Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Biblical Unity

Isn’t it strange that when the world claims to desire unity that its emphasis is rapidly becoming diversity? This is because the world cannot solve the problem of disunity, it cannot stop wars, and it cannot bring peace. Only Christ can change a heart and cause a person to esteem others more highly than himself. Only Christ is the answer. Obviously then, the world’s approach of tolerance will not work. Tolerance emphasizes differences rather than commonalities. In a sense, this is the best that the world can do given that the only thing it has in common is error, sin, and a fallen heart. But tolerance is not the answer. Tolerance merely accepts the reality that differences, conflicts, disagreements, and contradictions are here to stay. It thus tells people that there is no right or wrong position, belief, or behavior, but that all people are just different. When tolerance becomes the rule, true unity becomes impossible because truth is cast aside. Tolerance stops pursuing truth, opting in exchange for acceptance of all ideas and practices.

Those who believe that there is a truth out there are called intolerant if they say that others’ beliefs are untrue or if they try to convince others to believe the truth. Tolerance wants to have multiple truths. How can unity ever be achieved when we all think we are right and disagree at the same time? If there is no truth outside of society, “truth” will be what society imposes upon its people. The best our society can come up with is tolerance, and it is wrestling with how forceful it should be in imposing it. Needless to say, there is a great division in the world and in our nation in particular between those who believe in absolute truth and those who believe in truth-annihilating tolerance. The bitter irony of the tolerance and diversity agenda is that it cannot tolerate or embrace as equally valid those who hold to universal truth or who believe in an exclusively right religion.

Tolerance emphasizes differences, while the Bible emphasizes unity. Tolerance says that it accepts all things and people, but it is unable to truly love others. It merely tolerates them. Christianity, on the other hand, says that, though you are different and perhaps even wrong, you are still loved. Tolerance doesn’t love a person enough to tell them that they are wrong, unless of course they are being “intolerant.” The bottom line is that if tolerance is practiced in the church, then truth will be minimized, love will be exchanged for acceptance, and true Biblical unity will be forfeited.

John 17:21-23 says,

“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

This passage leaves no doubt that true unity comes by people being in Christ as they repent of their sin and put their faith in Him. Christ prays for His disciples and for all who would come after them (the church) that they would be unified. This unity can only happen if we are grafted into Christ by faith. Unity thus requires an adherence to truth, which is personified by Christ Himself, Who is the truth (John 14:6). True unity is that we be one as Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus and the Father are literally one God, believing the same things, thinking the same things, doing the same things, and so on. There is nothing that is more indicative of oneness, not even Christian marriage, than the example of Jesus and the Father. Jesus said that those who have seen Him have seen the Father (John 14:9). True unity then, as Jesus prays, is that we join their unity, being in Them. It is Jesus in us, the Father in Jesus, and, by implication, us in the Father and in Jesus. We are made part of Christ’s body, spiritually speaking. True unity requires that we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord and let Him indwell us.

If we, as God’s people, want to be unified, we must become more and more like Christ. We do this as we apply His Word and understand it. John 17:17, just a few verses earlier, is a lead-in to Christ’s prayer for unity. He gives us, in essence, the key to pursuing this unity among brothers and sisters in Christ. He prays to the Father, “Sanctify them in the word; Your word is truth.” True unity will increase as we are conformed to the Word of God in belief and obedience. It is through right understanding of the Scripture that true unity takes place.

Some Christians erroneously think that there must always be issues that Christians will disagree upon. They hope to still have true unity even though they accept/tolerate a diversity of views and doctrines. Not being conformed to the truth, the church of plurality becomes a church of tolerance. We just agree to disagree. This is the world coming into the church. The fact is that somebody is right and somebody is wrong. Some denominations are right on some things, and others are right on other things. The very meaning of the word “denomination” implies inherent division and disagreement. The problem with this is that Christ’s prayer is not speaking of merely the invisible unity that the body of Christ possesses but a visible unity that the world can see, perceive, and through which it can be impacted. The goal of Christ’s prayer is that the world would know and believe that the Father sent the Son and that the Son loved His people. If the church is not unified visibly, then the progress of the gospel is obstructed. Yet the only way that true visible unity will happen is if true invisible unity occurs first. This can only happen, not if we learn to just accept different traditions as all valid and equal versions, but if we pursue the truth according to the infallible Word of God.

This is not mere rhetoric or wishful thinking. Christ prayed for it, and we should too. The fact of the matter is that the Spirit’s job is to lead believers into all truth, not just some truth or the truth that pertains merely to the basics of Christian belief (John 16:13). His purpose and mission is to draw us into Christ and God according to the word of the Father. If we are to be one as God and Christ are one, the Spirit must apply the Word of God to our hearts. We must yield ourselves humbly to finding out what Scripture says. Theology books may say one thing, seminaries and their doctrinal systems another, and denominational leaders yet another, but the Bible says the truth. If true unity is ever to be manifested on earth, it will only be in the church of Jesus Christ and only as it conforms to the truth of God’s Word.

The world’s attempts at unity are feeble and false at best. Only Christ can bring true, full, and lasting unity. But unity can only exist as we seek to know His Word and are found in Him as mature disciples. Ephesians 4:11-12 speaks of God gifting pastors, teachers, and evangelists for the purpose of building up the church and edifying it. Verse 13 explains what the outcome of sound Biblical teaching and preaching is, saying, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” If we want true unity, it will be by faith in Christ as we grow in Him according to the truth of the Bible. Perfected unity won’t happen until we are glorified, but in the meantime, let us seek Biblical unity by faith in Christ by pursuing a growing understanding of the Bible and by humbly yielding to the Spirit within us as He guides us into all truth.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pragmatism Goes to Church
by A.W. Tozer,

"God Tells The Man Who Cares"

It is not by accident that the philosophy of pragmatism around the turn of the century achieved such wide popularity in the United States. The American temperament was perfect for it, and still is.

Pragmatism has a number of facets and can mean various things to various people, but basically it is the doctrine of the utility of truth. For the pragmatist there are no absolutes; nothing is absolutely good or absolutely true. Truth and morality float on a sea of human experience. If an exhausted swimmer can lay hold of a belief or an ethic, well and good; it may keep him afloat till he can get to shore; then it only encumbers him, so he tosses it away. He feels no responsibility to cherish truth for its own sake. It is there to serve him; he has no obligation to serve it.

Truth is to use. Whatever is useful is true for the user, though for someone else it may not be useful, so not true. The truth of any idea is its ability to produce desirable results. If it can show no such results it is false. That is pragmatism stripped of its jargon.

Now, since practicality is a marked characteristic of the American people they naturally lean strongly toward the philosophy of utility. Whatever will get things done immediately with a maximum of efficiency and a minimum of undesirable side effects must be good. The proof is that it succeeds; no one wants to argue with success.

It is useless to plead for the human soul, to insist that what a man can do is less important than what he is. When there are wars to be won, forests to be cleared, rivers to be harnessed, factories to be built, planets to be visited, the quieter claims of the human spirit are likely to go unregarded. The spectacular drama of successful deeds leaves the beholder breathless. Deeds you can see. Factories, cities, highways, rockets are there in plain sight, and they got there by the practical application of means to ends. So who cares about ideals and character and morals? These things are for poets, nice old ladies and philosophers. Let's get on with the job.

Now all this has been said, and said better, a few dozen times before, and I would not waste space on it here except that this philosophy of pragmatism has had and is having a powerful influence upon Christianity in the middle years of this century. And whatever touches the faith of Christ immediately becomes a matter of interest to me and, I hope, to my readers also.

The nervous compulsion to get things done is found everywhere among us. We are affected by a kind of religious tic, a deep inner necessity to accomplish something that can be seen and photographed and evaluated in terms of size, numbers, speed and distance.

We travel a prodigious number of miles, talk to unbelievably large crowds, publish an astonishing amount of religious literature, collect huge sums of money, build vast numbers of churches and amass staggering debts for our children to pay. Christian leaders compete with each other in the field of impressive statistics, and in so doing often acquire peptic ulcers, have nervous breaks or die of heart attacks while still relatively young.

Right here is where the pragmatic philosophy comes into its own. It asks no embarrassing questions about the wisdom of what we are doing or even about the morality of it. it accepts our chosen ends as right and good and casts about for efficient means and ways to get them accomplished. When it discovers something that works it soon finds a text to justify it, "consecrates" it to the Lord and plunges ahead. Next a magazine article is written about it, then a book, and finally the inventor is granted an honorary degree. After that any question about the scripturalness of things or even the moral validity of them is completely swept away. You cannot argue with success. The method works; ergo, it must be good.

The weakness of all this is its tragic shortsightedness. It never takes the long view of religious activity, indeed it dare not do so, but goes cheerfully on believing that because it works it is both good and true. It is satisfied with present success and shakes off any suggestion that its works may go up in smoke in the day of Christ.

As one fairly familiar with the contemporary religious scene, I say without hesitation that a part, a very large part, of the activities carried on today in evangelical circles are not only influenced by pragmatism but almost completely controlled by it. Religious methodology is geared to it; it appears large in our youth meetings; magazines and books constantly glorify it; conventions are dominated by it; and the whole religious atmosphere is alive with it.

What shall we do to break its power over us? The answer is simple. We must acknowledge the right of Jesus Christ to control the activities of His church. The New Testament contains full instructions, not only about what we are to believe but what we are to do and how we are to go about doing it. Any deviation from those instructions is a denial of the Lordship of Christ.

