“Co-Creation Conference 2014” begins this weekend, May 1-3. This is an event promoted and attended by Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle and other Emergent Church leaders. If you’ve read my post The Emergent Church/New Age Connection you will be aware that “co-creation” is a New Age term that has been adopted by the Emergent Church. The Emergents seem to be rather keen on using pagan labyrinths in their “ancient wisdom” mysticism. And thus “Co-Creation Conference 2014” features a very special one:
“You are invited on a modern-day pilgrimage at Holy Trinity’s outdoor labyrinth located adjacent to the sanctuary. There you will find a beautifully crafted eleven-circuit Chartres-style stone labyrinth with a fountain of flowing water in the center. Nearby, a replica of the Muiredach Celtic high cross bears witness to this sacred place. By walking the labyrinth alone or in a guided group, you may experience a kind of body prayer or walking meditation that quiets your mind, allowing your spirit to become more receptive to the still small voice of God. The Holy Trinity labyrinth, located in a cloistered and well-lighted outdoor space, is available any time of day for individual walkers. Opportunities also abound for you to experience labyrinth walks facilitated by the Holy Trinity Labyrinth Keepers.” http://servleader.org/the_labyrinth
Not only is the Emergent “Co-creation Conference” being held this weekend – this Saturday, the 3rd of May, is also “World Labyrinth Day”. This is where you can “Celebrate the sixth annual World Labyrinth Day (WLD) on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014! The Labyrinth Society invites you to ‘Walk as One at 1″ in the afternoon, joining others around the globe to create a wave of peaceful energy washing across the time zones.” (https://labyrinthsociety.org/world-labyrinth-day)
But….not only is it “World Labyrinth Day” and the “Co-Creation Conference 2014” this weekend! Amazingly both events coincide with the season of the pagan festival of Beltane (May Day). Is this a coincidence…? Hmmm…me-thinks not. It is of note that Celtic neo-pagans and Wiccans observe Beltane as a religious holiday. It is interesting to consider that during a pagan religious festival many people will be ritualistically walking labyrinths at a pre-determined time. And still more interesting that the Emergent Church’s “Co-Creation Conference”, featuring a sacred labyrinth, will be proceeding simultaneously.
The Co-Creation Conference’s website states the labyrinth as having this purpose:
“Three stages of the (labyrinth) walk:
Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work for which you feel your soul is reaching.”
I ask you – is THIS Christianity?
“Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods…” Exodus 34:10-15
“Forget not that the vision (of Heaven, of God, of any spiritual leader — or of any millennium) is based in the majority of cases upon the dreams and aspirations of the mystics down the ages who have blazed the mystical trail….” Alice A Bailey, Occultist
“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.” Tony Campolo, Emergent Christianity leader
In my last post in this series “A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality” we looked at the “emerging” synthesis between all religions. We saw that the gaps and differences between all of these Mystery religions are increasingly being closed through the tool of mysticism, and in particular meditation. With the Word of God suitably deconstructed, once-shunned mystical practices are now practiced and promoted by Christians, leaving the door wide-open to the master-deceiver to gain access. The result? Vulnerable Christians whom are primed and ready for mass deception. Mysticism, whether under the banner of the occult, Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, Islam or anything else, effectively opens the door to the same deceptive spirit each time – that of anti-christ.
Thus it comes as no surprise that the Emergents, whom are delving into the Mystery religion practices, are now using the same language as the New Agers/occultists.
First let’s look at some of the foundational principles of the New Age/Occult:
“The major goal of the New Age Movement is to prepare Man for entering the Aquarian Age and to bring world peace in an already bruised world…”
One Global Order – One World Government, One Currency, One Universal Being.
Universal Energy, Universal Matter, Universal Life, Universal Soul As God
Divine practices (Astrology Yoga & other esoteric arts)
Syncretism (Unity of all Religions).
