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CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY AND RECOMMENDED READING FROM FRANK VIOLA

By on Aug 30, 2011 in Current Issues, Emergence Christianity, Emergent Church, Features

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

In this video clip Bob Dewaay talks about the Emergent Church, Postmodern Theology, Mysticism and the church Re-imagined.

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How to Know When the Emerging Church

Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church

Commentary by Roger Oakland

http://understandthetimes.org/

The world is changing. So is the Christian evangelical church. There was a time— not that long ago—when the Bible was considered to be the Word of God by the majority of evangelical Christians. Now that we are well into the third millennium and the post-modern, post-Christian era, the term evangelical can mean almost anything. What has happened? Why is this happening and what is the future for mainstream Christianity?

For the past several years, I have been speaking around the world on current trends that are impacting Christianity. After these presentations, I am approached by Christians who come from many different church backgrounds. Many are expressing their concerns about what is happening in their churches, troubled by the new direction they see their church going. While they may not always be able to discern what is wrong, they know something is wrong and that it needs to be addressed.

Further, many have told me they have attempted to express their concerns with their pastors or church elders. In almost every case, they were told they had a choice to make—get with the new program or get out of the church.

This move towards a reinvented Christianity (one designed to “reach people”) seems to be here for the long haul. It is not just a passing fad. I am often asked by concerned brothers and sisters in Christ to provide an explanation in order to help them understand what they have encountered. They want to know why these changes are underway and what to expect in the future. As well, they want to know what, if anything can be done, to stem this tide. It is for this reason I am writing this commentary—to provide biblical insight regarding the Emerging Church and where it is heading in the future.

The Gospel According to the Scriptures

Throughout church history, various trends have come and gone. While culture changes from place to place, biblical Christianity has always been based upon the central message of the Bible which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message never changes.

This gospel message is about who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done. A child can understand the gospel message. This message proclaims that life here on planet earth is finite and that life after death is eternal. The good news is that we can be saved from our sins if we will repent and simply ask for forgiveness and follow Him.

How we respond to the gospel message during the time we have on earth determines where we spend eternity—heaven or hell. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, provided a way and the only way we can spend eternity with Him. It is a matter of making a personal decision whether or not we will accept the plan He has provided.

God’s adversary does not want mankind to understand the simple message. His plan is to deceive the world. If he can blind people from the gospel or convince them that they believe the gospel when indeed they do not, his plan has been successful. Throughout the ages, countless billions have been duped, either rejecting the truth, or believing that they had believed the truth when instead they had been deceived.

The Gospel According to Postmoderism

Times change! However, the gospel must remain the same no matter what else changes. We are now living in the postmodern era. In a sincere attempt to reach the postmodern generation with the gospel, it seems many Christians have become postmodern in their thinking.

Perhaps the term postmodern is new to you. Let’s examine what it means.

First, the modern era was characterized by a time of rational thinking based on factual observation. Many claim the modern era ended in the mid 1900s.

The postmodern mindset moves beyond the rational and the factual to the experiential and the mystical. In other words, in the past it was possible to know right from wrong and black from white. In the postmodern era all things are relative to the beholder. What may be right for you may be wrong for someone else. There is no such thing as absolute truth. The only thing that is absolute is that there is no absolute.

We now live in a time in history that is characterized as postmodern. Professors at universities teach students there is no right or wrong. All things are relative. The gospel message to the postmodern mindset is far too dogmatic and arrogant. They say it is necessary to find a more moderate gospel that can be accepted by the masses.

Many church leaders are now looking for ways to reach the postmodern generation. They believe they can find the appropriate methods to do so without changing the message. However, in their attempt to reach this postmodern generation, they have become postmodern themselves and have changed the message. As the gospel is fixed upon the Scriptures, the gospel cannot change, unless of course it becomes another gospel. I believe this is what is happening in the Emerging Church.

He Didn’t Come

Many have noticed that since the turn of the millennium, their churches have changed positions on Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus. Many have given up on the return of Jesus. From the ‘60s on there was an excitement about the imminent return of Jesus. The Jesus People were excited about Bible prophecy and could see signs that Jesus would descend from the heavens for His Bride at any moment.

The year 2000 was of particular importance. When Jesus didn’t show up, it seems many were apparently disappointed. “Perhaps Jesus has delayed His coming,” some have said. Others are even taking the position that He may not be coming at all, at least not in the manner we have been taught. They are now convinced that we need to be busy about “building His Kingdom” here on earth by “whatever human effort is required.”

The Gospel of the Kingdom

One of the main indicators that something has changed can be seen in the way the future is perceived. Rather than urgently proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures and believing the time to do so is short, the emphasis has now shifted. No longer are “signs of the times” significant. The battle cry is very different. A major emphasis among evangelicals is the idea that the world can be radically improved through social programs.

This concept, while on the surface may sound very good, has some serious biblical implications. According to the Scriptures, there will be no kingdom of God until the King arrives. All the human effort man can muster up will fall short of bringing utopia. In fact, according to the Scriptures, fallen man will lead us further down the road to a society of despair and lawlessness just like it was in the days of Noah.

Thus, this purpose-driven view of establishing global utopia may be a plan, but it is “driven” by humanistic reasoning and not led by the Holy Spirit. While it is of course good to do good unto others, all the goodness that we can do will not be good enough. Pastors and church leaders who get involved in such man-driven programs can usually be identified by certain characteristics:

Sound biblical doctrine is dangerous and divisive, and the experiential (i.e.,mystical) is given a greater role than doctrine.

Bible prophecy is no longer taught and is considered a waste of time

Israel becomes less and less important and has no biblical significance

Eventually the promises for Israel are applied to the church and not Israel (Replacement Theology).

Bible study is replaced by studying someone’s book and his methods

Church health is evaluated on the quantity of people who attend.

The truth of God’s Word becomes less and less important

God’s Word, especially concepts like hell, sin and repentance, is eventually downplayed so the unbeliever is not offended.

Spiritual Formation and Transformation

Much of what I have described provides the formula for a dumbing-down of Christianity that paves the way for an apostasy that will only intensify in the future. This trend away from the authority of God’s Word to the reinvented form of Christianity has overcome all evangelical denominations like an avalanche. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, few realize it has even happened.

