Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

News Updates from Understand the Times

How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church

LTRP Note: As evangelical/Protestant churches fast continue to plunge into apostasy and as we head closer to that final hour, this article written by Roger Oakland is as much relevant today as it was when he wrote it a few years ago – perhaps even more so.

By Roger Oakland

The world is changing. So is the Christian evangelical church. There was a time— not that long ago—when the Bible was considered to be the Word of God by the majority of evangelical Christians. Now that we are well into the third millennium and the post-modern, post-Christian era, the term evangelical can mean almost anything. What has happened? Why is this happening and what is the future for mainstream Christianity?

For the past several years, I have been speaking around the world on current trends that are impacting Christianity. After these presentations, I am approached by Christians who come from many different church backgrounds. Many are expressing their concerns about what is happening in their churches, troubled by the new direction they see their church going. While they may not always be able to discern what is wrong, they know something is wrong and that it needs to be addressed.

Further, many have told me they have attempted to express their concerns with their pastors or church elders. In almost every case, they were told they had a choice to make—get with the new program or get out of the church.

This move towards a reinvented Christianity (one designed to “reach people”) seems to be here for the long haul. It is not just a passing fad. I am often asked by concerned brothers and sisters in Christ to provide an explanation in order to help them understand what they have encountered. They want to know why these changes are underway and what to expect in the future. As well, they want to know what, if anything can be done, to stem this tide. It is for this reason I am writing this commentary—to provide biblical insight regarding the Emerging Church and where it is heading in the future.

The Gospel According to the Scriptures

Throughout church history, various trends have come and gone. While culture changes from place to place, biblical Christianity has always been based upon the central message of the Bible which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message never changes.

This gospel message is about who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done. A child can understand the gospel message. This message proclaims that life here on planet earth is finite and that life after death is eternal. The good news is that we can be saved from our sins if we will repent and simply ask for forgiveness and follow Him.

How we respond to the gospel message during the time we have on earth determines where we spend eternity—heaven or hell. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, provided a way and the only way we can spend eternity with Him. It is a matter of making a personal decision whether or not we will accept the plan He has provided.

God’s adversary does not want mankind to understand the simple message. His plan is to deceive the world. If he can blind people from the gospel or convince them that they believe the gospel when indeed they do not, his plan has been successful. Throughout the ages, countless billions have been duped, either rejecting the truth, or believing that they had believed the truth when instead they had been deceived.

The Gospel According to Postmoderism

Times change! However, the gospel must remain the same no matter what else changes. We are now living in the postmodern era. In a sincere attempt to reach the postmodern generation with the gospel, it seems many Christians have become postmodern in their thinking.

Perhaps the term postmodern is new to you. Let’s examine what it means.

First, the modern era was characterized by a time of rational thinking based on factual observation. Many claim the modern era ended in the mid 1900s.

The postmodern mindset moves beyond the rational and the factual to the experiential and the mystical. In other words, in the past it was possible to know right from wrong and black from white. In the postmodern era all things are relative to the beholder. What may be right for you may be wrong for someone else. There is no such thing as absolute truth. The only thing that is absolute is that there is no absolute.

We now live in a time in history that is characterized as postmodern. Professors at universities teach students there is no right or wrong. All things are relative. The gospel message to the postmodern mindset is far too dogmatic and arrogant. They say it is necessary to find a more moderate gospel that can be accepted by the masses.

Many church leaders are now looking for ways to reach the postmodern generation. They believe they can find the appropriate methods to do so without changing the message. However, in their attempt to reach this postmodern generation, they have become postmodern themselves and have changed the message. As the gospel is fixed upon the Scriptures, the gospel cannot change, unless of course it becomes another gospel. I believe this is what is happening in the Emerging Church.

He Didn’t Come

Many have noticed that since the turn of the millennium, their churches have changed positions on Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus. Many have given up on the return of Jesus. From the ‘60s on there was an excitement about the imminent return of Jesus. The Jesus People were excited about Bible prophecy and could see signs that Jesus would descend from the heavens for His Bride at any moment.

The year 2000 was of particular importance. When Jesus didn’t show up, it seems many were apparently disappointed. “Perhaps Jesus has delayed His coming,” some have said. Others are even taking the position that He may not be coming at all, at least not in the manner we have been taught. They are now convinced that we need to be busy about “building His Kingdom” here on earth by “whatever human effort is required.”

The Gospel of the Kingdom

One of the main indicators that something has changed can be seen in the way the future is perceived. Rather than urgently proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures and believing the time to do so is short, the emphasis has now shifted. No longer are “signs of the times” significant. The battle cry is very different. A major emphasis among evangelicals is the idea that the world can be radically improved through social programs. Click here to continue reading.

