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SPEAK UNTO US SMOOTH THINGS
Friday Church News Notes, June 5, 2015
Source: Way of Life Literature, David Cloud
“Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:10-11).
In Isaiah’s day, Israel rejected God’s Word and tried to corrupt the prophets. The people professed to love God and they participated in the temple rituals, but they despised God’s holy laws. They wanted to live as they pleased. They wanted preaching, but not right preaching. They didn’t want to hear reproof of sin and sound doctrine. They wanted to hear “smooth things” that encouraged them regardless of how they lived and that did not interfere with their plans. They wanted God, but not “the Holy One.” They would rather hear “deceits” than the truth. Israel has continued in this terrible condition until today.
She rejected the greatest Prophet and Preacher, Jesus, her own Messiah. The Isaiah 30 passage is also an apt description of apostate Christianity as Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. They profess to love Christ and the Bible, but in reality they love their own lusts.
They flock to hear teachers who downplay repentance and conversion and holy living, who preach smooth things and invent fables such as gibberish tongues, spirit slaying, laughing revivals, non-judgmentalism, self-esteemism, positive confession, the veneration of Mary, contemplative prayer, rock & roll worship, theistic evolution, ecumenism, non-essential doctrine, and universalism.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
This is an excerpt from
Potentially Harmful and Dangerous Spiritual Practices
Compiled from numerous sources by Chris Lawson
Contemplative Spirituality / Spiritual Formation (Please read note below)
- “Ancient Prayer” Practices
- Awareness of Being
- Being in the Present Moment
- Beyond Words
- Breath Prayers
- Centering prayer
- Dark night of the soul
- Divine Center
- Divine Mystery
- Ignation Contemplation
- Inner light
- Jesus Candles
- Lectio Divina
- Mantra prayers
- “Palms Up, Palms Down”
- Practicing the Presence
- Prayer of the Heart
- Prayer Stations
- Sacred Space
- Slow Prayer
- Spiritual Direction
- Spiritual Disciplines
- Spiritual Formation
- The Jesus Prayer
- Thin Place
- The Silence
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY PRACTICES:
The contemplative spirituality catch phrases and practices referred to above are used by Eastern occultists, religious mystics, and many “well-intentioned” Christians. Almost the enitre list of these practices has been gleaned from Eastern mysticism and the occult – and they have been brought into Christian settings. Due to the massive explosion of experience driven Christianity and the endorsements of many well known personalities, these practices are now thought by many to actually be “Christian”.
It must be clearly noted however that “Christian mystics” gleaned these practices from Eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. (See The Desert Fathers, Fr. Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, etc.) As such, they are “Christianized” forms of non-Christian practices. Even biblical prayer has been convoluted and re-defined as “centering prayer”, the “Jesus prayer”, “slow prayer”, “mantra prayer”, “meditation” (unbiblcal forms), etc.
We make special note of this here because oftentimes the “results” that people experience from these Eastern practices are contrary to biblical theology and balanced Christian practice. With this in view, it is no wonder that a number of so-called Christian leaders in our age have adopted a pantheistic, occult worldview – in place of a biblical, Christian worldview. The proof of this can be found in their books and sermons. The tragic end result of this is that many undiscerning church-goers (and quite a number of true Christians) are now being subjected to and influenced by an unbiblical Christianity. This new Christianized form of Eastern spirituality is an amalgamation of Eastern occult practices mixed with theologically corrupted biblical terminology. In theory it has major problems and in practice it can very quickly lead to spiritual delusion.
Another very serious problem that can arise through the use of a number of these practices is direct, overt contact with the spirit world apart from God. The technique or practice of “Centering prayer” as contemplatives call it, has a very strong potential to introduce well-intentioned people to occult practices such as Clairvoyance, Clairaudience and Clairsentience, etc. The Bible calls this divination, a form of the occult condemned by God Himself (Deuteronomy 18). Click here to see many references of the biblical condemnation of divination in any form).
