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Yesterday, I met with a physical therapist because of nagging issues with my neck after an automobile collision back in October 2010. He asked why I did not get massages from my chiropractor’s massage therapist. I said I did not want to use her because she has a degree in Reiki and in the past attempted to use a Reiki procedure on me.

He laughed. He said it was merely deep tissue massage. This PT is so wrong and it is alarming that he did not know the spiritual aspects connected with Reiki. Any process that involves “spirit guides” should sound alarms and raise red flags. I will be spending 8 sessions with him, so I am arming myself with truth and desiring the chance for a witness of Jesus Christ.

Please read by Marcia:

REIKI: HEALING WITH THE FORCE

by Marcia Montenegro (page 1 of 4)

First written in 2001

A brochure advertising Reiki, an energy healing technique, translates the word “Reiki” as “guided Universal Life Force Energy,” (Ana Jones, certified Reiki Master-Teacher, Professional Intuitive, and Interfaith Minister, in her flyer, Reiki, Natural Healing). Jones further asserts that “Reiki Masters are spreading Reiki throughout the world…bringing Reiki into private practice, centers, hospices, clinics, and even some hospitals.” This indeed is the case.

Background

Just what is Reiki and where did it come from? Reiki (ray`-kee) is a system of energy healing based on the theory that a universal healing energy or life force permeates and infuses the universe, and that this energy can be channeled into someone so that their own life force is enhanced (Barbara Loecher, Sara Altshul O’Donnell, and the Editors of Prevention Health Books, Women’s Choices in Natural Healing [Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc., 1998], 268).

Reiki’s recent origins are in the 19th century when Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk and teacher in Kyoto, Japan, searched for an understanding of healing. Some accounts claim Usui was a Christian minister searching for how Jesus healed, but apparently this account was to make Reiki more palatable to Christians in the U.S. Accounts vary on the origins of Reiki. Usui read the Buddhist sutras (religious writings) in their original languages, and found material on healing and what seemed to him a way to activate its power. After a 21-day fast and retreat, “he welcomed the energy into himself,” the energy being what Usui thought was the healing power (J. Gordon Melton, New Age Encyclopedia [Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1990], 382). Usui also came up with five principles of ethical practice: being grateful for blessings, not being angry, not worrying, working honestly, and being kind to one’s neighbor and all living things (Ibid).

Usui drew disciples of his teachings, and later Usui’s succession was passed on to Chijuro Hayashi (Ibid). In the 1930’s, a dying Japanese-American, Hawayo Takato, returned to Japan and encountered Reiki practitioners whom, it is claimed, were able to heal her. She became the first woman Reiki master and first American Reiki master, and it is she who initiated Reiki training in the United States by touring the country in the 1970’s (Ibid, 383). Barbara Weber Ray, in Atlanta, Georgia, became a teacher of the methods of initiating other Reiki masters in 1978; and Ray founded the American Reiki Association, later called The Radiance Technique Association International (Ibid). Reiki is also known as the Usui Shiko Ryoho System of Healing (Ibid, 382).

Philosophy and Practice

Reiki theory holds that practitioners can channel the universal life force as a healing energy into the client’s body in order to “balance and enhance the flow of vital energy,” (Loecher, 268). The client/patient lies on a table as the Reiki practitioner gently touches him/her. The practitioner places their palms on major organs and glands, and on the areas where the chakras are located. [The chakras are part of Hindu belief that there are seven chakras, centers of psychic and spiritual energy, going from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Certain Hindu teachings claim that the kundalini, an energy force coiled snakelike in the base chakra, needs to rise to the topmost chakra as part of the spiritual enlightenment process.]

As the Reiki practitioner holds his/her hands over various areas for several minutes, it is believed that the client/patient is drawing in whatever energy is needed from the universe, using the Reiki healer as the channel (Ibid). The Reiki energy “enters the top of the practitioner’s head and exits through the hands,” after passing through the patient (William Collinge, M.P.H., PH.D., The American Holistic Health Association Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine [NY, NY: Warner Books, 1996], 285). The client’s body has an innate intelligence or inner wisdom which knows where to apply the healing force (per conversation with a Reiki healer, Festival of Lights Expo, Falls Church, VA, April, 2000).

To practice Reiki, one must be “attuned” through a particular ritual in which the teacher activates the universal energy within the student (Loecher, 268; Melton, 383). There are three degrees of Reiki; the first degree requires four attunements, after which the student “can transmit healing energy by touching anything alive,” (Loecher, 269). Being initiated into the second degree requires the use of “sacred symbols” and teaches the student how to transmit energy over distance, as well as teaching the art of mental/emotional healing (Ibid). According to Mary Ruth Van Landingham, Reiki Master Teacher, when using the symbols taught in the second degree, one is “actually changing the holographic memory within the matrix or soul of a person,” (“Terra Christa” Newsletter, Winter 2001 Workshop Schedule, Vienna, VA). To become a Reiki master/teacher, initiation into the 3rd degree is essential (Ibid; Melton, 383).

Source and parts 2-4  HERE

 

Experiencing God – Anton Bosch

I just did a search on the internet for the phrase “experience God” and came up with over 51 million references![1] Wow, that must be an important idea! “Well off course it is”, I hear you say. “We must experience God” has become such a common idea amongst Christians today that we all accept, without question, that this is God’s will for us. And of course none of us want to be so unspiritual that we don’t want to have an experience with God and so many who have not “experienced God” silently sneak away feeling embarrassed, cheated, and inferior. Then there are those special, highly spiritual ones who have experienced God and walk around feeling superior to the rest of those who have never experienced this level of spirituality.

But what is the truth about experiencing God? I did a search through the Bible and found that neither the King James nor the New King James version use the phrase “experience God” at all. The English word “experience” appears three times in the New King James[2] and three times in the King James.[3] None of these scriptures refer to experiencing God in any way.

The idea of experiencing God is simply not based on the Bible. It finds its source in ancient occultic and pagan practices, and the modern entertainment oriented world where the emphasis is on experiences to the degree that many will use any means, even narcotics and witchcraft, just to have some kind of an experience. The whole entertainment industry is built around the idea of giving people an experience. Even shopping is supposed to be a wonderful experience which, it seems, only the fairer sex are capable of enjoying.

There is just no scripture that enjoins us to experience God, or that Jesus died that we might have an experience with (or of) God. Is God like a movie or a theme park or a bungee jump that has to be experienced? Is He the ultimate thrill? I guess to some people He is just that. A denomination in South Africa used to run a full page, full color, advertisement in a trendy magazine showing the derrière of a curvaceous young girl clad in denims. The following words were embroidered on the pocket of the jeans: “You’ve tried it all, now try Jesus”. No wonder the leader and founder of the denomination was fired for multiple adulteries.

Did Abraham, Moses, Paul or anyone else in the Bible “experience” God? What was the experience like? What did they feel when the experienced Him? No, none of these men (or any others) experienced God. Some saw some aspect of Him and others heard him “speak” but none of the saints of the old or New Testaments “experienced” Him. The closest any one came to experiencing Him was John and the other disciples, who wrote “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (1John 1:1). But that was unique to those who saw Jesus in the flesh and even they did not “experience” Him in the mystic way which is now being promoted.

If we were to experience Him, what would that experience feel like? Is it like the goose bumps we feel when they play the national anthem or the hair standing erect on our necks on an eerie night? Or is it like the experience of hearing a live orchestra play a stirring piece of music, or for some, the bagpipes or when the pipe organ hits those low notes that makes your very soul reverberate? Well, it seems that whatever experience some may claim to have, the world is able to produce exactly the same feelings, and even greater.

How do we get to “experience God”? One writer says: “Many have never had a personal experience of God’s presence with images as the primary medium”[4]. So God’s presence is in pictures? Yea right! Others will insist we can experience God through music, worship and meditation. None of these ideas have any biblical basis. Can you see Jesus on the mountain looking at a DVD so He could “experience” His Father, or Paul attending a contemporary Christian music concert so he could “feel” God?

And what are these experiences supposed to do? They are supposed to change us. Wilson and Moore speak about “…the power of digital media to create transformative experiences of God”.[5] Well, they have that partly right. These experiences are transformative and changing. But while the scriptures want us to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus (Rom 12:2), these experiences will change us into the image of the world. And no, it is not God you experience in the concert hall, at the parade or on a dark and stormy night and it is not God you experience when looking at the beautiful (often abstract) pictures of the PowerPoint presentation; neither is He in that magnificent cathedral with the powerful pipe organ. Oh, and was there not something about not making an image of God and worshipping it? (Exodus 20:4). (Sorry, I forgot that was Old Testament – modern Christians are far to clever to be bound by such ancient rules!)

Paul had this to say “we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” (Acts 17:29). This kind of idolatry, for that is what it is, is exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote about those who, “Professing to be wise… became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image…” (Romans 1:22,23).

Praise God, He can be known, heard and seen but not with natural senses and not through the use of technology and techniques. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor 2:14). God is hidden from natural eyes, ears and emotions. There is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. No service, multimedia show, picture, music or drama can bring you into His presence – it is only by the shed blood and broken body of His Son that we are able to draw near to God. (Heb 10:19-22)

——————————————————————————–

[1] Google

[2] Gen 30:27, Ecc 8:5, 1Pet 5:9.

[3] Gen 30:27, Ecc 1:16, Rom 5:4.

[4] Len Wilson and Jason Moore. Help! My Pastor Won’t Plan Ahead. Technologies for Worship. October 2005. p15. (The article deals with how to get the pastor to allow the “media minister” more freedom to manipulate people’s emotions through the use of media)

[5] Ibid

Next – Part two of four.

Leaving Lakeland – A Firsthand Account

I found this article written by Mike Kirkland posted on:  http://www.darinhufford.com/article.php?id=19.  Mike went to Lakeland to get a firsthand account of what was going down.  I am posting this article for it’s very humorous, but more importantly I am posting this because it’s also a very sad article, in that it shows us what really happens at Todd Bentley’s revivals – that those who desperately need healing, leave the same way they came!

** Please note that I have edited some of the language. I understand that Mike is angry, but, there are other words we can use to express our anger.

Leaving Lakeland

by Mike Kirkland

The three o’clock traffic in downtown Lakeland wasn’t bad. I decided to ride by Lake Mirror since it was such a beautiful afternoon. The sun warmed the gentle breeze as it blew across the water where Blinky the one eyed alligator once lived and enjoyed celebrity status in the downtown area. Somewhere around here is the site of the old building where my grandmother worked. She was the first female manager in the Kress department store chain and I spent many a day hanging out here, looking for Blinky, and watching the people come and go.

This is my past. This is where I grew up. Though I have fond memories of Lakeland I also carry the scars of bad choices and negative influence. I was kicked out of Jr. High for drug possession and had been enticed into other small-time criminal activity along the way. There was good here and I had plenty of wonderful experiences; but the bad seemed to overshadow the beneficial and my parents had to make a decision for me. Leaving Lakeland changed the course of my life forever and it was difficult for me. I was fifteen and this place helped form my personality, it was my identity and my home. I didn’t like leaving and it felt like I was ripped from the only turf that provided me both trouble and a sense of belonging. Though it was a difficult transition and the pain of the change would take years to fully heal, the end result would prove life changing.

At four o’clock we decided we better hurry to the Lakeland Center so we could sit outside and wait! We wanted to make sure we got good seats and we were sure we’d be there early enough to make that happen. Mandy, the lovely but tenacious (and sometimes smug) voice of our GPS, guided us directly into the parking lot where we were elated to see that there was no charge.

It had only been a few weeks since we’d heard of Todd Bentley, and only then because of a message board post talking up a healing revival. “This guy is the real deal” they said, which made my skeptical skin crawl. I’m no stranger to this stuff having spent nearly 15 years involved in Christian worship ministry at various levels; but my perspective has changed quite a bit and having fallen off a few, I’m not so quick to jump on any wagons. But when the opportunity presented itself for me to actually see this revival first hand I had to take it.

Todd Bentley is a healing evangelist holding revival crusades all over the world. His quick rise to fame is all but miraculous, and the fact that he has garnered the support of heavy hitters like Bob Jones, Bobby Conner, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner and others, tips the scales of his charisma-cred. They’re calling it the “thing” they’ve been waiting for, the next big move of God, “this is it!” Of course, the fact that Bentley has taken full advantage of the internet to “spread the word” of his crusade instantly should be seen as no small factor in the success of the movement. One thing is for sure, whether it’s God or Google, Bentley’s Fresh Fire is catching on like… well, somethings hot.

The Lakeland Center is a fairly large venue with ample parking and open spaces. There were lots of cars in the lot but maybe a hundred or so people outside lined up at the various entrances. I noticed the handicapped spaces were filling up as well. We walked up a ramp and stopped at the first set of glass doors. There were about twenty people positioned strategically and ready to move at the first sign of the unlocking. The people seemed nice and they smiled friendly smiles welcoming us into line as the newbies. We wouldn’t be there long before we too would turn, smile, and try to make the rookies more comfortable.

Earlier in the day I told a friend that I planned on interviewing as many people as possible while waiting in line. But that proved more difficult than I imagined. What would the people think? I refused to lie about my skepticism and I certainly didn’t believe any of the hype about Bentley. But would I come across as a self-righteous ass by admitting it? Would I cause them to lose the happy feeling they seemed to be enjoying right now? I couldn’t do it. Maybe I’m a coward, but I didn’t feel good about it. So we decided to listen in on some conversations instead. We considered it eavesdropping for truth.

To our left were four middle aged ladies discussing the revival. “People have been hungry for God” said the lady with red and gray highlights. “Yes. People will crawl over one another to get to God!” said another woman. We would soon find out that she was the prophet of the group. One of the other women talked about being so overtaken with the “spirit” that she couldn’t stand up and she doesn’t remember how she drove home. I couldn’t help but wonder if God would really put lives in danger that way or was she simply embellishing? Or hell, maybe God has a special angel that helps people when they’re DWS (driving while spiritual).

