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The Progressive Disease of Spiritual Deception in Our Time

 

GREGORY REID·FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017

 

There was a time when ideas like yoga or eastern meditation in the church were only associated with Christ Science churches, Universalist Churches, and a few spurious non-biblical fringe places. In a few scant decades, the walls have been so completely torn down that we not only see no harm in these things, we promote them. This is exactly what Theosophist (Luciferian) leader Alice Bailey predicted would be part of the new age infiltration into the church: ““The three main channels through which the preparation for the new age is going on might be regarded as the Church (emphasis mine) the Masonic Fraternity and the educational field.” (The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Page 511.)

 

So, in fact, this has been underway for some time. It probably began to get a real foothold in our present time with Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” theology, quickly adapted by Rev. Robert Schuller who was really the first modern “megachurch” and “Seeker Friendly” church pastor. Their ideas were once considered a bit of an aberration from mainstream Christian doctrine. But here we are decades later, and seeker friendly and power of positive thinking is normal and unchallenged. The crack into Bible-based evangelical churches had begun to open just a little…

 

Fast forward: In the last three decades we have opened our doors to things like the laughter movement, barking like dogs and oinking like pigs and calling it the “anoinking of the Spirit,” and worse. A number of leaders challenged these things, but its promoters did not repent of it.

A few years later, spiritual formation, “be still” meditation, breathing techniques, “Christian” yoga, “the sacred feminine,” labyrinths, circle making – all an extension of exotic religions, eastern mysticism, and Buddhist/Hindu tools to reach “the divine within” – all began to creep into church media, books, music and movies. Even Father Thomas Merton came to be revered by many evangelicals – a man who said at the end of his life that he wished to ““to become as good a Buddhist as I can,” as well as Henri Nouwen, who influenced millions of evangelicals but at the end of his life denied that Jesus was the only way to the Father.

 

The door opened a little wider…where were the watchmen? Where were the Shepherds? One at a time, I began to see even pastors welcome these things. And as these things crept in, the Word of God began to become an addendum to our lives, a devotional nicety but not central in our walk with Jesus, and no longer our final determination of truth.

 

Slowly, the poison seeped into our ranks…one book, one DVD, one movie at a time. Everyone ignored the subtle twisting of the Word of God in Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis,” hailing it as “groundbreaking.” And indeed, it was, but not in a good way. His next book, “The Sex God” raised a few eyebrows, but youth pastors everywhere still adored him and emulated him and bought glasses and cool clothes just to look just like him in an attempt to “relate to youth.” Millennial youth pastors began diluting the Word of God and preparing little mini-messages to justify their increasingly party-like youth group atmosphere which was strong on entertainment and weak on the Word of God.

 

 

Then Rob Bell wrote “Love Wins,” denying hell and proclaiming universalism – the idea that everyone gets saved. And now, he is speaking at conferences alongside New Age guru Deepak Chopra at conferences titled things like, “The Seduction of Spirit.” [1]

 

When he was exposed as being truly a non-evangelical false teacher, I heard nothing but crickets from all those who formerly sang his praises. But by then, everyone was off chasing the next big thing anyway, the next bestseller, the next circle-making, ear-tickling, scripture-diluting thing. We had begun forming a pattern of going after the latest “it,” or hot speaker, or bestselling book, and then when it turned out the thing or person was fraudulent, in error or full of deception, almost no one took responsibility for originally supporting or promoting them – least of all the Christian media and those who peddled their products – even when these false teachers were fully exposed. Very few took responsibility for an evangelist’s crazy, ungodly antics in Florida that hundreds of thousands of believers flocked to see, while behind the scenes he was conducting an affair that shredded his wife and kids. (For the record, I deeply believe in restoring fallen servants of the Lord.) They gave him a short time-out (“restoration process”) and bam! He was back on the circuit – new wife, new life. And few took responsibility for calling him – no, for laying hands on and anointing him – as the “world apostle” in front of an international audience.[2]

 

Very few called a well-known “prophet” to account for his 1998 prophecy that Obama would be a mighty man of God – a Christian – who would set everything right. They just said, “Oh well, nobody’s perfect” and kept supporting and following his ministry anyway.

Rarely do people say, “we were wrong.” Rarely do leaders say, “We were in error.” And because of that, unrepentant error in discernment has led to greater and greater error, because deception is a PROGRESSIVE DISEASE.

 

The more error we receive, the more the ability to discern goes numb and then dies in us. It applies to us as individuals. It applies to churches.

 

Nobody was alarmed that Roma Downey was still attending a new age college at the same time she was working on their television series “The Bible” or that she never renounced her new age beliefs, despite the fact that these concerns were brought to some of the highest levels of leadership in the church and corporate Christian world possible. They gave her a pass on those issues because, as I was told, the benefits of how it would reach people outweighed the theological problems. And nothing kept several bits of clear gnostic teaching from being inserted into their movies, including giving a prominent role to Mary Magdalene, whom new agers consider the “thirteenth apostle.” And to be honest, by the time these concerns were raised, even certain denominations had invested far too much money in promoting the movies to retract, recall product and repent at that point. In the end, I believe financial concerns were more important than truth.

 

By the time The Shack came around, we had already been prepped through years of “felt need” theology, experiential-based faith and cherry-picking scriptures we liked while ignoring the ones we didn’t.

 

 

As the internet grew, I began to understand the power of the appeal to our emotions. More than once, I had seen almost an entire five to ten-minute video on some issue and found myself in tears before I found out at the end that not only was it not a Christian video and did not have a Christian message, but it was produced by people and represented a view that was unbiblical, new age and worse. I got emotionally hooked before I learned the truth. Those without a biblical foundation of truth just get hooked.

 

People loved The Shack because it replaced the God of the Bible (which deep down they possibly didn’t feel comfortable with, because His ways are beyond our understanding and bad things happen, and it upsets our sunshine version of Christianity) and gave them a God who made them feel good, who took the God of the Bible and said, “That’s not really God, this is what God is like…” and gave them a diluted, false version of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and a dose of Sophia, Greek goddess of wisdom.

 

I was sure that anyone with even a modicum of discernment would throw the book in the trash. I had underestimated how wide the door of deception had opened. I lost friends who were pastors who were furious at me for questioning the book. One pastor railed at me, “I haven’t had a relationship with God for years, but now I have my ‘Papa’ back! You can’t take that from me!”

Nothing jarred me more than seeing grown men of God just abandoning clear truth because something tugged their heart, justifying the scriptural butchering by saying, “It’s just fiction, it’s not the Bible!” I confronted someone on this the other night. “What about the satanic Necronomicon. Can I read it? It’s just fiction. Can I read pornography? It’s just fiction.” They thought that a bit extreme. Of course it was. My point was, where what was their criteria, where was their own event horizon they were not willing to cross because it was just too obviously wrong? How much scripture bending or ignoring would they accept and justify as ok because it was “just fiction” before they had enough and said no more? The demonic genius of The Shack is how cleverly it has clothed itself in a loose and nebulous garment of scriptures – just enough to justify the complete butchering of the true nature of God and morphing Him into a Trinitarian hybrid god that represents whatever will make you feel better about your horrible tragedies and “great sadness.” The fact is, though, God will not appear as whatever we want. One person said, “God appeared as a fiery bush, but I know he’s not a bush!” But He appeared in the bush. He wasn’t a bush. God will not appear as Shiva, Buddha, or Sarayu, because He is “I AM WHAT I AM.”

 

We can say God is like a rock, but we cannot say God is like Baal. It’s not about imagery, it is about the nature and character of God. And The Shack gives a false representation of both of those.

 

Look, I get it. I’ve suffered innumerable losses my entire life, and every one of us at some point cries out, “WHY, GOD?” And in those moments, people either reject Him as uncaring, or He brings us into His Kingdom, and we learn to trust Him in the midst of, sometimes in spite of tragedies that seem to have no reason. And we may find ourselves once again crying out in pain, “WHY, GOD?” And His response is, “You don’t need to know all the answers. Trust Me, trust My Word. Trust in My love.” It’s called FAITH. But The Shack is a shortcut to feeling better, a panacea, a spiritual drug that allows you to embrace a conception of God that may temporarily take away the pain but leaves you with an open door to deception because it is not the God of the Word. IT IS NOT THE REAL JESUS.

 

Is The Shack the God portrayed in scripture? Is God a woman? Is Jesus a clumsy Jewish kid with a hook nose? Is the Holy Spirit a Japanese girl named after a Hindu river? Is the judge of our lives Sophia? Is everyone saved? Is Jesus just the best way to the Father, as the book suggests, or is He what the Bible says – the only way?

 

“But they’re just parables! Stories! It’s not the Bible!” some argue. So is it acceptable to distort the truth in the guise of fiction just to make a point? How is that ever acceptable? Someone said, “CS Lewis did The Chronicles of Narnia, they were spiritual allegories! It wasn’t scripture!” True, that; but unlike The Shack, when Lewis did touch on the nature of God or Jesus, he kept it fairly consistently in line with scripture and the biblical character and nature of God. The Shack has a radically different version of God: One who does not judge, one who can change, one who suggests Jesus is simply a better way to God, not the only way. But feeling trumped truth, and the book has become a multimillion bestseller. To simplify the responses I have heard, “Don’t confuse me with biblical facts. It made me feel good!”