It is very simple to do the research and find out just where these practices originate from and how they have crept into the church. Sadly, many refuse to look at the facts!
Syncretism slithers deeper into spiritually spineless evanjellyfish every day and Apprising Ministries continues to point it out for you wherever we find it.
Dominionism is fast becoming a hot topic and it’s tied to the idea of “changing the world” and supposedly bringing ” God’s dream for the world” to fruition.
The key is to not get caught up in the fact that this idea is actually taught in different ways. The point is the same: In some fashion, man will bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
With this in mind, in Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, And The Third Way I pointed out that with the book Jesus Manifesto (JM) by Frank Viola and early Emergent Church theologian Leonard Sweet we see more confluence of House Church and the Emerging Church.
Let me bring to your attention a post over at Truthspeaker’s Weblog called Frank Viola joins with Emergent Church’s Leonard Sweet in writing new book.
It in turn first points us to a June 2010 Herescope post called The Other Side of Emergent: The New Apostolic Reformation, which now becomes even more important with the NAR in the news as it slithers into the broader Christian Right. We’re told:
Finish article HERE
You can find Christine’s testimony on this link
It was great to get a mention on WorldViewWeekend…
Mike Bickle of IHOP wants a book about Catholic mystics to be “manual for IHOP-KC”
Much of the literature being sold through the International House of Prayer’s online FORERUNNER Bookstore indicates a contemplative influence. One such book being offered is Fire Within, written by Father Thomas Dubay. IHOP founder Mike Bickle states, “I want this book to be the manual for IHOP-KC.” 
That is high praise indeed from Mike Bickle. The full title of the book is Fire Within: St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel–On Prayer. Incredibly, Bickle’s “manual” is about Catholic, contemplative mystics! Also for sale on the website are books by and about St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and even Madame Guyon.
Another book being offered is The Forgotten Desert Mothers, by Laura Swan. Swan writes, “We begin to discard our old ways and go in search of new ways of communicating with God. Our prayer matures and takes on new forms.”  And what are these new forms? Swan states, “Centering prayer, lectio divina, Christian meditation, Taize, and the Divine Office are all sought. Prayer moves us toward the simple: often sitting silently before the Divine–in contemplative or centering prayer–is all we feel drawn to do.” 
In an audio message, Mike Bickle apparently voiced great enthusiasm for contemplative prayer. Jocelyn Andersen has transcribed some of what was said, which you can find HERE. Kim Olsen of Discernit has reproduced IHOP’s promotion of contemplative prayer HERE. Perhaps it is not surprising that these have vanished from the web but can still be examined because of the diligence of these two saints.
Full article HERE
and a very strange and sad story of IHOP youth evangelism at a Psychic fair:
in the comment section after this article a representative of the International House of Prayer tries to play down its involvement.
This was taken from the International House of Prayer’s website.
I see that the link below has been broken and that IHOP has pulled this information from their site. If another link can be found I will post it. Please know that this was copied word for word from their site.
|Contemplative Prayer—–Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you
I. Know He Lives Inside of You
II. Pray the Scripture
The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).
Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
Choose a short phrase in Scripture.
Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.
Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).
Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.
Choose a short story in Scripture.
Read through the story several times silently.
Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.
Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.
Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.
We call this “Beholding the Spirit Within.”
The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.
Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.
Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.
You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.
In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”
Your mind will have to be trained in practical ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.
Diligence in Prayer
In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.
Keys to Progress
Humility-the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)
Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)
Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)
The New Age and Christianity
three techniques for changing and creating reality:
thinking, speaking, and visualizing.”
(Dave Hunt – Occult Invasion)
* * * *
“…imaging and visualization are increasingly appearing as Christian meditation, “mind-stretchers,” or a consciousness-awakening experience in Christian workshops, and you’d better believe that visualization as a cultivated exercise comes with all sorts of metaphysical and spiritual baggage in tow.”
— Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott
****“It’s not difficult to trace the practice of meditative imaging and visualization back to the mystics.”— Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott****Jon Trott is correct here. If anyone has started to indulge themselves into meditative practices, just ask them what books they are reading.