Todd Bentley certainly believes in angels. In fact, he works with them all the time. One angel in particular is named Emma. She is a “mothering angel” who also made appearances to Bob Jones. Bentley says Emma put gold dust on people during one meeting which subsequently helped him bring in “thousands and thousands” of dollars. But why wouldn’t Bentley see angels? It seems perfectly natural since he also makes trips to heaven to visit the apostle Paul who lives in a cabin there. Oh, and by the way, all of you scholars who are debating over who actually wrote the book of Hebrews, Bentley said Paul claims that he co-authored the book with none other than the patriarch, Abraham. Personally, I think Paul is lying.

Two Hispanic fellows stand at the front of the line, all smiles, talking with the elderly couple and young man behind them. Three younger guys stand to our left talking smack like young guys do. One, with long stringy hair, black-rimmed glasses, shorts and flip-flops, mixed spiritual topics with various quips. His partner, dressed in all black, metrosexual, with what appeared to be fake glasses (which seemed a bit ironic at a healing revival), laughed as if on cue. My wife and I stood patiently looking, listening, but apparently not looking right in front of us because the three young guys decided to squeeze their way into our spot. I mean, they moved in front of us when we weren’t looking… praise Jesus, “on thy feet, lose thy seat”, so to speak.

Up at the front of the line I overheard the Hispanic guy explain to the elderly couple and young man about a gold tooth that appeared in “one guy’s” mouth after one of the meetings. I never understood why God, the creator of the universe would take the time to do that. And then I wondered if God would give me gold fronts like Flavor Flav, cause that would just be cool. They talked of expectations and being ready to receive whatever God had to offer. The vibe outside the venue was definitely that of expectation. I looked over at the other entrances and all over the place people were praying for each other and some were beginning to get what I call “the Cocker Shuffel”. Out of the blue they would break into Joe Cocker like movements; kind of like Tourette’s but with rhythm and the added convenience of being able to turn it off at will.

As I stood in line I began to wax nostalgic about my past. This was the town where I got saved. It was in a little place called Crystal Lake Church of the Nazarene. Sure, it was after watching a movie called “A Thief in the Night” which totally scared the shit out of me, but still, I have fond memories of that place and the people there. That’s also where I discovered I had a talent for singing and first felt “called” to somehow do that for God. I also wondered whether or not the pastor’s daughter remembers me but was jolted back to reality by my wife pointing out the fact that the four ladies had also cut in front of us. I really need to pay more attention.

Just then a hulking security guard, and by hulking I mean if the Hulk were played by Peter Griffin from The Family Guy, opened the door and the crowd surged forward. Only one door was opened. In other words, three lines of people were funneled through one door. I was quickly reminded of the earlier prophesy regarding people crawling over each other to get to God and just then three more people jumped in front of us. When it was finally my turn to breech the opening I noticed an elderly couple standing slightly to the rear and to the right of me. I saw a look of frustration sweep across their faces as they stood not knowing how to approach the situation. Immediately my years of home-training kicked in and I held the door for the old folks. They seemed appreciative and gave a slight smile as the passed by and moved through the doorway. Then another couple slipped in behind them, and another. I counted nearly 15 people rush past me while I held the door. I finally had to put my hand out toward the crowd and say “whoa! I’m not the door man people!” That created a hole just large enough for my wife and I to scoot through and enter. Once we got in we saw people running toward the corridors and we were once again separated by swarms of pushy people. Though we were very early, we weren’t ruthless enough to secure floor seating. That was left to the truly spiritual, the battle-ready, hard chargers for Jesus. We wound up second tier, stage left. But that’s okay.

A nice lady sat beside us. She was middle aged, seemed a bit stern, kind of like a librarian, one that wasn’t afraid to tell you to “shut the hell up!” She asked the typical questions: “where are you from?” and made the standard statements: “this is going to be good” etc. Turns out, she had driven twenty-two hours straight to attend a few days of the revival. She wanted to bring the “FireTM” back home to her church. She told us of how she’d been to previous “outpourings” such as Toronto and Brownsville. She asked how we liked it so far and I couldn’t help but mention our recent adventure traversing the God-Gauntlet in the lobby. She wasn’t amused but decided to relay a story about last night’s prayer time. She said that Bentley asked how many in the service were senior pastors and about a hundred raised their hands. He then said for the senior pastors and ONLY the senior pastors to come down front to receive prayer. But instead, almost a thousand people got up and rushed down front. I felt a bit of indignation come over me and I said: “wait, did Bentley stop everyone and rebuke the spirit of LYING!?!! If he didn’t, WHY NOT?” “Why are Christians such selfish jerks?” “If I would have known that’s how God rolls, I would have brought football pads and numchucks to secure my personal blessing!” I continued. I could tell I made her uncomfortable so I let my lovely and way more tactful wife talk with the nice lady while I decided to go get some food at the concession stand.

During my absence the lady recounted a story Bentley told regarding yet another angelic encounter. The angel came to him in a dream but didn’t give his name. It turns out that Bob Jones already knew about that angel and said that his name was “winds-of-change”, which, obviously suggested that Bentley was a new kind of revivalist or something (further establishing his charisma-cred). My wife said that Bentley must have channeled an Indian angel with a name like that. I said, yeah, well there was demon in the men’s room named “hey-light-a-match”. You couldn’t see him, but you knew he was there, oh yeah, he was definitely there!

I ordered two nachos, two red-bull’s and a snickers. It was $20! I made the lady at the counter tell me she loves me before I paid her. She asked why but then almost as quickly said: “Ohhhh I get it, I love you man”. When I got back I think the librarian lady had decided that we were just going to bring her down so she changed seats. It was just as well, the music was starting.

The band wasn’t bad. By the end of the first song they had most of the technical bugs worked out and even with our bad seats and poor acoustics, I liked them. But then again, I tend to cut worship bands a lot of slack. They played a song that my worship team used to play and my mind began drifting back a few years. I remembered how good it felt to cut loose and express deep seated emotions through music. I remembered the synergy shared between team members each expressing their individual creativity held together by the laws of rhythm, timing and tone. As a worship leader, my style leaned toward the “prophetic” and back then I was known for being spontaneous and spirit led. Today I’m known as a skeptic. I’m not sure when the transition began, but on some level I think I understand this stuff more deeply and better than ever before.

Part II

“I want to change”, “fill me”, “wash me”, “set me on fire.” This was the mantra shouted by the emcee, then repeated by the crowd, over and over, prior to the live feed television broadcast. The people were being hyped up and primed for the cameras. Prayers and more prayers, with lots of shouting preceded the program. This is a healing revival and according to them, it requires activating faith. “You have to expect it” stated the emcee. And the people definitely expected something.

I began my interest in stage magic and hypnotism several years ago after seeing a show in a local bar. Though I never actually engaged in the art, I studied the techniques intently and greatly enjoyed trying to figure out various tricks and illusions. One particular interest was the power of suggestion and how it relates to everyday life, especially in advertising and later in Charismatic meetings. Few people realize that hypnosis is completely voluntary and only works on willing subjects. Trickshop.com put out a book called “Mastering Hypnosis”. In it, they define hypnosis as:

“…an altered state of consciousness characterized by heightened susceptibility to suggestion. Under hypnosis, suggestions bypass the critical faculties of normal consciousness and directly enter the subconscious mind where, if accepted, they are acted upon. The deeper the level of hypnosis, the greater the subject’s suggestibility.”

“This entire process is based upon the fact that while our conscious thought processes produce inductive reasoning, our subconscious uses only deductive reasoning. Once a suggestion is accepted by the subconscious, it is automatically transformed into reality. It does not matter if the suggestion originates from an internal source (i.e. self hypnosis) or an external one (the operator). Indeed, the distinction between autosuggestion and heterosuggestion is considered to be both arbitrary and superficial.”

The speaker approached the stage with a serious look and a nervous twitch that apparently told the audience that he was about to say something important. “Seventy-five percent of what happens here is due to hunger” he said. “Are you hungry tonight?” The crowd responded loud and long; of course they’re hungry, that’s why they’re here! After several minutes and more such comments the band cranked back up.

The music was carefully selected to create an atmosphere of surrender and expectation. I’m no stranger to this sort of manipulation, but I’m not going to say it’s necessarily a bad thing either. Maybe I’m just defending the art since I’m a musician but before you stop reading, at least here me out. I would say that all music is or can be a form of meditation. At least it helps one experience a meditative state. These type worship songs are a merging of music and message which allows one to accept the suggestion and experience it emotionally. What’s wrong with that, as long as the suggestion is positive? All music does that to some degree and that’s why I still listen to Christian radio. At least I am meditating on pleasant things for the most part and not subjecting my subconscious mind to accept the rubbish produced by the various other artists such as Brad Paisley “checking his girl for ticks”, or Juvenile’s infamous “Back that a** up”. No thanks, I’ll stick to the positive message found in Christian music whether or not I describe myself as one or not. In doing so I’m making a logical and informed decision on what I allow to influence my mind. The trick is learning when and how to turn it on and off. For a brief moment, I allowed myself to relax into the music, but that would quickly change.

The speaker once again took the stage and began telling an Old Testament story where Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so that Joshua could defeat the Amalekites. He then told the crowd that they too could be like Aaron and Hur and undergird Todd Bentley by becoming a, you guessed it, “ministry partner” to financially support the revival crusade. This classic bait and switch was a bit too blatant for me. I almost called b**s** but just then they asked for twelve more volunteers to help with the offering. “Meet at the bottom of the platform, stage right” said the emcee. I immediately leapt to my feet and didn’t even have time to tell my wife where I was going; she knew. It was all the way across the arena so I sprinted down the steps, nearly busting my butt on the sticky soda stained floor but I made it to ground level in tact. Others were running too, and they beat me. I showed up at the corner, out of breath and attempting to speak. “I’m… here… to volunteer” I said but was too late. The younger, more agile guys (with football pads and numchucks) made the cut and I was turned away.

On my way back to my seat I decided to get the lay of the land. To check out the people and see if I could get a better feel for the type of crowd that was present. As I made my way around the floor seats I noticed several wheel chaired individuals, people with various infirmities and some with obvious deformities. Some were old; some were young; like this one little girl with dark hair and angelic smile. Her legs had not formed properly and they hung from the wheelchair motionless but most notable thing about her was the way she brightened up the space around her with her presence. I walked by an old man, slumped over in his chair barely moving. It looked as if he’d had a stroke or something, his wife stood behind him dutifully with rays of hope beaming from her eyes as she looked around expectantly. I saw another man walk by and I caught myself do a double-take as I noticed a large tumor protruding from the right side of his face causing his right eye, nose, and part of his mouth to be distorted by the intrusive mass. As I continued to walk, I noticed more and more chairs and people, all in some need of physical healing, all with the same gleam of hope and air of expectancy. By the time I made it back to my seat I was emotionally exhausted. My little comedic adventure of trying to volunteer was overshadowed by the notable suffering of the individuals I passed.

The emcee took the stage and delivered a monologue which I would describe as a Bentley promo. He told a story of how a group of ministers recently said that whenever Bentley came in the room, they could feel the presence of God and that they would often drop to the floor (in typical charismatic type fashion I suppose). My ears perked up at this because I felt he was laying the groundwork for what was to come later. He was literally and blatantly implanting suggestions. I predicted (not prophetically) that Bentley would use these suggestions later to create the desired effect so I quickly jotted down notes. I put myself in Bentley’s shoes and tried to read the crowd. They were not that difficult to read, it was like they were holding up a neon sign that read: “we’ll believe whatever you tell us, but just tell us SOMETHING!” And tell them he did.

A Successful hypnotic induction relies mainly on acceptance by the subconscious mind of the target. “Even under hypnosis this acceptance is not always automatic but rather relies on proper timing, repetition, and delivery. Timing is the single most important element in presenting a suggestion” says the book Mastering Hypnosis. “Always begin by suggesting what will happen, and gradually work up to reinforcing what has happened”. Bentley’s crew did a wonderful job of doing just that. They certainly don’t call it that, they call it activating faith. But the entire evening, prior to Bentley’s first appearance, has been spent on priming the pump and implanting suggestions. “Think of repetition” says the book, “as the glue that binds your timing together. It helps to ensure you maintain proper timing with regard to your suggestions. In addition, the persuasive power of suggestion tends to be cumulative in effect.” The music, the prayers, the cheering, the repetitive and monotonous nature of the songs, growing in intensity, all culminate in one thing; the arrival of the main speaker.

I see Bentley sitting on the sidelines reading a magazine. No doubt it is the Charisma Magazine article which just today published their take on the event. I thought he was about to take center stage but another man walked to the podium and asked the crowd if they were ready for testimonials. It may seem pretty innocuous to ask that question, and the guy probably didn’t mean anything by it, but it is significant nonetheless. They were responding on cue and willing to be led. He began by reading a testimonial he received via email. A man was flying into the Lakeland airport and saw an angel outside the plane. My mind immediately raced to the Twighlight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 feet” where a creature devoured the wing of the plane right in front of a passenger who subsequently went nuts. Even though this guy’s angel didn’t do anything as cool as that, I listened intently. He said the angel looked in the plane at him as if wondering to himself, “why are you in a plane?” I thought that must have been a really dumb angel. Then the man said that he looked ahead and saw thousands and thousands of angels spiraling into the city of Lakeland to attend Bentley’s event. Wow. That sounds pretty cool and the crowd seemed to enjoy it as well. I’m sure there were more skeptics at the event, but everywhere I looked I saw nodding heads. The man read other testimonials claiming various healings and such but what struck me was that there didn’t seem to be any verification process, they simply took their word for it.

As Bentley approached the podium the crowd began cheering. He’s a lot shorter than I imagined and pale, the man is very pale. Tattoos cover most of his arms, hands, and neck and his face is pierced with several metal studs. His appearance is certainly atypical and stands out from his peers. That’s about the only thing that stands apart from them though. His voice, his mannerisms, and his style all seem to mimic those who have gone before and you can definitely detect a Kathryn Kulhman-esque quality in his performance. He didn’t preach, and I’m not sure he even had a message. But he did have a point and it came through loud and clear. Todd Bentley is the next big thing. He droned on for a long time, dropping names of the charismatic superstars like John Wimber, Paul Cain, and Bobby Conner showing how they all approved of Bentley. He spoke of their long-time prophecies that called for a big revival and proceeded to insert himself as the fulfillment of that prophecy. And why shouldn’t he? Bob Jones sat directly behind him nodding in approval.

