Posts Tagged ‘David Jeremiah’

Hymns – Why Do Some Modern-Day Christian Authors Dislike Them?

“[W]e made the strategic decision to stop singing hymns in our seeker services.” Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 285

It is interesting (and sad) to watch the growing trend among those who promote contemplative and/or emerging and those in the seeker-friendly movement to teach their followers that hymns are outdated, irrelevant, and un-useful.

In light of the fact that many of the traditional hymns were birthed out of suffering and hardship, the rejection of them is even more difficult to embrace. However, in the atmosphere of today’s “Christianity,” it is not more difficult to understand. Much of this modern-day Christianity has made a direct bee line for Catholicism, ignoring the very fact that our past brothers and sisters were martyred in their attempts to leave the institution and its rituals behind. We live today in such a spiritual environment where so many are able to run back to the very thing that others died to leave; thus it is not hard to understand why so many are rejecting the hymns of those who suffered for their defense of the faith.

In his first book, Purpose Driven Church, Warren devotes several pages to convincing readers that hymns are outdated and need to go. David Jeremiah, in his book Life Wide Open, said: “Unfortunately, we often encourage comfort zones in the church. He then quotes contemplative Calvin Miller, who said: “I was struck one day by all the hymns that center on faith as a protective refuge.” Examples he gave included “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Haven of Rest.” Jeremiah said that such songs were “comfort music for weak-kneed saints” (pp. 164-165). Is it possible that many of today’s Christian leaders have become so alienated from the very idea of suffering for the defense of the faith, that the notion of singing songs “that center on faith as a protective refuge” is ridiculous to them? And could it be that Christians today are being trained, not to stand for truth, but rather to bend with and mimic our culture?

A Mighty Fortress

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

New Age Writer Sue Monk Kidd Found in Christian Circles

Sue Monk Kidd is a popular author, whose books are read by many Christians and used in many Sunday School studies. Her books are carried in countless Christian bookstores, and surprisingly are endorsed by and quoted from the most unlikely Christian leaders. Ray Yungen talks about Monk Kidd in A Time of Departing:

[Sue] Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book, When the Heart Waits. She explains: “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that’s only God … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us. . . .

How did a Baptist Sunday school teacher come to believe that divinity is within all? [A]Sunday school co-worker handed her [Monk Kidd] a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically. What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.

She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: “I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us . . .  When we encounter another person, . . .  we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.”-A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134-135

Dance of the Dissident Daughter, published six years after When the Heart Waits, shows clearly Monk Kidd’s transition into goddess and panentheist spirituality, going so far as to say that God can be found even in excrement. In speaking about mysticism, she states:

As I grounded myself in feminine spiritual experience, that fall I was initiated into my body in a deeper way. I came to know myself as an embodiment of Goddess…. Mystical awakening in all the great religious traditions, including Christianity, involves arriving at an experience of unity or nondualism. In Zen it’s known as samadhi…. Transcendence and immanence are not separate. The Divine is one. The dancer and all the dances are one. . . . The day of my awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God, and God in all things (pp. 161-163, Dance of the Dissident Daughter).

Perhaps what is so disturbing about this is the favorable quoting and endorsement of Monk Kidd’s writings. For instance, Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) writes an endorsement on the back cover of When the Heart Waits, saying: “As I read her book, Sue Monk Kidd became a companion to me. I love having her walk with me on my journey.” Since Peterson is also on the back cover of Richard Foster’s contemplative book, Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home and Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel, his endorsement of Sue Monk Kidd probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. But then there is David Jermiah, who in his book, Life Wide Open, favorably quotes from Sue Monk Kidd’s book, When the Heart Waits. While this was brought out publicly several years ago, Jeremiah still has made no public statement about his quoting Sue Monk Kidd and about her beliefs. But that might be because he also quoted from other contemplatives and New Age sympathizers in his book (see list below), and to reject his quoting of Monk Kidd would mean he would have to reject many other comments in the book, thus negating the credibility of the book all together.

Monk Kidd’s work has been endorsed by other unlikely names. Moody Monthly, of her book God’s Joyful Surprise, said, “… [Kidd] suggests some disciplines for cultivating an ‘interior quietness’ … Her writing, well-balanced by the wisdom of writers like Brother Lawrence, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen, is alive with humorous anecdotes.” Of the same book, Today’s Christian Woman says “the message and challenge of the book is profound.” In God’s Joyful Surprise, Monk Kidd discusses her admiration for Thomas Merton and his teachings on prayer.

