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HEAVEN IS FOR REAL: A DANGEROUS BOOK FOR AN APOSTATE AGE
October 25, 2011
From Way of Life – David Cloud
Heaven Is For Real, a book about a four-year-old boy’s supposed visit to heaven, has sold over 1.5 million copies and is currently the # 6 best seller on Amazon. It has broken Thomas Nelson’s sales records and is popular with Independent Baptists. One pastor told me that it is “circulating around many of our IBaptist camps; many are recommending it.” The book is the true story of Colton Burpo, a Methodist pastor’s son who allegedly visits heaven during emergency surgery. There he meets a dead sister and great grandfather, sees Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and Satan, and learns things not revealed in Scripture. We don’t doubt that the little boy is convinced that he visited heaven, but we don’t believe for a minute that it actually happened.
First, the book is contrary to the testimony of Scripture that the apostles were the last to see the resurrected Christ. This was one of the evidences of apostleship (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). Paul said that he was the last of the apostles to see Christ, meaning that he saw Christ some time after the other apostles had seen him (1 Cor. 15:8). This occurred on more than one occasion in his life as described in the book of Acts. Paul gave this testimony in the context of giving the eyewitness evidence for Christ’s resurrection. We also know that the apostle John saw Christ on the island of Patmos as described in Revelation 1. All of the evidence we need for our faith is found in the testimony of Scripture and in these particular eyewitnesses.
Second, the book is contrary to Paul’s statement that when he had visited heaven he heard things that he was not allowed to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4). Obviously, then, a person cannot visit heaven and describe whatever he sees and hears there.
Third, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary God’s emphasis on the priority and sufficiency of faith and Scripture. The book contains testimonies of how people have believed in God and heaven because of Colton’s alleged visitation, but the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word, not by signs and wonders (Romans 10:17). In his account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that if someone does not hear the Scriptures, he will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). All of the signs and revelation we need are found in the completed canon of Scripture (John 20:30-31). The Bible is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works “(2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has told us everything He wants us to know about heaven at this time.
Fourth, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary to the Bible’s plain teachings. For example, Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11). Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125), whereas the Bible says the Holy Spirit came from heaven at Pentecost and He is the power (Acts 1:8). Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101), that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102), and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152). Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).
by David Cloud
Way of Life Literature
“The Shack” was in the Top Ten on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Trade Fiction for two years. As of January 2010, it had sold seven million copies. It is being translated into 30 languages and a motion picture is said to be in the works.
Though its author, William Paul Young, is not a member of a church and is even reticent to call himself a Christian, and though its doctrine of God is grossly heretical, the novel is being touted as a helpful Christian book.
“The Shack” has been endorsed by Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, CCM artist Michael W. Smith, Mark Batterson (senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.), Wayne Jacobson, author of “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” Gayle Erwin of Calvary Chapel, James Ryle of the Vineyard churches, and Greg Albrecht, editor of “Plain Truth” magazine. The premier issue of Rick Warren’s magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, refers to The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (p. 24). The Shack is recommended by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet, authors of The Jesus Manifesto. Viola said, “I will shamelessly throw my hat in the ring with those who are giving unqualified praise for The Shack” (http://frankviola.wordpress.com).
Eugene Peterson, Regent College professor and author of The Message, is profuse in his praise of the book: “When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of ‘The Shack.’ This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” did for his. It’s that good!”
William Young was one of the speakers at the February 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. The 1,500 attendees were pastors and Christian workers. Other speakers included Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. Young had his own break-out session and was interviewed in one of the general sessions by Andy Crouch, a senior editor of Christianity Today. It was said that 57% of the attendees had read “The Shack,” and Young was enthusiastically received. Crouch treated Young as a fellow believer and did not even hint that there might be a damnable theological problem with the way that God is depicted in the book. When Young said, “I don’t feel responsible for the fact that it [“The Shack”] is tampering with people’s paradigms” or how people think about God, the crowd responded with clapping, cheers, and laughter. The emerging church loves to tamper with traditional Bible doctrine and there is no fear of God for doing so!
Young was born in Alberta in 1955 but spent most of the first ten years of his life in Papua New Guinea with his missionary parents, who were ministering to a backwards tribal group called the Dani. He graduated from Warner Pacific College, which is affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), with a degree in religion.
In “The Shack,” Young presents traditional Bible-believing Christianity as hypocritical and hurtful. The book’s main character grew up under “rigorous rules,” and his father, who was an elder in the church, was “a closet drinker” and treated his family with cruelty when drunk (p. 7).
Hypocrisy is very injurious to the cause of Christ, but hypocrisy on the part of Christians does not disprove the Bible. Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! All too often this type of thing is used as an excuse by rebels. I know this by personal experience. In my youth I used the inconsistencies that I saw in Baptist churches to excuse my rejection of the church. The chief problem, though, was not the hypocrisy of others but my own rebellion and love for the world. When I repented of my wickedness at age 23 and turned to Christ and received the Bible as God’s holy Word, I stopped blaming others and took responsibility for myself before Almighty God.
Rules and obligations under God’s grace are not wrong. They are an integral part of Bible Christianity. We are saved by grace without works, but we are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). The New Testament epistles are filled with rules and obligations that believers are expected to keep and filled with warnings about disobedience. The true grace of God does not let us live as we please. It teaches us, rather, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). That is a very strict standard of Christian living.
There is hypocrisy in churches and there are false gospels that are law-based rather than grace-based and most churches today are corrupt, but the solution is not to reject the literal interpretation of Scripture and create a new God! God is amazingly compassionate and loving and He has proven that on the cross, but God is also holy and just and requires obedience and hates and punishes sin, and that side of God cannot be ignored without creating a false God.
The flesh wearies greatly of the holiness of God! I can testify to that. From time to time in my Christian life I have gotten discouraged at God. It is not a simple thing to reconcile God’s love and grace with His awful holiness and justice. On one hand, the New Testament tells us that the believer is forgiven, redeemed, justified, accepted in the beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, holy and without blame before God, and seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1-3). On the other hand, the same New Testament tells us that the believer must be exceedingly careful about how he lives before God. We are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), which is the highest conceivable standard. The believer who does not pursue this is in danger of being judged (e.g., 1 Cor. 3:13-17; 9:26-27; 11:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5, 16, 22-23; 3:15-16). There is even a sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30). Thus there must be many warnings in the Christian life (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).
These things seem to be contradictory to the fallen flesh and to the natural man, but they are two sides of the same compassionate, thrice holy God, and to reject either one is reject the true God for an idol.
In an interview with the 700 Club in February 2009 Young described a “huge personal failure” that occurred in his life at age 38. He says, “My life crashed and burned, and I had to go back and deal with some stuff from being a child on the mission field along with other stuff in my life.” He speaks of “secrets” that he kept from his childhood and guilt that he carried. He doesn’t describe any of this in detail, but it appears that he felt guilty for not obeying God’s Word and perhaps went through psychological therapy. He talks continually of “pain,” “damage,” healing childhood memories, and such.
“The Shack” is about redefining God. Young has said that the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.
In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”
Young therefore admits that the God of “The Shack” is different from the traditional God of Bible-believing Christianity. He says that the God who “watches from a distance and judges sin” is “a Christianized version of Zeus.” This reminds me of the modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament “a dirty bully” in his 1944 book “Preaching in a Revolutionary Age.”
“The Shack” explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible.
Young depicts the triune God as a young Asian woman named “Sarayu” * (supposedly the Holy Spirit), an oriental carpenter who loves to have a good time (supposedly Jesus), and an older black woman named “Elousia” (supposedly God the Father). God the Father is also depicted as a guy with a ponytail and a goatee. (* The name “Sarayu” is from the Hindu scriptures and represents a mythical river in India on the shores of which the Hindu god Rama was born.)
Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn’t like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as “myth.”
Note the following quotes from the god of “The Shack”:
“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do” (p. 89).
Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2.
“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it…” (p. 120).
Contrast Isaiah 13:11; Ephesians 5:5-6.
“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).
Contrast 2 Peter 1:16.
“[Your heart] is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process” (p. 138).
Contrast Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23.
“To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. … True love never forces” (pp. 145, 190).
Contrast John 8:31-32; 14:15; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23; 3:3, 16-19.
“Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).
Contrast Revelation 21-22.
“My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. … You can’t build it. … I don’t create institutions–never have, never will” (pp. 178, 179).
Contrast Acts 2:41-42, 13-14.
“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. … I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).
Contrast Acts 4:12; 26:28.
“Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).
Contrast John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; 1 John 5:12, 19; Revelation 20:11-15.
“The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. … Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … That is why you won’t find the word responsibility in the Scriptures. … because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me” (pp. 197, 203, 206).
Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18. In Ephesians 4-6 alone there are at more than 80 specific obligations that believers are exhorted to keep.
“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223).
Contrast Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 3:1; 5:9; Jude 4; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.
THE SHACK’S GOD IS EMERGENT AND NEW AGE
Not only is “The Shack’s” god suspiciously similar to the one described in the books of the more liberal branch of the emerging church (e.g., Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Brian McLaren), it also has a strong kinship to the New Age god promoted by John Lennon and Oprah Winfrey.
Lennon’s extremely popular song “IMAGINE” (1971) proclaims:
“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us, above us only sky … no religion too/ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
William Young imagines the same thing in “The Shack.” If there is a God, he is non-judgmental. There is no hell. God just wants people to do their own thing and be happy.
Oprah preaches the same gospel to millions. Man is not a sinner; God is not a judge; all is well with the universe; and I just need to surrender to the flow. Her message is the celebration of self. She grew up in a traditional Baptist church, but she has reinterpreted the Bible and moved beyond its restrictions. She says, “As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).
Many of the statements in The Shack are out and out New Age philosophy. As Gary Gilley observes:
“The very essence of God is challenged when Young, quoting from Unitarian-Universalist, Buckminster Fuller, declares God to be a verb not a noun (pp. 194, 204). In a related statement, Young has Jesus say of the Holy Spirit, ‘She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life’ (p. 110). Yet the Bible presents God as a person (noun) not an action (verb). When this truth is denied we are moving from the biblical understanding of a personal God to an Eastern understanding of God in everything. Thus, we are not surprised when Mack asks the Holy Spirit if he will see her again he is told, ‘Of course, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow’ (p. 198). This is not biblical teaching. This idea seems repeated in a line from a song Missy creates, ‘Come kiss me wind and take my breath till you and I are one’ (p. 233). At what point do we become one with creation? Again, this is an Eastern concept, not a biblical one.
“Young reinforces his Eastern leanings with a statement right out of New Age (New Spirituality) teachings: Papa tells Mack, ‘Just say it out loud. There is power in what my children declare”’(p. 227). Rhonda Byrne would echo this idea in her book, The Secret, but you will not find it in the Bible.
“Further, we are told Jesus ‘as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone’ (p. 100). So how did he do so? By trusting in the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Spirit says, ‘is just the first to do it to the uttermost–the first to absolutely trust my life within him…’ (p. 100). There is enough truth here to be confusing but not accurate. Jesus, never ceasing to be fully God, had all Divine power dwelling within Him. That He chose to limit His use of that power and rely on the Holy Spirit while on earth in no way diminishes His essence. While Jesus is our example He is not a guru blazing a trail in which in this life we too can be like God. This idea smacks of New Age teaching, not Scripture. Jesus even tells Mack that ‘God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things–ultimately emerging as the real’ (p. 112). This is pure New Age spirituality” (Gilley, “The Shack – A Book Review”).