I say the answer is simple, but it is not easy for it requires that we obey God rather than man, and that always brings down the wrath of the religious majority. It is not a question of knowing what to do; we can easily learn that from the Scriptures. It is a question of whether or not we have the courage to do it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I have been covering Rick Warren’s long slide into self-absorbed deception for quite a while, and I have not been as hesitant as Joseph Farah at WND has been about stating what is wrong with Rick Warren’s Theology. Rev. Warren’s latest escapade in Syria and his statements while in Syria should leave no doubt what Rick Warren’s beliefs are and where he wants to take his “Purpose Driven movement”

I urge everyone to contact their church leadership and request that ALL Rick Warren material be removed from your Church. Rick Warren has been a Pied Piper leading many millions down a path to the false church. Its time to Stand Up! And say no more!

As for me and my house, we will be Spirit Led and Not “Purpose Driven”

God Bless,

John Baker

The purpose-driven lie

Posted: November 16, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

Rick Warren wrote to me this morning to protest this column. He claims he didn't say anything he was actually quoted as saying by the official press in Syria. I urge you, however, to watch him with your own eyes on this short video clip in which he says Syria "does not allow extremism of any kind." In fact, Syria is, in many ways, the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world.

For a long time I've held off criticizing mega-church leader Rick Warren, author of the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life," even though I have been sorely tempted.

When he joined up with now-disgraced National Association of Evangelicals leader Ted Haggard to suggest man-induced global warming represented an impending calamity, I didn't say too much. I questioned it, but I let it go.

When he joined Haggard again in writing an open letter to President Bush urging government action to fight global poverty, I didn't say a word – even though I thought it ironic. After all, it is the church's responsibility to help the poor. It is not government's responsibility.

But now that Rick Warren has traveled to and provided legitimacy to a hostile foreign government, presided over by a brutal fascist dictator who hates Jews, threatens Israel, subverts neighboring Lebanon, imprisons and terrorizes its own citizens and even kills them in massive numbers when they stand up in revolt – now I have to denounce this impostor in the strongest terms possible.

It is my biblical mandate to do so.

Other Christians may be holding back, waiting to hear Rick Warren's explanation for his behavior in Syria. Some are cautiously suggesting that accounts of his activities there may have been distorted by the controlled press. Some want to give him the benefit of any doubt.

I'm going to give it to you straight: Rick Warren had no business traveling to Syria and being used for propaganda purposes by Bashar Assad, the terrorist-supporting president. There are only two possibilities to explain what happened:

He made the outrageous statements attributed to him by the Syrians, for which he should be ostracized – maybe even tried for treason, in my opinion.

He didn't make the statements, or was misquoted – in which case he has placed himself in the predictable position of being a "useful idiot" for the Islamofascist regime in Damascus.
Take your pick. Neither option is very attractive.

Here's what we know now.

The official press in the Syrian police state is suggesting Warren is taking sides with Syria against his own country with regard to issues in the Middle East. The reports indicate we can soon expect Warren, upon his return to the U.S., to lecture Americans about our abusive role in the region.

The Syrian newspaper Umar Jaftali quotes Warren as saying: "Washington is wrong not to hold dialogue with Syria, which wants peace. I call on the Americans to visit Syria and meet its beautiful people. I will tell the Americans that their idea about Syria does not reflect the truth."

Here's what the Syrian Arab News Agency reported:

"[The] American delegation stressed that the American administration is mistaken not to hold dialogue with Syria."

"Pastor Warren hailed the religious coexistence, tolerance and stability that the Syrian society is enjoying due to the wise leadership of President al-Assad, asserting that he will convey the true image about Syria to the American people."

Warren gave Assad a "memorial drawing" to "thank the Syrian people for their ... efforts exerted for maintaining peace and harmony."

Warren was quoted as saying: "Syria wants peace, and Muslims and Christians live in this country jointly and peacefully since more than a thousand years, and this is not new for Syria."

He would, in the words of the official news agency, "tell the Americans that the ideas which had been shaped about [Syria] didn't reflect the truth and they have to come to Syria and see by themselves and realize her nice people and visit her wonderful and historical ruins."

It was reported he told Syria's Islamic grand mufti that there could be no peace in the region without Syria and that 80 percent of Americans rejects what the U.S. administration is doing in Iraq.

He praised Islamic-Christian co-existence in Syria.

If I were a betting man, I would wager that Warren will come home and allege he was widely misquoted. He probably was. I HOPE he was. But here's the problem: When you place yourself in the position of being used – and you ARE used – whose fault is it?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Feet The Childrens Movie:
Pushing an Anti-Religion Message

Today I read a review of Happy Feet, the new singing penguin movie that opens Friday.Maybe you've seen the trailers and thought, as I did, "How could they possibly make a 90 minute movie out of this?" I mean, it's just penguins. Singing. For 90 minutes right?

But it appears there's more to this film than just singing penguins. To quote, "Happy Feet is a film about the dangers and evils of religion in the face of open-minded liberal thought."Wait a second...What?

Turns out, the plot involves one penguin who dances, while all the others sing, so as a result, "said penguin is kicked out of the community by the town elder for Heresy against the Great Penguin in the Sky."

Basically, the penguins all blame the lone dancer for God taking away all the fish in their ocean. When he proves that this is really due to human fishing in the area, "A revolution breaks out as the elders scream about heresy against the Great Penguin in the Sky while the youth begin to dance and sing."

The most interesting thing is that the reviewer sees all of this in the film and is disturbed. He says, "You see, I respect anyone who takes the time to educate their children in what they believe the ways of the world are. But this film wasn’t designed, nor advertised, to have parents make that decision for themselves...I do not, do not, DO NOT, agree that it is in any way a good idea to discuss such radical ideas in an animated film and then sell that film simply as a harmless, singing and dancing Penguin extravaganza."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Being Good Stewards
By John Baker

The article below caught my eye, as we sometimes do not realize the impact that modern society has on our lives. The last two years that I lived in Europe I lived on an island called the Isle of Skye, it was located off of the northwest coast of Scotland, and is part of the chain of island’s known as the Inner Hebrides. The Isle of Skye is approximately 50 miles long with varying distances in width. The Island actually resembles an Angel with its wings stretched out. If you were looking at the “angel” face to face, the top of his head would be facing north-west, and the wing to his left facing west towards the open North Atlantic. I lived on the northwest corner of this wing facing the Open North Atlantic Ocean. As you stood on the cliffs looking out at the Atlantic Ocean to the west you could just make out on the horizon the island chain known as the Outer Hebrides. The Sea separating the Inner Hebrides from the Outer Hebrides is known as the “Minch”. It was about 20 miles wide. With these islands being so far north and facing the open Atlantic Ocean, They are in the path of some of the most ferocious winds and storms in the world. Every fall brought a ritual that has been carried out since men have lived on the islands. The securing of all outdoor buildings and anything that might get blown away by the winter gales coming in off of the North Atlantic, sweeping down from the Artic. Anything and everything had to be secured from the 100 mph plus winds that came barreling through the Glens on the Islands. I lived in a glen aptly named Glendale. Its name coming from a mixture of Scots Gaelic and Norse Words: Glen derives from the Gaelic word: Gleann meaning Valley, and Dale derives from the Norse (Viking) word Dahl meaning Valley. So Glendale literally means Valley, Valley!

Even the houses on the island were built to be able to withstand the ferocious winds that came in off the Ocean. The typical Island house was made of Stone, with mortar spread over the stone on the outside and painted white. Each house had an inner stone wall 1 ½ feet thick and then an outer wall another 1 ½ feet thick. With a gap left in between these two walls, and the gap was originally filled with dirt, straw and small rocks. This made the houses airtight. Roofs had to be especially constructed of black Slate shingles securely nailed flat against the sub-roof. There was nothing cozier than in the winter time to put some coals in the fireplace, sit in a nice comfortable chair, with a hot cup of coffee, reading the Bible, and faintly hearing the gales off of the Ocean howling through the Glen. It gave you a very real sense of the power and majesty of God’s creation.

When the weather permitted I would frequently take the sea ferry across the Minch to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. On a good calm day the trip took two hours, on a windy day when the seas were rough it could take anywhere up to five hours. There was nothing more disconcerting than to board the ferry on a particularly windy day and hear the Captain of the Ferry come over the intercom and tell his passengers that it was rough on the Minch with high seas but they were going to attempt to make it across the Minch anyways! The thought always went through your mind “ok they are going to try. What happens if they fail? Do we sink?” But in all my trips across the Minch and in all their “trying” they never sunk, they would just turn around and wait for calmer winds so they could dock back at our departure point. A trip across the Minch on any day was an adventure. The Ferry was a large Ship, that could carry up to 25 cars and trucks on two decks. You drove onto the ferry and a deck hand would point to where he wanted you to park in one of three lanes. Once you were parked, you were instructed to put the cars emergency brake on and then they would proceed to chain the car to the deck to prevent it from shifting in heavy seas! You would then climb three sets of stairs to the passenger deck where there were lounges with large windows so you could see the ocean, and there was also a ships passenger galley where you could eat.

On the days when the sea was rough, it always amazed me how the ship could make the crossing, as the waves would pound the ship so hard that it sounded as if you were inside a steel trash can and someone was beating on it with a baseball bat! The ship would also pitch from side to side and dive into the waves, and as it dove the waves would break over the top of this massive ship! On these days inside the ship would be mayhem, as many passengers would be getting sea-sick from the rough seas. I would for a thrill go outside to the front of the ship on the highest observation deck and watch the waves break over the bow, waterproof clothing was an absolute requirement! Once we reached the other side, the ship would enter the long narrow bay that leads to the village of Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, and as the ship entered the bay the seas would calm, and the wind would die down. Another adventurous crossing had come to a successful conclusion!

As the ship neared the dock a voice would come over the intercom system asking all car passengers to return to their vehicles and prepare to disembark. By the time we reached our car the chains would have been removed, we would get in start the engine and wait as one by one the cars and trucks drove off the ferry and onto the island.

