Archive for the ‘The Emerging Church’ Category
LTRP Note: Over the past 13 years, we have noticed a trend: Once a Christian college begins to incorporate contemplative spirituality into the lives of their students and faculty, views toward homosexuality, evolution, and interspirituality begin to change. The following story is a case in point as Wheaton College has been on the contemplative prayer college list for several years.
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
WHEATON, Il. – A prominent evangelical college is defending its decision to allow the formation of homosexual student group on campus.
Wheaton College is a private evangelical school located near Chicago. Established in 1860, the school enrolls approximately 3,000 students and operates under the motto “For Christ and His Kingdom.”
Due to the college’s Christian heritage, Wheaton’s Student Handbook requires all students to “abstain from … same-sex sexual behavior,” and the school’s Community Covenant condemns “homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman.” However, two groups of Wheaton-affiliated students and alumni have recently presented challenges to these policies.
OneWheaton encourages students to embrace their homosexuality
“We do not believe there is anything wrong with being gay,” the group said in a media release. Click here to continue reading.
“[C]ount it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
This chart is an attempt to answer those who judge Christians by the atrocities committed in the name of “Christianity” through the ages — including our own times. Those wars, persecutions, and cruelties had little to do with Biblical Christianity. They had everything to do with man’s greedy, power-hungry human nature which seeks its own ways rather than God’s. The ungodly expressions of our human nature may change from culture to culture, but the result is usually the same: the people imagine a god that fits their new cultural wants and values, and they learn to see this distortion of Christianity as the true church.
Biblical Christianity means being joined to Jesus Christ through faith in what He did for us at the cross, then allowing Him to live His life through us, so that others might know Him and see His love. (That love may include sharing His warnings as well as His promises with those in need.) The established Church, like Old Testament Israel, has always tended to drift away from its devotion to God and become just other institutions, subject to the same human impulses and painful consequences as the rest of the world. Please don’t blame human evils on a “straw-man” or a convenient cultural distortion of Christianity. Consider some of the differences between Biblical faith and today’s cultural deviations.
Only understood by those who are joined to Christ through the cross
Believed by the masses to represent genuine Christianity
|It is…||A personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, based on faith. John 17:20-26; Rom. 8:37-39||A religion based on humanist logic, “feel good” experiences, and popular interpretations of Scriptures.|
|Come to God through…||Faith in Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself in His Word and by His Spirit. John 14:6||Faith that our own good works and intentions are good enough.|
|View the Bible as:||The absolute, unchanging, Word of God. The Bible is inspired and guarded by God — including its honest reports about evil acts among God’s people. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet 1:25||A collection of guidelines, allegories, myths, and stories useful for good living. Offensive verses must be ignored.|
|Our goal is…||God’s approval. To know Him, do His will, follow His way, and live each moment in fellowship with Him — by His wonderful grace! Gal.1:10||People’s approval. To please, not offend, the world and its communities. Fun, feel-good fellowship.|
|Source of Strength||God’s unlimited grace and power. Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:19||Our human abilities — plus God’s help when “needed.”|
|See our human self as…||Weak and inadequate apart from Christ. 2 Cor. 12:9-10||Strong and capable if we have confidence in Self.|
|See sin as…||Leading to spiritual bondage and death. Rom. 6:23||A normal part of life. Ignore it, or you might offend someone. Or enjoy it, for “God understands” you needs and inclinations.|
|Deal with sin through…||Confession and faith: trusting Jesus as the “Lamb,” our Savior who bore our sins on cross. Rom. 6:1-6||Try to do better next time, or just tolerate it. Don’t offend anyone by making them feel guilty.|
|Caring for people…||Bring people to Christ. Demonstrate God’s love. Trust God to meet needs by His Spirit working through our surrendered lives. Rom. 12:9-18||Bring people to the church or group. Don’t tolerate uncompromising Christians who might offend people. Do to others as you would have others do to you.|
|Response to suffering:||Trust God to use suffering to deepen our faith and endurance, prepare us for ministry, and demonstrate His love and power. 2 Cor. 1:3-11||Pray, endure, and trust that God will help. It’s okay to challenge God’s love, power, and purpose — and to seek quick relief through whatever means available — no matter how it conflicts with His Word.|
|Commitment:||Trust and follow God. No compromise. Rather die than betray our Lord. Rom. 12:1-2||Trust and follow feelings and human logic. Compromise essential to avoid offending the world.|
|Expect to…||Face rejection and persecution. John 15:20-21||Get along and influence the world.|
|Outreach:||Bring God’s love and good news to the needy, then bring the needy to Jesus.||Adapt the church to the “community” so that everyone will feel at home.|
|Daily hope:||Eternity with Jesus, our Shepherd and King. 1 Peter 1:3-9||Success, acceptance of all people, fun and fellowship in this life.|
To read this entire article, click here.
IF it is of God—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering by Cedric Fisher is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of IF it is of God—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering, click here.
IF IT IS OF GOD—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering
By Cedric H. Fisher
IF:Gathering came in like a storm, one of those winter events that seem to appear out of nowhere. No one saw it coming. A team of highly popular women—authors, bloggers, and speakers coming together—what a great idea. But it wasn’t novel. Professing Christians have been making pilgrimages for decades to high-energy conferences with a star list of speakers and singers. As with so many of these other conferences, IF purported to do the work of God. However, IF was unique in that it was mostly a digital event. It was greatly effective.
The IF:Gathering held its second event in February of 2015 and involved 1200 women at the physical location, with a possible 100,000 or more watching by 40,000 live links in more than 120 countries. The ongoing influence of IF after the conference has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of women all while flying under the radar of pastors and church leaders who may be accepting IF:Gathering at face value, not knowing anything about this group of high energy talented women leaders.
After reading the list of IF speakers and researching information about them, I have become convinced that IF poses a significant risk to Christian women, who unwittingly are submitting themselves to IF’s speakers and teachers. The danger? It comes in the form of emergent ideology, spiritual formation, and contemplative spirituality (contemplative prayer is a mantra-like “prayer” practice that vitalizes the “progressive” “new” Christianity (i.e., the emerging church). Thus, I am compelled to report on my findings regarding IF.