DENYING THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE
Another foundational problem with “The Shack” is its denial of the Bible as the absolute and sole authority. Note the following quote:
“In seminary he [the book’s main figure, Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (pp. 65, 66).
To believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the sole authority for faith and practice is not to “put God in a box.” It is to honor God by receiving the Scripture for what it claims to be and what it has proven itself to be. If a father goes on a journey and leaves behind a written statement of his will for the family during his absence, the family that truly honors the father submits to that written record. To reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God is to launch out upon the stormy waters of subjective mysticism. It allows man to be his own authority and to live as he pleases, which is an objective of both the New Age movement and the emerging church.
The author of “The Shack” points to changed lives as evidence of the truth of the book and the grace of God in using it. At the National Pastor’s Conference, William Young told Andy Crouch that the book was setting people free from “addictive bondages and doctrinal bondages.” He said, “Even people who have been vocally against the book, people in their own family have been healed.”
Healed of what and healed in what way?
What is happening is that people who don’t like Bible Christianity, don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t want to feel guilty for their sin, and have rejected the “angry” God of Scripture, are responding enthusiastically to the man-made idol presented in “The Shack.” The following is typical of the postings at Young’s MySpace site by readers of the book:
“Your book, The Shack, is amazing! It has changed so many people’s idea of what God is really like! It has set some of my friends free!”
Miracles do not prove that something is of God. There is one that the Bible calls “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he can do miracles and answer prayers. I saw miracles and experienced answers to prayers when I was the member of a Hindu meditation society before I came to Christ. Miracles are not the proof of the truth; the Bible alone is the proof. The prophet Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
“The Shack” is another building stone of the end-times Tower of Babel.
God’s people must be exceedingly careful in these days of awful apostasy. The Bible warns:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:25-26).
The willful sin described in this verse points back to the sin referred to in verse 29. It is the sin of counting the blood of salvation an unholy thing. It is the rejection of personal salvation through the blood of Christ, which many in the emerging church are doing. You can’t be saved if you reject the substitutionary atonement.
In these days we need to stay in the Bible every day and be in sweet communion with Christ, confessing our sins and walking in the light.
And we need to capture the heart of the next generation and educate them so they will not be taken captive by the wiles of the devil and the guile of false teachers.
The Seductive and Subversive “Shack”
Yet people I respect highly, including Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary, calls it “undiluted heresy.” He maintains there is no way it can seriously address the issues of Christian faith.
Here is the scenario in brief. Remember, this fiction plot is going to transform lives! A man by the name of “Mack” has a daughter murdered and he slips into a depression. He gets a message that he is supposed to meet God in the shack. Entering the shack, he is in the company of the Trinity, but now it gets weird and hard to believe anyone could be deceived by this piece of work.
In the shack he learns that God is “Papa” but is really an African-American female. Thankfully, Jesus is a Jewish man, but the Holy Spirit is another female figure of Asian descent. So much for Trinitarian theology! So Christianity has been misconstrued and has been revised. Talk about minimizing the Divine!
On page 110 Jesus says that He is perhaps not the way, truth, and life, but the BEST way to relate to the Father and Holy Spirit. Papa God, the African-American female, says she has many followers of many religions in different lands. This is not Orthodox Christianity, yet millions of Christian readers claim it is! Discernment has taken a summer vacation or perhaps a permanent vacation.
Mack asks “Papa” God, the female, about God’s wrath. The answer is that she doesn’t punish people for sin; rather she wants to cure sin. No mention of repentance, the shed blood, and all the things the new “seeker” environment wants to leave out in the church parking lot.
Former “New Ager” Warren Smith says, “The Shack is being described as a Christian novel and is currently ranked number one on the New York Times best-seller list for paperback fiction. Many believers are buying multiple copies and giving them to friends and family. The Shack reads as a true story but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity – all in the name of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ and the ‘Holy Spirit.’ Author William P. Young’s alternative presentation of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of local bookstores.”
Smith, who has been on my radio program many times denouncing Oprah Winfrey’s deception, goes on to say, “I was drawn into the ‘New Age Movement’ years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God’s love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much-needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my ‘New Age’ authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that God was in everyone and everything.
“I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same ‘New Age’ teaching that God is ‘in’ everything.”
As writer and researcher Berit Kjos concludes, “Yet countless pastors and church leaders are delighting in its message. By ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt, they embrace an inclusive but counterfeit ‘Christianity’ that draws crowds but distorts the Bible. Discounting Satan as well, they weaken God’s warnings about deception. No wonder His armor for today’s spiritual war became an early victim of this spreading assault on truth.”
So The Shack opens in the context of tragedy. Four years have passed since the cruel murder of Missy, Mack’s precious six-year-old daughter. Enveloped in grief, he receives a strange invitation. “I’ve missed you,” it says. “I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. Papa.” What could it mean?
Doubtful, but drawn to the meeting, Mack heads for the Oregon wilderness and finds the dilapidated old shack. “God” miraculously transforms it into a cozy cottage, and Mack meets his supposed maker.
No, it doesn’t get any stranger but sadly, it doesn’t get more popular with Christians who miss the point that The Shack is intended to bring about a new definition of the Christian faith. As Albert Mohler says, “This is totally seductive and subversive, but readers, even believers, don’t seem to mind.” You can listen to all of his comments at this link.
To learn more, visit Lighthouse Trails Research and the article The Shack: Father-goddess Rising.
I thank God for all of those who are speaking out today over outrageous issues like this one. I am reminded about the many false things promoted today written in 2 Timothy 3:16: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” This is a last days’ reference and if you don’t think we’re in them (the last days), I’ll sell you a beach vacation to Minnesota in January.
Here is another article by Berit Kjos
Deceived by a counterfeit “Jesus” – The twisted “truths”…..
Also by Mike Oppenheimer – Shocked by the Shack
“It is a satanic trap denying essential beliefs taught by Jesus, the Apostles and Bible believers throughout the Church Age. It is also exactly what Young believed in 2004. It is what he believed when he wrote The Shack and whether he believes it today or not you can be fairly certain that with millions of dollars at risk he is not about to re-edit The Shack to try and make theological corrections – at least without an act of God anyway. “
From Eric Barger
TAKE A STAND! MINISTRIES
THE DEATH OF DISCERNMENT
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? – I Kings 3:9
I like Paul Young. Having heard him speak about his life and book three times recently in Portland, Oregon I found him to be passionate, witty and funny. While at Young’s alma mater (Warner Pacific College), I was able to spend a few moments with him privately during which time I asked him to personally respond to several criticisms and concerns that I and other Christians are raising about the theological contents of his book. I wish I could report that he allayed my apprehensions but instead, I went away convinced that The Shack is more than just a little offbeat but is, as Dr. Albert Mohler pegged it on his radio program, “blatant heresy.”
Yes, The Shack is indeed a novel. And many will wonder what could be wrong since it is identified as a Christian book and authored by a man who claims to be a Christian? After all, The Shack is heralded by many seasoned Christian leaders. Pastors are preaching from it. Sunday School classes and small groups are reading and discussing it. Many Christians are buying it by the case to give as gifts. Some Christian Schools are even sanctioning and encouraging the reading of the book. But this is not just a benign story of man overcoming life’s challenges. Make no mistake, the book presents doctrine throughout its clever and gripping story – something the author clearly intended to do. Therein lays the problem.
Trading the Kingdom for a Shack
For those unaware of the book’s storyline, here is the description of The Shack from Amazon.com.
“Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.
Four years later in the midst of what he refers to as ‘The Great Sadness,’ Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant ‘The Shack’ wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”
The Shack is a publishing phenomenon but you may ask “is it really any big deal?” This self-published book has sold 4+ million copies since its May 2007 release. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and has remained there for the past 25 weeks as of this writing. It has also held the #1 position on many other bestseller lists including Amazon.com, USA Today’s Top 150 Books, Barnes and Noble, Borders Books and is the #1 book of 2008 at ChristianBook.com. According to the author, the book is currently selling 87,000 copies a week in the secular book stores alone. All of this has allowed Young and his two publishing partners the luxury of holding out for just the right major motion picture deal as well. But there is a reason why several dozen publishers turned this book down. Here are a few of my observations – and objections.
The Shack’s Trinity
Several chapters into the book, a most unorthodox version of the Holy Trinity is revealed. Young’s tale diminishes Almighty God from His rightful position as a supernatural being. Instead of speaking by His Word and His Spirit, He is morphed into a feminine figure reduced to passing notes to those whom she wants to communicate with.
God is portrayed in The Shack as a large African-American woman named “Papa” also called “Elousia.” (Talk about gender confusion!) Jesus is a Jewish carpenter complete with a tool belt and the Holy Spirit is depicted as an Asian woman named after “Sarayu,” a mystical river in ancient India related to the Hindu deity Kali. Clearly, there is a trinity in The Shack but it is absolutely not the Trinity.
From my first glance at The Shack, it struck me that the idea of God in human form – even in the pages of a novel is more than just theologically questionable. It is forbidden by several passages from both the Old and New Testaments not the least of which is the Second Commandment (Exodus 20: 4-5). The Apostle Paul proclaims, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” (Romans 1:21-23a)
Of The Shack, Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint contributing editor Travis McSherley wrote, “This is the root of the book’s problems. In the course of the biblical narrative, God the Father never reveals Himself in the form of a human. In fact, Christ rebukes His disciples for even suggesting it. (See John 14:5-10)
The Shack would not dispute these limits of understanding – it dedicates many pages to chastising believers who cling too tightly to traditional views of God’s nature. Yet, instead of expanding our thinking and our appreciation for divine mysteries, the book shrinks them quite dramatically by creating a deity so clearly influenced by human expectations of what God should be.”
Sin, Hell, Judgment, Salvation, the Incarnation,
Hierarchy and Authority in the Godhead, a Polynesian
Goddess and other assorted problems
Here are just a few of the many issues raised by The Shack:
– Young’s Papa character insists that sin is its own punishment. This distorts the reality of Hell and discounts eternal retribution for sin.
– Readers of The Shack are told that Jesus is only the best way to know God – not the only way.
– The Shack teaches that when Jesus went to the cross, God Almighty died there too. This is a heresy known as patripassianism. (In our private conversation I challenged Young about this but to no avail.)
– The Shack states that there is no structure or hierarchy within the Trinity and that the three personages of God are all equally subject to one another and to humans as well. I challenge fans of The Shack to open a Bible and try to make that square with the Scriptures!
– Young’s “Papa” character is suspiciously akin to a Polynesian/Hawaiian goddess who also happens to be known as “Papa.” When I quizzed Young on this he denied any knowledge of such a deity. However, the similarities with The Shack’s God character are stunning.
Now lets move on to perhaps the biggest concern.
Is Paul Young still a “Reconciling Universalist?”
I have noticed that in nearly every electronic or print media interview Paul Young volunteers that he is “not a universalist” and does so without ever being asked about it. But is he merely parsing words? Young is obviously nervous about the Christian world becoming convinced of any such thing. That said, it strikes me as odd that on a web page intended to answer critics of the book one of his editors, Wayne Jacobson, acknowledges that Young had previously embraced a form of universalism known as “universal reconciliation” and that this belief indeed appeared throughout the original manuscript. (Jacobson refers to it as “ultimate reconciliation” to avoid using the dreaded “U” word, universalism.)
Jacobson’s website states:
Does The Shack promote Ultimate Reconciliation (UR)?
“It does not. While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR as sound teaching and didn’t want to be involved in a project that promoted it. In my view UR is an extrapolation of Scripture to humanistic conclusions about our Father’s love that has to be forced on the biblical text.
