Category Archives: Worldly “Christian” doctrines

CHRISTIANS ARE MIXED UP IN DEMONIC MYSTICISM – Part 1

By Marsha West

September 15, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

More and more of those who profess Christ are “experiencing God” in ways that lands them smack dab in the middle of the New Age movement. It’s not like they haven’t been warned about experimenting with mysticism. They’ve been warned plenty, yet they totally disregard wise counsel. So if you’re among the sheep who have gone astray, consider the Bible’s wise counsel: “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him” (Deut 13:4).

I must admit I’m mystified (pun intended) as to why so many Christians are choosing to leave the narrow road Jesus spoke of and follow Oprah down the broad road that leads to destruction. What’s up with that?

The Bible says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” not Oprah!

Reading God’s Word to know Him and His ways just doesn’t cut it for some so-called Christians, which is why a number of them are venturing into the astral plane hoping to connect with God on a “deeper level beyond your thinking.” Even though Scripture is opposed to any form of mysticism (2 Chronicles 33:6), many Christians are joining “Christian yoga” classes and praising the health benefits — even getting their kids involved. Sly marketers sell Christians on yoga’s good mind/body health benefits (Deepak Chopra, anyone?), plus they say it will help you to “apprehend God.” As an extra-added bonus you can tone those flabby abs!

There’s big bucks to be made from yoga. In America, it’s a $30 billion-a-year business. And speaking of big bucks, McDonald’s is masterful at marketing their products to consumers. When your run of the mill hamburger is promoted as the Big-Tasty® the gullible public, mouths watering, head straight to the golden arches! The Big-Tasty® sure tastes good, but is it good for you? The burger contains 8 grams of saturated fat, 70 grams of cholesterol, and 500 calories per serving. Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen.

Christians are being lured into “Christian yoga” by promises of good health. Sure, it’s a tad New Age, but what’s the big deal? I mean, everyone’s doin’ it, so it’s a good thing…right? Does that kind of logic not make your blood boil?

Affixing a new handle to an ancient Hindu practice may make it palatable for the Christian consumer, but it doesn’t change the fact that offering yoga in a Christian setting is unacceptable. You cannot separate yoga from the Hindu religious system. As I said in my commentary, Christian Yoga? C’mon!, “Classical yoga is intended to put one into an altered state of consciousness. Believers who think they’re ‘just exercising’ are being swept into a counterfeit religion.”

Eastern mysticism leads to destruction. But that doesn’t stop some Christians from involving themselves in “kything prayer” (KP), which is another unbiblical kind of prayer and meditation. This bizarre prayer practice will astound even the most well-informed followers of Jesus Christ. One way to engage in KP is the Enneagram, which is a heresy of the first order. I’ll get to “kything” in a moment. But first a bit about “contemplative prayer” AKA “centering prayer.” For centuries, Catholic mystics have engaged in contemplative prayer. Today Catholics and Protestants alike practice CP. Carmelite nun and Spanish mystic, St. Teresa of –vila, “a very much-loved contemplative Catholic saint” spent hours in meditation, which she called the “prayer of quiet.” She recommended the following prayer technique to another nun:

“Pray the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to pray it. Spend a few minutes entering into each individual phrase, until it becomes truly the prayer of your heart, and you become the prayer.”

I have no clue what “become the prayer” means, but Jesus Christ never taught His followers any such thing. He never taught them to empty their minds, which is what occurs during Transcendental meditation. The “prayer of quiet” has its roots in Eastern mysticism, not the Bible. People will argue that Catholic monks have been engaging in CP for centuries, like that alone should make it acceptable. However, it doesn’t negate the fact that meditation goes against the express teaching of Scripture. “Let no one be found among you … who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” (Deut. 18:10-11).