How did IF:Gathering come about and is it ordained by God? These are questions every responsible Christian needs to ask concerning anything claiming to be a new move or revelation from God. Those questions are especially important during such a time as this, a time when the church is suffering from great deception and apostasy. Is IF influencing women to draw nearer to God or rather leading them onto a spiritually dangerous path to heresy?
IF’s Beginning—A Whisper from the Sky
The 2015 IF:Gathering did not end when the conference was over. It continues to function through the network established before the conference occurred. Its influence continues through local churches and individuals who hosted the event, through social media, available videos of the event, and the “IF:Table,”* all of which have the potential to reach countless more women and evolve into a major women’s movement. If that occurs, it will help set the agenda of how the future generation perceives and implements Christianity.
The first statement on their website under “Who We Are” is:
We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.1
The founder of IF:Gathering, Jennie Allen, is a bright and energetic, best-selling author, blogger, and popular speaker. She appears sincere and dedicated to ministering to people. She and her husband have been involved in ministry for a number of years. However, since she is the founder, we must consider her activity, her influences, and her statements about the birth of IF:Gathering.
Allen is a Bible teacher who had been teaching groups of girls and young women since high school. She studied at the University of Arkansas for three years, completed her B.S. in Communications at Carson Newman College in Tennessee, and graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Biblical Studies in 2005. It would be two years after her graduation from DTS when she had an experience that birthed IF: Gathering.
Allen signed a multi-project contract in 2011 with Thomas Nelson, which included a series of seven DVD-based Bible studies and two trade books. Her first study released in 2011, followed by another one released in 2012. Her first trade book was also released in 2012. Allen’s book Restless: Because You Were Made for More and the Restless video-based Bible study were released simultaneously in January 2014, a month before the first IF:Gathering.
Allen was also one of the speakers in the neo-emergent Nines Conference in 2014, which hosted a speaker lineup that included some of the main influences in the New Christianity movement.
How did the IF:Gathering originate? There are different and conflicting explanations given by Allen. The first account was presented by Allen in the initial IF:Gathering in Austin, Texas, 2014:
About 7 years ago, a voice from the sky—that doesn’t often speak to me—but that day there was this whisper. It was the middle of the night, actually. And it was “Gather and equip your generation.” And this was ridiculous, because honestly, I was a stay at home Mom, I didn’t know anybody that could help me with that job. And it was a completely ridiculous statement. So ridiculous that I just, for two days my bones hurt, and I didn’t know what to do with it. My bones hurt, for two days.
I thought, Okay God, what do you want me to do? Wisely my friend said, “Jennie, if it’s God,” cause it may not be. All voices from the sky are not always God, FYI. But, “if it’s God, then He’s going to give you everything you need to accomplish His purposes. So just wait.” And so I waited, and that was seven years ago, guys.2
Allen eventually came to believe it was God who whispered. She would wait several years for Him to put IF: Gathering together. However, a year after the account of IF’s birth that she gave in the 2014 conference, she posted another account on her blog:
Truth is, IF:Gathering began as more of a hunch than a vision.3
A month later, and one year after her first account, Allen gave another account of how the IF came about during the IF: Gathering February, 2015:
I mean, 7 years ago, 8 years ago now, I heard a voice that . . . well, okay, I didn’t. This is like all different theologies right now. Okay, just give me grace. I don’t know, but I’m just telling you, in the night I woke up, and I was overcome with these words, “Disciple a generation.”
But I sat on it. I put it in my back pocket and said, “Okay God, if you want to do something crazy like that, you’re gonna have to make it happen.”4
I read Allen’s book, Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and My Soul, written a couple of years after her experience with the sky whisperer. In her book, Allen describes deep intimacy with God and willingness to obey Him completely. However, she does not mention anything about Sky Whisperer or his commission to organize the IF: Gathering. I find that puzzling. What better place to introduce and expound on such a life-changing intimate experience and surrender than in a book describing full surrender?
I’m willing to concede that there could be a good reason for the inconsistencies of her accounts as to how IF came about. But an individual whom God supernaturally calls to accomplish a significant work should give a credible and unambiguous account of that call. One could say, “I saw a need and did my best to meet it.” However, when one says, “I heard a voice from God,” a different standard is involved. The reason is because something that has a supernatural event as an origin will have a much greater weight of influence. It presents the individual as a special agent of God, just as any of the figures in the Bible whom God used to accomplish unprecedented purposes. It almost immunizes the revelation and the individual from critical examination.
Therefore, I believe it is proper and reasonable to examine Jennie Allen’s statements concerning the origin of the IF: Gathering. The questions are: “Is Allen’s explanations of the origin of IF:Gathering convincing and does she provide viable and credible information that concludes IF: Gathering originated from God? One should prayerfully consider those questions and ultimately should ask: if it’s origin is in question and if it’s founder is involved in emergent conferences, can IF:Gathering produce good fruit? The next section concerning the speakers in IF:Gathering may help answer that last question.
For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. (Luke 6:43-44)
IF, The Speakers: Ambassadors of God or Emergent Collaborators
If Jeannie Allen did indeed hear supernaturally from God, and if God supernaturally equipped her to organize the IF:Gathering, we would expect good fruit from the conference and the speakers. We would not expect people who are influenced by emergent, New Age, and other aberrant authors and teachers. It is logical to expect that the speakers would be stellar Christian examples.
Space does not permit me to deal with all the conference speakers, so I have chosen several whom I believe need to be examined. They are listed in alphabetical order.
After reading portions of her book, Jesus Feminist, I get the impression Sarah Bessey believes that Christianity is stuck with the Woman Suffrage movement somewhere in the 1920s. She references radical feminist, social activist, and journalist Dorothy Day in her book and seems to draw from secular feminism. From that concept, she tries to invent a need for radical feminism in Christianity, presenting bizarre commentary on the Scriptures to back up her position. The following quote illustrates her view:
Many of the seminal social issues of our time—poverty, lack of education, human trafficking, war and torture, domestic abuse—can track their way to our theology of, or beliefs about, women, which has its roots in what we believe about the nature, purposes, and character of God.5
In the back of Jesus Feminist under “Further Reading,” Bessey offers a book titled How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership, which includes essays from emerging church authors Tony Campolo, John Ortberg, and Bill and Lynne Hybels. Jesus Feminist also has endorsements in the book by Brian McLaren and Tony Jones. On her blog, she lists among her favorites A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren and Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.6 She also promotes The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen.7 There’s no question that Bessey resonates with the views of these men.