Since I don’t believe in UR and wholeheartedly embrace the finished product, I think those who see UR here, either positively or negatively are reading into the text. To me that was the beauty of the collaboration.” (See: http://www.windblownmedia.com/shackresponse.html)
It is obvious that Young, Jacobson, and partner Brad Cummings all have a great deal to lose by not doing their best to debunk the book’s critics. They are very aware of where Young was theologically when he wrote the book. And that is the point isn’t it? It is the contents of the book (and presumably that of the forthcoming motion picture) that is being criticized here.
In the very beginning, I began to smell universalism in The Shack by simply reading it. These thoughts were more than confirmed through a very scholarly paper critiquing The Shack written by Dr. James De Young. Other leaders who have been critical of the book including Dr. Michael Youssef, Janet Parshall, Jan Markell and Dr. Larry DeBruyn have quoted Dr. De Young’s research – and for good reason.
Dr. De Young is a conservative professor at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is fluent in Greek and Hebrew and also teaches an elective on the early Church Fathers. He is well equipped to expose universalism from both biblical and historical perspectives. Perhaps equally important to our discussion here, is the fact that for several years both Dr. De Young and Paul Young were members of a theological discussion group or “think tank” known as the M3 Forum. In response to the bountiful amount of universalistic ideas found in The Shack, Dr. De Young has published a well-documented 39 page paper which can be accessed at: http://theshackreview.com. Once on the website you will also find several shorter documents and a discussion forum with remarks from readers, many of which defend The Shack. These comments serve to illustrate the tremendous confusion and lack of biblically thinking we see abounding inside the Christian community today.
After having Young tell me face to face that he was not a universalist, I asked him about Dr. De Young’s paper. He bristled at me and made several accusations about De Young which I now understand to be unfounded. Since the meeting with Paul Young, I had the opportunity to meet personally with Dr. De Young for several hours. In our meeting he shared another yet-to-be-released paper with me which he has written exposing Paul Young’s very bold defense of universal reconciliation. I can best describe the information in it as shocking. In fact, in the Spring of 2004, Paul gave one of the most complete defenses of universal reconciliation imaginable and reiterated this position on at least two occasions – the latest being in May-June 2007 – after writing The Shack.
Having had no previous indication that a staunch believer was in their midst, Paul Young’s revelations heralding universal reconciliation came as a complete blind-side to the M3 Forum members. After the group contested Young’s ideas, Dr. De Young gave a lengthy rebuttal to all of Paul’s points, branding Young’s position as heretical, citing a church council decision from the 6th century. After this event in 2004, Paul Young ceased participating in the M3 Forum.
The REAL Problem
The bottom line concerning books, movies, television shows and other input like The Shack is that if our emotions rule and we fail to use scriptural discernment we can be taken captive by “evil imaginations”
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit… – Colossians 2:8
Knowing that the author actually portrayed himself as both Shack characters Missy (the violated-then-murdered six year-old) and her father, Mack (the one searching for God in a painful world) one’s heart surely breaks for what Paul Young has evidently endured in his lifetime. However, if readers fail to think biblically and allow only The Shack’s emotional storyline to grip them, they chance becoming prey to the very thing that I believe has duped many Christians into accepting and even endorsing the book. Empathy towards the author or his characters or becoming enamored by what many testify to as the positive real-world outcome of reading the book cannot trump one’s biblical analysis of the work. Young plays upon emotions constantly in the book and also as he lectures publically equating that because hearts are allegedly being touched that God must be giving approval to The Shack. When speaking to me personally, he emphasized the concept that results are all that matters. I responded that just because people testify that the book is somehow helping them, this does not necessarily mean that it is actually ordained by God. After all, God can use many means to reach people. God regularly uses disasters, accidents and tragedy of all sorts – even unorthodox or cultic books for His glory. This however doesn’t mean that God somehow deems heresy or terrible events as somehow good or positive in and of themselves.
The Nicest Heretic
Paul Young is perhaps the nicest heretic I have ever dealt with personally. That may sound flip but it’s true. He is a very nice guy who is presenting and defending some very dangerous even seductive heresies. As one who wears his emotions on his sleeve and who found himself being swayed by the heartbreaking storyline of The Shack, I must again caution. To allow a gripping story to cloud our ability to detect even the subtle theological errors strewn throughout its pages is exactly what Dr. Michael Youssef meant when he described The Shack as “a deep ditch that’s covered by beautiful landscape.”
The disturbing truth is that books like The Shack would never become a bestseller in the Christian world if Christians were on guard, thinking biblically and were willing to follow the Scriptures! In these dangerous days it is paramount that we actively develop “eyes of understanding” which constantly check everything by the Word of God – especially the stuff that claims to be of God. The Scripture implores us to prove or test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21-22) and this test can only be accomplished one way – by knowing the Bible and then utilizing what we know from it. Every Believer needs to be alert to the reality that in these last days deception is going to come at a rate never fathomed before. Mark my words, as time passes Satan is preparing to use unheralded and brazen trickery that will look and sound very spiritual, even Christian. The only hope we have to successfully avoid the traps is by prayerful, dedicated and aggressive study of God’s unchangeable Word. Otherwise, sooner or later we’ll find ourselves amongst a growing number from previously trustworthy evangelical circles that are heading straight for apostasy.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 that if the end days were not shortened by His return even the very elect would be deceived. Can we not assume that many who currently hang around the Church – and even some who preach or write books now popularly accepted in Christian circles – may in reality never endure to the end and are thus actually wolves in sheep’s clothing?
Bringing Twilight out into the Son
Blockbuster books and hit movie confuse evil with good
By Eric Barger
By now most of you have heard about the bestselling Twilight saga series written by Stephenie Meyer. Thus far there are over 17 million books in print from the series. However, if you’ve been hanging around in a cave somewhere just waiting for a reason to flutter, let me sum up the storyline. Vampires are cool. Some may be bad, but in general Vampires are cool and Edward Cullen is the newest heart throb.
High school junior, Bella Swan, moves from Arizona to Forks on the Washington coast (the setting for the majority of the movie) and falls in love with Edward Cullen, who as it turns out, is a member of a family of vampires who have learned to survive from the blood of animals rather than that of humans.
|Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan
and Robert Pattinson
as Edward Cullen
Meyer, a thirty-something Mormon mother of three from Arizona is the author of the four book series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn), a novel called The Host and the soon-to-be-released book, Midnight Sun which, unlike the Twilight series, chronicles the saga from Edward’s viewpoint rather than Bella’s.
Last Friday [Nov. 21, 2008] the first movie (“Twilight”) debuted in 3419 theaters nationwide. It came in #1 for the weekend, grossing $70 million and crushing the nearest competitor by a three to one margin. The theater that my wife Melanie and I saw it in was a complex of fourteen screens with three of them playing “Twilight.”
Nikki Kinke of Deadline Hollywood Daily reported:
“Exit polling showed audiences were 75%/25% female to male, and 55%/25% under or over the age of 25. Fangirls — or should I say fang-girls — were buying 5 Twilight tickets per second as of early Friday morning, making it online ticket-seller Fandango’s fastest-selling film since The Dark Knight last July. Then the tween and teen females in store bought or homemade Twilight clothes (and even Twilight tattoos) flocked to the first Big Screen version of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling series of Romeo & Juliet-style vampire romance books. Yet the movie adaptation by Melissa Rosenberg was made by start-up studio Summit for only $37M. This will be the start of a big new franchise since a sequel is already in the works — “New Moon,” based on Meyer’s second book in the series. The first box office records have already been broken by Twilight’s girl power. This is the biggest opening for a female director. Catherine Hardwicke is easily beating Mimi Leder’s $41.1M for 1998’s Deep Impact. (But with an asterisk since these figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, ticket prices, etc.) Twilight will have the 2nd best opening day for a November release behind Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, and the 11th best Friday opening of all time, beating the first Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, and the 15th best opening day ever. It also scored the 4th best November opening weekend of all time, and the 4th best opening weekend of 2008. It’s a defining moment for Summit’s start-up studio that had really struggled on its first few releases. On Saturday morning, Summit officially announced the greenlight for the New Moon sequel (I’m told to contain costs the studio is considering making sequels #2 and #3 back to back like other successful franchises have done), and Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan) formally thanked fans for their support of what is now a movie franchise. (http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/2nd-update-for-the-twilight-zone)
Speaking of Harry Potter, make no mistake: Twilight is the next Harry Potter. In fact, many are saying, “who’s Harry Potter?” Many of the same Potter fans are now loyal to Meyer’s saga and it’s a logical move for a culture craving supernaturalism. From a school of witchcraft to a clan of vampires, readers and movie goers are again proving how broad the thirst is for mystical power whose source is decidedly not God.
Evil vs. Good or Evil vs. more Evil?
The storyline of Twilight is generally two faceted. It is first “boy vampire meets a mortal girl” and secondarily “‘good’ vampires fight ‘bad’ vampires.” Then there are the werewolves introduced in the second book, New Moon.
Many of the characters in the novel possess supernatural abilities such as:
– Mind reading
– Lycanthropy (shape shifting)
– Pre-cognitive knowledge of future events – mediumship
– Super strength, hearing and speed
– They also don’t eat, sleep or need to breath
A quick reading of Deuteronomy 18:9-12 clearly outline God’s final word on many of these vampire attributes. I covered these four verses for over 100 pages in my book Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion.
Interestingly, Meyer begins Twilight with the words of Genesis 2:17.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Even though Meyer says on her website that the cover of the book (the apple) symbolizes “forbidden fruit” and that the Genesis scripture reference is related to Bella’s eventual understanding of the knowledge of good and evil, the inference of this passage is much more. It is about the fall of mankind and about eternal life (something vampires claim to have). Even Mormon theology would be hard pressed to come up with less than this observation.
The Cullen family is led by Edward’s “father” (through vampirism) the “best” vampire, Dr. Carlisle Cullen. The elder Cullen was raised centuries ago by a father who, as an Anglican pastor, hunted witches, destroyed werewolves – and vampires. (Speaking of this in the manuscript Meyer throws a direct barb towards supposedly intolerant, orthodox Christian ministers.) Some believe that due to this background, Dr. Cullen’s character seeks to rise above the nature of a vampire becoming a doctor in order to do good and save people. However, what is actually evident here are two disturbing points. First, Meyer has incorporated in Dr. Cullen’s makeup the Mormon edict that a person must accomplish their own good acts in order to be redeemed. I commonly refer to this as “works salvation” which is a mainstay taught in every Mormon seminary, church and home. In Mormonism the onus for salvation is all about what a person does for the Mormon Church – instead of what Jesus completely finished for us. (Concerning this, it is interesting that more than one Mormon blog entry has complained that Meyer integrates far too much Mormon doctrine into her books.) Second and most disturbing is the notion that the Cullen’s seem to view their state as generally hopeless. This shouts loudly against the omnipotent power of Jehovah God to accomplish deliverance. In a subtle and unspoken manner, the books assert that God is unable to rescue one from an incurable eternal ill such as vampirism is presented to be. Whether vampirism is but a mythical malady or not, this thinking may translate to the reader that Jesus’ sacrifice was not sufficient or that it is only by one’s own righteousness that freedom (or eternal life) can be attained. The truth is that God is indeed able to deliver anyone and everyone and such deliverance is only available through the power of the Cross! One can argue that vampires either do or do not exist. (I know personally of one very credible person whose testimony recounts actually participating in vampirism to gain supernatural satanic power. However, the point here is that no matter how deep the pit of evil and sin one may be trapped in, Jesus’ power is greater. Praise the Lord!