The need for Meditation (for generating altered states of Consciousness);
The Evolution of Man into Divinity (The latent Life Force evolving naturally to the Divine);
The Union of Man with the Divine (source: http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)
The substance of Emergent theology is now basically the same as the New Age. Here are some quotations from the New Age/Occult paralleled against Emergent Christians quotations in order to demonstrate the similarities in their belief systems through their use of language. Notice that the occult and the New Age use a lot of “Christianized” terms. This is not coincidental. It is a subtle-ness that is deceiving many Christians – and so by laying out the following quotations side-by-side I am trying to bring to light the darkness of this deception.
“Oneness is more than a beautiful word. Oneness is the energy of love that lies within you and connects you with all of life….Mystics of all traditions have experienced and shared the concept of Oneness throughout the ages.” (From Global Oneness Summit webpage:http://globalonenesssummit.com/)
“Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don’t they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion….” Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, 42–3, New Ager, philosopher, writer.
The Emergent Church:
“…It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing.”
“We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantam Spirituality
The New Age/Occult :
“The Master Jesus will take a physical vehicle and will effect a re-spiritualisation of the Catholic churches…” Alice A Bailey, occultist, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.759
“This second group will implement the new religion; by the time they come into control the old theological activities will have been completely broken; Judaism will be fast disappearing; Buddhism will be spreading and becoming increasingly dogmatic; Christianity will be in a state of chaotic divisions and upheavals. When this takes place and the situation is acute enough, the Master Jesus will take certain initial steps towards reassuming control of His Church; the Buddha will send two trained disciples to reform Buddhism;” Alice A Bailey, occultist, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy.p.573
The Emergent Church:
“Some of the values of the emerging church are an emphasis on emotions, global outlook, a rise in the use of arts, and a rise in mysticism and spirituality.” Josh Reich
“My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ. Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” McManus, The Barbarian Way
“Co-Creation” & “Conscious Evolution”
A Cocreator is: “One who is experiencing the creative intention of universe incarnating as their own intention, expressing that intention as an essential self in creative work, joining with others doing the same; one who co-create with spirit, with others, and with nature.”
Conscious Evolution is: “The evolution of evolution from unconscious to conscious choice as humans gain powers with the potential for co-destruction and co-creation. The natural capacity of a universal species is to co-evolve with nature and co-create with Spirit. The pattern is synergistic cooperation.” http://barbaramarxhubbard.com/evolutionary-language/
“A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
The Emergent Church:
Co-Creation Conference, May 2014 : ”…from our unique perspectives, on Co-Creation with God, summed up in this event’s subtitle: The Great Emergence and the Spirit’s Call to Evolve– evolving toward ever-increasing empathy, wholeness, and energy to confront the challenges and opportunities facing people of faith in the world today.” Brian McLaren’s website (http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/cocreation-interview-with-mike-m.html
“…a new humanity will be brought forth from this Christ consciousness in each person.” Tony Campolo, “A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 65
“So when we say, with the writer of Hebrews, that “it is appointed to human beings to die once, and after this, the judgment,” we are not saying, “and after this, the condemnation.” We are saying, with John, that to “see God,” to be in God’s unspeakable light, will purge us of all darkness: …To believe in a new creation that arises from within this creation – that’s a source of true hope and courage.” Brian McLaren, Emergent Leader
The New Age/Occult:
“The Tibetan has asked me to make clear that …. there is no need for any man to join the Christian Church in order to be affiliated with Christ. The requirements are to love your fellowmen, lead a disciplined life, recognise the divinity in all faiths and all beings and rule your daily life with Love.” Alice A Bailey, occultist. The Externalisation of the Hierarchy Ext. p.558, a book channeled by her familiar spirit, the “Tibetan”.