With such emergent and contemplative influences, how can good fruit be produced by this speaker?
Christine Caine claims Joyce Meyer as her “spiritual mother” and lists Word of Faith preacher Sheryl Brady as a dear friend calling her “flat out the best chick preacher of the word.”8 Caine has “preached” in seeker/emergent Steven Furtick’s mega church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The following is transcribed from Caine’s opening statement in Furtick’s church:
This place is a little bit like God, take this in context, in that like you are omnipresent. You are here. You are across the room. You are down the street. You are all over the worldwide web. It is like wherever you look, here we are and it is my honor and privilege to be here, I couldn’t wait.9
Caine also declared that her heart was “knitted” to Furtick. One whose heart is surrendered to God could not possibly be knitted to an individual such as Furtick. Journalist and researcher Jim Fletcher says this about Furtick:
Steven Furtick . . . mentored as he is by evangelical bigwigs like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, felt bold enough to post a YouTube video in which he sneeringly challenged what I’d call traditional Christians to basically get out of the way, because their time is past. Presumably, to Furtick, it’s the “new generation’s” time now, so step aside with your stodgy hymns and expositional preaching style. . . . Masked a bit by a pious nod toward humanitarian causes, the leadership of this group is quite nasty, albeit in subtle ways.10
Further, according to the itinerary on Christine Caine’s website, she will be speaking at NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) leader Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California in August 2015 in the Bethel Women’s Conference. Why does this matter? It shows a pattern of being willing to associate with people and “minister” in churches that are teaching and promoting false and dangerous teachings.11
Melissa Greene is the pastor of worship and arts at GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee. The church made national headlines in January of 2015 as senior pastor, Stan Mitchell, declared his church now accepts homosexual marriage.12
When I pull up Greene’s website, I immediately notice the picture of her sitting in a Yoga position. In a May 25th, 2014 message on her website titled “Worth,” Greene admits to reading emerging church pioneer Brian McLaren’s book, A Generous Orthodoxy (and McLaren spoke at GracePointe in the fall of 2014). Greene favorably quotes other prolific New Spirituality names: Phyllis Tickle, Richard Rohr, Frederick Buechner, Rob Bell, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Thomas Merton, Peter Gomes, Aldous Huxley—a list that reads like a veritable who’s who in emergent and contemplative heresy.
In “Worth,” Greene declares that, “Christianity is broad and diverse.”13 Considering that many of her influences accept all religions as being of God, there is no doubt to what she means when she states this. Greene also made the audacious statement: “The most devastating fear in people’s lives is the fear of God.”14 She attempts to validate her statement by taking verses out of context and misapplying them. What does God’s word declare?
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
For thousands of young Christian-professing women to submit to someone like Melissa Greene could have a detrimental effect.
In Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted: When Jesus Wreck Your Comfortable Christianity, she makes it clear that she is influenced by a number of New Age/New Spirituality individuals. She quotes Catholic priest and contemplative activist Richard Rohr and emergent leader Shane Claiborne. On her blog, she promotes the book, The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson, a book that encourages readers to draw circles around specific things in order to have more answered prayers. Batterson was inspired with this idea by an ancient sage.
In Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, she reveals that her family takes part in a Roman Catholic ritual with mystical origins, the “Seven Sacred Pauses.”15 Hatmaker got her inspiration from Seven Sacred Pauses, a book by Macrina Wiederkehr who is a spiritual director in the contemplative prayer movement. In Wiederkehr’s retreats, seekers are guided through experiences of silence, contemplation and lectio divina (a contemplative practice where words and phrases from the Bible are repeated in mantra-like fashion). The “seven sacred pauses” are seven times a day to pause and pray, which Wiederkehr describes as “breathing spells for the soul.”
Consider Hatmaker’s statement concerning the preaching of God’s Word:
I have spent half my life listening to someone else talk about God. Because of this history, I’ve developed something of an immunity to sermons.16
This is eerily similar to the sentiment of Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees), who once, as a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, expressed her dissatisfaction (and eventual rejection) of the preaching of God’s Word. That led Monk Kidd down a path away from the Christian faith and straight into the New Age. Today, she worships the goddess Sophia.
This disgruntlement of God’s Word is so prevalent among leaders of the emerging New Spirituality church. If not preaching, then what? Is it emotionally charged conventions and books with flowering, poetic phrases that open up to spit out a toxic drop of heresy? If Hatmaker is immune to preaching, she has rejected God’s method in favor of her own.
Ann VosKamp’s highly popular book, One Thousand Gifts, is peppered with favorable references to and quotes by various mystics, pantheists, and universalists. The following is a list of some of those influences:
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Evelyn Underhill, Brennan Manning, Annie Dillard, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Kreeft, Walter Brueggemann, Francis de Sales, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Henri Nouwen, and Jean-Pierre de Caussade. She also quotes mystic Catholic nun Kathleen Norris on her blog.17
You may not have heard of all these names, but in my research, I have found that they all embrace a panentheistic mystical-based spirituality. For VosKamp to quote and reference so many authors in this category shows she is embracing and absorbing the spirituality of these figures.
In the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts, “The Joy of Intimacy,” Voskamp writes:
Mystical union. This, the highest degree of importance. God as Husband in sacred wedlock, bound together, body and soul, fed by His body, quenched by His blood . . . God, He has blessed—caressed. I could bless God—caress with thanks. It’s our making love. God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us . . . couldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin . . . The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy . . . To enter into Christ and Christ enter into us—to cohabit.18
This is what contemplatives consider “intimacy” with God, as if God is more a lover or a boyfriend than the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, and our beloved Savior. This is what millions of young Christian women are being introduced to.
The question is, are Sarah Bessey, Christine Cane, Melissa Greene, Jen Hatmaker, and Ann VosKamp really called from God as they profess to be? While I won’t question their sincerity, I must ask the questions: How can the IF:Gathering be ordained by God? How can Jennie Allen have supernaturally heard from God concerning her conference? And how could righteous God Almighty have sanctioned a movement that is so influenced by diabolical sources?