The fact is that the entire Twilight series is glamorizing and promoting vampirism. It is fueling the craving for eternal human life and for dominating super human abilities and strength. In the book and movie Bella powerfully begs her vampire love interest to make her one of his like (by biting her neck of course). Edward restrains himself but only for the sake of drawing out the suspense, for she indeed does join him in vampire status in later books (and in a future movie). Though Meyer is to be commended that Bella’s unwanted pregnancy later in the series does not end in abortion one has to wonder if the union of two vampires could produce a God-created human in the first place?
Twilight has been defended as a positive book because it contains no sex, seems to preach abstinence and includes only mild swearing. Whose version of morality is that I ask? This is simply a lesser-than-two-evils approach and while I readily admit that this romantic styled chick flick is far less ominous than a large number of the books and movies out there today, how can a biblically minded Christian endorse it as acceptable for a 12 year-old?
To revisit a theme I wrote and spoke of many times during the height of the Harry Potter fad, the heroes of today are much like the villains I grew up watching on TV. Gone are the likes of Roy Rogers, Ward Cleaver and Red Skelton. The people who we’re asked to root for at the movies today act more like the thugs portrayed in 1950’s Hollywood entertainment. The marker of truth and what is good and right has surely moved and it hasn’t been pretty.
I will admit that in comparison, the content of “Twilight” seems lightweight in the overall scheme of today’s motion picture industry. The trailers previewing other forthcoming features that were shown before the screening of the “Twilight” film were frankly shocking and full of occultism and gut wrenching violence. However, have we stooped so low as to say “‘Twilight,’ with its vampire heroes and PG-13 rating is somehow more acceptable than the more gruesome R rated jobs?” Is “not as bad as” somehow a prerequisite making something OK for our kids? Since when did the “lesser-of-two-evils” become a biblical principle? One needs to be aware that there are Satanists who in real life practice drinking the blood of humans. To many occultists, vampirism is not just a fairy tale but something coveted. No matter how dreamy Hollywood may present Edward Cullen to be or how obsessed some junior higher may become with him, Twilight is nothing short of Satan’s cloak of evil; appearing good. Remember, the most deceptive evil is not the most obvious. It is the most subtle. It also induces more people who may be repulsed by overt darkness to begin the journey from right to wrong.
Two Scriptures immediately come to mind here.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! – Isaiah 5:20-21
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. – II Corinthians 11:14
Four Life Principles
A friend of mine, Lia Carlile, who teaches at a solid Christian school in Washington State addressed this very issue last Friday. She knew, as I did, that even in this good and godly environment that the crazed idolatry brought on by the Twilight series and movie was thriving. My two oldest granddaughters heard Lia speak warning them and their classmates and for good reason. Several of my 12 year-old granddaughters friends had been trying to convince her to both read these 500+ page books and to then go to the movie with them. Thankfully, both my kiddos have voluntarily rejected Meyer’s books and shunned the movie with parental intervention.
I want to share with you a few of the points Lia brought up to the students last week. They are reminiscent of things I have said over the last two decades concerning what and who we give our time, mind, money and emotions to. More so, the following points speak as a check list to see if we have fallen into making something besides Jehovah our “god” or if we are on the road toward full blown idol worship.
Lia’s points here
Does it offend other believers or is it confusing them in their faith?
What am I saying to my non-Christian friends or what example am I setting for others?
Question 3 – The Bible
What does the Bible have to say about this? Who does it glorify-God or Satan? Jesus or the things of the World?
Question 4 – Me and Twilight (or whatever applies)
How is this affecting what I think about; my attitude, heart, and mind?
Does it help me to do what is right according to God? Or, does it promote things of the World?
Does it distract me from the Lord and my relationships with others? Serving, praying, reading Bible, ministry, etc.
Does it cause me to say, think, or do things that are contrary to Jesus and his life?
Lia outlined many Scriptures in her notes. One passage that I have pointed out often is Colossians 2:8 which warns us to guard against being taken captive by the deceptiveness of the world. This is up to us to do or not do. What will your decision be?
(If you want all of Lia’s notes on Twilight click here.)
Leviticus 17 tells us that life is in the blood. This Old Testament teaching from The Law finds unfathomable depths of meaning when one thinks of what Christ’s blood represents for all who will believe.
Satan is very interested in the mockery of God’s Word, His name and His Cross. Lucifer, as with vampires, is blood thirsty. He would love nothing more than to deceive young, impressionable people – whom God loves and Jesus died for – into somehow believing that eternal life can be attained some other way than through Jesus and His once-for-all sacrifice on Calvary.
Until the final battle has been fought and the Lord has come with His everlasting and perfect peace, Satan will attempt to prevail through manipulating those who he may. Stephenie Meyer is just one in a long line of those who, without any understanding of it, the Evil One has paid big money to for their services. Twilight is more than mere entertainment. To some it has become every bit as important and as captivating as a religion.
The most famous line from the book and movie is Edward Cullen’s statement to Bella “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.” This is Meyer’s crafty, yet sick play upon biblical words. The truth is that when Satan is vanquished and evil is defeated, then and only then will the lion and the lamb live in harmony – not as a hundred year old vampire and his wanna-be girlfriend. While Meyer’s character Bella so flippantly decides that nothing is more important than spending eternity with Edward – regardless of the consequences, shouldn’t we be focused on our future eternity with God and on introducing as many to Him before it is too late?
Excuses: Compromise in Disguise
There is nothing humorous about playing nicer than God
by Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
August 16, 2007
A Christian walked into a crowded Christian bookstore. As he browsed the many shelves of books and materials, to his amazement he noticed a copy of The Book of Mormon resting on a shelf at the very back of the bookstore.
The Christian brought the Mormon publication to the attention of the bookstore manager and kindly asked, Why is this book in your Christian bookstore? Are you aware that Mormonism is a cult?
Having dealt with similar questions many times in the past, the manager whispered, Yes, I know Mormonism is a cult and I disagree with it totally, but I carry reading materials that appeal to the interests of a wide variety of customers. It pays the bills.
The Christian said, If you know Mormonism is a cult and you totally disagree with it, why are you advertising and promoting Mormonism in your Christian bookstore?
Agitated by the Christian’s persistence, the manager raised his voice and exclaimed, Look! I totally disagree with Mormonism! I am not advertising and promoting Mormonism! I am just making Mormon reading materials available to my customers!
In a calm voice the Christian replied, The Book of Mormon is a lie, and it leads people to a false Jesus, gospel, and spirit. Let’s see what God has to say. Are you familiar with Galatians 1:6-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:3-4?
The bookstore manager walked away and turned his attention to another customer.
With the manager’s words ringing in his ears, the Christian walked out of the bookstore scratching his head in disbelief, and vowed never to return.
To recap, The Book of Mormon was publicly displayed in the Christian bookstore not by accident, but purposely, for customers to see, read, and purchase. Yet the manager maintained he was not advertising and promoting Mormonism.
Instead of humbling himself, repenting, thanking the Christian, and removing the Book of Mormon immediately and forever, the manager used excuses, became defensive, and chose to compromise the faith and endanger the spiritual welfare of his customers.
In the above encounter, take note of how the manager used carefully chosen words to artfully dodge his way around the issue of advertising and promoting:
“I am not advertising and promoting Mormonism! I am just making Mormon reading materials available to my customers!”
The manager believed it and wanted the Christian to believe it. As far as the manager was concerned, he was justified, despite what God’s word says:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
When caught red-handed, bank robbers try to artfully dodge their way around the main issue too, saying, I didn’t rob the bank! I just asked for some money!
Artful dodging doesn’t work on police detectives, and it shouldn’t work on Christians.
Playing nicer than God
Speaking of excuses, along with the influx of non-Christian authors and books, there are a wide variety of excuses that some (but not all) online and walk-in bookstore employees have used to justify the advertisement, promotion, and sale of known non-Christian books and materials:
· You can’t please everybody. If I remove all the books everybody complained about we would have to shut down.
· Our customers have different tastes and preferences, and we try to appeal to what they want. Besides, every author isn’t right on everything.
· Our bookstores are autonomous and independent. They decide what they want to carry on their shelves.
· I don’t agree with this author, but her books help keep our doors open.
· I know there’s a lot of garbage out there, but I can’t control what comes in to my bookstore.
· I have bills to pay. Contact our main office and complain to them.
· I tell customers the author of this book is a false teacher. But if I don’t carry the book in my store they will just go somewhere else to buy it.
· I know this author has some false teachings, but he does so much good and is leading a lot of people to the Lord.
· I took this book off the shelf and complained to my manager, but he put it back on the shelf the next day. What else am I supposed to do?
· We don’t display this author’s books in our bookstore. We keep them underneath the sales counter. If anyone asks for it we sell it to them quietly.
· I know I should warn my customers about this author, but I don’t want to offend them and lose a sale.
· You’ve made a really big mistake! We don’t carry X-rated stuff in our online bookstore! If we did I would know about it!
· If I refuse to sell this book my manager will fire me.
· We’ve tried to block this author and book from our online database, but it keeps showing up in a search.
· We deal with thousands of books. We can’t catch everything.
· I have talked to the manager at our local Christian bookstore and given her a lot of information about this author, but she refuses to listen.
· If I don’t stock this book in my store my customers will go buy it at the secular bookstore in the mall! I can’t afford to lose a sale!!
· I have never heard this author teach anything false. I watch him on TV all the time. Everybody makes mistakes. You should be ashamed of yourself. You need to stop attacking anointed men of God!
· This author is in our database from our main headquarters. We only carry Christian authors, so he must be a Christian.
· We don’t carry this author in our bookstore because he’s too controversial, but we can order his books online.
While the above excuses are paraphrases of past conversations Christian Research Service has had with online and walk-in Christian bookstore employees, and while the excuses may seem comical to some, there is nothing humorous about compromising the faith, playing nicer than God, and toying around with a believer’s spiritual welfare. This is serious business, and the lives of those whom Jesus Christ died for hang in the balance.
It has been said many times and bears repeating: non-Christian authors will not only shipwreck the faith of a believer, they will drive the unsaved deeper and deeper into sin and further away from God. Where a person will spend eternity is primary.
No Christian in their right mind would knowingly give an unsaved person The Book of Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation to read and study, then tell them to “pick-out the good stuff and reject the bad” at the same time.
Knowingly causing Christians to stumble, and knowingly driving the unsaved deeper into sin would be a terrible legacy to live with.
In Mark 12:28-30, a scribe asked Jesus, What commandment is the foremost of all? Jesus answered the scribe and said, The foremost is HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (NASB).
From the very words of the Master, Christians are to love the Lord with every aspect of their being, and give Him top priority in their lives. This is not a simple request but a command from God Himself in human form.
But when Christians fail to give Jesus Christ top priority in their lives, sin enters in which, in turn, opens the door to compromise, deception, dishonesty, and hypocrisy.
Compromise, deception, dishonesty, and hypocrisy are at an all-time high. And because Christians aren’t immune to sin, it is imperative that they test and examine themselves daily to see if they are in the faith, and to see where their priorities are. If their first priority isn’t Jesus Christ, then their priorities are misplaced, and repentance is in order.
God says what He means and means what He says. Playing nicer than God is compromise in disguise.
Find additional articles and news releases on the Christian bookstore industry at http://www.christianresearchservice.com/ChristianBookstores.htm
Bud Press is the Director of Christian Research Service and a Christian Investigative Researcher. Christian Research Service is a discernment ministry that provides information, documentation and referral on a wide variety of issues to the body of Christ and the Christian news media worldwide.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5; NASB)
War on the Saints – Lying Spirits
I once read a book in which the author consistently said, “The Lord told me”. This was repeated so often I began to doubt that everything this author said was indeed from the Lord.