 

It did not bother leaders and publishers that Young’s second book, Eve – a “reimagining” of the Adam and Eve story – was laced with kabbalistic themes and occultic, gnostic fairy tales. “It’s just a story.” The door opened wider….

 

You see, Satan keeps pushing the goalpost deeper and deeper into the center of the church, and every time he sees no resistance, he is emboldened and takes it to “the next level.”

Now, the movie is out. The arguments as to why it’s such an amazing life-changing story despite the clear unscriptural aspects that were brought up when the book came out are the same. The difference seems to be that those who support it are much angrier at those of us who pose the crucial questions. “You’re so judgmental! Who do you think you are? You must be looking for a book deal or something. You’ll never lead anyone to Christ, and I doubt if you ever did before.” I’ve had it all thrown at me the last few weeks as I tried to reason it out with folks on Facebook. And I realize that the level of deception had gone so deep that not only were people willing to embrace a lie and ignore the error, but worse – they saw themselves as fully biblical believers who were completely loyal to the Word of God, while at the same time promoting a story by a man who claims that everyone is “in Christ” already. And you cannot reason with that level of delusion. It seems to bother devoted Shack followers not at all that the author is a universalist.

Universalism, the “all paths lead to God” religion, is exactly what is needed to turn the Christian church into part of the one-world antichrist mystery religion that Alice Bailey wrote about and all Luciferian world leaders are counting on.

 

We did not accept Rob Bell’s universalism. But now we are willing to ignore William Paul Young’s. That is the malignancy of deception unchecked.

 

This movie comes at a time when the next level of eastern meditation techniques under the guise of “mindfulness” are being pushed into the educational system,[3] and now are coming into the church. (Mindfulness is a Buddhist technique of detachment, leading to realizing the “divine within,” which eventually leads to Nirvana – nonexistence. There are several new “Christian” books promoting meditation and mindfulness practices with devotional books and coloring books, and a new book on spiritual formation and meditation called The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age by Tricia McCary Rhodes which “reintroduces us to the classic disciplines of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.” In other words, it’s just more repackaged eastern religious teaching and techniques for the church which will further it on the road to the new age goal of “east meets west,” where we all become one under a false one world religion and we all recognize the “Christ spirit” or godhood in each other (Namaste – the divine in me bows to the divine in you.)

 

Add to that, a new book is being used in Christian youth groups called, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God by Ken Shigematsu, who “draws on both eastern and western perspectives in writing and speaking.” Those are buzzwords for introducing a mixing of eastern religion thought processes with Christianity and bringing it into the church.

 

All of this is producing Christian minds that are malleable, soft, undiscerning, half-drugged, feeling good, and completely open to the power of suggestion from…whoever, and whatever. That is what eastern meditation techniques do. You empty your mind and accept that whatever comes must be good and right and from God.

 

The church has become an entity seeking to have their ears tickled. Seeking to feel better about their painful lives. Seeking to be successful, happy and prosperous. What is it you seek? Step right up folks…we’ve got it all now.

 

Everything except the whole truth of the Word of God, the way of the cross, the power of the blood to save and heal and forgive, the altar of God where we come to be broken and changed, healed and set free. Everything which made the Gospel powerful has and is being systematically removed by the enemy of our souls – not because it is not powerful, but because we no longer wish to bow to its demands, its holiness or its truth.

 

We are seeing the fruit of nearly thirty years of dumbing-down and de-prioritizing the Word of God, giving it a mini-place in our lives while shiny things and baubles and the newest “move” catch our attention and send us off on a fruitless quest for the next experience. The seed of the Word of God has corporately fallen on stony ground, without depth, where it grows up quick, shrivels and dies.

 

I know I am very passionate about this, reluctant to even use the word passionate, so overused it is. I have a right to be. I grew up in the occult, a world of delusions, lies, and darkness. Even when I tried to turn to new age thought to dispel the darkness, turning to Hinduism, Buddhism, and becoming an avid follower of Paramahansa Yogananda in my little bedroom devouring his every word as “truth,” I ended up deceived, wrecked and in utter darkness, even though some of it temporarily numbed my pain and made me “feel good.”

 

I understand many of these Christians who are so emotionally bound to The Shack that they have thrown caution to the wind and ignored the dangerous reality that it in fact promotes unbiblical lies and is being promoted by someone who has rejected Biblical truth about hell and salvation. I was one of those Christians after I was saved. I was totally brainwashed. I was a universalist. Then came this “mean man,” this “judgmental Christian” Bible study leader named Dave Malkin, who dared to get out the Word of God and without holding back challenged me about my beliefs. This “judgmental, mean man” saved my spiritual life. (I thank God for Dave, may his memory be blessed!) I needed a hard word to break through the lies.

 

In all my dealings with everything from Rob Bell to The Shack, I understand that simple logic and reason isn’t working with people who are emotionally invested in the teachers or the stories. People need a wake-up call, and that may not feel good or seem loving. But I cannot apologize for my approach because I see that in the end, The Shack is not just a book or a movie but a game-changer that is extinguishing some of the last lights of discernment out of the hearts of thousands of believers. I know how they feel. I have been there. And I thank God that someone cared enough to hurt me with the truth. When a house is burning down and people are asleep inside, one cannot afford to meekly whisper, hoping the people hear. You have to shout at the top of your lungs, “Get out, quickly!” In dealing with these new delusions, it may be necessary to jar people awake.

 

Jesus said in Matthew 24 that all of this would happen. Paul said, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. (1 Tim. 4:1) The great falling away is at hand. But a remnant will remain faithful. I can only pray humbly not to be one who falls for the lies in a moment of vulnerability, or weakness, or pain or giving up, for we are all vulnerable. That is where I understand the motto of the French foreign legion that a friend shared with me. “If I falter, straighten me out. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.” Blunt, but as a spiritual warrior it resonates in my heart. None of us are exempt from having to diligently guard against the lies of this age, outside and inside the church.

 

I believe all these progressive deceptions over the last few decades have been just the build-up to the next great delusion, which could be the final one. God help us to turn away from the slow poisoning of the church through breath-prayers, eastern meditation, mindfulness, yoga, etc. God help us to surrender our soulish ways of perceiving God based on a book that was written by a wounded man, William Paul Young – unhealed from abuse and bitter church hurts – whom those seeking to make a profit have promoted regardless of his spiritual fragility and woundedness – who rejected the God of the Bible for a god who would somehow ease his pain – one that eases your pain as it kills your soul. The Shack is the spiritual Jack Kavorkian of our age.

 

Pray for William Paul Young, that God would pull him out of this most dangerous and deadly strange fire. Pray for the multitudes who are believing lies. And may God deal with those mercenaries and moneychangers who care more about what sells and profits them then about the care and protection of the flock of God.

 

Alice Bailey’s plans are about to come to full fruition. The greatest lie is just around the corner.

Stay strong, saints. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28) He is coming soon!

 

Gregory R Reid

 

[1] http://www.carlsbadlifestylepubs.com/…

 

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkr…

 

Source: The End Time

http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/

The church is rapidly accepting occult, channeled books as divinely inspired

Here is a definition of automatic writing, or spirit writing from the Free Dictionary,

Writing performed without conscious thought or deliberation, typically by means of spontaneous free association or as a medium for spirits or psychic forces.

Automatic writing is the process, or product, of writing material that does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer. It differs from inspired scripture in that in inspired scripture,

The process of inspiration was not a mechanical dictation where the apostles heard a voice and wrote down what they heard. Nor does it mean that they went into some sort of a trance and God wrote through them without their knowledge. Instead, the writers were free to write what they wanted as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In fact, the writings reflect the personality and style of the various writers. Yet, the personality and style of the writers did not degrade the quality or authority of the biblical writing.(source)

Automatic writing is Ouija Board with a pen. Some of the more remarkable things about automatic writing is that the people through which these written products emerge describe a very similar experience. No matter which millennia or decade they participate in their writings, they describe similar sensations, similar feelings, and the same process. Where I quote their descriptions of their own process, I put in bold type the similar phrases they use to describe it.

You would be surprised at how many people have produced written works of novel, poetry, plays and even music by this occult process. It is an old, old practice. I suppose because fascination with the “other side” by pagans is also a constant throughout time. It is a fascination for the Christian, too, but we are fortunate to have THE authoritative and perfect, inerrant, infallible bible. It is God’s revelation of Himself to us, and it in its entirety is profitable for reproof, correction, training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16).

For those without a relationship with God and an inability to understand the bible, they still long for eternity. So they seek it anyway, but unknowingly through satan.

Finish article HERE

BACK TO GENESIS: LAYING A FALSE FOUNDATION

Excerpts below taken from The Berean Call:

Source

http://www.thebereancall.org/content/back-genesis-laying-false-foundation

The biblical foundation laid by God in Genesis 6 has been shifted from man’s personal sin to a focus on invading gods and demonic DNA, and where Christ’s prophecy concerning “the days of Noah” is altered to fit the Nephilim scenario. Additionally, in the emerging Nephilim Eschatology the Genesis 3:15 account is also abused, and reinterpreted along the lines of “Serpent Seed” adherents to fit this false end-time message. Tom Horn, the biggest purveyor of the Nephilim Eschatology scenarios, has explained how Genesis 6 and Genesis 3:15 are mixed together to create the new hybrid Serpent Seed doctrine.