However, there is another big piece to the puzzle that must be identified in order to understand what is emerging in the Emerging Church. While biblical Christianity has been dumbed-down and the light of God’s Word diminished, another avalanche of deception is underway that is equally devastating.

This is best described by the Word of God giving way to experiences that God’s Word forbids. The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the “forbidden book.” Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common person, the people were in darkness. When the light of God’s Word became available, the gospel according to the Scriptures was once again understood.

This trend, which is underway today, shows us that history is in the process of repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise of mystical experiences is alarming and these experiences are being presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for the fostering of what is called “spiritual formation.” This teaching suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite.

These teachings, while actually rooted in ancient wisdom (the occult), were presented to Christendom post-New Testament and not found in the Word of God. The spiritual formation movement is based upon experiences promoted by desert monks and Roman Catholic mystics – these mystics encouraged the use of rituals and practices, that if performed would bring the practitioner closer to God (or come into God’s presence). The premise was that if one went into the silence or sacred space, then the mind was emptied of distractions and the voice of God could be heard. In truth, these hypnotic, mantric style practices were leading these monks into altered states of consciousness. The methods they used are the same that Buddhists and the Hindus use as a means of encountering the spiritual realm

Such methods are dangerous, and are not sanctioned in the Bible – God gives no instruction for this. On the contrary, he warns severely against divination, which is practicing a ritual or method in order to obtain information from a spiritual source. While proponents of spiritual formation (like Richard Foster) say these methods show that the Holy Spirit is doing something new to refresh Christianity, I would suggest that what is happening is not new and is not the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual formation movement is being widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader in these days. These ideas are then being exported from seminaries to churches by graduates who have been primed to take Christianity to a new level of enlightenment.

As well, these contemplative practices are being promoted by emergent leaders such as Brian McLaren, Robert Webber, Dallas Willard and others. Publishers like NavPress, InterVarsity and Zondervan are flooding the market with books promoting contemplative practices based on Eastern mysticism. Pastors and church leaders read these books and then promote the ideas as if they were the scriptural answer to drawing close to God.

Signs the Emerging Church is Emerging

There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.

Here are some of the warning signs:

Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.

The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past

An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.

Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

What does the Future Hold?

If the Emerging Church continues unfolding at the present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be reinvented and the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures will be considered too narrow and too restrictive. In other words, the narrow way to heaven that Jesus proclaimed will eventually be abandoned for a wider way that embraces pagan experiential practices. I call this reinvented, re-imagined form of Christianity that is unfolding—“Christian Babylonianism”.

This new form of Christianity will replace biblical faith with a faith that says man can establish the kingdom of God here on earth. The Word will continue to become secondary to a system of works driven by experiences.

An ecumenical pattern towards unity with Rome will become more apparent. Those who refuse to embrace this direction will be considered spiritual oddballs that need to be reprimanded. Those who stand up for biblical faith will be considered the obstructions to the one world spirituality that is promoted as the answer for peace.

The best way to be prepared for what is coming is to gain an understanding of what is happening now. While there are not many who seem to discern the trend underway, there are some. Without the Bible and the Holy Spirit as our guide, the darkness that is coming would be overwhelming. However, the light of God’s Word penetrates the darkness and there are those who are being delivered from deception and see what is taking place.

I am convinced we are seeing apostasy underway, exactly as the Scriptures have forewarned. This means that this current trend is not likely to disappear. We must continue to proclaim the truth in the midst of deception with love. As Paul instructed Timothy:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2: 24-26).

There are still pastors and churches who are dedicated to proclaiming the truth. Find out where they are and support them. If you are in a location where this does not seem to be possible, seek out materials that are available from solid Bible-based Christian ministries and hold Bible studies in your own home.

And keep looking up! Jesus is coming soon.

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This is a great article that I took from this site. Find it Here

The Strong Delusion of God

The Strong Delusion is coming; the strong delusion will be sent by God, and the strong delusion will be directed not only at those of the world that are lost in their sins, but specifically at all lukewarm, undecided, and corrupt Christians

2Thesalonians 2:11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie

2Thesalonians 2:12: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Webster’s definition of “unrighteous”: 

evil, guilty, immoral, unholy, unjust, sinful, unworthy, wicked

Author’s note: As I write this to you, I’m trying to be succinct, but my fear for you and for others, as well as for myself, is great and I may reiterate often in an attempt to wake us all from our spiritual slumber.

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

My sole purpose in writing to you is to bear witness of the seriousness of this issue. We must not take our salvation for granted, but should work it out before God in fear and trembling.

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

Not all will be saved that claim to be Christians.

Consider:  Are you secure in your walk with the Lord or are you basing your trust of your salvation in corrupted Biblical teaching under a false prophet? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus, or are you dependent upon your pastor or priest to get you into heaven?

Christ has stated that many will come before His Throne of Judgment believing they were saved, even holding up that they had cast out demons and healed the sick, all in His name, yet He will deliver to them the most feared of all rebukes possible; “I NEVER knew you, depart from me”.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
Why would God send a Strong Delusion upon the world?

Because lost (unsaved) people of the earth including those that claim to be Christians “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:7-12

God will send the strong delusion on those among us that are guilty of not accepting the truth of His Holy Word found within the Old and New Testament Bible. Their guilt also lies in their accepting and following after the unrighteous teachings perpetrated by false prophets within the Christian church. 

These false prophets are controlled by seducing spirits; and while working under the guise of end times preachers, pastors, teachers, elders, and church laymen they are preaching, teaching and promoting doctrines of devils. 

1st Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some (Christians) shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

To clarify; the strong delusion will not be sent by God solely because of the actions of the false prophets, or due only to the blasphemous content of their false teachings, but also the strong delusion will be sent upon those that claim to be Christian and are proven apostate due to their acceptance of ungodly teaching. The Strong Delusion will be sent upon the false teachers and those that believe them.

Why will lukewarm Christians be included in the strong delusion curse from God?

 Those that claim to be Christians have been given much in the teaching and knowledge of God.

Luke 12:48 For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..

Lukewarm and undecided Christians are denying the deity of Christ by not bowing to His authority in all issues of life. They are not obeying the teachings of God in His Holy Word, but instead are following after false prophets that teach a new and corrupted gospel.


Does God’s Word speak to the issue of undecided and lukewarm Christians?