At first I was confused as to why he was pumping himself up like that but it soon became clear. It wasn’t because of healing, it was because of support. He wanted people to give to his ministry, become a “ministry partner” and help spread the word. He told stories of spreading the FreshFire revival worldwide and that even Arab countries are opening the airwaves to his ministry. He claimed that a group of Arabs attempted to hop a plane and come to Lakeland but that day terrorists shut down the Beirut airport so they called Bentley on his cell phone telling him of their predicament. I wonder how they got his cell phone number? I’m calling b**s** on that one.

Bentley went on and actually made a theological point. He claimed that God was in heaven, and that he couldn’t come down unless we tore open a hole so that he could come through. And if we tore a little hole, we would get a little bit of God, but if we tore a big hole, we would see more of his presence. It doesn’t matter that this statement has absolutely no basis in fact, reality, or even biblical theology; he said it and that’s all that matters. The people responded with cheers; maybe they were attempting to let God out of his cloudy prison, I don’t know. But the wording here is important. Bentley suggested to the crowd that they were responsible for how much of “God” they would receive. The ball was now in their court and he garnered himself a bit of plausible deniability. If nothing significant happened, then he could blame it on the small hole, if something cool happened, then all they would remember is the name Todd Bentley and that cool thing. It’s a win-win for him.

Part III

One thing I noticed about the crowd is that they all seemed to be long-time Christians of the charismatic line. Those I talked to and listened to throughout the evening had all been to several of these type events and seem to speak the same language.

My wife confided in me that when she was sixteen she attended an event with Eastman Curtis as the key-note speaker. It was a camp that lasted several days and during that time they tried their hand at the healing aspect of ministry. Several of the teens were encouraged to receive prayer for all sorts of ailments and sure enough, my wife had one that necessitated urgent and immediate prayer. Some of the girls noticed that her right ankle turned in a bit and they talked her into being the center of a prayer circle where God would be invoked to heal her ankle. She reluctantly agreed and entered the circle. Now her ankle isn’t deformed it simply rolls inward after standing for any length of time, but those folks were desperate for a restorative miracle (one where God actually fixes a physical problem). After several minutes of prayer and touching the affected body part, they asked her to stand. When she stood up her ankle was completely and utterly straight. It looked absolutely perfect. The people shouted hallelujah! Praise God! Their faith immediately went through the roof. All the while my wife never told them that this was completely normal for her and that after a few minutes standing, it would roll inward again. She said that she chickened out and allowed them to feel that they had actually done something. To do otherwise would disappoint them she said. I’m not sure it would have mattered, because people tend to only look for whatever confirms their bias and omit the rest. I can’t be too hard on her though, I had a similar experience when one of my legs was shorter than the other!

One of the elders of my church had us over for lunch after services one day. He told me that God gave him the ability to lengthen shortened limbs! I said, well, that’s cool. So he decided that he would show me. I didn’t even know I had one leg shorter than the other but sure enough, whenever he sat me down and held them up, it was true. Holy smokes! Maybe that’s why I always felt I leaned to one side! At any rate he prayed in tongues for a minute or two then said “watch this, here it comes, look, it’s growing, there it goes”… and sure enough, IT WAS! Right before my eyes I saw it grow. At least I said I did and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because I really liked the guy. Much later I learned how to do the exact same parlor trick, without the praying and speaking in tongues. It’s a simple illusion, nothing more.

Those events led to my eventual skepticism and rejection of the Charismatic movement as a whole. If you want “success at hypnotic suggestion” states the author of Mastering Hypnosis, “You need to get it early and build slowly. With each failure you diminish the suggestibility of the subject.” I think that’s what happened to me combined with my hard-headed nature and analytical personality. Other factors that increase suggestibility include getting people to respond early to suggestion. Voluntary responses increase susceptibility to involuntary responses later on. Non-verbal suggestions such as certain repeated mannerisms, body movements, and breathing all influence the outcome. Mass suggestion is more powerful than individual. People who are in groups tend to lose inhibitions as long as the entire group is going with the flow. By this time it seemed like the entire arena was in Bentley’s grip. They were ready for what he was about to do.

Bentley began telling a story of a recent crusade in Africa. He spoke of creative miracles which are supposedly where God actually restores a body part such as an amputation. He said that these things actually happened at his crusade in Africa. I wondered to myself; why the hell does this only happen in Africa? What is so special about them that they can get documented, verifiable, bonafide miracles and we get healing of hemorrhoids? Of course, those miracles are NOT verified, documented, or proven; they are simply claimed, halfway across the world, where it is nearly impossible to actually investigate. That’s why it only happens in Africa.

Bentley then claimed that after he prayed for a creative miracle, a woman ran up on stage and ripped open her shirt to expose her breasts. He said that the woman had one of her breasts surgically removed due to cancer and that God had given her, apparently, a new set of chi-chis. I kid you not; Bentley said that this miracle was verified by those who knew her. Bentley also talked about a man who came up on stage and said that he had a creative miracle of his own, and pointed to his nether-regions. So Bentley now claims that God restored a man’s penis, which had been previously amputated. He said it, I’m just reporting it.

What I think offended my intellect most was that here Bentley had a great opportunity to actually document and verify a significant and ministry-altering, life-changing and ultimately faith building event, and he doesn’t do it. Instead he offers a theological explanation of why God did it. This again is a classic bait-and-switch! It takes the crowd’s focus off of the reality of the claim and forces it onto why God would do such a thing. Turns out, as Bentley suggests, God was showing him that it was about reproduction. And reproduction incidentally was what Bentley was all about; reproducing his ministry to as many people and places as he could. God was giving his seal of approval by symbolically, and actually, restoring reproductive organs. What more could you ask for? Well, I would ask for proof, but that’s just me.

Bentley then claimed that some 34,000 people came to his revival in Africa and had become Christians there. I would like to know how he accounts for this number since he doesn’t seem too worried about verifying the most exciting miracle since Jesus walked the earth, I’m not sure he can be trusted to show how he arrives at his numbers.

“Get ready!” said Bentley. Then he began calling out creative miracles that God wanted to perform! He used the typical shotgun approach where he called out so many different types of things, he was bound to get it right with some. He said that God was going to remove tumors, heal sexually transmitted diseases, re-grow body parts, heal erectile dysfunction and even re-grow hair. People literally ran down to the front of the auditorium and the front area filled up quickly with at least a thousand people. As I looked out over the crowd, I was amazed at how many people needed a creative miracle in their reproduction organs.

When it came time for healing testimonies; the part of the show where Bentley calls up people who have been healed throughout the service, several people vied for their spot on stage. One-by-one they sifted through and gave their testimony with Bentley ending each with his signature “BAM!” (which he totally ripped from Emeril) and an open handed push to the forehead which sent ninety-nine percent of them to the floor resulting in a quivering pile of mush. Of course, they fell ever so gingerly, never messing up their hair or sustaining a bruise but always falling in someone else’s way. To that I have some advice… If you’re going to protect your head and elbows, why not take the extra second to make sure you’re clear of the aisle? C’mon people!

A few of the testimonies stood out to me, like the woman who claimed she was healed of Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. Or the other woman who said her doctor told her she had cysts in her arms but now they were gone. Another woman insisted that she had a golf ball sized tumor in her neck that disappeared instantly. Still another woman claimed that God healed 18 fibroid cysts in her breasts. The only consistent thing in these testimonies is lack of proof. I mean, the man I saw earlier with the large facial tumor, wasn’t among those giving testimonials. Why would God only heal occult symptoms and not obvious deformity? I’m calling b**s**. It may not be these women’s fault either; they were literally hypnotized from the outset. I am quite sure they actually believe they were healed but I am equally sure that an independent physician would not corroborate their claims. I would love to be proven wrong here. That would make me very happy indeed.

A man in a wheelchair with Multiple Sclerosis approached the stage. The staff helped him up and sat him in his chair after he hobbled up the steps. Bentley told him to get up and walk. The man slowly pushed out of his chair and stood. As the man got up he walked toward Bentley and the crowd cheered. But his gait was unsure and his legs weak, typical of MS. He was obviously struggling under the pressure. Bentley told him to remove his back brace and the man did so. It actually made him more unsteady but Bentley told him to walk nonetheless. Again the crowd cheered and Bentley took the opportunity to claim victory for the miracle. But this wasn’t a miracle, it was more likely a simple case of the crowd seeing only what they wanted to see and not questioning the information to the contrary. If the man was actually healed of MS, it would be a significant find. After that Bentley said that there is an anointing for crippled people in wheelchairs to be healed.

In a bold move Bentley called all those in wheelchairs up to the front of the stage. He said he would pray for them to be healed. Faithfully they came and lined up side by side along the front of the arena. But they never got prayed for and they never got healed. Bentley left the stage.

I noticed the older man in the wheelchair leaning forward, his wife still behind him, not smiling nearly as much now, but still hanging in there like a faithful companion. I was very close to them and wanted so much to reach down and take the man by the hand and just hang out with them but as the worship band played the crowd grew densely packed and the woman wheeled her husband slowly back to her seat.

I saw the angelic little girl, still lighting the path with her smile, head back to her seat along with all the other wheelchair faithful. They’re the ones that need the miracle. No amount of suggestion can heal them. Hypnosis cannot create body parts or even restore life to them and these folks are the evidence of that. They are also evidence that Bentley’s healing revival is merely a revival of hype with no actual substance. All of the physically impaired individuals with very real and evident medical problems were not healed. They’re still in their chairs Todd; they’re still in their chairs and you’re p****** me off.

After the cameras were turned off the real show began. Todd took a break and a guy named David Hertzog gave the offeratory. It was an hour long ridiculously lame infomercial about how people need to give more money to the revival. This guy was blatantly over the top. I can’t say enough how much I don’t like this guy. For instance, he said that if you give, you’ll get that many times in blessing. For instance, if you give three times, you’ll get three years blessing and that whether you give or not, you’ll affect the next seven years of your life, good or bad! In other words, if you don’t give money, it’s worse than breaking a mirror people! Holy smokes. Did I mention that I don’t like this guy? He also mentioned that there are angels of finance. He said that he prays to his angel of finance to bring him money from the four corners of the globe. Huh? Dude, this guy is really, really weird. No wonder they waited till the cameras were turned off to feature him.

The rest of the night was more of the same but as fatigue set in the crowd thinned and the rhetoric stopped being as affective. I was tired at this point and just wanted to leave. I forced myself to stay though, and took the opportunity to wander around the arena again. There were lots of people who seemed genuinely moved by the experience. These were self admitted ministers who were there to bring back the “Fire” to their respective towns and cities. There were those who were less elated but still somewhat pleased to be there. These were the truly crippled and I can only wonder what they must be feeling since they left the arena in exactly the same condition as when they came. Was their faith not strong enough? Does God only wish to heal obscure or hidden conditions that cannot be medically verified? Maybe God is too humble or shy and doesn’t want to call attention to himself.

Then it hit me. This revival isn’t about those who actually need healing. It’s about those who think they can be used by God to heal those who need healing. That’s where the revival is, that’s what is spreading like fire. It’s a big ole steaming pile of ego gratifying and emotional marketing without substance. What it is sure to do is fund a huge ministry to perpetuate the same. I predict (not prophesy) that they will bring in tons of cash and I also predict that not one single verifiable healing will take place; one that passes rational inquiry of a qualified medical professional.

This kind of thing will happen as long as people buy into it, lock, stock, and barrel, without subjecting it to the rational mind. As long as people continue to give their wills over to others without thinking for themselves, they will be duped.

As I walked back to my seat I saw a woman frantically running through the arena with a panicked look on her face. As she came near to me I reached out and grabbed her arm and asked “what’s wrong ma’am?” She kept moving but started crying “my baby I can’t find my baby”. I followed behind her a short ways and then her child popped out from behind a table and the woman collapsed in delight. I didn’t really have to help her but what is significant is that no one else bothered to approach her to ask. That seemed to be the capstone of the event for me. People are too spiritually self-absorbed, trying hard to get a personal and supernatural touch from God while overlooking others who could benefit from real and practical aid.

Walking to the car I noticed a young lady being lifted out of her wheelchair into a van. She’s still in the chair Todd and you’re still p****** me off.

It was around one o’clock in the morning and as we left the Lakeland Center we drove around by Lake Mirror then set out to see the old neighborhood and finally by Crystal Lake Church of the Nazarene where I said hello to the old building. It was just as I had remembered it; in fact I don’t think it changed at all, but I certainly had.

As I left Lakeland for the second time I realized that my life was once again changing. I was leaving behind a belief system that helped form my thought processes and shape my personality. I was leaving behind an identity and moving toward a future which would no doubt be full of uncertainties, hard work, and downfalls. But I knew that where I was moving would be better in the long run.

 

I am unsure where this video was recorded.