I have a reason to question his oft quoted assertion. I too can say “The Lord told me”, ” I heard”, “I sensed.” Come to find out, even though I was aware of lying spirits, I still listened to them, thinking that I could always tell the difference. I was wrong.
Not too long ago I read an e-book from a man who was featured on a blog, The Sign of Jonah. His story was fascinating and it was evident that he thought he truly was in the will of God, but certain aspects of his story began to reveal that he was deceived. He told of how he was always hearing from God. God was being rather specific with this man. Apparently this man went through his day, constantly being directed as to what to wear, what to eat, and when to make a left turn. He saw red dragons on all supposedly “evil” sites that needed to be “taken” for the Lord. It became apparent that this man was totally deceived and was not listening to God but had given his ear over to the lying spirits.
In the book “War of the Saints” it talks of counterfeit guidance.
“As Christ was a pattern or example for His followers, guidance or ‘leading’ in its perfect and true form is shown in His life, and believers can only expect the co-working of the Holy Spirit when they walk after the pattern of their Example. Out of line with the Pattern the cease to have the working of the Holy Spirit, and become open to the deceptive counterfeit workings of evil spirits.”
“If the believer ceases to use mind, reason, will and all his other faculties as a person, and depends upon voices, and impulses for guidance in every detail of life, he will be ‘led’ or guided by evil spirits, feigning to be God.”
“This is the time for which the deceiving spirits have been watching…he (man) is now watching for some other supernatural indication of the way to go, or the course to take….This is the moment of opportunity for a deceiving spirit to gain his faith and confidence: and so some word or words are whispered softly, that are exactly in accordance with the inward drawing that he has had….the soft whisper of the deceiving spirit is so delicate and gentle, that the believer listens to, and receives the words without question, and begins to obey this soft whisper, yielding more and more to it, without any thought of exercising mind, judgment, reason, or volition.”
“From this point deceiving spirits can increase their control, for the believer has begun the listening attitude…until he is always watching for an ‘inner voice,’ or a voice in the ear which is an exact counterfeit of the voice of God in the spirit; and thus the believer moves, and acts as a passive slave to ‘supernatural guidance.'”
When I returned to the Lord some years back, I had a true spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, Satan was not going to give up without a fight. Every time I grew in the Lord, Satan provided opposition. I struggled to divide what was from the Lord and what was counterfeit.
God was so good to show me these things and to teach me through the Holy Spirit. All through this struggle I only wanted the truth and I prayed for answers.
Are you teachable? Do you really want the truth? This may seem like a silly question, but truly it is not, for you may say to yourself…of course I want the truth. Human nature is full of pride and what does pride do to man? It limits him. What does it limit? It limits admission.
Admission of being wrong.
Admission of being fallible.
Admission of weakness.
Admission of being deceived.
Why is this so hard? Losing face. What will others think? When we have been wrong the truth hurts. It pierces our pride, and when we are more concerned with what our fellow man thinks rather than what God thinks….we will fail every time.
It is because of this difficult admission of wrong thinking that we allow Satan to lead us into deception…no matter how many Bible verses we learn. We have to really believe and heed them. God’s Word is powerful if we actually use it and apply it to our lives. God’s Word can be poetic and inspiring but if it is left at that, using it only for its beauty we will forfeit its powerful instruction.
It is this power that keeps us teachable, humble, and open to the truth. Truth opposes lies – Satan’s lies. In these times Satan’s lies are growing more powerful because they cover-up and distort God’s written Word. When we as Christians listen to Satan’s lies, we will begin a journey into deception.
“It requires a very deep allegiance to the truth which God desires should reign in the inward parts of His children, for a believer to accept truth which cuts and humbles, as readily as he accepts that which is agreeable. The ‘undeceiving’ is painful to the feelings, and the discovery that he has been deceived is one of the keenest blows to a man who once thought that he was so ‘advanced,’ so ‘spiritual’ and so ‘infallible,’ in his certainty of obeying the Spirit of God.”
So why is this deception so compelling, ever-growing, and filtering into the church? This has always been Satan’s plan. He is the deceiver of the whole earth. He is deceiving all into thinking that a new spiritual awakening is coming upon the earth. He is right, you know…there is a spiritual awakening but it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.
“The world is now drawing nearer to the ‘time of the end,’ characterized by the deception depicted in the Apocalypse as being world-wide; when there will be deceptions of NATIONS, and individuals, on such a vast scale that the deceiver will practically have the whole earth under his control. ‘The whole world lieth in the evil one’ (1 John 19) said the Apostle, to whom was given the Revelation, describing the world as already lying deep in darkness through the deception of the evil one, and blindly led by him through vast evil spirit hosts under his control.”
When Satan was bombarding me with opposition and lies, I listened for awhile, but I always questioned, probed and prayed. Was I deceived? Yes, I was…but I was more interested in the truth, no matter what. If I had never acted on my doubts, who knows…I probably would be posting silly lies and prophecies that would sound just like false prophets, Kim Clement or Chuck Pierce.
I was listening to a tape this morning from a Discernment-Ministries conference I attended last year. Carolyn Schorle spoke of her deliverance from drugs prescribed to her when she was diagnosed as mentally-ill. She was taunted with the voices of demons and she battled her way out with scripture. She told us, read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. When you are done start over.
I beg of you….pray for the truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God.
“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”
The Moses Code Movie Blasphemy and The Big Shift
Update: Since this article was published, the original movie trailer for the Moses Code was removed without explanation from both YouTube and the MosesCode.com website. They have replaced the original with a different one that does not contain the blasphemous, “I AM” statements referred to in this column. I look forward to their explanation as to why they felt they needed to remove it.
This article is from http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/3159/Ingrid_Schlueter
A movie will be unveiled on April 5 that should get a prize for honesty in blasphemy. Unlike the emerging church celebrity authors and speakers who shuck and jive when asked direct questions about God, salvation, and truth, The Moses Code is produced by those who will tell you right out what they believe. What they do believe is breathtaking in its Satanic audacity. In the original movie trailer, now removed mysteriously from YouTube and the MosesCode.com site, promoters of The Moses Code cheerfully announce that I AM is something all of us can say. Towards the end of the original clip, one young man looks up and into the camera and tells viewers, “I am the way, the truth, and the ‘light’.” The website says the following:
For the first time a major spiritual film release is being combined with a worldwide prayer vigil focused on shifting the planetary consciousness.
Join millions of people from every corner of the globe in learning the most powerful manifestation tool in the history of the world. Then on one momentous day we’ll use the code to promote peace and compassion for all beings through over 1000 gatherings worldwide.
This is the chance for humanity to use the Law of Attraction to create peace on the deepest level.
Coming on the heels of The Secret, the New Spirituality teachers featured in The Moses Code are in hopes that by teaching everyone about the power of declaring themselves God, they can help along the “Shift” in planetary consciousness that everyone is talking about today.
The Shift is the name of another movie under production featuring New Spirituality gurus like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, alongside leftist environmentalists like Al Gore and religious figures such as Archbishop Desmond TuTu. Their message is the same, as though it was taken from the same script.
“A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future…We are in the middle of the biggest social transformation in history, THE SHIFT.”
Working on the Evangelical end of things, emergent author Brian McLaren is also promoting a Big Shift, calling his nationwide tour, The Deep Shift Conference. A heretic who does not believe in hell and who rejects the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, McLaren is taking his Shift Experience to Willow Creek Community Church in April where he will be teaching youth workers and pastors from evangelical churches across the country about how they need to change their ministries to accommodate the Big Shift in thinking.
Emergent authors Phyllis Tickle and Tony Jones are also on board promoting a big spiritual shift. They prefer to call it the “Great Emergence”. Speaking at the Zondervan sponsored National Pastor’s Convention this week, Phyllis and Tony have titled their speech, not surprisingly, “The Great Emergence.”
What is emerging is another Jesus and another gospel. The Big Shift that all of the New Spirituality gurus are buzzing about marks the advent of the worldwide apostasy that is now upon us. Just as the Lord assigns roles to fulfill in His Church, the enemy assigns roles for his purposes. Over the two decades of researching the New Spirituality teachers and the inroads they have made into evangelical churches, it is evident to me that deception comes in many forms today on many different levels. Whether it is the spiritual bubble gum from Joel Osteen that serves to deceive the shallow masses or whether it’s the quasi-intellectual postmodern poison served up to college students by men like McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball and so many others, it’s all deception working towards the same end.
It is one thing to identify the counterfeit Christ of Marianne Williamson or the latest New Age author on the Oprah Winfrey Show (Eckhart Tolle is her latest protégé ), but what happens when authors published by the big “Christian” publishers are saying the same things? What happens when our celebrity emerging church leaders are using the same language, calling for the same things, and promoting the same false doctrines that redefine Christ and the Scriptures as the New Spirituality authors?
Compare these two quotes. One is from a popular emerging author and speaker who spoke at a conference with men like Andy Stanley and Rick Warren and regularly rubs shoulders with those in the new Evangelicalism. The other quote is from one of the world’s leading New Spirituality heretics. Can you tell which is which?
“The first of these five untheorized observations is that New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and ‘in-formation’ with other Christians. Deeper feeling and higher relating go together. The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a comm-union whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness. New Lights offer up themselves as the cosmions of a mind-of-Christ consciousness. As a cosmion incarnating the cells of a new body, New Lights will function as transitional vessels through which transforming energy can renew the divine image in the world, moving postmoderns from one state of embodiment to another.”
‘Third Jesus’ can be seen only when we move into a new human awareness that will carry us beyond tribe, prejudice and even beyond our religious systems. As a Christian, I welcome his insights into my Jesus and his provocative call to me to enter the ‘Christ Consciousness’ and thus to become more deeply and completely human.”.
The first quote is from emerging author Leonard Sweet who spoke at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, attended by thousands of evangelical leaders from across the nation. It’s from his book, Quantum Spirituality, in which he thanks New Agers Willis Harmon, Matthew Fox and Ken Wilbur, to name a few, for their influence on him.
The second quote is from John Shelby Spong, in a book endorsement for Deepak Chopra’s brand new book, The Third Jesus, which is a brazen introduction of the cosmic Christ of the Big Shift everyone is talking about.
Both authors are talking about the same Christ-consciousness. They are describing the same thing—one from inside of evangelicalism, one from outside. Both popular author Rob Bell and occultist/New Spirituality teacher, Barbara Marx Hubbard, speak of being co-creators with God. Bell tells us in his latest Nooma video, “Open”, that creation is unfinished and that God needs us to be fellow creators with Him to finish the job
.…we have to understand that Jesus took very seriously the creation poem Genesis, that the Bible begins with. And in this creation poem God creates, but God creates things that are capable of creating more, and so God creates trees but then gives trees the ability to create more. God creates animals and plants and fish but then empowers them to create more. And then God creates people, and gives them the ability to create more. So everything in creation is essentially unfinished, God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world…
Hubbard’s occult “Christ” in her channeled book, The Revelation, instructs us about our participation as co-creators of the world.
“Those of you who hear these words are to carry on the commandment given to John two thousand years ago. You are not only to prophesy the end, the tribulations, and the New Jerusalem, you are to act it out. You are to discover the blueprint and become co-creators with God. You are to see the first fruits of the NEW BEGINNING.”