Granted, the Bible says Christians are to mediate. Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Meditation is contemplating what God says in the pages of Holy Scripture so that we will do everything written in it. In other words, so that God’s people will know what He expects and be obedient. As John MacArthur observes, “It is not enough just to study the Bible. We must meditate upon it. In a very real sense we are giving our brain a bath; we are washing it in the purifying solution of God’s Word.” I read somewhere that if a Christian is careless in Bible reading he or she will care less about Christian living. (To read more on Christian meditation.[2])

As I mentioned above, Christians are involving themselves in “kything prayer” (KP). There are other examples of outright heresy practiced by Christians could be brought to light, but KP is sufficiently concerning that it deserves a few paragraphs here. That way, when a well-meaning, albeit undiscerning, person introduces KP into your church you’ll be equipped to explain its connection to Eastern mysticism. (Unfortunately there are church leaders who are as undiscerning as some laypeople, hence they, too, are guilty of introducing false teaching and outright heresy into the Body of Christ!) If only Christians would heed Paul’s words to Timothy: ” … you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Most Christians aren’t “thoroughly equipped” for one simple reason — they don’t bother to meditate on God’s Word. A large number of evangelicals admit that they’re too busy to spend time in their Bibles and only pray on the run, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that liberalism has a foothold in most mainline denominations and is spreading like wildfire through evangelicalism (which was once ultra conservative). Bear in mind that “progressive Christians” (liberals) have the unmitigated arrogance to profess their love for Christ, yet they endeavor to mold His church into a decidedly unbiblical worldview. You can put a steeple on it, but that doesn’t make it Christian. But I digress.

“Kythe” is an ancient Scottish word that means “to make known; to manifest; to show.” It’s described as a sort of telepathic communication whereby “one person almost becomes another, seeing through their eyes and feeling through their senses.” Kythers communicate through methods other than the senses, which sounds a lot like mental telepathy! While in this frame of mind, “the two people intuitively know the meaning of what the other is telling them, disregarding such things as words or pictures. The idea may be based on the concept of Oneness, which states that all that exists, is one in its source and end…recollection and assertion of that concept puts a person ‘in Kythe’ with that which they are concentrating on.”[3]

Before I enlighten you with the three steps to get started in KP, I should mention that the concept of “Oneness” comes from Eastern Religion’s belief in pantheism — God is everything and everything is God. “All that exists constitutes a ‘unity’ and this all-inclusive unity is in some sense divine.”[4]

How does pantheism explain human nature? I love how Sue Bohlin puts it, “Pantheism explains human nature by saying we’re all a part of god, but our problem is that we forget we’re god. We just need to be re-educated and start living like the god we are.”

Christianity does not hold that God is “everything and everything is God.” On the contrary, authentic Christians are theists. Theism holds that God is transcendent, that He is separate and distinct from His creation, and that He possesses the attributes of personality, hence God is personal. Moreover, Christians believe that in the incarnation God took on bodily form and became the God-man (Theanthropos.)

No Christian should buy into the New Age movement’s lie that each human soul is akin to a drop of water in a sea of Divine Consciousness. (“Here there is not even energy; no body, no mind, no light, no sound – absolute nothingness – total vacuum – only tremendous potential unmanifest Divine Consciousness, from which all life and material creation flows.”[5]

1, Christian yoga? C’mon! By Marsha West
2, Biblical Meditation By J. Hampton Keathley, III, Th.M.
3, Kything – Answers.com
4, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Stanford University website
5, A Nature Meditation By Robert Elias Najemy
6, The Voice in the Stillness: An overview of some Christian ways of meditation — The Wild Things of God website
7, Apostles’ Creed – Catholic Encyclopedia
8, Gurdjieff and the Enigmatic Enneagram By the Reverend Ed Hird
9, Finding Spiritual Enlightenment Original Air Date: July 30, 2007
10, Is Oprah Peddling Snake Oil? By Marsha West

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Where Did the Emergent Church ‘Emerge’ From?

The false teachings exposed by Dave Fiorazo below are not only being taught in churches in America but has reached global scale by international Christian missions such as Ravi Zacharia International Ministries (RZIM), Youth for Christ, YWAM and many other global missions. Having been with YWAM myself for a few years, I can testify that such teachings are rampantly taught in its schools to undiscerning youth!

 

By: Dave Fiorazo on Good Fight Ministries

WARNING: The author of this article has determined that ignoring the following information may be hazardous to your spiritual health, and that choosing to do nothing with this knowledge may grieve the Holy Spirit and cause regret; but taking action may strengthen your faith. “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:3-4)

The emerging church is a movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal or post-liberal, reformed, neo-charismatic, and post-charismatic. They seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a”Postmodern” society. It is a rapidly growing network of individual believers and churches who would prefer to be understood as a conversation or a friendship rather than an organization. What those involved mostly agree on is their disdain and disillusionment with the organized and institutional church. The emergent church favors the use of simple story and narrative. Members of the movement often place a high value on good works or social activism. The hallmark of the emergent church is the new age aspect including the practice of contemplative monastic meditation and prayers. While some emphasize eternal salvation, many in the emerging church emphasize the here and now. Much of its doctrine rejects systematic Christian theology, the integrity of Scripture, and gospel exclusivity. They don’t believe Christianity is the true religion and they promote homosexuality. They call for diversity, tolerance and camaraderie among all religions, and they modify and expand their teachings. It is a war against the Truth.