By Mishel 

Record numbers of Christians have been flocking to Lakeland Florida to experience the supernatural. They yell for fire with all the exuberance of a college football game, however nowhere in scripture are we admonished to seek a supernatural experience or demand God’s presence. Certainly the Holy Spirit was not given for our entertainment, nor was He given to fulfill our lust for fleshly thrills. Fire Fire! More Lord!  We have become a people so driven to seek after the experiences of God ; to make Him real to bring Him down to us. However, God has called us to live by faith.  Remember Jesus said that it is a “a perverse generation seeks after a sign.”
 In the book of Revelation at the time of the end, in the last few years of Satan’s dominion, a charismatic religious personality will arise and deceive the whole world by means of miraculous signs and wonders. If signs and wonders are the fruit by which we judge whether a ministry is from God, then we are indeed on very shaky ground,  and ripe for deception.  So how are we to know? Revelation clearly tells us that the false prophet will be able to call down fire from heaven!  However, Elijah, who was a true prophet of God, called down fire from heaven!    So how is one to know the real from the counterfeit?  The end time is prophesied to be a time of great deception; however Christians seem to feel that they are somehow immune to it.  I have to ask myself why any blood-bought Christian would want to indulge themselves in supernatural experiences that have no Biblical precedent but yet parallel occult experiences in every way.  Most alarming to me personally, are the unmistakable similarities between this fire they are calling down, and the fires of Kundalini. One can read about some of these manifestations here [http://www.deceptionbytes.com/Todd-Bentleys-Fire-of-Kundalini]
When New Agers, Gnostics, Mystics and Occultists refer to a “Baptism by Fire” they most surely do not mean what the Christians mean when they use that same term. However, there are striking similarities- so again, how are we to know?  The esoteric meaning of “Baptism by Fire”  is the moment of arousal of the Kundalini power, or simply “the awakening” as the mystics call it.
Kundalini is an Eastern concept of enlightenment in which,  through meditation, electrical energy moves up 7 chakras and impacts the pineal gland bringing forth spiritual enlightenment. When the Kundalini awakens it causes certain manifestations. If you compare the manifestations of the rising Kundalini with the manifestations in Lakeland Florida you will find that they are identical in every way. When we openly accept manifestations that have no biblical precedent yet mimic those of the Eastern religions in every way, we have to seriously re-examine our doctrine.
The following quote came from a website that supports a world wide awakening of Kundalini. It shocked me that even the Mystics see it clearly! “So if you call it Kundalini the people in Christian circles will run from it. If you call it the Baptism of the Holy Spirit the same people will run to it.”
Jessie Pen Lewis puts it this way,  “The counterfeit of the Presence of God is mainly felt upon the body, and by the physical senses, in conscious “fire,” “thrills,” etc… The person affected by this counterfeit will be moved almost automatically to actions he would not perform of his own will, and with all his faculties in operation. He may not even remember what he has done under the “power” of this “presence” (Jessie-Penn Lewis War On the Saints, p.153)
 And again,  here is another quote from a decidedly Non-Christian source that verifies the same. “It is evident that the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) and the Kundalini are one in the same. The Holy Ghost is symbolically represented by a flame. Many of the Christian saints who were not familiar with the Eastern concept of Kundalini suffered from mysterious illnesses in which they claimed to be “burning” with love or with the spirit of God within them. Shared Transformation Issue 11, Here, There and Everywhere
Of course we as Christians know that they are NOT one in the same, however the above quotes certainly drive home the point that Kundalini is the counterfeit for the true Holy Spirit.
 The website fusionanomaly.net  another  mystic website, explains the fire of Kundalini as follows “For we ourselves are now the fuel of this living flame… We must open our arms to `call down and welcome the Fire.’ It is not enough to contemplate this ‘super-substantial’, personal Fire which solicitously preserves what it consumes. We must resolutely give ourselves to it as food.”
Wow so it looks as if we Christians aren’t the only ones calling down fire! When we yell fire! Fire! More lord! – What are we really calling down? What are we welcoming? The connection between fire and the rising Kundalini is strong and undeniable.
The  Mystic website Zone of Fire describes several incidents of fires breaking out in the vicinity of those experiencing the awakening of Kundalini power.
Several people in the throes of Kundalini awakenings have reported kitchen fires, which they attributed to their own “spacing out” while cooking. One woman undergoing an awakening found her bed on fire when a lit candle fell from the nightstand. Another “barbecued” her house when she left a bag of what she thought were cold fireplace ashes behind her house. The wind fanned sparks and set the back of the house ablaze.
When St. Teresa of Avila’s Kundalini awakened, she became ill and fell into a death-like coma for four days, during which time a fire broke out in the convent. The week my Kundalini arose, Carl and I were startled in the middle of night by explosive sounds. The house next door (fortunately unoccupied at the time) was a flaming inferno. It burned almost to the ground before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze.
 
In the fourth month of my Kundalini awakening, I had a particularly vivid dream in which the whole city was burning. My father appeared in the dream and, eyeing me suspiciously, asked if I was responsible for the fire. I told him I hadn’t done anything to cause it. In the dream, the conflagration was a natural disaster called a “fire storm”. The next day, recalling the dream, I thought it had been merely symbolic. I had never heard of a “fire storm” except in war devastation. Two months later, a cataclysmic fire storm (as the media called it) raged through Oakland, where I live, destroying 3000 homes.
Now,  interestingly enough,  compare this with an experience that Todd Bentley describes.  Bentley claims that an angel with feet like pillars of fire visited him while he was in a hotel room in Seattle Washington causing the hotel to catch fire!
“I said lets go and we got back to the hotel and we went to Charlie’s room in the hotel in Seattle and I looked at my watch and it was a quarter to twelve… or a quarter to eleven…. it was a quarter to eleven, opened the door, looked at the clock -quarter to eleven. We didn’t even have to pray the moment the door closed- the moment I said it was a quarter to eleven- instantly – without anybody praying BOOM the holy visitation realm fell on the room and everybody in the room with me was caught up into visions.  All you could hear was arrrrrrg  ooooooo ahhhhhrrrrr and everyone was shaking- people were having open visions – Charlie was skiing on the mountain of the Lord, I was screaming out Fire – ITS CONSUMING ME FIRE ya know and Chalie’s son was in a vision , my father was in a vision all at the same time – it was rad. So anyway,  an hour after the power of the Lord fell – to make a long story short what happened was that angel came into the room that had the feet like pillars of fire again – into the hotel room and in the natural the whole hotel room filled with smoke and everyone in the room smelled it.  Twelve hours later those two hotel rooms burnt to the ground above Charlie’s Room. Above Charlie’s room the angel on his way down to visit us – those two hotel rooms caught fire for real and burned down.  I said God I am going to get a reputation in fact the next year no one wanted to stay above my room or under my room no one wanted to be near my room.”
What is confusing to me is why Todd Bentley claims that the angel burned the hotel rooms on his way down through the roof to visit him when he clearly says the visitation happened 12 hour prior to the fire. Do you honestly believe that an angel of God caused that kind of destruction? Again where is the Biblical precedent for such a manifestation? My suggestion is that it was a manifestation of Kundalini power. Bentley has already told us that they had an awakening type experience just prior to the incident.
The “visitation” these men experienced sounds identical to those in the throes of Kundalini.  Fires seem to break out in the vicinity of the one with the awakening Kundalini. Usually, these combustions occur as natural accidents.  
If the following is a coincidence then it is a mighty strong one. According to NASA, “Officials estimate that 2,648 wildfires have scorched nearly 194,000 acres in Florida since January of this year”. http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1713
So in light of this I would ask that you do some soul searching as to the source of the signs and wonders occurring in Lakeland Florida. Do not judge simply by what you see or how it feels. Then ask yourself if you really want to be immersed in the fire he is calling forth.

[

 

This is from the site The Exchanged Life and I have been enjoying the sermons.  This article is relevant to some current discussion about Rick Warren and and his relationship to Ken Blanchard. Comments from Barbara Marx Hubbard, New-Ager/politician are frightening. Christians who will not evolve in this new spirituality are likened to  cancer cells, which will need to be eliminated.

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Understanding Church Vision (Part 4 of 4)

 

One World Religion

Over 300 evangelical Christians signed a response from ‘the Christian community’ and sent it to the Muslim Community agreeing to a partnership in religion. In October 2007 the Muslim community launched a website called www.acommonword.com. A letter was sent to the Christian community asking for an agreement among the religions on common grounds that we could agree on. In the letter, the Muslim writers offer a hand of partnership to Christians as long as we agree on the basic principles that unite us. While the open letter to Christians focuses on each person’s requirement to love God and love one’s neighbor, they also make it clear that loving God requires us to adhere to the following ‘Testimony of Faith’:

The central creed of Islam consists of the two testimonies of faith or Shahadahsi, which state that: There is no god but God [Allah], Muhammad is the messenger of God. These Two Testimonies are the sine qua non of Islam. He or she who testifies to them is a Muslim; he or she who denies them is not a Muslim.

 

The letter also states the following about Jesus Christ:

Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, not in the same way Christians do (but Christians themselves anyway have never all agreed with each other on Jesus Christ’s nature), but in the following way: …. the Messiah Jesus son of Mary is a Messenger of God and His Word which he cast unto Mary and a Spirit from Him…. (Al-Nisa’, 4:171). We therefore invite Christians to consider Muslims not against and thus with them, in accordance with Jesus Christ’s words here.

 

Since the Muslim letter only quoted part of Al-Nisa’ 4:171, I decided to look up this reference in the Quran to see the remainder of the verse. Here is the entire passage in context:

People of the Book, do not exceed the limits of devotion in your religion or say anything about God which is not the Truth. Jesus, son of Mary, is only a Messenger of God, His Word, and a spirit from Him whom He conveyed to Mary. So have faith in God and His Messengers. Do not say that there are three gods. It is better for you to stop believing in the Trinity. There is only One God. He is too glorious to give birth to a son. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God alone is a Sufficient Guardian for all. (Al-Nisa’ 4:171)

 

Muhammad called Christians the ‘People of the Book’ because they believed in the scriptures. The call for unity requires us to directly reject the following scripture in 1 John 5:9-13  

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.  10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.  11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

 

If you do not believe in Jesus Christ as He has been revealed in the scriptures, you do not, and cannot have eternal life for Jesus plainly warned that “if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Therefore, the Quran and the Bible are in direct conflict with each other and this foundational issue is irreconcilable. So in reality, the Muslim partnership extended to Christians has the following requirements in order to have common ground: accept the premise that “There is no god but God [which means Allah], Muhammad is the messenger of God”, do not be devoted solely to Christianity, and agree that Jesus is “only a messenger of God” but is not divine nor is God’s Son. According to Islam, Jesus was a messenger, but Muhammad is ‘the messenger’. Every Muslim will tell you that you must confess that ‘there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his prophet’. They say that Jesus was a prophet, but they will never say that Muhammad is ‘a prophet’. Every Muslim will strictly adhere to the belief that ‘Muhammad is the prophet’. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophets and that in these last days Jesus was the final word (Hebrews 1:1-2), but Islam teaches that Muhammad is the true messenger and the one chosen by God.

 

While one-world religion proponents argue that we can agree on most issues and therefore should not bicker over the few that we don’t agree on, the truth is that certain beliefs cannot be compromised. Look at Philippians 2:5-8   

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

 

This is at the core of our Christian faith. You cannot compromise this truth and remain in the faith. Also consider 1 Timothy 3:16   

16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory..

 

John 1:1-3  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God2 He was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John 1:10-14  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

This wasn’t controversial among those who held to the word of God, but in this era where Christians do not seek the Lord through the word, this has become a point of contention. The world has always denied Jesus as the only way and in these last days, the church has forgotten the truth of salvation in Christ just as the Bible foretold. Look at 2 Peter 2:1  

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

 

Is this not exactly what the ‘open letter to Christians’ is asking us to do? I have quoted some of the most influential evangelical leaders and each one of them has denied that Jesus is the only way of salvation – which is a denial of the faith. On November 18, 2007, a response was posted to the acommonword.com website. The letter written was headed up by the seminary professors at Yale University and signed by over 300 evangelical Christian leaders and organizations. You can read the entire letter on the Common Word website, but I want to bring your attention to this excerpt:

We receive the open letter as a Muslim hand of conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians world-wide. In this response we extend our own Christian hand in return, so that together with all other human beings we may live in peace and justice as we seek to love God and our neighbors.

And to those who nevertheless relish conflict and destruction for their own sake or reckon that ultimately they stand to gain through them, we say that our very eternal souls are all also at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony.

 

The evangelical community received the letter and then implied that any who do not receive this are ‘those who relish conflict and destruction’. By stating that they receive the invitation, it is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the terms written in the letter as we examined above. Any who do not agree to this form of unity are identified as the cause of conflict. If you read the letter you will see that one of the overarching themes is the quest for world peace. It is not a jump in conclusion that those who do not agree with the plan for peace by compromising their faith in Christ are a threat to peace and will become the enemy of the world religions that are uniting.

 

Consider that Rick Warren has stated that those who refuse to change must die or leave. David Spangler stated in his writings that people who will not accept the new world spirituality (which he calls the Luciferic Initiation) will be removed from the world to an upper room to be retrained until they can be embodied and safely be returned to the social body; Leonard Sweet states that we must change or die and these each are endorsing each other. Leonard Sweet quotes David Spangler in his book ‘Soul Tsunami’. In this book, Sweet states:

I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.”

 

Rick Warren endorsed this very book and wrote the forward on the front and back cover. Ken Blanchard has been commissioned by Rick Warren to teach leaders who will teach evangelical churches and Blanchard spoke at the ‘Choices for the Future’ symposium with Barbara Marx Hubbard. In her book, Hubbard echoes the warnings of these evangelical leaders but adds chilling details that make it clear that the ultimate plan is to force the world into the New Age spirituality. Look at these excerpts from her writings found in ‘The Book of Co-Creation’:

Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend… One-fourth is destructive…they are defective seeds. In the past they were permitted to die a ‘natural death’. …Now as we approach the quantum shift from the creature-human to the co-creative human – the human who is an inheritor of god-like powers – the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body. …Fortunately, you are not responsible for this act, we are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for the planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death”.

 

“This act is as horrible as killing a cancer cell. It must be done for the sake of the future of the whole. So be it; be prepared for the selection process which is now beginning. We, the elders, have been patiently waiting until the very last moment before the quantum transformation, to take action to cut out this corrupted and corrupting element in the body of humanity. It is like watching a cancer grow; something must be done before the whole body is destroyed…. The destructive one fourth must be eliminated from the social body.”

 

Is this not an exact fulfillment of John 16:2b-4?

