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Archive for November, 2012

I came cross this excellent blog by Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Click here for the original source of this blog, which I am reposting below:

RICHARD FOSTER SAYS BIBLE RELIABLE GUIDE DESPITE “INCONSISTENCIES”

By on Apr 18, 2012 in AM Missives, Current Issues, Features, Richard Foster

Apprising Ministries has long been warning you about the danger of listening to neo-Gnostics like Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

For years now Foster, along with his his spiritual twin Dallas Willard, has been teaching corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) under the guise of so-called Spiritual Formation.

But what we’re actually dealing with is really a romanticized version of Roman Catholic Counter Reformation spirituality, which is itself essentially a neo-Gnosticism.

What it’s not, is evangelical Protestant Christianity; and worse, this highly subjective CSM is truly hostile to the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. I’ll explain what I mean; first, in her piece Jesus The illuminated Illuminator today Christian Research Network contributor Marsha West is right when she says:

Contemporary Christianity is following “every wind of doctrine” in spite of the fact that Scripture warns about taking this route. Self-professed Christ followers no longer “endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim. 4:3). Regrettably, many believers have embraced neo-Gnosticism. (Online source)

No, that’s not pleasant to hear; unfortunately, the truth often isn’t easy to listen to. Is this the kind of thing a woman ought to say? It is at this critical time when men are apparently too busy going from conference to conference speaking to each other about nothing to notice the living room of the visible church is on fire.

Then via GotQuestions.org West correctly informs us:

Christian Gnosticism is the belief that one must have a “gnosis” (from Greek “Gnosko,” to know) or inner knowledge which is mystical knowledge obtained only after one has been properly initiated. Only a few can possess this mystical knowledge, limiting the number of those “in the know”. … As such it is as false and heretical as the Gnosticism of the first century and needs to be roundly condemned for the heresy that it is. (Online source)

We have a vivid example of this as more and more bow before the silly superstitions of Foster-Willardism. Prior to the promotion of this dubious duo through the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church this neo-Gnosticism was confined to the mainline denominations, which it helped to mortally wound.

Sadly, now we have a plethora of neo-Gnostic fools who, through their practice of CSM, have now convinced themselves they are the truly enlightened ones. So deluded, they truly do believe that they’re receiving special revelation from God while they use a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).

Here’s a couple of examples of the fetid fruit of this CSM and CCP from Richard Foster himself. The first is from a 2005 piece in Quaker Life called The With God Life: An Interview with Richard Foster.  While hawking The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, which had just come out, the Quaker mystic tells us how the experience-oriented Quakers subjectively approach God “in the gathered silence.”

That’s CSM-speak for the practice of CCP. And while explaining this to us Foster also reveals that apparently he personally does not hold to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture:

“The Immanuel Principle is ultimately cosmic,” according to Foster. “We are to reign with God and be with God forever and forever. In the past God worked first directly, then indirectly with his people. Since Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, God works both directly and indirectly. Quakers in the gathered silence experience God both directly and indirectly.”

I noticed that the focus on the with-God life circumnavigates inconsistencies found in Scripture and differing opinions about theology. By looking at how God revealed himself to people throughout Biblical history negates all those arguments. “You bypass it all,” stated Foster.

You put your focus on how God has been with a person and what does that say to me, now? What are their strengths and weaknesses and how does that apply to me? It’s all about developing charact — character [sic] that goes on into the future where we will reign with God and be with God eternally. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Did you catch that; you focus on how you subjectively think particular passages/verses of the Bible apply to you. However, the Bible isn’t about you. Then, according to Richard Foster, the infallible and inerrant Bible seems to have “inconsistencies” that his “with-God life” helps him to “circumnavigate.” Foster’s practice of CSM supposedly allows him to negate and then ”bypass” all the “differing opinions about theology.”

Why can they say that? Well, because he and his fellow neo-Gnostics like Dallas Willard would appear to have convinced themselves that they have gleaned superior direct gnosis (means knowledge) from God Himself through their practice of the so-called “spiritual disciplines” of CSM—most specifically the TM-lite of CCP.

Foster also informs us that:

Dallas Willard understands Quaker thinking about as well as anybody,” Foster acknowledged. “I had him do a study once on George Fox and his insights just blew me away.” (Online source)

If you didn’t know, George Fox is the heretical mystic who founded the original Quaker sect. Right in lock-step with classic mysticism, which believes God indwells all of mankind, Fox taught his myth as “the Inner Light.” I covered this foundational fable in great depth previously in Contemplating The Inner Light Of The Quakers.

Now we can consider Richard Foster’s teaching in the video below, which is a segment from GET A LIFE!: The With-God Life. In this clip Foster is talking about the “zoe-life [aka the supposed with-God life] that we receive from God” which “will accomplish its work; sustaining us, and moving us inevitably forward into Christlikeness.”

However, the “we” Foster is talking about here is not restricted to Christians; as a practicing Quaker, Foster is speaking of “the Inner Light”—which they teach is Christ—within all of mankind as he says:

This is a life! Powerful; irrepressible, self-sustaining, life—a with-God life. You see, this zoe is built into the very DNA of who we are as beings created in the image of God. It is an inward principle, and it will do its work. (:41-1:13)

Quite obviously, this would have to include all of mankind because each of us is created in the image of God. So what you’ll hear Foster teaching below ends up as classic Quaker doctrine, which is itself, right in line with Gnostic mysticism with its fantasy of “the divine spark” of God they believe is already within all of mankind.[1]

Since this isn’t the subject of this piece, here I’ll simply tell you that in John 14:6 Jesus explains to us that He is zoe. And the Bible teaches one receives the gift of zoe [aka eternal life] only by God’s grace alone; through faith alone, in Christ’s finished work on the Cross alone. In other words, by believing the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name.

Concerning our topic of Foster’s low view of Scripture, he spends some time talking about how supposedly this with-God life “flows from God through scripture and into the thirsty wasteland of the human soul.” Then at 7:09 into the video the Quaker mystic tells us “very specifically about the role of the Bible in all of this.”