At an emergent church workshop in San Diego, Tony Jones said, “This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It’s not just the method that changes.” What? I submit to you that Jesus never changed his message to fit the times. Books, sermons and articles have been and will be written about the emergent church, and I’ve come to realize that too many believers are at times uninterested, uninformed, or just plain apathetic about the Bible and understanding the times we live in. There’s plenty of information out there if you’re interested in doing the research. You may even know their names. They are best-selling authors in Christian stores, speakers at our music festivals, and well-known leaders in Christian circles. Please read the following quotes from emergent church leaders, keeping the following verses in mind:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1

“Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30

Going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia… There are many ways…It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.” 1a

“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.” 1b

“But the overwhelming population of the gay community that love Jesus, that go to church, that are deeply committed in spiritual things, try to change and can’t change…” 1c

“…we want to see God at work converting society, converting the systems, so that there aren’t the racist overtones, the economic injustices, the polluting of the atmosphere.” 1d

“I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ, as well.”1e

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.” 1f

(Tony Campolo is an author, professor of Sociology at Eastern College, former spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton, and a leader of the movement called “Red Letter Christians”.)

***

“I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts…” 2a

“Yes, I find a character named God who sends a flood that destroys all humanity except Noah’s family, but that’s almost trivial compared to a deity who tortures the greater part of humanity forever in infinite eternal conscious torment, three words that need to be read slowly and thoughtfully to feel their full import.” 2b

“For many Christians, their faith is primarily about what happens to people after they die. That distracts them from seeking justice and living in a compassionate way while we’re still alive in this life. We need to go back and take another look at Jesus’ teachings about hell. For so many people, the conventional teaching about hell makes God seem vicious. That’s not something we should let stand.” 2c

“In this light, a god who mandates an intentional supernatural disaster leading to unparalleled genocide is hardly worthy of belief, much less worship. How can you ask your children…to honor a deity so uncreative, over reactive, and utterly capricious regarding life?” 2d

(Brian McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, MD, he serves as a board chair for Sojourners, an emergent church leader and a founding member of Red Letter Christians.)

***

“I don’t think that abortion is the moral equivalent issue to slavery…I think poverty is the new slavery. Poverty and global inequality are the fundamental moral issues of our time. That’s my judgment.” 3a

“Christianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not bodily integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology. This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force us to consider new ways of being sexual.” 3b

“As more Christians become influenced by liberation theology, finding themselves increasingly rejecting the values of institutions of capitalism, they will also be drawn to the Marxist analysis and praxis that is so central to the social justice movement.” 3c

(Jim Wallis is a writer and political activist, best known as the founder and editor of Sojourners’ Magazine, for which he admitted to accepting money from George Soros, who has financed groups supporting abortion and atheism; Wallis has been arrested 22 times for acts of civil disobedience, and he serves as a spiritual adviser to President Obama.)

***

What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? …Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live?” 4a
*This writer is concerned that Rob had his bell rung one too many times
.

(Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI, and a popular icon in the emergent church movement.)

Related information from GFM:
Rob Bell: Populating Hell (Article)
Rob Bell: Welcome to Hell (Audio Resource)

***

“In any case, I now believe that GLBTQ [Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer] can live lives in accord with Biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state.” 5a

“I think the Bible is a f***ing scary book (pardon my French, but that’s the only way I know how to convey how strongly I feel about this).” 5b

“Some people today may find it compelling that some Great Cosmic Transaction took place on that day 1,980 years ago, that God’s wrath burned against his son instead of me. I find that version of atonement theory neither intellectually compelling, spiritually compelling, nor in keeping with the biblical narrative.” 5c

(Tony Jones is an author and a leader in the emergent church movement, blogger, and social commentator)

***

“There are extremists, both Muslim and Christian, who kill in the name of their gods.” 6a

“So for those of us who have nearly given up the church, may we take comfort in the words of St. Augustine: ‘The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.’ She is a mess and has many illegitimate children. But she is also our momma…” 6b

(Shane Claiborne is an author, the co-founder of The Potter Street Community – formerly The Simple Way, a graduate of Eastern University and is a part of The Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Claiborne is featured in the documentary “The Ordinary Radicals” and wrote the foreword to Ben Lowe’s “Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation.”)