…the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.  3 “And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.  4 “But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. …

 

Notice that Barbara Marx Hubbard has declared that the selection process is already underway and who do you think the ‘destructive one-fourth’ is? Based on the testimony of Hubbard and our own evangelical leaders, those who refuse to change must die. Hubbard may sound like a New Age flake, but she has a lot of backing. She has worked with the White House under two presidents including our current administration; she was a vice president nominee in 1984, she was an American Citizen ambassador to the former Soviet Union; she has founded two major global organizations (the ‘Global Association for New Global Thought’ and the ‘World Future Society’); she has written 5 books and delivered over 80 keynote speeches to colleges, leadership conventions, political organizations, and has direct ties with our current evangelical leaders.

 

Just consider how many times death is endorsed by our major evangelical leaders. In Tim LaHaye’s left behind series, the tribulation force of God fought against the lost souls by killing them. This was justified since their souls were supposedly already lost anyway. This is the overarching theme in their Left Behind game where ‘Christians’ are encouraged to kill those who refuse to be evangelized. You can find ample information on this game by doing a search on ‘Left Behind: Eternal Forces’. In the evangelical letter to the muslims, our leaders state that those who refuse to compromise risk their eternal souls. Rick Warren calls church leaders that resist the purpose driven movement ‘leaders from hell’ and compared them to Sanballat. Sanballat tried to prevent Nehemiah from building the wall around Jerusalem. Ironically, Warren is attacking those who are trying to build a wall between the church and the world while claiming that the true wall builders are the ones attacking. For the first time in history, the evangelical community has joined forces with the world to stand against those who stand upon the word of God. Now the political, world religions, and evangelical church are all calling for the destruction of those who refuse to be evangelized into the New World Order.

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Please finish the article HERE

http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/vision/vision4.shtml

Have you ever slowly waded into a cool swimming pool? At first it seems cold, but little by little, you inch deeper and deeper into the water as your body gets used to the temperature. Before you know it you are ready to dive right in because you have become accustomed to your surroundings and it no longers feels uncomfortable. Where once there was wariness, there is now familiarity. In a pool of water where a foot was gingerly lowered, there is now splashing and frolicking.

So it is, in the case of indoctrination. To teach or accept a system of thought uncritically. These children are unknowingly being indoctrinated into Hindu philosophy, and the parents allow it. Why?… because they themselves have accepted it. 

Did you know that the Sun Salutation is a form of worshiping the Sun God?     Read Deuteronomy 17: 2-4, to find out if this practice is acceptible for a Christian.

“If a man or woman living among you…is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord…contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun..”

I think this is pretty clear. Deuteromony says these practices are “detestable” unto the Lord.

Do you know why the asanas (poses) in the Sun Salutation are to be done in a certain order?  They were created and developed over a 5,000 year period. The positions were not created to stretch the muscles or to create relaxation. The unnatural positions were created to force energy up the spine and ultimately into the brain for spiritual unification with Atman. Yoga means to yoke. To create union with Hindu gods. This is an oversimplified explanation but there is plenty of information once you get past the american pasteurized yoga versions. Here is quote from a Swami:

“your karma, your births and deaths – all which can be overcome if you enter into the substance of nature by understanding its laws, by becoming cosmic itself in essence. Towards this end, yoga takes us.”

http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/patanjali/raja_92.html  

So if you want to really learn something about yoga then wander around the above link for awhile.

Obviously, the Bible is not silent on this. We are to have nothing to do with the heathen gods of the world, or participate in their rites. Even the Hindus have expressed dismay that Christians have hijacked their practices and that Christian terminology has replaced their own.  HIndus know that their religion or philosophy cannot be removed from the practice.

Satan would never say…”Here jump into this occult pool of Hinduistic activity,” to Christians. Who would jump in?  Instead Hindu religious activities and terminologies are neutralized into language we easily accept. Exercise and relaxation. The true reason as stated earlier is to awaken a cosmic force in the body. Now you won’t hear this explanation in american gyms or yoga studios. It may well be, because the instructor is unaware of the true reasons the poses were developed.

Here is an excerpt from Yoga2U:

Kundalini, The Kundalini (kundala=coil of a rope; Kundalini=a coiled female serpent) is the divine cosmic energy. This force or energy is symbolised as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Supreme Universal Soul.

 YOGA = KUNDALINI = SERPENT POWER

Now look at these children below. What are we subjecting them to?  Why are we allowing serpent power to be exposed to these precious children. How has it happened, that we have been slowing blindly ourselves to the infiltration and worship of false gods and teachings into our supposedly Christian nation? Ever since the Beatles introduced the world to Hinduism through their music, there has been an increasing comfort level and acceptance of eastern religions that was not known  here in the states.

We have allowed this by not standing up for Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to reject other gods of the world. Are we openly doing this? Christians…are you protecting your children, grand-children, nieces, and nephews by expressing concern over these issues? 

Once someone is indoctrinated into false beliefs it is extremely difficult to help them see the truth. Once someone is used to water, they do not want to get out. They say, “Hey the water is great, come on in. What are you afraid of? The water is not cold it is wonderful.” But they have numbed themselves to the truth.

If you are involved in occult practices, stop and repent. Do not allow your children or people you care about, to be indoctrinated into eastern mysticism. When you tell other Christians that Yoga is NOT ok, you may experience anything from indifference to indignation. I often am called, ignorant, narrow-minded, ridiculous, or self-righteous. This is something you get used to. Maybe. But do not let this stop you from telling others the truth. Also, If you want to help others, pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to them. 

 

WENATCHEE — WASL testing kicked off Tuesday, and with it began a new kind of stress relief for elementary schoolkids: morning yoga

A 10-year-old girl at Lincoln Elementary requested it. Her fourth-grade teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown couldn’t say no.

“For them it gives permission to just relax and not think about anything,” Nicpan-Brown said after yoga Tuesday. “They deal with a lot of pressure between home and school, so if there’s anything I can do to take that anxiety away, I will.”

Gym lights dimmed to a soft glow Tuesday morning. Babbling creek sounds and wooden flutes flowed from a stereo in the corner.

Alexis Rodriguez, 10, stretches his back along with about 30 other students as teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown leads a yoga session at Lincoln Elementary School before school Tuesday, the first day of WASL testing. (World photo/Kathryn Stevens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Inhale into cow, feel the stretch in your belly,” Nicpan-Brown said slowly and steadily. On all fours, students let their midsections sink slightly to the floor.

“And exhale into cat.” With a breath out, they tucked into a scared-cat position, stretching their back muscles.

About 20 girls crowded the front rows, silently focused, with an occasional smile-exchange with other girls.

Six boys banded together in the back, quietly interjecting fake farts, snoring sounds and giggles.

Ana Giles, 10, helps teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown lead about 30 students from Lincoln Elementary School in yoga before the start of the schoolday Tuesday, the first day of WASL testing at the school. Ana has practiced yoga at home before, so Nicpan-Brown, her fourth-grade teacher, asked her to help demonstrate some of the poses. (World photo/Kathryn Stevens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Toe power!” Matt Kirkpatrick, 10, murmured to his buddies as he dug his toes into the mat for downward-facing dog, a basic pose that looks like a human pitch tent with hands and feet on the ground, rump in the air.

“It looks kind of funny sometimes,” Matt said after class. “We don’t have to do the hard stuff, like putting my leg behind my neck. I thought it was fun.”

Nicpan-Brown introduced her class to yoga during their studies about India this winter. They learned that Indian children practice yoga two hours a day in school. The students were intrigued.

Nicpan-Brown turned to her yoga instructor Jan Bullock, who also works as a counselor at Foothills Middle School, for advice on how to adapt it for kids. After a 45-minute yoga introduction, students later requested yoga before class tests and projects.

“They asked me if I’d be willing to do it before WASL, so I scheduled it before school so I could invite more people,” Nicpan-Brown said. She agreed to lead nine classes on WASL days for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders with parent permission.

Nicpan-Brown said many of her 9- and 10-year-olds are afraid of failure, and some believe they won’t graduate to fifth grade if they don’t pass the WASL, she said.

“(WASL) makes me nervous, like maybe I won’t pass,” said 10-year-old Alexis Rodriguez after Tuesday’s session. “I think doing yoga makes me feel relaxed so it’s not so difficult.”

For 10-year-old Chyanne Rubash, “It feels good to stretch out my muscles so I can sit down for a long time and focus on the test,” she said.

About 35 students signed up, but Nicpan-Brown expects 25 to 30 to show up on any given morning.

“I’m honored that they came and wanted to help themselves,” Nicpan-Brown said. “They were willing to get up at 6 in the morning to be here at 7:20. I’m really proud of them.”

 

            holding-hands.jpgholding-hands.jpgholding-hands.jpg
 I am reposting this article by Tamara Hartzell. She has left us to be with the Lord. Her research is painstaking and excellent.
  originally posted February 2008: by Tamara Hartzell
 

  Are You “Being Led Away with the Error of the Wicked” to the New Age Ark of Oneness?

Not too long ago I read through Tamara Hartzell’s In the Name of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity. What an amazing piece of research…. Now I have completed “Being Led Away with the Error of the Wicked” and found it also to be a great article. Tamara tells an interesting story which starts like this.

“As a child growing up in Fresno, my favorite attraction was Roeding Park with its Zoo and Storyland. As its name imples, Storyland is a play area for kids featuring explorative displays and audio recordings of different children’s stories, such as The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, and various others. A Noah’s Ark display has also been included that featured a walk-through Ark made into a Christian Chapel, complete with stained glass windows and pews.
This past spring I had the opportunity to revisit Roeding Park. At first, the Noah’s Ark display appeared unchanged. It still seemed to be the same Christian Chapel. However, as I entered the Ark/Chapel I stood stunned and in disbelief.” [1]

   

Sorry to leave the story hanging but I want you to read this article. I printed it out for my ever-growing collection, but here are some interesting excerpts:
Although humanity intends for its Ark of Oneness to bring the world love, peace, compassion, brotherhood, goodwill, sharing, beauty, justice, virtue, unity, service and elimination of global and planetary problems, humanity is ultimately being driven by the god of this world to a very specific destination (a destination that not every builder and would-be boarder of the Ark is necessarily aware of ahead of time). This Ark of oneness is the ultimate forbidden fruit. It is the no-holds-barred grand finale of the serpent’s seduction of humanity, which he began in the Garden of Eden.” [2]

“The new world and its Emerging One Church (one universal faith in “God” and in humanity) are emerging so rapidly now that it is simply too difficult, it not upright impossible, to keep up with the massive global shift taking place in both the world and today’s professing church.” [3]

“…humanity is becoming a swift learned of the ways and teachings of the New Spirituality and its Emerging One Church. When the time comes, those who are spiritual enough will, as one leave all separateness behind and follow the serpent’s Coming One (the New Age anti-Christ) right into his counterfeit kingdom of God…” [4]

“…a genuinely “Self-centered” humanity will be successfully incited by the dragon and his spirit realm to execute judgment upon all who are ‘guilty’ of the new world’s ‘worst’ hate crime–believing the truth given to us by God in His word.” …..”Yet in the upside-down New Spirituality of this upside-down new world, the ones who are deemed guilty of ‘self-centered’ ‘hate’ are those who lovingly alert others to God’s truth…” [5]

 

A friend from another Christian ministry…told me that 10-15 years ago, he never would have thought that he would live to see the day, that is now quickly approaching. It is extremely difficult at this point to keep up with all the organizations that are promoting unity for peace, love and goodwill of man. While these goals are good in themselves there is an undertow swirling meant to pull mankind down into a new world order. The world will go willingly.

 

We, as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, are not to be of this world. This new spirituality is not about Jesus Christ…it is about the false christs. It is a deception so well-planned that innocent people will be taken-in because they did not know the Word of God. Who are you following? Are you being Led Away with the Error of the Wicked?
I pray that you are not.
[1] page 5
[2] page 13

[3] page 47 [4] page 17 [5] page 19        

“We are discovering Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”

The Emerging Church -The Latest Heresy By Stephen Holland

steveholland.jpg

Preached on: Sunday, February 10, 2008

Westhoughton Evangelical Church

King Street, Westhoughton

Lancashire, UK BL5 3AX

Online Sermons: http://www.sermonaudio.com/revholland

Now a few year ago I heard a talk given on the Emerging Church and after it went away

and thought, “I haven’t a clue what he was on about.” So I hope after this session that

you will not go away with the same opinion.

If you have not come to hear of it, the chances are you soon will. A search on the internet

search engine Google will bring up no less than 616,000 references to what has come to

be known as Emergent or Emerging Church.

A check to your local Christian bookstore and see you find such titles as A New Kind of

Christian or Vintage Christianity for New Generations or The Forgotten Ways or The

Lost Methods of Jesus or Adventures in Missing the Point, Liquid Church, A Generous

Orthodoxy: More ready than you realize, Finding Faith Post Christendom, Changing

Worlds, Changing Church, Emerging Church, Emerging Churches, emerging-

church.intro. Those were just found on one shelf in one Christian so called bookstore.

There could be added-and will be many more titles added-to the list in the coming

days. Some authors with in the Emerging Church are Brian McLaren, Ralph Bell, Dan

Kimball, Doug Paget, Leonard Sweet, Spencer Burke, Yurgin McMannis, Tommy Collolen, Jason Clock, [?], Richard Foster and Tony Jones. And we could add also to that

people like Tony Campolo and Steve Chalk.

A tour is apparently being planned in 11 states of the USA to run from February to May

of this year. That tour is called “Everything Must Change Tour.” The title, of course,

that gives almost the game away. We are told by the organizer, Brian McLaren that this

is a tour for people short on hope. This tour is named after McLaren’s latest book Everything Must Change. The subtitle of this book reads: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution

of Hope. This tour is for people of all thoughts, but seems especially aimed at those who

are fed up and disillusioned with-quote-traditional church. It is for people looking for

new ways of doing church. That is the in word today, doing church.

So what, may you ask, what’s all the fuss about?