Daniel’s verse [Dan. 2:43] troubled [Chuck] Missler and [Mark] Eastman because it seemed to indicate that the same phenomenon that occurred in Genesis chapter 6–where non-human species or “non-seed” mingled with human seed and produced Nephilim–would happen again in the end times. When this verse from Daniel is coupled with Genesis 3:15, which says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed [zera, meaning “offspring,” “descendents,” or “children”] and her seed,” an incredible tenet emerges–that Satan has seed, and that it is at enmity with Christ.[4] [brackets in original]

The “Satanic seed” mentioned above is taught to be a literal, physical, and biological “Serpent Seed”–one that is genetically passed on to successive descendents by the devil and his supposed actual physical offspring. This is completely at odds with the context and actual teaching of the Genesis 3:15 passage and is a deviant view.

In subsequent writings, Tom Horn continues this theme by postulating that the coming Antichrist will be an actual biological descendent of Satan. This forms the basis of the newly emerging Nephilim Eschatology heresy:

“Given the abundant and universal prophecies that the ‘end times’ will witness what we have been calling a ‘reopening of the gates of heaven’ and the descending of a ‘savior,’ it’s important to note that from the Middle Ages forward, many church leaders have believed that the Antichrist would ultimately represent the return of the Nephilim–the union of a demon and a human….Phobos clarifies this for Joe in our novel, The Ahriman Gate [AG]: ‘Joe raised the special container with a heavy sigh. “So, if Apollyon is somehow embodied in Apol, we could actually be carrying the embryo of the Antichrist here?”‘

“That’s correct. According to the Bible, the Antichrist will be ‘the son of perdition,’ the male progeny of the Greek apoleia, or Apollyon. The implication couldn’t be clearer–the Man of Sin will be the physical offspring of the destroyer demon, a transgenic of the highest order.” [AG, pp. 326-327]….

The above excerpt appeared in an online advertisement for Tom Horn’s 2007 book, Nephilim Stargates: the Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers. It is important to observe the mechanics of this quote. Horn has included his fictional narrative, The Ahriman Gate as if it were a credible source, blending it into his revived “Serpent Seed” teaching.

This strange mixing of fiction and nonfiction is becoming a familiar trend in evangelical authors. It appears to be a highly effective and emotive method of promoting themes that are opposed to the Word of God. Fiction characteristically engages the reader by its imagery and fantasy that provoke feelings and emotions. Researcher Christine Pack picked up on this trend in her recent review of The Harbinger:

“Much like William P. Young’s troublesome book The Shack, The Harbinger also has a fictional character who is teaching things that are contrary to Scripture, but which the author wants to claim as truth. Of course, when pressed on the biblical problems with the teachings, both Young and [Jonathan] Cahn have resorted to saying, But it’s only a fictional character! The problem with this is that Young and Cahn both personally believe what they have written, and are seeking to teach a wide audience of readers what they believe to be true, while hiding behind the label ‘Fiction’.”[7]

[4] Tom Horn, “THEY — PART THREE,” posted June 30, 2011;

http://www.raidersnewsupdate.com/they3.htm/

See also Thomas Horn, God’s Ghostbusters, Chapter 6, “DO ALIEN/HUMAN HYBRIDS WALK AMONG US?”, Defender Publishing, Crane, MO 2011, pg. 148.

[5] Tom and Nita Horn, Anomalos Publishing, Excerpt from Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers, [clip] Beware the Coming Superman-Savior?

[6] Thomas R. Horn, Nephilim Stargates 2012: the Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers, Anomalos Publishers, Crane, MO, 2007, pp. 186-187.

[7] Christine Pack, The Sola Sisters website, “A Commentary on The Harbinger”;

http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2012/06/commentary-on-harbinger.html

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-serpent-seed-nephilim.html

[TBC: The “Serpent Seed” teaching was taught by Latter Rain preacher William Branham. Though killed in a car accident in 1965, Branham’s teachings live on in such groups as the Kansas City Fellowship, IHOP, and those promoting the “Joel’s Army” teaching.]

SOME BRIEF NOTES ON CONTENDING WITHOUT BEING CONTENTIOUS

by Holly Sprenger Garcia  

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

 We have contending and we can be contentious… Two different things. We contend for the faith, or we are accusatory and can be contentious. Let’s sharpen iron with GOD’S WORD, not our feelings, experiences, beliefs, our even our word… Let’s wait on our Master, and let our heart be right with Him. Search our hearts Lord. (Psalm 139:23-24)

■A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored. As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man. Prov 27:15-19

 ■MOLD ME MAKE ME LORD: Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. PR 31:25-26 

This goes BOTH ways, for not only the one contending for the faith, but for those Christians who oppose them, we need to remind ourselves of many passages. Frequently I see people come in to accuse those contending. They ask if you have prayed for them, they say, “they do not want to run out to lynch someone”, or “they don’t want to be condemning” (we should not condemn but speak the Word and hold up all to the light) or “judge not lest be judged”, “or have you used Matthew 18”, or cries of unity, or the funny one that I see frequently is, “You are so judgmental”… The irony escapes them.

■So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER,  AND NEED TO STOP DESPISING OTHER’S GIFTS,  ALONG WITH REALIZING THAT SOME DO NOT HAVE THE SAME UNDERSTANDING. SLOW TO SPEAK…

■FALSE UNITY: WHAT IS UNITY? It says, all these things are to equip us, edify the body, till we come to a unity of THE FAITH and of THE KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God….WHY? That we should no longer be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

SO, WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

Speak the truth in love, WHY?

■So that we may GROW UP in all things INTO HIM….

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:13-16

■“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

We have to watch out for how we reveal the truth, how we handle ourselves, and being careful of our speech. For those in the body who oppose those who are exposing a false teacher, and you disagree, you are only doing others harm by claiming they are “a brother” or “a sister” without ALSO having done your FULL proving.

■Attacking others for “TRASHING” a brother, or INSISTING they are a brother, is just as unhelpful as insisting someone is false or a wolf without laying out the case and discussing it.

■Never addressing or listening to the concerns of ecumenism, or associations, or lack of God’s Word in the forefront, etc. is not productive, and I cannot possibly see how it can be honoring to Him.

■Both sides of a discussion on false teaching should always maintain sound speech and a lack of characterization of the other side. We do not have the perception of Jesus to call someone a viper, so let’s proceed carefully.

Otherwise, I believe the Word shows we should stay silent from making absolute statements on both sides, UNLESS we have spent enough time to PROVE ALL THINGS – by His Word. If someone won’t hear you (not agree necessarily – (but hear you out) without getting angry, running off, accusing, or ignoring, then you may have to remember the patience we’re admonished to have with all men. We can be wrong, but another believer will generally hear us out, so that they can admonish us/reason with His Word with gentleness and patience. By the Way, Matthew 18 applies to a sin done to one person in private, then you keep it private, it has NOTHING to do with false doctrine. Nor should we rush out to apply it to someone we disagree with. We see things we may or may not like, but this doesn’t mean we should name names.

■But I believe we do have our marching orders in the verses below.

WE ARE ALL CALLED TO REVEAL THE TRUTH WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT.

So for those of you who feel discomfort when this happens, (you’re favorite teacher/pastor being mentioned), please understand how hard it is for the one who is speaking the truth. Certainly hold them accountable for how they do it, but don’t rush in to accuse them of a witch hunt, and/or pepper them with questions without having had the decency to do your own homework, with the info they already provided.

AND WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO WITHDRAW FROM THOSE WE SEE IN THIS PASSAGE BELOW:

■If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. I Tim 6:3-5

WE ARE TO KNOW AND BE IN THE MEAT OF HIS WORD SO WE CAN DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL:

We are to take heed to the doctrine for a reason:

■Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. I Tim 4:16

■For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb 5:13-14

DO NOT EVEN GREET THOSE WHO DO NOT BRING HIS DOCTRINE:

■Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11

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 O.K., This is where I’d like to address the people who hang out with the Rick Warren’s of this world, or call Mitt Romney a Christian, or quote Henri Nouwen, or Ken Blanchard, Dallas Willard, link to others pages or products for sale, etc. The Pastors who go to conventions with them or call them brother. The people on FB who put them on their page. I understand completely some will be unknowing, but once you know, you better not compromise the truth of God’s Word, it’s not yours to compromise. So, if you pass along their info, “receive them”, “greet them”, then what?

■YOU ARE SHARING IN THEIR EVIL DEEDS.

I’d also like to address those who defend them as just authors, or fiction (i.e. the Shack) or say they are not pastors, teachers, etc. Please note most of these verses say, WHOEVER, or ANYONE, etc. and does not differentiate that they should not be STOPPED, MARKED, AVOIDED, NAMED, except that there was greater condemnation for the Pharisees or stricter judgment for teachers. And by the way, if YOU are taking teaching, reading an author’s books, sharing them on FB, thereby recommending their speech, YOU are also sharing in their evil deeds. We need to try so hard to be careful, we can all make mistakes, but don’t turn around a snap if someone points it out to you, but be quick to listen, go take some quiet time in prayer and His Word to look for yourself.