Yes, Jesus states He will be disgusted with lukewarm Christians to the degree He will be nauseated by their presence.

Revelation 3:15 I know your works, that you art neither cold nor hot…

Revelation 3:16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

 Revelation 3:17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.


Can Christians that profess to know the Holy God of the Bible be lost due to their wrong interpretation of scripture? 

Yes. God has only one true interpretive meaning in His Holy Word. It cannot be rightfully interpreted and taught by false prophets that are under the influence of seducing spirits, nor can it be correctly espoused by Christians that have no personal walk or relationship with Jesus.  

1 Timothy 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Is there punishment for Christians that do not OBEY the gospel of Jesus Christ?

2Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2Thessalonians 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ  Why will atheists, those that say they do not believe in God, be cursed?

There is no denying God’s existence, for everything seen and unseen speaks of the majesty of His existence through His Creation. Those that deny that God exists do so solely in rebellion and refusal to accept His Kingship. They choose to deny their true King rightful authority over their lives.
 Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…Luke 12:9 But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

What is the “LIE” that God’s Strong Delusion will cause people to believe?
First recognize that the “lie” is NOT a lie spoken or sent by God. Also, do not confuse the “lie” with the “strong delusion”, they are two entirely different things, however, combined they will become a curse on the lost and also on the lukewarm in the Christian churches.   The false doctrine being taught within the Christian churches today is the “lie” .

2Thesalonians 2:11:  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie 
The “strong delusion” is God’s curse upon both those that teach the false doctrine lie and those that believe the false doctrine lie.
 
The Warning of Jesus   Jesus has warned emphatically that God will be so displeased with people during the last days that He will cause them to believe a lie in order that they may be cursed. Consider: Is God speaking of sending a strong delusion on only those that are lost due to their having not accepted Jesus as their Messiah or is this warning for all people, including lukewarm Christians?  Some of you may think the strong delusion is meant only for unbelievers and will not effect “Christians”. If that is the case, then answer this; why would God need another (additional) reason to condemn those that are already condemned due to their not accepting His only begotten Son

“He that believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 

Are there really False Prophets teaching a ‘lie” within the end-time Christian churches?

Yes, so much so that Jesus made a point of warning the disciples (and us) regarding them. When speaking of false prophets, Jesus was not referring to the common deceptions of the world that would mislead the lost through out history. He was specifically warning His Christian disciples, and us as His Christian followers, to beware of False Prophets within the Christian church family.

Seducers versus persecutors:Jesus was warning us that seducers in our midst are of much more danger to the church (then and now) than are the open and obvious persecutors. Jesus foresaw the false teachers (seducers) that would be embedded within our Christian churches today.

Who are the seducers within the Christian church today?The seducers in the Christian church today are those that have gained good reputation, perhaps through pseudo Biblical teachings, but afterward, having betrayed the Holy Word of Jesus entrusted to them, have turned away from the Truth entirely. Under the prompting of evil spirits these seducers have now begun teaching heresy and error compounded; of which Jesus said are “doctrines of devils”. Ignoring the clear scriptural warning of being cursed for adding to or taking away from God’s Holy Word, today’s false prophets are foolishly, and to their own eternal destruction, teaching a new and different gospelStop for a moment and consider this; Do you realize that God’s Word says there WILL be Christians leaving the true teaching of God and accepting the teaching of evil spirits. If the dawning reality of that is not enough to make you fall on your knees pleading God’s mercy in fear of this becoming your own fate, now consider  that God also says that “doctrines of devils” will be taught in the end time Christian churches? Is your Church allowing doctrines of devils to be taught?

Doctrine: A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some

Devils: Spirits of evil and adversaries of God; tempters of mankind; masters of Hell

Who are those that are teaching the Doctrines of Devils being taught in Christian churches today?

The seducing laymen, teachers, prophets, elders, deacons, and pastors that have compromised, omitted, changed, added to, and intentionally wrongly interpreted the Word of God to accommodate the cultural standards and desires of the lost people of today are teaching False Doctrines that God calls Doctrines of Devils.
Do you know what is considered to be a doctrine of a devil according to God’s Word? 

Examples given of doctrines of devils being taught in today’s churches include (but certainly are not limited to) the following;

Where as God’s Word calls an evil act done by man as being sin, false prophets within today’s Christian churches call this same sin good and acceptable.. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.

  Where as God states that He is God and there is no other god beside Him. The false prophets today teach that we are ALL gods.  Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God

. Where as God says that if we pray we shall receive that which is in His Will, these seducing false prophets now teach that we are capable of receiving anything we desire regardless of God’s will, merely through our OWN will power.  1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:

Where as God states that we are to seek first the kingdom of heaven and then all things needed for our care on earth will be given to us. The seducers among us teach that we should first seek after material gain, wealth, and prosperity, and of course give them a good share of it. 1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Where as Christ said that no man can come to the Father, but through Him, and that God draws mankind through Jesus that we may be purified of our sins before approaching God. Today’s seducers teach that there are many ways to God.John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.   Where as God demands that we honor and worship Him and Him only, the seducers in the Christian churches today demand that we honor and even worship them and our fellow man instead. Romans 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools Romans 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator

Where as God says that effeminate and homosexual men are an abomination to Him, many of today’s ministers teach that homosexuals and effeminates are NOT sinning and that God will go against His own Word and bless them anyway because He is a “God of Love’.  1Corinthians  6:9-10 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Jesus speaking of the signs and wonders that will deceive the end times Christians:

“Even him (anti-Christ), who’s coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”

 Christ Jesus warned us in Mathew 24 that the “him” that shall rise up is the anti-Christ, and will do so with direct empowerment from Satan, and will show great signs and lying wonders that will be so grand and spectacular as to fool many.

The great signs and wonders being done by the false prophets are not true miracles, but are instead, “LYING wonders empowered by Satan, and are NOT miracles empowered by God.

These false prophets take advantage of men’s lack of knowledge regarding God’s Holy Word.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.

Surely, if men had read God’s warnings in the Bible they would recognize these false prophets spoken of in end time’s prophecies. But, sadly, yet it is their due; they are capable of being deceived by falsehood, trickery, magic, lies, their own arrogance, and other deceptions sent on the world by Satan through seducing spirits. 