Life Wide Open by David Jeremiah – Those he favorably quotes in the book:

Sue Monk Kidd
Rick Warren
Brother Lawrence
Michael Card
Leighton Ford
Erwin McManus
Calvin Miller
Peter Senge

Related Articles:

Understanding the Spirituality of Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees)

David Jeremiah’s Book Life Wide Open – Still Sold on His Website – Still Includes New Agers

Letter to the Editor: “We thought we were safe.”

Dear Editors:

We left a moderate Baptist Church in Raleigh because of the emergent teaching. Thank the Lord, a number of families left because once we connected the dots, we left. We were all rather shaken that this extreme theology could be right under our noses and we didn’t recognize it. When I went for counseling to a very conservative pastor in the area, I was told that because we were in a moderate church, that type of heresy could easily be there.

So, we (my husband and I) found a conservative church with their statement of faith reflecting the 5 fundamentals of the faith. We thought we were safe, but we still met with the pastor and his wife to be on the safe side. We discussed our previous experience, gave the minister books and materials from your website, and we were assured he would not tolerate emergent.

An assistant pastor, with the approval of the senior pastor, showed Jeff Bethke’s film and he quoted Pierre de Chardin (what is a Baptist pastor quoting him!). I just assumed he was ignorant and perhaps he was. But I documented the dangers of these two people and gave it to him. No follow-up desired. At this point, I’d be flipping out if I was a pastor reading this information. But, no response to me. Then, a Sunday school teacher was allowed to introduce Bill Hybels and his teaching. Then 1,000 Gifts [by Ann Voskamp] is allowed to be taught to the women. I documented in detail the dangers, the leaven, being brought into the church.  I left it with the pastor and his wife. Again, at this point, after reading these articles, I’d be flipping out wanting to know, “What on earth!”

Then a familiar call comes to our home (remember, this is our second church dealing with this) from the pastor basically telling me to stop it. Asking the pastor if he had a problem with 1,000 Gifts, he said 90% was solid and 10% questionable. I replied that since  when do we as Christians  put percentages on allowable heresy.  I said, “I don’t mind if this book is taught as long as you also use this as a teaching time to warn about emergent and panentheism and all of its authors she references.” Deaf ears. Then I find out the Bible study leader for the women loves Jesus Calling and 1,000 Gifts. Where is the discernment?  The pastors are not guarding their flock.  We are sick at heart.  This pastor said he reviewed Lighthouse Trails and had problems with you all.

So, we leave. Go to another very conservative church and the pastor from the pulpit encourages everyone to attend the David Jeremiah meeting here  and references in a positive way Blackaby’s writings. I know this dear man of God is clueless, well, I hope so (meaning he is not doing this because he wants to promote emergent).

Thank you for all of your documented research and as Frances Schaefer warns, loving the way you treat your subject matter. Sincerely, ________

PS: Just finished reading The Great Evangelical Disaster by Frances Schaeffer. How amazing accurate to 2012.

David Jeremiah Opens Pulpit to Contemplative Advocate John Ortberg

Lighthouse Trails received an e-mail this past weekend informing us that David Jeremiah (pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church) invited major contemplative writer, John Ortberg, to his church’s Summer Bible Conference this past Sunday evening.

To Lighthouse Trails:

Below is an excerpt from Dr Jeremiah’s weekly email, speaking about the Sunday evening guest speaker and that speaker’s passion about “spiritual formation.”

Thanks, ____________

At 6:00 pm on Sunday evening, John Ortberg will be our guest speaker for our Summer Bible Conference. John is passionate about “spiritual formation,” which is how people become more like Jesus. His teaching brings Scripture alive and invariably includes practical applications and warm humor. John is the author of many books, including “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat,” and “The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Growth for Ordinary People,” and his latest book, “The Me I Want To Be.” John is Senior Pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a 4,000-member church in Northern California with campuses in Menlo Park, Mountain View, and San Mateo.

Our comments: 

As you can see from this brochure, http://www.shadowmountain.org/Content/HtmlImages/Public/Documents/General/SummerBibleConference/SBC_2012.pdf, it is true that John Ortberg spoke at Shadow Mountain Community Church on August 19th. John Ortberg has been a major contemplative advocate for many years. It was he and Ruth Haley Barton (trained at Shalem Institute) who put together the spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) curriculum for Willow Creek a number of years ago. What’s more, in a book that Barton and Ortberg co-authored, An Ordinary Day with Jesus, they tell readers to practice lectio divina (what they describe as a slow meditative practice) and to repeat a word in a mantra-like fashion. They also include panentheist Tilden Edwards (along with other contemplatives) in their additional resources section of that book. It was Edwards who stated that contemplative prayer is the bridge that unites Christianity with “Far Eastern spirituality” (Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18). Edwards co-founded the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Just to illustrate to you the nature of Tilden Edwards and Shalem’s spirituality, New Age teacher Eckhart Tolle will be a speaker at a Shalem event this coming October.