First Foster sets up, and then knocks down, a couple of straw men; i.e. things those of us who adhere to sola Scriptura do not actually teach. Afterward Foster says:

Let me share with you what the Bible is. The Bible is a most reliable guide into this zoe life. You see, the Bible is God’s book; no one owns it, but God. And God has so superintended the writing of Scripture that it serves as a most reliable guide for our own spiritual formation. So you see, the purpose of the Bible is, as a most reliable guide into the zoe life that God intends for you and for me. (8:20-9:10)

Right in line with classic Quakerism, and in what he said above in the aforementioned interview, Quaker mystic Richard Foster has essentially told us that his experience in CSM will trump what the Bible says because it’s merely ”a most reliable guide.” You see, for these supposedly “enlightened” [read: deluded] neo-Gnostics, the Bible is merely a, and not the, most reliable guide in Christian spirituality, which is counter to sola Scriptura.

Today I sound the warning again: Those following people like Richard Foster had better wake up soon…

________________________________________________________________________________
End notes:

1. I refute this idea biblically in Understanding The New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind.

See also:

“CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE” BY RICHARD FOSTER AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THEOLOGICAL ERROR

IS DALLAS WILLARD A CHRISTIAN?

9 MARKS: INTERVARSITY PRESS SEEMS ADRIFT

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(revised 11/24/12)

I came across this excellent blog exposing the heresies of Quaker founder George Fox and contemplative Evangelical Friend Richard Foster.

Note – I have attempted to comply with the author’s copyright guidelines (listed at the bottom of this repost). I have gone through the repost and trimmed it down to excerpts, rather than reposting the entire blog. I found it  difficult to trim down – so much of the blog verifies what I have been writing about the Quakers, George Fox and Richard Foster in my other blogs. (In this repost I am hoping to add links to my pertinent blogs.) Thank you so much for your blog, Churchmouse Campanologist!

Following is my repost. Click here for the original site of this blog, in its entirety. I am emphasizing certain points in this repost by bolding in orange, and inserting comments [in orange with brackets].

Fuller Theological Seminary alums: Richard Foster

November 30, 2010

  Richard Foster is one of today’s leaders of spiritual formation.  Much has been written about the various forms of ‘Christian’ meditation, which have been sweeping America over the past several years.

From small acorns do mighty oaks grow.  Who would have imagined that a small non-profit started in 1988 and called Renovaré would have shaken so many Protestant denominations to their foundations?

Richard Foster is a Quaker — a member of the Religious Society of Friends [actually Foster was a member of the Evangelical Friends Church International denomination. Yet, he feels very comfortable associating with all nonchristian Quaker groups] — who put Renovaré and spiritual formation into play.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and his Doctorate of Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

George Fox’s spirituality

First, a word about George Fox and the Quakers.  If Fox were a young man today, he no doubt would have been a follower of Foster’s and an adherent of spiritual formation.  Fox lived between 1624 and 1691 — a tumultuous time in England.  When Fox came of age, Oliver Cromwell had beheaded Charles I,  then the Interregnum took place, the English Civil War followed and Charles II ushered in the Restoration in 1660.  To say that tensions were running high during Fox’s life would be an understatement.

Fox grew up with Puritan preachers.  As such, he was well versed in the King James Bible. But, like many Calvinist renegades throughout the past few centuries (e.g. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) the absolute doctrines of Calvinism upset him, particularly predestination.

Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries took a closer look at Fox’s mindset.  He read A History of Christianity and discovered (quote below is from the book, emphases are Silva’s):

For four years he suffered severe spiritual depression induced by the spectacle of human suffering,…and by the doctrine of predestination which he heard expounded from Puritan pulpits. By temperament a mystic, he was eager for direct and unhindered access to God

Eventually (1647) the light broke. He came to feel Christ could speak to “his condition,”… He believed that God is love and truth and that it is possible for all men so to open their lives to Him… [Fox] would follow and have others follow the Inner Light” (Vol. II, p. 822, emphasis mine).

What this meant was that Fox ended up rejecting sola Scriptura.  Sound familiar?  And so it goes today in the emergent church and in an increasing number of evangelical churches.

Quaker belief

Quakers believe that this Inner Light is present in everyone.  You can even see that reflected in the comments on the forum on QuakerInfo.com.  They don’t quote a lot of Scripture verses but rely on more secular or generically spiritual sayings or poems.  Some meetinghouses are more politically than religiously oriented.  There also appear to be three strands of Quaker practice — including an evangelical one. [Actually there are more “strands” – following are three of the larger ones.] Forum participant John writes:

Some examples:

Liberal Quaker – non-Christ centered … generally politically liberal, theologically liberal. [They “believe” in Christ as Lord and Teacher.]

Evangelical Quaker – Christ centered … generally politically mixed, running from liberal to conservative, theologically conservative. [This has changed since Richard Foster came on the scene in the 1970s. Today I would describe the Evangelical Friends aka EFCI as theologically “progressive evangelical”/Emerging/Emergent, since the leadership refuses to stop promoting Foster and other contemplatives/Emergings/Emergents. Granted, Evangelical Quakers/Evangelical Friends still refer to Christ as Lord and Saviour – although I wonder how many Evangelical Friends today are truly born again.]

Conservative Quaker – Christ centered … politically liberal on some issues (i.e. peace and non-violence), and politically conservative on others (limited government), theologically very conservative. [Theologically conservative perhaps in their manner of dress, but they don’t profess to be born again. They – like the Liberal Quakers above –  “believe” in Christ as Lord and Teacher.]

‘Are Quakers Protestant?’

QuakerInfo.com tells us (emphases mine below):

It is quite clear from reading the works of early Friends that they did not identify with the Protestant movement. They considered the Protestant churches of their day, as well as the Roman Catholics, to be apostate. They felt that Protestants had lopped off some of the false branches of Catholicism, but did not challenge the root of apostasy. Insofar as Catholicism and Protestantism were different, early Friends would often in discourse on a topic point out what they felt were the incorrect views of Catholics and the separate incorrect views of the Protestants on the issue.

The early Friends considered themselves “primitive Christianity revived” – restoring true Christianity from the apostasy which started very early. They were not interested in reforming an existing church, but rather freshly expressing the truth of a Christianity before any institutional church took strong hold.

