the other extreme is also faulty – to give away doctrine completely in order to search out the mystery of God, usually through experience-only.  God has given us doctrine (or teaching) in His Word so that we can truly come to know Him.  If we base our knowledge of God purely on our experiences then there is no objective point of reference as to whether who/what we are experiencing is truly God or whether it be a deceptive spirit. The Bible says to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.  It is only through the safe-guards of the Word of God that we can measure our experiences to see whether they line up or not.  Anything that falls outside of scripture is prohibited and not of God.

treeoflife

Tree of Life

So we need the Word of God and the anointing of the Spirit of God.  Together they bring life.

The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ, so when the Word is preached (in the power of the Holy Spirit) the Spirit is there.  When the authority of the Word is denied another spirit is able to gain access – the spirit of the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  We see that that is what is happening in the Emergent church.  Pagan spiritual practices are now acceptable and openly promoted.  Labyrinths are being installed in churches, Eastern meditative breathing techniques are being taught from the pulpit, people are praying to pictures of Jesus, prayer stones are being handed out.

In my next post I would like to look at:

  • Some of how these techniques and practices are being taught and promoted in the Emergent Church
  • Their (hidden) purpose and
  • Where its heading – The Age of Aquarius and One-World Religion

In A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality

Blessings!


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The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism

treeoflifeThis post follows on from “The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church”.  In that post we saw that the Holy Spirit, whom is the Spirit of Truth, will only witness to truth.  So when absolute truth is discarded or diluted in the name of “relevance”, as in the Emergent Church, He is grieved and departs, leaving room for something else to enter.  That “something” is ancient pagan spirituality, also known as mysticism.

From Where does Mysticism Originate?

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Firstly, as we saw in Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church , Satan’s aim is to cause humankind to doubt the truth of God’s Word by saying (Genesis 3:1):

“Has God really said..?”

Satan has used this lie through the tool of de-constructionism in the Emergent Church.

Once, having listened to this initial lie, with God’s Word no longer the authority, we become vulnerable to more of his lies.  Once Eve listened to the first lie of Satan and she began to doubt the truth of God’s Word it then became easy for Satan to introduce another lie to her.  Genesis 3:5 says:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

This lie of Satan’s is integral to our understanding of mysticism.

So….

  • The Re-definition of Language, clothed in intellectualism, leads humankind to doubt God’s Word as the truth and final authority……We turn away from the Tree of Life.

The next step is:

  •  The idea that we can have knowledge apart from God.  The implication by Satan is that God is keeping something back from us, (causing us to doubt God’s goodness) and that only through this “other” knowledge can we truly be as God ourselves. This knowledge leads to “god-hood”……And so we partake of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With no Holy Spirit to teach and guide we begin to see things like:

  • candlesLiturgy
  • Robes
  • Candles
  • Labyrinths
  • Prayer beads
  • Prayer stones
  • Contemplative prayer

all under the banner of Protestant Evangelical Christianity….What is going on?

“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:5

Mystery Babylon

babylonIn Genesis 10 Nimrod built the city of Babel (Babylon) as well as other cities.  It was the first capital city of the first great empire of the world. Nimrod, as first King of Babylon, with his wife Semiramis formed a wicked partnership.  Together, in order to expand their authority, they began a religious system of Emperor-worship where Nimrod established himself as the Sun-god and Semiramis the Moon-goddess.

“Around themselves, as the Sun and Moon gods, they created an entire religion that was based on a corruption of primeval astronomy developed by Noah’s righteous ancestors prior to the flood.”(Know Your Enemy, The Fuel Project, Part 6  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDDGl79x4Pc).

The Tower of Babel was where they intended to be worshipped and was the first one-world effort at creating a spiritual system independent of God.   Note the similarities between their language and Lucifer’s language:

Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens, let us make a name for ourselves…” (The Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:4)tower of babel

and

I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High…” (Lucifer’s words in Isaiah 14:13, 14)

“Babylon was more than just an ancient city, it is the source or fountain-head of evil that began thousands of years ago and flows throughout the history of mankind affecting us even today in ways we don’t realize.  It represents a satanic system of rebellion against God’s plan of salvation that has never ceased to exist in one form or another.  The practices, symbolism and perverted thought processes that originated there are still with us today.  It has adopted various guises over time but the common threads are there to be uncovered.  It is the source of all the abominations of the earth.” (Know Your Enemy, The Fuel Project, Part 4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDDGl79x4Pc

Next time….Mysteries and Mysticism


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The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church

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 dominoesGod, 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)truth ies

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.

man dominoes“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


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One Woman’s Stand Against the Lie of Chrislam

This link was blocked from American YouTube.  This German woman is a true hero of the faith.  At an interfaith concert where Chrislam was being promoted she alone stood, and proclaimed “Jesus is Lord!”  as everyone else sat. Click on link below to see what she did.