Well, the very term “Emerging Church” suggests itself that they are emerging from

something. The very titles of the books just quoted suggest the same thing. Terms like

“lost message” or “new kind of Christian” or “forgotten ways” or “finding faith” or

“missing the point” or “post-Christendom” or “changing worlds, changing church.” All

this suggests some form of revolution is taking place or is about to take place and within

branches of the professed Christian Church.

So what, again, you may be asking. After all, the Church has changed, hasn’t it, from

one generation to next and from one century to another. And, of course, our world is

every changing.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with change. None of us, I take it, came here today by

horseback like many of our forefathers would have done or are dressed like our Puritan

brethren of the 17century. We live in a very advanced age where change is happening

at an incredible pace.

Is the Church in danger of being left behind or even in danger of extinction all together

unless she adapts? These people would tell us, “Yes.”

Men can doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ is at a low point as far as man can see. We

are told that excluding deaths and transfers 1500 people are thought to be deserting

churches in Britain every week. The promised hopes of the decade of evangelism have

not materialized. In the early 1990s it was hoped that about 20,000 new churches would

be opened by the close of the century. Rather, a survey has revealed that only 1867 new

churches were opened in England while 2557 closed. We are told that the fall in church

attendance was expected to decline in Scotland from 17.1% in 1980 to 10.3% by 2005. In

Wales from 14.1% to just 6.4% while in England from 10.1% to 6.7%.

The attendance of young people in churches seems to be even more depressing. In 1979

1,000,416 under 15s attended church. In 1989 it was 1,177,000 and by 1998 it was down

to just 717,100. One has estimated that 94% of young people are not in church on a Sunday. [?] of course, in spite of all its boasts and claims has failed to stem the decline. The

situation seems bleak and desperate. The Church is being increasingly told that she is out

of date, out of touch and irrelevant to our post-modern generation.

What is the answer to our plight? Is this new phenomena, the Emerging Church, the savior of the supposed dying Church? Have we found the answer in this newest of movements? One author things to think so. Michael Moynagh in his book emerging-

church.intro he says this of his own book, “It argues that church of a different timbre is

key to Christianity’s revival, perhaps survival in the western world.” He does, though, go

on to say, “But Emerging Church is not a magic solution. Emerging Church is not a quick

pick me up for a sick body. It is a collection of new vessels for new…for all the ingredients that are essential to Church and up dimension in worship and in dimension in community, announced dimension in mission and an of dimension as individual churches see

themselves as part of the body of Christ.” End quote.

Well, how would we define the Emerging or Emergent Church? How would you define

the Church? Well, let me give you a quote from one of the leading spokesmen, Brian

McLaren, and see if you can figure it out for yourself.

On the front cover of his popular book A Generous Orthodoxy he says this. “Why I am

missional and evangelical and post Protestant and liberal conservative and mystical poetic and biblical and charismatic contemplative and fundamentalist, Calvinist and Anabaptist, Anglican and Methodist and Catholic and Green and incarnational and [?]…”

You are not surprised, “Yet hopeful and emergent and unfinished Christian.”

Well, you were beginning to thinking that here is a man who really isn’t quite too sure

what he is all about. He seems to be one who certainly hasn’t arrived at certainty. And

this really sums up the whole Emerging Church. It doesn’t quite know what it is itself or

where it is going.

Michael Moynagh says, again-quote-“Emerging Church is a mindset. We will come

to you, rather than a model. It is a direction rather than a destination. It rests on principles rather than a plan. It rises out of a culture rather than being imposed on a culture. It

is a mood scarcely yet a movement.”

The same author goes on to say-quote-“Emerging Church is more than a pragmatic

response to declining numbers. It is a theological vision, a wide eyed vision that escapes

a blinked past, challenges the status quo and calls for new forms of Christianity in which

individuals can encounter Christ authentically. Might these communities renew inherited

congregations and become the crucible of the Church in the Postmodern world?” End of

quote.

Though the Emerging Church has no leaders, official leaders or base, one widely recognized as a leading spokesman and author is Brian McLaren. He says, Brian McLaren

says, “Right now Emerging Church is a conversation, not a movement. We don’t have a

program. We don’t have a model. I think we must begin as a conversation then grow as a

friendship and see if a movement comes of it.”

Moynagh says, “The lack of a single term reflects how cutting edge it all is. Not even the

language has been defined.”

Leonard Sweet, one such Emergent pioneer, has used the acronym EPIC to describe what

Emergent is all about. E stands for experimental. You see, this is because the Postmodern man, we are told, wants to experience the spiritual. The P stands for participants because Postmodern man wants to enter into things and not just be an observer. So, you

see, we may as well do away with the sermon and have a conversation instead. The I relates to image because our Postmodern man, supposedly, in this generation is sight oriented so we might use things like images-artwork, film and video-in our presentation

and in our worship. C is for communal because Postmodern man wants essential community and belonging.

Well, these things are not necessarily wrong, of course, in and of themselves, but there is

more to it than seems to be. It is not just all innocence.

Rob Dell, who is another one of the leaders in this movement puts us in the picture when

he says, “This is not just the same old message with new methods. We are discovering

Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”

Well, having no official position as yet has caused one critic to comment, “The Emerging

Church is a rather slippery name for a rather slippery movement. By slippery I mean that

the movement is so new-originating in the late 1990s-so fragmented, so varied that

nailing it down is like nailing the proverbial Jello to the wall. There are no official leaders

or headquarters. Some have said that there are thousands of expressions yet only a few

churches have sold out to the concept. And even those claiming the name can’t agree on

what is going on. Although maybe they are not yet a force to be reckoned with, this

movement will no doubt grow, have its adherents, take its casualties and then give way to

the next heresy to attack the Church of Jesus Christ.”

We need to be very clear that what we are dealing with here in the movement Emergent

Church. We are not simply dealing with differences within evangelical theology or with

secondary issues upon which Christians must agree to disagree. We are not dealing with

what the apostle…we are dealing with what the apostle Paul would describe as “another

1

gospel.”It is another gospel which is not a gospel to begin with.

Here is another devilish attempt at muddying the waters of the pure gospel of Jesus

Christ. Well, should we be concerned? Should we be taking a few hours out on a Saturday to look at this new phenomena that is coming in to the Church and claming to be

Christian? Well, we should be as concerned as the apostle Paul was concerned in combating heresy that attacked the Church in his own day. We are called to “earnestly con

2

tend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”And Paul says that we are

3

“set for the defence of the gospel.”

So the answer is a definite yes. We should be concerned about this false, heretical Emerging Church that is coming upon the scenes and you will soon see to hear about it or get to

hear about it.

One pastor on the fringes of the movement, although it is not entirely Emergent in the

heretical sense of it, Mark Driscoll, who was one of the early young pastors who got involved in this and how it all started in the United States as a group of men gathering together to meet. None of them seemed to have much theological understanding at all, but

they seemed to get together and hold conferences. And out of this grew the Emerging

Church. But he says, “I have to distance myself from one of the many streams in the

Emerging Church because of theological differences. The Emerging Church is the latest

version of Liberalism. The only difference is that the old Liberalism accommodated modernity and the new Liberalism accommodates Postmodernity.”

This really brings us to the heart of the movement. The Emerging Church is a move to

make the gospel attractive and acceptable to Postmodern man. The big challenge, we are

told, is how to tap in to the heart and mind of our Postmodern generation. In order to do

this we must start, of course, they say, with 21st century man, start with where he is at.

1

See Galatians 1:6

2

See Jude 3

3

See Philippians 1:17

How do we do that we ask. Well, we must start with experimentation. After all, as one

Emergent leader tells us, “That is exactly what God did when he created the world.”

Moynagh says this. “Experiments are one of the defining features of Emerging Church.

What is evolution if it is not a history of experimentation? One species flourishes. Another doesn’t. A third mutates.”

Of course we tell him if he read Genesis he would know there is no such thing to begin

with so his movement would flop there.

But he goes on and it gets even worse. He then goes on to say that that is exactly what

God did, experimented when he created Adam. To quote him again, “Does Genesis

two,” he asks, “contain a picture of God in experimental mode? He places Adam in the

Garden and then decides that it is not good for man to be alone. ‘I will make a helper

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suitable for him.’He forms all the animals and brings them to Adam to see what he

would call them. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. Has God’s experiment not

succeeded? So God tries again. He creates the woman. The experiment produced the

desired result. God seems to be learning.”

He quickly, of course, see the heresy cries coming and admits that seems to go against

one of the basic attributes of God. But he says that God seems to limit himself. He goes

on to say, “It is a part of God’s perfection that he can be surprised by creation. He has

created in us, for example, with not the songs that humans compose. Each new chart

buster can amaze and perhaps delight him. There is something [?] fitting about a wonderful surprise. Is God to be denied that emotion?”

Do you see where these people are coming from? No understanding of a theology of

God.

One fellow Emergent leader, George Lings, takes great delight in what has been said.

And he adds this complement in the book, “I am glad Mike has been daring and picked

up on the open and creative relationship God has with his creatures to which the Bible

testifies,” to which I say-and this is me-it most certainly does not. And then he goes

on, “And which makes so much better sense of a world where things go wrong. I would

only add that God’s grand experiment or risk was to choose to create beings who have

genuine freedom to love him or not. All the rest flows from this audacious fact.” We are

also told, “Experimentation is part of human being. So it will be second nature for Christians to try and try again with church.”

So after 2000 years we have still not got it right and we must keep on trying and experimenting.

To say that the Emerging Church has a faulty theology of God is an understatement. Any

heresy usually has a defective view of God himself and the Emerging Church has gone

4

See Genesis 2:18

wrong on its attempts to spread the gospel because it has a wrong view of God and a

wrong view of the Bible.

Well, at the heart of the Emerging Church is the adopting of a Postmodern culture. We

are living in what has come to be termed as Postmodernism. You see, we pass through

the Premodern era, a period stretching from Medieval times up to the French Revolution

of 1789. That was the Premodern era. In such a period man had difficulty in believing

the supernatural. Spirits, demons, hell, heaven and an afterlife and even much superstition is said to have abounded in that period. You would not have had difficulty in persuading people that God or even gods existed. Such beliefs, however, began to be challenged and their sources of authority. This began the Modern era, said to have begun with

the Enlightenment period. Philosophers like Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) began to challenge and question the dogmas of the past age. The Enlightenment would bring in the

age of Modernity.

One writer, Michael Kruger, says, “With the rise of the Enlightenment there came a new

guardian of truth to replace the Church. Science. No longer would human beings stand

for the irrational musings and archaic dogmatism of religion. Science, with reason as the

foundation, was the new god. And all intellectual theories had to bow and pay homage in

order to be seriously considered. Science viewed Christians as being naively committed

to ancient myths, unable to see past their bias and to take an objective and neutral look at

the world. So Modernity proffers the idea that mankind, armed with rationalism and science, is able to access absolute truth and make unlimited progress toward a better life for

itself. Therefore at its core Modernity is a celebration of human autonomy.”

Well, such a period, of course, was a very exciting period in the history of mankind. It

was a period of discovery, a period of development and a period of growth. It appeared

to offer mankind hope for the future. However, the discoveries being made were not too

deliver. Not only has science and learning not provided man with the satisfaction desired

and prayed for, but it has neither provided him with an answer to life’s most perplexing

questions.

In the area of religion the Modernist theologians have destroyed any belief in a supernatural God who spoke through a divinely inspired and infallible Bible. These two

worldviews, then-Premodernism and Modernism-have failed miserably. Of course,

we would expect them to do so as neither can be said to be firmly rooted in the Word of

God.

Well, we now come to our present worldview today. It is called Postmodern,

Postmodernism, a Postmodern generation. Well, it is a matter of debate among scholars

as to when this new period began, but many place it at the time of the collapse of the

Berlin wall in 1989. Some have put it somewhere in the 70s with the sexual revolution

and all the rest. But whichever we say, it is a new era that has come in, Postmodern.

With both Premodernism and Modernism failing to satisfy, man has become disillusioned. Answers to the meaning, purpose and direction of life have not been found. Man has been looking for truth and meaning. The Premodernist stores it in a revelation-albeit

the wrong one-the Church. Well, at least the Church of our day. The Modernist stores it

in science and reason. The Postmodernist now sees his worldview as one in which, for

example, that there is really no such thing as truth. So that is Postmodernism. There

really is no such thing as absolute truth. Absolute truth, he tells us, cannot be. Truth is

rather created and not found. So a culture, for example, may invent its own truth. And

yet another culture, its own version of truth even though they may be contrary to each

other. But there can be no universal truth that belongs to all and everyone. In other

words, there is no absolute truth and it must not even be sought.

Michael Kruger says, “Postmodernity, in contrast to Modernity, rejects any notion of objective truth and insists that the only absolute in the universe is that there are no absolutes. Tolerance is the supreme virtue and exclusivity, the supreme vice. Truth is not

grounded in reality or in any sort of authoritative text, but is simply constructed by the

mind of the individual or socially constructed.”

Another author says, “For the Postmodernist thinkers the very idea of truth is decayed

and disintegrated. It is no longer knowable. At the end of the day truth is simply what

we, as individuals and communities, make it to be and nothing more.”

If you think that is not yet affecting your worldview you are wrong. It is. We have so

many different paths in society, don’t we? So many religions. We are not allowed to say

that one has absolute truth, somebody else is wrong. No, no. You can’t say that. Everything is relative. If it is right for them, then it is right. If they are happy, if that is their

belief, then it is acceptable.

But for Postmodern thinking, “Well if it is…if to them, you know, it’s a flower, it’s a

flower. If to somebody else it’s a weed, it’s a weed. It is whatever you think it to be.”

And hasn’t that come in even in subtlety in things like, with so called, certain crimes,

homophobic crimes, so called, racist crimes, so called. If the person perceives it to be

such then it is. There is no real objective truth.

If such is now the culture and the world we are living in how are we to get the gospel

across?

Well, first we must…first we are to remember that the world in which we live must never

be allowed to shape the gospel that we believe. The Emerging Church has embraced-

like its forefather the Modernist-the belief of its age. It, too, denies that there is such a

thing as truth.