Yes, there is a Big Shift underway. The two spheres that were once irreconcilably opposed to one another, (Evangelicalism and New Spirituality) are coming together. The overlap has begun. But millions of evangelical Christians in the pews are distracted. They haven’t researched these issues. They don’t know their Bibles. They accept without question whatever Zondervan or Thomas Nelson put out. They watch the DVD’s their church screens like Rob Bell’s Nooma videos and they don’t catch the language. It is slippery. It is subtle, but the enemy is getting bolder with each passing day. There is a lack of sobriety and vigilance, and now the enemy is walking boldly in the front doors of our churches and Christian colleges.
At bottom, the New Spirituality blasphemers like the producers of The Moses Code are more honest than the emergents when they state openly that they believe they are the way, the truth and the life. At its core, their message is the same as many within the emerging “conversation”. The Bible is not a product of “Divine fiat”, Rob Bell says, “it’s a human product.” (Christianity Today, 11/1/04) The end result? We become God in our own minds. We can make things up as we go. Where does it all end? Rob Bell ends up promoting doctrines of demons—that we are co-creators with God, or rejecting the existence of hell, or the atonement, like Brian McLaren. That’s where it all ends. When you abandon a high view of Holy Scripture, your rebellion will take you places you never dreamed you would go. At some point, God blinds those who willingly believe a lie. With the full counsel of God in our hands, we are without excuse if we choose to participate in the Big Shift. The Shift is here, but those who serve the risen, ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ will stay separate. They will reject the anti-Christ doctrine of “oneness” of the New Spirituality and they will stay faithful at all costs.
“We are discovering Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”
The Emerging Church -The Latest Heresy By Stephen Holland
Preached on: Sunday, February 10, 2008
Westhoughton Evangelical Church
King Street, Westhoughton
Lancashire, UK BL5 3AX
Online Sermons: http://www.sermonaudio.com/revholland
Now a few year ago I heard a talk given on the Emerging Church and after it went away
and thought, “I haven’t a clue what he was on about.” So I hope after this session that
you will not go away with the same opinion.
If you have not come to hear of it, the chances are you soon will. A search on the internet
search engine Google will bring up no less than 616,000 references to what has come to
be known as Emergent or Emerging Church.
A check to your local Christian bookstore and see you find such titles as A New Kind of
Christian or Vintage Christianity for New Generations or The Forgotten Ways or The
Lost Methods of Jesus or Adventures in Missing the Point, Liquid Church, A Generous
Orthodoxy: More ready than you realize, Finding Faith Post Christendom, Changing
Worlds, Changing Church, Emerging Church, Emerging Churches, emerging-
church.intro. Those were just found on one shelf in one Christian so called bookstore.
There could be added-and will be many more titles added-to the list in the coming
days. Some authors with in the Emerging Church are Brian McLaren, Ralph Bell, Dan
Kimball, Doug Paget, Leonard Sweet, Spencer Burke, Yurgin McMannis, Tommy Collolen, Jason Clock, [?], Richard Foster and Tony Jones. And we could add also to that
people like Tony Campolo and Steve Chalk.
A tour is apparently being planned in 11 states of the USA to run from February to May
of this year. That tour is called “Everything Must Change Tour.” The title, of course,
that gives almost the game away. We are told by the organizer, Brian McLaren that this
is a tour for people short on hope. This tour is named after McLaren’s latest book Everything Must Change. The subtitle of this book reads: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution
of Hope. This tour is for people of all thoughts, but seems especially aimed at those who
are fed up and disillusioned with-quote-traditional church. It is for people looking for
new ways of doing church. That is the in word today, doing church.
So what, may you ask, what’s all the fuss about?
Well, the very term “Emerging Church” suggests itself that they are emerging from
something. The very titles of the books just quoted suggest the same thing. Terms like
“lost message” or “new kind of Christian” or “forgotten ways” or “finding faith” or
“missing the point” or “post-Christendom” or “changing worlds, changing church.” All
this suggests some form of revolution is taking place or is about to take place and within
branches of the professed Christian Church.
So what, again, you may be asking. After all, the Church has changed, hasn’t it, from
one generation to next and from one century to another. And, of course, our world is
There is nothing wrong, of course, with change. None of us, I take it, came here today by
horseback like many of our forefathers would have done or are dressed like our Puritan
brethren of the 17century. We live in a very advanced age where change is happening
at an incredible pace.
Is the Church in danger of being left behind or even in danger of extinction all together
unless she adapts? These people would tell us, “Yes.”
Men can doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ is at a low point as far as man can see. We
are told that excluding deaths and transfers 1500 people are thought to be deserting
churches in Britain every week. The promised hopes of the decade of evangelism have
not materialized. In the early 1990s it was hoped that about 20,000 new churches would
be opened by the close of the century. Rather, a survey has revealed that only 1867 new
churches were opened in England while 2557 closed. We are told that the fall in church
attendance was expected to decline in Scotland from 17.1% in 1980 to 10.3% by 2005. In
Wales from 14.1% to just 6.4% while in England from 10.1% to 6.7%.
The attendance of young people in churches seems to be even more depressing. In 1979
1,000,416 under 15s attended church. In 1989 it was 1,177,000 and by 1998 it was down
to just 717,100. One has estimated that 94% of young people are not in church on a Sunday. [?] of course, in spite of all its boasts and claims has failed to stem the decline. The
situation seems bleak and desperate. The Church is being increasingly told that she is out
of date, out of touch and irrelevant to our post-modern generation.
What is the answer to our plight? Is this new phenomena, the Emerging Church, the savior of the supposed dying Church? Have we found the answer in this newest of movements? One author things to think so. Michael Moynagh in his book emerging-
church.intro he says this of his own book, “It argues that church of a different timbre is
key to Christianity’s revival, perhaps survival in the western world.” He does, though, go
on to say, “But Emerging Church is not a magic solution. Emerging Church is not a quick
pick me up for a sick body. It is a collection of new vessels for new…for all the ingredients that are essential to Church and up dimension in worship and in dimension in community, announced dimension in mission and an of dimension as individual churches see
themselves as part of the body of Christ.” End quote.
Well, how would we define the Emerging or Emergent Church? How would you define
the Church? Well, let me give you a quote from one of the leading spokesmen, Brian
McLaren, and see if you can figure it out for yourself.
On the front cover of his popular book A Generous Orthodoxy he says this. “Why I am
missional and evangelical and post Protestant and liberal conservative and mystical poetic and biblical and charismatic contemplative and fundamentalist, Calvinist and Anabaptist, Anglican and Methodist and Catholic and Green and incarnational and [?]…”
You are not surprised, “Yet hopeful and emergent and unfinished Christian.”
Well, you were beginning to thinking that here is a man who really isn’t quite too sure
what he is all about. He seems to be one who certainly hasn’t arrived at certainty. And
this really sums up the whole Emerging Church. It doesn’t quite know what it is itself or
where it is going.
Michael Moynagh says, again-quote-“Emerging Church is a mindset. We will come
to you, rather than a model. It is a direction rather than a destination. It rests on principles rather than a plan. It rises out of a culture rather than being imposed on a culture. It
is a mood scarcely yet a movement.”
The same author goes on to say-quote-“Emerging Church is more than a pragmatic
response to declining numbers. It is a theological vision, a wide eyed vision that escapes
a blinked past, challenges the status quo and calls for new forms of Christianity in which
individuals can encounter Christ authentically. Might these communities renew inherited
congregations and become the crucible of the Church in the Postmodern world?” End of
Though the Emerging Church has no leaders, official leaders or base, one widely recognized as a leading spokesman and author is Brian McLaren. He says, Brian McLaren
says, “Right now Emerging Church is a conversation, not a movement. We don’t have a
program. We don’t have a model. I think we must begin as a conversation then grow as a
friendship and see if a movement comes of it.”
Moynagh says, “The lack of a single term reflects how cutting edge it all is. Not even the
language has been defined.”
Leonard Sweet, one such Emergent pioneer, has used the acronym EPIC to describe what
Emergent is all about. E stands for experimental. You see, this is because the Postmodern man, we are told, wants to experience the spiritual. The P stands for participants because Postmodern man wants to enter into things and not just be an observer. So, you
see, we may as well do away with the sermon and have a conversation instead. The I relates to image because our Postmodern man, supposedly, in this generation is sight oriented so we might use things like images-artwork, film and video-in our presentation
and in our worship. C is for communal because Postmodern man wants essential community and belonging.
Well, these things are not necessarily wrong, of course, in and of themselves, but there is
more to it than seems to be. It is not just all innocence.
Rob Dell, who is another one of the leaders in this movement puts us in the picture when
he says, “This is not just the same old message with new methods. We are discovering
Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”
Well, having no official position as yet has caused one critic to comment, “The Emerging
Church is a rather slippery name for a rather slippery movement. By slippery I mean that
the movement is so new-originating in the late 1990s-so fragmented, so varied that
nailing it down is like nailing the proverbial Jello to the wall. There are no official leaders
or headquarters. Some have said that there are thousands of expressions yet only a few
churches have sold out to the concept. And even those claiming the name can’t agree on
what is going on. Although maybe they are not yet a force to be reckoned with, this
movement will no doubt grow, have its adherents, take its casualties and then give way to
the next heresy to attack the Church of Jesus Christ.”
We need to be very clear that what we are dealing with here in the movement Emergent
Church. We are not simply dealing with differences within evangelical theology or with
secondary issues upon which Christians must agree to disagree. We are not dealing with
what the apostle…we are dealing with what the apostle Paul would describe as “another
gospel.”It is another gospel which is not a gospel to begin with.
Here is another devilish attempt at muddying the waters of the pure gospel of Jesus
Christ. Well, should we be concerned? Should we be taking a few hours out on a Saturday to look at this new phenomena that is coming in to the Church and claming to be
Christian? Well, we should be as concerned as the apostle Paul was concerned in combating heresy that attacked the Church in his own day. We are called to “earnestly con
tend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”And Paul says that we are
“set for the defence of the gospel.”
So the answer is a definite yes. We should be concerned about this false, heretical Emerging Church that is coming upon the scenes and you will soon see to hear about it or get to
hear about it.
One pastor on the fringes of the movement, although it is not entirely Emergent in the
heretical sense of it, Mark Driscoll, who was one of the early young pastors who got involved in this and how it all started in the United States as a group of men gathering together to meet. None of them seemed to have much theological understanding at all, but
they seemed to get together and hold conferences. And out of this grew the Emerging
Church. But he says, “I have to distance myself from one of the many streams in the
Emerging Church because of theological differences. The Emerging Church is the latest
version of Liberalism. The only difference is that the old Liberalism accommodated modernity and the new Liberalism accommodates Postmodernity.”
This really brings us to the heart of the movement. The Emerging Church is a move to
make the gospel attractive and acceptable to Postmodern man. The big challenge, we are
told, is how to tap in to the heart and mind of our Postmodern generation. In order to do
this we must start, of course, they say, with 21st century man, start with where he is at.
See Galatians 1:6
See Jude 3
See Philippians 1:17
How do we do that we ask. Well, we must start with experimentation. After all, as one
Emergent leader tells us, “That is exactly what God did when he created the world.”
Moynagh says this. “Experiments are one of the defining features of Emerging Church.
What is evolution if it is not a history of experimentation? One species flourishes. Another doesn’t. A third mutates.”
Of course we tell him if he read Genesis he would know there is no such thing to begin
with so his movement would flop there.
