Dr Francis Shaeffer
American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor
See more of Dr Shaeffer’s work:
The news over the last few weeks of September was full of events with potentially major implications: the Pope’s visit to the US, Russia’s involvement in Syria, developments at the UN including the promotion of the Palestinian issue and even the last of the series of “blood” moons. But, here in Australia, two prominent news items during the first few days of October drew my attention and struck me as particularly significant. They were an anti-abortion “activist” from America denied entry to Australia while the other centred on all the hype surrounding the Australian Rules football finals.
So why does the denial of an anti-abortion “activist” to enter Australia strike me as significant? The answer is simply that Australia is supposed to be a democratic country where freedom of expression is valued. In this case the politically correct machine sprang into operation to deny the activist entry. On TV an MP from Labour’s ranks explained that the authorities had been alerted to deny the man entry because a mature and sensible debate on the issue of abortion has been held and she more or less implied that, not only was the matter settled, but further discussion or other points of view, were not in the country’s interest. A similar situation arose a few months back when someone from the US wanted to put forward an argument against some of the mandatory vaccinations given to babies and young children. In that instance the medical fraternity sprang into action and the person was denied entry to Australia.
What about the Australian footy finals? Certainly in the state of Victoria, where the game was invented, there was a great build up to the finals with other news virtually taking a back seat. There was even the ridiculous and unnecessary action by the state government in declaring Friday 2nd, the day before the game, a public holiday! Apart from disrupting business, one wonders how it was supposed to benefit the players or fans for the game the next day – let alone the whole state of Victoria!
These two events are undoubtedly a product of current humanistic thinking and its offshoot, political correctness.
What is humanism and where did it originate? My Little Oxford Dictionary answers the first part of the question by explaining that humanism is a “non-religious philosophy based on liberal human values”. I agree with the explanation that it is a philosophy based on liberal human values but challenge the idea that it is non-religious since it is clearly anti-God, especially our Judeo/Christian God, and has a “religious” life of its own. As to the second part of the question, we find that the origins of humanism, as we see it practised in the modern world today, can easily be traced back to the thoughts and practices of ancient Greece. So let us briefly look at some of the ideas put forward by those ancient philosophers and look at how their society behaved to see if any of it applies to us today. We will not only see that there are direct similarities between the two but will also get an idea of the future direction modern society is likely to take.
Firstly, the Greeks idolised the human mind. For instance, Aristotle’s concept of God was a perfect mind contemplating itself, because nothing less was worthy of its contemplation. Out of this the philosophy of rationalism developed: everything is rational but also relative so there is no absolute truth and man can do it his way. In order to enable people to function freely and without conflict the Greek philosophers came up with the idea of “democracy”. Today we see democracy promoted as the answer to a nation’s problems. It has been said of democracy that it is a bad system but is the best we have! Unfortunately modern democracy has developed further into the idea of a “collective will” which brokers no other points of view. It is also one controlled and manipulated by a few: as we see happening already. All of this of course opens the way for the appearance of a global dictator.
Next, and in addition to rationalism, was the emphasis on athletic contests, especially their games in Olympia, from which the modern Olympic Games are derived. The Greeks idolised athletic ability. I hardly need to point out the similarities we have today with the huge emphasis on sport: the most widely watched TV programmes are sports events, many of which are direct international events.
When it came to morality, the ancient Greeks were a pretty dissolute lot. The Greeks did not hold marriage in high regard. The relationship between a man and a woman was regarded as inferior to a homosexual relationship between two men which was seen to be more intellectually fulfilling. Even their art forms usually favoured the male body, often naked. Worse still, the Greek gods showed little in the way of moral guidance, displaying the basest of mankind’s failings: lust, immorality, vindictiveness, deception and more. And so mankind was left free to do his own thing and aspire to be his own god!
It is evident that ancient Greek thinking and practices have had an enormous influence on our society today and are everywhere evident in it where we see:
In this situation, as Christians, we are outnumbered and seemingly unable to halt the breakdown of moral values in our society but we do have one mighty weapon; prayer. It is indeed a difficult time, often depressing, but we can take heart that we have God to turn to. There is no doubt that the situation is going to become considerably worse, and quickly, but I believe that we can come out victorious, not through our own strength but with God’s help and by remaining faithful to Him always seeking truth.
Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and Bible prophecy.
There can be no doubt that the emerging religious synthesis between the Emergent Church and the Mystery religions is part of Satan’s plan to usher in a false religion. A One-World religion, paving the way for the Anti-Christ, is coming. In fact, the unity of all religions in a One-World system is a stated purpose of the New Age/occult (The Emergent/New Age Connection)
But when “Christianity” begins to say the same thing as the occult then it is time to wake up and take notice of what is going on.
This began all the way back in Genesis at the Tower of Babel. This is not a “new” or “re-imagined” Christianity, but rather an ancient scheme of Satan designed to bring together a united rebellion against the only true God.