“How long will you falter between two opinions?  If the Lord is God follow HIm, but if Baal, follow him.  But the people answered him not a word.”


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Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church

480_sheepscloth1This post follows on from The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity where we saw that philosophy can and does shape reality.  Just like any other movement in society, the Emergent church movement is underpinned by a system of philosophy. I would like to look at this philosophy, called “de-constructionism”, in order to discover its roots and where it is leading.  The outcome of this philosophy is very REAL and is taking hold in the Church right now.  I believe it is very important for every Bible-believing Christian to be aware of how the enemy is working, because none of us are beyond deception. 

What is De-Constructionism?

“De-constructionism” is: “a philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature or film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning”   http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=deconstructionism

De-constructionism is a “fascist world-view where all authority is rejected and truth is denied by attacking language”. (see “Where’s Truth?” on “absolute truth”).  Its roots are from ex-Nazi Heiteger but developed by French philosopher Jacques Derrida.  As Nietzsche had previously asserted that “life is meaningless” (known as Nihilism) so this philosophy carries nihilism further – into literature itself, and says that:

  • Language is meaningless
  • Language contradicts itself
  • Language is lying
  • Literature lies

By applying this philosophy to a book, poem, paragraph or sentence the text is de-constructed and it is found that every word contradicts itself, contradicts the other words and contradicts the whole work itself.

So to write :  “The sky is blue” for example, may not actually really mean that the sky is in fact blue.  It could mean that the sky is another colour, but we just call it blue.  It could mean that the sky isn’t blue or even a colour at all.  It could mean that I am not even really talking about the “sky” after all, but something else entirely.  “The sky is blue” cannot be understood because all words are meaningless and contradict themselves.

So we see how de-constructionism has removed absolute truth from literature.

What would happen if this method was applied to the Word of God, ie the Bible?

What would happen if Christians adopted this method of studying the Bible?

The Emergent Church

persecutionUnfortunately they are both already in full-swing, within the Emergent Church.  Many of the Emergent Church’s leaders (whom are Evangelicals, not Liberals!), such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell and Brian Mclaren, have studied and adopted de-constructionism as their method of studying the Bible.  Here is what Leonard Sweet, Brian Mclaren and Jerry Haselmayer wrote in their book “A is for Abductive”:

“Traditional modern interpretation is fond of finding the one “true” meaning in a text while de-constructionists do not give any one reading privileged status, but rather are interested in hearing the interplay of many interpretations that arise from within many different interpretative communities.”

So in essence, they do not view the Word of God as the ultimate authority – all opinions, views and interpretations are equally valid.  This would mean the Koran and other ancient non-Biblical texts are just as valid too. This is classic relativism denying the absolute truth and authority of the Bible in their drive to be :

  • “relevant” to a new generation and
  • palatable to non-believers

The First De-Constructionist

In fact this is not a new “literary technique” at all.  It is as old as time itself!  Satan’s aim, as the world’s first de-constructionist, has always been to cause human-beings to doubt God’s Word.  We see that his tactics haven’t changed since the beginning of time.

In Genesis 3:1 he said to Eve: “…Has God indeed said…?”

And that is essentially what Christian de-constructionism is – has God really said…?emergent-church

The denial of the authority and truth of God’s Word has led to the demise of the preaching and expounding of God’s Word within the Emergent church and rather “dialectics” are now being encouraged.  Dialectics is discussion, analysis, criticism, contrasting ideas etc.  Absolute Truth is side-lined while each individual’s opinions, interpretations and views are held in high regard.  And in the light of relativism, each opinion is equally valid and opposing “truths” are ok.

Ultimately Satan’s aim is to break down “absolute truth”. Why?