Christians are being duped into mysticism because a sentence has the word Jesus in it or there is a phrase of scripture.
The well-known catholic mystics are Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and Matthew Fox. If these authors are in your library then you know that you are entering a mystical realm that will only draw you AWAY from Jesus Christ. They want you to focus on a centering prayer which will invite a feeling of divinity within yourself. This is the lie, that you are divine. You may not think that this is where they are leading you, but this is what Eve thought when the serpent suggested, that “You will be like God.” Watch out for the new charismatic coined term of DNA which actually means “Divine Nature Activated”
Contemplative prayer sounds so biblical, but it is a dangerous occult method of contacting the spirit world, which is off-limits to the Christian. Visualization is a technique that speeds up the process of reaching into another dimension to either experience visions or transport oneself.
Christian beware, the wolves are telling you that you are divine and holy. What does the Bible say?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”
So why should we center ourselves on our own heart looking for our divinity? We shouldn’t.
Instead…..we can have righteousness through faith….
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known to which the Law, and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
These phrases from the IHOP article bother me.
“Make sure you are searching for the spirit of Jesus.”
Jesus wasn’t and is not a spirit. He came to earth as fully man and fully God, but He never came as a spirit. But those who meditate using TM methods often contact a spirit guide named “Jesus”. This is deceiving spirit because Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father.
“Play out the story…apply all five senses”
This is an exercise in guided imagery. Read what Dave Hunt says about this:
“Visualization and Guided Imagery have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge and healing. Such methods are neither taught or practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.” (The Seduction of Christianity)
Yet here we see it openly being taught and embraced.
“Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit.”
How can you do these two things simultaneously? Actually the Scripture becomes meaningless as one focuses on something else entirely.
“The springboard into the spiritual realm.”
What is the springboard?…it is the silence, the quiet. They are trying to fool you into thinking it is the scripture, but this is not the case here. The silence is a void used in eastern meditation to stop you from thinking or concentrating. So now what spiritual realm have you just entered? You have entered a void. It is this void that allows you to enter a spiritual realm that is forbidden in the Bible. This is the realm where the white light enters, and if you know your Bible, then you know that this is Satan. He comes with joy and peace and fills you with ecstasy. If he came any other way he would be instantly rejected.
“Your surface thoughts are gone”.
The Bible never tell us to quit thinking or to empty our minds. In fact we are told the quite the opposite.
1 Peter 5:8
“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.”
“Ask the spirit to show you a vision.”
This is exactly how those involved in TM ask to be shown their demonic spirit guides. Exactly. This is so dangerous……
The section describing how to overcome distractions is the same method chanters use when meditating. If they actually have…a thought…oh no…start the chant again to empty the mind.
Anyone who does not see the eastern mysticism in this occult prayer method…does not want to see. Even a cursory study of meditation easily shows the parallels but people aren’t listening, or they don’t care, or maybe they hate to admit they have been deceived. This pride is fateful. It is eternal. It keeps you in touch with the New-Age Jesus, (who does not exist) and separates you from the true Jesus Christ in the Bible.
“It is not an advanced spiritual state, but one that is primitive and regressive, and consequentially results in bondage to spiritistic powers.” ( Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs) Ankerberg and Weldon pg. 238
How is it that the church has fallen into such a sad state of affairs? It is simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not being preached anymore. Without repentance, without turning away from sin, without faith, there is no conversion.
The unconverted are hungry for God because they have no way to be sanctified. So in order to hear from God, in order to fill the void, they need to resort to false fire. Gnostic strange fire. This spiritual false fire replaces a true move of God which would cause conviction and make us fall on our faces and weep. We would weep because when the holiness of God shines His light on our sin, magnifying our true nature, it is unbearable. This in turn causes us to hate our sin, and search the Word for how live a holy life pleasing to the Lord.
When the Word of God is not enough, when it is not sufficient, the alternative is deception.