The IF:Gatherings promise great solutions, but in practice, they covertly chip away at biblical concepts of God, the Holy Spirit, and biblical Christianity. They are based on flawed concepts masked by alluring phrases. Like all other emerging church “coaches” and mentors, the IF leaders intend to solve the problem of what they insist is failed Christianity. They believe a replacement—New Christianity—is the solution.
Considering the influences of the speakers, the IF:Gatherings will lead to dangerous, alternate spirituality. The Conference overwhelms susceptible women with music, visuals, and emotional camaraderie. When their hearts are prepped and open, provocative questions are presented, and answers that conflict with God’s word are offered.
IF the Fruit is Good
When I was a worldling, I visited the notorious Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Fresh from the Oklahoma hills, I had never witnessed anything remotely like it. One thing that fascinated me most were the barkers. The barkers were men who stood outside of the many establishments attempting to coax passersby to enter them. They were so convincing. Their skills had been honed by trial and error. Bending to the persuasive and captivating power of their words, I entered one of those establishments. Once inside, I was shocked at the total absences of morals. Although it made my cheeks blush, and my moral upbringing urged me to leave, I was with a couple of friends and didn’t want to be considered a prude. So I stayed. The longer I stayed, the more I got used to the immorality. The more I got used to it, the more I wanted of it.
The speakers at the IF:Gathering are barkers. They are luring many professing Christian women with persuasive and captivating words. A repetitive error I noticed in the Conference was that a speaker would set up a straw man, and then mix the answer to it with Scripture. She would then insist that the conclusion was a valid point. An example was when Jen Hatmaker argued that we cannot possibly know all of God. She quoted a Scripture from Romans 11:33. Her conclusion was that because we cannot know God fully, it is not detrimental to faith to have doubt. However, faith does not depend on knowledge, but trust. Lack of knowledge should not make us doubt, but rather a lack of trust. This was a prevailing theme at IF.
Hatmaker also insisted that God set us free simply to set us free; that He set us free for us. Again, this does not agree with God’s Word:
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
We were created for God’s purpose, to worship and serve Him. He set us free so we could belong to Him to honor and serve Him with all our hearts, mind, bodies, and spirits.
One constant thing that made me cringe was the cavalier attitude that some of the speakers, especially Jennie Allen, exhibited toward God. At one point, Allen, says, “Darn it, darn it,” and goes off on a rant implying that God is stupid, mean, and that His plan is absurd. The rant came only minutes after she declared she was nearly overcome with reverential fear of God.19
In Melissa Greene’s “Worth” sermon, one comes away with the following conclusions:
Certainty is bad; Questions (and no answers) is good.
The old-fashioned faith of our parents and grandparents is outdated and irrelevant.
References to numerous mystics and emergents
The “text” (the Bible) is OK, but there is so much more to be grasped.
In the end, everyone is saved.20
As I mentioned earlier, Greene admits to reading Brian McLaren, and from the content of the “Worth” video, McLaren’s spirituality has become her own. The IF leaders hope to lead as many women as possible into the same direction as Jennie Allen declares:
While I wish I were a more confident, rebellious pioneer, God had to nearly force me to the wild, new path He had for IF. I am however compelled to call as many of you as possible to the roads less traveled because there are many wandering who may never make it up to the highway.21
[God] will take this hell on earth and someday show us how hell was building heaven.22—Jennie Allen
The IF conferences are full of emotional manipulation with videos of heartbreaking stories and impassioned pleas to do something; draw near to God, have more faith, win the lost, help the less fortunate, etc. At various points in the 2015 conference, a speaker would burst out in an impassioned plea to do something about the plight of humanity as if it were the fallback position when passion was otherwise lacking.
IF’s leaders insist that biblical Christianity has failed as a viable work of God and that God and they are bringing forth a cure—New Christianity.
I fear that IF’s excellent adventure is advertisement for a mass departure from God’s Word. Rather than having their faith built up, participants are encouraged to question “traditional” Christianity. And those who are giving the answers—the IF women—are unfortunately getting their information from emergents and mystics who present a different gospel and another Jesus.
It is addictive, this linguistic confection. The mind is overcome with giddiness. But is it of God? Or is it rather a “beautiful” seduction? I believe the latter is true.
To order copies of IF it is of God—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering, click here.
* IF:Table is a dinner hosted by one person on the second Sunday of each month. It is described as six women, four questions, two hours (https://ifgathering.com/new-to-the-table/)
1. IF:Gathering website, “Who We Are”: https://ifgathering.com/who-we-are.
2. Jennie Allen, 2014 IF:Gathering: https://ifgathering.com/if-gathering-2014.
3. Jennie Allen’s blog, “How to Leave Normal”: https://ifgathering.com/2015/01/how-to-leave-normal, January 21, 2015.
4. Jennie Allen, IF: Gathering: https://ifgathering.com/2014/09/ifgathering-2015, February 2015.
5. Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women (New York, NY: Howard Books), p. 169.
6. Sarah Bessey’s blog: http://sarahbessey.com, December 30, 2008.
7. Ibid., July 17, 2008.
9. Christine Caine, Elevation Church, Code Orange Revival 2012, http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/codeorangerevival (some of her sermon can be watched at: http://www.god.tv/code-orange-revival/night-4-anything-is-possible-with-god).
10. Jim Fletcher, “‘Hip’ church gives biblical Christians new label: ‘Hater’” (WorldNetDaily, http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/12/hip-church-gives-biblical-christians-new-label-hater/#JEfipOHtSOZJfZeD.99).
11. Read John Lanagan’s article/booklet titled The New Age Implications of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson where it discusses Johnson’s propensity toward “quantum spirituality” (the belief that God is in everyone).
12. Elizabeth Dias, “Nashville Evangelical Church Comes Out for Marriage Equality” (Time Magazine, January 29, 2015; http://time.com/3687368/gracepointe-church-nashville-marriage-equality).
13. Melissa Greene, “Worth” (http://melissagreenemusic.com/tag/worth, May 25, 2014, watch video at: https://vimeo.com/97252399, 22:40 minutes to 22:47 minutes).