John Ortberg is listed in the Lighthouse Trails Top 100 Contemplative Proponents list and for good reasons. Another case in point, in Ortberg’s book, God is Closer Than You Think, Ortberg quotes favorably from contemplatives such as Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence, interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart as well as Thomas Merton. He also quotes contemplative Dallas Willard.

In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted (see book review),  Ortberg quotes favorably  the following contemplative/mysticism advocates:

Richard Foster
Dallas Willard
Soren Kierkegaard
Henri Nouwen
Thomas Kelly
Frederick Buechner
Thomas Merton
George Fox
Eugene Peterson

In Ortberg’s more recent book, The Me I Want to Be, he maintains his propensity toward the contemplative by favorably quoting Henri Nouwen and Catholic priest Richard Rohr. Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation and has done much to propel contemplative spirituality. Here is an excerpt from Rohr’s website, just to give you an example of the spirituality that Rohr embraces:

In this exciting, extended weekend conference, spiritual masters Thomas Keating, OSCO, and Richard Rohr, OFM, put together in specific and practical ways the ancient, perennial, and Christian tradition of “now” teaching.

Each in their gifted style help listeners connect the dots between Scripture, the desert Mystics, the Benedictine and Franciscan traditions, the Buddhist masters, and other contemporary teachers.1

The fact that Ortberg has included Rohr in a 2009 book shows that he is going deeper and deeper into the contemplative mindset.

This isn’t the first time that John Ortberg has been a speaker at Shadow Mountain. He spoke there in 2009, for one. And on the Shadow Mountain Small Groups resources page, Ortberg is on the list of recommended reading. By the way, contemplatives Gary Thomas (who says to repeat a word for 20 minutes in his book, Sacred Pathways), Pete Scazzero (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality), Philip Yancey, and Brian McLaren-advocate Dan Allender are also on that list.

Lighthouse Trails has been challenging David Jeremiah because of his burgeoning affinity toward the contemplative for some time. We first brought this out in our critique of his book Life Wide Open where he references and quotes favorably a number of mystical writers including goddess worshipper, Sue Monk Kidd and Buddhist sympathizer Peter Kreeft. Life Wide Open continues on the market (and on Jeremiah’s website in study guide and CD format), even though Jeremiah was given information about the serious problems with his book. To date, we know of no public statement by Jeremiah recanting the information in that book or of having it removed from the market  (the publisher is Thomas Nelson).

To add to this dilemna, in David Jeremiah’s book, Captured by Grace, he discusses (in a positive manner) Henri Nouwen and includes an endorsement by New Age meditation advocate Ken Blanchard (who wrote the foreword to What Would Buddha Do at Work?). We find Jeremiah’s reference to Nouwen troubling, especially in view of Jeremiah’s 1995 book, Invasion of Other Gods, where he wrote about the dangers of New Age meditation and actually exposes the chakras, something that Henri Nouwen was drawn to (see Sabbatical Journey, p. 20)! Six years ago, Lighthouse Trails wrote “David Jeremiah Proposes ‘Major Paradigm Shift’ For His Church” with concerns about Jeremiah’s draw toward Erwin McManus.

Skeptics may say, “so, what’s the big deal if David Jeremiah invites contemplatives to his church and frequently quotes and references contemplative authors?” When you consider the spiritual disaster taking place because of contemplative spirituality’s panentheistic, interspiritual roots (a charge adequately backed up in our book, A Time to Departing) (especially considering how popular Christian leaders are promoting it) , it simply cannot be ignored. And the fact that Jeremiah and other leaders go virtually unchallenged or unquestioned indicates that most evangelical Christians have no clue about the ramifications of contemplative spirituality.  The names of the individuals we have made reference to throughout this article are part of a movement. And this movement, as we have proven for over a decade, is anti-Christian, anti-gospel, and anti-Christ, which can be summed up in Tilden Edward’s observation that contemplative spirituality is the bridge between Christianity and far eastern spirituality. A Christian is suppose to carry the Gospel to those practicing far eastern spirituality, not build spiritual bridges through the common denominator of mysticism. Edwards absorbed Buddhist mystical perceptions and actually taught classes on it. Christians who value the Gospel should take a close look at what is behind that which is being promoted in our pulpits today. John Ortberg is advocating something that has never been a part of biblical Christianity but instead springs from the tradition of the Desert Fathers and not from the Bible.

