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Ingrained in my mind is the image of people streaming forward to accept Jesus Christ as Savior on television in the 60’s. Many of us have seen the huge ministries with the inviting music, the call to come forward, the use of the sinner’s prayer. I do believe that many were saved, I also believe that many more were not.
Consider these excerpts from “Repentance and Soul-winning,” by David Cloud.
Years ago my wife and I had the job of following up on the Phoster Club soul winning visitation at church. The Phoster Club team regularly reported dozens of “salvations,” but when we visited these “saved” people to urge them to come to church and to try to disciple them, most of them wanted nothing to do with the things of God. That is a strange salvation. 
For a number of years, I preached in a county jail and it was common for those who came to the Bible studies to claim that they were saved. When we asked them why they thought they were saved, they often pointed to a time when they prayed a sinner’s prayer, walked the aisle of the church, or were baptized. When we ask them if their life changed after they prayed the sinner’s prayer, they usually acknowledged that it did not. They associated salvation with some sort of religious ritual. 
This is from Living Waters.
We are not doing sinners any favors when we minimize the seriousness of their sin. George Whitefield, a famous preacher once said, “First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God.” It is only when a person sees his sin as wicked and understands the seriousness of offending his Creator, that he can find a place of true repentance and surrender to the Savior.
Within the last 100 years, a new gospel has crept into our churches. It has been designed to not offend you. It has been carefully crafted not to be too “in your face.” It gently suggests that you open your heart to Jesus if your current lifestyle isn’t working for you, and try God “when the time is right for you.” This “seeker centered” and “no offense” approach is no gospel at all; it is “another gospel”. If we continue to define sin as “honest mistakes”, we will continue to fill our churches with “backsliders” and false converts who fail to repent because they don’t see the seriousness of their sin. We will give them a cruel false hope, and make them comfortable aboard the “Jesus loves you” pleasure cruiser, singing songs to the Captain, while they blindly speed toward the iceberg of Eternal Justice.
The watered down gospel that is being offered today does not save. If a person is asked if they want to go to heaven or hell, there is an obvious answer. Only a fool would want to spend eternity in hell and so everyone answers…”Why of course I want to go to heaven, so then, yes, I will accept Jesus.”
This is the option people need to be made to understand instead. “Do you want to make plans to structure a temporary heaven here on earth, or will your forsake worldly ways and instead consider your future in an eternal heavenly kingdom with God?”
The simple quick prayer accepting Jesus Christ as Savior is not always heartfelt with a lifetime commitment of taking up the cross daily. When people say they will follow Jesus, they need to realize that they will have to follow Him to the cross and die to self.
I personally can vouch for the effectiveness of realizing a sinful nature to cause repentance. I already knew and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a young girl. But I was not committed. My heart had not been circumcised. I had truth but was doing nothing with it. Was I really saved?
I picked up a book about the rapture and prophecy in 2002 on a garage sale shelf. When I was growing up in the church, (I left when I was 16), prophecy was not taught. When I read that little paperback book and realized that the prophecy experts were saying that Jesus could come back at any time, I was devastated in my sin and realized my wasted life. I spent hours on the floor naming my sin to God, and asked forgiveness, weeping for the wretched state I was in.
Reading this excerpt from “An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith,” by Dave Hunt cemented and explained my conversion.
Paul reminded the saints at Colossae that victory over sin and self was not possible through willpower and fleshy struggle. True victory could only come through understanding and believing what Christ’s death for their sins and resurrection for their justification really meant. Paul declared that this was the secret of his own complete transformation–and so it must be with them.
But how could Christ’s death and burial and resurrection be as real to them as it was to Paul–so real that their very lives would be totally transformed? Paul explained: They must believe that Christ was coming any moment to take them to heaven, where they would therefore appear with Him in glory. It was the hope of Christ’s immiment return that would make the difference between victory and defeat in the Christian life! 
Realizing that you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ, exposes sin and not being dead to self. Every person is different and maybe convicted by the Holy Spirit in various ways when hearing the Gospel, but one does need to repent and show regeneration. A changed life indicates a true conversion. A converted life desires obedience to God’s word on a permanent basis. One may then stumble but the saved person will get back up and persevere.
My life changed that day. From that day forward, I had a hunger for the Word of God. I wanted to read the Bible and I wanted to study it. I enrolled in Bible study classes. I began to exhibit fruit and hate the sin in my life. In fact, I asked God to show me my sin so that I could repent of it. If you ever want a fast answer to prayer….ask God to expose the darkness and sin in your life by His holiness.
God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. The new-age gospel only talks of God’s love and ignores sin and damnation for rejecting the true God of the Bible.
So where do you stand with God? Is your heart receptive to the gospel? Are you producing fruit? If so how much?
Matthew 13:23 “But the one who received the seed that fell on the good soil is the man who hears the word, and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty time what was sown.”
OR…will you hear these sad words found in Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.'”
Excerpt from a great article on Zimbio:
What must I do to be saved?
Since God has made the way to be saved, it would be good to see how according to his word.
The Jailer of Acts 16 asked “What must I do to be saved”? Paul told him to believe (Real faith requires action James 2:17-25, more than “I believe in one God, as the devils do as well, and are not saved”!) and he did. As we read that he was obedient to Jesus command of water baptism in his name (John 3:5, Luke 24:47, and Mark 16:16). 1Peter 3:21 says that were are saved by it, (Through our faith in action!) and it clears our conscience.
We are saved by grace, hope, and belief along with repentance. (Grace is defined as the relection of God in one’s life.)
Moses faced reflected God’s glory after speaking to the Almighty. And to repent is to fully follow God by forsaking your ways.) see Eph. 2:5, Rom 8:24, John 3:16, and Acts 2:38. His blood justifies us, Rom 5:9-10. Not by works of righteousness we’ve done, but by his mercy he saves us, by the washing and regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost-Tit 3:5. We must confess our belief in him prior to baptism and call upon it it in it, states Romans 10:9-13. And we must take heed to follow the doctrine (Or teachings therein.) of Christ continually, and in doing so we save ourselves and others-Tim 4:16
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Experiencing God – Part 2 – Anton Bosch
One of the many problems with the notion of “experiencing God” is that it is man-centered. In other words, God is there for our pleasure, so we can have goose-bumps and liver-shivers. This presupposes that the purpose for a relationship with God is that He may bless us by, amongst other things, giving us pleasurable feelings. So, according to this philosophy we know that we have been in God’s presence because we had a warm, fuzzy experience and some wonderful feelings. Most of these experiences are spoken of in extremely positive terms and are described as wonderful, uplifting, calming, exciting, thrilling or moving. Once-again these ideas are contrary to all teaching in the Bible. This is because we have built up a whole tradition of what it is to experience God, which has no touch with reality or God’s Word.
It may be helpful to examine the “experiences” of a few men who did “meet” with God as recorded in the Scriptures. The first man who met with God, apart from Adam who hid himself, was Moses. “And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6) At the end of his meeting with God, this well educated and eloquent man said: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Jacob met with God and was left a broken man (Gen 32:31).
Job had a conversation with God and his response to was: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes: (Job 42:5). Later Isaiah had a vision of God and he cried: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). The angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s parents and they said: “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). Daniel tells of his vision of God: “when I saw this great vision… no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8). Habakkuk heard God speak and said: “O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid… my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself” (Habakkuk 3:2,16).
In the New Testament the first man to “see” the glorified Lord was Saul who was struck to the ground and was blinded by the meeting (Acts 9:4,8). Three of the disciples heard God’s “voice” on the mount of transfiguration and “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid” (Matthew 17:6). John, who lay on the Lord’s bosom saw a vision of the ascended Lord said: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17).
There is not a single account in the whole of Scripture of anyone who had an encounter with God and spoke of the experience as being, cool, wonderful, uplifting, exciting or thrilling. Every one of them spoke of terror and the awesomeness of a living God. None were left with warm fuzzy feelings, goose bumps, chills or a wonderful peace. Every person who ever had a real meeting with the real God was left broken, humbled, quaking and with a deep sense of their sinfulness and unworthiness. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if your experience with God left you thrilled and excited that you experienced something other than God.