For us as true Christians, that is, those of us whom have asked with a broken and contrite heart for God to forgive us in the name of Jesus, we must also pray that God would protect and keep us from the great lie that Satan is now inflicting on the world. Pray that our God would not send the strong delusion upon us.

Will lukewarm Christians accept the anti-Christ as being Jesus?  Yes.

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 2Thessalonian 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

Because they did not receive the love of the TRUTH; the TRUTH being that Jesus is the ONLY way to God and is the true Savior, Lord, King, and Ruler over all creation here on earth, God is sending a Strong Delusion to curse them in order that those that accept the lie shall remain in their sins.  

 A Clear Warning

If you are lost in your sins without the freely offered salvation of Jesus at the time of the rise of anti-Christ you will remain lost. If you are a lukewarm, undecided, corrupt Christian that has not accepted Jesus Christ as your ONLY means of forgiveness before God, then you will receive the strong delusion from God Himself and be cursed. 

God has given you the opportunity to repent today; if you refuse you will remain in your sins when the anti-Christ comes. If you believe you will recognize the anti-Christ and will not accept him as the false messiah, God’s Word says otherwise. God states clearly that because they would not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, HE WILL cause them to believe the lie. 

Never before in the history of the world has there been a time of prophetic fulfillment such as this. Today all of the final prophecies of Bible Scripture are coming to complete fulfillment quickly and with an exactness of accuracy that is astounding. As a Holy Spirit filled Christian with “eyes to see and ears to hear”, I am in awe at the exponential rapidity toward completion in which God is bringing about these promised end time events.

 It is absolutely imperative that you accept Christ as your Savior, your Lord, your King, and your Ruler now. Do not make the mistake to think you will be “raptured” out of the world before the tribulation, or that you can wait until tribulation begins and then decide to bow your knee to Jesus as King. For those of you that are undecided (lukewarm), make up your mind quickly; repent of your sins before God almighty now, today, and do not wait for tomorrow. God will soon send  a strong delusion upon the people of this world. Are you foolish enough to think that God will fail to do that which He has promised? 

Prepare yourself to not be deceived; follow the teaching of God’s Holy Word written in the Old and New Testament Bibles. Read His Word for yourself and pray that He would show you His truth as He meant it to be. Turn away from the lying false prophets that are within many of the corrupt churches today. Seek God our Creator through Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus alone. Do not seek after wealth, materialism, and prosperity. Seek God in truth and spirit. Do not seek after power, self worship, and attention to yourself. Do not seek self gratification of perverse and ungodly desires by living your life vicariously through actors, musicians, the wealthy, sports icons, politicians, or your pastor.  Hold no man or woman up as being worthy of your attention-turned-worship. Heed the Word of God Almighty ONLY.

Old Testament prophecy of God’s wrath on unbelievers:

Isaiah 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

May God have mercy on us all. 
A brother in Christ Jesus,

 Barry L. Brumfield

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                                                        “FAITH UNDONE” by Roger Oakland 

                the emerging church…a new formation or an end-time deception

One would be hard-pressed to find a more complete description of the various end-time deceptions currently exploding in our churches in one single paperback book.   Roger has accomplished this feat in “Faith Undone”.

Why is his book so relevant today? Consider this statement.  “In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church.”

Here are some of the topics he covers in his 13 chapters.

  • Emerging Spirituality
  • Mysticism
  • Post-Modernism
  • Labryinths
  • Contemplative Spirituality
  • Yoga
  • The “Eucharistic” Christ
  • Purpose Driven Ecumenism
  • The Kingdom of God on Earth
  • The New Reformation

From Chapter 1 – A New Kind of Church

“It is not the ambience of the emerging  church that causes me to write this book. It is the theological underpinnings….But is this ‘new reformation’ actually the way God has instructed us to go?… A new form of Christianity will replace faith with a faith that says man can find his own path to God and create a perfect kingdom of God here on the earth.  The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices.” (pp. 12-13)

This last sentence “The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices”, is so very true of every deceptive practice being introduced into the church and the world today. This falls in line with occultist Alice Bailey who said “the teachings of the East and of the West must be fused and blended before the true and universal religion could appear on earth”.*  When the church embraces occult teachings, we have to come to our senses and take notice of what is happening right in front of our eyes. The Bible warns of this deception but people do not want to listen.

Roger also says:

“This book does not attempt to identify every key player in the emerging church movement. There are too many…my objective  is not to attack individuals but rather to unveil a belief system. Thus, this is not a book out to get the bad guys. On the contrary, it is a book that seeks to rescue those involved with the emerging church and countless others heading in that direction.”

“In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church. If the emerging church continues unfolding at its present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be restructured so that the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ will be considered too narrow and too restrictive.” (p.20)

This is happening this very instant and many are totally unaware. This is why Roger’s book is so important. Let’s take a look at some of his other findings. This is from Chapter 6, When West Meets East

“In the early ’80s, I became aware of a major shift in thinking that was sweeping the Western world. Religious pagan practices of the past, once relegated to a world of darkness, were now being embraced as the ways and means of ushering in an age of enlightenment….Every method and therapy imaginable imported from Hinduism, Buddhism and every form of Eastern mysticism suddenly was in vogue. The age of enlightenment had arrived, we were told.” (p.93)

This cannot be more true.  Think back even farther when the Beatles swept in from England in the mid 60’s.  They themselves delved into Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation because of George Harrison’s fascination with the East. The baby-boomers of today are already familiar with these practices so it is no wonder that it is not a stretch for them to readily accept yoga and meditation into their life. What does Roger have to say about this?

“Today it is  becoming increasingly common to hear about churches promoting Christian yoga or Christian leaders suggesting the best way to enhance one’s prayer life is by getting in tune with God through repeating a mantra. What was once described as New Age and occultic is acceptable now in some Christian circles. ”

“Anyone who cares to do the research will find that yoga and its connection to Eastern religion remains the same. Linking oneself with the universal energy is still its goal. A Christian can believe that yoga is for health and well being if he or she wants, but the facts have not changed.”

“Can a Christian incorporate Hindu spiritual practices in order to get closer to the Jesus Christ of the Bible?” (pp. 94,96) 

Roger goes on to explain why the answer to this question is NO. But you will have the read the book for the remaining argument. Let’s go on to Rick Warren and some of his extraordinary quotes found in Chapter 9, The Kingdom Of God On Earth.