Strong Reader Response to Let There Be Light

Late last fall, Lighthouse Trails released Roger Oakland’s apologetics biography, Let There Be Light. We call this book an apologetics biography because interwoven in the pages of Roger’s life as an evolutionist-turned-creationist is a defense of the Gospel and a contending for the biblical Christian faith, addressing several vital issues (for example: the emerging church, road to Rome, Calvary Chapel, abortion, evolution, and the New Age). The book is an emotional and hard-hitting read as many of our readers who have already read the book have been telling us. One of the reasons we believe the response is so strong is that those reading it are resonating with Roger’s struggle to get other Christians, including pastors, to take his warnings seriously. Some of the people who have contacted us have expressed their own frustrations and struggles in trying to get their families, friends, colleagues, and pastors to take heed to their exhortations about watching out for spiritual deception.

Below is an excerpt from the book. This episode took place prior to Roger becoming a Christian. Also, click here to see the first 13 pages of the book, including Table of Contents and Prologue. Also this excerpt from another chapter is available to read.

(from Chapter 7 of Let There Be Light by Roger Oakland)

My head rolled woozily on my shoulders. I squinted, clumsily trying to insert the house key into the lock of the front door. It was three o’clock in the morning and all I wanted to do was to get inside and slip into bed unnoticed. As I struggled with the lock, I was unaware that I was making enough noise to wake the dead. To my horror, the door suddenly flew open, and I was confronted by the angry face of my wife. A sick, sinking feeling rose in my stomach.

“Where have you been?” she pleaded, her voice heavy with emotion and exhaustion. “Don’t you have any consideration for me?”

I noticed how red-rimmed her eyes looked. I tried to form some words of apology, but my dull brain wouldn’t cooperate with my mouth. As I flopped down onto the living-room couch, Myrna broke into a flood of tears.

“Can’t you see what’s happening to us? There’s nothing left between us anymore. You don’t even care if I exist. All you can think about is yourself.”
I raised my hand to try and stem her tide of hostility. “Calm . . . calm down,” I said, desperately trying to gather my thoughts. “Let’s just go to bed. Everything will be okay tomorrow.”

Myrna, however, would not let me off the hook that easily.

“No, it’s not going to be okay,” she shouted. “I tried to go to sleep tonight, but I couldn’t. This was the one night I wanted you to be at home so I could talk to you. And now you come in like this. There’s no use talking to you now.”

“What do you want to talk about? Let’s talk about it right now. What is it that’s bothering you?” Desperately I tried to focus my mind.

Myrna worked as a nurse at the obstetrics department at the University of Saskatchewan Hospital. She was employed in the delivery suite where the majority of her work dealt with delivering babies. The ward was also used for performing abortions. Over the past few weeks, a number of nurses had asked to be transferred to another department because they didn’t want to assist in the abortions. This same issue had troubled Myrna as well, but she had not publicly protested her feelings. In previous discussions, I had told her not to worry about it. As far as I was concerned, she should have no moral reservations because “abortion was not a moral issue.”

However, on this particular day, a heartbreaking scenario had taken place. An abortion that had been performed by saline procedure had resulted in a baby being aborted while it was still alive. The baby was then placed in an incubator along with the other premature infants in the hospital, where it quickly died. Seeing this whole procedure had created an emotional dilemma, causing Myrna to lie awake, constantly rehashing the issue. She had desperately wanted to talk with me about it. I, of course, had spent the whole evening at a bar, solving the problems of the world.

“Myrna, we’ve talked about this in the past,” I said, trying to form my words in a cohesive manner. “I wish you wouldn’t become so emotionally distraught over such a minor issue. A fetus, while it’s developing in the womb, isn’t even human. It’s just a blob of cells undergoing division.”
Myrna had punched one of my sensitive buttons. Her words had triggered me to explode with one of my well-prepared, pro-abortion speeches.
For the past several years, I had been involved in developing a teaching aid to help students comprehend the process of cell division. As an instructor, it became apparent to me that students at the university level did not understand some of the most basic concepts of biology, one of which was mitosis or cell division. In order to help them comprehend the details regarding this very basic process necessary to the perpetuation of life, I had designed a teaching kit to visually illustrate mitosis.

At a recent biology show at the university, I had prepared a display designed to demonstrate how cell division was essential to the development of life from a single cell through to the fully developed embryo. For the latter stages of the development of the embryo, I had obtained some human embryos from the University Hospital that had been preserved in formaldehyde. I had proudly displayed these specimens in order to draw attention to the display and to demonstrate that the human embryo is a product of cell division.