Here is another test. If the person comes away from the “experience” and they cannot stop speaking of how wonderful it was and what they felt and what they experienced, they have most certainly not met with God. Those who truly touched the hem of His garment do not come away speaking of the wonderful feelings and how exciting it was. If, and when, they do talk it will be about the goodness, kindness and grace of a glorious God who drew near to a pitiful sinner. Every man who met with God in the Bible was left with a deep awareness of God’s glory and holiness and of their own unworthiness.
As for those who boast, write books and grant interviews about their experience with God have most certainly not met with God. The closer we get to Him, the more broken and humbled it will leave us. It just cannot be any other way. How can a sinful, albeit redeemed man see, hear or be touched by the King of the Universe and be left with anything but self-loathing and adoration for such a gracious and merciful God?
Indeed any meeting with God has to leave us radically and permanently changed. Moses’ face shone, Paul was no longer the ambitious, self-righteous hater of the believers but became one whose very life was poured out as a sacrifice for the church he persecuted. Quiet frankly, I am sick of people who claim to have had some experience with God and who continue in their lying, deceitful, destructive and self-centered ways. Any true meeting with God has to result in real and fundamental changes. These changes are enduring and not a shallow veneer of holiness and piety. Neither are they the feeble results at self-reform. Every one of the men mentioned above was never the same after their encounters. Their speech, goals, lifestyle and attitudes were all dramatically changed – often in a way that was beyond human comprehension. Those who “experience God” during Sunday morning worship or a 5 minute stint at the altar, complete with a couple of tears and who emerge simply to continue with their gossip around the Sunday lunch table can indeed claim to have “been there, done that, bought the T shirt” but they cannot claim to have met with God.
These pseudo experiences are right from the pit of hell for one simple reason: They are a placebo that prevents millions of sincere souls from hungering and thirsting for the real thing.
Yes, God still touches frail humans. Yes, He still speaks and still reveals Himself, but the true revelation of God is infinitely more than a circus act, or a ride on an emotional roller-coaster, or a variety show. A confrontation with God is truly transformative.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Cor 3:18
Read Part one here:
Leaving Lakeland – A Firsthand Account
1 June, 2008 — Deborah
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Stephen Yulish Testimony
I was a Professor at the age of 28. I had the world by the tail, at least that I thought that I did. I published a book and numerous academic papers. I gave papers at National Conferences. I shared the stage with Stephen Jay Gould. I wrote a novel, “The Other World” which was a modern day fable of the demon goddess, Lilith. It bounced around New York for years. I even did a reading of it in a loft in Greenwich Village. I knew that Stephen Speilberg’s mother had been a member of Beth Joseph Congregation in Phoenix. I tracked her down to the Milky Way Deli in LA. I sent her a letter to please tell her son about my book-it would make a good screenplay for him. She refused. I sent it to Speilberg, anyway. To Amblin Entertainment c/o Paramount Pictures. They sent it back unopened.
This book was the most New Age, demonic book that you could imagine. I glorified evil and Satan. I blurred the distinctions between good and evil, reality and dream and even male and female. I quoted from the lost gospels found at Nag Hammadi. I even gave to my future wife Paula to read when we first met in 1987. This sweet Christian lady read a chapter and gave it back to me appalled!
Here I found myself working for a Christian telemarketing firm selling precious metals to Christian listeners of a radio program. Me, a Professor, a leader in the Phoenix Jewish community working for Christians. My life had been turned upside down by the trauma of loss of job in Jewish community, divorce, my children had moved to Charleston, SC, my father had died and my health had begun to falter. I went into Barrows Neurological Center in Phoenix and they found extensive brain lesions with an MRI and other tests (diagnosis-Multiple Sclerosis… prognosis—wheelchair?). All of this, and I was now working for Christians to boot.
The staff (Paula) prayed for me, my clients prayed for me. How nice. When my coworkers tried to preach to me I slammed them. After all, I had not only been a Director of the Jewish National Fund, but I was also a part of the Community Relations Council in the Jewish community which investigated missionaries. I had lectured at the University of Arizona on anti semitism and the Holocaust. Who did these people think that they were?
I acted like Shaul to them. I flogged them with my tongue, a frequent Jewish tactic. We fight with our tongues , not our fists. One fellow said that he was so frustrated with me that he felt like throwing me over the balcony. I replied, “Oh that’s Christian!” They waved the Bible in my face. “read Isaiah 53″ read Psalm 22”. I replied, “Read this!”, shaking my fist!
One day I went to Philip’s house for dinner while my new girlfriend, a Jewish New Ager, was at work. After dinner, we all stood in a circle holding hands. He had fed me dinner so I decided to humor him (actually his love was tugging at my heart). We prayed—at least they prayed. I closed my eyes and saw an image darting across the plane of my vision. I blinked. It came back. When we were finished, Philip asked me what I had seen. I said, “Nothing”. How did he know ? He must have opened his eyes and seen me grimacing. He said again, “What did you see, Jewboy?” Finally I answered that it was stupid, “forget it”.
Well Philip kept insisting. Finally I told them. I saw a man in a suit of armor waving his sword at a being in a monk’s robe with no face. Philip’s mouth fell open. He ran and got his Bible and showed me Ephesians 6:12f. I did not know what he was talking about. I did not know the Bible. Things like that began to happen as the Holy Spirit was showing me the word visually.
Not too much later, I was sitting at my desk at the office. We all had cubicles. I was trying to close a large deal when an image appeared in front of me. I looked around to see if anyone else saw it. Nobody! It was Jesus on the cross. His head was down. It was night, or the sky was dark, and there was lightning all over the sky. Quite a sight for a nice Jewish, New Age, College Professor, Pharisee-type person. I was dumfounded. I told no one.
The next day, I saw another vision. This time Jesus was on the cross, but it was daylight. He lifted up His head and light poured out of His eyes. He broke the fetters and got off of the Cross. He then proceeded to walk all over the earth with the light still pouring from His eyes. Remember that I did know the Bible at that time especially the New Testament, i.e. Jesus is the light of the world!
I had told Philip that I would not believe unless I saw the burning bush for myself. Scripture says that Jews seek signs. Well God was showing me! That night I had a dream that I had to die (be crucified) for all my friends to live. I anticipated the flogging on my back and the nails though my hands. It was a powerful experience which cannot truly be put into words. I knew instantly what Jesus had done for me. I awoke looking at my hands (Galatians 6:17).
The next day I said the sinners prayer and accepted Jesus into my life. My sister said that they had got me. Praise God. That was on October 3, 1988. Paula and I married on March 30, 1990. I had to leave the company in April of 1991. My health had been to hamper me. but do not pity me. God all along had a plan for my life. Do I miss my former accolades and achievements? No! As Paul said I count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).
I feel stronger and healthier than ever. I spend every day serving the Lord because He was there for me. He never failed me nor forsook me. He is my rock and my comforter and supplies me with all my needs. When I am weak physically as Paul said, then I am strong spiritually. His grace is sufficient for me.
And I am still not in the “Chair”! Praise His Holy Name forever and ever!
Stephen M. Yulish, born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1947, received his BA from Case Western Reserve University in 1969, his MA in 1972, and his PhD in 1975 from the University of Illinois. His first book, The Search for a Civic Religion, was published in 1980. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson and then became a Jewish Community Professional in Phoenix. Currently disabled with Multiple Sclerosis, the author is co-leader of Chayim Chadashim Messianic Fellowship and is on the Board of Reference for Jewish Voice Prophetic Magazine. He lives in Flagstaff, AZ, with his wife Paula and daughter Andrea.
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.
“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.” 
“…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…” 
“…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…” 
 page 47  page 17  page 19
The first time i heard of Rick Warren was when that kidnapped women supposedly saved her captor. Remember this:
New York Times
September 28, 2005
Celebrated Hostage Gave Crystal Meth to Captor
By EDWARD WYATT Ashley Smith, who was held hostage in her apartment in March by the man now charged with murder in the Atlanta courthouse shootings, was hailed as a hero after she disclosed how she had persuaded her captor to surrender, partly by reading to him from the spiritual best seller “The Purpose-Driven Life.”