Upon leaving the ship you would be in the village of Tarbert, the main town on the island. If you needed gas or food, better get it here and before 5:00PM because once you left the village, the rest of the island was sparsely populated with only one other gas station situated at the other end of the island to the south and it was only open part time. Upon leaving the village, it seemed as though all those cars on the ferry just vanished! As your entire time on the island you would never see them again! Also the one road that led out of the village turned into a single rack road, with “Passing Places” every mile or so, where you could pull off and allow cars coming in the opposite direction by. After you had been to the islands many times you began to understand the “rules” and the “Ballet” that occurred at the “Passing Places” . The rule was: The first car to reach the passing place pulled over and let the opposing car go by. The “Ballet” was when both cars going in opposite directions were able to time their entrance into the “Passing Place” and be able to remain at speed and not slow down when swerving to avoid the other car!

It was always terrifying, but now in hindsight comical of how we would see one of the few local island residents come barreling down the single track road towards us, and then us trying to rightly judge the timing of the entrance to the “Passing Place” so we wouldn’t cause the local driver to have to slow down. Because if you did you always got “Sassenach” yelled at you and a raised arm and a swinging fist in your rear view mirror! “Sassenach” was the Highland Scots Gaelic word for “Lowlander” or “Englishman”. All outsiders who came to live or visit in the Western Highlands or Islands of Northwest Scotland are called “Sassenachs”.

About two miles out of Tarbert the single track road split into two single track roads: The “Golden Road” runs north-east and southwest along the eastern seashore of the Island. The western road runs north-east and southwest along the western seashore of the Island. The “Golden Road” was so named because, the eastern portion of the Island is rocky with thin soil, and on the thin soil about the only thing that will grow are wild flowers and heather, and with the island being so far north, the Sun for most of the year is so far south that its rays are softened and hit the ground at a sharp angle and when the wild flowers and Heather are in bloom, the ground sparkles like Jewels and Gold. The soil is so thin that in centuries past the residents of this side of the island would heap the soil up in to mounds, that ran like long ridges across the small patches were soil could be found in between the outcroppings of rock, and they would gather sea weed along the shore to mix with the dirt to make the dirt fertile enough to grow food. Sea weed contains phosphate which is a good fertilizer and increases the germination rate of food crops. These long low ridges were known as “Lazy Beds” or in Scots Gaelic “Run-Rigs”.

Today as you drive the “Golden Road” you see the remains of these lazy beds along the length of the road. You also see many broken down stone cottages, which have been long abandoned as their former residents left the island looking for better prospects. Up until the First World War the Island had a vibrant population. But the generation that went to war got a taste of what life was like off the Island and most never returned, but instead took jobs on the mainland in factories built as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Life has always been hard on this island but a few itinerant and hardy souls refuse to leave their island home. They subsist on fishing and Sheep herding. The Sheep of Harris are known the world over for their soft wool known as Harris Tweed, which at one time was the height of fashion. Still today local’s eek out a living spinning and weaving the wool on antique looms for export to the world.

At the southern end of the Golden Road you reach the only other “village” on the island, the spot in the road known as Rodel. The town consists of a small hotel (most small hotels in the northwest of Scotland and the Islands are actually converted and extended houses) a few houses and the small stone St. Clements Chapel. Where for centuries the Chiefs of the Clan Macleod of Harris were interred. Up until 1745, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland were populated by groups of People known as Clans. The Clans originated as groups of family members who lived together and descended from a common ancestor. If you have aver seen a last name with “Mac” or “Mc” at the beginning of the name, it is either an Irish Name or a Scottish Clan name. The “Mac” or “Mc” is derived from the Irish or Scots Gaelic word for “Son of” So MacLeod means “Son of Leod” Leod being the common ancestor. MacDonald means “Son of” Donald, Donald being the common ancestor.

In Scottish Highland society before 1745 you were either part of a clan through birth or swore allegiance to a clan in exchange for protection. If you distinguished yourself in your allegiance to the Clan you were honored by being allowed to use its name as your last name. The Chief of the Clan was chosen from the eldest direct male or closest male descendent of the common ancestor. The Clan and those who swore allegiance to the Clan worked the land, herded the clan’s cattle and fought along side each other to protect the clan’s land and possessions, No written deeds existed for clan land, they held their land by the might of the sword . Over time certain clans became more powerful and dominated the other clans. The Highland Clans were also known as fearsome fighters. The Highlands of Scotland for centuries were divided by constant battles between the clans, they eventually became so powerful that no King of Scotland could hold his throne without the support of the Clans. In 1745 that all changed.

In 1707 an act of Union was signed between England and Scotland unifying the two countries under one Parliament and King. In 1603 the English Queen Elizabeth the 1st died without an heir, so the English Parliament asked the Scottish King James VI to be King of England. James was the second cousin of Elizabeth. James accepted and became King over the two Countries. His Grandson Charles II died without an heir and so his brother James II became King, but James II was Catholic and tried to force England to return to Catholicism, but he was defeated and exiled. So William of Orange a Duke in the Netherlands, who was married to Charles II sister was asked to be King of England and Scotland, as he was an ardent Protestant. Many of the Scottish Clans were upset at the exile of James II because it meant the end of a Monarchy (the House of Stuart) that originated in Scotland. While James II was in exile in France he conspired with the help of France to return him to the Throne of England and Scotland. He died in France but his son Charles Edward Stuart famously known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” never gave up trying to win back the Throne. Finally in 1745 the King of France wanting to put pressure on England during the French and Indian war in The American Colonies, agreed to fund a small force to assist Bonnie Prince Charlie in invading Scotland and “raising” the Clans to rebel against England and install Charlie as King of Scotland and then England. This was known as the Jacobite Rebellion.

Some of the clans allied themselves with Charlie and they defeated the Government forces in Scotland and marched on England making it within 80 miles of London, before the Highland Clans tired of the long war and seeing that they would receive no support from any promised Rebel English forces, refused to go any further and turned and headed back to Scotland. In the meantime government forces had been landed ahead of them via boats in Scotland and attacked the Clans as they headed back north. The final battle and the death knell of the Clans came on April 16th 1745 at the Battle of Culloden near Inverness in the highlands of Scotland. The Government forces with their superior modern fire power which included canons mowed down the Highland Clans. To ensure that the Highland Clans would never again threaten the government, the Clan system was destroyed through laws that stripped the communal ownership of the clan lands by the whole clan and gave title of the lands to the clan chief, thereby removing the bond of the Chief to his clan through their common ownership of the land. To further control the Chiefs, they were required at their own expense to maintain a presence at the Kings court in London. The wearing of the Tartan was outlawed as was the playing of the Bag-Pipes, and a highlander was not permitted to carry a weapon larger than a small knife. These laws stayed in effect until the British King George III (A German by birth), King during the American Revolution popularized and then legalized the wearing of Tartan and the playing of Bagpipes.

Anyways back to the Isle of Harris, passing on through Rodel and rounding the southern tip of Harris you come to the west side of the Isle of Harris. There at the South Eastern tip. A small thin half mile strip of Golden sand links the island to a small hilltop that juts out into the North Atlantic, here the Ocean boils and rages from the winds that drive the waves which break against the rocky base of the Hill. You can hike across the sandy strip and make your way around the base of the hill to its far west side. On the other side the hill stands between you and the island blocking it from sight, and you are left on a small strip of green with the raging Atlantic in front of you and a rock face behind you. Here centuries ago Irish Monks built a small stone chapel, and a small monastery. All that remains today is the roofless stone Chapel. Standing within its four stone walls all you hear is the howling wind and the crashing of waves against the rocks. Not a single man made sound can be heard, and not a man made object can be seen, the next bit of land to the west out over the vast raging north Atlantic is the coast of Canada some 3,500 miles away.

Sitting on this small bit of green looking out over the vast ocean it is as if you are where time stops and existence ends. It is no wonder the Monks built a monastery here. The seclusion and remoteness removes all man made distractions and focuses your mind on the power and majesty of God.

But unfortunately even here in a place so remote, where the waves sometimes become so high that they break over the fifty foot cliffs and onto the patch of green you see the ground littered with plastic bottles, bits of plastic fishing nets, plastic buoys that have broken loose from nets, and various other plastic artifacts. And it makes you aware of how pervasive our modern throw away society has become.

In my travels I have been to some of the most remote spots on the planet, from Iceland to the Artic in Northern Sweden, to the southern Hemisphere and the southern tip of Africa, the Indian Ocean, remote islands in the south Atlantic, and there has been one thing that I have seen in all of these places, a proliferation of plastic waste. It is so odd to stand in a place where no human settlement exists within hundreds if not thousands of miles admiring the beauty of God’s creation and then to look down and see the ground littered with plastic that has been carried by the ocean vast distances. I have stood on beaches in the Indian Ocean, which interestingly enough does not border the U.S. but is separated from the U.S. by thousands of miles and picked up plastic bottles that floated from the U.S. via either the Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. One of the trivial facts I have learned in my international travels is that specific plastic bottles are manufactured for specific geographic markets. And you can tell this by the bottle as well as the labeling printed on the bottle.

Not to pick on the U.S. alone. I have went diving in the Mediterranean Sea between Southern Europe and Africa and found the long beds of seaweed and sea grass that grow up from the floor of the shallows choked with plastic bags, plastic rope, and plastic fishing nets. We were always warned that when we went snorkeling or diving to always go in twos and always carry a knife on your belt to cut yourself or diving partner free if need be from fishing line or fishing net underwater to keep from drowning.

As Christians we are many times made to believe that articles such as the one below are just the false ramblings of “left Wing Environmentalist Alarmists” What would be nice if we could separate the rhetoric from the truth, there are many issues such as the one below that Christians refuse to recognize as true because they are considered as part of a liberalist platform.