■ALL ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO THESE PASSAGES BY GOD’S WORD. DON’T EXCUSE THOSE WHO ARE PROPAGATING FALSE DOCTRINE AS NOT BEING “DISCERNING”. WHAT DO WE SEE FROM THE SCRIPTURES I’VE SHARED SO FAR, AND ALSO BELOW AS OUR RESPONSIBILITY? (See if I have missed some)

1.Know His Word.

2.Use His Word, not yours.

3.Be in the MEAT of His Word.

4.Take Heed to His Word.

5.Correct with His Word.

6.Don’t associate with those who will not CONSENT with sound words, withdraw.

7.Get and use wisdom and kindness when you speak.

8.Be slow to speak, and quick to listen. Don’t be quick to wrath.

9.Not associate with those who don’t consent to sound words.

10.Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, Reveal the truth.

11.Find out what is acceptable to the Lord.

12.Expose those deeds.

13.Prove or test all things and Hold fast to that which is good.

14.Test the Spirits (Because there are MANY false Prophets)

15.Mark and avoid those who bring that divisive false doctrine.

16.Name Names.

1.Eph 5:10, 11, Heb 5:14, Rom 16:17-18, I John 4:1, I Thess 5:21

I’d also like to address the people who defend them as just being “undiscerning” or “deceived”. Go ahead and pray for them, but we cannot excuse as acceptable behavior.

These teachers/pastors/authors are not just being undiscerning (see Rom 1:31), they are being disobedient to God’s Word and we are NOT even to keep COMPANY with them. (2 Thess 3:14) They also are “sharing in their evil deeds” (2 John 1:9-11). Do we want to defend a “deceived” or “undiscerning” person, who is not in the meat of God’s Word, who do not obey His Word; who call themselves a Christian writer, apologist, speaker, teacher, pastor and then listen or share their writings or teachings?

■But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, DECEIVING and being DECEIVED. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. 2 Tim 3:13-14

WHY ARE WE ALL CALLED TO DO THIS? SO WE CAN CUT OFF THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY TO THEIR DEATHS….

■But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light*. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Cor 11:12-15

* Angel of light, we need to remind ourselves, ministers of righteousness is what they will look like.

ECUMENICAL?

SPIRITUAL FORMATION?

DABBLING IN “CHRISTIAN” YOGA?

GOING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

VISITING YOUR FRIEND’S MOSQUE?

TAKING PART IN REIKI HEALING, ETC.?

What does His Word instruct?

1) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Cor 6:14-16

2) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor 6:16-18

■RENOUNCE AND EXPOSE: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph 5:8-11

I AM GUILTY OF FORGETTING THIS, HELP ME LORD

■Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in ALL THINGS showing yourself to be a PATTERN OF GOOD WORKS; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, SOUND SPEECH that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:6-8

WHO WE DO AND DO NOT BREAK FELLOWSHIP WITH. HOW SHOULD WE ADMONISH THEM?

BELOW ARE BIBLICAL EXAMPLES AND PATTERNS FOR THOSE WHO ARE TEACHING OTHERWISE TO SOUND DOCTRINE, AND DOES NOT CONSENT TO WHOLESOME WORDS, OR DOES NOT OBEY THESE EPISTLES…

■WE WITHDRAW,

■WE DON’T KEEP COMPANY WITH THEM.

■WE MARK AND AVOID.

BUT LET’S BE VERY CAREFUL IT IS ABOUT SOUND DOCTRINE AND NOT NON-ESSENTIALS OR PRIDE, BUT DO KEEP IN MIND, IT IS GOD’S WORD THAT IS ESSENTIAL. Let’s also only offend in Christ and not in ourselves.

1.But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thess 3:13-15

2.If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. I Tim 6:3-5

3.But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 2 Thess 3:6

IS IT O.K. TO DISMISS BAD TEACHING OR KEEPING BAD COMPANY WITH THE COMMENT, “NOT EVERYONE IS DISCERNING?” WHAT DOES HIS WORD SAY BELOW?

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, UNDISCERNING, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are DESERVING OF DEATH, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Rom 1:28-32

Sounds pretty serious to me . . . and I have been there, there is not knowing, but we do need to test the spirits, and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.  ESPECIALLY if we are recommending or taking teaching from one who may be teaching great error.

  • But solid food belongs to those who are of full agethat is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  Heb 5:14 

WE DON’T JUDGE WHETHER SOMEONE IS OR IS NOT A BELIEVER

(We can surmise, but we should speak to the fruits of bad doctrine)

This passage also gives us good advice of judging what a man speaks.  Is he/she REALLY speaking the Word of God?

  • He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 
  • A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:30, 33-37

 

WE KNOW FALSE PROPHETS AND RAVENING WOLVES BY THEIR FRUIT’S….

RECENTLY I HEARD A WELL-KNOWN PREACHER, USING THE PASSAGE IN MATT 24, CHANGING IT TO SINGULAR, TO KNOW WHETHER SOMEONE WAS A BELIEVER OR NOT… BE CAREFUL… TAKE HEED….lest we fall… We can examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith, but we judge nothing before it’s time with a professing believer’s justification.  We certainly CAN and SHOULD judge unsound doctrine, associations (within the church) and behavior. (I Cor 5 & 6)

 

THIS PASSAGE SPEAKS TO FALSE PROPHETS (NOT NECESSARILY FRUIT INSPECTING OF OTHER BELIEVERS YOU SAW HAVING A BEER OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU MIGHT PERSONALLY LOOK DOWN ON) I am speaking to those who say definitively that people aren’t saved, I don’t believe we can be sure, and I know we can surmise they may in trouble based on lack of fruit of the Spirit or love for the brethren – but Jesus DID say Judge with a righteous judgment and not according to the appearance – the only place to find righteous judgment I know of, is from His Word, not mine): 

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  Matt 7:15-21
    • They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: Titus 1:16-2:1
    • But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Pet 2:1-3

(Not really even pointing to the obvious guys/women who are wearing Armani suits, or driving Bentley’s, or have 10,000 square foot mansions, or compounds, planes, or $23,000 gold toilet seats, but reminding us all that they are among us, and secretlybring in these destructive heresies.  And MANY will follow their deceptive ways, and most people don’t think they will be deceived, or led astray.  Who is it that is being misled if there are MANY DECEIVERS?)

■This comment was from me to a well-known ministry who was hooking up with Chuck Pierce of the NAR movement. “Please consider the fact that many will follow their destructive ways because you invited them to the occasion.”

But I’d like to admonish each and every one of us, we ARE to prove all things and hold FAST to that which is good. (I Thess 5:21), we ARE to be Bereans and SEARCH the scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11), we ARE to approach Him with humility and with a teachable attitude… (I Pet 5) May we all remember that.

I remember last year, someone from a Bible study had overheard me speaking of the  danger of  being involved with (yoga), she said, “Oh brother, I am too spiritually mature to be deceived”… I said no more, I was just saddened, I walked with her, and said if she ever wanted to know more, I’d freely share. But she has never asked, and to this day defends the practice. I pray the Lord protects her, and I pray she considers that MANY WILL FOLLOW THEIR DESTRUCTIVE WAYS…

And will it be because one of us haven’t done our proving? Or maybe we’d rather not have a disagreement or deal with the unpleasantness, but think of the alternative….MANY will follow their destructive ways…

EVERYONE… ALL BELIEVERS… ARE CALLED TO DO THIS:

■Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Rom 16:17-20

Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:104-105

IN THE END, WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHERE WE CAME FROM AND THE MANNER OF HOW TO RECOVER SOME FROM THE SNARE OF THE ENEMY. (And that should be our goal, not to be right, but to do right).

■Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-7

USE THE WORD TO JUDGE BY. THAT IS WHERE YOU WILL FIND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.

Copyright 2012 Holly Sprenger Garcia

(This note may be shared in its entirety by anyone who chooses to use it for the glory of God. It is not for mocking nor to take it apart to either prove their own view, or to dishonor the Lord. It is free, none my work to be sold by another. These are some of the reasons why this is copyrighted – for those who agree with the reasons, please do share!). Also, I am always open to pointing out where I am wrong (I will be wrong), but please just do it with His Word 🙂

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by David Cloud

Way of Life Literature

“The Shack” was in the Top Ten on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Trade Fiction for two years. As of January 2010, it had sold seven million copies. It is being translated into 30 languages and a motion picture is said to be in the works.

Though its author, William Paul Young, is not a member of a church and is even reticent to call himself a Christian, and though its doctrine of God is grossly heretical, the novel is being touted as a helpful Christian book.

“The Shack” has been endorsed by Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, CCM artist Michael W. Smith, Mark Batterson (senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.), Wayne Jacobson, author of “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” Gayle Erwin of Calvary Chapel, James Ryle of the Vineyard churches, and Greg Albrecht, editor of “Plain Truth” magazine. The premier issue of Rick Warren’s magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, refers to The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (p. 24). The Shack is recommended by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet, authors of The Jesus Manifesto. Viola said, “I will shamelessly throw my hat in the ring with those who are giving unqualified praise for The Shack” (http://frankviola.wordpress.com).