But in a memoir released yesterday, Ms. Smith also recounts that she gave the kidnapper some of her supply of crystal methamphetamine during her captivity and that she did not tell the police for some time afterward.
Almost 2 years have passed since that incident. I do not know what has happened since to that women or her kidnapper but i sure know a lot more about Rick Warren.
When i first heard of “The Purpose-Driven Life” i assumed that it was probably a good book and full of inspiration for the Christian life. But here is what i discovered instead….
by David Cloud
Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, pastored by Rick Warren, is one of the most influential churches in the world. Warren says, “This is a world class church making a world class impact.” He is right about the impact, but sadly that impact is not encouraging strict faithfulness to God’s Word. Everything about Saddleback is shallow. Truth has been boiled down to such a low common denominator that not much is left. For example, the Saddleback Statement of Faith has six simple points.
Note the following statement on salvation, which we are quoting in full: “Salvation is a gift from God to mankind. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.”
Note that the gospel is not actually given in this statement. There is nothing about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, nothing about His shed blood and atonement. Sinners are exhorted to trust Christ but that is not explained in any sense whatsoever.God has commanded us not only to believe sound doctrine but also to earnestly contend for it (Jude 3).
That means we are to fight aggressively against that which is false. This is exactly what we see in the uncompromising ministry of the Lord’s apostles. Their epistles contain strong and clear warnings about false teaching. Paul often named the names of the false teachers. Such a ministry naturally causes divisions between those who are committed to the truth and those who are following error. Paul made no effort whatsoever to avoid doctrinal controversy.
Our day is described plainly in Bible prophecy: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Rick Warren claims that he has not compromised the Word of God with his principles and methods, that he has only modernized them; but when I look into the book of Acts and the Epistles I see a different kind of Christianity, a different kind of church there, than the one that Rick Warren has devised. Thus I must reject Warren’s Purpose Driven methods and I must warn those who have an ear to hear, regardless of how small that crowd may be, that they not heed the siren call of the contemporary church growth gurus. It is fearful that this church is influencing thousands around the world.
Have you heard of Warrens Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan? What possibly could be wrong with wanting peace on this earth. Well, plenty….the way Warren is planning to achieve this peace. Wait a minute..doesn’t the Bible predicts wars and rumors of war? Does Christ ever predict peace before his return? Nope. Here is what P.E.A.C.E. actually stands for:
P – promoting reconciliation
E – equip leaders
A – assist the poor
C – care for the sick
E – educate the next generation
Sounds great doesn’t it? But let’s take a look at Matthew 24:6-11 Here is what Jesus says about the signs of His return.
Mat 24:6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these things are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
I attended a kick-off celebration at a neighboring church who is signing on to the “40 days of Community”. The workbook i purchased from their table is subtitled, “Better Together…What on earth are we here for? A CHURCHWIDE SPIRITUAL GROWTH CAMPAIGN.” First we watched a video of Rick Warren. The ad in the New Age section* of my local paper said he was speaking at the church, but this didn’t happen. The pastor called the video a “Rick-Fix”. Here are some of the pastors quotes:
You cannot fulfill God’s purposes by yourself.
The 40 Days of Community takes us from, me and God, to we and God.
Do this as a cell group.
We are to impress others with our love of others.
We are to focus on our relationships together.
We have the longing for belonging.
The key in interdependence.
Okay, so here we have a program that is stressing the relationships that we have with one another instead of the relationship that we have with God. On our little worksheet that was handed out to us, we learned that the “Community” is God’s answer to lonliness, getting more work done, defeat, waiting, and witnessing.
Here is where i lost it….What is witnessing the pastor asked? “SPREADING THE LIFE MESSAGE” was the answer.
Life message? Hello….Excuse me? What about the Gospel? Is this what Rick Warrens main thrust is. THE LIFE MESSAGE. I am still not over this. Let’s thumb through the book.
pg. 30 ” This is your chance to choose your spiritual legacy, which will also transform your physical legacy.”
(I thought we were to do God’s will for us, that He had plan for our lives…does this mean i get to choose God’s will for me? My spiritual legacy? I have no desire for legacy. All the Glory is for God, not man…..)
pg. 44 “We is more powerful than me.”
pg. 57 “The bottom line is this: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Non-believers, like most of us, are looking for deep, true, supportive friendships.”
(Not me…i search only for Christ, He takes care of the rest)
pg 59 You’ve got to spend time with nonbelievers in order to becomes friends with them.”
( I thought we were not be friends with the world but to be separate)
There is some really good stuff in the book too. Inspirational but that’s about it…This is a book about good works. Good works…is…er…good!… but even a non-believer can do good works, so what is the difference here? This body of good-workers support and love and pray for each other….This is absolutely wonderful…but? Okay, time to move on.. let us take a look at the Missions Projects Booklet and see what this particular church has selected. Food drive, county park clean-up, Crisis Clinic, HIV/Aids Foundation, Hospice of *****County, God’s Kitchen and Closet…OK.. again all good stuff. BUT NO EVANGELIZING……There is NO training for evangelizing, no mention of evangelizing.
What is the Great Commission?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scanning this book “Better Together”, it is very easy to pick up on questionable statements. But the rule is this. I Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (KJV)
This is from the King James Version. “Better Together” uses the NIV, GW, CEV, NCV, NLT, LB, Msg, TEV,GNB, NASB, NKJV, NJB, and the ESV. It must be nice to have so many versions to select from. In fact, there are thirteen versions. Then you can select the version that best matches the point you want to make.
I applaud those who want to serve Christ and do His will, and encourage those who in His will are seeking the lost and spreading the Gospel. But many professing Christians do not even know what the gospel message is. The Gospel is this…Jesus died and rose again, and He took our sins upon Himself. We need to repent of our sin and turn AWAY from it. It is our faith that leads and sustains us as our santification grows in Christ.
What is Christ asking you to do for Him today? By having a relationship with the Lord, He will reveal what His specific plan is for you. He will lead you. He will guide you. Yes, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ, but His will be done…not our will that is created by another man’s agenda.
The Moses Code Movie Blasphemy and The Big Shift
Update: Since this article was published, the original movie trailer for the Moses Code was removed without explanation from both YouTube and the MosesCode.com website. They have replaced the original with a different one that does not contain the blasphemous, “I AM” statements referred to in this column. I look forward to their explanation as to why they felt they needed to remove it.
This article is from http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/3159/Ingrid_Schlueter
A movie will be unveiled on April 5 that should get a prize for honesty in blasphemy. Unlike the emerging church celebrity authors and speakers who shuck and jive when asked direct questions about God, salvation, and truth, The Moses Code is produced by those who will tell you right out what they believe. What they do believe is breathtaking in its Satanic audacity. In the original movie trailer, now removed mysteriously from YouTube and the MosesCode.com site, promoters of The Moses Code cheerfully announce that I AM is something all of us can say. Towards the end of the original clip, one young man looks up and into the camera and tells viewers, “I am the way, the truth, and the ‘light’.” The website says the following:
For the first time a major spiritual film release is being combined with a worldwide prayer vigil focused on shifting the planetary consciousness.
Join millions of people from every corner of the globe in learning the most powerful manifestation tool in the history of the world. Then on one momentous day we’ll use the code to promote peace and compassion for all beings through over 1000 gatherings worldwide.
This is the chance for humanity to use the Law of Attraction to create peace on the deepest level.
Coming on the heels of The Secret, the New Spirituality teachers featured in The Moses Code are in hopes that by teaching everyone about the power of declaring themselves God, they can help along the “Shift” in planetary consciousness that everyone is talking about today.
The Shift is the name of another movie under production featuring New Spirituality gurus like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, alongside leftist environmentalists like Al Gore and religious figures such as Archbishop Desmond TuTu. Their message is the same, as though it was taken from the same script.
“A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future…We are in the middle of the biggest social transformation in history, THE SHIFT.”