Good stewardship is a Biblically based virtue. For example, the Sabbath laws, that called for rest on seventh days and seventh years, applied to households, animals, resident aliens, and the land (Exodus 20.10, 23.10-11, 25.4-5).

Leviticus 26 is a wonderful chapter that speaks rather poetically about the ramifications of obeying or disregarding God's law and ties obedience to God with relationship to land. The chapter talks about the rewards of following God's decrees. In particular, it paints a picture of harmony between humanity and the land, with the land providing both abundant crops and sanctuary. (Leviticus 26.4-6)

In contrast, rebellion will result in enmity between mankind and the land. The people who turn away from God will be persecuted and afflicted, but "the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths." (Leviticus 26.34-35) And not only will the land no longer be safe haven, it will actually "devour" its former oppressors. (Leviticus 26.38) The state of the land is a sign of our state with God.)

Land was not so much a commodity. Rather, it was an inheritance for the Israelites and it was core to the covenantal promises that God made to them. God's people are not to abuse their inheritance, but to treasure it. It cannot be bought and sold. (Leviticus 25. Actually, the land could be bought and sold, but every fifty years, it reverted to its "owners" or "inheritors." What term to use is problematic, because we are inclined to use labels that imply dominance over the land. Instead, Leviticus 25.23 proves helpful: "The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine [God's] and you are but aliens and my tenants." This verse clearly assumes that mankind is custodian or caretaker of land.)

The land was a promise to Abraham (e.g., Genesis 12.7, but really throughout the Bible). The "promised land," a "land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3.17), figures prominently in Jewish thinking (e.g., Psalm 137.1-6, Ezekiel 36.24) and Christian metaphor (e.g., Revelation 21.1). It is "home." Moses, the great prophet, longed even just to see the promised land, as if it were a glimpse of heaven. (Deuteronomy 34)

Abusing the land is like chopping the leg on which you stand. The people of the Bible were invariably farmers, vintners, shepherds. They did not "mine" the land and so deplete it. Rather, they relied on the land as a sustaining resource, year after year.

Numbers 35.33-34 has an interesting nuance. It reads,
Do not pollute the land where you are... Do not defile the land where you live and where I [God] dwell.

It seems like the environmentalist's dream verse. Well, actually, the "pollution" and "defilement" refer to ritualistic abuse (committing sins, like murders, on the land), but I think this helps make the case: God's people are called to treat the land as holy. Worship of God means nurturing the land just as we care and maintain a church building.

If you would like to see some photos of the Isle of Harris. You can go to my online album here: http://travel.webshots.com/album/480663230CkDsMC

Monday, November 06, 2006


Amos 8:11- 12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it].

I relate to Amos... 8th Century B.C. prophet who blistered the social problems of his nation::: HE HAD A STRONG SENSE OF WHAT IS RIGHT!

Amos 7:12- 15 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Beth- el: for it [is] the king's chapel, and it [is] the king's court. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I [was] no prophet, neither [was] I a prophet's son; but I [was] an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

There is something powerful about a man/women who just falls in love with God more than anything! I JUST WANT TO KNOW YOU GOD! HEAR YOUR WORD!

He began to prophecy misery to the nation... basket of Summer Fruit & God's Plum line ===> pretty outside, but rotten inside

** He blistered the inflationary economy that took advantage of the poor!


A nation drunk with pleasure & greed & selfishness! A congress who talks of a greedy decade while writing enormous bad checks! S&L's Junk bonds ===> Health insurance scandals ===> Welfare frauds ===>

Amos 8:4- 5,7
Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.


Romans 12:19 ... Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Amos 8:10- 12
And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only [son], and the end thereof as a bitter day. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it].

Part of Judgment was a famine of HEARING the word of God!

I can do w/o many things... But I must have a word from God!

THANK GOD FOR THE HOUR WE LIVE : There is no famine of God's word!

CHRISTIAN: churches, books, tapes, schools, clubs, EVERY SERVICE!

*** But there is a famine of hearers of the word! (anybody listening )

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Never has a generation been so knowledgeable, and so knowledgeless at the same time!

HOW IS THAT? maybe we need to investigate what happens once the word comes from the pulpit or the page.... to our spirit. (a wall)

*** Does it meet a friendly smile, or a cold shoulder of stubbornness? *** does it meet the snobbishness of preconceived religion?

*** or does it meet plan old rebellion & stiffneckedness?

Jesus spent an entire lesson on this subject!

Matthew 13:1- 9
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:10- 16
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

So you see hearing is not just an issue of being preached to...


Do you hunger after it... or do you want a simple snack?

1. seed fell by wayside for fowls to eat

2. stony soil no deep soil, sun withered 4 TYPES OF SOILS

3. thorns sprung up and choked them

4. Good ground with fruit

Matthew 13:18- 23
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

1. Casual observer
2. Start good / no depth
3. cares of world / deceit of riches
4. good ground


Do a soil test! Look at your spiritual walk to date? any good?

KEY TO GOOD SOIL : not only understand... but bear fruit!

James 1:21- 26
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain.

superfluity: more than necessary

Naughtiness: disobedient, improper IN OTHER WORDS ===> GROW UP! Meekness: mild mannered

I Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

KARTEGEO = cast off, put away sharply


Psalms 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.


Colossians 1:21, 23
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled ...If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Acts 24:24- 25
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

COME NOW! Not when your feeling board... tried everything else

Psalms 119:105 Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalms 119:9- 12
{Beth.} Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Mark 7:13
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

So often I marvel at how we can hear so much preaching, yet have so many struggles?!


Romans 10:13- 26
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [of] the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Decline of a Nation


Doomsayers for many years have been predicting the decline and fall of this country. And while many of these short-term predictions have proved inaccurate, there is some truth to the prevailing belief that this nation will fall like every great nation before it. Apart from revival and reformation, this nation is destined to decline.

The problem with many of these doomsayers is that while their prognosis is right, their diagnosis is wrong. Yes, the future is bleak. But our problem is not ultimately political, economic, or social, as these doomsayers would have us believe. The decline of this nation (just as the decline of every other nation) is due to spiritual factors. The political, economic, and social problems we encounter are the symptoms of the spiritual deterioration of a nation.

Just as there are spiritual principles that influence the life of an individual, so there are political-spiritual principles that govern the life of a nation. And though we may feel that these are obscure and difficult to discern, in reality they are visible to anyone willing to look at the record of history.

Our problem is that we don't really learn from history. George Santayana said that "those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." The philosopher Hegel said, "What experience and history teach us is this: that people and government never have learned anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it." Or as Winston Churchill said, "The one thing we have learned from history is that we don't learn from history."

The refrains that are often heard are: "It can't happen here," or "Our country is different." But the reality is that nations are born and die just like individuals. Their longevity may exceed the average person's lifespan. But the reality is that nations also die.

History has shown that the average age of the great civilizations is around two hundred years. Countries like Great Britain exceed the average while other countries like the United States are just now reaching the average age.

Each of the great civilizations in the world passed through a series of stages from their birth to their decline to their death. Historians have listed these in ten stages.

The first stage moves from bondage to spiritual faith.

The second from spiritual faith to great courage.

The third stage moves from great courage to liberty.

The fourth stage moves from liberty to abundance.

The fifth stage moves from abundance to selfishness.

The sixth stage moves from selfishness to complacency.

The seventh stage moves from complacency to apathy.

The eighth stage moves from apathy to moral decay.

The ninth stage moves from moral decay to dependence.

And the tenth and last stage moves from dependence to bondage.

These are the ten stages through which the great civilizations have gone. Notice the progression from bondage to liberty back to bondage. The first generation throws off the shackles of bondage only to have a later generation through apathy and indifference allow itself to once again be enslaved.

This is the direction this and every other country is headed. The book of Judges shows that the nation of Israel passed through these same stages. And this country will do the same unless revival and reformation break out and reverse the inexorable decline of this nation.

The Cycle of Nations

In his book The End of Christendom, Malcolm Muggeridge makes this powerful observation. He says:

I conclude that civilizations, like every other human creation, wax and wane. By the nature of the case there can never be a lasting civilization anymore than there can be a lasting spring or lasting happiness in an individual life or a lasting stability in a society. It's in the nature of man and of all that he constructs to perish, and it must ever be so. The world is full of the debris of past civilizations and others are known to have existed which have not left any debris behind them but have just disappeared.

He goes on to say that

...whatever their ideology may be, from the Garden of Eden onwards such dreams of lasting felicity have cropped up and no doubt always will. But the realization is impossible for the simple reason that a fallen creature like man though capable of conceiving perfection and aspiring after it, is in himself and in his works forever imperfect. Thus he is fated to exist in the no man's land between the perfection he can conceive and the imperfection that characterizes his own nature and everything he does.

Nations rise and nations fall. Every nation has followed this progression from bondage to bondage.

The nations of this century will be no different. But let us not accept the Marxist notion that these are fixed and intractable laws of history. Christians can point to unusual times when revival has redirected the inexorable decline of a civilization. In the Old Testament, Jonah saw revival postpone God's judgment of Nineveh. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther and John Calvin saw a Protestant Reformation transform Europe. And even in the history of the United States the First and Second Great Awakenings changed individuals and our society.

But apart from God's intervention, nations will decline and eventually pass off the scene. Much of the Old Testament records the history of the nation of Israel. It passed through these same stages and so will every country in the world.

As Christians we must recognize that nations will rise and fall just as individuals will be born and die. Our civilization will not last indefinitely, but will eventually pass off the scene. Only God's Word endures forever. We should not put our trust in the things of this world for they are destined for destruction. Instead, we should put our faith in God and His word.

The Decline of the Family

Nations most often fall from within, and this fall is usually due to a decline in the moral and spiritual values in the family. As families go, so goes a nation.