David Jeremiah’s Book Life Wide Open – Still Sold on His Website – Still Includes New Agers

NOTE: Please read the related article by Roger Oakland after our article.

Lighthouse Trails receives emails from time to time from readers asking if there is still “a problem” with David Jeremiah and his 2003 (redone in 2005) book, Life Wide Open. In the second edition of A Time of Departingby Ray Yungen is an expose about the book, and today some question as to whether our report is still relevant has arisen. Because David Jeremiah continues selling the book on his website and through the general book marketing avenues (Amazon, etc), we believe our report remains valid. Here is a portion of our report:

David Jeremiah’s 2003 book, Life Wide Open, has a subtitle of “Unleashing the Power of a Passionate Life.” In the introduction of the book, Jeremiah tells readers that “A Small handful among us have discovered what the rest of us would pay dearly to know: How can we bring real, living excitement into this life?” Jeremiah goes on to tell readers that “This book is a map to the life of passion and purpose, the life wide open…”  (p. xii) Who are these small handful of people who have discovered the secret? Well according to Jeremiah’s book, his list includes Rick Warren, contemplative, feminine spiritualist Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits), contemplative Calvin Miller (Into the Depths of God), Buddhist sympathizer Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline), emerging church leader Erwin McManus, contemplative Michael Card, and Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God).

And from our research site:

2003, 2005 - In his book, Life Wide Open, Jeremiah favorably quotes the following New Agers, Buddhists and contemplatives,( i.e. mystics):

Peter Senge (Buddhist) (Listen to Audio Clip of Senge)
Jim Collins

Calvin Miller

St. John of the Cross
Brother Lawrence

When one ponders the spirituality of some of these names, it is disheartening to see that David Jeremiah continues promotinghis book rather than having it pulled from the market. What would cause him to do that? Well, either he is not pulling the book because he does not see anything wrong with Sue Monk Kidd, Rick Warren, Peter Senge, and the others or he knows something is wrong with them but for whatever reasons he has chosen to ignore the fact that his book could potentially mislead many people.

Looking at just one of the names in Life Wide Open (as someone who has found the secret to passion and purpose), Sue Monk Kidd, may put things into perspective. Ray Yungen explains:

A Sunday school co-worker handed Sue Monk Kidd a book by Thomas Merton telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically. What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.

She ultimately came to the mystical realization that: “I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us … When we encounter another person, …we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.” (A Time of Departing  p. 134)

Monk Kidd, also author of The Secret Life of Bees (emulating the goddess Madonna), reveals her spirituality when she states in a book endorsement: “In Radical Optimism, Beatrice Bruteau sets forth a deep and shining vision of spirituality, one that guides the reader into the contemplative life and the very root of our being. Dr. Bruteau is a philosopher of great measure whose work should be required reading for all who seek the deepest truth about themselves” (Monk Kidd’s endorsement of Bruteau’s book). For those who are not familiar with Beatrice Bruteau, she is a Catholic panentheistic contemplative.

Monk Kidd’s journey has also  led her to say: “We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness. . . . Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred. . . . Goddess offers us the holiness of everything” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pp. 162-163). Few would argue that this does not line up with biblical Christianity nor is it the kind of life of “passion” and” purpose” that Christians should seek after. She also said in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that God can be found in everything, even graffiti and excrement! (p. 160).

In Life Wide Open, it wasn’t The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that Jeremiah quoted from. But the book he did quote from, When the Heart Waits, is also on Monk Kidd’s propensities. In that book, she explains: “There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [everyone] that’s only God … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us” (as quoted by Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 134, citing pp. 47-48 of Monk Kidd’s book) .

When the Heart Waitsis a primer on contemplative spirituality. Monk Kidd talks about finding her “true self” and explains how mystics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Merton helped her to find it. She quotes Beatrice Bruteau’s book, Gospel Zen, and Thomas Keating’s book, The Heart of the World. Keating and Bruteau embrace a mystical panentheistic view, without a doubt. She even quotes favorably Alan Jones, author ofReimagining Christianity. Reading a couple quotes by Jones in that book will show the seriousness of this situation:

“The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (p. 132)

“The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry god. Penal substitution [the Cross] was the name of this vile doctrine.” (p. 168)

And even though the book by Sue Monk Kidd is in Life Wide Open, David Jeremiah’s book is still promoted and sold on his website and throughout mainstream book venues, and to our knowledge he has never been challenged publically and held accountable by Christian leaders.