Working on the Evangelical end of things, emergent author Brian McLaren is also promoting a Big Shift, calling his nationwide tour, The Deep Shift Conference. A heretic who does not believe in hell and who rejects the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, McLaren is taking his Shift Experience to Willow Creek Community Church in April where he will be teaching youth workers and pastors from evangelical churches across the country about how they need to change their ministries to accommodate the Big Shift in thinking.
Emergent authors Phyllis Tickle and Tony Jones are also on board promoting a big spiritual shift. They prefer to call it the “Great Emergence”. Speaking at the Zondervan sponsored National Pastor’s Convention this week, Phyllis and Tony have titled their speech, not surprisingly, “The Great Emergence.”
What is emerging is another Jesus and another gospel. The Big Shift that all of the New Spirituality gurus are buzzing about marks the advent of the worldwide apostasy that is now upon us. Just as the Lord assigns roles to fulfill in His Church, the enemy assigns roles for his purposes. Over the two decades of researching the New Spirituality teachers and the inroads they have made into evangelical churches, it is evident to me that deception comes in many forms today on many different levels. Whether it is the spiritual bubble gum from Joel Osteen that serves to deceive the shallow masses or whether it’s the quasi-intellectual postmodern poison served up to college students by men like McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball and so many others, it’s all deception working towards the same end.
It is one thing to identify the counterfeit Christ of Marianne Williamson or the latest New Age author on the Oprah Winfrey Show (Eckhart Tolle is her latest protégé ), but what happens when authors published by the big “Christian” publishers are saying the same things? What happens when our celebrity emerging church leaders are using the same language, calling for the same things, and promoting the same false doctrines that redefine Christ and the Scriptures as the New Spirituality authors?
Compare these two quotes. One is from a popular emerging author and speaker who spoke at a conference with men like Andy Stanley and Rick Warren and regularly rubs shoulders with those in the new Evangelicalism. The other quote is from one of the world’s leading New Spirituality heretics. Can you tell which is which?
“The first of these five untheorized observations is that New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and ‘in-formation’ with other Christians. Deeper feeling and higher relating go together. The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a comm-union whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness. New Lights offer up themselves as the cosmions of a mind-of-Christ consciousness. As a cosmion incarnating the cells of a new body, New Lights will function as transitional vessels through which transforming energy can renew the divine image in the world, moving postmoderns from one state of embodiment to another.”
‘Third Jesus’ can be seen only when we move into a new human awareness that will carry us beyond tribe, prejudice and even beyond our religious systems. As a Christian, I welcome his insights into my Jesus and his provocative call to me to enter the ‘Christ Consciousness’ and thus to become more deeply and completely human.”.
The first quote is from emerging author Leonard Sweet who spoke at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, attended by thousands of evangelical leaders from across the nation. It’s from his book, Quantum Spirituality, in which he thanks New Agers Willis Harmon, Matthew Fox and Ken Wilbur, to name a few, for their influence on him.
The second quote is from John Shelby Spong, in a book endorsement for Deepak Chopra’s brand new book, The Third Jesus, which is a brazen introduction of the cosmic Christ of the Big Shift everyone is talking about.
Both authors are talking about the same Christ-consciousness. They are describing the same thing—one from inside of evangelicalism, one from outside. Both popular author Rob Bell and occultist/New Spirituality teacher, Barbara Marx Hubbard, speak of being co-creators with God. Bell tells us in his latest Nooma video, “Open”, that creation is unfinished and that God needs us to be fellow creators with Him to finish the job
.…we have to understand that Jesus took very seriously the creation poem Genesis, that the Bible begins with. And in this creation poem God creates, but God creates things that are capable of creating more, and so God creates trees but then gives trees the ability to create more. God creates animals and plants and fish but then empowers them to create more. And then God creates people, and gives them the ability to create more. So everything in creation is essentially unfinished, God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world…
Hubbard’s occult “Christ” in her channeled book, The Revelation, instructs us about our participation as co-creators of the world.
“Those of you who hear these words are to carry on the commandment given to John two thousand years ago. You are not only to prophesy the end, the tribulations, and the New Jerusalem, you are to act it out. You are to discover the blueprint and become co-creators with God. You are to see the first fruits of the NEW BEGINNING.”
Yes, there is a Big Shift underway. The two spheres that were once irreconcilably opposed to one another, (Evangelicalism and New Spirituality) are coming together. The overlap has begun. But millions of evangelical Christians in the pews are distracted. They haven’t researched these issues. They don’t know their Bibles. They accept without question whatever Zondervan or Thomas Nelson put out. They watch the DVD’s their church screens like Rob Bell’s Nooma videos and they don’t catch the language. It is slippery. It is subtle, but the enemy is getting bolder with each passing day. There is a lack of sobriety and vigilance, and now the enemy is walking boldly in the front doors of our churches and Christian colleges.
At bottom, the New Spirituality blasphemers like the producers of The Moses Code are more honest than the emergents when they state openly that they believe they are the way, the truth and the life. At its core, their message is the same as many within the emerging “conversation”. The Bible is not a product of “Divine fiat”, Rob Bell says, “it’s a human product.” (Christianity Today, 11/1/04) The end result? We become God in our own minds. We can make things up as we go. Where does it all end? Rob Bell ends up promoting doctrines of demons—that we are co-creators with God, or rejecting the existence of hell, or the atonement, like Brian McLaren. That’s where it all ends. When you abandon a high view of Holy Scripture, your rebellion will take you places you never dreamed you would go. At some point, God blinds those who willingly believe a lie. With the full counsel of God in our hands, we are without excuse if we choose to participate in the Big Shift. The Shift is here, but those who serve the risen, ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ will stay separate. They will reject the anti-Christ doctrine of “oneness” of the New Spirituality and they will stay faithful at all costs.
“We are discovering Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”
The Emerging Church -The Latest Heresy By Stephen Holland
Preached on: Sunday, February 10, 2008
Westhoughton Evangelical Church
King Street, Westhoughton
Lancashire, UK BL5 3AX
Online Sermons: http://www.sermonaudio.com/revholland
Now a few year ago I heard a talk given on the Emerging Church and after it went away
and thought, “I haven’t a clue what he was on about.” So I hope after this session that
you will not go away with the same opinion.
If you have not come to hear of it, the chances are you soon will. A search on the internet
search engine Google will bring up no less than 616,000 references to what has come to
be known as Emergent or Emerging Church.
A check to your local Christian bookstore and see you find such titles as A New Kind of
Christian or Vintage Christianity for New Generations or The Forgotten Ways or The
Lost Methods of Jesus or Adventures in Missing the Point, Liquid Church, A Generous
Orthodoxy: More ready than you realize, Finding Faith Post Christendom, Changing
Worlds, Changing Church, Emerging Church, Emerging Churches, emerging-
church.intro. Those were just found on one shelf in one Christian so called bookstore.
There could be added-and will be many more titles added-to the list in the coming
days. Some authors with in the Emerging Church are Brian McLaren, Ralph Bell, Dan
Kimball, Doug Paget, Leonard Sweet, Spencer Burke, Yurgin McMannis, Tommy Collolen, Jason Clock, [?], Richard Foster and Tony Jones. And we could add also to that
people like Tony Campolo and Steve Chalk.
A tour is apparently being planned in 11 states of the USA to run from February to May
of this year. That tour is called “Everything Must Change Tour.” The title, of course,
that gives almost the game away. We are told by the organizer, Brian McLaren that this
is a tour for people short on hope. This tour is named after McLaren’s latest book Everything Must Change. The subtitle of this book reads: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution
of Hope. This tour is for people of all thoughts, but seems especially aimed at those who
are fed up and disillusioned with-quote-traditional church. It is for people looking for
new ways of doing church. That is the in word today, doing church.
So what, may you ask, what’s all the fuss about?
Well, the very term “Emerging Church” suggests itself that they are emerging from
something. The very titles of the books just quoted suggest the same thing. Terms like
“lost message” or “new kind of Christian” or “forgotten ways” or “finding faith” or
“missing the point” or “post-Christendom” or “changing worlds, changing church.” All
this suggests some form of revolution is taking place or is about to take place and within
branches of the professed Christian Church.