“Many misunderstandings and false beliefs about Christ will clear if you realize that there is no past or future in Christ. To say that Christ was or will be is a contradiction in terms. Jesus was. He was a man who lived two thousand years ago and realized divine presence, his true nature. And so he said: “Before Abraham was, I am…Jesus attempted to convey directly, not through discursive thought, the meaning of presence, of self realization. […] Thus, the man Jesus became Christ, a vehicle for pure consciousness.” Eckhart Tolle, New Ager, The Power of Now
The Emergent Church:
“I follow Jesus because he leads me into ultimate reality. He teaches me to live in tune with how reality is. When Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” he was saying that his way, his words, his life is our connection to how things truly are at the deepest levels of existence. For Jesus then, the point of religion is to help us connect with ultimate reality, God”. Rob Bell, “True” of “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith”
“The purpose of the church is to give form to, to put into form and shape, the energy-matter known as Jesus Christ. New Light leaders, therefore, are in-formational connectors helping the body of Christ to become an in-formed church, an in-formational community…. A major New Light undertaking is the designing of newstream communities that can be ‘in connection’ and ‘in-formation’ with the spirit of Christ. Christ will be embodied for the postmodern church in information” Leonard Sweet, Emergent theologian/leader
The 5-Step Peace Plan
The New Age/Occult:
“The New Revolutions also contains a five-step plan for peace in the world. We call it the Five Steps to Peace….” Neal Donald Walsch, occultist
The Emergent Church:
“We believe it is part of the beginning of a Spiritual Awakening, a Global Movement, a New Reformation.” Rick Warren on his 5-step P.E.A.C.E. plan http://thepeaceplan.com/
Eschatology (end-time theology):
The New Age/Occult :
“…First of all, He (“Jesus”) will come to a world which is essentially one world….” Alice A Bailey
“Make no mistake, humanity is given a choice. By clinging to the old age consciousness and falling under the demonic delusions of false spirituality, the majority are doomed and will perish. …. A new community of men and women who have left the old Age behind and are linking their consciousness with the impulses of the Age of Aquarius….The genuine new age calls for the new Method – the Aquarian Work for the Aquarian Consciousness.” Jason Jeffrey – article published in New Dawn no. 78
“Now is the time when we turn the birth into an enduring shift to a new culture and consciousness. This is the turning point decade when we can create a world based on our creativity, our unity, and our love. Let’s each help fulfill the prophecies of entering a new Golden Age!” Barbara Marx Hubbard, occultist, New-ager futurist.
(Watch Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Vice-Presidential Nomination Speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention:
“The senior Members of the Hierarchy will not at first be the ones who will make the needed approach. It is only in the later stages, and when the time has come for the return into recognised physical expression of the Christ, leading to the definite restoration of the Mysteries, that certain of the senior Members of the Hierarchy will appear … ” Alice A Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. p.570
The Emergent Church:
“The eighth of the ten questions identified in the subtitle deals with eschatology…. In the chapter I suggest that most of our conventional eschatologies are deterministic, working from the assumption that the script of future is already written, or the movie of the future is already filmed. As an alternative, I propose a participatory eschatology where the creation of our future is a joint venture between humanity and God…” Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith (Harper, 2010).
“This is a theology that – with its implicit threat of being left behind, of time running out – is used by Dispensational preachers to great evangelistic effect. It has been a very effective goad to conversion… To the contrary, the history of the world is infused with the presence of God, who is guiding the world toward becoming the kind of world God willed for it to be when it was created. Human history is going somewhere wonderful” Tony Campolo
Mysticism and Theology
The New Age/Occult:
“Therefore, in the new world order, spirituality will supersede theology; living experience will take the place of theological acceptances.” Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (her spirit guide)
The Emergent Church:
“Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center….Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology…..” Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality p. 76)
The point I am trying to make with these quotations is that the Emergent Church is already heavily enmeshed with the New Age/occult. And as such the Emergent Church is not actually Christian. Both the New Agers and the occultists use “Christianized” terms such as Jesus, Christ, Christ-consciousness, God, heaven, etc, as does the Emergent Church. But do not be fooled, they are absolutely opposed to true Christianity, to the true gospel and to the real Jesus Christ in every way.
Remember: A lie mixed with a half-truth is a more effective deception than an outright lie.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God….For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; ……The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11
There can be no doubt that the 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. In fact, the unity of religions in a One-World system is a stated purpose of the New Age/occult. 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 attempt to do it?
“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.
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:
(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 whatwe have to recover is our original unity.” Emergent leader Leonard Sweet.
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.
This 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…
The Tree of LIfe
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.
Notice that this “reaching up” is the exactopposite 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 UPto 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 rituals. 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.”
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
This is why the triangle is a symbol of the mystery religions representing:
The enlightened few at the top
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.
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
This 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)
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.
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:
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
In 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)
“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
“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” (William Booth)
This post is part 4 in this series and follows on from Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church. I had planned to write about the role mysticism and the New Age plays within the Emergent Church but the Holy Spirit stepped in. He has impressed upon me that another step, in this post, is required by Him, before I post on mysticism.
It is my position that when absolute truth is discarded, then logically the next step is the re-emergence of mystical spirituality. However it is necessary to understand how it is that the breakdown of absolute truth leads to the re-emergence of these ancient mystical practices. And so I will concentrate this post on some of the Truths of Christianity which have been recently changed, diluted or rejected. In the last post we looked at how the philosophical theory of de-constructionism has taken hold within the Emergent Church and that its leaders, such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and Brian Mclaren, to name a few, are unashamedly using this system to interpret the Bible. Now we will look at some of the results of de-constructionism.
“Stamping out faith in Biblical absolutes is central to this transformation (of the “church”). A mind anchored in God’s Word won’t compromise, but when that anchor is removed, the current of change can carry that mind anywhere. As Jesuit scholastic, Mark Mossa, wrote in his endorsement of Brian McLaren’s latest book: “The Secret Message of Jesus, challenges us to put aside our sterile certainties about Christ and reconsider the imaginative world of Jesus stories, signs and wonders.” (Quote from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm)
No doctrine is safe when Biblical absolutes of truth are put aside. Here are some examples of the essential doctrines that are now being re-defined by the Emergent Church’s method of “Did God really say?” They are:
The doctrine of sin.
Tony Campolo says : ““…Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing “Amazing Grace” was all too ready to call himself a “wretch” … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …”
It seems that Mr Campolo has believed the lie of the serpent that “Ye shall be as gods…” This denial of the sinfulness of humanity leads to the distortion of:
The centrality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
Take a look at what Mclaren himself has said:
“”[T]his is one of the huge problems with the traditional understanding of hell, because if the Cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching, then I won’t say the only and I certainly won’t say … or even the primary or a primary meaning of the Cross … is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing voluntary sacrifice right? But in an ironic way the doctrine of hell basically says no, that’s not really true. At the end God gets his way through coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”
The substitutionary atoning work of Christ on the cross is pushed aside in the name of voluntary sacrifice. Of course, dismissing Christ’s atoning work on the cross then leads to the rejection of:
The doctrine of Hell.
Rob Bell says this about hell in his universalistic book “Love Wins”:
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”
(Misguided and toxic?…Jesus Himself said to:“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” and described hell as a place “where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”)
Because Jesus Himself said something this “violent” and “elitist”, then naturally the next question would pertain to:
The person of Jesus Christ Himself, God Incarnate in human flesh, the Son of God.
Tony Campolo writes of his pantheistic beliefs:
““One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere. The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is not that Jesus isn’t in the non-Christian–the difference is that the Jesus who is within him is a Jesus to whom he will not surrender his life.”
If Jesus perhaps isn’t really God in the flesh, then of course the next doctrine to question is:
There is no other name under Heaven by which man can be saved than that of Jesus Christ.
Tony Campolo again: “Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving.”
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/ .
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.
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