How did we get to the point where some, if not all, of these teachings have blended in with truth and sound doctrine, and are accepted by many churches and ministries? Make no mistake. I’d need to write an entire book to completely answer that question. False teachers have been around since the early church days. The major issue with the emergent church is that it rejects the authority of the word of God. These teachings were not accepted by evangelical Christians overnight. This is 2010. We can trace the advancement of the emergent church to the late 80’s and 90’s, when people began talking about how to modernize and re-create church to be more attractive to the unchurched. But going back to the hippy flower-power days of the 1960’s, the new fad was all about peace, love, free sex, and rebelling against authority. Absolute truth and Biblical standards were questioned and labeled as too rigid, leading some to moral relativism. Moral Relativism is an ethical judgment. It is the claim that no ethical system is better than another, and rests on the belief that values are subjective.

Some churches responded to the 60’s rebellion by trying to convert as many as possible and accepted them as they were. ‘Come as you are’ was the new slogan. Jesus does meet people right where they are, but there’s an important distinction: He loves people too much to leave them that way, and unlike the emergent church, His message never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) Many churches began watering down the true gospel in an effort to lure potential new members and not offend unbelievers. Some Pastors and church leaders simply wanted to increase their market share, so to speak. The seeker-friendly or seeker-sensitive movement began to grow and a skim milk diet replaced the meat of God’s word. More young people began attending church but there was little follow-up or discipleship training, and lots of baby Christians went back out into the world with little conviction to change.

The 1970’s brought us the development of the Christian music industry. Most of the industry pioneers were authentic, God-fearing, and ministry-minded, but I wonder if they would approve of Christian music as a whole today? In some cases, bands are more into the entertainment aspect than building up the body of Christ. Biblical truth was becoming irrelevant to young Christians and grace was way over-emphasized. One might argue that we shouldn’t judge others because it is divisive. In Luke 12:51, Jesus said that he did not come to bring peace but division. He never backed down when it came to facing hypocritical religious leaders. If you’re a mature Christian, you too need to be careful. The Apostle Paul writes, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Gal. 5:7-9) Many churches in America now have beautiful buildings, coffee shops, bookstores, great music and sound systems, state of the art lighting, and good drama or video presentations, but they seem to put more of an emphasis on entertaining the flock than on feeding them God’s word. Well, at least the young people are happy.

The 80’s rolled around and a few years after I gave my life to Christ, I heard Tony Campolo speak in California. I remember laughing a lot because he’s a great entertainer. He knows how to reach both young and old. His presentation has never been a concern; his theology definitely is. To fully understand the background and motives of some of the emergent church guru’s, you’d need to know more about Liberation theology, Marxism, Saul Alinsky, Sojourners Magazine, George Soros, Red Letter Christians, Collective Salvation, and the Students for a Democratic Society. Most young people like to take action for a cause, and some of these works-based teachings call for organizing, social or environmental action. This is a clever way to lure those who are not as mature in the faith.

In 1995 Jim Wallis founded ‘Call to Renewal’ for the purposes of advocating for leftist economic agendas such as tax hikes and wealth redistribution to promote social justice. He himself stated, “That’s what the gospel is all about.” In 2005, Democratic Senators (including Harry Reid) met with Wallis to devise clever ways to use religious language to pull evangelical voters away from Republicans. According to TraditionalValues.org, Wallis was hired to fool Americans into believing secular liberals had found “religion” in part by sprinkling references to God and faith into their speeches. Just this year, Wallis has criticized America’s heritage, capitalism, conservative Christians, and jumped on the race card express saying, “would there even be a Tea Party if the president of the United States weren’t the first black man to occupy that office?”