Eugene Peterson, Regent College professor and author of The Message, is profuse in his praise of the book: “When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of ‘The Shack.’ This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” did for his. It’s that good!”

William Young was one of the speakers at the February 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. The 1,500 attendees were pastors and Christian workers. Other speakers included Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. Young had his own break-out session and was interviewed in one of the general sessions by Andy Crouch, a senior editor of Christianity Today. It was said that 57% of the attendees had read “The Shack,” and Young was enthusiastically received. Crouch treated Young as a fellow believer and did not even hint that there might be a damnable theological problem with the way that God is depicted in the book. When Young said, “I don’t feel responsible for the fact that it [“The Shack”] is tampering with people’s paradigms” or how people think about God, the crowd responded with clapping, cheers, and laughter. The emerging church loves to tamper with traditional Bible doctrine and there is no fear of God for doing so!

Young was born in Alberta in 1955 but spent most of the first ten years of his life in Papua New Guinea with his missionary parents, who were ministering to a backwards tribal group called the Dani. He graduated from Warner Pacific College, which is affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), with a degree in religion.

In “The Shack,” Young presents traditional Bible-believing Christianity as hypocritical and hurtful. The book’s main character grew up under “rigorous rules,” and his father, who was an elder in the church, was “a closet drinker” and treated his family with cruelty when drunk (p. 7).

Hypocrisy is very injurious to the cause of Christ, but hypocrisy on the part of Christians does not disprove the Bible. Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! All too often this type of thing is used as an excuse by rebels. I know this by personal experience. In my youth I used the inconsistencies that I saw in Baptist churches to excuse my rejection of the church. The chief problem, though, was not the hypocrisy of others but my own rebellion and love for the world. When I repented of my wickedness at age 23 and turned to Christ and received the Bible as God’s holy Word, I stopped blaming others and took responsibility for myself before Almighty God.

Rules and obligations under God’s grace are not wrong. They are an integral part of Bible Christianity. We are saved by grace without works, but we are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). The New Testament epistles are filled with rules and obligations that believers are expected to keep and filled with warnings about disobedience. The true grace of God does not let us live as we please. It teaches us, rather, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). That is a very strict standard of Christian living.

There is hypocrisy in churches and there are false gospels that are law-based rather than grace-based and most churches today are corrupt, but the solution is not to reject the literal interpretation of Scripture and create a new God! God is amazingly compassionate and loving and He has proven that on the cross, but God is also holy and just and requires obedience and hates and punishes sin, and that side of God cannot be ignored without creating a false God.

The flesh wearies greatly of the holiness of God! I can testify to that. From time to time in my Christian life I have gotten discouraged at God. It is not a simple thing to reconcile God’s love and grace with His awful holiness and justice. On one hand, the New Testament tells us that the believer is forgiven, redeemed, justified, accepted in the beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, holy and without blame before God, and seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1-3). On the other hand, the same New Testament tells us that the believer must be exceedingly careful about how he lives before God. We are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), which is the highest conceivable standard. The believer who does not pursue this is in danger of being judged (e.g., 1 Cor. 3:13-17; 9:26-27; 11:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5, 16, 22-23; 3:15-16). There is even a sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30). Thus there must be many warnings in the Christian life (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).

These things seem to be contradictory to the fallen flesh and to the natural man, but they are two sides of the same compassionate, thrice holy God, and to reject either one is reject the true God for an idol.

In an interview with the 700 Club in February 2009 Young described a “huge personal failure” that occurred in his life at age 38. He says, “My life crashed and burned, and I had to go back and deal with some stuff from being a child on the mission field along with other stuff in my life.” He speaks of “secrets” that he kept from his childhood and guilt that he carried. He doesn’t describe any of this in detail, but it appears that he felt guilty for not obeying God’s Word and perhaps went through psychological therapy. He talks continually of “pain,” “damage,” healing childhood memories, and such.

REDEFINING GOD

“The Shack” is about redefining God. Young has said that the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.

In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”

Young therefore admits that the God of “The Shack” is different from the traditional God of Bible-believing Christianity. He says that the God who “watches from a distance and judges sin” is “a Christianized version of Zeus.” This reminds me of the modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament “a dirty bully” in his 1944 book “Preaching in a Revolutionary Age.”

“The Shack” explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible.

Young depicts the triune God as a young Asian woman named “Sarayu” * (supposedly the Holy Spirit), an oriental carpenter who loves to have a good time (supposedly Jesus), and an older black woman named “Elousia” (supposedly God the Father). God the Father is also depicted as a guy with a ponytail and a goatee. (* The name “Sarayu” is from the Hindu scriptures and represents a mythical river in India on the shores of which the Hindu god Rama was born.)

Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn’t like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as “myth.”

Note the following quotes from the god of “The Shack”:

“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do” (p. 89).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2.

“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it…” (p. 120).

Contrast Isaiah 13:11; Ephesians 5:5-6.

“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

Contrast 2 Peter 1:16.

“[Your heart] is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process” (p. 138).

Contrast Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23.

“To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. … True love never forces” (pp. 145, 190).

Contrast John 8:31-32; 14:15; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23; 3:3, 16-19.

“Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).

Contrast Revelation 21-22.

“My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. … You can’t build it. … I don’t create institutions–never have, never will” (pp. 178, 179).

Contrast Acts 2:41-42, 13-14.

“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. … I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).

Contrast Acts 4:12; 26:28.

“Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).

Contrast John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; 1 John 5:12, 19; Revelation 20:11-15.

“The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. … Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … That is why you won’t find the word responsibility in the Scriptures. … because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me” (pp. 197, 203, 206).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18. In Ephesians 4-6 alone there are at more than 80 specific obligations that believers are exhorted to keep.

“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223).

Contrast Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 3:1; 5:9; Jude 4; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

THE SHACK’S GOD IS EMERGENT AND NEW AGE

Not only is “The Shack’s” god suspiciously similar to the one described in the books of the more liberal branch of the emerging church (e.g., Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Brian McLaren), it also has a strong kinship to the New Age god promoted by John Lennon and Oprah Winfrey.

Lennon’s extremely popular song “IMAGINE” (1971) proclaims:

“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us, above us only sky … no religion too/ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

William Young imagines the same thing in “The Shack.” If there is a God, he is non-judgmental. There is no hell. God just wants people to do their own thing and be happy.

Oprah preaches the same gospel to millions. Man is not a sinner; God is not a judge; all is well with the universe; and I just need to surrender to the flow. Her message is the celebration of self. She grew up in a traditional Baptist church, but she has reinterpreted the Bible and moved beyond its restrictions. She says, “As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).

Many of the statements in The Shack are out and out New Age philosophy. As Gary Gilley observes:

“The very essence of God is challenged when Young, quoting from Unitarian-Universalist, Buckminster Fuller, declares God to be a verb not a noun (pp. 194, 204). In a related statement, Young has Jesus say of the Holy Spirit, ‘She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life’ (p. 110). Yet the Bible presents God as a person (noun) not an action (verb). When this truth is denied we are moving from the biblical understanding of a personal God to an Eastern understanding of God in everything. Thus, we are not surprised when Mack asks the Holy Spirit if he will see her again he is told, ‘Of course, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow’ (p. 198). This is not biblical teaching. This idea seems repeated in a line from a song Missy creates, ‘Come kiss me wind and take my breath till you and I are one’ (p. 233). At what point do we become one with creation? Again, this is an Eastern concept, not a biblical one.

“Young reinforces his Eastern leanings with a statement right out of New Age (New Spirituality) teachings: Papa tells Mack, ‘Just say it out loud. There is power in what my children declare”’(p. 227). Rhonda Byrne would echo this idea in her book, The Secret, but you will not find it in the Bible.

“Further, we are told Jesus ‘as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone’ (p. 100). So how did he do so? By trusting in the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Spirit says, ‘is just the first to do it to the uttermost–the first to absolutely trust my life within him…’ (p. 100). There is enough truth here to be confusing but not accurate. Jesus, never ceasing to be fully God, had all Divine power dwelling within Him. That He chose to limit His use of that power and rely on the Holy Spirit while on earth in no way diminishes His essence. While Jesus is our example He is not a guru blazing a trail in which in this life we too can be like God. This idea smacks of New Age teaching, not Scripture. Jesus even tells Mack that ‘God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things–ultimately emerging as the real’ (p. 112). This is pure New Age spirituality” (Gilley, “The Shack – A Book Review”).

DENYING THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE

Another foundational problem with “The Shack” is its denial of the Bible as the absolute and sole authority. Note the following quote:

“In seminary he [the book’s main figure, Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (pp. 65, 66).

To believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the sole authority for faith and practice is not to “put God in a box.” It is to honor God by receiving the Scripture for what it claims to be and what it has proven itself to be. If a father goes on a journey and leaves behind a written statement of his will for the family during his absence, the family that truly honors the father submits to that written record. To reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God is to launch out upon the stormy waters of subjective mysticism. It allows man to be his own authority and to live as he pleases, which is an objective of both the New Age movement and the emerging church.