There were a number of differences early Friends had with Protestants of their day. Some of the key differences were:

    • The Protestants replaced the authority of the church with the authority of the Bible. Friends, while accepting the validity of the scriptures and believing in the importance of the faith community, gave first place to the Spirit of Christ. Pointing to the prologue of the Gospel of John, they viewed Christ, not the Bible, as the Word of God. The scripture was secondary, a declaration of the fountain rather than the fountain itself. (See also Friends (Quakers) and the Bible.)
    • The Protestants replaced liturgy with a sermon as the center of worship. Friends center worship in the divine presence. Even though Friends disdain outward liturgy, in some sense Quaker worship may be closer to Catholic than Protestant in nature. Both Catholics and Quakers believe in the actual presence of Christ in worship, for Catholics centered in the host and for Quakers spiritually. (See also Friends (Quaker) Worship.)
    • The Protestants were continually disturbed by an inner sense of guilt and original sin, and often felt they were choosing between sins. Quakers balanced the concept of original sin with the idea that redemption and regeneration could actually free humans from sin.

Today:

much of Society of Friends has become more mainstream and tends to identify with some of the movements among Protestants. At the same time, some of the key Quaker understandings have become increasingly accepted among many Protestants in the last century. The pentecostal and charismatic movements, which have become a very large part of the Protestantism and have also impacted Catholicism, have some similarities with the early Quaker movement.

Shades of universalism

Ken Silva read more about George Fox’s experience in ‘the well-respected Handbook Of Denominations In The United States (HoD) from Mead and Hill’ (emphases below are Silva’s):

After failing to find satisfactory truth and peace in the churches of his time, Fox discovered what he sought in a direct personal relationship with Christ:

“When all my hopes in [churches] were gone… I heard a voice which said, ‘That is the Inner Voice, or Inner Light, based upon the description of John 1:9: ‘the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)’ ”

“This voice,” Fox maintained, “is available to all and has nothing to do with the ceremonies, rituals, or creeds over which Christians have fought. Every heart is God’s altar and shrine.” (140,141, emphasis mine).

Let’s be honest.  If you were to ask any number of people about a) having a direct personal relationship with Christ or b) if everyone is part divine or can come equally to God, you’d receive a surprisingly positive response to both.  The question then is — are these in accordance with the Bible?  No, they are not.

Silva warns us (emphases mine):

this false idea of an inner light, or a “divine spark,” is a very key issue to grasp before one can come to understand the root of the flawed semi-pelagian “gospel” preached by much of mainstream evangelicalism within which Foster has now become a major player. I cover this spiritually fatal idea of “a spark of the divine” allegedly inside all of mankind further in The Emergent “One” and Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind.

So in closing this for now I tell you in the Lord that this musing is actually classic Gnostic mysticism, which itself has already been condemned within the pages of the New Testament. Particularly in the Book of Colossians as well as in 1 John we find the Apostles dealing with Gnosticism. And again concerning all of this messed mysticism the Lord warns us through His chosen vessel Peter — In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up (2 Peter 2:3).

Foster’s Celebration of Discipline

Foster’s most notable work is his 1978 book, Celebration of Discipline, wherein he explores mystical and Quaker practices. Christianity Today named it as one of the top 10 of the 20th century.  Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel observes (emphases mine):

Celebration of Discipline alone, not even referencing Foster’s other writings and teachings and ministries, is a virtual encyclopedia of theological error. We would be hard pressed to find in one so-called evangelical volume such a composite of false teaching. These include faulty views on the subjective leading of God (pp. 10, 16-17, 18, 50, 95, 98, 108-109, 128, 139-140, 149-150, 162, 167, 182); approval of New Age teachers (see Thomas Merton below); occultic use of imagination (pp. 25-26, 40-43, 163, 198); open theism (p. 35); misunderstanding of the will of God in prayer (p. 37); promotion of visions, revelations and charismatic gifts (pp. 108, 165, 168-169, 171, 193); endorsement of rosary and prayer wheel use (p. 64); misunderstanding of the Old Testament Law for today (pp. 82, 87); mystical journaling (p. 108); embracing pop-psychology (pp. 113-120); promoting Roman Catholic practices such as use of “spiritual directors,” confession and penance (pp. 146-150, 156, 185); and affirming of aberrant charismatic practices (pp. 158-174, 198).

Gilley adds:

… the dust jacket of this edition assures us “that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found” … If spiritual growth is dependent upon the spiritual disciplines described in Foster’s book, should not we have expected to find this truth in the Scriptures? Why did God reveal them, not to the apostles but to apostate Roman Catholic mystics, and then to Richard Foster as he studied the mystics and used occultic techniques of meditation? We need to tread very carefully through this spiritual minefield. If this is in fact one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, I am not too anxious to read the other nine.

He concludes:

No one is calling for a purely intellectualized faith devoid of practice and experience. What those who draw their cue from Scripture and not mystics are calling for is a Christian faith, experience and practice that is rational, intellectual, makes sense, and most importantly is solidly grounded on the Word of God. Foster and company have taken many far afield in pursuit of mystical experiences that lead to a pseudo-Christianity that has the appearance of spirituality but not the substance.

Renovaré

The verb is Latin for ‘to renew’.  Since Foster founded this organisation in 1988, it has expanded around the world.

After the success of Celebration of Discipline, Foster received many public speaking invitations.  Audiences, particularly in the evangelical world, were highly receptive to the book’s subject matter and wished to know more.  In 1986, Foster withdrew from active ministry to pursue a means for teaching people how to live the disciplines the book explores.  He launched Renovaré two years later.

The non-profit organisation has taken on an ecumenical membership from a variety of Protestant denominations as well as from the Roman Catholic Church.  In fact, it is now headed by an Anglican Franciscan, Christopher Webb.  Foster remains a member of Renovaré’s board and its ministry team.

Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs and John MacArthur’s Grace to You Ministries shared his own impressions of Foster with Ken Silva (emphases mine):

I met Foster almost 25 years ago when we were both slated to teach seminars at a couple of writers’ conferences. At the time, he was teaching at Friends University in Wichita, which is a small college founded by Quakers and happens to be where my Mom got her degree in the early 1960s. So we had some things in common and spent quite a bit of time talking. He is a capable writer and a very likable person.

But in my opinion, he is not an evangelical. He does not seem to have any clear understanding of the gospel or the atonement. That’s why his emphasis is all about “spirituality” and “spiritual disciplines” and various things the worshiper must do, with virtually no emphasis on what Christ has done for sinners. I’ve read several of Foster’s books and have never even seen him mention the cross as a propitiation for sins.