So what, again, you may be asking. After all, the Church has changed, hasn’t it, from
one generation to next and from one century to another. And, of course, our world is
There is nothing wrong, of course, with change. None of us, I take it, came here today by
horseback like many of our forefathers would have done or are dressed like our Puritan
brethren of the 17century. We live in a very advanced age where change is happening
at an incredible pace.
Is the Church in danger of being left behind or even in danger of extinction all together
unless she adapts? These people would tell us, “Yes.”
Men can doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ is at a low point as far as man can see. We
are told that excluding deaths and transfers 1500 people are thought to be deserting
churches in Britain every week. The promised hopes of the decade of evangelism have
not materialized. In the early 1990s it was hoped that about 20,000 new churches would
be opened by the close of the century. Rather, a survey has revealed that only 1867 new
churches were opened in England while 2557 closed. We are told that the fall in church
attendance was expected to decline in Scotland from 17.1% in 1980 to 10.3% by 2005. In
Wales from 14.1% to just 6.4% while in England from 10.1% to 6.7%.
The attendance of young people in churches seems to be even more depressing. In 1979
1,000,416 under 15s attended church. In 1989 it was 1,177,000 and by 1998 it was down
to just 717,100. One has estimated that 94% of young people are not in church on a Sunday. [?] of course, in spite of all its boasts and claims has failed to stem the decline. The
situation seems bleak and desperate. The Church is being increasingly told that she is out
of date, out of touch and irrelevant to our post-modern generation.
What is the answer to our plight? Is this new phenomena, the Emerging Church, the savior of the supposed dying Church? Have we found the answer in this newest of movements? One author things to think so. Michael Moynagh in his book emerging-
church.intro he says this of his own book, “It argues that church of a different timbre is
key to Christianity’s revival, perhaps survival in the western world.” He does, though, go
on to say, “But Emerging Church is not a magic solution. Emerging Church is not a quick
pick me up for a sick body. It is a collection of new vessels for new…for all the ingredients that are essential to Church and up dimension in worship and in dimension in community, announced dimension in mission and an of dimension as individual churches see
themselves as part of the body of Christ.” End quote.
Well, how would we define the Emerging or Emergent Church? How would you define
the Church? Well, let me give you a quote from one of the leading spokesmen, Brian
McLaren, and see if you can figure it out for yourself.
On the front cover of his popular book A Generous Orthodoxy he says this. “Why I am
missional and evangelical and post Protestant and liberal conservative and mystical poetic and biblical and charismatic contemplative and fundamentalist, Calvinist and Anabaptist, Anglican and Methodist and Catholic and Green and incarnational and [?]…”
You are not surprised, “Yet hopeful and emergent and unfinished Christian.”
Well, you were beginning to thinking that here is a man who really isn’t quite too sure
what he is all about. He seems to be one who certainly hasn’t arrived at certainty. And
this really sums up the whole Emerging Church. It doesn’t quite know what it is itself or
where it is going.
Michael Moynagh says, again-quote-“Emerging Church is a mindset. We will come
to you, rather than a model. It is a direction rather than a destination. It rests on principles rather than a plan. It rises out of a culture rather than being imposed on a culture. It
is a mood scarcely yet a movement.”
The same author goes on to say-quote-“Emerging Church is more than a pragmatic
response to declining numbers. It is a theological vision, a wide eyed vision that escapes
a blinked past, challenges the status quo and calls for new forms of Christianity in which
individuals can encounter Christ authentically. Might these communities renew inherited
congregations and become the crucible of the Church in the Postmodern world?” End of
Though the Emerging Church has no leaders, official leaders or base, one widely recognized as a leading spokesman and author is Brian McLaren. He says, Brian McLaren
says, “Right now Emerging Church is a conversation, not a movement. We don’t have a
program. We don’t have a model. I think we must begin as a conversation then grow as a
friendship and see if a movement comes of it.”
Moynagh says, “The lack of a single term reflects how cutting edge it all is. Not even the
language has been defined.”
Leonard Sweet, one such Emergent pioneer, has used the acronym EPIC to describe what
Emergent is all about. E stands for experimental. You see, this is because the Postmodern man, we are told, wants to experience the spiritual. The P stands for participants because Postmodern man wants to enter into things and not just be an observer. So, you
see, we may as well do away with the sermon and have a conversation instead. The I relates to image because our Postmodern man, supposedly, in this generation is sight oriented so we might use things like images-artwork, film and video-in our presentation
and in our worship. C is for communal because Postmodern man wants essential community and belonging.
Well, these things are not necessarily wrong, of course, in and of themselves, but there is
more to it than seems to be. It is not just all innocence.
Rob Dell, who is another one of the leaders in this movement puts us in the picture when
he says, “This is not just the same old message with new methods. We are discovering
Christianity as an Eastern religion as a way of life.”
Well, having no official position as yet has caused one critic to comment, “The Emerging
Church is a rather slippery name for a rather slippery movement. By slippery I mean that
the movement is so new-originating in the late 1990s-so fragmented, so varied that
nailing it down is like nailing the proverbial Jello to the wall. There are no official leaders
or headquarters. Some have said that there are thousands of expressions yet only a few
churches have sold out to the concept. And even those claiming the name can’t agree on
what is going on. Although maybe they are not yet a force to be reckoned with, this
movement will no doubt grow, have its adherents, take its casualties and then give way to
the next heresy to attack the Church of Jesus Christ.”
We need to be very clear that what we are dealing with here in the movement Emergent
Church. We are not simply dealing with differences within evangelical theology or with
secondary issues upon which Christians must agree to disagree. We are not dealing with
what the apostle…we are dealing with what the apostle Paul would describe as “another
gospel.”It is another gospel which is not a gospel to begin with.
Here is another devilish attempt at muddying the waters of the pure gospel of Jesus
Christ. Well, should we be concerned? Should we be taking a few hours out on a Saturday to look at this new phenomena that is coming in to the Church and claming to be
Christian? Well, we should be as concerned as the apostle Paul was concerned in combating heresy that attacked the Church in his own day. We are called to “earnestly con
tend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”And Paul says that we are
“set for the defence of the gospel.”
So the answer is a definite yes. We should be concerned about this false, heretical Emerging Church that is coming upon the scenes and you will soon see to hear about it or get to
hear about it.
One pastor on the fringes of the movement, although it is not entirely Emergent in the
heretical sense of it, Mark Driscoll, who was one of the early young pastors who got involved in this and how it all started in the United States as a group of men gathering together to meet. None of them seemed to have much theological understanding at all, but
they seemed to get together and hold conferences. And out of this grew the Emerging
Church. But he says, “I have to distance myself from one of the many streams in the
Emerging Church because of theological differences. The Emerging Church is the latest
version of Liberalism. The only difference is that the old Liberalism accommodated modernity and the new Liberalism accommodates Postmodernity.”
This really brings us to the heart of the movement. The Emerging Church is a move to
make the gospel attractive and acceptable to Postmodern man. The big challenge, we are
told, is how to tap in to the heart and mind of our Postmodern generation. In order to do
this we must start, of course, they say, with 21st century man, start with where he is at.
See Galatians 1:6
See Jude 3
See Philippians 1:17
How do we do that we ask. Well, we must start with experimentation. After all, as one
Emergent leader tells us, “That is exactly what God did when he created the world.”
Moynagh says this. “Experiments are one of the defining features of Emerging Church.
What is evolution if it is not a history of experimentation? One species flourishes. Another doesn’t. A third mutates.”
Of course we tell him if he read Genesis he would know there is no such thing to begin
with so his movement would flop there.
But he goes on and it gets even worse. He then goes on to say that that is exactly what
God did, experimented when he created Adam. To quote him again, “Does Genesis
two,” he asks, “contain a picture of God in experimental mode? He places Adam in the
Garden and then decides that it is not good for man to be alone. ‘I will make a helper
suitable for him.’He forms all the animals and brings them to Adam to see what he
would call them. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. Has God’s experiment not
succeeded? So God tries again. He creates the woman. The experiment produced the
desired result. God seems to be learning.”