“Rick Warren’s reformation, which will bring in the Kingdom of God through global cooperation for a common cause, will include Catholics, Muslims, and homosexuals – a combination hardly similar to the 16th century reformation…Rick Warren believes that God has shown him not only the boundaries (or lack of them) of this coming global kingdom, but also the strategy to bring it about. Before Warren came up with the plan, he says he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world. He explains:” (p.149) (Warren’s comments in red)

RW   “Then I said, ‘How did You do it? You wouldn’t have left us without a strategy.’ And I found the answer in a passage in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 where Jesus sends His first followers out…He says, ‘When you go into a village, you find the man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church.* The man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer. Could be Muslim. Could be Jewish. Because when Jesus said, ‘Find the man of peace, there were no Christians yet. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross. There was no resurrection. He’s just saying, go out and find somebody to work with.” (pp. 149-150)

“Jesus did not say they were to look for a man of peace of every town, Rather he said ‘whatsoever city or town ye shall enter , enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go hence”  (Matthew 10:11)…it is important to realize that the criterion for staying in a house was not the greeting of peace itself but whether those in that house received their message.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)

“Let me speak very boldly here: if we are going to link hands with those who believe in another gospel or no gospel at all for the sake of establishing an earthly, unified kingdom, we will not be building the kingdom of God.” (p.151)

RW  “I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world…I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ What will happen if the followers of Jesus say to Him, ‘We are yours’? What kind of spiritual awakening will occur?” (p. 153)

“What does Warren mean by ‘whatever it takes’?

I am going to advance to Chapter 12, A New Reformation, for the next Rick Warren quote.

“In an article written by Rick Warren, “What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau?”, Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time…and in many cases, it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren exhorts:” (p.204)

RW  “If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it’s been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it has been plateaued for 20 years, you’ve got to set in for the duration. I’m saying people are going to have to die or leave.  Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.  That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.” (p.205)

“By making statements like this, Rick Warren marginalized those who won’t go along with the new reformation that he is hoping for. While Warren doesn’t say that people should kill them, he does say that God may have to end their lives, just like when ‘God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.'” (p.205)

These are frightening statements and I am sick of Rick but he will have to be dealt with. There is so much more in “Faith Undone”, like Warren telling his followers that the details of Christ’s return are none of our business, (I can’t tell you everything!), but we must move on to the emergents.

There are so many involved in the emergent movement that one needs to go to www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com or http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/ to check out all the names, but Roger gives much attention to Brian McLaren. (blue comment) McLaren was named one of the country’s top 25 “Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005 by Time magazine.

“In an interview, Brian McLaren questioned the idea of God sending His Son to a violent death, calling it “false advertising for God”:

BL  “One of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching then-I won’t say, the only, and I certainly won’t say the primary–but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, the doctine of hell basically says, no, that’s not really true.  That in the end, God gets His way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination, just like every other kingdom does.  The cross isn’t the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

“What an extraordinary example of faith under attack and the consequences of thinking outside the box. If McLaren is right, all those who have ever lived and believed in Christ’s atonement have been misled and wrong. McLaren has taken the freedom to to reconstruct what faith means by distorting the Scripture, or worse yet, saying the opposite of what the inspired Word of God says. This is blasphemy!” (pp.192-193)

I have resisted taking the final comment from Roger’s book from the last chapter, Or An Endtime Deception, even though there are many gems to pick from, and have selected this from p.217

“The emergent reformation, when it comes to fruition, will stand on the side of the line drawn in the sand that says all humanity is One–regardless of religion, beliefs–we are all One. That One-ness will mean one with all creation too, and inevitably with God. This is what the New Age movement is striving for–a time when all of mankind will realize both their unity and divinity–and the Gospel as we know it, according to Scripture, will be no more.”

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Others mentioned in the book – Alice Bailey, Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Marcus Borg, Bob Buford, Tony Campolo, Peter Drucker, Richard Foster, Matthew Fox, Thomas Keating, Dan Kimball, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Erwin McManus, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Doug Pagitt, Leonard Sweet, and Robert Webber among others.

How is it that this one book can cover so many names and issues?  It is because they are all related and together they have one goal and purpose in mind, which is Faith Undone, a must read for every Christian.

Order this book at Lighthouse Trails Publishing.

* Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy p.280

* Government, business, church is Druckers 3-legged stool.

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“Oprah and Friends” To Teach Course on New Age Christ
By Warren Smith

Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, “Oprah & Friends” will offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles .1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.” For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.”2 Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.” 3 Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe “My salvation comes from me.”4

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By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset — a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training”5 and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”6

Teaching A Course in Miracles will be Oprah’s longtime friend and special XM Satellite Radio reporter Marianne Williamson, who also happens to be one of today’s premier New Age leaders. She and Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch co-founded the American Renaissance Alliance in 1997, that later became the Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders, that changed its name again in 2005 to the Peace Alliance . This Peace Alliance seeks to usher in an era of global peace founded on the principles of a New Age/New Spirituality that they are now referring to as a “civil rights movement for the soul.”7 They all agree that the principles of this New Age/New Spirituality are clearly articulated in A Course in Miracles, which is fast becoming the New Age Bible. So what is A Course in Miracles and what does it teach?

A Course in Miracles is allegedly “new revelation” from “Jesus” to help humanity work through these troubled times. This “Jesus” — who bears no doctrinal resemblance to the Bible’s Jesus Christ — began delivering his channeled teachings in 1965 to a Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology by the name of Helen Schucman. One day Schucman heard an “inner voice” stating, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”8 For seven years she diligently took spiritual dictation from this inner voice that described himself as “Jesus.” A Course in Miracles was quietly published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. For many years “the Course” was an underground cult classic for New Age seekers who studied “the Course” individually, with friends, or in small study groups.

As a former New Age follower and devoted student of A Course in Miracles , I eventually discovered that the Course in Miracles was, in reality, the truth of the Bible turned upside down. Not having a true understanding of the Bible at the time of my involvement, I was led to believe that A Course in Miracles was “a gift form God” to help everyone understand the “real” meaning of the Bible and to help bring peace to the world. Little did I know that the New Age “Christ” and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles were everything the real Jesus Christ warned us to watch out for. In Matthew 24 Jesus warned about false teachers, false teachings and the false “Christs” who would pretend to be Him.