14. Ibid, 24:18 minutes to 24:25 minutes.
15. Jen Hatmaker, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2012, Digital Edition), Kindle location 3266.
16. Ibid., Kindle location 435.
17. Ann VosKamp, (http://www.aholyexperience.com/2006/11/memorizing-word).
18. Ann VosKamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), pp. 213, 216-217.
19. Jennie Allen, IF:Gathering; Session 1- 03.
20. Melissa Greene, “Worth,” op. cit.
21. Jennie Allen, “How to Leave Normal,” op. cit.
22. Jennie Allen, Restless: Because You Were Made for More (Nashville, TN: W Publishing, 2013), p. 74.
To order copies of IF it is of God—Answering the questions of IF:Gathering, click here.
As a professional musician, singer, and recording artist, Cedric Fisher was deeply immersed in the darkness of the secular music business and its trappings. He was addicted to drugs and alcohol. There was no thought of God in his life, but he dabbled in I Ching, Transcendental Meditation, believed strongly in reincarnation, witches and wizards, gods, and experienced demonic activities, including levitation and apparitions. In 1978, while playing a gig in Lubbock, Texas, he decided to purchase a Bible. Early in the morning after the gig, he started reading it. Not wanting to read such a large book without knowing whether it would be interesting, he began reading the last chapter. After reading Revelation 3:20, he kneeled by the bed and prayed. He was gloriously saved and instantly delivered of addiction and the torment that had driven him to it!
Today Cedric is an ordained minister and the director of Truthkeepers, a web-based ministry warning about spiritual deception in the church. He and his wife, Cheryl, live on the East Coast where he pastors a small house church that he pioneered. His past experience helps him to identify diabolical darkness that masquerades as Christianity today. Cedric believes God has called him to not only prepare believers to be equipped to avoid deception and apostasy but also to expose the heresies that have inundated modern Christianity.
Are Bible-Believing Christians to Blame for the World’s Problems As New Spirituality Leaders Suggest?
As the world continues to plunge into further darkness and despair, “new” spirituality leaders say it is the church’s fault, particularly that of rigid Christians who won’t bend their beliefs or convictions. While Christians certainly are not without sin, true believers are not causing the world to fall apart. It is happening for one reason alone … man’s sinful condition. We are each responsible for the sin in our own lives. The Bible is clear that the penalty for sin is death. We all, each and every one of us, have had a death sentence meted out to us. But we have also all been offered a free gift of salvation.
As Christians, God expects us to reach out to those suffering and in need. When Jesus dwells in a human being, He convicts and He communes with that individual. He has saved us from destruction, and He desires to live in us and fellowship with us. And He compels us to live righteously and care about those less fortunate than ourselves.
The world is in trouble because of sin. And Jesus commissioned us as believers to go out into the world and preach the wonderful Good News of His free gift of salvation to all who come to Him by faith. Satan hates this Gospel message, and he hates the messenger, the church. Is it any wonder that as this new, self-deifying reformation takes form, its followers will grow increasingly hostile to those who preach the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Ironically, the emerging “progressive” church, which says its main goal is to help the suffering and to help eradicate the world’s problems, is not pointing the world to Jesus Christ and His body. Rather it is rejecting the atonement, locking arms with a religion (Catholicism) that teaches we are justified by works rather than by grace alone, embracing mystical practices and altered states of consciousness, and pulling these suffering lost souls further and further away from the only thing that will ever help them—a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ, who explains very clearly who He is:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:7-11)
By Erik G.
I saw the article, on Tony Campolo: “Christians Should Vote for Hilary.” It was quite revealing. Well on his website (redletterchristians.org), he wrote a short article called, “Going the Jesus Way” (http://www.redletterchristians.org/going-the-jesus-way/). He describes what the “Red Letter Christians” are all about. It’s off the mark to say the least. So I sent a response to this article and was wondering if you would be willing to look it over and consider it for a potential posting. Thank you, and I truly appreciate the work that you all do.
A response to Tony Campolo’s Article “Going the Jesus Way”:
1st – Anyone who takes God’s word seriously understands that the emphasis needs to be on all of it and not just those of a particular shade, and certainly not on politics or any “new movements.”
2nd – It is true that Jesus was far from being political. So if He transcends political identities, then we shouldn’t be using His name as a way to promote a political agenda with all of those political issues mentioned.
And yes, the label “Evangelical” surely has been distorted, but the “Red Letter Christians” are currently involved in distorting. Tragically, they’re teaching a false Gospel by leading people, many of whom may be seeking after God’s truth, to believe the lie that the black letters of the Bible are of lesser value. Evidently, Jesus vehemently disagreed when He used Old Testament Scripture and said, “..Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the MOUTH OF GOD” ( Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3). Obviously, Jesus had a high regard for the Scriptures. It’s ironic that the “Red Letter Christians” actually missed those red letters. Or is it?
Any born again believer knows that this sort of erroneous doctrine peddled by the RLC’s is simply foolishness. Born again? Popular culture has distorted those words as well. The RLC’s must know that Jesus said in bright red letters that being “born again” is something that we must become. Jesus also said that if we love Him we must do what He says (John 14:23). So as a display of integrity to their current label, it might serve them well to be sure they’ve obeyed this command. Then they can just call themselves born again Christians. Why reinvent the wheel? Plus, what better label could a real Christian want than one that Jesus Himself came up with. The red letters are the most important, right?
3rd – If the RLC’s don’t believe in the equal importance of all Scripture, then they don’t believe in any of it (Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Also, in Matthew 6, Jesus has nothing to say whatsoever about holding a higher regard for His own words. The RLC’s take on Scripture is so often distorted and off the mark that they appear ignorant of it. It’s a lot of babble with no backbone. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what color the letters are, all of God’s word is true (John 17:17, Psalm 119:160, Proverbs 22:21, Proverbs 30:5, Ephesians 1:13-14, James 1:18), inspired by God, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and He gave His children the Holy Spirit to discern all truth (John 16:13).
For the record, Jesus used Old Testament Scripture to overthrow Satan, and those black letters had the final authority against each attack by the evil one (Matthew 4, Luke 16:29, 31). Jesus honored the Scriptures and even criticized people who were ignorant of them (Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24). So, to clear it up for the RLC’s, many of the red letters were used precisely to establish the complete authority of the black letters. Jesus said it, so that should settle it. The red letters are still the most important, right?