He quickly, of course, see the heresy cries coming and admits that seems to go against
one of the basic attributes of God. But he says that God seems to limit himself. He goes
on to say, “It is a part of God’s perfection that he can be surprised by creation. He has
created in us, for example, with not the songs that humans compose. Each new chart
buster can amaze and perhaps delight him. There is something [?] fitting about a wonderful surprise. Is God to be denied that emotion?”
Do you see where these people are coming from? No understanding of a theology of
One fellow Emergent leader, George Lings, takes great delight in what has been said.
And he adds this complement in the book, “I am glad Mike has been daring and picked
up on the open and creative relationship God has with his creatures to which the Bible
testifies,” to which I say-and this is me-it most certainly does not. And then he goes
on, “And which makes so much better sense of a world where things go wrong. I would
only add that God’s grand experiment or risk was to choose to create beings who have
genuine freedom to love him or not. All the rest flows from this audacious fact.” We are
also told, “Experimentation is part of human being. So it will be second nature for Christians to try and try again with church.”
So after 2000 years we have still not got it right and we must keep on trying and experimenting.
To say that the Emerging Church has a faulty theology of God is an understatement. Any
heresy usually has a defective view of God himself and the Emerging Church has gone
See Genesis 2:18
wrong on its attempts to spread the gospel because it has a wrong view of God and a
wrong view of the Bible.
Well, at the heart of the Emerging Church is the adopting of a Postmodern culture. We
are living in what has come to be termed as Postmodernism. You see, we pass through
the Premodern era, a period stretching from Medieval times up to the French Revolution
of 1789. That was the Premodern era. In such a period man had difficulty in believing
the supernatural. Spirits, demons, hell, heaven and an afterlife and even much superstition is said to have abounded in that period. You would not have had difficulty in persuading people that God or even gods existed. Such beliefs, however, began to be challenged and their sources of authority. This began the Modern era, said to have begun with
the Enlightenment period. Philosophers like Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) began to challenge and question the dogmas of the past age. The Enlightenment would bring in the
age of Modernity.
One writer, Michael Kruger, says, “With the rise of the Enlightenment there came a new
guardian of truth to replace the Church. Science. No longer would human beings stand
for the irrational musings and archaic dogmatism of religion. Science, with reason as the
foundation, was the new god. And all intellectual theories had to bow and pay homage in
order to be seriously considered. Science viewed Christians as being naively committed
to ancient myths, unable to see past their bias and to take an objective and neutral look at
the world. So Modernity proffers the idea that mankind, armed with rationalism and science, is able to access absolute truth and make unlimited progress toward a better life for
itself. Therefore at its core Modernity is a celebration of human autonomy.”
Well, such a period, of course, was a very exciting period in the history of mankind. It
was a period of discovery, a period of development and a period of growth. It appeared
to offer mankind hope for the future. However, the discoveries being made were not too
deliver. Not only has science and learning not provided man with the satisfaction desired
and prayed for, but it has neither provided him with an answer to life’s most perplexing
In the area of religion the Modernist theologians have destroyed any belief in a supernatural God who spoke through a divinely inspired and infallible Bible. These two
worldviews, then-Premodernism and Modernism-have failed miserably. Of course,
we would expect them to do so as neither can be said to be firmly rooted in the Word of
Well, we now come to our present worldview today. It is called Postmodern,
Postmodernism, a Postmodern generation. Well, it is a matter of debate among scholars
as to when this new period began, but many place it at the time of the collapse of the
Berlin wall in 1989. Some have put it somewhere in the 70s with the sexual revolution
and all the rest. But whichever we say, it is a new era that has come in, Postmodern.
With both Premodernism and Modernism failing to satisfy, man has become disillusioned. Answers to the meaning, purpose and direction of life have not been found. Man has been looking for truth and meaning. The Premodernist stores it in a revelation-albeit
the wrong one-the Church. Well, at least the Church of our day. The Modernist stores it
in science and reason. The Postmodernist now sees his worldview as one in which, for
example, that there is really no such thing as truth. So that is Postmodernism. There
really is no such thing as absolute truth. Absolute truth, he tells us, cannot be. Truth is
rather created and not found. So a culture, for example, may invent its own truth. And
yet another culture, its own version of truth even though they may be contrary to each
other. But there can be no universal truth that belongs to all and everyone. In other
words, there is no absolute truth and it must not even be sought.
Michael Kruger says, “Postmodernity, in contrast to Modernity, rejects any notion of objective truth and insists that the only absolute in the universe is that there are no absolutes. Tolerance is the supreme virtue and exclusivity, the supreme vice. Truth is not
grounded in reality or in any sort of authoritative text, but is simply constructed by the
mind of the individual or socially constructed.”
Another author says, “For the Postmodernist thinkers the very idea of truth is decayed
and disintegrated. It is no longer knowable. At the end of the day truth is simply what
we, as individuals and communities, make it to be and nothing more.”
If you think that is not yet affecting your worldview you are wrong. It is. We have so
many different paths in society, don’t we? So many religions. We are not allowed to say
that one has absolute truth, somebody else is wrong. No, no. You can’t say that. Everything is relative. If it is right for them, then it is right. If they are happy, if that is their
belief, then it is acceptable.
But for Postmodern thinking, “Well if it is…if to them, you know, it’s a flower, it’s a
flower. If to somebody else it’s a weed, it’s a weed. It is whatever you think it to be.”
And hasn’t that come in even in subtlety in things like, with so called, certain crimes,
homophobic crimes, so called, racist crimes, so called. If the person perceives it to be
such then it is. There is no real objective truth.
If such is now the culture and the world we are living in how are we to get the gospel
Well, first we must…first we are to remember that the world in which we live must never
be allowed to shape the gospel that we believe. The Emerging Church has embraced-
like its forefather the Modernist-the belief of its age. It, too, denies that there is such a
thing as truth.
Take the words of Brian McLaren, one of its main architects, “Ask me of Christianity.
My version of it, yours, the pope’s, whoever’s, it is orthodox meaning true. And here is
my honest answer. A little, but not yet. Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian’s understanding of the world and God, Christian’s opinion on soul, text and culture. I
have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong. And
even more spreads before us unseen and unimagined. But at least our eyes are open. To
be a Christian in a genuinely orthodox way is not to claim to have truth captured, stuffed
and mounted on the wall.”
This is a man who claims to give adherence to the Word of God.
Christians for over 2000 years have believed, rejoiced and often died for the absolute
truth they find in the teachings of Christ and his Word. Yet after all these years we are
now told that there really is no such claim on truth.
Interesting that, McLaren’s latest book is called The Secret Message of Jesus. He and those who follow him are constantly telling us that they are dissatisfied with doing church the traditional way. They are tired of evangelical right they tell us. They are seeking to break free from all that they belonged to the past. Could it be, I ask, that such people have never known the truth and have never known the real Jesus of the Bible? Could it be that they are so dissatisfied because they have never known the liberating power of the gospel of Jesus
Christ? I believe that is so. Christians have traditionally and robustly rejoiced in the certainties and steadfastness of the foundation of the gospel. We have read about it,
preached it with conviction and sung about it with rejoicing. It houses the Emergent
Church, Emerging so called Christians see such.
Rob and Christine Bell, his wife, in the beginning of being interviewed said this concerning the Bible, but they have discovered the Bible as a human product. “I do the thinking,”
she says, “that we figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means.” Now she says, “I
have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel life is big again like life used to be
black and white and now it is color.”
Brian McLaren sums it all up in the closing of his book A Generous Orthodoxy. “Consider for a minute what it would mean to get the glory of God finally and fully right in
your thinking or to get a fully formed opinion of God’s goodness or holiness. Then I
think you will feel the irony. All these years of pursuing orthodoxy ended up like this, in
front of all this glory, understanding nothing.”