This has been the main premise of thinkers from British historian J. D. Unwin to Russian sociologist Pitirim Sorokin who have studied civilizations that have collapsed. In his book Our Dance Has Turned to Death, Carl Wilson identifies the common pattern of family decline in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Notice how these seven stages parallel what is happening in our nation today. In the first stage, men ceased to lead their families in worship. Spiritual and moral development became secondary. Their view of God became naturalistic, mathematical, and mechanical.

In the second stage, men selfishly neglected care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political and military power, and cultural development. Material values began to dominate thought, and the man began to exalt his own role as an individual. The third stage involved a change in men's sexual values. Men who were preoccupied with business or war either neglected their wives sexually or became involved with lower-class women or with homosexuality. Ultimately, a double standard of morality developed.

The fourth stage affected women. The role of women at home and with children lost value and status. Women were neglected and their roles devalued. Soon they revolted to gain access to material wealth and also freedom for sex outside marriage. Women also began to minimize having sex relations to conceive children, and the emphasis became sex for pleasure. Marriage laws were changed to make divorce easy.

In the fifth stage, husbands and wives competed against each other for money, home leadership, and the affection of their children. This resulted in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children. Many marriages ended in separation and divorce.

Many children were unwanted, aborted, abandoned, molested, and undisciplined. The more undisciplined children became, the more social pressure there was not to have children. The breakdown of the home produced anarchy.

In the sixth stage, selfish individualism grew and carried over into society, fragmenting it into smaller and smaller group loyalties. The nation was thus weakened by internal conflict. The decrease in the birthrate produced an older population that had less ability to defend itself and less will to do so, making the nation more vulnerable to its enemies.

Finally, unbelief in God became more complete, parental authority diminished, and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and government. Thus, by internal weakness and fragmentation the societies came apart. There was no way to save them except by a dictator who arose from within or by barbarians who invaded from without.

Although this is an ancient pattern of decline found in Greece and Rome, it is relevant today. Families are the foundation of a nation. When the family crumbles, the nation falls because nations are built upon family units. They are the true driving social force. A nation will not be strong unless the family is strong. That was true in the ancient world and it is true today.

Social commentator Michael Novak, writing on the importance of the family, said:

One unforgettable law has been learned through all the disasters and injustices of the last thousand years: If things go well with the family, life is worth living; when the family falters, life falls apart.

The Decline of Values

There are many factors in the decline of a nation. Certainly a major one is the breakdown of the family. But another potent but less perceptible force is the power of ideas.

False ideas are bringing about the decline of western culture. Carl F. H. Henry, in his book Twilight of a Great Civilization, says:

There is a new barbarism. This barbarism has embraced a new pagan mentality . . . not simply rejecting the legacy of the West, but embracing a new pagan mentality where there is no fixed truth.

Today we live in a world where biblical absolutes are ignored, and unless we return to these biblical truths, our nation will continue to decline.

To understand how we have arrived at this appalling situation, we need to go back a century and look at the influence of five intellectual leaders who still profoundly affect the modern world. The first person is Charles Darwin (1809-1882). In 1859 he published The Origin of Species and later published The Descent of Man. His writings blurred the distinction between humans and animals since he taught that we are merely part of an evolutionary progression from lower forms of life. Darwinism, as it came to be called, not only affected the field of biology, but became the foundation for the fields of anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

The second person is Karl Marx (1818-1883). He and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto around 1850, and Marx devoted his life to writing about the demise of capitalism and coming of communism. He understood the importance of ideas. Marx once wrote: "Give me twenty-six lead soldiers and I will conquer the world." The twenty-six lead soldiers are the keys on a typewriter. The pervasive influence of communism in the world today is testimony to the truthfulness of his statement.

The third person is Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). Although he may not be as well known as the other two men mentioned, his influence was just as profound. He was a German Bible scholar whose theory on the dating of the Pentateuch completely transformed Old Testament studies.

Wellhausen argued that the early books of the Bible were not put together by Moses but were gathered together many centuries later by several different men called redactors who wove various strands together. He and his disciples established an anti-supernatural approach to the scriptures which is influential in most denominational seminaries today.

The fourth person is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). He merely took the logical implications of what Darwin was doing in biology and applied them to what today is known as psychology and psychiatry. Freud argued that humans are basically autonomous and therefore do not need to know God. Instead, we need to know and understand ourselves since our problems stem from those secret things that have evolved in our lives from our past.

A fifth person is John Dewey (1859-1952). He is the founder of modern education and published his first work, The School and Society, in 1899. John Dewey was also one of the co-signers of the Humanist Manifesto in 1933.

Dewey, like Darwin and Freud, believed that humans are autonomous. They don't need to have an authority above them but can evolve their our own system of education. Thus the very foundation of modern education is anti-supernatural.

Ideas have consequences, and false ideas can bring down a nation. The theories of these five men are having devastating consequences in our nation and world. Unless we return to biblical absolutes, our nation will continue its decline.
Spiritual Decline

The decline and fall of nations is usually due to internal factors rather than external threats. Even though some may have fallen to barbarians, their demise ultimately came because of moral and spiritual weakness which manifested itself as military weakness. Historians have listed the stages in the decline of a nation. These should not be too surprising to any student of the Old Testament. The stages of decline parallel the stages through which the nation of Israel passed.

But neither should they surprise a student of the New Testament. In the opening chapter of the Apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, he traces a similar progression. In fact, Romans 1 shows the decline of a civilization from a societal perspective. Looking at the Hellenistic world of his time, he reflects on the progression of sin in a nation.

The first stage is when people turn from God to idolatry. Although God has revealed Himself in nature to all men so that they are without excuse, they nevertheless worship the creation instead of the Creator. This is idolatry. In the past, this took the form of actual idol worship. In our day, it takes the form of the worship of money or the worship of self. In either case, it is idolatry. A further example of this is a general lack of thankfulness. Although they have been prospered by God, they are ungrateful. And when they are no longer looking to God for wisdom and guidance, they become vain and futile and empty in their imaginations. They no longer honor God, so their foolish hearts become darkened. In professing to be wise, they have become fools.

The second stage is when men and women exchange their natural use of sex for unnatural uses. Here the Apostle Paul says those four sobering words, "God gave them over." In a society where lust- driven sensuality and sexual perversion dominate, God gives them over to their degrading passions and unnatural desires.

The third stage is anarchy. Once a society has rejected God's revelation, it is on its own. Moral and social anarchy is the natural result. At this point God has given the sinners over to a depraved mind and so they do things which are not proper. This results in a society which is without understanding,untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.

The final stage is judgment. God's judgment rightly falls upon those who practice idolatry and immorality. Certainly an eternal judgment awaits those who are guilty, but a social judgment occurs when God gives a nation over to its sinful practices.

Notice that this progression is not unique to the Hellenistic world the Apostle Paul was living in. The progression from idolatry to sexual perversion to anarchy to judgment is found throughout history.

In the times of Noah and Lot, there was the idolatry of greed, there was sexual perversion and promiscuity, there was anarchy and violence, and finally there was judgment. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel there was idolatry, sexual perversion, anarchy (in which each person did what was right in his own eyes), and finally judgment.

This progression happened throughout the Bible and to Greece, to Persia, to Babylon, and to Rome. And if it happened to these nations, then it can happen today. Unless we return to God's principles, decline and destruction are inevitable.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Dan Kimball-Point Man for the Emergent Church

Because of what has happened in this last week I am putting my new series On Domionism and Reconstructionist off for a couple days to do an expose on Dan Kimball. Dan comes across has a very nice guy.

And well that’s nice.

Dan has a way of showing up at discernment sites trying to further the agenda of the Emergent Church. Often acting as a hurt individual who asks why are Christians so mean. In my opinion this is all some kind of cat and mouse bait and switch game played by Dan. I’ve had an interesting exchange in the past as well with Dan who seems to monitor discernment websites for an opportunity to romance the naive into starting up a dialog with him.

In the past he has came into Ingrid's Slice of Laodecia website and pretty much been put off. Now via Steve Camp Dan is back in their with his nice, hurt puppy dog ways of course just to dialog. Campi also gave Mark Driscoll (the cussing pastor a pass as well)

Is there anything wrong with this? Dan’s theology seems to be more solid than most of the other Emergent leaders such as Leonard Sweet and Brian Mclaren. Let’s start with my exchange through email with Dan where I asked Dan to repent and turn from the New Age rituals such as the labyrinth.

(Me)- Do you think Jesus is the only way to God?

(Dan)- I sent you the PDF file of what we taught and gave out as a handout in our church when we teach on it. Yes, we believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

(Me)- And if you do believe Jesus is the only way why even hang with people like Tony Campolo etc... And I’m not sure that even Brian McLaren knows what he believes his statements are very confusing and contradict each other.

(Dan)- I have never heard Tony or Brian say that they don’t believe Jesus is the only way of salvation. On a recent document talking to critics of emergent, that Brian was part of writing it, it clearly says he believes Jesus is the way of salvation.

(Me)- My biggest problem with guys like you and Tony Jones is the ritual prayer you teach. Jesus never promoted it either does the Bible.

(Dan)- lectio divina is only meditating on Scripture. At least the way we practice it. we read some verses and then leave the Scriptures on the screens and have a time of quiet. It is no different than if you were to be reading your bible, stopped at a verse and pondered and prayed about it. we don’t do; centering prayer in our church.

(Me)- Maybe you believe Buddhist and Hindu roots are ok for something because in your PDF it states.”there are great teachings in other faiths."

(Dan)- the great teachings in other faiths, is where they also say treat your neighbor as yourself etc. but then I distinguish when you go past that, there are extreme differences showing that all roads do not lead to the same mountaintop, so they cannot all be true. I have written an entire chapter on this topic in a book I am finishing up for zondervan.