Statements like the following demonstrate either an unfamiliarity with, or an ignorance of the word of God: “What is more, we are convinced that the black letters in the Bible cannot be understood unless you read them through the Jesus you find in the red letters.” Well God’s word says, “My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge”(Proverbs 8:9). So does Mr. Campolo and crew lack understanding? Are they void of the knowledge of God? It would appear so based on the quote above. Any man that is convinced of false notions that do not line up with God’s word cannot be trusted. God has plainly revealed to us that the whole of His word is pure and true and agreeable. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will convince the RLC’s of this. If not, they’ll just be reading the Scriptures in vain.
4th – As Mr. Campolo correctly points out, we are disciples of Jesus if we do what He commands us to do. But it seems the RLC’s idea of a disciple is one who gets involved with politically charged issues and then throws in the name of Jesus to make it sound pious. But the issue here is being a disciple of Jesus and doing what he says. Helping the poor, for example, certainly is something the Lord asks of us, but we must also listen to Him when He says things like, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.” As the RLC’s shamelessly choose to deny God’s full authority by placing (claiming to place) more emphasis on the red letters, they still fail to walk their own walk and actually do all that Jesus says when they cherry pick the red letters that suit their taste and ignore others.
Their call to RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP has an appearance of Godliness but denies God’s complete rule. Here’s some more red letters, “Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings” (Matthew 15:9). Being radical is irrelevant, it’s following Jesus without compromise that matters. Again, we don’t need any “new movement,” unless it’s one that aims at preserving the purity of the entire word of God and standing firm on it. If the red letters are the most important to the RLC’s, then they should practice what they preach and start living by them.
Coming to Christ Through Mysticism? by Roger Oakland
“I think there are Muslim brothers and sisters who are willing to say, “You live up to the truth as you understand it. I will live up to the truth as I understand it, and we will leave it up to God on judgment day.”
“I think that what we all have to do is leave judgment up to God. The Muslim community is very evangelistic, however what Muslims will not do is condemn Jews and Christians to Hell if in fact they do not accept Islam.” – Tony Campolo(1)
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
PHILADELPHIA – Tony Campolo, false teacher and former spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton, is urging Christians to vote for Hillary as president, claiming that she is a Christian woman who will help to lower the abortion rate in America.
“I like Hillary Clinton. We are personal friends,” he wrote in a recent article for Religion News Service. “I am more than willing to do all I can to help Hillary Clinton get elected. Should she ask me to organize an Evangelicals for Hillary committee, I would be more than willing to do so. I believe in her. And you should too.”
As previously reported, Campolo serves as one of the leaders at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, which is part of the National Baptist Convention USA and American Baptist Churches USA. In the 1990’s, he served as a spiritual adviser to then-President Bill Clinton, including during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Campolo’s wife, Peggy, is a homosexual activist and believes that the Church should be accepting of same-sex “marriage.” While Campolo personally opposes same-sex nuptials, he believes the government should recognize civil unions. Campolo is also regarded as being a mystic as he teaches that his “intimacy with Christ was developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholic mystics call ‘centering prayer.’” Click here to continue reading.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT – Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God
Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God by Sandy Simpson is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God, click here.
Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God
When did ANY of the Patriarchs and Prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles or Jesus Christ in the New Testament ever claim that the “supreme beings” of the nations were Elohim/YHWH, the one True God? And yet, this very thing is being taught by popular figures within the Christian church today.
I have ten questions for the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People (WCGIP) adherents such as Don Richardson, Daniel Kikawa, the late Richard Twiss, Terry LeBlanc, Danny Lehman, Aloha Ke Akua, YWAM as well as many in the Emergent Church (EC). The questions arise from their claim that the “supreme beings” of the nations are all the True God, YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have included Scripture verses with each of the following questions, and the footnotes provide further documentation.
10 Questions with Scriptural Answers
1. Did Abraham claim that the God who called him from Haran was the same as the god Baal of the Canaanites?
So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:4; emphasis added)
The word for “LORD” in the above verse is YHWH, the name of God, the I Am. Baal was a false god of the Caananites, not YHWH. The “supreme beings” of Canaan were actually a polytheistic couple, Baal and Asherah, as in all ancient cultures modeled after the false religion of Nimrod and Semiramis at Babel.1
2. Did Joseph, upon being taken to Egypt, tell the Pharaoh they had always been worshipping the true God by the name of Amen (Amon)?
The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him. (Jeremiah 46:25)
The God of Israel, thus the God of Joseph, said He would bring punishment on the false “supreme being” of the Egyptians and the leaders who worshipped it. The “supreme beings” of Egypt were Amen and Mut.2
3. Did Moses, after going up to the mountain of God, come down and tell Israel their worship of the Golden Calf was good because it was the same as the worship of YHWH?
[T]hey have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 32:8)
The golden calf is contrasted against the true God of Israel by Moses. Interestingly, the golden calf was not only an idol meant to take the place of YHWH, but it was a symbol of the Pharaoh who was considered a “god” by the Egyptians.
I have established that the only god specifically called a “Golden Calf” by the ancient Egyptians in their writings is Pharaoh in the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts (these texts exist into later New Kingdom times in reworked formats). In these texts, Pharaoh calls himself a “Golden Calf,” born of heaven, who wishes to be allowed to board the sacred solar bark or boat, which carries the Sun god each day across the heavens. Pharaoh was called “Son of the Sun” and in New Kingdom times “the Sun,” in letters from Canaanite princes addressed to Pharaoh Akhenaten (reigned ca. 1350-1334 BCE).3
So Israel wanted to go back to Egypt and back under the rule of Pharaoh who was to be worshipped as a “god.”
4. Did Joshua, in conquering the nations in Canaan, claim that Baal was the True God?
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. (Judges 2:8-13)
During the time of Joshua, the people of Israel worshipped the true God, by in large. But a generation after Joshua died turned away from YHWH to the worship of Baal & Ashtoreth. The “supreme beings” of Canaan were the Baals and Asherahs.4
5. Did Elijah test the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel just for a good laugh because Baal was really the True God?