“The fetus that died in the incubator was no different from the embryos I display in the pickle jars,” I growled impatiently. “So forget about this nonsense and let’s go to bed.”

Myrna looked at me with frightened eyes, wondering if I was even human anymore. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was in a deep sleep. But for Myrna, the conversation about the saline abortion and my behavior that night was just one more wedge of separation between the two of us. The chasm was becoming wider by the day. Would there ever be a way to bridge it? (Excerpt from Let There Be Light by Roger Oakland) For other Lighthouse Trails excerpts and sample chapters of other LT books, click here for sample chapters, and click here for excerpts.

Wheaton College “Dialogue” Evening – Exploring “Common Ground” with Catholicism in “A Conversation on Unity”

On March 26, 2012, Reformed pastor John Armstrong and Catholic Cardinal George of Chicago will come together at Wheaton College for “A Conversation on Unity in Christ’s Mission.” The flyer you see to the left reads: “An evening of dialogue exploring the common ground and current challenges that face Catholics and evangelical Protestants in Christian faith and mission.” The event came about last summer when Armstrong met with Cardinal George and asked him,  ”Would you join me in a public venue to further discuss this idea of missional-ecumenism?” The Cardinal agreed, and thus the “Conversation” at Wheaton in March.

A little background to our concerns: On July 23, 2007, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled, “John Armstrong ‘Enjoys’ Emergent Village Experience ‘Immensely.’” The article relayed that Armstrong had once read the unpublished manuscript of A Time of Departing and given Ray Yungen a hearty endorsement of the book.  He told Ray at that time, in 2001, that he might even be able to get Harvest House to publish the book if Ray would remove chapter 6 of the book (the chapter on the “End of the Age”). Ray decided not to remove that chapter, and a year later, Lighthouse Trails was birthed and published the book. Our 2007 article explained our surprise that John Armstrong had begun to resonate with the emerging church, so much so that he called Tony Jones’ contemplative mystical promoting book The Sacred Way “excellent.”1

We found it astonishing that someone who had said a few years earlier that Ray Yungen was right-on in his deductions of contemplative prayer and found A Time of Departing to be exceptional could now be calling Jones’  book “excellent” and making statements to indicate he felt a spiritual comradeship with emerging church figures.  It made no sense.

Fast forward to 2012 and the “Conversation on Unity” to be held at Wheaton College this spring. As Lighthouse Trails has documented for several years, the emerging church and the contemplative prayer movement are roads to Rome (i.e., a path for evangelicals and Protestants to unite with the Catholic Church). We cannot say whether John Armstrong has himself practiced contemplative prayer, which is an eastern-style meditation prayer method. But we believe that Armstrong’s resonance in 2007 with emerging contemplative mystics was connected to Armstrong’s desire to find “common ground” with the Catholic church.

Lest you think that we are being too quick to determine that Armstrong is on the road to Rome, consider this: On his personal blog, earlier in January 2012, Armstrong wrote the following:

There is a long history behind the worldwide call to prayer for Christian unity but I became acutely aware of the history of this call at the Center for Unity in Rome last March. Then in June . . . I visited the grave site of Fr. Paul Wattson, the man who launched this global week of prayer for Christian unity. As deeply interested as I am in this subject I am pleased to share news today from the Vatican Information Service of January 18. The Pope’s comments provide a gracious reminder of our common duty to the whole of Christ’s Church, not just our own communion or fellowship. 2

Armstrong then posted an article from the Vatican news, which in part stated:

Ecumenism, as defined by Vatican Council II and Blessed John Paul II, is “the responsibility of the entire Church and of all the baptised, who must augment the partial communion that already exists among Christians until achieving full communion in truth and charity. Praying for unity . . . must then be an integral part of the prayer life of all Christians, in all times and places, especially when people from different traditions come together to work for victory in Christ over sin, evil, injustice and the violation of human dignity.”3

This article is referring to the New Evangelization of the Eucharistic Christ that Roger Oakland documents in Another Jesus. This is a zealous effort by the Roman Catholic Church to “win back the lost brethren” to the “Mother Church.”

Why is that such a big deal that we, as Bible believing Christians, should pay attention to this? Because the “Eucharistic Christ” of the New Evangelization program is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible, and the “gospel” it brings is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Bible. Rather it is a false gospel that will mislead followers away from the only means of salvation, which is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and justifies a man by faith alone.