But he goes on and it gets even worse. He then goes on to say that that is exactly what
God did, experimented when he created Adam. To quote him again, “Does Genesis
two,” he asks, “contain a picture of God in experimental mode? He places Adam in the
Garden and then decides that it is not good for man to be alone. ‘I will make a helper
suitable for him.’He forms all the animals and brings them to Adam to see what he
would call them. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. Has God’s experiment not
succeeded? So God tries again. He creates the woman. The experiment produced the
desired result. God seems to be learning.”
He quickly, of course, see the heresy cries coming and admits that seems to go against
one of the basic attributes of God. But he says that God seems to limit himself. He goes
on to say, “It is a part of God’s perfection that he can be surprised by creation. He has
created in us, for example, with not the songs that humans compose. Each new chart
buster can amaze and perhaps delight him. There is something [?] fitting about a wonderful surprise. Is God to be denied that emotion?”
Do you see where these people are coming from? No understanding of a theology of
One fellow Emergent leader, George Lings, takes great delight in what has been said.
And he adds this complement in the book, “I am glad Mike has been daring and picked
up on the open and creative relationship God has with his creatures to which the Bible
testifies,” to which I say-and this is me-it most certainly does not. And then he goes
on, “And which makes so much better sense of a world where things go wrong. I would
only add that God’s grand experiment or risk was to choose to create beings who have
genuine freedom to love him or not. All the rest flows from this audacious fact.” We are
also told, “Experimentation is part of human being. So it will be second nature for Christians to try and try again with church.”
So after 2000 years we have still not got it right and we must keep on trying and experimenting.
To say that the Emerging Church has a faulty theology of God is an understatement. Any
heresy usually has a defective view of God himself and the Emerging Church has gone
See Genesis 2:18
wrong on its attempts to spread the gospel because it has a wrong view of God and a
wrong view of the Bible.
Well, at the heart of the Emerging Church is the adopting of a Postmodern culture. We
are living in what has come to be termed as Postmodernism. You see, we pass through
the Premodern era, a period stretching from Medieval times up to the French Revolution
of 1789. That was the Premodern era. In such a period man had difficulty in believing
the supernatural. Spirits, demons, hell, heaven and an afterlife and even much superstition is said to have abounded in that period. You would not have had difficulty in persuading people that God or even gods existed. Such beliefs, however, began to be challenged and their sources of authority. This began the Modern era, said to have begun with
the Enlightenment period. Philosophers like Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) began to challenge and question the dogmas of the past age. The Enlightenment would bring in the
age of Modernity.
One writer, Michael Kruger, says, “With the rise of the Enlightenment there came a new
guardian of truth to replace the Church. Science. No longer would human beings stand
for the irrational musings and archaic dogmatism of religion. Science, with reason as the
foundation, was the new god. And all intellectual theories had to bow and pay homage in
order to be seriously considered. Science viewed Christians as being naively committed
to ancient myths, unable to see past their bias and to take an objective and neutral look at
the world. So Modernity proffers the idea that mankind, armed with rationalism and science, is able to access absolute truth and make unlimited progress toward a better life for
itself. Therefore at its core Modernity is a celebration of human autonomy.”
Well, such a period, of course, was a very exciting period in the history of mankind. It
was a period of discovery, a period of development and a period of growth. It appeared
to offer mankind hope for the future. However, the discoveries being made were not too
deliver. Not only has science and learning not provided man with the satisfaction desired
and prayed for, but it has neither provided him with an answer to life’s most perplexing
In the area of religion the Modernist theologians have destroyed any belief in a supernatural God who spoke through a divinely inspired and infallible Bible. These two
worldviews, then-Premodernism and Modernism-have failed miserably. Of course,
we would expect them to do so as neither can be said to be firmly rooted in the Word of
Well, we now come to our present worldview today. It is called Postmodern,
Postmodernism, a Postmodern generation. Well, it is a matter of debate among scholars
as to when this new period began, but many place it at the time of the collapse of the
Berlin wall in 1989. Some have put it somewhere in the 70s with the sexual revolution
and all the rest. But whichever we say, it is a new era that has come in, Postmodern.
With both Premodernism and Modernism failing to satisfy, man has become disillusioned. Answers to the meaning, purpose and direction of life have not been found. Man has been looking for truth and meaning. The Premodernist stores it in a revelation-albeit
the wrong one-the Church. Well, at least the Church of our day. The Modernist stores it
in science and reason. The Postmodernist now sees his worldview as one in which, for
example, that there is really no such thing as truth. So that is Postmodernism. There
really is no such thing as absolute truth. Absolute truth, he tells us, cannot be. Truth is
rather created and not found. So a culture, for example, may invent its own truth. And
yet another culture, its own version of truth even though they may be contrary to each
other. But there can be no universal truth that belongs to all and everyone. In other
words, there is no absolute truth and it must not even be sought.
Michael Kruger says, “Postmodernity, in contrast to Modernity, rejects any notion of objective truth and insists that the only absolute in the universe is that there are no absolutes. Tolerance is the supreme virtue and exclusivity, the supreme vice. Truth is not
grounded in reality or in any sort of authoritative text, but is simply constructed by the
mind of the individual or socially constructed.”
Another author says, “For the Postmodernist thinkers the very idea of truth is decayed
and disintegrated. It is no longer knowable. At the end of the day truth is simply what
we, as individuals and communities, make it to be and nothing more.”
If you think that is not yet affecting your worldview you are wrong. It is. We have so
many different paths in society, don’t we? So many religions. We are not allowed to say
that one has absolute truth, somebody else is wrong. No, no. You can’t say that. Everything is relative. If it is right for them, then it is right. If they are happy, if that is their
belief, then it is acceptable.
But for Postmodern thinking, “Well if it is…if to them, you know, it’s a flower, it’s a
flower. If to somebody else it’s a weed, it’s a weed. It is whatever you think it to be.”
And hasn’t that come in even in subtlety in things like, with so called, certain crimes,
homophobic crimes, so called, racist crimes, so called. If the person perceives it to be
such then it is. There is no real objective truth.
If such is now the culture and the world we are living in how are we to get the gospel
Well, first we must…first we are to remember that the world in which we live must never
be allowed to shape the gospel that we believe. The Emerging Church has embraced-
like its forefather the Modernist-the belief of its age. It, too, denies that there is such a
thing as truth.
Take the words of Brian McLaren, one of its main architects, “Ask me of Christianity.
My version of it, yours, the pope’s, whoever’s, it is orthodox meaning true. And here is
my honest answer. A little, but not yet. Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian’s understanding of the world and God, Christian’s opinion on soul, text and culture. I
have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong. And
even more spreads before us unseen and unimagined. But at least our eyes are open. To
be a Christian in a genuinely orthodox way is not to claim to have truth captured, stuffed
and mounted on the wall.”
This is a man who claims to give adherence to the Word of God.
Christians for over 2000 years have believed, rejoiced and often died for the absolute
truth they find in the teachings of Christ and his Word. Yet after all these years we are
now told that there really is no such claim on truth.
Interesting that, McLaren’s latest book is called The Secret Message of Jesus. He and those who follow him are constantly telling us that they are dissatisfied with doing church the traditional way. They are tired of evangelical right they tell us. They are seeking to break free from all that they belonged to the past. Could it be, I ask, that such people have never known the truth and have never known the real Jesus of the Bible? Could it be that they are so dissatisfied because they have never known the liberating power of the gospel of Jesus
Christ? I believe that is so. Christians have traditionally and robustly rejoiced in the certainties and steadfastness of the foundation of the gospel. We have read about it,
preached it with conviction and sung about it with rejoicing. It houses the Emergent
Church, Emerging so called Christians see such.
Rob and Christine Bell, his wife, in the beginning of being interviewed said this concerning the Bible, but they have discovered the Bible as a human product. “I do the thinking,”
she says, “that we figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means.” Now she says, “I
have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel life is big again like life used to be
black and white and now it is color.”
Brian McLaren sums it all up in the closing of his book A Generous Orthodoxy. “Consider for a minute what it would mean to get the glory of God finally and fully right in
your thinking or to get a fully formed opinion of God’s goodness or holiness. Then I
think you will feel the irony. All these years of pursuing orthodoxy ended up like this, in
front of all this glory, understanding nothing.”
So McLaren would like us to believe at the end of it all we really end up understanding
and knowing nothing. And yet the Christian can say with a certainty like Jeremiah nine
verse three, “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant
for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me,
saith the LORD.”
Unbelief and uncertainty like this is found nowhere in the teaching of Christ or the New
Testament epistles. In fact, the Christian message is not only solid, but simple, too. The
message of the Bible is neither lost, uncertain, complex or difficult. It is a message that is
clear, plain and easy to understand.
Oh, yes, there may be a few difficult passages in Daniel or Revelation to interpret, but the
overall message of the Bible is simple and plain. And for people like Christine Bell we
would say she ought to get on her knees, humble herself before the God of heaven and
submit to his authoritative, inspired, easy to understand revelation.
The message of the Bible is not complex. They seem to great delight in saying, “We can’t
understand anything. We don’t know truth. We don’t know what it is all about. And yet
life is big again.”
We say, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest
6 the light of the glorious gospel…”
How do we share the gospel, then, in their eyes with the unchurched? Well, one of the
key words in the Emerging Church is missional. That is the big word, missional. We
want to be a missional church.
What do we understand by missional? Well, the old meaning, of course, of doing missions, going to the lost, preaching the everlasting gospel of God’s saving grace and rescuing sinners from hell and seeing them get into heaven is not quite what they mean by
missional. A clue to what being a missional Christian is all about is found in the
McLaren’s work, his most well known, although he seems to be spewing out these books
and heresies one after another. But in [?] he says this. “But what about heaven and hell
you ask. Is everybody in? My reply. Why do you consider me qualified to make this
pronouncement? Isn’t this God’s business? Isn’t it clear that I do not believe this is the
right question for a missional Christian to ask?”
Let me break in and say there what caused men like William Carey and others to leave
everything behind was the eternal soul of the people that they were to go and preach to,
but that they were concerned about the eternal destiny of man’s never dying soul.
Not so being missional within the Emerging Church. McLaren goes on, “Can’t we talk
for a while about God’s will being done here on earth as it is heaven instead of jumping
to how to escape earth and get to heaven as quickly as possible? Can’t we talk for a
while about overthrowing and undermining every hellish stronghold in our lives and in
Doesn’t this sound very much like the old “damnable heresy” of the Modernist, Liberal
social gospel that emptied our churches and robbed the gospel of all its saving power?
He goes on to say, “Missional Christian faith asserts that Jesus did not come to make
some people saved and others condemned. Jesus did not come to help some people be
right while leaving everyone else to be wrong. Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion, Judaism having been exclusive based on genetics and Christianity being
exclusive based on belief which can be a tougher requirement than genetics.”
2 Corinthians 4:4
McLaren has no understanding of the New Testament gospel at all. He himself admits
so. He says, “We must continually be aware,” and this is him speaking, “that the old, old
story may not be the true, true story.” He goes on, in other words, “We must be open to
the perpetual possibility that our received understanding of the gospel may be faulty, imbalanced, poorly [?] or downright warped and twisted.”
Here we must retain the good, Protestant, evangelical and biblical instinct to allow Scripture to critique tradition including our dominant and most recent tradition and including
our tradition’s understanding of the gospel. In this sense, Christians in missional dialogue
must continually expect to rediscover the gospel.
Note how he is prepared to us-or we would say misuse-Scripture to critique what he
says is tradition. He wants us to rediscover the gospel he says. Yet he doesn’t even know
what the gospel is himself. This really is the gospel according to Brian McLaren. It is a
gospel full of uncertainty, mystery and we say falsehood. And he wants us to join him in
his journey of rediscovery?