(Me)- Let me sum it up with this. I think your teaching allows the individual to come to their own conclusion instead of you folks being the preacher and stating” This is the truth now you decide what you want to believe." Statements like "Jesus claimed He was the only way." Which is a true statement but as a teacher where do you stand on the truth.

(Dan)- when I teach, we look to what Jesus said. So when we taught Jesus said He is the only way, then that is what we follow. We follow the teachings of Jesus.

OK- hope this helps.

Dan: end of email

Pleasant exchange Dan is a gentleman and a very nice guy but so what. Doesn’t the Bible state even the devil can come as an angel of light.

Could he come as a nice guy?

If Dan was really as solid a Christian as he seems to be why would he promote, endorse and associate with heretics like New Age teacher Leonard Sweet ( and I’ve read much of Leonard’s work such as Quantum Spirituality) as well as Brian Mclaren. And that’s just the short list.For some solid commentary on what Dan is really all about please check this link. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/dankimball.htm

I believe that the Emergent Church Movement is not of God but of the enemy because of all the New Age, Ancient Catholic and occult rituals that they have embraced in their services.

Why would any solid biblical Christian associate with such folk or engage them in dialog?

What does the Bible teach about this?1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner‚–not even to eat with such a person." This verse is talking about sin.

Is false doctrine and practicing the occult sin? Of course it is.

Romans 16:17-18 "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.Gal 1:6-7 "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ", to a different gospel, not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians pretty much sums up the agenda of the Emergent Church. And if this is indeed a Mars Hill debate you had better know that Paul in the Mars Hill debate in Acts 17 was not talking to believers but to unbelievers.

This again makes my point and so as far as dialog or debate goes refer to the verses I quoted from scripture.

I looked at the replies on Steve Camps website and no one is really asking Dan any hard questions like why he promotes occult and new Age teachers and their rituals.

Instead its just bunch of pseudo intellectual banter.2 Timothy 3:7"always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Dan still endorses the labyrinth which is an occult mystical experience.Here is a link to Dan’s endorsements http://www.vintagefaith.com/links.html

Its a shame that so many including discernment ministries have fallen for Dan’s charm and given him a platform to advance his Emergent agenda but the Bible does state-1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.” So when the point man shows up at your website of course pray for him.

I really hopes Dan repents of the New Age/Occult agenda he is part.But don’t give him a platform.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Spiritual fusion - East comes West

Where does the church go to get the answers? There is a host of new speakers and books today that are trying to feed the spiritual hunger of seekers of a spiritual life. But they are not leading them to Jesus Christ (and His Word- the way it was written) but to a convergence, a synthesis of religious practices. We need to know what the people’s books we read are about and listen carefully to what they are teaching, and watch how they practice their spiritual life to know what they to actually believe. A synthesis of other spiritual practices borrowed from other religions was unacceptable by the apostles and the early church. This Emerging movement is not a return to renew our pure devotion to Christ or apostolic teaching but a “smoothie Christianity,” where they are taking the ingredients of other religions and putting it into a blender to invent a new drink-which some believe is refreshing, drinking it to quench their thirst.

Consider these new statistics “A strange god indeed, as it turns out. In his book, Third Millennium Teens, Barna revealed this stunning fact: 63 percent of church-going, supposedly Christian teens said they believed "Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and all other people pray to the same God, even though they use different names for their god... ...However, the sad fact is that very few of the nation's youth appear to be Bible-believing Christians... Barna found that only 4 percent of U.S. teens can be considered evangelicals. More distressingly, that number is actually trending in the wrong direction. That 4 percent figure "is a far cry from the 10 percent measured in 1995," he said. How could teenagers who go to church so often know so little -- or at least believe so little -- of the historic Christian faith? And whose fault is it?” (A Strange Faith -- Are Church-Going Kids Christian?

We should not be second guessing where these ideas are being generated, from the leadership that is soliciting the youth.

Brian McClaren wants us to learn more about “ meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 255.) Can Zen Buddhism have something to offer that would improve a Christian’s spiritual life when the Bible teaches us that we are already partakers of Christ Jesus’ divine nature? (2 Peter 1:3-11) McLaren cites contemplative meditation promoter Richard Foster as one of the key mentors for the Emergent movement.

Contemplative Prayer that has become an accepted practice of the emergent movement it also has a direct link to Buddhism and other eastern religious practices. Richard Foster considered Thomas Merton’s book Contemplative Prayer “a must book” . . . and credits his [Merton’s] books as being “priceless wisdom for all Christians who long to go deeper in the spiritual life.” Merton wrote “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen (published by Lighthouse Trails Publishing), p. 75.) Thomas Merton commended Hindu - Buddhist, and other mystics as those who had experienced "' union with the God of truth and love.”

The late M. Scott Peck who is popularly read by Christians said, “While I continue to make use of what I have learned from Buddhism, there are aspects of Buddhism [like reincarnation] that I am agnostic about. That means I don't disbelieve it and I don't believe it; I just don't know. On the other hand, I find distasteful the traditional idea of Christianity which preaches the resurrection of the body” (Further Along the Road Less Traveled, pp. 168-169; M. Scott Peck) emphasis mine.

Despite the diametrical differences in the religious beliefs Christianity has always taught in a personal God and the resurrection of the dead; Buddhism rejects this. We have those borrowing Buddhist practices because they believe it will enhance their spiritual living and bring them closer to God. Ken Blanchard of the ministry “Lead like Jesus” sees much can be gained from Buddhism and other religious practices, so he endorses books that promote other religious practices

A new world religion is being birthed right before our eyes? Few had considered those inside the church would be a midwife to this process. But not Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who said, “The fate of mankind, as well as of religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future.” Futurist Pierre Teilhard does not leave us guessing what he means, “a 'religion of the future' (definable as a 'religion of evolution') cannot fail to appear before long: a new mysticism, the germ of which (as it happens when anything is born) must be recognizable somewhere in our environment here and now. (p. 240 Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution)


“... I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe. Thereby, too, my deepest 'pantheist' aspirations it was especially the image of God which Teilhard saw in need of urgent redefinition. Modern man has not yet found the God he can adore, a God commensurate to the newly discovered dimensions of the universe” (Ursala King, Towards a New Mysticism- Tielhard de Chardin and eastern religions, p.172)
Benjamin Creme who is the harbinger for the new Christ of this age (they believe there is a different christed individual for different times) says, The Master Jesus is going to reform the Christian churches” (Benjamin Creme, Reappearance of the Christ, p. 85).
Jesus speaking to Barbara Hubbard said, “Behold, I am writing anew, through scribes on Earth who are willing to listen to me again with new ears, in the light of the present crises on planet Earth” (Barbara Hubbard, The Revelation p. 265).

New age promoter David Spangler writes, “The New Age is here now and the Christ is functioning within the inner realms of the earth, both in his ascended state from the depths of his past ministry and in his greater state of Aquarian Revelation” (David Spangler, Revelation p.144).

This is at least one of the answers on who or what is behind changing the church- a church that should be holding fast to the word in these last days. It is the spirit of the (new) age that is initiating this change; not the Holy Spirit who leads us into the word in the Bible, and has us understand the person of Jesus- who is the eternal living word. This new paradigm introduces us to pantheism, a mystical interconnectedness and interdependence on creation. A new openness to other spiritual beliefs, convincing us that we need more than what was delivered through Jesus Christ. This process of change has begun and the uninformed, those not grounded in the faith and the naïve are at their mercy. What we see today are men who know about Christianity but are willing to intentionally combine it with other religious /spiritual practices. Whatever the reason, even with good intentions, they are exposing the church to things we should not have anything to do with.

Rick Warren has stated that we can find truth in other religions; “There’s truth in every religion, Christians believe there’s truth in every religion. But we just believe there is one savior. We believe we can learn truth from, I believe I’ve have learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there’s one savior Jesus Christ” (Nov.22, 2004 Larry King live) emphasis mine

How is it possible that other religions have spiritual truth unless God revealed himself to them! Any moral/ethical truth found in another religion can always be found in Christ. These religions cannot add one thing to the full and complete revelation we have in Jesus Christ. What truth can one learn from Islam that denies Jesus is God come in the flesh, or Buddhism that does not believe there is a God and there is reincarnation, or Hinduism that believes there are millions of Gods? To believe this is a spirit of error-not truth. To be a representative of Christ and say this to the public discredits what Christians actually believe. It influences others to be open to this kind of thinking.

According to Rosicrucian’s, all religions have possession of truth in part. In a Rosicrucian Digest article titled “Lessons From the Past” the AMORC Imperator explains the fundamental universalism as found in ancient Mesopotamia cults, Egyptology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroaster’s, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The AMORC Imperator who wrote the article explained that all these religions should be looked upon as a beacon; “Let them become light which further pierces the shadows of the unknown” (Rosicrucian Digest article titled “Lessons From the Past”, February 1984, p.4)

The central idea of Universalism teaches that all religions hold elements of the truth and that no religion or religious teacher is fully right or wrong. This is one of the ways to build bridges to other religions, and make them united.