Moreover, he blends all kinds of works-based approaches to spirituality, which he borrows from diverse “Christian” traditions and even from other religions’ mystical and superstitious practices. In my estimation, all of that puts him far outside the pale of orthodoxy. Although he occasionally makes quotable remarks and valid observations, he is by no means a trustworthy teacher.

Nonetheless, Foster’s disciplines are pervasive.

From Calvinists to the Nazarenes

Silva researched Foster’s effect on various churches and found that a new generation of Calvinists were on board.

In 2009, John Piper interviewed Matt Chandler of The Village Church, who gave Piper his impressions of being ‘a pastor, a Calvinist and a Complementarian’.  Silva found it ‘odd’ that

in a search for Richard Foster in the Recommended Books of The Village Church, “that have challenged and helped us as a staff in our faith and in our ministry work”, we find his books Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and The Challenge of the Disciplined Life

And so I have to wonder: Why would a Calvinist pastor and his staff be recommending to anyone these books by a highly ecumenical Quaker mystic whose whole sorry shtick is reintroducing the unsuspecting to the apostate Sola Scriptura-denying and spurious spirituality of the Counter Reformation within the medieval Roman Catholic Church?

Mark Driscoll, controversial pastor of the Mars Hill Fellowship in Seattle, also advocates spiritual disciplines and contemplative practices.  Lighthouse Trails Research discovered (emphases mine):

In an article written by Driscoll himself, ironically titled Obedience, Driscoll tells readers to turn to Richard Foster and contemplative Gary Thomas. Driscoll states:

If you would like to study the spiritual disciplines in greater detail … helpful are Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster, and Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas.

And:

Presently, on Driscoll’s website, The Resurgence … is an article titled “How to Practice Meditative Prayer.” The article is written by an Acts 29 (Driscoll’s network of churches) pastor, Winfield Bevins. A nearly identical article on Driscoll’s site, also by Bevins, is titled Meditative Prayer: Filling the Mind. Both articles show a drawing of a human brain. In this latter article, Bevins recognizes contemplative mystic pioneer Richard Foster:

What do we mean by meditative prayer? Is there such a thing as Christian meditation? Isn’t meditation non-Christian? According to Richard Foster, “Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind. Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind” (Celebration of Discipline). Rather than emptying the mind we fill it with God’s word. [Foster is misleading here – his form of meditation is indeed emptying the mind since it’s derived from Eastern meditation, albeit using “Christian” methods. I’m sure neurological studies would show that Foster’s meditation produces altered states of consciousness with Alpha brain waves – as does occult Eastern meditation.] We must not neglect a vital part of our Judeo-Christian heritage simply because other traditions use a form of meditation.

Meanwhile, Manny Silva at Reformed Nazarene does an excellent job in exposing false teachers to members of the Church of the Nazarene.

On November 14, 2010, he blogged about the possibility of Nazarene youth groups being influenced by Renovaré.  He writes about two Christian youth ministries already working with young adult Nazarene members — Barefoot and YouthFront — which wish to partner with Renovaré (emphases mine)…

… the third part of this alliance is Renovare, an organization founded by Richard Foster, perhaps the most influential person today in leading many evangelicals directly to and over the cliffs, right into the abyss of spiritual formation (certainly a more palatable and innocent-sounding phrase than contemplative spirituality, or “Christianized transcendental meditation”, or maybe “occultic prayer practices.”  I have also documented much of Richard Foster’s unbiblical practices and ideology, and it is maddening that he has such an influence in a denomination that preaches holiness and faithfulness to God’s written word, and long ago ironically moved away from experiential-based spirituality in rejecting the hyper-charismatic movement.

[The last sentence above from my personal friend Manny best describes the denomination (particularly Ohio Yearly Meeting aka EFC-ER) prior to the 1970s. Foster started gaining an Evangelical Friends foothold in the early 1970s in Northwest Yearly Meeting, then got a deathgrip on the entire denomination in 1978 with his bestselling Celebration of Discipline. From 1978 on, the Evangelical Friends have gone downhill into contemplative and Emerging/Emergent teachings. Amazing, and tragic, how times have changed for the Evangelical Friends and other Evangelical denominations.

 Just a comment on Manny’s statement that the EFCI “long ago ironically moved away from experiential-based spirituality in rejecting the hyper-charismatic movement.” I don’t know about the other Regions/Yearly Meetings of the EFCI, but EFC-ER put out a statement in 1970 forbidding the open speaking of tongues during services. Ironically, today EFC-ER’s Malone University is becoming increasingly open to IHOP teachings. Again, a huge change from yesteryear. Interestingly, IHOP and other Third Wave Pentecostal groups incorporate Foster’s contemplative practices – as well as overlap with the Emerging/Emergent movements.]

Why Christians are unhappy

Manny Silva reminds Nazarenes what experimentation in religious practices can do not only to individuals but to a denomination as a whole (same link as above):

… we seem to be continuing down this road, making more and more alliances with organizations that have a veneer of truth. And so I ask again, since there is some truth there, does that make it okay to join with them?  Is there any more doubt as to where our denomination is heading, my friends?  Are we fooling ourselves and thinking that these are just minor aberrations in the whole scheme of things?

What does it say to you, then, that NTS, our main seminary for training pastors for the future, is clearly holding hands with these groups, and promoting them? Remember NTS’s promotion of the Spiritual Formation Retreat just before General Assembly?  Remember the Prayer Room at General Assembly with the Richard Foster book?  Or the Richard Foster/Renovare event at Point Loma Nazarene University? Or Trevecca Nazarene University’s prayer labyrinth? Remember the promotion of contemplative practices on the NTS website, for pre-teens?  …  Either our leadership is totally in the dark about these (and many more that I have not mentioned), or they know of it, and are saying nothing specific to the questions many have put to them.

Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine.  In ‘What’s Wrong and Right about the Imitation of Christ’, he offers these observations of contemplative Christianity (emphases mine):

It would be a travesty simply to lump together medieval mysticism, the Anabaptist tradition, Quakers, Pietism, and Protestant liberalism. Nevertheless, there is a common thread running through these diverse movements-a theology of works-righteousness that emphasizes:

    • Christ’s example over his unique and sufficient achievement;
    • The inner experience and piety of believers [and nonbelievers] over the external work and Word of Christ;
    • Our moral transformation over the Spirit’s application of redemption;
    • Private soul formation over the public ministry of the means of grace.