CHANGED LIVES

The author of “The Shack” points to changed lives as evidence of the truth of the book and the grace of God in using it. At the National Pastor’s Conference, William Young told Andy Crouch that the book was setting people free from “addictive bondages and doctrinal bondages.” He said, “Even people who have been vocally against the book, people in their own family have been healed.”

Healed of what and healed in what way?

What is happening is that people who don’t like Bible Christianity, don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t want to feel guilty for their sin, and have rejected the “angry” God of Scripture, are responding enthusiastically to the man-made idol presented in “The Shack.” The following is typical of the postings at Young’s MySpace site by readers of the book:

“Your book, The Shack, is amazing! It has changed so many people’s idea of what God is really like! It has set some of my friends free!”

Miracles do not prove that something is of God. There is one that the Bible calls “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he can do miracles and answer prayers. I saw miracles and experienced answers to prayers when I was the member of a Hindu meditation society before I came to Christ. Miracles are not the proof of the truth; the Bible alone is the proof. The prophet Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

CONCLUSION

“The Shack” is another building stone of the end-times Tower of Babel.

God’s people must be exceedingly careful in these days of awful apostasy. The Bible warns:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

The willful sin described in this verse points back to the sin referred to in verse 29. It is the sin of counting the blood of salvation an unholy thing. It is the rejection of personal salvation through the blood of Christ, which many in the emerging church are doing. You can’t be saved if you reject the substitutionary atonement.

In these days we need to stay in the Bible every day and be in sweet communion with Christ, confessing our sins and walking in the light.

And we need to capture the heart of the next generation and educate them so they will not be taken captive by the wiles of the devil and the guile of false teachers.

Eugene Peterson and the Message

June 30, 2011

David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

Eugene Peterson (1932- ) was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served for 35 years as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. Today he is retired and lives in Montana.

The New Testament portion of The Message was published in 1993 and the complete Bible in 2002. It is called a “translational-paraphrase” and is said to “unfold like a gripping novel.”

In fact, it IS a novel!

It was translated by Peterson and reviewed by 21 “consultants” from the following schools: Denver Seminary (Robert Alden), Dallas Theological Seminary (Darrell Bock and Donald Glenn), Fuller Theological Seminary (Donald Hagner), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Trinity Episcopal School, North Park Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Richard Averbeck). Columbia Bible College, Criswell College (Lamar Cooper), Westminster Theological Seminary (Peter Enns), Bethel Seminary (Duane Garrett), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Paul R. House), Covenant Theological Seminary, Westmont College, Wesley Biblical Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute (John H. Walton), Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Gordon College (Marvin Wilson).

The Message is widely recommended by well-known Christian leaders. In keeping with his love for every corrupt Bible version to appear since the Revised Standard, Billy Graham printed his own edition of “The Message: New Testament.” Warren Wiersbe, who should know better, says, “The Message is the boldest and most provocative rendering of the New Testament I’ve ever read.” Jack Hayford says, “The Message is certainly destined to become a devotional classic — not to mention a powerful pastoral tool.” Rick Warren loves The Message and quotes it frequently, five times in the first chapter of The Purpose-Driven Life. J.I. Packer says, “In this crowded world of Bible versions Eugene Peterson’s blend of accurate scholarship and vivid idiom make this rendering both distinctive and distinguished. The Message catches the logical flow, personal energy, and imaginative overtones of the original very well indeed.” CCM artist Michael Card says, “Peterson’s translation transforms the eye into an ear, opening the door of the New Testament wider than perhaps it has ever been opened.” Leighton Ford says, “The Message will help many to transfer God’s eternal truths to their contemporary lives.” Joni Earckson Tada says, “WOW! What a treasure The Message is. I am going to carry it with me. This is a treasure that I will want to use wherever I am.” The Message is also recommended by Amy Grant, Benny Hinn, Bill Hybels, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Chuck Swindoll, Toby of DC Talk, Gary Smalley, Gordon Fee, Gordon MacDonald, Jerry Jenkins, John Maxwell, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Phil Driscoll, Rebecca St. James, Rod Parsley, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Bono of U2, Vernon Grounds, to name a few. (This information was gathered from the NAVPress web site.).

The Message sold 100,000 copies just in the first four months following its summer 1993 release.

Peterson told Christianity Today that a major turning point in his ministry was a lecture by Paul Tournier sponsored by the liberal Christian Century magazine and held at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (“Books & Culture Corner: The Contemplative Christian,” by Nathan Bierma, Christianity Today web site, Sept. 29, 2003). In his 1973 Masters Thesis “Paul Tournier’s Universalism,” Daniel Musick warned: “Paul Tournier was an unrestricted universalist. His writings, personal correspondence with him, and interviews with many who knew him support this conclusion. An analysis of his soteriology over 35 years of writing reveals a transition from reformed roots to an unbiblical, neo-orthodox perspective influenced by Emil Brunner and Karl Barth.”

Peterson has recommended The Shack. Though fictional, this book’s objective is the redefinition of God. It is about a man who becomes bitter at God after his daughter is murdered and has a life-changing experience in the very shack where the murder occurred; but the God he encounters is most definitely not the God of the Bible. Young’s depicts God the Father as a black woman who loves rock & roll, and well as a man with gray hair and a pony tail. Young’s male/female god/goddess is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, and puts no obligations on people. (For documentation see “The Shack’s Cool God” at the Way of Life web site, http://www.wayoflife.org.)

Peterson has also recommended Rob Bell’s universalistic book Love Wins. Bell says hell is in this life and most men will eventually be saved. He writes: “This insistence that God will be united and reconciled with all people is a theme the writers and prophets return to again and again. … The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found. This God simply doesn’t give up. Ever” (Love Wins, Kindle location 1259-1287). Bell calls the preaching of eternal hell “misguided and toxic,” a “cheap view of God,” and “lethal” (location 47-60, 2154-2180). He says there is something wrong with this God and calls Him “terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable” (location 1273-1287, 2098-2113).

That kind of talk apparently resonates deeply with Peterson. No wonder he loves the non-judgmental god/goddess of The Shack.

Peterson is a big promoter of Catholic contemplative mysticism. He is on the Board of Reference for the international ecumenical contemplative organization Renovare (pronounced Ren-o-var-ay, which is Latin, meaning “to make new spiritually”), founded by Richard Foster. At the October 1991 Renovare meeting in Pasadena, Foster praised Pope John Paul II and called for unity in the Body of Christ through the “five streams of Christianity: the contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice and evangelical” (CIB Bulletin, December 1991). Foster advocates the practices of Catholic mystics and “the integration of psychology and theology.” In his book entitled Prayer Foster draws material from Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, Bernard of Clairvaux, Madame Guyon, Teresa of Avila, even St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Renovare promotes guided imagery, visualization, centering prayer, astral projection, Zen meditation, and Jungian psychology (Calvary Contender, Feb. 15, 1998).

Along the same line, notice the heroes of the faith that Peterson quotes in the article “Spirit Quest” (which is a Native American Indian term for seeking intimacy with and revelation from pagan spirits): “Single-minded, persevering faithfulness confirms the authenticity of our spirituality. The ancestors we look to for encouragement in this business — Augustine of Hippo and Julian of Norwich, … Teresa of Avila — didn’t flit. They stayed” (Christianity Today, Nov. 8, 1993). Augustine, Julian, and Teresa had authentic spirituality? Not when tested by Scripture. Julian of Norwich said, “God showed me that sin need be no shame to man but can even be worthwhile” (quoted by Kenneth Leech, Soul Friend, p. 146). Julian also said, “God is really our Mother as he is our Father,” and called Christ “Mother Jesus.” Augustine was the father of a-millennialism; taught that the sacraments are the means of saving grace; was one of the fathers of infant baptism, claiming that baptism takes away the child’s sin; taught that Mary did not commit sin and promoted prayers to her; believed in purgatory and the veneration of relics; accepted the doctrine of celibacy for “priests”; and laid the foundation for the inquisition; to name a few of his heresies. Teresa of Avila was probably demon possessed; she levitated and made strange noises deep in her throat, experienced terrifying visions and voices, and held to Rome’s sacramental gospel that works are required for salvation.

Peterson was Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College, and it is obvious that he has been influenced deeply by the Catholic and pagan “spirituality” in which he has immersed himself for so many decades. I have spent many days studying in the Regent College library and the bookstore features many works by Catholic mystics, such as those already named, as well as by rank theological modernists. There is no warning whatsoever in regard to these books.

The mystical “spirituality” that is so popular in evangelical and charismatic circles today is a yearning for an experiential relationship with God that downplays the role of faith and Scripture and that exalts “transcendental” experiences that lift the individual from the earthly mundane into a higher “spiritual” plane. Biblical prayer is talking with God; mystical spirituality prayer is meditation and “centering” and other such things. Biblical Christianity is a patient walk of faith; mystical spirituality is more a flight of fancy. Biblical study is analyzing and meditating upon the literal truth of the Scripture; mystical spirituality focuses on a “deeper meaning”; it is more allegorical and “transcendental” than literal.

Peterson defines spirituality as “a fusion of intimacy and transcendence” (“Spirit Quest,” Christianity Today, Nov. 8, 1993). This confuses the sensual intimacy of earthly relationships with the spiritual intimacy the believer has in this life with God.