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)
The whole conflict was between the false god Baal and the true God, YHWH. Postmodern “progressive” inclusivists of today would have never had this showdown. It would have shown that inclusivism is garbage. The “supreme beings” of Canaan were the Baals and Asherahs.5
6. Did Jonah tell the people of Nineveh to repent to their god el, who was not Elohim but the consort of Athirat?
Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:1-2)
And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (Jonah 3:1-5)
Anytime you see the word “LORD” in capitals in English Bibles, it is the word “YHWH.” YHWH sent Jonah to Nineveh, and when they heard that God was going to judge them, they repented. Jonah then got angry because they were Gentiles who worshipped false gods.
The origin of the name Nineveh is obscure. Possibly it meant originally the seat of Ishtar, since Nina was one of the Babylonian names of that goddess.6
El and Athirat were the “supreme beings” of Ninevah.7 They were not worshipping the “El” Who is YHWH but a generic singular El which means “god.” They were continuing in the polytheistic worship of Babel which was the worship of a male and female supreme beings.
7. Did David tell the Philistines to continue to worship the god Dagon because he was the same as YHWH?
And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. (1 Samuel 5:7)
The statue of Dagon fell twice in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, and the men of Ashdod admitted that their god was different from the God of Israel. The “supreme beings” of the Philistines were Dagon and Derceto.8 Emergent inclusivists of today would say that since Dagon was a “supreme being,” he was the true God, and they would get Bible translation societies to include his name in the Ashdod Bible.9
8. Did Daniel tell king Nebuchadnezzar to continue the worship of Marduk as the One True God?
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (Daniel 4:33-37)
Nebuchadnezzar had to be taught a lesson by the LORD (YHWH) so he would be humbled and recognize who the True God was. He had built a ninety foot statue either of himself, Nimrod, or Marduk since Marduk is a direct link to the worship of Nimrod. The “supreme beings” of Babylon were Marduk and Astarte (continued worship of Nimrod and Semiramis).10
9. Did Ezra and Nehemiah ask the Persians if they could rebuild the Temple as a tribute to the Persian god Ahura Mazda?
The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. (Ezra 7:19)
The king Artaxerxes ordered that the temple implements be returned so they could eventually rebuild the temple of the “God of Jerusalem.” This was not for the Persian gods but for the True God. The gods of the Persians were Ahura Mazda and Spenta Armaiti.11
10. Did Paul use a clever missiological technique by telling the Greeks that God is Zeus, or the Romans that He is Jupiter or the Ephesians that He is embodied in Artemis?
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. (Acts 14:11-18)
This situation is entirely consistent with Paul teaching over and over again that the Gentiles “do not know God.” Paul was there to bring them the Gospel, not to syncretize their own god with the God of the Bible. This is exactly what he did in Aereopogus also when he explained to them Who the “Unknown God” was, and most of them did not want to hear the truth.
Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (Galatians 4:8)
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians. 1:21)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. (Romans 1:28)
[N]ot in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God. (1 Thessalonians 4:5)
. . . that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)
[I]n flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
The “supreme beings” of the Greeks were Zeus and Hera, though Zeus had a number of other consorts spawning a pantheon of gods.12 Jupiter and Juno were the “supreme beings” of Rome, again spawning a pantheon of other gods.13 Artemis was a virgin goddess, never married, but was the daughter of Zeus and Leto.14
The obvious answer to the questions above, both from the Bible and historical records, is a resounding “No.”
. . . that ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them. (Joshua 23:7)
For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:5)
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:5)
The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen. (Zephaniah 2:11)
There is only one Name (Jesus Christ) under heaven by which men may be saved.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
And yet present-day false teachers claim a person can be saved by “general revelation” of “God” without the revelation of Jesus Christ. Please read the book that Mike Oppenheimer and I wrote about this titled Idolatry in Their Hearts where we concisely document this situation.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
This is abundantly clear in the books, messages, and DVDs put out by such teachers on this subject and now in the book by Don Richardson called Heaven Wins. The WCGIP and EC false teachers also cannot answer the many verses in the Bible, which state that the Gentiles “did not know God.” This type of teaching constitutes a grand delusion in the last-days apostasy and a new radical Replacement Theology where the one True God of the Bible is replaced with “supreme beings” from all cultures and Israel is replaced by all the nations. This heresy has even helped Bible translation societies to put the names of the false gods of the nations into the Bible! That’s how dangerous such teaching is. It undermines the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself and puts at risk the eternity of millions of souls.
1. See http://home.comcast.net/~chris.s/canaanite-faq.html.
2. See http://socsci.colorado.edu/LAB/GODS.
3. See http://www.bibleorigins.net/EgyptianOriginsGoldenCalf.html.
4. See http://home.comcast.net/~chris.s/canaanite-faq.html.
5. See http://home.comcast.net/~chris.s/canaanite-faq.html.
6. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineveh.
7. See http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa102197.htm.
8. See http://voices.yahoo.com/biblical-overview-history-philistines-1952417.html.
9. See http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/GenericandSpecific and also http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=8655.
10. See http://home.comcast.net/~chris.s/assyrbabyl-faq.html.
11. Sarah Iles Johnston, Ancient Religions (Harvard University Press, 2009), p. 199.
12. See http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/zeusgirl.html.
13. See http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/roman.
14. See http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Artemis.html.
Note: For more information on the false polytheistic gods of ancient times, read my article “Monotheism in Ancient Cultures is Virtually Nonexistent” at: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/monotheisminancientcultures.html. It is important to note that in virtually every culture from Babel on, the “supreme beings” were not monotheistic gods but rather male/female pairings patterned on the worship of Nimrod and Semiramis of Babel. Also note that every one of these “supreme beings” spawned a pantheon of other false gods to be worshipped.
“His Name, the only one”
By Sandy Simpson
And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9; emphasis added)
And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zechariah 14:9; NASB; emphasis added)
Many self-proclaiming Christians who are influential in the churches are promoting the worship of God in the names of other gods. Here are just a few examples:
There is an unwarranted skepticism towards the heathens’ possession, if at all, of a very limited and low knowledge of the divine from the so-called “natural/native religion.” The adoption of a local name for the universal God will facilitate mutual transformation of both Christianity and the native religion and culture.1—Society of Biblical Literature (Bible Translation Society)
I love all religions. . . . If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.2—Mother Teresa
Richard Twiss was on the 700 Club show with Gordon Robertson (Pat Robertson’s son) and in an interview he told Gordon that the Great Spirit of the Indians is the same as the Holy Spirit. Robertson heartily agreed.