When I left the New Age “Christ” to follow the Bible’s Jesus Christ, I had come to understand that the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles was a false “Christ,” and that his Course in Miracles was dangerously deceptive. Here are some quotes from the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles:
 
“There is no sin. . . “9
A “slain Christ has no meaning.” 10
“The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.'”11
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.'”12
“The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. . . . It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.” 13
“God is in everything I see.”14
“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”15
“The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.” 16
“The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.”17

Most Christians recognize that these teachings are the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In the Bible, Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross of Calvary was hardly a “useless journey.” His triumph on the cross provides salvation to all those who confess their sin, accept Him and follow Him as their Lord and Saviour. His victory on the cross rings throughout the New Testament. It has been gloriously sung about in beloved hymns through the ages and is at the heart of our Christian testimony. I found the Jesus of the Bible to be wholly believable as He taught God’s truth and warned about the spiritual deception that would come in His name. The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles reveals himself to be an imposter when he blasphemes the true Jesus Christ by saying that a “slain Christ has no meaning” and that we are all “God” and that we are all “Christ.” It was by reading the Bible’s true teachings of Jesus Christ that I came to understand how deceived I had been by A Course in Miracles and my other New Age teachings.

I was introduced to A Course in Miracles by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book Love is Letting Go of Fear. Jampolsky declared in his easy-to-read book how the teachings of A Course in Miracles had changed his life. As an ambassador for A Course in Miracles over the years, Jampolsky has been featured not only in New Age circles but at least twice on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. While Schuller introduced Jampolsky and his “fabulous” 18 Course in Miracles-based books to his worldwide television audience, it was Marianne Williamson’s appearance on a 1992 Oprah Winfrey Show that really shook the rafters.

On that program, Oprah enthusiastically endorsed Williamson’s book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. Oprah told her television audience that Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles was one of her favorite books, and that she had already bought a thousand copies and would be handing them out to everyone in her studio audience. Oprah’s endorsement skyrocketed Williamson’s book about A Course in Miracles to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Ironically, all of this was happening after I had left the Course and the New Age. In fact, I was doing the final editing on my book The Light That Was Dark that warned about the dangers of the New Age, and in particular A Course in Miracles.

After being introduced to the world on Oprah, Marianne Williamson has continued to grow in popularity and, as previously mentioned, has become one of today’s foremost New Age leaders. Williamson credits Winfrey for bringing her book about A Course in Miracles before the world: “For that, my deepest thanks to Oprah Winfrey. Her enthusiasm and generosity have given the book, and me, an audience we would never otherwise have had.”19 In her 2004 book, The Gift of Change, Williamson wrote: “Twenty years ago, I saw the guidance of the Course as key to changing one’s personal life; today, I see its guidance as key to changing the world. More than anything else, I see how deeply the two are connected.”20Thus the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles are about to be taught by Marianne Williamson to millions of listeners on Oprah’s XM Satellite Radio program. Listeners are encouraged to buy A Course in Miracles for the year-long course. An audio version of A Course in Miracles recited by Richard (John Boy Walton) Thomas is also available on compact disc. Popular author Wayne Dyer told his PBS television audience that the “brilliant writing” of A Course in Miracles would produce more peace in the world.21 Williamson’s New Age colleague, Neale Donald Walsch, said his “God” stated that “the era of the Single Saviour is over”22 and that he (“God”) was responsible for authoring the teachings of A Course in Miracles.23 Meanwhile, Gerald Jampolsky’s Course in Miracles-based book, Forgiveness, continues to be sold in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral bookstore as Schuller prepares to host a January 17-19, 2008, “Rethink Conference” at his Crystal Cathedral.24

At this critical time in the history of the world, the New Gospel/New Spirituality is coming right at the world and the church with its New Age teachings and its New Age Peace Plan. But this New Age Peace Plan has at its deceptive core the bottom-line teaching from A Course in Miracles that “we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. But the Bible is clear that we are not God (Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9). And per Galatians 3:26-28, our only oneness is in Jesus Christ, not in ourselves as “God” and “Christ.” What Oprah and Marianne Williamson and the world will learn one day is that humanity’s only real and lasting peace is with the true Jesus Christ who is described and quoted in the Holy Bible (Romans 5:1).

Oprah Winfrey’s misplaced faith in Marianne Williamson and the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles is a sure sign of the times. But an even surer sign of the times is that most Christians are not taking heed to what is happening in the world and in the church. We are not contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes us to do (Jude 3). It is time for all of our Purpose-Driven and Emerging church pastors to address the real issue of the day. Our true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is being reinvented, redefined, and blasphemed right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone seems to notice or care. If we want the world to know who Jesus Christ is, we need to also warn them about who He is not. There is a false New Age “Christ” making huge inroads into the world and into the church. The Apostle Paul said that “it is a shame” we have to even talk about these things, but talk about them we must (Ephesians 5:12-16).

If people want to follow Oprah Winfrey and the New Age “Christ” of A Course in Miracles they certainly have that right. But let them be warned that the New Age “Christ” they are following is not the same Jesus Christ who is so clearly and authoritatively presented in the pages of the Bible.

Warren Smith is a former New Age follower who at one time was deeply involved in the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. He is the author of The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church. His book Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel is available free online at www.reinventingjesuschrist.com

Endnotes:
1. http://marianne.com/book/index/htm
2. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), (Workbook), p. 45.
3. Ibid., p. 102.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. Ibid., (Text), p. 16.
6. Ibid., (Preface), p. ix.
7. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, 2004), pp. 262-263.
8. Robert Skutch, Journey Without Distance: The Story behind “A Course in Miracles” (Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 54.
9. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, (Workbook), p. 183.
10. Ibid., (Text), p. 425.
11. Ibid., p. 52.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., (Teachers Manual), p. 58.
14. Ibid., (Workbook), p. 45.
15. Ibid., (Text), p. 147.
16. Ibid., p. 125.
17. Ibid., p. 237.
18. http://www.hourofpower.org/interviews/interviews_detail.cfm?ArticleID=3079
19. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. ix.
20. Marianne Williamson, The Gift Of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p. 5.
21. Wayne Dyer, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” Public Broadcasting System broadcast in 2001.
22. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
23. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 (New York: G.P . Putnam’s Sons, 1996), p. 90.
24. http://www.rethinkconference.com (See also WorldNetDaily.com 10/30/07 “What is Robert Schuller ‘rethinking’?” by Joseph Farah and “Rethinking Robert Schuller” by Warren Smith. See also Herescope: “Rethinking Culture” and “Rethinking and Reinventing

WILLIAMSON HAS EARNED A SPOT ON THIS APOLOGECTICS SITE: READ ABOUT HER HERE!

 http://www.apologeticsindex.org/362-marianne-williamson

 AND ON HERESCOPE:

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/11/marianne-williamson-moonbeams-miracles.html

 

 

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Gnosticism, spiritual warfare

and pride. 