John Armstrong  and a host of other evangelical figures who are following suit must not realize what they are doing. They should recall that many of those martyred by the Catholic Church were martyred because they would not say that Jesus was in a wafer, nor would they adhere to a works-based gospel. What would those martyrs say today if they could address evangelical/Protestant pastors and leaders who are marching off to Rome? Is this not a slap in the face to those who died, making their torturous, violent deaths of less avail? Though no less in God’s eyes, it makes those deaths less in man’s eyes. For what reason did they die, some will now ask? To stand against the doctrines of the Catholic church? But surely this is nothing worth dying for, and in fact perhaps it is something worth living for, they will mistakenly say.

To understand more about the New Evangelization plan for the “lost brethren,” we are posting here the entire chapter 6 of Roger Oakland’s book, Another Jesus. We hope you will take time to study this issue through the lens of Scripture. We believe if you do you will see why ecumenical “Conversations” to find common ground with Roman Catholicism will bring no good fruit for the furtherance of the Gospel.

Related Articles:

James Robison: The Lord wants Protestants and Catholics to unite as one

October 2011 “Note” by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council Shows Vatican Move Toward the New World Order

U.S. Catholic Church prepares to accept Episcopalians

Roman Catholic Washington Governor Gregoire supports gay marriage bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gov. Chris Gregoire is publicly supported legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state, saying Wednesday that she came to the decision after several years of battling her own uncertainty on the issue.

“I have been on my own journey, I’ll admit that,” she said at a news conference announcing her support of a legalization bill that will be introduced next week.

“It has been a battle for me with my religion,” said Gregoire, who is Catholic.

The Democrat previously had supported efforts to expand the state’s current law on domestic partner rights for gay couples, but had not come out in favor of full marriage rights.

“I’ve always been uncomfortable with the position I took publicly,” she said. “Then I came to realize, the religions can decide what they want to do, but it’s not OK for the state to discriminate.” Click here to read more.

James Robison: The Lord wants Protestants and Catholics to unite as one

By Sue at Suze Blog

James Robinson sounds like the new spokesperson for Catholicism on his TV broadcast show Life Today. Robinson praised Fox News Contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris, claiming the Lord was upon him and we should listen to him.

 James and Betty Robinson promotes merger of evangelicals and Roman Catholics. 

Robinson says everything that comes out of Fr. Morris’ mouth is consistent with the word of God and the heart of God.

He said: “I wish that most protestant preachers had the same sensitivity, discernment and gift of communication that you have, don’t you agree (audience)?” The audience claps in agreement. Fr. Morris states that Protestants and Catholics need to work together no matter what anyone says.

Take a listen to this clip:

Let’s take a look a Fr. Morris. He regularly appears on TV interviews on Fox, CNN and other networks as a Catholic spokesperson. I find it interesting that Fox news needs a Catholic spokesperson in the first place, given that the majority of the Christian population in the USA is Protestant. Click here to continue reading.

Related:

SPECIAL REPORT: The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church

The Pope’s New Evangelization Program: Bishop Ricken, Greg Laurie and Calvary Chapel

By Roger Oakland

One of the main goals we have at Understand The Times is to analyze the news in light of insights found in the Word of God. With regard to Bible prophecy, we should be very aware that doctrines of demons are taking place as part of the great falling away.[1] Even those who have been known for teaching the Word of God can will be misled as they get caught up in this Last Days apostasy.

Recently an article caught my attention with regard to Rome’s New Evangelization program. This program, put into place by Pope John Paul II, is still being promoted by Pope Benedict XVI in order to bring people to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Jesus through a variety of plans.

The title of the article I read was “The Blessed Mother – The Vatican’s Secret Weapon?” [2]Notice that the title asks a question, which the article proceeds to answer showing how two Roman Catholic leaders, one from the USA and the other from Europe, have been both brought on board by Pope Benedict to provide leadership for Rome’s worldwide New Evangelization program.

These two men from different parts of the world had something in common, which I found to be very interesting. As the article states:

Two esteemed men, one a United States Catholic Bishop from Green Bay, WI., the other a Cardinal based in Europe, serving as the Archbishop of Vienna, suddenly seem to have very much in common.

Both men, charged with revitalizing the Catholic faith, have courageously taken action that acknowledges the supernatural presence of Our Lady.[3]

The phrase supernatural presence of Our Lady is important when studying about Last Days deception dealing with the topic of lying signs and wonders. Both of these men are promoters of the unbiblical idea that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appears in apparitions giving messages from heaven as if they were even more important than the Word of God. In their effort to revitalize the Roman Catholic Church and establish what they believe will be the kingdom of God on earth, they are promoting supernatural appearances of an apparitional woman they claim is Mary the mother of Jesus. Paul warns about this very deception in the letter he wrote to the Galatians, saying: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” [4] Click here to continue reading.


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