So by finding the native name of God which in, in Japan we found that name Ameno mi-naka-nushi which means the God in the glorious center of heaven and he is their creator God who created everything. And so we found this name of this creator God there, and it immediately says he’s a Japanese God and he loves them.3—Daniel Kikawa (WCGIP leader)
You can keep your own religion—Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism—you just need to add Jesus to the equation. Then you become complete. You become a Buddhist with Jesus, a Hindu with Jesus, a Muslim with Jesus and so on. You can throw out the term Christianity and still be a follower of Jesus. In fact, you can throw out the term Christian too. In some countries, you could be persecuted for calling yourself a Christian, and there is no need for that. Just ask Jesus into your heart, you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian.4—Rick Warren (pastor of Saddleback Church)
New Light embodiment means to be ‘in connection’ and ‘information’ with other faiths. To be in-formation means to know each other’s songs almost as well as one knows them oneself, and to enlarge the community to include those whose conceptions of God differ from ours in form. . . . . One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna. A globalization of evangelism ‘in connection’ with others, and a globally ‘in-formed’ gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim—people from other so called ‘new’ religious traditions (‘new’ only to us)—without assumption of superiority and power.5—New Age sympathizer, Leonard Sweet (emerging church author)
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.6—Henri Nouwen (Catholic mystic)
From a YWAM Foundation magazine article:
The Charisma article noted: “Messianic Muslims, who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy which is being tried in several countries.” A YWAM staff writer wrote: “They continue a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God’s mercy for them. . . . YWAM is also adopting this approach in India, where a team is working with a Hindu holy man.7—YWAM
We walk side by side, fellow travelers on life’s pathways. I speak of being awakened to the wonder and mystery of the world, using words that reflect my window to the divine, the one whom I call my Lord and my God, Jesus, the Risen Christ. You, too, speak of being awakened to the wonder and mystery of the world, using words that reflect your window, to the divine through the teachings of the Buddha, of Baha’u’llah, of Lord Mahavir, of Muhammad, teachings from the Torah, the Guru Granth Sahib and the Vedas. As I hear you speak and as I look into your eyes, I see God. I feel God. I experience God in you, not just a partial reflection of my Christian God, but the creator, the divine spirit in whom we all live and move and have our being. How magnificent is this divine force that it should appear across the Earth like the flowers of a garden in so many different shapes and hues. . . . There is no place for religious exclusivism in Christianity. It has been arguably the single greatest source of human misery during the past two millenniums. It must be replaced by an understanding of the interwovenness of all life, of all religious traditions.8— Victor Kazaniian, JR. (an Episcopal priest)
Allah is not another God. . . . we worship the same God. . . . We can and should investigate and learn from the wisdom in other religions.9—Peter Kreeft (professor and author, often quoted in evangelical books)
We know the things the major faiths can agree on. We try to focus on those without offending those with different viewpoints, or without compromising the integrity of my own Christian commitment.10—Robert Schuller (Crystal Cathedral)
Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we’re all doing God’s work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we’re laboring hand in hand to repair the breach.11—Schuller
The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being, whether the person knows it or not.12—Schuller
It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish context. . . . Is our religion the only one that understands the true meaning of life? Or does God place his truth in others too? . . . The gospel is not our gospel, but the gospel of the kingdom of God, and what belongs to the kingdom of God cannot be hijacked by Christianity.13—Brian McLaren (emerging church leader)
For those who are His true worshippers, Zechariah 14:9 is a wonderful hope; and for those who claim that God can be worshipped in the names of the supreme beings of the nations, the verse is a dire prediction. Those deceived ones have forgotten that there is only One Name under heaven by which men may be saved.
In his name (Jesus Christ) the nations will put their hope. (Matthew 12:21)
Not in other names like Allah, Baal, and I’o.
[A]nd repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)
The true proclamation of the Gospel must be done in Jesus’ name, not in the name of the false demonic “supreme beings” of the nations.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
Only those who have believed in the name of Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah), become the children of God. All men are the creation of God but only through the Son can anyone become a child of God.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Only those who believe in the name of Jesus Christ will have eternal life. (John 20:31)
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43)
The whole Bible testifies of the salvation in the name of Jesus Christ.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
There is only One God, YHWH, and always has been. The angels are not gods, humans are not gods, the demons are not gods. There is only One God eternally existing in Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. (Mark 12:32)
There is no other God and no other Name.
[Y]et for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
1. Archie C. C. Lee, “ God’s Asian Names: Rendering the Biblical God in Chinese” (SBL Forum, n.p. [cited Oct 2005]. Online: http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=456).
2. Edward W. Desmond, “Interview with Mother Teresa: A Pencil in the Hand Of God” (Time Magazine, December 4, 1989), pp. 11, 13.
3. “Word to the World interview with Daniel Kikawa” (February 16, 2006, #9). He has also promoted that the name of God in Hawaii is I’o.
4. Rick Warren at the 2005 United Nations Prayer Breakfast, September 2005. Quote is from transcript of Warren’s talk that was provided to Lighthouse Trails Publishing. See also: “Rick Warren Speaks about Purpose at United Nations” by Rhonda Tse (Christian Post, September 14, 2005, http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050914/21340_ Rick_ Warren_Speaks_about_ Purpose_at_ United_ Nations.htm);
5. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality (Whaleprints, United Theological Seminary, 1991), pp. 129-130.
6. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1998), p.51, as cited in A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen.
7. Foundation magazine (a YWAM publication), May/June 2000, p. 39.
8. Victor Kazaniian, JR, Episcopal Life Forum, June 1998, p. 20.
9. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996), pp. 30, 79.
10. Graham Jefferson, “Hour of Power; Program is a platform we use to help people” (USA Today, March 23, 1989), citing Robert Schuller.
11. Robert Schuller, My Journey (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 2001), p. 501.
12. Robert Schuller (Possibilities Magazine, Summer 1986), p.12.
13. Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), p. 293.