But should there really be any surprise to David Jeremiah using Sue Monk Kidd? In 2006, a year after the second edition of Life Wide Opencame out, Jeremiah said that he wanted to use a book by emerging leader Erwin McManus to help bring a “major paradigm shift” to his church. The book Jeremiah wanted to use was The Barbarian Way, a book that McManus admitted had at its core “mysticism.” Considering that David Jeremiah chose Sue Monk Kidd as part of a road map to spirituality,is is any wonder that he also chose Erwin McManus who once said:

My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ,” McManus, author of a new book called “The Barbarian Way,” said in a telephone interview.

“Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” Erwin McManus

Isn’t it time for Christian pastors and leaders to step up to the plate of humility, sorrow, and repentance? For the sake of the sheep. The following article just written by Roger Oakland reiterates our reason for the above article:


The Solomon Syndrome

Commentary by Roger Oakland

http://www.understandthetimes.org

According to the Bible, Solomon was an extremely wise man. Solomon was granted wisdom because he asked God for wisdom.

His father David was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” However, he could not always be called wise because of his actions and his behavior. David, like each one of us who claims to follow Jesus Christ, had a daily battle with the conflicting struggles between the flesh and the spirit.

Paul made it clear in Romans chapter eight that he too dealt with this same battle. [1] It is simply the nature of the Christian life. If you are alive and you are a follower of Jesus, you will always be faced with choices. You will either be led by the Spirit or by your flesh. The question is, who do you want to follow – Jesus or Satan?

Recently, a number of circumstances have happened impacting my walk with Jesus Christ. This has forced me to search my own heart and try to understand my own behavior as well as the attitude and behavior of those who are attacking me. I have come to the conclusion the best way to do this is to study the Scriptures.

All of us know Christian leaders who were once respected and used by God as faithful servants. How is it possible then, you may ask, that someone who started out dedicated to Christ and His Word and taught the Word, can end up being trapped in a state of delusion? How can such a person be convinced that he or she is above the Word of God and does not need correction?

This malady that permeates and infects Christian leadership in our world today is what I call the Solomon syndrome. Great leaders are only great if they faithfully follow Jesus and abide in His Word. Often great leaders become great deceivers because they end up following Satan and their own flesh. Because they have large followings, they are looked up to as great men of the faith. Further, while they have led many astray, they may or may not know they have done this because they are convinced they are God’s agents.

Solomon’s Trap

Satan is a master deceiver. He hates man and wants to destroy God’s plan of salvation. Satan is a schemer. In Ephesians, Paul describes how he works and uses the term “wiles of the devil.” His plans are widespread, and he seeks to delude both believers and unbelievers. If he can seduce a believer who is considered a shepherd, then the sheep that shepherd is supposed to be protecting can be driven to market rather that directed by the Holy Spirit to heaven.

This is why the protective role of watchmen and watchwomen is so important for the body of Christ. At times, these watchmen on the wall must bypass shepherds who cannot or will not see the danger coming because of their pride or their desire for money or power or fame, things which have blinded them .

The Path to Power and Possession

There are a number of ways that a pastor and a church can accumulate power and possession. A pastor or church can start out small and not even be interested in taking an offering. This keeps the pastor’s mind off man-given resources and helps him concentrate on teaching the Word and protecting the sheep. Then as the church grows and the fruit becomes obvious, more people attend. They want to experience and taste the fruit too. They come in hungry; they are fed and then come back with their offerings.

Soon the small facility that housed the small gathering needs to be enlarged. Perhaps a home Bible Study moves to a strip mall. Some years later when that facility has maxed out, the board and the pastor look for a larger facility. Now they have a problem. Big buildings require big budgets, and big budgets require big offerings. Big offerings require generous donors who have a lot of money. People with big money have power and influence and like to control pastors. The love of money is the root of evil, isn’t it?

While this pattern is being fulfilled many times, today especially in the circles where I have traveled the past twenty-some years, the pattern is not new. This is exactly what happened to Solomon. He was warned about three things that would take down his ability to serve God – too many horses, too much gold, and too many women. Horses symbolize power, gold symbolizes wealth, and Solomon’s many wives and concubines symbolize sexual immorality.

History shows that Solomon was not as wise as he should have been. He fell on all three accounts. His mighty empire was taken down even though he was warned. In today’s standards, the largest megachurch would not even begin to compare to what Solomon controlled. The property of the largest megachurch would not compare to what Solomon owned. The power of the most powerful pastor today would dwarf beneath the power held by Solomon. Solomon stood in a category by himself.