Take the words of Brian McLaren, one of its main architects, “Ask me of Christianity.

My version of it, yours, the pope’s, whoever’s, it is orthodox meaning true. And here is

my honest answer. A little, but not yet. Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian’s understanding of the world and God, Christian’s opinion on soul, text and culture. I

have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong. And

even more spreads before us unseen and unimagined. But at least our eyes are open. To

be a Christian in a genuinely orthodox way is not to claim to have truth captured, stuffed

and mounted on the wall.”

This is a man who claims to give adherence to the Word of God.

Christians for over 2000 years have believed, rejoiced and often died for the absolute

truth they find in the teachings of Christ and his Word. Yet after all these years we are

now told that there really is no such claim on truth.

Interesting that, McLaren’s latest book is called The Secret Message of Jesus. He and those who follow him are constantly telling us that they are dissatisfied with doing church the traditional way. They are tired of evangelical right they tell us. They are seeking to break free from all that they belonged to the past. Could it be, I ask, that such people have never known the truth and have never known the real Jesus of the Bible? Could it be that they are so dissatisfied because they have never known the liberating power of the gospel of Jesus

Christ? I believe that is so. Christians have traditionally and robustly rejoiced in the certainties and steadfastness of the foundation of the gospel. We have read about it,

preached it with conviction and sung about it with rejoicing. It houses the Emergent

Church, Emerging so called Christians see such.

Rob and Christine Bell, his wife, in the beginning of being interviewed said this concerning the Bible, but they have discovered the Bible as a human product. “I do the thinking,”

she says, “that we figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means.” Now she says, “I

have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel life is big again like life used to be

black and white and now it is color.”

Brian McLaren sums it all up in the closing of his book A Generous Orthodoxy. “Consider for a minute what it would mean to get the glory of God finally and fully right in

your thinking or to get a fully formed opinion of God’s goodness or holiness. Then I

think you will feel the irony. All these years of pursuing orthodoxy ended up like this, in

front of all this glory, understanding nothing.”

So McLaren would like us to believe at the end of it all we really end up understanding

and knowing nothing. And yet the Christian can say with a certainty like Jeremiah nine

verse three, “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant

for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me,

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saith the LORD.”

Unbelief and uncertainty like this is found nowhere in the teaching of Christ or the New

Testament epistles. In fact, the Christian message is not only solid, but simple, too. The

message of the Bible is neither lost, uncertain, complex or difficult. It is a message that is

clear, plain and easy to understand.

5

Jeremiah 9:3

Oh, yes, there may be a few difficult passages in Daniel or Revelation to interpret, but the

overall message of the Bible is simple and plain. And for people like Christine Bell we

would say she ought to get on her knees, humble herself before the God of heaven and

submit to his authoritative, inspired, easy to understand revelation.

The message of the Bible is not complex. They seem to great delight in saying, “We can’t

understand anything. We don’t know truth. We don’t know what it is all about. And yet

life is big again.”

We say, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest

6 the light of the glorious gospel…”

How do we share the gospel, then, in their eyes with the unchurched? Well, one of the

key words in the Emerging Church is missional. That is the big word, missional. We

want to be a missional church.

What do we understand by missional? Well, the old meaning, of course, of doing missions, going to the lost, preaching the everlasting gospel of God’s saving grace and rescuing sinners from hell and seeing them get into heaven is not quite what they mean by

missional. A clue to what being a missional Christian is all about is found in the

McLaren’s work, his most well known, although he seems to be spewing out these books

and heresies one after another. But in [?] he says this. “But what about heaven and hell

you ask. Is everybody in? My reply. Why do you consider me qualified to make this

pronouncement? Isn’t this God’s business? Isn’t it clear that I do not believe this is the

right question for a missional Christian to ask?”

Let me break in and say there what caused men like William Carey and others to leave

everything behind was the eternal soul of the people that they were to go and preach to,

but that they were concerned about the eternal destiny of man’s never dying soul.

Not so being missional within the Emerging Church. McLaren goes on, “Can’t we talk

for a while about God’s will being done here on earth as it is heaven instead of jumping

to how to escape earth and get to heaven as quickly as possible? Can’t we talk for a

while about overthrowing and undermining every hellish stronghold in our lives and in

our world?”

Doesn’t this sound very much like the old “damnable heresy” of the Modernist, Liberal

social gospel that emptied our churches and robbed the gospel of all its saving power?

He goes on to say, “Missional Christian faith asserts that Jesus did not come to make

some people saved and others condemned. Jesus did not come to help some people be

right while leaving everyone else to be wrong. Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion, Judaism having been exclusive based on genetics and Christianity being

exclusive based on belief which can be a tougher requirement than genetics.”

6

2 Corinthians 4:4

McLaren has no understanding of the New Testament gospel at all. He himself admits

so. He says, “We must continually be aware,” and this is him speaking, “that the old, old

story may not be the true, true story.” He goes on, in other words, “We must be open to

the perpetual possibility that our received understanding of the gospel may be faulty, imbalanced, poorly [?] or downright warped and twisted.”

Here we must retain the good, Protestant, evangelical and biblical instinct to allow Scripture to critique tradition including our dominant and most recent tradition and including

our tradition’s understanding of the gospel. In this sense, Christians in missional dialogue

must continually expect to rediscover the gospel.

Note how he is prepared to us-or we would say misuse-Scripture to critique what he

says is tradition. He wants us to rediscover the gospel he says. Yet he doesn’t even know

what the gospel is himself. This really is the gospel according to Brian McLaren. It is a

gospel full of uncertainty, mystery and we say falsehood. And he wants us to join him in

his journey of rediscovery?

The gospel of McLaren and the Emerging Church is not the saving gospel from sin and

hell, but another gospel of making a better world and a better you.

But he goes on to say, “From this understanding we place less emphasis on whose lineage, rights, doctrines, structures and terminology are right and move emphasis on whose

action, service, outreach, kindness and effectiveness are good in order to help our world

get back on the road to being truly and wholly good again the way God created it to be.

“We are here on a mission to join God,” he tells us, ” in bringing blessings to our needy

world. We hope to bring God’s blessing to you,” he says, “whoever you are and whatever you believe. And if you would like to join us in this mission and the faith that creates and nourishes, you are welcome.”

I say, “No thank you.”

Note his intention is to join God in bringing blessing to a needy world. He tells us it

really doesn’t matter what you believe. Why, of course, would you when none has arrived at truth anyhow or orthodoxy anyway because he has imbibed a Postmodern age?

His gospel is not to get you into the kingdom, but to bring the kingdom to you.

Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader, says, “Our faith also includes kingdom living.

Part of which is the responsibility to fight local and global and social justice on behalf of

the poor and needy. Our example is Jesus,” he tells us, “who spent his time among the

lepers, the poor and the needy.”

Are we saying that these thing are unimportant and unnecessary? Well, by no means.

Jesus did, in fact, heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry and perform other miracles. We are not saying doing good works is a bad thing. No, they follow the fruits of the gospel. Yet we must always remember that the forming of such miracles was first and

foremost to point to who he was and what he had come to do, of course, to testify that he

was the Savior of lost sinners.

Jesus, in fact, said virtually nothing about social injustice, nothing about the environment

or political tyranny or eradication of poverty or making the world a better place.

What is the true gospel itself? Whereas it has transformed the lives, that society has been

so changed for the better, this was never the priority of Christ, the apostles or the early

church. Christ did not come to bring a paradise to earth through his Church. He came to

rescue sinners from the wrath to come, to give spiritual life to the dead, to draw men back

to the Father, to be a propitiation for men’s sins, to shed his blood for the forgiveness of

those sins, to provide a mansion in heaven, to reconcile sinners to a holy God. He himself

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has said that he had not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword.As the truth divides

and brings a different color…literal thought, of course where people fight each other. That

is not the gospel. Christians willingly lay down their lives for the gospel, but the sword is

the Word of God which cuts against truth and separates from truth and error. That can

never happen with McLaren’s gospel or the gospel of the Emerging Church because it

has imbibed a Postmodern culture that tells us there is no such thing as truth.

So he certainly can’t earnestly contend for the faith because he doesn’t know what that

faith is. This aspect of the social here and now gospel is seen in McLaren’s two questions that he asks which are these. What are the biggest problems destroying our world?

And what do the life and teaching of Jesus have to say about these global crises?

The Emerging Church is more world focused than heaven focused. The early Church

8

looked for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.The Emerging

Church is man centered. Its starting point is not with the truth as expressed in God’s

Word, but-imbibing a cultural philosophy of the day-truth cannot be established anyway.

The well being of man is the beginning. We hear things like, “We will come to you

rather than you come to us.” “We’ll do church on your terms rather than on ours or the

Bible’s terms.”

Rob Bell writes for the media in the States, but all this may be new to you, but it is big

news in the States and it will come over here. They consider him the next Billy Graham

although why I am not sure. He has neither gifts nor theology, well, as he had in his

younger day. Rob Bell says, “For Jesus the question wasn’t how do I get into heaven, but

how do I bring heaven here. The goal isn’t escaping this world, but making this world the

kind of place God can come to. And God is making us into the kind of people who can do

this task, this kind of work.”

7

See Matthew 10:34

8

See 2 Peter 3:13

One wonders which Bible are these people reading. He seems to be ignorant of the fact

that Scripture teaches, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements

shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned

9

up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved….”What does Peter say? Not

put on a global mask to solve the world’s dilemmas and problems, but in light of this Peter says, “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on

10

fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”There, and as we

have quoted earlier, “We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth right

11

eousness.”

I want to look-the time is moving on-to the mystical aspect of the Emerging Church.

Due to the fact that the Emerging Church is not truth based means it is susceptible to all

forms of error and falsehood as one might expect. As we are not moved by the truth of

God’s Word then we will seek experiences outside of that Word. And that is exactly

what we find in the Emergent movement. There is no real Jesus in the Emerging Church.

I believe it is not the Jesus we find in the Bible. Christ himself warned that, “Many will

12

come in my name.”And there appears to be as many Jesus’ in the world as there are

Jones’ in Wales. The big question is: Which Jesus do we have and which Jesus are we

following?

Peter Rollins, an Emergent Leader in Northern Ireland-so it has come over into this

country already-Icon. They all have strange names. They don’t have, you know, Emergent Evangelical Church or Emergent Church. They have stupid, silly names. And here is

one Icon. And the very name will suggest where it is going.

Icon, “We as Icon,” they say, “are developing a theology which derives from the mystics,

a theology without theology to complement our religion without religion.”

You notice all this double talk. It doesn’t make sense. And you read their books. It

doesn’t make sense. Much of the Emergent Church thinking is not based on what the Bible teaches. And they do not derive their theology from the Bible, but rather, their theology-if it can be called that-from experience.

Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader says, “The old paradigm taught that if you have

the right teaching you will experience God. The new paradigms says that if you experience God you will have the right teaching.”

Another Emergent leader [?] in England, so it has arrived on our shores near to here,

Sanctus One, you know, so it is not, you know, the Baptist Tabernacle or somewhere.

They adopt one of their silly names. Sanctus One which is actually in Manchester says,

9

2 Peter 3:10-11

10

2 Peter 3:11-12

11

2 Peter 3:13

12

See Matthew 24:5, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8

“We believe that God is not defined by theology. Experience is vital and experience defines us.”

Now in our second talk I am going to jump to the next section because we will be all afternoon otherwise, but I want to jump on briefly and then we can close with some questions. You see, this searching for meaning and experience has not driven this movement

to the Word of God, but back into the world of Medieval Catholicism and Eastern mysticism.

Of course the Roman Catholic Church will endorse anything that furthers its own cause.

An official endorsement in 1965 by the Vatican reads this. “In Hinduism men seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and

recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism proposes a way of life by which man

can with confidence and trust attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help.” And then they go

on to say, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.”

The Second Vatican Counsel then or some time afterwards mentioned, “It longs to set

forth the way it understands the presence and function of the Roman Catholic,” in this

context, “Church in the world today. Therefore the world which the Counsel has in mind

is the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelopes it. This is

the reason why this sacred synod in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming

an element of the divine in him offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs.”

You are not surprised, then, at the Emerging Church going down the pathway not just to

Eastern mysticism, but to Romanism as well. In Soul Shaper: Exploring Spirituality and

Contemplative Practices in Youth Ministry Tony Jones advocates 16 ancient future, both,

spiritual tools or disciplines such as-quote-“the Jesus prayer, [?] diviner, silence and

solitude, stations of the cross, center in prayer, [?] and the labyrinth.”

Richard Bennett, a former Roman Catholic priest says this, “Assuming that the Roman

Catholic Evangelical split over the gospel is a thing of the past,” which we know it is not,

“Jones begins by defining his Postmodern approach to youth ministry by combing aspects

of what he sees as common spirituality and evangelicalism, Roman Catholicism and

Eastern Orthodox traditions along with Eastern religious practices gleaned from Buddhism and Hinduism.” Then it goes on, “Tony Jones’ involvement with youth ministry

and leaders of youth ministry is particularly dangerous. This is the cause of cases of obscure heretical practices from papal Rome when he then passes off on the unsuspecting as

if he has rediscovered a long hidden spiritual treasure for Postmodern Christianity. His

major goal is to make his very Roman Catholic view of the past come alive in the present,

something Bible believers should consider carefully especially regarding his very young

audience.”

This man, by the way, Tony Jones, is a foul mouthed individual who uses foul language

of the worst kind even in describing the Bible. It is for this reason that you will find some

Emergent Churches lighting candles, crosses and other ritual things being performed, all

done in seeking a deeper experience of the divine. So they light their candles. They will

have their crosses They will have their music and their lights. Of course, they will all be

different.

But what are they doing? They are seeking an encounter with the divine. They are seeking an encounter with the spiritual. For the true evangelical we say we are not seeking or

searching for the divine God out there whoever he may be. We have found him in Jesus

Christ, the Jesus alone in the pages of God’s Word.

We are never against experiences, but experiences come from the Word of God and are

based and tested by that very Word.