 

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I would like to pass on this article by Mary D. Valentine  who wrote to Discernment-Ministries.

 

 

 

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  A Rotten Apple

 

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Mary Diane Valentine, PhD

 

 

 

Thank you for your archived newsletters. These have been very helpful in discerning my own deceptions. Of course, I am concerned about others but I am cleaning up my own house.

In January 2003 I attended a meeting where James Goll was preaching and selling his teaching tapes. I did not know very much about him or the group he associated with. Charismatic Christian seemed okay to me. It was at this meeting I was asking God to show me discerning of spirits. This request has since led me through a maze of overlapping tunnels into the darkness of my own deceptions about some Christian teachings I had embraced. I didn’t know it at the time but that prayer would bring me into a light I hadn’t seen for many years.

As I questioned different spiritual happenings and teachings I had previously accepted, I aggravated a number of my Christian buddies, prayer partners for many years. These relationships had sustained me in times of struggle but also held me captive to false assumptions about the charismatic life. I lost a friend over the “gold dust.” She had this phenomenon and wanted me to accept this as something from the Lord. I hadn’t really known anyone who had this and at first thought it was all right. I studied the Scriptures and could not rationalize this to be God’s work even though it sounded so good. To my knowledge, she still has this manifestation although I sent her the biblical rationale for why this could not be God’s way. It’s been a cool relationship since. I aggravated a whole audience of Charisma devotees when I wrote a letter about the Narnia films and how I argued these to be from the dark side. Charisma disagreed. Well, I didn’t know those people so that wasn’t so bad. But I lost others along the way as well.

I don’t want to go over each situation of a deception revealed in this although I will mention the spirit of Jezebel. I’d heard these teachings for many years and it’s another popular latter rain thing. I don’t know exactly how it fits into their theological paradigm, but when I did a word study, I found no spirit of Jezebel, only behaviors. These are behaviors no Christian should desire and we should be observant if others are behaving like Jezebel. It came to me that as charismatics or Pentecostals, we should be careful what we call a spirit otherwise we will find ourselves in wrong teaching, what I later learned as the Gnostic Christian area. The search for the spirit of Jezebel and finding none helped me continue questioning. I had cast aside the generational curse thing and the binding and loosing formulas in prior years along with other skewed interpretations of Scripture. The process has been several years in the making.

It’s been since this last August that the veil on Gnosticism has really lifted. Yes, I had seen quite a bit and knew the spiritual harlotry I had been involved in but something else was not clear. That is how I found your site – I did a search on Google about spiritual warfare.

Before searching out the validity of warfare teachings, I was in a situation of trying to discover why things were not happening in my life. I reasoned it was because I was in warfare, that I was not getting my prayers answered. My spiritual friends prayed and agreed. We went into warfare for months with many manifestations and confirmations I might add.

Thinking can drive us into deception, but also lead us out. I had several nagging questions that kept coming to me. Why didn’t Paul or Peter have to pray this way to get things to happen? Why is it now we learn of this? Why aren’t people having victory if this really works?

When I started pursuing answers, it’s so obvious to me now. I had been living in the wrong paradigms here. These were Gnostic ones but I hadn’t understood what the Gnostic teachings were really about. I had been duped by the Gnostic paradigmatic world I was choosing to be in. Of course, I couldn’t see the difference then. I had on the Gnostic glasses and viewed the Gnostic Christian teachings as “the norm.” In communication theory this is called cognitive dissonance, meaning any information that contradicts what you already know or believe becomes discarded because you don’t want to be in dissonance or inner conflict with yourself. Because I was experiencing cognitive dissonance, I was not able to see how deep into the Gnosticism belief system I had gone. Although I was wearing a milder prescription of Gnostic glasses since I had seen some of the deceptive teachings, I hadn’t come totally away from the Gnostic Christians. When I got the revelation about the spiritual warfare teaching errors, the Gnostic glasses fell off entirely. I no longer experienced any cognitive dissonance in studying the deceptions surrounding this popular teaching on spiritual warfare. I no longer sense oppression like I did before and it’s such a relief to know I am not going to have to be under a condemnation over the warfare routine. And it is a routine, much like the formulas of the word-faith movement.

Your archived newsletters have helped me understand the subtleties in these false teachings. Although I had thought I had gotten rid of extra biblical teachings with regard to the Third Wave, Latter Rain group, I realized this was part of that whole rotten apple I had been eating. I still had the apple in hand when I believed I was to participate in the spiritual warfare regimen. I am reading through your archived newsletters. I have checked out other sources as well to confirm what I now see so clearly.

In closing, I offer these thoughts. My sense of the problems I had stemmed from two sources. One was a lack of a good foundation to rightly discern the gifts of the Spirit along with the Word of God and the other was my indomitable pride. I liked being puffed up with the idea that I was called for something very special. I had received many prophecies about my position in the Body of Christ. I like position; I was in the elite group. I like being elite; that was my pride showing off. I wanted to be spiritual and with the spiritual ones. More pride. I wanted insider knowledge on what God was doing. I wanted to be anointed and that was pride. I sure believed I could conquer any foe out there because God was on my side. And I wanted my own way with God. All this comes to my desire for power and I see that now. My weakness of pride was a pull, like the force of gravity, toward the Gnostic Christians. These teachings fed my weakness and desire to be elite, have power and be “in the know.” None of that sounds like a humble servant, nor was I.

To me, knowing the weakness of how I got there is equally important to understanding the false teachings. If I had not experienced the weakness problem, I doubt I would have taken one bite of the rotten apple – the latter rain teachings. For me, it’s been more than finding out truth but repenting of my pride and all the things involved in it. And I’m not afraid of saying that publicly.