Rick Warren did an audio seminar with Leonard Sweet called The Tides of Change (1995). Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox at
www.pastors.com endorses Sweet. Soul Tsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture (his endorsement is on the front cover.) Leonard Sweet teaches that we have an organic integration with those in the past.
In his book Quantum Spirituality: Under the topic of Sevening (On the seventh day [God] rested and drew breath.) he gives some 10 deep breathing exercises. “1. Get in touch with your lungs by closing your eyes. Visualize in your mind a tennis court” 8.“Hold your Bible and breathe meditatively. The breathtaking, nay, breath giving truth of aliveness is more than Methuselean in its span: Part of your body right now was once actually, literally part of the body of Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Esther, David, Abigail, Moses, Ruth, Matthew, Mary, Like, Martha, John, Priscilla, Paul... and Jesus. 9. Keep breathing quietly while holding your Bible. You have within you not just the powers of goodness resident in the great spiritual leaders like Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Lao Tzu You also have within you the forces of evil and destruction.” Resident in each breath you take is the body of angels like Joan of Arc and devils like Gilles de Rais, Genghis Khan, Judas Iscariot, Herod, Hitler, Stalin and all the other destructive spirits throughout history” (Quantum Spirituality p.300-301)

On the 7th day- did God need to breathe? So while Sweet promotes visualization (Guided imagery), breath (contemplative?) prayers, he slides in the belief of the interconnectedness of life and a synthesis of religions, presenting the founders of these other religions as co-equal in their spiritual teachings with Jesus Christ because of the goodness within them. Like the Bahai’s, and Rosicrucian’s Jesus is then demoted to one of the many in a great line of spiritual leaders. Why have your Bible in your hand doing this spirit exercise unless you read it to see that what Sweet is leading you into is some pantheistic metaphysical process. So we are so interconnected that we breathe in both good and bad angels, all the dead people in history along with the fumes of cars. Sweet needs to take time to breathe some fresh air. What does this have to do with the Bibles teaching??? Nothing. But it has much to do with new age concepts.

This is what the emergence is about, as mystic Wayne Teasdale states “The rise of community among cultures and religious traditions ... makes possible what we can call 'inter-spirituality': the assimilation of insights, values, and spiritual practices from the various religions and their application to one's own inner life and development (Monk Wayne Teasdale)

It all goes back to the source of Alice Bailey, who said, “The great theme of the new world religion will be the recognition of, the many divine approaches and the continuity of revelation which each of them conveyed.”

How much can you change the church and still have it be part of the Christianity that began with the apostles. These men may consider themselves innovators and think deeply about the future but it seems that do not know when to stop philosophizing and read the Bible to see if their direction they are going is the right direction. Yet we are reminded by the wisest man who ever lived (beside Jesus), there “Is nothing new under the sun.” The early church saw the Gnostics and Mystics within their ranks and were willing to oppose them, we see those of the same pursuit among us today, but what will we do? Our decision today will affect our tomorrow, our future. Do we return to the ancient path or pursue what is new?

The Old Transformed into the New

AS THE NEW AGE TEACHES- YOU CAN’T EMBRACE THE NEW WITHOUT LETTING GO OF THE OLD. One enters the new age paradigm by being transformed by an experience. The new way to transform the church- through practices found in eastern religions, giving them a Christian identity. Society, culture and even the church are transitioned over easily with the help of the change agents inside. CHANGE AGENTS: is a term commonly known in New Age literature, referring to teachers, social workers educators, etc. that are there to bring about transformation in the areas of social life, education and the church.

“... [T]he Christian faith also has served its purpose; its Founder seeks to bring a new Gospel and a new message that will enlighten all men everywhere” (Rays of Initiation Alice Bailey, p. 754). Bailey was in contact with a different Jesus who was the driving force behind the messages.

Neale Donald Walsch who wrote the book conversations with God states, “There is only one message that can change the course of human history forever, end the torture, and bring you back to God. That message is the New Gospel: WE ARE ALL ONE.”
Discovering our unity replaces Jesus dying for men's sins. The world has changed and is in denial of their condition. Those who participate in spiritual lifestyles are looking everywhere they can to avoid the real problem, separation from God because of their sinful condition. In the same manner there are Christians that do not give God's cure and instead want the church to keep instep with the changing world.

In his book Soul Tsunami, Leonard Sweet recommends for the church to change. Quoting a book on 'change management' theory ..."Postmodern culture is a change-or-be changed world," he continues. "Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die. Some would rather die than change” (Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami, pages 17, 34, 74-75.)

If the church was disobedient to living by the instructions in the Bible I can understand the admonition to change and be brought back under the apostles instructions, but this is not what these men are addressing. I think we would be better off to stay the course Christ has told us to or we will die by changing to be as the world. Do we really need to listen to those who charm you into something different than the Scripture?

In the second foreword to Dan Kimball's book about the Emergent church Brian McLaren writes “Our understandings of the gospel constantly change as we engage in mission in our complex dynamic world, as we discover that the gospel has a rich kaleidoscope of meaning to offer, yielding unexplored layers of depth, revealing uncounted facets of insight and relevance. No doubt as we look back and see ways in which our modern understandings of the gospel were limited or flawed” (emphasis mine)

If we have offered the unsaved the same gospel that the apostles preached then how can it be limited or flawed? Here is the gospel Paul preached: 1 Cor 15:1-4 “This is the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”

This is the same Gospel all the apostles preached. Paul went on to say in 1 Cor 1:17-18 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” this is what Paul stated- the gospel is has the message of the cross in it.”
How can one change this or adopt it to the culture or the culture into it? Paul did not include any work into the message for SALVATION, not even the Biblical command to be baptized.

In Rom 1:1-4 “Paul tells us the gospel was promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Here to we have the other element, He died and then rose from the dead by the power of God.

Are we to change this or adopt it to the changing culture? Not one time did this gospel change no matter who preached it- Paul- Peter- Barnabas, it was always the same message and its intent was always the same, to save men from sin.

Yet the idea of change appeals to those who are not stabilized in the gospel (in which we stand) and trusting in it ALONE to carry them to their eternal destination. So they opt for new ways to reach out to people.

The challenge to change its content is no less serious today then it was in the early church. Here are some excerpts from what Thomas Hohstadt writes “To begin, our “thinking”--or, more to the point, the way we think--is changing. And--as a result--the way we believe is changing. That belief, of course, is not a different “Word,” it's a different understanding of the Word. For spirituality is converting to new sympathies. Faith is transmuting to new sensitivities. And this Spirit-birthed age is birthing new spirit!”

In other words, we're rapidly approaching a time when the church--as we know it--cannot continue. We are arriving at a moment from which the illusions of the present can never return. We are facing an “essential strangeness” beyond which this era will end.”
“It is the end of something and the beginning of something totally other--a transformation of spirituality--a creative mutation driven by God” (Thomas Hohstadt, future church website) emphasis mine

Totally Other! A Mutation! Is that God driven? Birthing a new spirit. This can transform our spirituality to something totally different than what has been delivered.
It’s time to see this for what it is- The church is under attack from within by those who think the Holy Spirit and Bible are nor longer sufficient for our spiritual life and Growth. They are more than willing to use what is not written then what is written. In fact, they challenge the literal written word by changing its interpretation to be something very different, more hip to our time. Its application is often an introduction to something the Bible never intended.

Just as in Christianity- you are either a missionary or a mission field - in the new age you are either pupil or a teacher. It’s time for us to question why these men want to bring Yoga, meditation or Mantras into the church. Do we not have union with Christ Jesus through His Spirit already? Mysticism always claims to give a spiritual experience that one cannot receive another way. It doesn’t matter if one is a Christian or not, nor does it matter whether the mystical experience comes from anyone of these sources- drugs, yoga, meditation, channeling or a near death experience; in the end the results are often the same: the gospel, the person of Jesus Christ are altered.

Benjamin Creme stated "Times as you know are changing and the changing times bring new personalities indifferent ways into the world of all conceptions of the bible story and the gospel and so on have to change, the people that will find it probably hardest of all to accept Maitreya are the leaders of the Christian and Jewish organizations. ..They had the same problem 2,000 years ago with Jesus, Jesus was there among them and they didn’t recognize him." (Art Bell broadcast, July 10, 1998).

Change and evolution seem to go hand in hand in the new mysticism. What does God say in the Bible? “I the Lord do not change.” So what is influencing this change?
"God is not dead-, but HE CHANGES." In a letter to a friend, he referred to "the transformation... of the 'God of the Gospel' into the 'God of Evolution (Ursala King towards a new mysticism Teilhard de Chardin and eastern religions p.172)

A New Order of Spirituality

The old order is passing but not without some struggles and challenges. Bailey said, “This Inherent fanaticism (found ever in reactionary groups) will fight against the appearance of the coming, world religion ... (Externalization of the Hierarchy, p. 453)
They are aware that many who KNOW Jesus (the real one), truly know Him and will resist this fog that is indiscriminately blanketing the land.

Benjamin Crème says there must be no pessimism as to the future of mankind or distress over the disappearance of the old order” (Reappearance of the Christ, p. 179)

The New age movements promoters want to see the old order gone (Christianity) for the new world and the new man and religion to come forth. The new spirituality is the goal and there are many ways to arrive at it.

“The new spirituality does not reject the earlier patterns of the great universal religions. Priest and church will not disappear; they will not be forced out of existence in the New Age, they will be ABSORBED INTO THE EXISTENCE OF THE NEW AGE.” (William Thompson, in the Introduction of David Spangler, Revelation: The Birth of the New Ag). We should note that Leonard Sweet states he has corresponded with David Spangler and quotes him several times favorably in his book Quantum Spirituality. Sweet says in his footnotes #86. I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.”

David Spangler who Sweet favorably quotes also speaks of Lucifer as: “The true light of this great being can only be recognized when one's own eyes can see with the light of the Christ, the light of the inner sun. Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into the New Age, which is the age of man's wholeness, each of us is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic Initiation, the particular doorway through which the individual must pass if he is to come fully into the presence of his light and his wholeness.

Lucifer comes to give us the final gift of wholeness. If we accept it, then he is free and we are free, that is the Luciferic Initiation. It is one that many people now, and in the days ahead, will be facing, for it is an initiation into the New Age. (David Spangler, Reflections on the Christ, Findhorn Lecture Series, 3rd ed., 1981; p. 45)

Why any Christian would quote someone who is so against the Jesus Christ of the Bible is beyond me. How can any Christian who loves the lord and the truth in His word receive understanding from a man who thinks the way to Christ is through a Luciferic initiation! The implications are more than just being wrong, for Spangler is pointing to the one who opposes God and His church.