Unfortunately, many of those who have followed in Solomon’s footsteps have forgotten about the Solomon syndrome. Or if they have not forgotten, they are too proud, or they have too much power. They have no intention to repent and acknowledge their sin.

Or there may be another factor. They may even be covering something up they don’t want revealed that others know about. They may even have been extorted. Or they are being manipulated by relatives or acquaintances that have plans to inherit their kingdom after they drop dead or become too senile to make decisions.

David and Nathan

While David was a man after God’s own heart, Solomon was a man that left God and followed Satan. Solomon was seduced by his many concubines, and he worshipped their gods made of wood and stone. This was very grieving to God for the Scriptures are full of references of what God thinks about idolatry.

I suppose the question to ask is this: what if Solomon had a Nathan like David had? In other words, what if someone had come to Solomon and told him the bold truth rather than just keeping things covered up? What if this person or group of persons were alive today? What if they went to those in leadership who were deceived and deceiving others and encouraged them to repent and to say they were sorry.

It seems to me this would be the best solution. Maybe I am wrong, but I think not. Repenting is always the right solution to sin, isn’t it?

Maybe the sin is the love of horses, or gold, or too many women. The best plan is God’s plan . . . not man’s; wouldn’t you agree?

Whether this suggestion is right or wrong, there is one thing I know for sure, there will be those who are angry and will be ready to destroy me for suggesting such a thing. The reason I know this is because I have been down this road before. Remember Ichabod?

God’s Bondservant

Watchmen and watchwomen have never been popular with the people. Their gift is usually considered a curse. No one wants to listen—especially the pastors and the leaders. Their message is seen as too negative, and they are labeled divisive and troublemakers. The pastors and the leaders do not want to hear. The pastors and the leaders will even try to discredit the watchers on the wall and say they are crazy or that they have a slim grip on spiritual reality.

Sometimes the watchmen becomes weary. Sometimes their bodies breakdown from the stress. When they pursue the truth, those who call them liars attack them further. I know because this continually happens to me by those I once considered to be friends.

With regard to friends, they become fewer and fewer. People you once used to fellowship with, now knife you in the back. First, they put a bag over your head. Second, they spin you around to get you dizzy. Finally, they go in for the kill, so to speak, after dark.

These betrayers are like Judas. They love darkness. They operate in the dark. Their motives can be varied. Their loyalty is to man rather than to Jesus.

In spite of all this great opposition to cover up the light of the truth, watchmen and watchwomen must work fervently to walk as God’s word has instructed. They must not lose their tempers or their cool. They need the grace of God in which to stand (Romans 5:2) and the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Here are the words of Paul:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. [2]

As the current events are unfolding, it is apparent the time is very short. Soon this will all be over. When Jesus returns, what we do for Him will all have been worth it. For now, there is no other choice than to keep going even if it is one step at a time. The Gospel is worth dying for because Jesus died for us. It is a small price to pay for what He has done for those who are His.

[1] Romans 8: 5-13

[2] 2 Timothy 2: 23-26

Used with permission from Understand the Times.

David Jeremiah Proposes “Major Paradigm Shift” For His Church

The Shadow Mountain pastor draws from Erwin McManus’ book, The Barbarian Way

If you attended Shadow Mountain Community Church this weekend, then according to an email we received, you would have heard the second part of Pastor David Jeremiah’s series called Journey with Jesus. But the title of this series is a bit misleading – Jeremiah isn’t just talking about Jesus; he is discussing a book called The Barbarian Way. The book is written by Erwin McManus, who is pastor of Mosaic Church in California. In Friday’s email, Jeremiah stated:

This weekend, I will be sharing the second message in our Fall Journey With Jesus. The title of the message is “The Manliness of Jesus.” I am praying that it will fire you up as much as it has me. It’s a major paradigm shift from our normal thoughts about Jesus. This week, I have read a book by Erwin McManus called THE BARBARIAN WAY. In it, he says something that should prepare our hearts for the weekend message.