… Let’s leave the final word to Martin Luther, as recorded in Tabletalk (emphases mine):

Yet all these seeming holy actions of devotion, which the wit and wisdom of man holds to be angelical sanctity, are nothing else but works of the flesh… 

Is the same true of our contemplative friends among the laity?  Please exercise caution in your Christian practices.  Is what you are doing in the Bible, particularly the New Testament? If not, avoid it. Rely not on Christian bookstores, errant pastors or sensation-seeking friends.  Instead, be Berean.

End of series

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PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.

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My wife and I love wholesome family shows like “The Waltons.” But what really bothers me is that – even in supposedly “Christian” scenes – I rarely hear Jesus’ name mentioned or the gospel of salvation mentioned. I have reposted a blog which expresses this concern well. Click here for the original source of the following blog:

Where’s the gospel?

July 6, 2012 by | 3 Comments

Sheila and I love watching shows like The Waltons, Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie and even sometimes Veggie Tales. They’re good wholesome programs with good lessons about living but there’s something missing. Even Bible quotes are not uncommon but there’s something missing. Forgiveness, sharing what you have and love thy neighbor are frequent themes but there’s something missing.

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The bible quotes while welcome are almost universally Old Testament and “law” oriented. Our family shows are seemingly just moralistic tales. Where’s the Gospel? Where’s cross of Christ the redeemer? The law says if I’m good enough, God will accept me. The message of the gospel is vastly different in that I cannot be good enough and never will be able to (be good enough on my own) apart through saving faith in Christ. It comes down to what is our motivation for our morals and ethics; are we good to seek God’s favor or because we have God’s favor (in Christ alone), we strive to be good. Paul devotes a lot of time to this in the letter to the church in Rome.

But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed —attested by the Law and the Prophets  —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ,to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  – Romans 3:21-24 HCSB

We must never forget or misunderstand; we are not saved through works and that message must be heard clearly and consistently.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:8-10 HCSB

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(revised 11/27/14)

https://i0.wp.com/i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/LIVING/11/23/rs.thanksgiving.prayers/t1larg.thanksgiving.family.prayer.jpg(image source: http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/LIVING/11/23/rs.thanksgiving.prayers/t1larg.thanksgiving.family.prayer.jpg)

In 2014 I came across several blatant mockeries of God at, of all places, the Pet Supplies Plus stores. First I saw a banner saying “in pets we trust” (a perverted take-off of “in God we trust”). Then closer to Thanksgiving I saw a Pet Supplies Plus banner stating “let’s thank our pets”.  (What about thanking God?)

It is obvious our secular society has no reverence for God. But I wonder even how many professing Christians are still devoutly thanking God our Father – and our Lord Jesus Christ –  on Thankgiving/Turkey Day/Football Day/Gray Thursday.

I originally entitled this blog “When did Americans start thanking people – instead of God – on Thanksgiving?” But as I researched the origins of Thanksgiving, this blog expanded to include a second abomination. Specifically, most American Presidents have made references to God in their Thanksgiving proclamations. But if Thanksgiving is indeed a Christian holiday as many Christians assume, why have American Presidents  rarely mentioned Jesus Christ in their Thanksgiving proclamations?

Following are Wikipedia excerpts (as of 11/22/12) on the traditionally religious aspects of Thanksgiving:

“It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.[1]

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought, though the 1621 events were likely not a religious observation.[4]

“On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred… The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a “day of thanksgiving” to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”[9]

“Edward Winslow, in Mourt’s Relation: “And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you [the Indians] partakers of our plenty.”

Wikipedia goes on to give many more quotes regarding the religious emphasis of Thanksgiving, then provides this section:

Giving thanks

Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania. (1942)

Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose. Historic reasons for community thanksgivings are: the 1541 thanksgiving mass after the expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado safely crossing the high plains of Texas and finding game,[5][34] and the 1777 thanksgiving after the victory in the Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga.[5] In his 1789 Proclamation, President Washington gave many noble reasons for a national Thanksgiving, including “for the civil and religious liberty”, for “useful knowledge”, and for God’s “kind care” and “His Providence”.[35] The only presidents to express a specifically Christian perspective in their proclamation have been Grover Cleveland in 1896,[35] and William McKinley in 1900.[35] Several other presidents have cited the Judeo-Christian tradition. Gerald Ford‘s 1975 declaration made no clear reference to any divinity.[35]

The tradition of giving thanks to God is continued today in various forms. Various religious and spiritual organizations offer worship services and events on Thanksgiving themes the weekend before, the day of, or the weekend after Thanksgiving.[36]

At home, it is a holiday tradition in many families to begin the Thanksgiving dinner by saying grace (a prayer before or after a meal).[37] The custom is portrayed in the photograph “Family Holding Hands and Praying Before a Thanksgiving Meal”. Traditionally, grace was led by the hostess or host, though in later times it is usual for others to contribute.[38]

Hesham A. Hassaballa, an American Muslim scholar and physician, has written that Thanksgiving “is wholly consistent with Islamic principles” and that “few things are more Islamic than thanking God for His blessings”.[39] Similarly many Sikh Americans also celebrate the holiday by “giving thanks to Almighty”.[40]

Interesting – even other religions are thanking their “god” on Thanksgiving. Yet, in recent years we have recently heard Americans thanking their parents, friends, siblings, etc. on Thanksgiving, not God. Why? And when did this omission of God – and Jesus Christ – begin? I will repeat a portion of the Wikipedia excerpt above, which gives us some clues:

The only presidents to express a specifically Christian perspective in their proclamation have been Grover Cleveland in 1896,[35] and William McKinley in 1900.[35] Several other presidents have cited the Judeo-Christian tradition. Gerald Ford‘s 1975 declaration made no clear reference to any divinity.[35] [emphasis mine]

From the founding of our nation, Jesus Christ was not acknowledged. Many of the Founding Fathers (signers of the Declaration of Independence) were Deists who did not mention our Saviour. Not to mention that the Constitution itself includes language regarding separation of church and state, yet does not mention Christ’s name.