Have you been experienced?

The initiation into the realm of darkness (occult) involves an experience of light, Lucifer is the giver of this spiritual light and he has fooled many into thinking it is Christ (Jesus). New Age adherents talk of an experience of light (revelation) that binds them together. Once they are “experienced” they see nearly everything including the New Testament in a different light. It has been called by them a paradigm shift of consciousness.

It can be a flash, a revelation, an impression that can deceive even the most sincere and noble of people. A sense of oneness is almost always tied to nature and/or self- realization. Consider Forrest Shaklee who started the Shaklee vitamin company, born with Tuberculosis he was not expected to live. His parents moved to more fresh air, from a coal mine to a farm. The fresh food and air and family folk remedies attributed to his health improving. It was there on the farm as a very young man that he learned to tune in to what he called the creative intelligence of nature” (audio of Shaklee's leader banquet Minneapolis in 1971). I was still young chap and the folks still lived on the farm and I came home upon Easter vacation and Easter Sunday afternoon. I walked out into the fields out into the meadows of the hay lands where they hay had been freshly cut. And climbed up upon to a stack of hay lying there flat on my back breathing watching the wildlife the swan the crane the geese the ducks all winding there way to the northland for their home breeding ground. I remember the thought came to me what guides those birds back to the same place their parents had deposited the eggs from they came. What is it that will cause them in the fall to come back to the wintry quarters? There was a question in my mind. Has man lost something that the birds have? From that moment on I began to think and feel and endeavor to interpret the meaning of nature. It became a part of me I began to realize that I was a part of nature. Not something … set apart on the mountain the high spot to judge the rest of the animals of the earth. For I too was product of nature perhaps no better than the old cow on the hillside. Being a product of nature it behooved me to cooperate with nature.”

Forrest Shaklee had a mystical type of experience of oneness that changed his worldview and his place in it. His vantage point changed and is similar to many who have journeyed into mysticism and came to the same realization.

Frank B. Robinson (of the Psychiana movement) went into his room and closed the door. Lamenting “O God,” he exclaimed, if I have to go to hell, I'll go with the consciousness that I went there earnestly trying to find you!"

“As the moments passed he stood perfectly still, hopefully waiting for he knew not what. Then he fell to his knees, closed his yes, and heard himself say, "The spirit within me is the Spirit of God, the same spirit that has moved in the lives of all great men. I have confessed this Spirit for many years, but I have also suppressed it. I want to express it from this moment on-fully, completely, perfectly.”

Kneeling there, he felt his mind cleansed of every thought save the thought of the presence of God. His eyes filled with tears and he found himself breathing deeply, repeating with very inhalation words which seemed to have been whispered to him, "I believe in the Power of the Living God!"

He had the vivid feeling that he was not alone in the room. He could sense the Presence of something or someone, although lie could see no one nor hear anything but the words he so earnestly repeated. Yet something had drawn aside a curtain deep within him and he seemed to be standing face to face with the Power that is life. No longer, he said later, did he feel a limiting consciousness; he felt only a single, specific sense of complete unity with God. In that gashing moment of insight, he realized as never before that he was the inner counterpart of a divine creative power. From then on he was convinced that he was the personalized activity of cosmic force. Those who have experienced something similar call it conversion. Others refer to it as a religious experience, or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Robinson called it "talking with God" and after that Sunday afternoon he was a changed man.” (P.159 Strange Sects and Curious Cults by Marcus Bach, Dodd, Mean & Company, New York 1962)

There are many who claim to hear a soft voice, see a light or are enraptured in an experience of beauty and believe it to be God. Despite the feeling they received or the knowledge gained, if it is not related to the Bible and tested they have been deceived by the master of all deceptions.

Richard Foster says he read 300 books on prayer in a few months, Classical books. “I have read everything I could lay my hands on about formation prayer and covenant prayer adoration prayer and sacramental prayer and centering prayer and meditative prayer, intercessory prayer healing prayer authoritative prayer and so much more.” Foster has become a major influence behind the scenes in this Emergent church movement.
On his audio set Richard Foster tells a story of Paddy Chayefsky, a play writers experience with what Foster believes is God. Foster prefaces this with “Who lived his life as if God did not exist ...total self centerness using people.”

One night while he was writing in his Park Avenue apartment the living God came roaring into Paddy Chayefsky’s life with hurricane force and experience with both his head and his heart the wild passionate pursuing love of God for him… He was caught up in an ecstasy of Joy. God loved him just the way he was.

He tore up what he was writing, wrote a new play that ran on Broadway for 2 years called Gideon. Chayefsky projects himself into the lead character Gideon his own decisive encounter with God.

Gideon has a life of abusing and using other people for his own selfish pleasure. Gideon cannot think of one single action in his life where he ever tried to be kind, or loving or caring or thoughtful. But that night out on the desert the God who made the Pleiades and Orion come tearing into Gideon's life and Gideon experiences the unconditional love of Jesus Christ for him personally that he loves him just the way he is, not the way he is supposed to be… that he loves him beyond fidelity and infidelity…

Gideon cannot sleep all night. “I want to take you into my tent wrap you up and keep you all to myself. God will you tell me again that you love me. God answers “I love you Gideon”. Say again to me God, “I love you Gideon”. Finally Gideon scratches his head, “I don’t understand God- why, why do you love me?” “God scratches his head and answers I really don’t know” (Foster laughs) And then God adds- Gideon sometimes passion isn’t reasonable, sometimes my Gideon passion is unreasonable” (Richard Foster- Prayer- Finding the Hearts True Home, audio, Zondervan publishing 1992)
Does God not know something; especially why He loves us? Does he not tell us the why He sent His Son to die for us! This God did not know anymore than Gideon.
I looked up Paddy Chayefsky on the web to see if there was ever a hint of his converting to Christ from Judaism. There was none. Believing in God is not the same thing as knowing Christ through the gospel. One can invent their own view-point of whom they want God to be. It was stated- Only one of the members of Chayefsky's minyan-Hirschman, the venerable Cabbalist-openly professes belief in God...

His play on Gideon was described as a dramatization of the biblical story of Gideon, Chayefsky arranges a philosophical debate between the reluctant Gideon and God over issues of free will, obedience, and self-sacrifice.

I also found this in the Commentary Digital Archive- 398. “God save us from people who do the morally right thing. It's always the rest of us who get broken in half. 21. I don't know what's good, or bad, or true. I let God worry about truth. I just want to know the momentary fact of things. Life isn't good, or bad, or true. It's merely factual. It's sensual. It's alive!”

Why would Foster use this story about Paddy Chayefsky as if it was an authentic experience with God in his prayer series? The answer is simple- Richard J. Foster is a Quaker minister who is into mysticism and experiences. Foster has made himself acquainted with medieval mystics which he refers to as “masters of the interior life,” he is convincing many to believe this way. Foster quotes numerous mystics - Teilhard de Chardin, Meister Eckhart (a Dominican monk who lived in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries who ranks among the great Roman Catholic mystics.) Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, the order of the Jesuits. Teresa of Ávila, John Woolman, George Fox, and St. John of the Cross, Agnes Sanford and others.

Foster teaches the techniques found in the New Age such as quietism, centering, Buddhism, Yoga, mantras. In his book Celebration of discipline foster endorses the rosary and prayer wheel use (p. 64); promotes Roman Catholic practices such as use of “spiritual directors,” confession, and penance (pp. 146-150, 156, 185).

Foster says, “Christian meditation is an attempt to empty the mind in order to fill it.” Foster is educated enough to know the difference. Emptying the mind in eastern thought gives one leeway to the spirit world and brings on counterfeit (mystical) experiences. Christian meditation is thinking and pondering on the Scripture, the very opposite.
Foster is convinced of other methods, that use imagination, visualization, dreamwork, centering, and breathing can all be useful by Christians for spiritual growth. He cites their use in church history (Christian mystical traditions). Foster encourages centering exercises and concentrating on one's breath, also a common Eastern technique: Another meditation aimed at centering oneself begins by concentrating on breathing. Having seated yourself comfortably, slowly become conscious of your breathing. This will help you to get in touch with your body and indicate to you the level of tension within. Inhale deeply, slowly tilting your head back as far as it will go. Then exhale, allowing your head slowly to come forward until your chin nearly rests on your chest. Do this for several moments, praying inwardly something like this: "Lord, I exhale my fear over my geometry exam, I inhale your peace. I exhale my spiritual apathy, I inhale your light and life." Then, as before, become silent outwardly and inwardly. Be attentive to the inward living Christ” (193:25, Celebration of Discipline. reference “Can you trust your Doctor by Ankerberg and Weldon)

This is right in line with new age disciplines of meditation. Nowhere does the Bible instruct us to do this type of exercise, neither does it teach that we receive peace in this way.

Foster Explains his view of celebration: “We of the New Age can risk going against the tide. Let us with abandon...see visions and dream dreams....The imagination can release a flood of creative ideas [and] be lots of fun.” (Celebration of Discipline, Harper & Row, 1978, p. 170)

We of the new age! A revealing a statement. Numerous books and speakers have gained access to the church, introducing strange and mystical practices to our young and old. These men are using new revelations, new methodologies to achieve a spiritual life, maturity and experiences. None of which are spoken of in the Scripture. We should heed the words of Paul who tells us not to exceed what is written.

Many of the emergent movement’s leaders look to Foster for a spiritual influence for their direction. What Foster is teaching opens up one's belief to accept things outside the faith delivered to the saints. Why would any Christian recommend practices or books that are not from Christian teaching in the Bible.

As Christians (those who believe and follow Christ as our life) we should be careful to avoid the use of practices found in other religions. We should even avoid if possible the same language used in the occult and mystics, lest we be misconstrued as approving these practices or be identified with them.