In my diet of rotten apple teachings, I did not feed myself enough truth from the word of God. I ate lies, which fed my pride and not my soul. 1 Peter 4:14 gives me biblical authority over the false Gnostic teachings. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” I now know I don’t have to go seeking the glory because it rests on me. That itself speaks volumes to my soul. Very simply, the appeal of the truths of God in the Scripture is much more comforting and freeing than any peel on that rotten apple.

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There are many who are very intrigued with the mysticism that  has been entering the church. I have heard it said, I need and desire the mystical side of faith.   Where does it say in the Bible that we are to understand the mysteries of God and the universe? Why is it that some need to go outside scripture to “get the feeling”, or to have an “experience”?  There is a good reason…It is difficult to create a euphoric bliss, a new ministry, or create a new following on revelation of the scripture alone.  Therefore, we have a “new gospel”, for those who do not get enough sensations or feeling from reading the Bible or worshiping God in a traditional manner.

A social gospel is being taught, and this gospel promotes a god of love and prosperity. The problem is…….without  truly following Christ by repenting, and picking up a cross daily, your spiritual life will be void of any true regeneration. 

I watched a special on GODTV last New Years Eve’s featuring Mike Bickle at IHOP.  He was teaching young people at a huge conference. It hit me while watching that he was just all talk and had absolutely no substance. Over and over again he was telling these young people to Live For the Lord and to be Holy, Holy, Holy. But he did not give any scripture. Without scripture and the Holy Spirit, these young boys and girls were doomed to fail.  When people fail in love, have no control over sin in their life, and have not the joy in times of trouble…..they become discouraged and may turn away from the Lord. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be holy.  We have no righteousness of our own.

These are the ones who may need to reach out into an unknown mystical world for a spiritual “fix”.  Gnosticism provides this spiritual fix.  

First, let’s take a look at early Gnosticism. It was introduced into the first two centuries of the church and taught that the spirit was good and matter was evil. Therefore, to be saved was to be freed from the body which was deemed evil.  To be freed from this slavery, one needed the special “knowledge” (gnosis). This eliminated the need for the cross and a savior.  Today, much of this can be seen today…Man’s salvation is not by faith in God but rather, in the special, mystical knowledge than one can learn  by experience. This experience or enlightenment is a key word in New Age religion.

This heresy flourished in the 2nd and 3rd century and the gnostics claimed to still be Christians.  Please read this paragraph from a gnostic site that has a definition of Gnostic Christianity.

“A Gnostic is a person who believes that salvation is gained through the acquisition of divine knowledge or gnosis..When gnostics speak of salvation, they mean being freed from these illusions of darkness so that they can perceive Reality. Gnostic Christians have commenced following a Path of never ending increase in Knowledge, Enlightenment, Power, Peace, and every Divine Attribute. They are led along this Path by those disciples who have preceded them, a chain of initiates going back to Jesus himself.”

A spiritual fix…..What is it in the above sentence that may appeal to someone looking for spirituality?  Divine Knowledge perhaps?  Who doesn’t want to be in on a secret…Who doesn’t want to be part of an elite group…Is it Power? Hasn’t power corrupted men over and over again.  To be powerful is to be over and above others. To be in charge or at the “Head of the Table”     Ah, Divine….Divinity is self-consciousness, to find the Divine Spark within himself. Godhood. One can attain a spiritual fix by experiencing an emotional outpouring or is it “in-pouring”, of supposedly godly manifestations. 

Also I was interested to find out what the Path was. Here is what I found:

 The Mystic Christ
by Ethan Walker III

The light of non-duality and the path of love according to the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gnostic path is the inner path to God-realization. Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and the other great Masters are all one and in essence taught the same thing.

Meditation is the means by which the individual may achieve direct union with God. In order to attain this gnosis, one must first fully understand the mind. All through our lives, we have grown accustomed to indirect experiences.

See how Jesus Christ is grouped with Buddha and Krishna? Jesus Christ is the Son of God and here He is reduced to a great master. Another heresy is that they “taught the same thing”?  Unfortunately, Gnostic trends were never totally eliminated and have always been filtering into the church and of late have exploded and taken a stronghold. Meditation is added to assure that one can reach God directly. What happened to prayer? 

Have you heard any of these phrases lately?

LatterRain, Overcomers, Manifest Sons of God, Universal Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, A New Breed, The Anointed, The New Prophets, New Order, A Harvets of a Billion Souls,  A New Thing, or Spiritual Warfare. This is but a thimble in a pool of phrases. Lingo is created in certain ministries to numb the mind of the believer. When jargon is heard over  and over again, one ceases to question it.  This is a huge issue in these end times, because the Bible teaches of end-time deception and if you do not know the Word of God, and study it in context, relying on the KJV, you may be easily deceived.

Most of these phrases come out of the LatterRain influence, and out of LatterRain we have Word-of-Faith, The New Apostolic Reformation, and Dominionism.  Because we  hear and read these phrases that are being used readily today, we know that Gnosticism is alive and well and is currently at work destroying the true Christian faith.  If you hear these or similar phrases in your church then you need to do some research.

So Gnosticism has many names. From it flows the Rosicrucian Order and from it Freemasonry. All is a basis for New Age thought and religion. I know that many cringe at the thought that some churches today may truly be involved in New Age religion, but sadly it is so.   Theosophy’s main goal was to infiltrate the church with Eastern mysticism and this is being accomplished.

According to Theosophist Alice Bailey, (she was a channeler) the Church is being used as merely a part of an overall plan to bring in world peace, world domination and to set up the “Kingdom on Earth”. This kingdom is not a godly kingdom. This kingdom belongs to Satan.

2Ti 3:1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

2Ti 3:2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

2Ti 3:3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

2Ti 3:4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–

2Ti 3:5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

So if you are falling into the trap of Warrens Peace Plan, Wagner’s Apostolic Reformation, or IHOP’s Joel’s Army, you are furthering the plans of the “enlightened” ones. Is this what you are doing?  If so, then you are not following Jesus Christ.  He told us in the Beatitudes to: Mourn over our sinful nature, to be meek, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and that we will be persecuted because of Him.  Can this be any more opposite than the Gnostic gospel of  self-deity?

So if you are in need of a spiritual “fix”.  Get down on your knees, confess your sin, repent and turn away from sin. 

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