It is not surprising that Peterson’s translation has a New Agey flavor to it. He even uses the term “as above, so below,” which is a New Age expression for the unity of God and man, Heaven and earth. In the book As Above, So Below, Ronald Miller and the editors of the New Age Journal say: “This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked” (quoted from Warren Smith, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Ravenna, Ohio: Conscience Press, 2004).

In light of this, consider the following quotations from Peterson’s The Message:

Matthew 6:9-13 — “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best — AS ABOVE, SO BELOW. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge!”

Colossians 1:16 — “For everything, absolutely everything, ABOVE AND BELOW, visible and invisible … everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”

THE MESSAGE IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL BIBLE

In Romans 15:13, The Message says, “May the God of green hope fill you up with joy…” and in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, it says that those who “use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t quality as citizens in God’s kingdom.”

THE MESSAGE IS THE PRO-HOMOSEXUAL BIBLE

The Message tampers with God’s Word about homosexuality. Consider the following two examples:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

KJV – “ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

THE MESSAGE – “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.”

1 Timothy 1:10

KJV – “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”

THE MESSAGE – “for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever!”

One brother rightly observed that “The Message is simply a forerunner to what will be a ‘christless,’ sinless Bible.”

CONSIDER SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF THE AMAZING LIBERTIES THAT EUGENE PETERSON TAKES WITH THE WORDS OF GOD

Matthew 5:3

KJV – “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

THE MESSAGE – “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Comment: Being poor in spirit is to be at the end of your rope? Then vast numbers of unsaved people are candidates for heaven on this basis.

Matthew 5:8

KJV – “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

THE MESSAGE – “You’re blessed when you get your inside world, your mind and heart, put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”

Comment: This must be transcendental, because it doesn’t make any non-transcendental sense.

Matthew 5:14

KJV – “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

THE MESSAGE – “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”

Comment: “God-colors”? I didn’t even learn about God-colors when I was a member of Parmahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship Society before I was saved!

Matthew 5:43

KJV – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

THE MESSAGE – “Jesus said, You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’”

Comment: The Lord Jesus was not quoting the Mosaic Law; He was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees who had perverted the Law. The Law of God did not command, “Hate your enemy.”

Matthew 9:34

KJV – “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”

THE MESSAGE – “The Pharisees were left sputtering, ‘Hocus Pocus. It’s nothing but Hocus Pocus.’”

Comment: This is clearly a “translational-paraphrase.”

Matt. 11:28-30

KJV – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

THE MESSAGE – “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.”

Comment: The Message sounds like an iron tonic television commercial here!

Matthew 28:19

KJV – “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

THE MESSAGE – Matt. 28:19 — “…baptism in the three-fold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Comment: The Message gives an Anti-Trinitarian, Jesus-only spin to this verse, which teaching claims that God is not three Persons in one Godhead but that He simply manifests Himself in three ways.

John 1:18

KJV – “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

THE MESSAGE – “No one has ever seen God, not so much of a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.”

Comment: To translate “the only begotten Son” as “this one-of-a-kind God-expression” is not only heretical; it is absurd.

John 3:5

KJV – “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

THE MESSAGE – “Jesus said, You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation–the ‘wind hovering over the water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life–it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.”

Comment: Peterson’s “translation” gives the baptismal regenerationists the best support they have ever had. The Roman Catholics who write to debate me would love this version.

John 10:30

KJV – “I and my Father are one.”

THE MESSAGE – “I and the Father are one heart and mind.”

Comment: To add to the words of Christ in this strange manner, it truly appears that Peterson has no fear of God.

Acts 8:20

KJV – “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee…”

THE MESSAGE – “Peter said, ‘To hell with your money!’”

Comment: Since Peter cussed some the night he denied his Lord, I suppose Peterson believes he was still cussing in the book of Acts.

Romans 8:11

KJV – “…he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

THE MESSAGE – “…he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself.”

Comment: Peterson spiritualizes Christ’s resurrection here.

Romans 8:35

KJV – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

THE MESSAGE – “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.”

Comment: Revelation 22:18-19 should cause Peterson (and everyone who approved The Message) to lose a lot of sleep.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

KJV – “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

THE MESSAGE – “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears, and the sun shines bright! … Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

Comment: It is the “translator” who is squinting in a fog!

Philippians 2:12

KJV – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

THE MESSAGE – “Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.”

Comment: This is another New Agey, heretical spin to the Scriptures.

Colossians 2:10

KJV – “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”

THE MESSAGE – “You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him…”

Comment: What? And this mess was reviewed by 21 scholars and approved by the likes of J.I. Packer?

1 Peter 3:1

KJV – “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”

THE MESSAGE – “The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs…”

Comment: Peterson has done away with wifely subjection. Do we have the “feminist version” here?

CHRISTIANITY TODAY EDITOR SAYS IT IS O.K. FOR EVANGELICALS TO DABBLE IN HERESIES (Friday Church News Notes, May 13 2011,)

By David Cloud

Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today, says that evangelicals should be allowed to dabble in heresies. He said this in the context of Rob Bell’s heresy-packed book Love Wins. Though Bell denies the infallible inspiration of Scripture, Christ’s substitutionary atonement, the necessity of being born again through personal faith in Christ, eternal hell fire, and other cardinal doctrines, Galli claims that he is “a brother in Christ” and that we should be patient with his errors.

According to Galli, we should treat Paul Young and The Shack with the same “charity.” He says, “We recognize that an author trying to repeat the old, old story in fresh ways will sometimes overstep the bounds of traditional theology” (“Rob Bell Is Not a Litmus Test,” ChristinaityToday.com, May 5, 2011). This is a recipe for spiritual shipwreck.

The Bible warns God’s people to mark and avoid those who teach doctrine contrary to the apostolic faith, because false teachers are able to deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17). Heretics are to be rejected after the first and second admonition (Titus 3:10-11).

Doctrines of devils are not to be entertained; they are to be refused (1 Timothy 4:1-7).

Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham in 1956 and has been a major voice for New Evangelicalism ever since. Conservative in its early days, it has grown progressively liberal over the decades. This is a loud warning to fundamental Baptists who are flirting with New Evangelical principles and who find “separatism” distasteful. Galli says, “The fact that so many resonate with Bell’s concerns about these themes means we need to wrestle with them afresh.”

No, the fact that so many resonate with Bell’s heresies is evidence of the wholesale compromise of evangelicalism and is a loud warning that we should touch not the unclean thing lest we, too, be polluted. Separation is a fundamental biblical practice.

 “Zeal will make a man hate everything which God hates, and long to sweep it from the face of the earth” (J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900).

AMERICANS FEEL CONNECTED TO JESUS  A new Barna study finds that most “Americans feel connected to Jesus.” Nearly seven in ten of those surveyed claim to have “a personal relationship” with Jesus that influences their lives (“Americans Feel Connected,” Barna.org, April 2010). These believe that Jesus communicates with them, and nearly 60% think that Jesus feels their pain and suffering. While it may sound encouraging that a majority of Americans feel connected to Jesus and are convinced that He speaks to them, we must ask, “What Jesus?” Since the Bible warns of “false christs” and “false spirits” (e.g., 2 Corinthians 11:3-4), this is an essential piece of information. The Barna report does mention that Americans have remade Jesus into their desired mold, but the study itself does not seek to ascertain the identity of the Jesus that is so popular in American imagination. I would make an educated guess and say that the most popular Jesus in America is “The Shack Jesus” portrayed in William Young’s hot-selling book. He is cool, non-judgmental, and loves rock & roll.

source: Way of Life, David Cloud

FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH

WHY are Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti Appearing With New Age/New Spirituality Sympathizers?

 

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. (I Corinthians 10:21)

Why are so many Christian leaders continually appearing with personalities who claim to be Christian yet promote the heretical “new spirituality”? In January 2010, in Alberta, Canada, such a situation will take place at the Break Forth conference, bringing together a conglomeration of Christian figures, New Age sympathizers, and mystic/emerging proponents. From Joel Rosenberg (Epicenter), Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness), and Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) to William Paul Young (The Shack), Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality), and contemplative proponents such as Duffy Robbins (Enjoy the Silence) and Brad Jersak, Break Forth will be like drawing gray lines in the sand–blended, indistinguishable lines.

In essence, this merging together, like so many other events now taking place within evangelical Christianity, willhelp erode the distinction between truth and falsehood and light and dark.

With well-known names like Rosenberg, Peretti, and Strobel as part of the speaking platform, many Christians who otherwise might not attend or pay much attention to this emerging event, could be drawn in just by the mere mention of these men’s names. And with Break Forth boasting that 1000 Canadian churches are represented at this event, tens of thousands of church goers could easily, directly or indirectly, be impacted in a fashion ultimately leading to spiritual deception and apostasy.

Full article HERE

By David Cloud

“The Shack” held first place on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Trade Fiction for many months. As of October 2009, it has sold ten million copies. It is being translated into 30 languages, and a motion picture is in the works.

Though its author, William Paul Young, is not a member of a church and is even reticent to call himself a Christian, and though its doctrine of God is grossly heretical, the novel is being touted as a helpful Christian book.