The “social gospel” and the social justice message is an apostasy. Apostasy means a departure from the faith or one who denies the fundamental doctrines concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. Social justice teachings have branched off from the emergent church. We can no longer deny the fact that humanism, liberalism and the secular-progressive movement are alive and well in the Church, just as it has been for years in government, education, media, and the entertainment industry. Last month, Jim Wallis brought his social justice message to a Christian festival in Wisconsin called Lifest. (Wallis’ Sojourners puts more emphasis on the environment and poverty than on salvation and sin.) Because there were many great bands and speakers there, I’ve heard a few people try to make an argument in favor of Wallis, with the over-used analogy, “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” So, if only a few people hear a false gospel, that’s ok? “Let’s just agree to disagree.” Sorry, that method may be fine when dealing with petty arguments between friends or family. But when it comes to false doctrines, we can’t simply just look the other way. I heard the story of a woman who told her daughters that they no longer could attend Lifest because of Wallis. Weeks before, she and her husband wanted their young daughters to remember the dangers of false teachers, so they made brownies together. After all of the ingredients were added, she told them there was one more ingredient to add. The girls were shocked when their Mom added a small piece of dog poop to the batter! She told them not to worry and that they might not even taste it. Admittedly, this was a disgustingly effective lesson I bet they’ll never forget! Jesus warned His disciples to avoid the teachings (yeast) of the Pharisees, but He didn’t have a brownie recipe handy for visual effects.

According to Time Magazine (so take this with a grain of salt), Brian McLaren is one of the 25 most influential people in the evangelical church. This makes me believe our culture is confused about what ‘evangelical’ means. It is a serious issue because his teachings seem to reject the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the work on the cross, and dilutes what the Bible says about Heaven and eternal life. McLaren is changing Biblical doctrine to fit his own ‘We Are the World’ type of theology, which stomps out the reality of Hell and the fact that Jesus became our substitute on the cross in order to redeem us. He doubts the reliability of the Bible and I’m confused as to why he is not more of a red flag to Christians. Please read for yourself what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8 about those who preach another Gospel.

Many of today’s youth have been raised in a culture (and sadly in some churches) where feelings and sensitivity matter but sound doctrine and the truth of God’s word aren’t a priority. This invites the justification of sinful behaviors and tolerance for sin. Our culture has redefined the word ‘tolerance’ to mean love, unconditional grace, warm fuzzies, and the acceptance of not only the sinner but the sin as well. When the Holy Spirit isn’t invited, by the preaching of Scripture, to come in and work in our hearts, there can be no conviction. Without revelation of sin and conviction, there can be no repentance leading to forgiveness. We shouldn’t be surprised that many young Christians have their spiritual foundations built on the sand. The Lord Jesus Christ said something very serious about those who cause little ones to stumble. He said in Luke 17:2 that it would be better that a millstone would be tied around the neck of the one who caused them to sin. These guys have no business teaching Christian theology and it’s amazing that so many ‘believing’ consumers buy into their feel-good, motivational doctrine. Part of their gospel is one of a social worker putting their faith in man (humanism) and government.

Dr. Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, sternly warned about liberal theology and the emergent church saying, “It is a cult because it follows every outlined structure of cultism; its own revelations; its own gurus, and its denial—systematically—of all sound systematic Christian theology. It is a cult because it passes its leadership on to the next group that takes over—either modifying, expanding or contracting—the same heresies; dressing them up in different language, and passing them on…it denies the authority of Scripture, it ruins its own theology. And it ends in immorality; because the only way you could have gotten to this homosexual, morally relativistic, garbage—which is today in our denominational structures—is if the leadership of those denominations denied the authority of the Scriptures and Jesus Christ as Lord…Test all things; make sure of what is true (see 1 Thessalonians 5:21). I’m not being harsh; I’m not being judgmental. I am being thoroughly, consistently, Christian; in the light of historic theology, and the holy Bible.”

So what should we do? Since not enough Christians know the dangers and the extent of the emergent church movement and their radical teachings, we need to promote awareness of these deceptions. We need to dig deeper in to the Word of God than ever before and know it so well that if we hear a counterfeit message, we’ll recognize it immediately! We need to talk to our Pastors and Christian friends. You have a choice to make and I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and take a stand for Christ. The spiritual battle rages all around us and the enemy is on our doorstep. Satan has been at work at a church near you spreading his deceptions. The good news is that we are on to his schemes. Mature believers know that the emergent church teachings are contrary to the gospel of Christ. So suit up in the full armor of God and pray for discernment. Revelation 3:11 says, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” Light dispels the darkness, so share the truth, stand your ground, and shine your light!