Because he is paving the way for a One-World religion, getting ready for the Anti-christ.   How?

By combining a “thesis” with an “antithesis” and making into a “synthesis”.

A thesis is a “proposition (of truth) to be maintained or proved”, such as Christianity.  An antithesis is a “contrast of ideas; direct opposite of”, such as Islam as the opposite to Christianity.  A synthesis is the “combining of elements into a whole.”

It looks like this:

THESIS                  arrow              SYNTHESIS            LeftArrow      ANTITHESIS

Christianity             arrow            Chrislam                 LeftArrow       Islam

bible-cover-pageChrislam is gaining momentum outside of Nigeria now, and Wycliffe Bible Translators have just translated the first “Chrislam” Bibles (that remove or change terms deemed offensive to Muslims and thus creating a Muslim-friendly Bible). 

Next time…  The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church

 

 

 


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The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity

seek truthFollowing on from my last post “Where’s Truth?” , where we looked at the effects of post-modernism on absolute truth, I would now like to take a look at how post-modernism is affecting the professing Christian church, in particular the Emergent, or Emerging Church.

My purpose in doing this series is not to attack individuals per se, although it would be impossible not to name some key players, but to bring to light the philosophy behind much of the Emergent Church, where it is leading and where it will ultimately end up.  Whilst there are some aspects of the Emergent Church which are not all bad, I think it is important to understand what it is that is propelling this movement forward and its ultimate purpose.

I am in no way a philosopher as such, but I do think that it would be wise first to consider the astronomical effects with which philosophy has affected society, culture and humanity.  One needs only to look to Plato or Aristotle to see how their social philosophies have affected human eugenics theory, leading to the immoral abortion crisis in the world today.  Another example is German philosopher Karl Marx, whose social theories influenced politics such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism, and history tells the culmination of these regimes.

Philosophy is, according to Wikipedia,: “the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. In more casual speech, by extension, “philosophy” can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group.”

So when we talk of philosophy, it is not some “pie-in-the-sky” thoughts and theories that have no bearing on our world, it is the exact opposite.  As I see it (for what it’s worth) various branches of philosophical thought are published, usually through universities and the world of academia, it filters through to the students, it enters the workplace and the media in all its forms and eventually takes hold in the political realm as human opinion shifts into a new paradigm of belief and value systems.

So to get back to the Emergent Church and how it fits in with all of this.  The Emergent Church has recognized that we are now living in a Post-Modern world and that people think differently from how they used to think.  Their position is that because society has changed, in this new world the old ways of doing “church” and Christianity no longer work.  Therefore a movement has begun that seeks to transform Christianity into something new – something that appeals to this post-modern generation, something that is relevant.

And just like any other movement in society, this Emergent movement is underpinned by a system of Post-modernist philosophy.  This system is called “de-constructionism”.

Next time I will discuss the following in “Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church”:

  • What is de-constructionism?
  • Who is history’s first de-constructionist?
  • What is the ultimate aim of de-construction in the Christian church?
  • Where will it lead?


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Where’s Truth?

We live in a post-modern world where the existence of absolute truth is outright denied.

Have you ever heard (or said) this sort of statement:

“Your truth is good for you, but I have my own truth.”

This is post-modern relativism in a nut-shell.

But is that statement logical?  Can it be possible for every person on the face of the planet to have their own “truth” and yet they are ALL simultaneously true?

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Or is there an absolute Truth? And if so, what is it?

Firstly I would like to look at post-modernism and its effects on absolute truth.

To start the definition of “post-modernism” is:

“A relativistic system of observation and thought that denies absolutes and objectivity.  Postmodernism has influenced theology, art, culture, architecture, society, film, technology, and economics.  Traditional social, art, social, and cultural, constructs are discarded and reinterpreted in relativistic terms.”  http://www.carm.org/dictionary/dic_p-r.htm (accessed September 16, 2008).

Wikipedia : “Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism.[1][2] Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.”

Post-modernism played out is this statement :

“Well that’s your truth, and that’s good for you, I have my own truth that works for me.”

In post-modernism, truth becomes relative and subjective.  I can determine my truth, you can determine your truth etc.  “Truth” becomes subject to each individual’s own desires, beliefs systems and world-views and an objective truth (something outside of us) is thrown away.  The end result of this relativism is that right and wrong and good and evil also become subject to our own personal opinions because a static point-of-reference is denied.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  I spoke to a man one day who denied the existence of both good and evil.