While the quote from the book is benign, the book is not, and if any mention of the book is made by Jeremiah, it should be one of warning. If you have been following Jeremiah’s slip toward what we might call contemplative/emerging Christianity, his promotion of McManus’ book probably won’t be too surprising. Last year, we mentioned on a radio program that Jeremiah was going to be speaking at the Lead Like Jesus conference with Ken Blanchard (whose conference it was). Shortly after this airing, Jeremiah pulled out of the conference and then Blanchard canceled the conference all together. Jeremiah then wrote a letter to Lighthouse Trails and made it public. He defended Ken Blanchard who had been and still is promoting the New Age, particularly New Age mysticism. After researching Jeremiah’s 2003/2005 book, Life Wide Open, it made a little more sense why he would have no trouble with Blanchard’s New Age proclivities. A special report on that book said:

David Jeremiah’s 2003 book, Life Wide Open, has a subtitle of “Unleashing the Power of a Passionate Life.” In the introduction of the book, Jeremiah tells readers that “A Small handful among us have discovered what the rest of us would pay dearly to know: How can we bring real, living excitement into this life?” Jeremiah goes on to tell readers that “This book is a map to the life of passion and purpose, the life wide open…” Who are these small handful of people who have discovered the secret? Well according to Jeremiah’s book, his list includes Rick Warren, contemplative, feminine spiritualist Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits), contemplative Calvin Miller (Into the Depths of God), Buddhist sympathizer Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline), emerging church leader Erwin McManus, contemplative Michael Card, and Brother Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God).

Jeremiah had also written an endorsement on the back cover of Erwin McManus’ book, Seizing Your Divine Moment. We contacted the publisher (Thomas Nelson) of that book after we learned that Jeremiah’s name was going to be removed (because of negative publicity). An editor at TN told us that the book would be repackaged and re-titled, which it was (now called Chasing Daylight). Although Jeremiah has made no public statement renouncing his previous endorsements of contemplative and New Age authors, and never had his book Life Wide Open pulled from the market, it seemed like his endorsement removal of McManus’ book was a good sign. But now it has become very confusing. Why was his name removed from one book of McManus’ only to have him endorse another McManus book to his church family this weekend?

So what exactly is this latest book Jeremiah endorsed about? In The Barbarian Way, McManus tells readers that the story of the Crusades “awakens within me a primal longing that I am convinced waits to be unleashed within everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ.” But McManus has an unusual definition of “follower of Jesus Christ.” He says: “When asked if they [Barbarians] are Christians, their answer might surprisingly be no, they are passionate followers of Jesus Christ.” This might sound OK on the surface, but it is part of the new missiology and the new evangelicalism that Rick Warren and others proclaim, “God doesn’t care what religion you are, just add Jesus to what you already have.” Thus you can be a Buddhist with Jesus, a Hindu with Jesus – that’s OK. McManus clarifies this when he states: “The greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity.” He elaborates more:

They [Barbarians - who he tries to convince readers they should be] see Christianity as a world religion, in many ways no different from any other religious system. Whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity, they’re not about religion; they’re about advancing the revolution Jesus started two thousand years ago (p.6).

While some may think McManus is talking about some kind of true revival, he’s not, not a revival towards the Jesus of the Bible anyway. McManus’ Jesus is all together different. And using the same lingo that most contemplatives use (and New Agers for that matter), he tells readers that they have been “recreated to live in a raw and primal spirituality” that listens “to the voice of the Spirit… Barbarians are not welcome among the civilized and are feared among the domesticated.” The book reads more like a primer to prepare for an anarchist war than instruction and exhortation on how to live the Christian life according to the Bible. He says: “The way of Jesus is far too savage for their sensibilities (those who are “civilized”)… Why a reckless call to awaken the barbarian faith within us at the risk of endangering this great civilization we have come to know as Christianity? … It is time to hear the barbarian call, to form a barbarian tribe, and to unleash the barbarian revolt. Let the invasion begin.”

The book is hard to read because the theology alone is so poor. McManus continually twists things around such as saying that John the Baptist’s message of repentance (and Hell) was only for the religious leaders of the day, which isn’t true. Or when he suggests that Jesus didn’t like Israel, when Scripture tells us He wept for Jerusalem. This revolution that McManus would like to see is one that would eradicate Christianity off the face of the earth. He, like Rick Warren, insists that Christianity is thoroughly corrupt, and that a new movement is needed. McManus states: “Two thousand years ago, God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don’t ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name.” Here he erroneously states that God revolted against Judaism, which simply isn’t true. In reality, God established the Law and the Prophets through the Jew whom He refers to as the apple of His eye. Jesus came as a sacrificial Lamb to save, and He informed his followers that the time is fulfilled – he wasn’t overthrowing a religion – He came to fulfill prophecy. And now McManus’ confused thinking extends to Christianity, suggesting now God will revolt against it as well.

McManus’ use of words like barbarian, savage and other warlike terms are strange. Trying to make this look like a book on living radically for Jesus, while belittling anything that calls itself Christian, McManus wraps the book up by telling readers: “We need to find the courage and freedom to be ourselves. We need to let ourselves become the unique individuals that God created us to be. His exhortation is, ‘When an opponent beheads one barbarian, he better be prepared, for we will return in force….We need to move together as God’s people, a barbarian tribe …. There’s a future to be created.’”