Dave Fiorazo is an evangelical Christian, actor, blogger and on-air radio personality at Q90 90.1FM WORQ in De Pere, WI.

References:
1a CarpeDiem: Seize the Day, 1994 page 85;
1b “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch” page 117;
1c Beliefnet.com/faith/Christianity 08/2004;
1d MSNBC 2008 interview;
1e MSNBC 2008 interview;
1f Charlie Rose show 1/24/97

2a A Generous Orthodoxy, page 260;
2b A New Kind of Christianity, 98;
2c Site no longer available;
2d A New Kind of Christianity,109;

3a ChristianityToday.com 5/9/2008;
3b ChristianityToday.com 5/9/2008;
3c Worldview Weekend.com 8/3/2010 #1597;

4a Velvet Elvis pp. 26-27;

5a Beliefnet.com 11/19/08 blog;
5b The church and postmodern culture: conversation 3-26-07;
5c Beliefnet.com ‘Why Jesus Died’ 4/09;

6a From the book “Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne
6b From the book “Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne
6c From the book “Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne


If you’re not astonished at what you’ve heard, then you’ve heard a lie

In today’s culture and society it’s hard to decipher the sound and true doctrine of the Lord from the corrupt doctrine. This is mainly due to false teachers which teach a doctrine that satisfies their audience; the type of doctrine with which they gain favor, popularity and most important of all, wealth.
When we hear our pastor or listen to televangelists preaching away does their doctrine astonish us? Do we marvel and praise God for what has been spoken? Do we feel uncomfortable with what we hear and believe? The sound doctrine makes us uncomfortable because of our sinful ways. When people hear this doctrine the result should be astonishment – whether astonishment because it has convicted us and led us to repent or astonishment because we prefer the sugary doctrine and this one is too hard on the ears.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2Tim 4:3,4

If the Sunday morning sermon has not astonished us its humor and corny jokes and we leave without conviction (even of a minutest thing) then we’ve been deceived along with the pastor. (On a side note, I have no idea since when God’s doctrine has become funny!) If we’ve heard a televangelist say that we can demand and claim wealth and health and all things nice then we’ve just heard a doctrine that has not astonished us. Preachers who preach Christ and not themselves will astonish the congregation – those who take the risk of being hated and despised and gossiped about and yet teach Christ Jesus, these are the ones who preach the true doctrine. Some teachings which I’ve found to be astonishing are by preachers like David Wilkerson and Paul Washer. Not that I’m idolising them but I’ve taken them as examples.

The Word of God has to be astonishing to a human mind because it’s beyond comprehension; it’s of God the Almighty! How can it not convicted us? A compromised doctrine never astonishes even a heathen. When Jesus preached the Kingdom of God His doctrine was spotless, leaving His audience in awe and astonishment. He attracted followers as well as haters (to the extent of them wanting to kill Him). Remember His hearers were the same every time, yet they were at awe at His Word. Even when His Apostles preached and taught their hearers responded with astonishment! 

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine…” Matt 7:28

“And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.” Matt 22:33

“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22

“And the disciples were astonished at his words.” Mk 10:24

“And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” Mk 11:18

“Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” Acts 13:12


Redefining God’s goodness to protect man’s wickedness

A sinful man redefines God’s goodness. Why? To cover up his wickedness. While I was with YWAM (when I was one of the many brainwashed by its agenda of globalism), I would often hear about how good God is, that He has forgiven our sins and accepted us just as we are – fallen. During worship times people would cry out to God thanking Him for loving them and accepting them despite of their many sins, that He was good in doing so. (There was a lot of emotionalism involved, the more emotional people got the better the worship session that morning!) Hell was rarely mentioned at this mission, if it were ever mentioned it was given a mild interpretation. Yes, they teach that believing in Jesus will save you from your sins (not hell), they also teach that reconciling all things to God (literally all things, whether movies, rock music, religions, media, education etc; thankfully YWAM doesn’t try to “reconcile” Satan to God!)  is their main agenda. It is in this act of reconciliation that they hope to snatch people and everything else from the hands of Satan and give it back to God (!). (Note: I hold nothing against the leaders and the staff of the YWAM base I’ve been at, however I do hold this against them that they are teaching what is demonic, which will cost their members their eternal life. Yet God is good, He will save His chosen from following such heresy.)

