Sunday, October 21, 2007

Christian Extremism

This is the year where we as solid bible believing Christians are going to start seeing the intolerance grow towards us more and more. Can you guess where the majority of these attacks will come from? The mainstream churches.

One of the most surprising predictions was made several decades ago by one of my favorite pastors, J Vernon McGee. He predicted that true believers - even here in America - will eventually have to go "underground." But he also added...

"The attacks against them will come from the denominational churches"

Source: The Coming Extremists

Have you noticed it? Have you noticed how the apostatizing, doctrinally illiterate, unity-at-all-costs professing churches are increasingly focused on "reconciliation" between the denominations and how eager many within the "leadership" of these ecumenical movements are to part ways with sound doctrine in order to foster a false temporal "peace" among the visible churches?

Don't you find it interesting, even troubling, that seemingly disparate yet highly influential individuals such as the Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Ken Blanchard, Richard Foster, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Erwin McManus, Leonard Sweet, Robert Schuller and Brian McLaren who represent the entire spectrum of seeker sensitive, purpose driven and emergent/emerging churches are basically saying - and teaching - the exact same sorts of things?

They seek to establish Christ's kingdom on earth.

They speak of a "return to Eden".

They espouse a man-centered gospel message.

They often speak of "new frontiers", "changing times", "new spirituality".

They often recommend mystical, occultic practices such as lecto divinia, prayer centering, breath prayers, the labyrinth, meditation, and yoga.

Friends, New Age mysticism and outright occultism has deeply infected the broader professing church. Doctrines of demons are taught from pulpits, books, podcasts and the internet at an astonishing rate. Children are being indoctrinated into and exploited by these shameless wolves in sheep's clothing as they are introduced to mystical practices such as contemplative prayer and centering at the pre-school level. The enemy is no fool and he well knows the best way to corrupt entire societies is to corrupt their children.

Today's wolves who are ravenously rending Christ's little flock can be found smiling for the camera and posing with rich and famous, the powerful and influential, of this world as they go about teaching damnable heresies and perverting the Word of God for their own fleshly gain.

More interesting still is how these false teachers all move, as if guided by an unseen hand, toward the same goal: unity. They ask the age old question why can't we all just get along?.

"We have more in common than we realize", they say.

"Let's put aside our doctrinal differences work together for the good of Christ and to advance His kingdom" they say.

"Let's feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help the poor" they suggest.

It all sounds so warm and fuzzy, after all what type of Christian could really refuse to feed the hungry, or put aside a few doctrinal "differences" in order to reach out to poor indigent children who are living a hellish existence in some third world country? Who wouldn't want to see these goals achieved? Why, they'd have to be evil, they'd have to be stubborn, they'd have to be crazy fundamentalists, they'd have to be Christian extremists to stand in the way of the Lord's plan for His church!

Yes, those who believe the fundamentals of the Christian faith are fundamentalists. Is that a bad thing? Is it improper to fundamentally follow the tenants of the Christan faith? Is it wrong to adhere to the Word of God with unflinching loyalty, even in the face of so-called reasonable compromise? Everyone else is doing it..."yea hath God said?"...can you hear the hiss?

If there's one thing lacking in the Body of Christ today it's discernment, and if there's one thing that isn't lacking it's compromise. Today's professing church is wide and shallow. It's a big tent that welcomes everyone who doesn't flatly and plainly reject anything and everything about the Bible, and even outright denial of the faith won't necessarily exclude you from having a best-selling book at a Christian bookstore.

Consider the following quotes from authors who are readily available from LifeWay Stores courtesy of Lighthouse Trails Research:

Ken Blanchard "Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I ... invite you to begin your journey to enlightened work." (Blanchard) foreword What Would Buddha Do At Work?

Thomas Keating/Basil Pennington "For the centering prayer practitioner, regular practice of "contemplative" prayer sets in motion a dynamism of "divine psychotherapy, organically designed for each of us, to empty out our unconscious ... As this false self is dismantled, we come to see our true Self, the center of which, so say proponents, is God." (Keating) "[I] n centering prayer we go beyond thought and image, beyond the senses and the rational mind, to that center of our being where God is working a wonderful work, just sitting there, doing nothing. Not even thinking some worthwhile thoughts or making some good resolutions-just being." (Pennington)

Richard Foster "Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center" Chapter two -Quote by Thomas Kelly from Richard Foster's book, Streams of Living Water

Tony Jones "Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter. Do you show up at a dinner party with your neighbors and ask, 'What's this dinner party's position on absolute truth?' No, you don't, because it's a non-sensical question." (Jones)

Dan Kimball "We have neglected so many of the disciplines of the historical church [e.g.,Desert Fathers], including weekly fasting, practicing silence, and lectio divina." (Kimball) The Emerging Church

Doug Pagitt "When people discover we are a church with a yoga class ... they sometimes assume that we're simply out to appeal to the cultural creatives and the neo-hippies." (Pagitt) Reimagining Spiritual Formation

Erwin McManus "The Barbarian Way was, in some sense, trying to create a volatile fuel to get people to step out and act. It's pretty hard to get a whole group of people moving together as individuals who are stepping into a more mystical, faith-oriented, dynamic kind of experience with Christ. So, I think Barbarian Way was my attempt to say, 'Look, underneath what looks like invention, innovation and creativity is really a core mysticism that hears from God, and what is fueling this is something really ancient.' That's what was really the core of The Barbarian Way. (McManus)

Brother Lawrence "It is said of Brother Lawrence that when something had taken his mind away from love's presence he would receive 'a reminder from God' that so moved his soul that he 'cried out, singing and dancing violently like a mad man.' You will note that the reminders came from God and were not his own doing." (quotes by Brother Lawrence, from The Practice of the Presence of God, 1977, HarperCollins )

Leonard Sweet "The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people 'in-phase' with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another." (Sweet)

Rick Warren "Who's the man of peace in any village - or it might be a woman of peace - who has the most respect, they're open and they're influential? They don't have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they're open and they're influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that's going to bring the second Reformation." (Warren)

Mark Yaconelli"1.Choose a sacred word or phrase 2. Consistently use the same word throughout the prayer. 3. Begin silently to repeat your sacred word or phrase." (Yaconelli)

Spencer Burke "I stopped reading from the approved evangelical reading list and began to distance myself from the evangelical agenda. I discovered new authors and new voices at the bookstore-Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and St. Teresa of Avila. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. Contemplative spirituality seemed to open up a whole new way for me to understand and experience God. I was deeply moved by works like The Cloud of Unknowing, The Dark Night of the Soul and the Early Writings of the Desert Fathers." (Burke)

All of the mentioned names above promote mystical meditation and contemplative spirituality.

My advice for those out there who are still clinging steadfastly to the revealed Word of God, who refuse to join the crowds as demonic pied pipers lead countless myriads of souls down the broad way that leads to destruction is after having done all to stand, stand upon God's eternal and unchanging truth as revealed in the Holy Bible. Oh, and fasten your seatbelts - spiritualy speaking - because I think we're going to be in for a bumpy ride.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)