Our society’s slide away from Christianity and towards secularization/ humanism/atheism has continued from our nation’s founding through today, having increased exponentially in recent years. So we should not be surprised that today God and/or Jesus Christ is not mentioned at all on Thanksgiving and other holidays.

I could say so much more, but you get the idea. Many believe America has always been a godly nation. But it has never  been a born again Christian nation – at least not in its government, the institution that declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in the first place. (This article puts forth the case that Abraham Lincoln, who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, was a Deist.)

Again I would ask, how can Thanksgiving be considered a Christian holiday, when presidential Thanksgiving proclamations don’t mention Christ?

In closing, I am reposting an article written by a Deist, that explains the Deist view of Thanksgiving. Click here for the original source. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Deism and Thanksgiving
November 26, 2009, by: Bob Johnson

Thanksgiving is a holiday that truly transcends everything that divides us. Unlike Christmas, Passover or any other religious holiday that has meaning only for the members of that particular religion, Thanksgiving has meaning for everyone on the planet.

Thanksgiving has meaning for Atheists, Agnostics, Wiccans, Deists and everyone who has something to be thankful for which is virtually everyone who has life. [Interesting – this Deist seems to be grouping himself with various ungodly and occult groups.] There is no group monopoly on Thanksgiving as there is on the other holidays. It would be great to have an annual international Thanksgiving day.

Deists and other people who believe in God give thanks to God on Thanksgiving and on all the days of the year. [I’m not sure how Deists can say they believe in God, since they don’t believe what the Bible says about God.] Atheists and Agnostics are thankful for what they have and have a feeling of gratitude and happiness, though they don’t direct it toward God. [This is becoming very common in recent yeqrs – thanking parents, siblings, friends etc., but not mentioning God.] But that thankful feeling is still there.

As a Deist myself, I am deeply thankful to God for the designs in Nature which account for our brains and intelligence through the design of evolution [this is an oxymoron – evolution does not happen by design, only Creation happened by design] and which enable us to study those designs (science) and come up with cures for many illnesses, for technology which allows us to further heal people and animals while also providing us with such things as computers, the Internet, space flight, etc. Simply being a real and active part of the magnificent Universe is truly something to be very thankful for.

Deism has a strong similarity to Thanksgiving in that as Thanksgiving transcends the differences in people, Deism transcends the differences in religion in that it begins and ends with belief in God, the cornerstone of all religions. This gives Deism the real potential to end all the violence, unreasonable hatred and fear of the “revealed” religions. Deism is something else we can add to our list of things to be thankful for!

FOR FURTHER READING
(note: some of these articles are Christian, some are not – consider the source)

Godless Thanksgiving: Do Atheists Have Anyone to Thank?
Thanksgiving is Not a Christian or a Religious Holiday
,
by Austin Cline, Agnosticism/Atheism Expert

Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation Strikingly Different From Predecessors’, Janet M. LaRue, Nov 23, 2011 – This article concedes that Obama mentions God. But unlike most other Presidential Thanksgiving proclamations, the 2011 proclamation makes no mention of sin or the need for repentance.

Don’t Make This A Godless Thanksgiving!, by Chip Vickio

Is Thanksgiving A Christian Holiday?, by Duke Taber – Taber believes Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday because George Washington’s declaration used biblical language (yet I would point out that Washington’s statements did not mention Christ).

Why I Am Not a Deist (No Offense to Deists), by Roger E. Olson (an evangelical Arminian)

Deism: Alive and Well in America, by Steven Waldman

George Washington Defines Deism: George Washington’s Principles of Deism in Thanksgiving Proclamation (some claim George Washington was not Masonic – but it seems he was a Deist)

National Thanksgiving Proclamations and Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations – Here you can read the Presidents’ Thanksgiving proclamations in their own words – documentation that most of them did not mention Christ.

Twenty Reasons You Must Give Thanks to God, by Pastor T.O. Banso

Wikipedia article about Deism

World Union of Deists – many disturbing articles strongly opposing Christianity

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(revised 02/04/14)

In this blog I wrote about how Emerging/Emergent heretic Tony Campolo spoke at EFCI’s Malone University 09/28/12. I am shocked by Malone University’s affinity (and the EFCI’s affinity) in recent years for heretics such as Campolo.

I have also been trying to keep up with goings-on in the Nazarene denomination and other Wesleyan Holiness denominations. Following is a blog originally posted here by my friend Manny Silva (reformednazarene), regarding Campolo’s visit to Southern Nazarene University. This blog is excellent, in that Manny provides a summary of Campolo’s heresies. He also provides a list of additional links about Campolo, following the blog.

False Teacher Campolo To Speak At Southern Nazarene University

Posted on November 15, 2012 by reformednazarene

The Nazarene denomination’s fascination with Tony Campolo, especially as a guest speaker at the universities, is astounding.  The latest venue he is scheduled at in the near future is Southern Nazarene University, where he is slated to speak on Feb. 14, 2013.  I am sending this to the president of Southern Nazarene University, and I hope that he will agree with those of us who are fully aware of the falsehoods in Tony Campolo’s ideology, which do not lineup at all with Nazarene teaching, and more importantly, with Biblical teaching and doctrine.  The right thing to do would then be to withdraw the invitation for Campolo, with the exception that they would at least provide a forum where he can be debated in front of the university students. I know several Nazarenes (myself included) who would, in a heartbeat, be willing to debate Dr. Campolo on the merits of his belief system, which I will highlight in a moment.  After all, is not the university the best place for a vigorous debate between opposing principles, where students can listen and make up their minds?  It would serve everyone well to see if Dr. Campolo’s beliefs stand up to the light of Scripture.

In previous posts, I have documented his promotion of pagan Celtic “Christianity” and its “thin places”.  In his speaking engagement at Eastern Nazarene College, he blatantly promoted “thin places” and contemplative spirituality, with Nazarene pastors in attendance at the chapel service, and not a word of protest as far as I know.  And I’m not surprised, as not one pastor in my New England area who happens to be on my email list has ever commented back to me about any concern about Tony Campolo.  One would think that they would want to correct any erroneous assessments of Tony Campolo, including the fact I have called him out as a false teacher.  I have not heard a word either supporting Tony Campolo, or condemning his false teachings.