“The Shack” has been endorsed by Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, CCM artist Michael W. Smith, Eugene Peterson (Regent College professor and author of “The Message”), Mark Batterson (senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.), Wayne Jacobson, author of?So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” Gayle Erwin of Calvary Chapel, James Ryle of the Vineyard churches, and Greg Albrecht, editor of “Plain Truth” magazine. The premier issue of Rick Warren’s magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, refers to The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (p. 24).

Young was one of the speakers at the February 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. The 1,500 attendees were pastors and Christian workers. Other speakers included Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. Young had his own break-out session and was interviewed in one of the general sessions by Andy Crouch, a senior editor of “Christianity Today.” It was said that 57% of the attendees had read “The Shack,” and Young was enthusiastically received. Crouch treated Young as a fellow believer and did not even hint that there might be a damnable theological problem with the way that God is depicted in the book. When Young said, “I don’t feel responsible for the fact that it [“The Shack”] is tampering with people’s paradigms” or how people think about God, the crowd responded with clapping, cheers, and laughter. The emerging church loves to tamper with traditional Bible doctrine and there is no fear of God for doing so!

Young was born in Alberta in 1955 but spent most of the first ten years of his life in Papua New Guinea with his missionary parents, who were ministering to a backwards tribal group called the Dani. He graduated from Warner Pacific College, which is affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), with a degree in religion.
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In “The Shack,” Young presents traditional Bible-believing Christianity as hypocritical and hurtful. The book’s main character grew up under “rigorous rules,” and his father, who was an elder in the church, was “a closet drinker” and treated his family with cruelty when drunk (p. 7).

Hypocrisy is very injurious to the cause of Christ, but hypocrisy on the part of Christians does not disprove the Bible. Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! All too often this type of thing is used as an excuse by rebels. I know this by personal experience. In my youth I used the inconsistencies that I saw in Baptist churches to excuse my rejection of the church. The chief problem, though, was not the hypocrisy of others but my own rebellion and love for the world. When I repented of my wickedness at age 23 and turned to Christ and received the Bible as God’s holy Word, I stopped blaming others and took responsibility for myself before Almighty God.

Rules and obligations under God’s grace are not wrong. They are an integral part of Bible Christianity. We are saved by grace without works, but we are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). The New Testament epistles are filled with rules and obligations that believers are expected to keep and filled with warnings about disobedience. The true grace of God does not let us live as we please. It teaches us, rather, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). That is a very strict standard of Christian living.

There is hypocrisy in churches and there are false gospels that are law-based rather than grace-based and most churches today are corrupt, but the solution is not to reject the literal interpretation of Scripture and create a new God! God is amazingly compassionate and loving and He has proven that on the cross, but God is also holy and just and requires obedience and hates and punishes sin, and that side of God cannot be ignored without creating a false God.

The flesh wearies greatly of the holiness of God! I can testify to that. From time to time in my Christian life I have gotten discouraged at God. It is not a simple thing to reconcile God’s love and grace with His awful holiness and justice. On one hand, the New Testament tells us that the believer is forgiven, redeemed, justified, accepted in the beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, holy and without blame before God, and seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1-3). On the other hand, the same New Testament tells us that the believer must be exceedingly careful about how he lives before God. We are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), which is the highest conceivable standard. The believer who does not pursue this is in danger of being judged (e.g., 1 Cor. 3:13-17; 9:26-27; 11:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5, 16, 22-23; 3:15-16). There is even a sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30). Thus there must be many warnings in the Christian life (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).

These things seem to be contradictory to the fallen flesh and to the natural man, but they are two sides of the same compassionate, thrice holy God, and to reject either one is reject the true God for an idol.

In an interview with the 700 Club in February 2009 Young described a “huge personal failure” that occurred in his life at age 38. He says, “My life crashed and burned, and I had to go back and deal with some stuff from being a child on the mission field along with other stuff in my life.” He speaks of “secrets” that he kept from his childhood and guilt that he carried. He doesn’t describe any of this in detail, but it appears that he felt guilty for not obeying God’s Word and perhaps went through psychological therapy. He talks continually of “pain,” “damage,” healing childhood memories, and such.

REDEFINING GOD

“The Shack” is about redefining God. Young has said that the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.

In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”

Young therefore admits that the God of “The Shack” is different from the traditional God of Bible-believing Christianity. He says that the God who “watches from a distance and judges sin” is “a Christianized version of Zeus.” This reminds me of the modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament “a dirty bully” in his 1944 book “Preaching in a Revolutionary Age.”

“The Shack” explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible.

Young depicts the triune God as a young Asian woman named “Sarayu” * (supposedly the Holy Spirit), an oriental carpenter who loves to have a good time (supposedly Jesus), and an older black woman named “Elousia” (supposedly God the Father). God the Father is also depicted as a guy with a ponytail and a goatee. (* The name “Sarayu” is from the Hindu scriptures and represents a mythical river in India on the shores of which the Hindu god Rama was born.)

Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn’t like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as “myth.”   

Note the following quotes from the god of “The Shack”:

“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do” (p. 89).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2.

“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it…” (p. 120).

Contrast Isaiah 13:11; Ephesians 5:5-6.

“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

Contrast 2 Peter 1:16.

“[Your heart] is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process” (p. 138).

Contrast Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23.

“To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. … True love never forces” (pp. 145, 190).

Contrast John 8:31-32; 14:15; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23; 3:3, 16-19.

“Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).

Contrast Revelation 21-22.

“My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. … You can’t build it. … I don’t create institutions–never have, never will” (pp. 178, 179).

Contrast Acts 2:41-42, 13-14.

“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. … I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).

Contrast Acts 4:12; 26:28.

“Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).

Contrast John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; 1 John 5:12, 19; Revelation 20:11-15.

“The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. … Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … That is why you won’t find the word responsibility in the Scriptures. … because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me” (pp. 197, 203, 206).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18. In Ephesians 4-6 alone there are at more than 80 specific obligations that believers are exhorted to keep.

“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223).

Contrast Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 3:1; 5:9; Jude 4; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

THE SHACK’S GOD IS EMERGENT AND NEW AGE

Not only is “The Shack’s” god suspiciously similar to the one described in the books of the more liberal branch of the emerging church (e.g., Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Brian McLaren), it also has a strong kinship to the New Age god promoted by John Lennon and Oprah Winfrey.

Lennon’s extremely popular song “IMAGINE” (1971) proclaims:

“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us, above us only sky … no religion too/ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

William Young imagines the same thing in “The Shack.” If there is a God, he is non-judgmental. There is no hell. God just wants people to do their own thing and be happy.

Oprah preaches the same gospel to millions. Man is not a sinner; God is not a judge; all is well with the universe; and I just need to surrender to the flow. Her message is the celebration of self. She grew up in a traditional Baptist church, but she has reinterpreted the Bible and moved beyond its restrictions. She says, “As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).

DENYING THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE

Another foundational problem with “The Shack” is its denial of the Bible as the absolute and sole authority. Note the following quote:

“In seminary he [the book’s main figure, Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (pp. 65, 66).

To believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the sole authority for faith and practice is not to “put God in a box.” It is to honor God by receiving the Scripture for what it claims to be and what it has proven itself to be. If a father goes on a journey and leaves behind a written statement of his will for the family during his absence, the family that truly honors the father submits to that written record. To reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God is to launch out upon the stormy waters of subjective mysticism. It allows man to be his own authority and to live as he pleases, which is an objective of both the New Age movement and the emerging church.

CHANGED LIVES

The author of “The Shack” points to changed lives as evidence of the truth of the book and the grace of God in using it. At the National Pastor’s Conference, William Young told Andy Crouch that the book was setting people free from “addictive bondages and doctrinal bondages.” He said, “Even people who have been vocally against the book, people in their own family have been healed.”

Healed of what and healed in what way?

What is happening is that people who don’t like Bible Christianity, don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t want to feel guilty for their sin, and have rejected the “angry” God of Scripture, are responding enthusiastically to the man-made idol presented in “The Shack.” The following is typical of the postings at Young’s MySpace site by readers of the book:

“Your book, The Shack, is amazing! It has changed so many people’s idea of what God is really like! It has set some of my friends free!”

Miracles do not prove that something is of God. There is one that the Bible calls “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he can do miracles and answer prayers. I saw miracles and experienced answers to prayers when I was the member of a Hindu meditation society before I came to Christ. Miracles are not the proof of the truth; the Bible alone is the proof. The prophet Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

CONCLUSION

“The Shack” is another building stone of the end-times Tower of Babel.

God’s people must be exceedingly careful in these days of awful apostasy. The Bible warns:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

The willful sin described in this verse points back to the sin referred to in verse 29. It is the sin of counting the blood of salvation an unholy thing. It is the rejection of personal salvation through the blood of Christ, which many in the emerging church are doing. You can’t be saved if you reject the substitutionary atonement.

In these days we need to stay in the Bible every day and be in sweet communion with Christ, confessing our sins and walking in the light.

And we need to capture the heart of the next generation and educate them so they will not be taken captive by the wiles of the devil and the guile of false teachers.

August 2017
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