Okay, so coming back to the agenda of redefining God’s goodness: who defines God’s goodness? The OT, inspired by God Himself, often records how the LORD commanded His people to utterly destroy those who worship other gods. The 21st Century preacher, like Brian McLaren or Rick Warren, will label this as evil or come up with some other interpretation in order to protect God’s reputation, but ignoring man’s wickedness. Today’s Christian fails to see that sinfulness of man can never allow him to come before God “just as he is”. God indeed expects us to change and to begin living as conformed to His Word, He does not accept us in our sinfulness. God is good in punishing man for his fallenness. But preachers today say that a “good” (according to humanistic definition) God will never punish man so severely for his sins. According to a human reasoning, God cannot be good if He reserves eternal lake of fire for the unrighteous. But according to the Bible, in spite having annihilated idolaters God is still good, and man is not. How can a genuine believer overlook man’s wickedness by manipulating Scripture to allow people in their wickedness while taking away the fear of God out of them by teaching that God is good to them?

If a preacher teaches that God still loves you just as you are, beware. “God you are so good, forgiving and accepting me despite my sins.. how can I thank you..” is a doctrinally incorrect prayer. God is not good if He accepts a person despite their unrighteous acts, be it crude jokes, skimpy clothing, dirty thinking etc. Such teachings give Christians the false assurance that despite their sinful lifestyle they are still accepted by God because man has redefined His goodness . (At this point I do say that it is impossible to sin once you are saved, however we are being sanctified by His Spirit and hence we must begin to live a lifestyle with His help that will become less sinful as time goes on.) I’ve been worship session in YWAM where there are tears of conviction, tears of gratitude, loud thanksgiving for God’s goodness but as soon as worship is done with everyone goes back to unchanged worldly behavior, thinking that God has accepted them despite their sins. Who is responsible for such teachings? The top-notch preachers like Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, Lynn Green, Loren Cunningham to name a few. They will be held accountable to the LORD at His throne!

I was pulled in with such teachings. Teachers at YWAM often encourage people to “be just as they are”, that they don’t need to be ” religious”. Sayings such as  “I’m being myself”, “Just being human” are a fallen mindset. We in ourselves are fallen, sinful, unrighteous, wicked. We were desperately wallowing in our filth when the Son of God was sent to save us from where we initially belonged – eternal lake of fire reserved for the devil and his stooges. Sin is still condemned, yet His grace is being taken as a sign for sin to be permissible. What are you being taught? That it is okay for you, a child of God, to be yourself? Where does the Bible say that? Saints, do not fall for this heresy as it will cost your life, for all eternity. God is good because He hates human wickedness, idolatry, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, gossiping etc not because He accepts those who practise these things. If you are in an act of sinfulness, and yet you thank God for accepting you be sure that you stand on quicksand. Cleanse your lifestyle with the Word of God and the power of His Spirit that is within you. God cannot be mocked. Let your prayer be this, “Lord, I cannot live a life pleasing to You without the help of Your Holy Spirit. I hate the sin I commit because it displeases You. Thank You for Your grace that has enabled me to better myself in Your sight!” If the Gospel has not convicted you every time of the sin you commit , then you are not saved, and have possibly been taught a false gospel of a humanistically good god!


Jesus – is it just that simple?

 

Not every one that saith unto Me (Jesus), Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. – Matt 7: 21-23

And Jesus said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. – Luke 9:23

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I (Jesus) say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. – Luke 13:24

And ye shall be hated of all [men] for My (Jesus’) name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. – Matt 10:22

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. – Phil 2:12

So is it really that simple? No! Jesus is NOT a solution to your life’s problems; He is NOT a genie! He Himself said His followers will have trouble in this world. Simply calling on the name of Jesus does not save anyone. Many will claim to know Jesus, but only a few will be saved. These few are the ones who have repented from their hearts about their sinful lifestyle, who have obeyed the teachings of Jesus and followed Him regardless of the consequences. Saying a simple sinner’s prayer does not save a soul, that’s superstition brought in by selfish preachers for money and popularity’s sake. A person is truly saved from death and damnation when they have repented of their sins and chosen the way of God, not the way of this lawless world, finding its pleasures detestable. Jesus has promised great rewards in the presence of the Father in heaven for facing the problems in life with the help of His Spirit and enduring until the end.


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