So just what does McManus mean by all this talk of barbarians and beheadings and a complete rejection of Christianity? Is he really talking about living radically for Jesus Christ? The Jesus of the Bible? The answers to these questions can be found throughout McManus’ writings as well as his various ministries. For example, at Bethel Theological Seminary, McManus is a professor for the Doctor of Ministry of Emerging Leaders program. He teaches with his brother Alex McManus (Into the Mystic), who promotes mysticism. Erwin McManus makes his own claim for mysticism in The Barbarian Way when he says we need to exchange reason (doctrine) for mysticism and suggests we need to be “Mystic Warriors.” This sounds more like something out out of Star Wars or Shamanism. In an interview with Relevant Magazine [Relevant Magazine removed this link - on file at LTRP], McManus explains what is the “core” of The Barbarian Way:

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

His website Mosaic Alliance features some of his other works, including Awaken Humanity and International Mentoring Network (both registered under McManus’ church, Mosaic). One of the events McManus hosts is “yelo: an awakening of the human spirit,” which “focuses on unleashing your creativity, elevating your influence, challenging your character, and maximizing your leadership potential.” The Origins Project is another Mosaic creation, with “Wind, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth.” McManus uses a lot of earthy sounding words in his writings such as ethos, organic, and cultural architect (his title for pastor). He is quick to devalue anything that looks too traditionally Christian for the sake of promoting his “revolution,” a revolution that is not called Christian. As Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries points out:

On McManus’ web site [it says]: “McManus offers a vision of the church taking its rightful place as an unstoppable force created to change the world . . . a church that is active and engaged with its community … An apostolic ethos is the key to a New Testament movement … To lead a church with movement requires the ability to create and shape ethos…” Erwin declares, “When we awaken the apostolic ethos, the heart of God begins to pulsate through the church of Jesus Christ.” Considering that ethos means culture, they are wanting to change the culture, something Jesus NEVER told us to do. He said his kingdom is not of this world. We are supposed to be preparing people for the kingdom … by being separate from the world while we are in it. (This book has a new apostolic and Dominionist view.) - Community Connections

The concept McManus uses in his book, Seizing Your Divine Moment (and throughout his writings) is not a new one. The idea, seize the day (carpe diem) or the moment, was popular in 16th and 17th century poetry and has the connotation that life is short and you need to get all you can out of it. The cardinal sin would be to live an ordinary life. Rick Warren shares this concept throughout his teachings, as does Bruce Wilkinson in his teaching on “God’s Dream for Your Life.” In reality, this concept is anything but biblical and virtuous. Jesus taught that we are to lay down our lives in this world, knowing we will receive our rewards in heaven. “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” ( John 12:25). McManus’ and Warren’s theology might work to some degree with affluent young middle to upper class single emerging “Jesus seekers.” But how is it going to work for an African man in Rwanda who has several children (some dying with AIDS or malaria), and he lives in a small hut? Won’t he be considered a Purpose Driven failure if he doesn’t rise above his earthly barriers and find his purpose? And won’t he be considered a failure in not becoming a McManus barbarian because he lives an ordinary life? And how about when Bruce Wilkinson teaches that if we believe hard enough we can achieve our dreams if we will just dream big enough? This earthy, sensual spirituality that Rick Warren, Erwin McManus and Bruce Wilkinson proclaim from the rooftops is exactly that.

These Christian leaders have missed the point. While they are selling their ideas to an unsuspecting church, and convincing multitudes that this new awakening is from God, believers in Christ, yes I’ll call them Christians, are serving their Lord in ministries, as missionaries, as neighbors, as parents – and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, and remembering what He said:

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).

“My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).

This past Friday, David Jeremiah said he read Erwin McManus’ book, and he is going to use that book to help his congregation transition toward a “major paradigm shift.” In the meantime, countless Christian leaders, publishers, seminaries and ministries are racing towards this shift as well. It is a shift that is indeed earthly, mystical, demonic and sensual, and it is going to deceive a lot of people. Is this really what David Jeremiah wants to offer his church and those who read his books? We hope the answer is a resounding no!

Christendom is being hijacked right before our very eyes. But while this is taking place, God is opening the eyes of discerning believers around the world. The Bible says the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church. As this paradigm shift unfolds, let us cling to that which we know to be good and true, the biblical message of the One who is the only way to God, Jesus Christ. And in doing so, may those who have not yet heard this message be able to hear and be saved. The time is short – let us work while it is yet day.


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