So McLaren would like us to believe at the end of it all we really end up understanding
and knowing nothing. And yet the Christian can say with a certainty like Jeremiah nine
verse three, “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant
for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me,
saith the LORD.”
Unbelief and uncertainty like this is found nowhere in the teaching of Christ or the New
Testament epistles. In fact, the Christian message is not only solid, but simple, too. The
message of the Bible is neither lost, uncertain, complex or difficult. It is a message that is
clear, plain and easy to understand.
Oh, yes, there may be a few difficult passages in Daniel or Revelation to interpret, but the
overall message of the Bible is simple and plain. And for people like Christine Bell we
would say she ought to get on her knees, humble herself before the God of heaven and
submit to his authoritative, inspired, easy to understand revelation.
The message of the Bible is not complex. They seem to great delight in saying, “We can’t
understand anything. We don’t know truth. We don’t know what it is all about. And yet
life is big again.”
We say, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest
6 the light of the glorious gospel…”
How do we share the gospel, then, in their eyes with the unchurched? Well, one of the
key words in the Emerging Church is missional. That is the big word, missional. We
want to be a missional church.
What do we understand by missional? Well, the old meaning, of course, of doing missions, going to the lost, preaching the everlasting gospel of God’s saving grace and rescuing sinners from hell and seeing them get into heaven is not quite what they mean by
missional. A clue to what being a missional Christian is all about is found in the
McLaren’s work, his most well known, although he seems to be spewing out these books
and heresies one after another. But in [?] he says this. “But what about heaven and hell
you ask. Is everybody in? My reply. Why do you consider me qualified to make this
pronouncement? Isn’t this God’s business? Isn’t it clear that I do not believe this is the
right question for a missional Christian to ask?”
Let me break in and say there what caused men like William Carey and others to leave
everything behind was the eternal soul of the people that they were to go and preach to,
but that they were concerned about the eternal destiny of man’s never dying soul.
Not so being missional within the Emerging Church. McLaren goes on, “Can’t we talk
for a while about God’s will being done here on earth as it is heaven instead of jumping
to how to escape earth and get to heaven as quickly as possible? Can’t we talk for a
while about overthrowing and undermining every hellish stronghold in our lives and in
Doesn’t this sound very much like the old “damnable heresy” of the Modernist, Liberal
social gospel that emptied our churches and robbed the gospel of all its saving power?
He goes on to say, “Missional Christian faith asserts that Jesus did not come to make
some people saved and others condemned. Jesus did not come to help some people be
right while leaving everyone else to be wrong. Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion, Judaism having been exclusive based on genetics and Christianity being
exclusive based on belief which can be a tougher requirement than genetics.”
2 Corinthians 4:4
McLaren has no understanding of the New Testament gospel at all. He himself admits
so. He says, “We must continually be aware,” and this is him speaking, “that the old, old
story may not be the true, true story.” He goes on, in other words, “We must be open to
the perpetual possibility that our received understanding of the gospel may be faulty, imbalanced, poorly [?] or downright warped and twisted.”
Here we must retain the good, Protestant, evangelical and biblical instinct to allow Scripture to critique tradition including our dominant and most recent tradition and including
our tradition’s understanding of the gospel. In this sense, Christians in missional dialogue
must continually expect to rediscover the gospel.
Note how he is prepared to us-or we would say misuse-Scripture to critique what he
says is tradition. He wants us to rediscover the gospel he says. Yet he doesn’t even know
what the gospel is himself. This really is the gospel according to Brian McLaren. It is a
gospel full of uncertainty, mystery and we say falsehood. And he wants us to join him in
his journey of rediscovery?
The gospel of McLaren and the Emerging Church is not the saving gospel from sin and
hell, but another gospel of making a better world and a better you.
But he goes on to say, “From this understanding we place less emphasis on whose lineage, rights, doctrines, structures and terminology are right and move emphasis on whose
action, service, outreach, kindness and effectiveness are good in order to help our world
get back on the road to being truly and wholly good again the way God created it to be.
“We are here on a mission to join God,” he tells us, ” in bringing blessings to our needy
world. We hope to bring God’s blessing to you,” he says, “whoever you are and whatever you believe. And if you would like to join us in this mission and the faith that creates and nourishes, you are welcome.”
I say, “No thank you.”
Note his intention is to join God in bringing blessing to a needy world. He tells us it
really doesn’t matter what you believe. Why, of course, would you when none has arrived at truth anyhow or orthodoxy anyway because he has imbibed a Postmodern age?
His gospel is not to get you into the kingdom, but to bring the kingdom to you.
Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader, says, “Our faith also includes kingdom living.
Part of which is the responsibility to fight local and global and social justice on behalf of
the poor and needy. Our example is Jesus,” he tells us, “who spent his time among the
lepers, the poor and the needy.”
Are we saying that these thing are unimportant and unnecessary? Well, by no means.
Jesus did, in fact, heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry and perform other miracles. We are not saying doing good works is a bad thing. No, they follow the fruits of the gospel. Yet we must always remember that the forming of such miracles was first and
foremost to point to who he was and what he had come to do, of course, to testify that he
was the Savior of lost sinners.
Jesus, in fact, said virtually nothing about social injustice, nothing about the environment
or political tyranny or eradication of poverty or making the world a better place.
What is the true gospel itself? Whereas it has transformed the lives, that society has been
so changed for the better, this was never the priority of Christ, the apostles or the early
church. Christ did not come to bring a paradise to earth through his Church. He came to
rescue sinners from the wrath to come, to give spiritual life to the dead, to draw men back
to the Father, to be a propitiation for men’s sins, to shed his blood for the forgiveness of
those sins, to provide a mansion in heaven, to reconcile sinners to a holy God. He himself
has said that he had not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword.As the truth divides
and brings a different color…literal thought, of course where people fight each other. That
is not the gospel. Christians willingly lay down their lives for the gospel, but the sword is
the Word of God which cuts against truth and separates from truth and error. That can
never happen with McLaren’s gospel or the gospel of the Emerging Church because it
has imbibed a Postmodern culture that tells us there is no such thing as truth.
So he certainly can’t earnestly contend for the faith because he doesn’t know what that
faith is. This aspect of the social here and now gospel is seen in McLaren’s two questions that he asks which are these. What are the biggest problems destroying our world?
And what do the life and teaching of Jesus have to say about these global crises?
The Emerging Church is more world focused than heaven focused. The early Church
looked for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.The Emerging
Church is man centered. Its starting point is not with the truth as expressed in God’s
Word, but-imbibing a cultural philosophy of the day-truth cannot be established anyway.
The well being of man is the beginning. We hear things like, “We will come to you
rather than you come to us.” “We’ll do church on your terms rather than on ours or the
Rob Bell writes for the media in the States, but all this may be new to you, but it is big
news in the States and it will come over here. They consider him the next Billy Graham
although why I am not sure. He has neither gifts nor theology, well, as he had in his
younger day. Rob Bell says, “For Jesus the question wasn’t how do I get into heaven, but
how do I bring heaven here. The goal isn’t escaping this world, but making this world the
kind of place God can come to. And God is making us into the kind of people who can do
this task, this kind of work.”
See Matthew 10:34
See 2 Peter 3:13
One wonders which Bible are these people reading. He seems to be ignorant of the fact
that Scripture teaches, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned
up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved….”What does Peter say? Not
put on a global mask to solve the world’s dilemmas and problems, but in light of this Peter says, “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on
fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”There, and as we
have quoted earlier, “We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth right
I want to look-the time is moving on-to the mystical aspect of the Emerging Church.
Due to the fact that the Emerging Church is not truth based means it is susceptible to all
forms of error and falsehood as one might expect. As we are not moved by the truth of
God’s Word then we will seek experiences outside of that Word. And that is exactly
what we find in the Emergent movement. There is no real Jesus in the Emerging Church.
I believe it is not the Jesus we find in the Bible. Christ himself warned that, “Many will
come in my name.”And there appears to be as many Jesus’ in the world as there are
Jones’ in Wales. The big question is: Which Jesus do we have and which Jesus are we
Peter Rollins, an Emergent Leader in Northern Ireland-so it has come over into this
country already-Icon. They all have strange names. They don’t have, you know, Emergent Evangelical Church or Emergent Church. They have stupid, silly names. And here is
one Icon. And the very name will suggest where it is going.