But how will Satan do it?
The West is actually no longer Post-Modern. We are past that point now. Right now we are “emerging” from Post-Modernism into post-Post-Modernism.
Where Post-Modernism de-constructed the foundations of absolute truth, Integral Theory/Spirituality, promoted by Ken Wilber, seeks to build a new platform of truth and reality. This new platform is created by bringing together a synthesis of the “best of pre-modern, modern, and postmodern reality. It is portrayed as a “theory of everything” and offers an approach “to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching.” (source: wikipedia)
Think of it like this: Post-modernism philosophy broke down (de-constructed) everything that we previously had accepted as truth – whether it was in art, design, philosophy or religion. The broken bits and pieces of truth’s foundation were left lying around for anyone to pick up and create whatever truth they wanted out of the mess. Every part equally true and important as the next, a level playing field of truth was created (otherwise known as “relativism”).
(I am engaging poetic licence at this point): Now along comes Satan, rubbing his hands at the field of broken truth. He picks up all the “best” bits of these broken truths and starts fitting them together until gradually a form emerges…. The best way to entice and seduce humanity? “Peace – they all want that: I’ll put that bit of Buddhism in;… “Love” , yes, that will stick – a bit of Jesus’ teachings will do here; ….Unity – ooooh that’ll really get ’em going – I’ll take that New Age concept of unity and stick it right in the middle there. Hmmmm – now what to stick it all together with…? – Aha! Human Integral Theory – that will be the glue.”
You may wonder how this post-post Modern philosophy will be sold to humanity. The answer is simple: Pride – the oft-proven and thus oft-repeated method. Human pride in philosophy and intellectualism is appealed to by Satan and used to aid his plans.. As we saw in The Emergent-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity , philosophy does influence and shape culture.
Satan is now using human Integral Theory to re-construct a new reality out of the debris of post-modern deconstructionism.
This is the philosophical Tower of Babel.
This philosophical Tower of Babel will then be expedited by mysticism into integrating all religions, including a form of Christianity, into a synthesis of the “best” of each religion. (See: Mysteries and Mysticism) This will create a false religious system which the Bible calls the “great harlot” or “Mystery Babylon”:
Mystery Babylon the Great
“And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her I marveled with great amazement.”
Notice the beast which the woman sits on – the false religious system will “ride on” the united One-World government. The tenth horn on the beast’s head is the Anti-Christ, which is also riding on the One-world government.
It is crucial to understand that what is occurring within the Emergent Church, and the world at large, is opposed to Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is God’s appointed Ruler. He came to earth the first time as the humble, obedient Lamb. The second time He is coming as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Judge and Ruler. God has exalted Him far above all rule and authority.
This knowledge absolutely infuriates Satan. Satan hates Jesus with an undying passion. He is jealous of Christ’s authority and position – for this is the very position to which he tried to exalt himself (see Isaiah 14:12-15). When Satan sets up the anti-Christ as the authority on earth it is his way of trying to usurp Jesus Christ’s rightful authority as King of kings. Satan ultimately wants to be worshipped and will receive worship through this person of anti-Christ. The anti-Christ is a substitute of the real Christ. We must realize that when absolute truth is attacked, down-graded or dismissed, it is a direct attack on Jesus Christ Himself. Truth is not a disembodied philosophy nor theory. No – Truth is a person – Jesus Christ. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” said Jesus Christ, John 14:6.
Anti-Christ – is a counterfeit “Christ” opposed to the true Christ.
The great harlot – is a counterfeit religion opposed to the true Bride of Christ.
Make no mistake: there is another “Christ”.
And this false Christ is already making headway into the Church.
Integral Theory/Spirituality and the Emergent Church
So has Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory entered the Emergent Church?…
Rob Bell: “For a mind-blowing introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity, set aside three months and read Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything.” Velvet Elvis, pg 192
Brian McLaren: on “A Theory of Everything and “The Marriage of Sense and Soul”
“These two books by philosopher Ken Wilber are not the next Christendom Christian books, but the way of thinking Wilber promotes and exemplifies which he calls integral thinking and which I call emergent thinking is powerful and important, in my opinion.”
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4
(On Jan. 21, 2014, Kenneth Copeland Ministries received a personal video message from Pope Francis calling for “unity” which caused a leader to declare “Luther’s protest is over!” (ie Protestantism) Watch his message here and Kenneth Copeland’s reaction to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eulTwytMWlQ)
“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 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).
“…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
(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:
No 1. – a glimpse of emptiness or a state of emptiness is aimed for by the practitioner.
“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:
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
*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.
“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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
This 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:
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
Unfortunately 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 :
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…?”
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:
Chrislam 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
Following 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”:
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?
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. 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.
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. 5 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?
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.
Next post ….. The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity
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