I have had one university leader, Dr. Karl Leth of Olivet Nazarene University, respond to me and try to defend the welcoming of Dr. Campolo to their campus.  His defense failed the biblical test, although I do respect the fact that he was willing to try.

It truly is sad how bad things are getting in all our Nazarene universities.  It truly is sad how are General Superintendents have done nothing in the last four years since they started getting warnings from me and many others.  If they have been doing something to stop the onslaught of false teachings, I would love to know what it is.  And it certainly has not been made know publicly, which would be the proper thing to do, so there will know where they stand.  But no, continued silence from these leaders, who according to the church manual, are charged with the responsibility of interpreting church doctrine.

Below are just some examples of the heretical views of Tony Campolo.  Judge for yourself.  I am sending this to the General Superintendents again for their review and comment as to whether Tony Campolo reflects the values of the Church of the Nazarene.  It must be pointed out again that Dr. Campolo is never openly challenged in front of the students, who sit passively as he indoctrinates many of them with his false teachings.

SOME OF TONY CAMPOLO’S HERETICAL BELIEFS:

His ecumenicalism, and belief that you don’t even have to know you are saved, or astoundingly, that you even have to be a Christian to have “Jesus in you”.  He also places Islam on the same equal footing as Christianity.

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.”  (Charlie Rose show on January 24, 1997)

“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.”  (Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians”  (National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.” (EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne)

“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”  (EP News Service, Oct. 4, 1985)

“What I am trying to say is that Jesus who incarnated God 2,000 years ago is mystically present and waiting to be discovered in EVERY person you and I encounter”  (A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 171)

His Promotion of Contemplative Prayer (Mysticism)

His fascination with mysticism and heretics such as Ignatius of Loyola, who was a leader in the Counter-Reformation.  Here, he mentions Loyola as an important source of help for him.  Campolo apparently forgets the fact that Ignatius was in charge of the brutal group called the Jesuits, also known as the pope’s shock troops, who persecuted Christians who dared to defy the Roman Catholic teachings.  Yet, he calls Ignatius a saint!

“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 is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”   (“Mystical Encounters for Christians”)

His Promotion of Mindless Repetitive Prayer and Pagan Celtic Spirituality

“I’ve got to push everything out of mind save the name of Jesus. I say His name over and over again, for as long as fifteen minutes, until I find my soul suspended in what the ancient Celtic Christians called a “thin place”–a state where the boundary between heaven and earth, divine and human, dissolves. You could say that I use the name of Jesus as my koan.”  (Mystical Encounters for Christians)

* It is also interesting that Nazarene Theological Seminary’s Doug Hardy is teaching the pagan Celtic Spirituality to future Nazarene pastors.  This is an abomination, frankly, along with the emergent ideology and other contemplative spirituality they are teaching.  The seminary is preparing our future false pastors for Nazarene churches across the globe right now.

His “Feminization” Of Jesus In the Following Statement

“There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this … It is this feminine side of God I find in Jesus that makes me want to sing duets with Him … Not only do I love the feminine is Jesus, but the more I know Jesus, the more I realize that Jesus loves the feminine in me. Until I accept the feminine in my humanness, there will be a part of me that cannot receive the Lord’s love. … There is that feminine side of me that must be recovered and strengthened if I am to be like Christ … And until I feel the feminine in Jesus, there is a part of Him which I cannot identify.”(Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88)

His Lack of Understanding Of Scripture regarding Homosexuality

“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.”  (20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117)

Dr. Campolo also believes in evolution; does not believe that the Bible is inerrantly inspired; believes that man has an inner divinity; believes non-Christians might go to heaven; believes that homosexuals are “born that way”, and that it is not a “volitional” issue.

So this man continues to get invited to our Christian schools to indoctrinate our students with all sorts of heresies.  Discernment was thrown out a long time ago by our leaders.

Related Articles:

Beware Tony Campolo:  http://www.wayoflife.org/database/campolo.html

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/olivet-nazarene-lets-false-teacher-campolo-speak-in-chapel/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/symptoms-of-a-great-apostasy-in-our-christian-schools-and-seminaries/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/tony-campolos-thin-places-occultic-christianity/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/false-prophet-tony-campolo-promotes-doctrines-of-demons-to-enc-students/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/profiles-in-apostasy-tony-campolo/

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Schools in the Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI) as well as the Nazarene denomination (aka Church of the Nazarene or CotN) are hotbeds of  contemplative and Emerging/Emergent teachings. I have been looking for ties between Emerging/Emergent Evangelical Friends schools and Emerging/Emergent Nazarene schools. The following press release provides the strongest evidence I have found so far.

Below I have reposted this press release which appeared in 2008. As of November 2012, Patrick Allen is still provost of George Fox University. In my repost I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Bruin Notes
George Fox Journal, Spring 2008

“Allen fills top academic post”

Patrick Allen   Upon learning George Fox had an open provost position, Patrick Allen knew he had found his dream job.

“I saw the announcement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, cut it out, took it to my wife, Lori, and said, ‘Now this is the kind of place I’ve been talking about,’” he says. [Allen’s attraction to a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent hotbed speaks volumes.]

Allen, a chief academic officer at three universities over the past two decades [Southern Nazarene University, Point Loma Nazarene University, then GFU]  had reason to apply. “In several institutions where I led strategic planning efforts, George Fox was listed as a peer or aspiration institution — the kind of institution we desired to be like if we could,” he says. [Again GFU – a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent hotbed – is looked up to.]

The 57-year-old Allen was hired in December, culminating a search that began when Robin Baker [a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent I’m sure] vacated the provost position to become president in July 2007. The provost is the chief academic officer of the institution and is responsible for all academic staff and resources. [So Allen is directly aware of his contemplative/Emerging/Emergent faculty/staff and their teachings.]

Allen had been provost at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma since 2005, and before that served 10 years as provost and chief academic officer at 4,000-student Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Other universities at which he has served include Anderson University, Friends University [Richard Foster taught at Friends University after a stint at GFU], and MidAmerica Nazarene University.

He earned a doctorate in higher education from the University of Oklahoma, and also holds master’s degrees in management (Southern Nazarene University) and liberal arts (Southern Methodist University). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Olivet Nazarene University.

“I feel that the provost has the second best job on campus and the president has the third best job — the best job is teaching and shaping students,” he says. “I get my kicks when I can recruit, equip, develop, encourage, challenge, and support the true heroes of the institution.” [Allen is referring to the faculty – who are contemplative/Emerging/Emergent.  See also this article describing the duties of a provost.]

Allen has taken more than 25 student groups to Europe; has played guitar in a bluegrass band in San Diego; and speaks in churches, conferences, and retreats on the value of community and Christian higher education.

Allen will begin July 1.

FOR FURTHER READING

http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/academic_affairs/index.html

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Why is it that so many Christians today are turning to heretical Emerging/ Emergent teachings? And why is it that when they are confronted, they refuse to heed the Truth, instead hardening their hearts?

Years ago, I heard a pastor condemning occultish habits (such as watching movies like “Ghost” and “Field of Dreams”). Although I am a born again Christian, at that time I considered such movies as “entertainment” and “containing Christian themes.” I had watched “Ghost” recently, and “Field of Dreams” several nights before. After hearing the pastor, my eyes were opened, my heart was softened, I repented and immediately quit watching these New Ageish movies.

Yet, when Emerging/Emerging people are confronted concerning similar occultish practices (such as Spiritual Formation’s contemplative spirituality) they harden their hearts. I think this hardness results from a combination of deluding spirits, one’s sinful nature, etc. – and the fact that most Emerging/Emergents don’t really know the Lord as their Saviour.

I believe we are approaching the  Apostasy/Falling Away of the End Times. Consider this verse:

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thess. 2:3)

Could this “falling away” be the postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) movement? Apparently many think so – Googling [“apostasy” “falling away” “Emergent”] brought up many hits.

My Facebook Friend John Henderson provides some insights on these issues in an article which I have reposted below. Click here for the original source of John’s article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

When God Sends Deluding Spirits—The Mystery of Iniquity
by John Henderson on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 8:54am

I was asked why it is that so many people are fooled so easily in politics and religion.  Is there an answer as to why the man-on-the-street interviews by TV comedians reveal an amazing disconnect with reality?  I know they edit out sensible responses for effect, but they still have enough stupid stuff to produce a segment.

A traditional Wesleyan holiness Christian recently asked on Facebook for material to share with pastors who claim to be evangelical but are still toying with teachings of those who promote the emergent error.  This Christian man said they were “Emerging pastors who say things like: ‘We hold to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Yes, we quote McLaren, Sweet, etc. but there is a lot they say that we don’t agree with doctrinally.’”  His bewilderment is justifiable and my response was: “You might keep in mind that they are playing with semantics [they had claimed to be emerging rather than emergent]. There is no difference. They have learned to blend the lingo of biblical thought with their error so it sounds more gospel. They are just as much into it as anything. I think it is Proverbs that talks about taking fire into the bosom, etc. You still get burned.”

That reference is Proverbs 6:27-28.  It refers to committing adultery with a prostitute but is certainly applicable in this context.  After all, following anti-biblical error is spiritual adultery with the whore of heresy.

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”

It is not possible to believe some truth and some error and there still be truth.  Truth is not truth if it is diluted with false doctrine.  I would be more successful finding a good tomato sandwich in a garbage can than I would in finding truth slathered with error’s doctrines.

There is no doubt in my mind that we in the church, as well as in the entire world, have turned a sharp corner towards massive delusion.  It has always been in our midst but the winds of delusional aberrations have fanned the flames of error into an uncontrollable fire that is spreading faster than Hurricane Sandy spread flames that destroyed more than 100 homes on Staten Island in a matter of mere moments.

2 Timothy 3:13 – “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

1 Timothy 4:1-3 – “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; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron….”

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 – “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

It is bad enough in politics when it is merely “secular” but far worse when people who should know better follow blindly after this delusion. It is a delusion that once was chosen under the influences of satanic allurements.  Now it is being sent by the hand of God to damn those who have chosen to be damned.  Their sin of delusion has spun out of their control and God now directs it to its ultimate destination.  In a real sense, they asked for it and they are now getting what they asked for but they are unable to control its consequences.  Thy made the choices and He delivers the results.

Hurricane Sandy provides other examples of this.  I think of two.  One woman who rode out the storm was almost taken away but barely survived.  She told a reporter that the reason she remained behind was that it wasn’t this bad last year.  Another woman tragically lost her two young sons, ripped right out her arms, because she waited too long to try to escape the storm.

Hurricane Katina had a tragic story as well.  A group decided to ride out the storm in some sort of club or bar on the beach in a partying spirit.  Searchers never found them and assumed they had been washed out to sea.

The “hurricane” of God’s judgment is on its way.  The Bible’s “meteorologists” (prophets) tell us plainly of its path and conditions.  As in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” we are plainly told to flee from the City of Destruction—from the wrath soon to come.  A few pay attention and flee to the Cross but most ignore it, blindly presuming that somehow they will be alright in the end.  That may be the doctrine of a Rob Bell Universalist, but it is not the message of the Scriptures.  While the false teachers of emergent heresy smoothly lull souls into waiting for Hell, the storm stays on his track and gets closer by the moment.  It cannot be stopped, diverted, delayed, or explained away.  It can only be ignored to fatal peril.

The title of this article indicates that God is sending this delusion.  It has arrived at the point that God no longer just allows deception to present itself.  He pushes it along because He has been so completely ignored, misrepresented, and outright denied that He is turning His back on rebellious mankind and is turning loose of the restraints that have held it back.  False teachers wade about in the blowing gales and floods of demonic onslaughts saying that everything will be okay, that it is not as bad as it seems and has been reported.  And people believe them in astounding numbers.

The same Christian I mentioned above [at the beginning of this article] sent me a reply that should be shared here in part:

“I’m starting to view all Emerging/Emergents ‘through a new lense.’ Specifically, they ALL oppose Fundamentalism and the Fundamentals of 1910-1915. The new Nazarene book that [a discernment ministry] mentioned – Square Peg – seems representative of their almost violent opposition to Fundamentalism.”  He may have been referencing another comment about a student at a Nazarene university who had been disciplined for objecting to a professor’s orders to exclude references to “emergent” on the school’s website announcing an upcoming guest emergent/missional speaker at the university.  The student had objected on the grounds of its being disingenuous.

Proverbs 6:15 – “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”

Proverbs 29:1 – “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

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