Icon, “We as Icon,” they say, “are developing a theology which derives from the mystics,
a theology without theology to complement our religion without religion.”
You notice all this double talk. It doesn’t make sense. And you read their books. It
doesn’t make sense. Much of the Emergent Church thinking is not based on what the Bible teaches. And they do not derive their theology from the Bible, but rather, their theology-if it can be called that-from experience.
Dan Kimball, another Emergent leader says, “The old paradigm taught that if you have
the right teaching you will experience God. The new paradigms says that if you experience God you will have the right teaching.”
Another Emergent leader [?] in England, so it has arrived on our shores near to here,
Sanctus One, you know, so it is not, you know, the Baptist Tabernacle or somewhere.
They adopt one of their silly names. Sanctus One which is actually in Manchester says,
2 Peter 3:10-11
2 Peter 3:11-12
2 Peter 3:13
See Matthew 24:5, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8
“We believe that God is not defined by theology. Experience is vital and experience defines us.”
Now in our second talk I am going to jump to the next section because we will be all afternoon otherwise, but I want to jump on briefly and then we can close with some questions. You see, this searching for meaning and experience has not driven this movement
to the Word of God, but back into the world of Medieval Catholicism and Eastern mysticism.
Of course the Roman Catholic Church will endorse anything that furthers its own cause.
An official endorsement in 1965 by the Vatican reads this. “In Hinduism men seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and
recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism proposes a way of life by which man
can with confidence and trust attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help.” And then they go
on to say, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.”
The Second Vatican Counsel then or some time afterwards mentioned, “It longs to set
forth the way it understands the presence and function of the Roman Catholic,” in this
context, “Church in the world today. Therefore the world which the Counsel has in mind
is the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelopes it. This is
the reason why this sacred synod in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming
an element of the divine in him offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs.”
You are not surprised, then, at the Emerging Church going down the pathway not just to
Eastern mysticism, but to Romanism as well. In Soul Shaper: Exploring Spirituality and
Contemplative Practices in Youth Ministry Tony Jones advocates 16 ancient future, both,
spiritual tools or disciplines such as-quote-“the Jesus prayer, [?] diviner, silence and
solitude, stations of the cross, center in prayer, [?] and the labyrinth.”
Richard Bennett, a former Roman Catholic priest says this, “Assuming that the Roman
Catholic Evangelical split over the gospel is a thing of the past,” which we know it is not,
“Jones begins by defining his Postmodern approach to youth ministry by combing aspects
of what he sees as common spirituality and evangelicalism, Roman Catholicism and
Eastern Orthodox traditions along with Eastern religious practices gleaned from Buddhism and Hinduism.” Then it goes on, “Tony Jones’ involvement with youth ministry
and leaders of youth ministry is particularly dangerous. This is the cause of cases of obscure heretical practices from papal Rome when he then passes off on the unsuspecting as
if he has rediscovered a long hidden spiritual treasure for Postmodern Christianity. His
major goal is to make his very Roman Catholic view of the past come alive in the present,
something Bible believers should consider carefully especially regarding his very young
This man, by the way, Tony Jones, is a foul mouthed individual who uses foul language
of the worst kind even in describing the Bible. It is for this reason that you will find some
Emergent Churches lighting candles, crosses and other ritual things being performed, all
done in seeking a deeper experience of the divine. So they light their candles. They will
have their crosses They will have their music and their lights. Of course, they will all be
But what are they doing? They are seeking an encounter with the divine. They are seeking an encounter with the spiritual. For the true evangelical we say we are not seeking or
searching for the divine God out there whoever he may be. We have found him in Jesus
Christ, the Jesus alone in the pages of God’s Word.
We are never against experiences, but experiences come from the Word of God and are
based and tested by that very Word.
You will notice many of these people talk about seeking the divine and their masks that
they are having with McLaren and all this everything must change in 11 states of the
United States. They are all telling, “We are seeking something.”
I am not seeking anything. I found it. I am not seeking God or deeper experiences. He is
there in the Word in the written page.
And just in closing: Many young people will be attracted to this Emergent Church. They
will pack them out. The man we just quoted from, Tony Jones, you have seen his influence as to so many Emergent leaders among the youth. The Emergent Church targets the
young and is of particular attraction to young people. One of the reasons is that it uses an
anything goes approach in worship. You can have your bands. You can have your hip
hop, your reggae, whatever music you want. You can have it. You can bring your drums
and whatever you want into worship, whatever is appealing, whatever you want, whatever you are into. Bring it along.
And people will think, “This is great.”
But it is just like the world. You can bring anything into it. All forms of worship and
fleshiness come in. It would not amiss to say it is an almost anything goes approach. Any
form of music no matter how much it represents the debased culture around us seems to
be acceptable and even encouraged. So it will attract the young people who have no understanding of the gospel.
Another reason for why it attracts and will attract the young people is because it appeals
to their sinful nature. It has almost a no rules policy. If you are to go into an Emerging
Church you will find standard. Whatever is right for you is right. You will find one
standing, another sitting, another slouching because anything goes. Just fill out whatever
takes your fancy. We will have appeals, not appeals. There is no such thing as, “Let all
things be done decently and in order.”However, this pandering and [?] to the young is
The young of our church-and they are to be those who are shown authority and leadership-they are not to be those who are considered as to what they would like to see in
church or what pleases them or what will attract them or what will keep you here. Leadership shall be done by those who are mature adults in the faith. And this pattern of lead
ership is seen right throughout Scripture. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your
souls.”Considering those who would be leaders there is one that ruleth his household
well having his church or household in subjection.
See, man’s heart is rebellious and will be attracted to this fleshy, false gospel of the
Emergent Church. It is a denial of the clear truth oriented certain foundation of biblical
And I am going to close by summing up two quotes from the Emerging Church and then
we will hand back to our chairman. Sanctus One, an Emerging Church in Manchester
says, as stated on their blog site, “Churches in the West are increasingly experimenting
with more symbolic, reflective spiritualities [?] from Orthodox and Celtic traditions and
sing digital technologies and ambient music. How far can we engage with the Eastern
spiritualities of our Sikh, Hindu and Muslim neighbors whilst retaining our Christian integrity? What might an Emergent Church look like in a multi faith context?”
Our second quote, “Does a little dose of Buddhism thrown into a belief system somehow
kill off the Christian part?”
Real Christians would say a loud, “Yes.”
“My Buddhism doesn’t, except for the unfortunate inability to embrace Jesus,” as if that
is a side issue, “is a better Christian based on Jesus’ description of what a Christian does,
but almost every Christian I know…”
It could be well, he doesn’t know any Christians.
“If they are using Matthew 26 as a guide she would be a sheep and almost every Christian I personally know would be a goat.”
And I say in the Emerging Church they are all goats and may be warned and discerning
about Emerging Church?
See 1 Corinthians 14:40
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 address 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.
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.
This article is from Earthquake Resurrection
“I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of
our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve. In this
spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our
two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu
- All were invited to Holy Communion, after the Episcopal celebrant elevated a tray of consecrated Indian bread, and deacons raised wine-filled chalices.
- Christians and Hindus lined up for communion, but since Orthodox Hindus shun alcohol, they consumed only the bread. During the service, the two faiths also blended practices during the handling of an icon of Jesus.
- Kneeling before an icon of Jesus at the altar while the icon was anointed with sandalwood paste by the Episcopalians.
- A flowered garland was placed on it and a lamp was lighted, a sign of Christ, the light in the darkness.
- Both Hindu and Christian texts were read.
What must the Lord Jesus Christ be thinking as he sits at the right hand of God? What an incredible lack of discernment. It is unfathomable how anyone who has read the Word of God can behave in this way. Lord, have mercy on them that they overcome their deception and serve the true living God.
Okay next view this video also from ER- it is only about 1 minute.