The gospel of McLaren and the Emerging Church is not the saving gospel from sin and
hell, but another gospel of making a better world and a better you.
But he goes on to say, “From this understanding we place less emphasis on whose lineage, rights, doctrines, structures and terminology are right and move emphasis on whose
action, service, outreach, kindness and effectiveness are good in order to help our world
get back on the road to being truly and wholly good again the way God created it to be.
“We are here on a mission to join God,” he tells us, ” in bringing blessings to our needy
world. We hope to bring God’s blessing to you,” he says, “whoever you are and whatever you believe. And if you would like to join us in this mission and the faith that creates and nourishes, you are welcome.”
I say, “No thank you.”
Note his intention is to join God in bringing blessing to a needy world. He tells us it
really doesn’t matter what you believe. Why, of course, would you when none has arrived at truth anyhow or orthodoxy anyway because he has imbibed a Postmodern age?
His gospel is not to get you into the kingdom, but to bring the kingdom to you.
Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader, says, “Our faith also includes kingdom living.
Part of which is the responsibility to fight local and global and social justice on behalf of
the poor and needy. Our example is Jesus,” he tells us, “who spent his time among the
lepers, the poor and the needy.”
Are we saying that these thing are unimportant and unnecessary? Well, by no means.
Jesus did, in fact, heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry and perform other miracles. We are not saying doing good works is a bad thing. No, they follow the fruits of the gospel. Yet we must always remember that the forming of such miracles was first and
foremost to point to who he was and what he had come to do, of course, to testify that he
was the Savior of lost sinners.
Jesus, in fact, said virtually nothing about social injustice, nothing about the environment
or political tyranny or eradication of poverty or making the world a better place.
What is the true gospel itself? Whereas it has transformed the lives, that society has been
so changed for the better, this was never the priority of Christ, the apostles or the early
church. Christ did not come to bring a paradise to earth through his Church. He came to
rescue sinners from the wrath to come, to give spiritual life to the dead, to draw men back
to the Father, to be a propitiation for men’s sins, to shed his blood for the forgiveness of
those sins, to provide a mansion in heaven, to reconcile sinners to a holy God. He himself
has said that he had not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword.As the truth divides
and brings a different color…literal thought, of course where people fight each other. That
is not the gospel. Christians willingly lay down their lives for the gospel, but the sword is
the Word of God which cuts against truth and separates from truth and error. That can
never happen with McLaren’s gospel or the gospel of the Emerging Church because it
has imbibed a Postmodern culture that tells us there is no such thing as truth.
So he certainly can’t earnestly contend for the faith because he doesn’t know what that
faith is. This aspect of the social here and now gospel is seen in McLaren’s two questions that he asks which are these. What are the biggest problems destroying our world?
And what do the life and teaching of Jesus have to say about these global crises?
The Emerging Church is more world focused than heaven focused. The early Church
looked for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.The Emerging
Church is man centered. Its starting point is not with the truth as expressed in God’s
Word, but-imbibing a cultural philosophy of the day-truth cannot be established anyway.
The well being of man is the beginning. We hear things like, “We will come to you
rather than you come to us.” “We’ll do church on your terms rather than on ours or the
Rob Bell writes for the media in the States, but all this may be new to you, but it is big
news in the States and it will come over here. They consider him the next Billy Graham
although why I am not sure. He has neither gifts nor theology, well, as he had in his
younger day. Rob Bell says, “For Jesus the question wasn’t how do I get into heaven, but
how do I bring heaven here. The goal isn’t escaping this world, but making this world the
kind of place God can come to. And God is making us into the kind of people who can do
this task, this kind of work.”
See Matthew 10:34
See 2 Peter 3:13
One wonders which Bible are these people reading. He seems to be ignorant of the fact
that Scripture teaches, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned
up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved….”What does Peter say? Not
put on a global mask to solve the world’s dilemmas and problems, but in light of this Peter says, “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on
fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”There, and as we
have quoted earlier, “We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth right
I want to look-the time is moving on-to the mystical aspect of the Emerging Church.
Due to the fact that the Emerging Church is not truth based means it is susceptible to all
forms of error and falsehood as one might expect. As we are not moved by the truth of
God’s Word then we will seek experiences outside of that Word. And that is exactly
what we find in the Emergent movement. There is no real Jesus in the Emerging Church.
I believe it is not the Jesus we find in the Bible. Christ himself warned that, “Many will
come in my name.”And there appears to be as many Jesus’ in the world as there are
Jones’ in Wales. The big question is: Which Jesus do we have and which Jesus are we
Peter Rollins, an Emergent Leader in Northern Ireland-so it has come over into this
country already-Icon. They all have strange names. They don’t have, you know, Emergent Evangelical Church or Emergent Church. They have stupid, silly names. And here is
one Icon. And the very name will suggest where it is going.
Icon, “We as Icon,” they say, “are developing a theology which derives from the mystics,
a theology without theology to complement our religion without religion.”
You notice all this double talk. It doesn’t make sense. And you read their books. It
doesn’t make sense. Much of the Emergent Church thinking is not based on what the Bible teaches. And they do not derive their theology from the Bible, but rather, their theology-if it can be called that-from experience.
Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader says, “The old paradigm taught that if you have
the right teaching you will experience God. The new paradigms says that if you experience God you will have the right teaching.”
Another Emergent leader [?] in England, so it has arrived on our shores near to here,
Sanctus One, you know, so it is not, you know, the Baptist Tabernacle or somewhere.
They adopt one of their silly names. Sanctus One which is actually in Manchester says,
2 Peter 3:10-11
2 Peter 3:11-12
2 Peter 3:13
See Matthew 24:5, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8
“We believe that God is not defined by theology. Experience is vital and experience defines us.”
Now in our second talk I am going to jump to the next section because we will be all afternoon otherwise, but I want to jump on briefly and then we can close with some questions. You see, this searching for meaning and experience has not driven this movement
to the Word of God, but back into the world of Medieval Catholicism and Eastern mysticism.
Of course the Roman Catholic Church will endorse anything that furthers its own cause.
An official endorsement in 1965 by the Vatican reads this. “In Hinduism men seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and
recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism proposes a way of life by which man
can with confidence and trust attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help.” And then they go
on to say, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.”
The Second Vatican Counsel then or some time afterwards mentioned, “It longs to set
forth the way it understands the presence and function of the Roman Catholic,” in this
context, “Church in the world today. Therefore the world which the Counsel has in mind
is the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelopes it. This is
the reason why this sacred synod in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming
an element of the divine in him offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs.”
You are not surprised, then, at the Emerging Church going down the pathway not just to
Eastern mysticism, but to Romanism as well. In Soul Shaper: Exploring Spirituality and
Contemplative Practices in Youth Ministry Tony Jones advocates 16 ancient future, both,
spiritual tools or disciplines such as-quote-“the Jesus prayer, [?] diviner, silence and
solitude, stations of the cross, center in prayer, [?] and the labyrinth.”
Richard Bennett, a former Roman Catholic priest says this, “Assuming that the Roman
Catholic Evangelical split over the gospel is a thing of the past,” which we know it is not,
“Jones begins by defining his Postmodern approach to youth ministry by combing aspects
of what he sees as common spirituality and evangelicalism, Roman Catholicism and
Eastern Orthodox traditions along with Eastern religious practices gleaned from Buddhism and Hinduism.” Then it goes on, “Tony Jones’ involvement with youth ministry
and leaders of youth ministry is particularly dangerous. This is the cause of cases of obscure heretical practices from papal Rome when he then passes off on the unsuspecting as
if he has rediscovered a long hidden spiritual treasure for Postmodern Christianity. His
major goal is to make his very Roman Catholic view of the past come alive in the present,
something Bible believers should consider carefully especially regarding his very young
This man, by the way, Tony Jones, is a foul mouthed individual who uses foul language
of the worst kind even in describing the Bible. It is for this reason that you will find some
Emergent Churches lighting candles, crosses and other ritual things being performed, all
done in seeking a deeper experience of the divine. So they light their candles. They will
have their crosses They will have their music and their lights. Of course, they will all be
But what are they doing? They are seeking an encounter with the divine. They are seeking an encounter with the spiritual. For the true evangelical we say we are not seeking or
searching for the divine God out there whoever he may be. We have found him in Jesus
Christ, the Jesus alone in the pages of God’s Word.
We are never against experiences, but experiences come from the Word of God and are
based and tested by that very Word.
You will notice many of these people talk about seeking the divine and their masks that
they are having with McLaren and all this everything must change in 11 states of the
United States. They are all telling, “We are seeking something.”
I am not seeking anything. I found it. I am not seeking God or deeper experiences. He is
there in the Word in the written page.
And just in closing: Many young people will be attracted to this Emergent Church. They
will pack them out. The man we just quoted from, Tony Jones, you have seen his influence as to so many Emergent leaders among the youth. The Emergent Church targets the
young and is of particular attraction to young people. One of the reasons is that it uses an
anything goes approach in worship. You can have your bands. You can have your hip
hop, your reggae, whatever music you want. You can have it. You can bring your drums
and whatever you want into worship, whatever is appealing, whatever you want, whatever you are into. Bring it along.
And people will think, “This is great.”
But it is just like the world. You can bring anything into it. All forms of worship and
fleshiness come in. It would not amiss to say it is an almost anything goes approach. Any
form of music no matter how much it represents the debased culture around us seems to
be acceptable and even encouraged. So it will attract the young people who have no understanding of the gospel.
Another reason for why it attracts and will attract the young people is because it appeals
to their sinful nature. It has almost a no rules policy. If you are to go into an Emerging
Church you will find standard. Whatever is right for you is right. You will find one
standing, another sitting, another slouching because anything goes. Just fill out whatever
takes your fancy. We will have appeals, not appeals. There is no such thing as, “Let all
things be done decently and in order.”However, this pandering and [?] to the young is
The young of our church-and they are to be those who are shown authority and leadership-they are not to be those who are considered as to what they would like to see in
church or what pleases them or what will attract them or what will keep you here. Leadership shall be done by those who are mature adults in the faith. And this pattern of lead
ership is seen right throughout Scripture. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your
souls.”Considering those who would be leaders there is one that ruleth his household
well having his church or household in subjection.
See, man’s heart is rebellious and will be attracted to this fleshy, false gospel of the
Emergent Church. It is a denial of the clear truth oriented certain foundation of biblical
And I am going to close by summing up two quotes from the Emerging Church and then
we will hand back to our chairman. Sanctus One, an Emerging Church in Manchester
says, as stated on their blog site, “Churches in the West are increasingly experimenting
with more symbolic, reflective spiritualities [?] from Orthodox and Celtic traditions and
sing digital technologies and ambient music. How far can we engage with the Eastern
spiritualities of our Sikh, Hindu and Muslim neighbors whilst retaining our Christian integrity? What might an Emergent Church look like in a multi faith context?”
Our second quote, “Does a little dose of Buddhism thrown into a belief system somehow
kill off the Christian part?”
Real Christians would say a loud, “Yes.”
“My Buddhism doesn’t, except for the unfortunate inability to embrace Jesus,” as if that
is a side issue, “is a better Christian based on Jesus’ description of what a Christian does,
but almost every Christian I know…”
It could be well, he doesn’t know any Christians.
“If they are using Matthew 26 as a guide she would be a sheep and almost every Christian I personally know would be a goat.”
And I say in the Emerging Church they are all goats and may be warned and discerning
about Emerging Church?
See 1 Corinthians 14:40
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–”Ed” and family