You will notice many of these people talk about seeking the divine and their masks that

they are having with McLaren and all this everything must change in 11 states of the

United States. They are all telling, “We are seeking something.”

I am not seeking anything. I found it. I am not seeking God or deeper experiences. He is

there in the Word in the written page.

And just in closing: Many young people will be attracted to this Emergent Church. They

will pack them out. The man we just quoted from, Tony Jones, you have seen his influence as to so many Emergent leaders among the youth. The Emergent Church targets the

young and is of particular attraction to young people. One of the reasons is that it uses an

anything goes approach in worship. You can have your bands. You can have your hip

hop, your reggae, whatever music you want. You can have it. You can bring your drums

and whatever you want into worship, whatever is appealing, whatever you want, whatever you are into. Bring it along.

And people will think, “This is great.”

But it is just like the world. You can bring anything into it. All forms of worship and

fleshiness come in. It would not amiss to say it is an almost anything goes approach. Any

form of music no matter how much it represents the debased culture around us seems to

be acceptable and even encouraged. So it will attract the young people who have no understanding of the gospel.

Another reason for why it attracts and will attract the young people is because it appeals

to their sinful nature. It has almost a no rules policy. If you are to go into an Emerging

Church you will find standard. Whatever is right for you is right. You will find one

standing, another sitting, another slouching because anything goes. Just fill out whatever

takes your fancy. We will have appeals, not appeals. There is no such thing as, “Let all

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things be done decently and in order.”However, this pandering and [?] to the young is

sinful.

The young of our church-and they are to be those who are shown authority and leadership-they are not to be those who are considered as to what they would like to see in

church or what pleases them or what will attract them or what will keep you here. Leadership shall be done by those who are mature adults in the faith. And this pattern of lead

14

ership is seen right throughout Scripture. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your

15

souls.”Considering those who would be leaders there is one that ruleth his household

well having his church or household in subjection.

See, man’s heart is rebellious and will be attracted to this fleshy, false gospel of the

Emergent Church. It is a denial of the clear truth oriented certain foundation of biblical

Christianity.

And I am going to close by summing up two quotes from the Emerging Church and then

we will hand back to our chairman. Sanctus One, an Emerging Church in Manchester

says, as stated on their blog site, “Churches in the West are increasingly experimenting

with more symbolic, reflective spiritualities [?] from Orthodox and Celtic traditions and

sing digital technologies and ambient music. How far can we engage with the Eastern

spiritualities of our Sikh, Hindu and Muslim neighbors whilst retaining our Christian integrity? What might an Emergent Church look like in a multi faith context?”

Our second quote, “Does a little dose of Buddhism thrown into a belief system somehow

kill off the Christian part?”

Real Christians would say a loud, “Yes.”

“My Buddhism doesn’t, except for the unfortunate inability to embrace Jesus,” as if that

is a side issue, “is a better Christian based on Jesus’ description of what a Christian does,

but almost every Christian I know…”

It could be well, he doesn’t know any Christians.

“If they are using Matthew 26 as a guide she would be a sheep and almost every Christian I personally know would be a goat.”

And I say in the Emerging Church they are all goats and may be warned and discerning

about Emerging Church?

13

See 1 Corinthians 14:40

14

Ephesians 6:1

15

Hebrews 13:17

                            drummer-2.jpg drummer-3.jpg drummer-1.jpg

Article from: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/drumming.php

What is it about percussion that appeals to worshipers in so many cultures? How does drumming together help Christians build community?

John Meulendyk, pastoral lay assistant at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, could plainly see the problems facing Ferndale, Michigan. Like many inner-ring suburbs of Detroit, Ferndale is losing people, jobs, and income. Meulendyk gathered five women at his church to pray and discern how to Djembe drum from West Africaaddress these changes.“We wanted to do a worship renewal project that would be ecumenical, something to unite the congregations in our community. We sat in prayer. We thought about this question: If we put aside all the theology, what unites us? “It’s our Heartbeat..

Human beings are created in the image of God. However, because of sin we have lost our connection with God and with each other. Through Christ’s redemption we receive the courage to explore our lost connections with one another. In the syncope of our beating hearts echoed through the African drum, Christ creates a way for us to confront our most daunting fears and prejudices of others. In terms of worship renewal, by following the rhythm of our beating hearts through the drum, God gives to us an embodied connection with others.

This new relationship creates worship – a space, whereby, we and others are renewed in sensing God’s own heart beat. We all have that in common. And 90 percent of cultures have a drum beat,” says Meulendyk, who has degrees in divinity, pastoral ministry, osteopathic medicine, public health administration, and dental surgery. So Zion invited local congregations to join them for a worship drumming project. Its results continue to resound in worship services and new relationships. 

Many cultures use percussion in worship. Thirty years ago, when Meulendyk was a missionary dentist in Guatemala, he noticed that using hand drums and marimbas helped missionaries spread the gospel and connect with Quiché Indians.

Young and old, black and white, richer and poorer, Baptist and Episcopal, people fell under the spell of recreating rhythms from a Catholic liturgy in Ghana. Not that it was easy to learn the multi-layered patterns of metal gankoqui bells, gourd rattles, djun djuns (double-sided drums), and djembes (single-headed, goblet-shaped drums). “The big struggle is to hold on to your rhythm when everyone else is doing a different one,” Meulendyk said.

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Let us reread some of these statements:

“If we put aside all the theology, what unites us? “It’s our Heartbeat..”‘

Through Christ’s redemption we receive the courage to explore our lost connections with one another”

“through the drum, God gives to us an embodied connection with others.”

Put theology aside? Lost connections with one another? Through the drum, God gives to us……?

“People fell under the spell…”

We have learned from studying eastern religion that the occult practices of meditation and mindless repetitions, cause an altered state of consciousness. This is the doorway to divination. The Bible forbids this. So, this is yet, another sickening practice that is being brought into the church under the guise of spirituality. Worshiping in an altered state will NOT connect you with the Lord Jesus Christ. It will bring you into harmony with the angel of light. Satan is the angel of light the deciever.

This is just one more form of apostasy, and it weighs down my heart to see these Christians so vulnerable to deceit. God will give us nothing through the drum….God is reached through prayer and reading of the Holy Bible.

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Secrets of the Kingdom of God and the End Times.

In the Parable of the Sower we learn about the four different soils which represent the condition of our heart, which in turn determines if there is a bounty, or famine from God’s word.

Using the four soils as an example, only one person out of four, will respond to the Gospel and produce fruit.  This is discouraging that only 1 of 4 people may respond when we share the gospel with them, but…we also find out that it isn’t up to us to change or convert anyone, but it is their response that convicts them. If we do our part, the rest is up to God and that person to respond. So…one out of four isn’t bad…is it? When we look at our world today, this is actually encouraging.

So, what secret of the kingdom of heaven, is Jesus trying to explain to the disciples in the case of the weeds.

Matthew 13:24   “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28. ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. ‘The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29. ‘No’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”‘ (NIV)

In Jesus’ day this very thing would occur.  An angry farmer would sow weeds in another mans field. There were strict laws made to prevent this from happening.

So what was a farmer to do when he discovered that there were weeds, (probably darnel which looks like wheat until it begins to mature)growing along side his wheat?

Here is how Jesus explains the parable.

37. He answered. “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38. The field is the world, the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39. and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (NIV)

While studying this passage I was amazed at how much we are told about the end-times. The field is the world, so this passage is not about different types of Christians, it is about unbelievers who are professing to be Christians that are among us. In what we consider to be the church, (the wheat), there will be counterfeit Christians, (the weeds). They will be among us and we will not be able to always discern the difference.  An example of this would be Judas among the other disciples. They had no idea of what was in the heart of Judas Iscariot. Think about how much time they had spent together. They traveled, slept, ate, and preached as a group. Yet…they had no clue.

Jesus said pulling up the weeds may also pull up the wheat, so to let them grow together. The time will come at the end of the world that God will separate the weeds from the wheat.  The judgment for the weeds cannot be misunderstood. They will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

What can this teach us? We cannot judge another persons heart, and we are not to. This will be the job of the angels at the end of the world. In the meantime we will have to abide among the unbelievers who profess to love and follow Christ.  So God’s kingdom has counterfeit Christians and real Christians. While we cannot judge another’s heart, we do have to be alert to the false teaching from those INSIDE the church.  Those who truly walk with the Lord have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit while those professing to know Christ, but do not, are counterfeit.

This is further expressed in the parables about the Mustard Seed and the Yeast.

These two parables are not explained by Jesus. I believe this is so because there is more than one interpretation for each. For the purpose of this study we will  focus on the counterfeit aspect of the kingdom. These verses are from the KJV.

The Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32. Which is indeed the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

I have heard a positive interpretation of this parable that says that the tree is the spreading of the gospel to all the nations, and that the church will become a powerful influence in the world (field). The Bible does say that the gospel will be heard by all before the end comes, and this will happen, but let’s look at another interpretation.

This tiny mustard seed naturally grows to the size of a garden herb plant. In this scenario the plant becomes a huge tree of unnatural proportion. This plant is inflated beyond its normal size. It is so large that birds lodge in the branches. A bird that “lodges” has taken this to be its home. This tree represents an inflated kingdom of heaven. What is it inflated with? All throughout the Bible we are warned of false teachings. Many of these false teachings are full of prosperity, inspiration and feel-good messages. One can see how the kingdom of heaven may be artificially expanded with unconverted Christians.

Could the mega-churches of today be part of this apostate kingdom of heaven with  birds nesting in its branches. The birds from the previous Parable of the Sower depicted the birds as evil. These birds came and devoured the Word of God. Now we have “birds of the air” residing in this kingdom. These birds also symbolize evil. Many of the sermons in the churches are lacking in truth of the Word. The Bible is no longer taught. The birds have come and devoured the seed, The Word.

What about those who are in the process of establishing the five-fold apostolic ministries of prophet and apostles? They are determined to build a kingdom here on earth so that Jesus can return to claim His church, the spotless bride. They say the billion soul revival is just around the corner. There is a problem with this, which will be addressed a bit later. Those deeply involved in Kingdom Now theology are creating an extensive  network that will connect to a world-wide spirituality which will ultimately invite the world ruler to step in. 

The Yeast (Leaven)

Matthew 13:33. Another parable spake he unto them: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Three measures of meal was a common offering in biblical times. In this instance we have a woman hiding yeast in the meal until the whole portion was leavened. The yeast was mixed throughout the flour. We know what happens to dough once yeast is added. It inflates and grows easily to double its original size. The yeast changes the entire texture of the dough. Now in those days yeast was added the same way one keeps a starter of sourdough bread on hand today.  It is kneaded in till it is completely infiltrated into the whole loaf.

So what does this mean?  Yeast is always spoken of in the Bible as an evil influence. Yeast was forbidden in ceremonies (Exodus12:15) and we are told “Take heed and beware of leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16: 6.

So Jesus is telling us about the inflation of the kingdom of God and of its unnatual, bloated,  puffed-up expansion.  The cause? Evil. We have the birds of the air in the tree and the yeast in the dough infiltrating the church before Christ returns.

This kingdom of Christians (the true church) will  have counterfeit Christians among us. The Bible predicts a falling away from the faith. II Thessalonians 2:3 says “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

So… this inflated kingdom He speaks of will not a righteous, holy, god-fearing kingdom. In fact, this kingdom  will be laced with sinful false teachings that will entice believers AWAY from the truth preparing the world for the son of perdition, the AntiChrist. II Timothy 4:3-4 “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 into fables.”

When Jesus Christ returns this will end the kingdom of heaven as He speaks of it in these parables. This kingdom of heaven on earth will be misinterpreted by those wanting to advance God’s cause for their own desires. These parables prophesy what God’s kingdom sadly will look like before His return. We have already been told the blind will not understand, but to the disciples the mystery is opened to them. As disciples today, we should see what is happening in our churches, see the mangled doctrine, because we have been forewarned over and over again in the New Testament.

Can you see how the three parables, The Sower, The Weeds and the Yeast, build upon each other? The first parable is explained, with us learning that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven will be understood by disciples but not the world. The world does not comprehend or care, that faith will depart from the earth…not multiply. The gospel will be spread to the ends of the earth but the takers will be few. The seed will not take root. The birds who eat the seed, Jesus explains as the “wicked one”.  Along with the wheat, weeds will grow in the field (world), and live side by side. The mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds, grows into a huge monstrous tree with birds (evil ones) nesting in it. The bread (the kingdom) is also expanded unnaturally by the  hidden yeast (evil). 

Satan himself is introducing false ideas, false gods, and false religion into all of society.  This is nothing new, but can’t you see the change in the church? At first little by little, lies are introduced and the congregations like the lies. But why is it that they cannot see the deception? THEY DON’T WANT TO. People don’t have time to read their Bible, or have time for prayer.

The kingdom of God on earth will be populated by mostly counterfeits by the time Jesus returns. My take on this is that the church will be  totally infiltrated and those who will not accept this new spirituality introduced by the birds, will have to go underground. Why do i believe this? It is happening today.

Now what about the billion soul revival? This is not biblical because of Luke 18:8.  “…when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” In fact, about the end-times, Jesus says in Matthew 24:9 “..and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”  What about Matthew 7: 14? “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  This verse was recently cited to a dominionist who said this was being “nit-picky”.  Today Bible believing Christians are being ridiculed and sneered at, being called uneducated and unenlightened. The derision is rampant.

Weeds & Yeast 

The secrets of the Parables are not secret to those who walk the narrow path, who have committed their life to the Lord, and who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Those who hold to the truths of the Word of God will not be deceived by the hypocrisy and false teachings of the weeds  and their rebellious words inflated by the yeast.

Please….examine yourself and the commitment you have or haven’t made to the Lord Jesus Christ. The future for the weeds is less than promising, indeed. The church, the true believers, are the kingdom of heaven today. The perfect kingdom we still wait for…after the physical return of Jesus Christ.

So take heart, brothers and sisters in Christ. Luke tell us in 21:28,  “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

“Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

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