“It’s all relative,” he claimed.

So I asked him what would happen if someone stole his car or his wallet, would he consider that wrong?

“No”, he answered, “because I do not hold onto my possessions.”

I asked him what if it was his child that was stolen, what if his child was groomed by a pedophile and molested?  Would that be evil?

“No”, he said, “There is no evil, there’s only what we as a society define as evil or good.”

“Do you have kids of your own?” I asked.

“No.”

I dare say that if he did, his answer would have been very different.

This is the logical conclusion of post-modernism – that there is no real truth, no good, no evil, not even gender distinction, just what we, as a society, label as such.  All moral reference points are removed and we are left to flounder along as each determine.  Dr Ravi Zacharias used the example of when you are stopped in your car at a traffic light and the next car is slightly rolling.  It is difficult to determine whether it is your own car, or the one next to you that is moving until you find a static point-of-reference, such as a pole on the side of the road.

Biblical Christianity maintains that there exists ABSOLUTE TRUTH determined by a Sovereign, holy, moral God who created all things.  It claims that this truth is objective, determined by something or someone other than us and that this Truth is the “pole”, or the point-of-reference for humankind.

I would like to seek to prove that ABSOLUTE TRUTH does exist.  Take mathematics for example. Lately I have been teaching my daughter the multiplication tables.  We have been learning that :

1 x 2 = 2

2 x 2 = 4

3 x 2 = 6

And so on.

The answers to these mathematical questions are fact, or truth.  They are facts which neither you nor I can alter.  They are facts on which buildings, bridges and airplanes have been created by humans.

I may decide that I don’t like the fact that 2×2=4, but my desire to change the truth of this equation does not in fact do anything to alter it.  All I will succeed in doing is making my own life difficult, or building a bridge that falls down, because 2×2 does equal 4 and nothing I can do will change that established fact.  I could try to fight for my rights to deny this truth, so I could say that 2×2 doesn’t equal 4, yet, in reality, the mathematical table remains unchanged and untouched by my own personal opinions and desires.

A Biblical example is the Ten Commandments.  This is God’s moral law which declares that those who have broken His Law are sinners, law-breakers and transgressors.  This Law is truth, it is outside of us and will never be subjected to humanity’s own desires or whims nor society’s changes.

(In abbreviated form):

You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Whilst I may decide that murder, or sexual immorality is not actually wrong and that it’s ok to lie if it’s a little, white lie, this does not in fact change the truth that murder, sexual immorality and lying is wrong and sinning against God and other people.  And to deny that truth and to live as if it didn’t exist or didn’t matter only will make life (and eternity) difficult for me.

So then logically what I’m trying to say is that: truth by its definition is exclusive.

To qualify that statement I will use an analogy. Suppose I had red hair.  If I were to ask two different people what colour my hair is and one said “black” and the other said “red” – only one of these answers would be in fact TRUE.  (Bad example, but I hope you see what I’m getting at.)  By virtue of the fact that my hair IS red, the other statement is disqualified as UNTRUE.  Only one statement can be true.  Just as in maths, 1×2 cannot equal both 2 and 13 at the same time, so too is truth exclusive.

To say that we can all determine our own truth (“that your truth is fine and my truth is fine too”) is not logical.  It denies the very premise of truth itself.   And it very obviously renders the question back:

“Well if there is no absolute truth, then why should I believe the very statement that there is no absolute truth? Isn’t claiming that there is no truth actually making an assertion of truth?”

Relativism by nature undermines itself.

So what’s left?

TRUTH.

Jesus said “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

There is a God who created the universe.  Just as behind every painting there is an artist and behind every building there is an architect, so too behind our delicately balanced eco-systems, our beautifully laid out solar systems and galaxies, behind our moral laws of right and wrong, there is The Artist of artists, the Architect of architects, the Judge and Law-Giver to whom we each must one day give an account of our lives.

Jesus said “I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

You may choose to reject that statement as untrue, and that is your right.

But if you care about Truth the logical thing to do, if you were honest with yourself, would be to find out for yourself whether it is True or otherwise.

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.

Blessings!

Next post ….. The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity