Grace and Truth

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The Angel’s Point of View (or ‘The Visited Planet’)

BEarth-Lightsy J.B. Phillips

Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown round the splendours and glories of the universe by a senior and experienced angel. To tell the truth, the little angel was beginning to be tired and a little bored. He had been shown whirling galaxies and blazing suns, infinite distances in the deathly cold of inter-stellar space, and to his mind there seemed to be an awful lot of it all.

Finally he was shown the galaxy of which our planetary system is but a small part. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.

 

Senior Angel: “I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.

 

Little Angel: “Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me. What’s special about that one?”

 

Senior Angel: “That is the Visited Planet.”

 

Little Angel: “Visited?” “You don’t mean visited by ——–?”

 

Senior Angel: “Indeed I do. That ball, which I have no doubt looks to you small and insignificant and not perhaps overclean, has been visited by our young Prince of Glory.”

And at these words he bowed his head reverently.

 

Little Angel: “But how? Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince, with all these wonders and splendors of His Creation, and millions more that I’m sure I haven’t seen yet, went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?”

 

Senior Angel: “It isn’t for us, to question His ‘why’s’, except that I must point out to you that He is not impressed by size and numbers, as you seem to be. But that He really went, I know, and all of us in Heaven who know anything know that. As to why He became one of them – how else do you suppose could He visit them?”

 

The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust.

 

Little Angel: “Do you mean to tell me, that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”

 

Senior Angel: “I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”

 

The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.

 

Senior Angel: “Close your eyes for a moment, and we will go back in what they call Time.”

 

While the little angel’s eyes were closed and the two of them moved nearer to the spinning ball, it stopped its spinning, spun backwards quite fast for a while, and then slowly resumed its usual rotation.

 

Senior Angel: “Now look!”

And as the little angel did as he was told, there appeared here and there on the dull surface of the globe little flashes of light, some merely momentary and some persisting for quite a time.

 

Little Angel: “Well, what am I seeing now?”

 

Senior Angel: “You are watching this little world as it was some thousands of years ago. Every flash and glow of light that you see is something of the Father’s knowledge and wisdom breaking into the minds and hearts of people who live upon the earth. Not many people, you see, can hear His Voice or understand what He says, even though He is speaking gently and quietly to them all the time.”

 

Little Angel: “Why are they so blind and deaf and stupid?”

 

Senior Angel: “It is not for us to judge them. We who live in the Splendor have no idea what it is like to live in the dark. We hear the music and the Voice like the sound of many waters every day of over lives, but to them – well, there is much darkness and much noise and much distraction upon the earth. Only a few who are quiet and humble and wise hear His Voice. But watch, for in a moment you will see something truly wonderful.”

 

The Earth went on turning and circling round the sun, and then quite suddenly, in the upper half of the globe, there appeared a light, tiny but so bright in its intensity that both the angels hid their eyes.

 

Little Angel (in a low tone of voice): “I think I can guess, that was the Visit, wasn’t it?”

 

Senior Angel: “Yes, that was the Visit. The Light Himself went down there and lived among them; but in a moment, and you will be able to tell that even with your eyes closed, the light will go out.”

 

Little Angel: “But why? Could He not bear their darkness and stupidity? Did He have to return here?”

 

Senior Angel (voice stern and said): “No, it wasn’t that. They failed to recognize Him for Who He was – or at least only a handful knew Him. For the most part they preferred their darkness to His Light, and in the end they killed Him.”

 

Little Angel: “The fools, the crazy fools! They don’t deserve —-”

 

Senior Angel: “Neither you nor I, nor any other angel, knows why they were so foolish and so wicked. Nor can we say what they deserve or don’t deserve. But the fact remains, they killed our Prince of Glory while He was Man amongst them.”

 

Little Angel: “And that I suppose was the end? I see the whole Earth has gone black and dark. All right, I won’t judge them, but surely that is all they could expect?”

 

Senior Angel: “Wait, we are still far from the end of the story of the Visited Planet. Watch now, but be ready to cover your eyes again.”

 

In utter blackness the earth turned round three times, and then there blazed with unbearable radiance a point of light.

 

Little Angel (shielding his eyes): “What now?”

 

Senior Angel: “They killed Him all right, but He conquered death. The thing most of them dread and fear all their lives He broke and conquered. He rose again, and a few of them saw Him and from then on became His utterly devoted slaves.”

 

Little Angel: “Thank God for that.”

 

Senior Angel: “Amen. Open your eyes now, the dazzling light has gone. The Prince has returned to His Home of Light. But watch the Earth now.”

 

As they looked, in place of the dazzling light there was a bright glow which throbbed and pulsated. And then as the Earth turned many times little points of light spread out. A few flickered and died; but for the most part the lights burned steadily, and as they continued to watch, in many Parts of the globe there was a glow over many areas.

 

Senior Angel: “You see what is happening? The bright glow is the company of loyal men and women He left behind, and with His help they spread the glow and now lights begin to shine all over the Earth.”

 

Little Angel (impatiently): “Yes, yes, but how does it end? Will the little lights join up with each other? Will it all be light, as it is in Heaven?”

 

Senior Angel (shaking his head): “We simply do not know. It is in the Father’s hands. Sometimes it is agony to watch and sometimes it is joy unspeakable. The end is not yet. But now I am sure you can see why this little ball is so important. He has visited it; He is working out His Plan upon it.”

 

Little Angel: “Yes, I see, though I don’t understand. I shall never forget that this is the Visited Planet.”

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Street-Preaching – Uh Why?

“I believe I never was more acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach those hearers in the open fields…I now preach to ten times more people than I would if I had been confined to the churches.” George Whitfield

ha love it We were there to street-preach before the concert began and set up the PA system. With wave upon wave of people coming across the street toward us and hundreds more pouring out from the train station behind us, it was crazy busy.  There were so many people that at one point I could hardly move.

It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I preached.

“Nobody cares!” someone screamed at me.

Who cares if nobody cares?  I certainly don’t.  My Lord Jesus told me to “Go”.   I kept preaching. I preached for as long as I could, until my voice started cracking and I had to stop for its sake.street preaching

Street-preaching – why? (I ask myself this when I’m feeling tired or lazy)

Because thousands of people, both old and young heard the gospel of Jesus Christ last night who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise.

What if those people never once in their life ever stepped inside a Church?What if they never heard the gospel before they died?

Thank you my Jesus.


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Bible Prophecy: When Rivers Dry Up

euphratesThe Bible tells us that the Euphrates and the Nile will one day dry up. When that happens, great hardship and suffering will be experienced by those relying on the waters of these rivers.

In Egypt, nearly eighty percent of the population is to be found living within a short distance of the banks of the Nile, relying on its water for commerce and sustenance. While not as devastating, many people in Syria and Iraq would also face extreme hardship should the Euphrates dry up.

In Revelation 16:12 we read:

12The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its waters were dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (NIV)

In Isaiah we read:

19: 5 -6 5The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. 6The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, (NIV)

The following few verses from Isaiah 19 have been added to show the utter devastation that will occur when the Nile dries up.

nile7also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field  along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more, 8The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away. (NIV)

11 :15 The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, And strike it in the seven streams, And make men cross over dry-shod. (NKJV)

Interestingly, the NIV names the river as the Euphrates. Thus in the NIV it seems that both the “gulf of the Egyptian Sea” and the Euphrates are dealt with simultaneously, while in the NKJV it appears to refer only to the Nile. There seems to be some uncertainty as to what is meant by the “tongue of the sea of Egypt” (NKJV) and the “gulf of the Egyptian Sea” (NIV). We ask: “Is it perhaps the Nile Delta with all its canals”?

Nearly ninety percent of the Euphrates’ water has its source in mountains in Turkey. As far back as the 1930’s Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, came up with the idea of utilizing the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris, the latter also having most of its source there, for irrigation and hydroelectric purposes. After a number of delays, the project to dam up the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris began in the 1980’s. The project involved the building of over twenty dams, the largest being the Ataturk dam. Once completed the project was capable of doubling Turkey’s irrigable farmlands. In the late 1980’s when the Ataturk dam was being filled, Turkey stopped the flow of water into the Euphrates for four days, showing how easily they could stop it flowing completely. Syria and Iraq have already raised concerns about the effects of the reduced flows; soil erosion and increased salinity in irrigated areas amongst other problems. Clearly in times of great national need, it would seem that Turkey would not hesitate in diverting all the water towards its own needs.

Egypt faces a similar situation because Ethiopia is currently building a massive dam on the Blue Nile, which accounts for eighty percent of the water flowing into the Nile downstream. The massive Aswan dam is not in contention here, as mapit is fully under Egyptian control, although about 10% to 12% of the annual flow of the Nile is lost to evaporation because of the vast surface area of the dam. The waters of the dam in Ethiopia will be used primarily for electricity generating purposes, although there is talk of making Ethiopia more “water resilient” by using the dam for storage purposes and irrigation schemes. Through this dam, which is due for completion in 2017, Ethiopia will be able to limit the flow of water into the Nile and, as could happen in Turkey, may well completely stop the flow of water from the dam in times of great national need.

As of now, these rivers have never dried up, so these scriptures clearly refer to a future time when, for His purposes, God will cause them to cease flowing. God’s main purpose at that time will be His judgment on mankind, especially upon those who refuse to recognize and worship Him.

It is worth mentioning here that God used Darius to defeat Belshazzar and take Babylon by diverting the flow of the Euphrates, but that was a temporary strategy and the river did not dry up completely. (Daniel 5:30, Isaiah 44:28 – 45:1-4.)

How God will dry up the rivers we do not know, but is it perhaps possible that He will also use man and man-made structures to achieve His purposes? We are told that “With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River” and wonder whether that is a reference to a coming drought which will cause not only a reduction in the water flow, if not a complete drying up of those rivers, but will at the same time entice the countries controlling those dams to look after their own interests by completely stopping water from being released out of them.

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 how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.


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The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism

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

From Where does Mysticism Originate?

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

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

“Has God really said..?”

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

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

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

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

So….

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

The next step is:

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Babylon

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

Next time….Mysteries and Mysticism


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An “Average” Christian Life – No Way!

I set up the PA system and started preaching before I lost my nerve.  Within seconds a demon-possessed man manifested and screamed an obscenity at me so bad that I cannot repeat it. Even though I’m regularly verbally abused on the street, I have never been called anything like that before.

I was momentarily stunned. flinders st

Not so much stunned at the man actually, but more that God had let that happen to me just as I had begun to preach.  He knew how weak I’d been this morning.  He knew I’d needed extra help.  I mean, I had asked Him for a special blessing today!

I recovered and kept preaching anyway.

After that incident, the time the two other ladies and I spent there was wonderful.  I really loved it.  God put two special young guys in my path who, underneath their bravado, were hungry for the truth.  We had amazing conversations.  I was asked by both of them (separately) :

“With so many religions out there, and so many gods, how do you know which one is the truth?”

How would you answer that?IMG_2606

It’s when I’m out there that I see that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so very important.  We absolutely need Him when we are out there.  Without Him, we literally can do nothing.  But with Him we can do all things.  It is our real relationship with the LIVING God that counts when we are in the firing-line.  Religious platitudes, clichés and one-liners do NOT work.  Sinners see right through all that rubbish.

But…if you’ve been with Jesus…well, they can see that too.

Here’s what I learnt today:

I wanted God to make my way easy, I wanted Him to pave the way for me, after all, as I told Him, I was going out there for Him.

But He didn’t do that.  He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He does give us what we need. He lets us see the truth of the sinfulness of man; He lets us have confrontations with demons.  And in doing so He lets us see ourselves too.

In essence, He lets us see reality.

Why? Bwoman preacherecause that is where He is – in the midst of the dirty, the sinful, the demon-possessed, that is where He is working.

And that’s where He calls us to go with Him.

“ “I will make the place of my feet glorious”—among the poor, the devil-possessed, the mean, the decrepit, the selfish, the sinful, the misunderstood—that is where Jesus went, and that is exactly where he will take you if you are his disciple”. (Oswald Chambers)

He won’t drop rose petals on our path for us, He won’t pamper us and cater to our self-pity, our comfort, nor our convenience.  He lets us be confronted, shocked and disgusted.  And then He says:

“Even so….will you still follow Me?”


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The Falling Dominoes in the Emergent Church

The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without dominoesGod, heaven without hell.” (William Booth)

This post is part 4 in this series and follows on from Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church.  I had planned to write about the role mysticism and the New Age plays within the Emergent Church but the Holy Spirit stepped in.  He has impressed upon me that another step, in this post, is required by Him, before I post on mysticism.

It is my position that when absolute truth is discarded, then logically the next step is the re-emergence of mystical spirituality.  However it is necessary to understand how it is that the breakdown of absolute truth leads to the re-emergence of these ancient mystical practices.  And so I will concentrate this post on some of the Truths of Christianity which have been recently changed, diluted or rejected.   In the last post we looked at how the philosophical theory of de-constructionism has taken hold within the Emergent Church and that its leaders, such as Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and Brian Mclaren, to name a few, are unashamedly using this system to interpret the Bible.  Now we will look at some of the results of de-constructionism.

“Stamping out faith in Biblical absolutes is central to this transformation (of the “church”). A mind anchored in God’s Word won’t compromise, but when that anchor is removed, the current of change can carry that mind anywhere. As Jesuit scholastic, Mark Mossa, wrote in his endorsement of Brian McLaren’s latest book: “The Secret Message of Jesus, challenges us to put aside our sterile certainties about Christ and reconsider the imaginative world of Jesus stories, signs and wonders.” (Quote from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm)truth ies

No doctrine is safe when Biblical absolutes of truth are put aside.  Here are some examples of the essential doctrines that are now being re-defined by the Emergent Church’s method of “Did God really say?”  They are:

  • The doctrine of sin.

Tony Campolo says : ““…Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing “Amazing Grace” was all too ready to call himself a “wretch” … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …”

It seems that Mr Campolo has believed the lie of the serpent that “Ye shall be as gods…”  This denial of the sinfulness of humanity leads to the distortion of:

  • The centrality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

Take a look at what Mclaren himself has said:

“”[T]his is one of the huge problems with the traditional understanding of hell, because if the Cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching, then I won’t say the only and I certainly won’t say … or even the primary or a primary meaning of the Cross … is that the Kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing voluntary sacrifice right? But in an ironic way the doctrine of hell basically says no, that’s not really true. At the end God gets his way through coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

The substitutionary atoning work of Christ on the cross is pushed aside in the name of voluntary sacrifice. Of course, dismissing Christ’s atoning work on the cross then leads to the rejection of:

  • The doctrine of Hell.

Rob Bell says this about hell in his universalistic book “Love Wins”:

“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”

(Misguided and toxic?…Jesus Himself said to:  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” and described hell as a place “where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”)

Because Jesus Himself said something this “violent” and “elitist”, then naturally the next question would pertain to:

 

  • The person of Jesus Christ Himself, God Incarnate in human flesh, the Son of God.

Tony Campolo writes of his pantheistic beliefs:

One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere. The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is not that Jesus isn’t in the non-Christian–the difference is that the Jesus who is within him is a Jesus to whom he will not surrender his life.”

 If Jesus perhaps isn’t really God in the flesh, then of course the next doctrine to question is:

  • There is no other name under Heaven by which man can be saved than that of Jesus Christ.

Tony Campolo again: “Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving.”

This doctrine has been undermined by Rick Warren as well as numbers of other Christian leaders having signed the Yale document produced by Muslims leaders called “A Common Word Between Us and You”.  This document is in line with the commandment in the Koran which says to “Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! come to a common word as between us and you: that we worship none but God’“.

The Muslim god Allah and the God of the Bible, YahWeh, are NOT the same.  These Christian leaders seem to have no idea that they are signing themselves over to Islam and, of course, paving the way for Chrislam.  Read the document here: http://www.acommonword.com/the-acw-document/ .

Here is a list of all the Christian leaders who have signed the document: http://www.acommonword.com/christian-signatories/

And so it goes on.  As one doctrine is changed, watered-down or rejected the next domino falls, then the next, and so on.

The changing, dismissing or outright rejection of God’s Word by His “church” is not something God takes lightly.

“For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2.

man dominoes“God’s Word is His communication, His promise, the revelation of Himself to His people. It is to be a lamp to our feet in a dark and fallen world, without it we would have no way to know God or how to do God’s will. To disregard God’s Word that is holy, pure and absolutely true is to defame God’s name and character. It is to bring ruin upon our walk. So it becomes the main focus point in our daily walk with Christ.” (taken from Let Us Reason http://www.letusreason.org/Doct42.htm)

The result of de-constructionism in the church is to undermine the authority of the Bible, as the Word of God, to question even the most basic fundamental tenets of Christianity and to “re-define” it to become more relevant to our post-modern society. (see “The “Emergent-cy” of Post-Modernist Christianity“) The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth, will only witness to truth, so when truth is discarded, the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness, becomes grieved as Christ is blasphemed and, then, like a dove, eventually takes flight.  In Ezekiel 10 the glory of God departed from the Temple as a result of Israel repeatedly ignoring God’s Word through His prophets.  Israel became Ichabod.

And so it is with the Emergent church.  What remains is but an empty shell consisting of a mixture of religious platitudes and man’s philosophy.  But as “nature abhors a vacuum” something must fill that emptiness.  Something ancient and spiritual.

And that “something” is mysticism.

Next post:  The Deep, Deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism

  • The Re-emergence of ancient mysticism
  • The Connection with the New Age