Posts Tagged ‘donald miller’

Letter to the Editor: What is LT’s Take on “The Voice” “Bible”?

To Lighthouse Trails:

What is “The Voice” translation of the Bible and what do you think of it?

Our Comments:

Our answer (from a 2007 LT article):

According to an article in Christian Today, “New Bible Project for Young Generation Launched”, Thomas Nelson’s 2006 “Bible” project called The Voice is going full speed ahead. The project, announced by TN last spring, is a “re-telling of the Bible that consists of creative voices from historians to poets, storytellers to songwriters,” and is for young people who are “searching for new ways to explore the Bible, or who are seeking to read it for the first time.” The project will be a combination of books, music CDs, artwork and an interactive website. With the largest Christian publisher backing the project, there is little doubt that The Voice will reach countless young people and have a significant impact in many lives.

Unfortunately, the project turns out to be an emerging church creation, thus the foundation of it is marred from the beginning. Because mysticism, New Age ideology, and a return to Rome, are the building blocks of the emerging church, The Voice is going to be a spiritually dangerous conduit for adherents. Some of the emergent leaders involved in the project are Chris Seay (project founder), Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, Leonard Sweet, and Blue Like Jazz author, Donald Miller. In last year’s press release by Thomas Nelson, Erwin McManus was also listed.

This month’s new release (the third book in the project) is called The Voice of Matthew, written by emergent/contemplative Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath).

Chris Seay, the founder of The Voice, is pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas. A mission statement on the website illustrates the theology of the emerging church:

We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person’s life and culture. We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.

We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself – she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.

Saying that all of creation (e.g., all humanity) is redeemed is in direct opposition of the teachings of Jesus who said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). And the belief that the church will usher in the Kingdom of God as opposed to Jesus Christ ushering it in with his literal return to the earth is indicative of the contemplative/emerging mindset. (It is also classic dominionism.)

The contemplative affinities of the contributors of The Voice will assure that mysticism will be an integral part of this project. This new version of the Bible has the potential to lead thousands, and possibly millions, of young people away from the words of Jesus Christ who said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (John 10: 1-4)

We contend that The Voice is not the voice of the Good Shepherd, nor is it the Word of God that says:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:12-13)

To understand more about the emerging church and the new missiology, read Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone.

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 1: “Top 10 Book and Film Reviews”

Note: At the end of every year, Lighthouse Trails presents its YEAR IN REVIEW. Over the next few days, we post about 4 or 5 categories with our top 10 stories in that category. Our first category this year is our “Top 10 Book and Film Reviews for 2012.” This is an opportunity to read important articles and reviews, which you may not have had the chance to read earlier in the year when they were first released.

1. New 2012 Edition of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (LT review)

2. My Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander (LT Review)

3. Godly Servants – Discipleship & Spiritual Formation for Missionaries by David Teague (LT Review)

4. The Harbinger by  Jonathan Cahn (LT Review)

5. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (LT Review)

6. Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson (LT Review)

7. Have Heart by Steve Berger (Larry DeBruyn Review)

8. Snow White and the Huntsman (Berit Kjos Review)

9. Conformed to His Image by Ken Boa (LT Review)

10. Blue Like Jazz, the Movie by Donald Miller (LT review)

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List” and 25 Christian “Bridgers” to Them

LTRP Note: Ray Yungen and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have put together our Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books  – A “Not Recommended Reading List.” If your pastor, your professor, your children, or your friends are reading any of these books, then they are being led down a path that will take them toward a mystical, panentheistic spirituality where only deception  lies in wait. And keep in mind, if they are reading other books that are pointing to the books and authors below, this may ultimately have the same results.

Take this test to see how integrated the pro-contemplative authors below have become in the church: Pick a favorite author or teacher you follow, and ask yourself: “Does this person promote, embrace, or emulate any of the authors below?” (For example: Dallas Willard (a favorite in Christian colleges) promotes and emulates a number of the names below; Beth Moore (the top women’s Bible study teacher) strongly embraces Brennan Manning; Mark Driscoll finds much favor with Richard Foster; Dan Kimball resonates with Henri Nouwen, to name one. In fact, we have put together a list of the top 25 Christian leaders who embrace, emulate, and/or promote the authors named below. We call these 25 leaders “bridgers” because they are bridging the gap between contemplative mysticism (i.e., eastern mysticism) and the church. You can see that list of 25 below our top 50 books. Don’t get us wrong when we name just 25; there are many more than that (including lots of new upstarts), but these 25 are who we would consider the most influential and prolific today.

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List”

1. A World Waiting to Be Born by M. Scott Peck
2. Awakened Heart by Gerald May
3. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
4. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
5. Centering Prayer by Basil Pennington
6. Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
7. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
8. Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli
9. Emergence, the Rebirth of the Sacred by David Spangler
10. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
11. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr
12. Finding God by Ken Kaisch
13. God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd
14. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
15. Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality by Philip St. Romain
16. Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard
17. Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren
18. Open Heart, Open Mind by Thomas Keating
19. Original Blessing by Matthew Fox
20. Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
21. Reimagining Christianity by Alan Jones
22. Sabbatical Journey by Henri Nouwen
23. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
24. Sacred Way, The by Tony Jones
25. Seeds of Peace by William Shannon
26. Setting the Gospel Free by Brian C. Taylor
27. Silence on Fire by William Shannon
28. Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson
29. Spiritual Classics by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin
30. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
31. Spiritual Friend by Tilden Edwards
32. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism by Carl McColman
33. The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous Monk
34. The Coming of the Cosmic Christe by Matthew Fox
35. The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford
36. The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
37. The Jesus We Never Knew by Marcus Borg
38. The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
39. The Mission of Mysticism by Richard Kirby
40. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
41. The Naked Now by Richard Rohr
42. The Other Side of Silence by Morton Kelsey
43. The Papa Prayer: The Prayer You’ve Never Prayed by Larry Crabb
44. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
45. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning
46. The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
47. The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice by Tony Campolo
48. The Soul at Rest by Tricia Rhodes
49. When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
50. When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson

Top 25 Christian Leaders Who Embrace, Emulate, and/or Promote Contemplative Mystics

1. Ann Voskamp
2. Anne Lamott
3. Beth Moore
4. Bill Hull
5. Bill Hybels
6. Calvin Miller
7. Dallas Willard
8. Dan Kimball
9. David Benner
10. Donald Miller
11. Doug Pagitt
12. Eugene Peterson
13. J.P. Moreland
14. Jim Wallis
15. John Eldredge
16. Ken Boa
17. Keri Wyatt Kent
18. Leonard Sweet
19. Mark Driscoll
20. Mike Bickle
21. Philip Yancey
22. Rob Bell
23. Robert Webber
24. Shane Claiborne
25. Walter Brueggemann

Blue Like Jazz Movie Hits Theaters – A Word About Blue Like Jazz, the Book

In April, Blue Like Jazz, the movie named after the New York Times best-selling book by Donald Miller, hit theaters. While we can’t comment on the movie at this time, having not seen it, we are compelled to say something about the book. No doubt, tens or hundreds of thousands of young people will see the movie, which will, for many of them, be their introduction to the emerging church (i.e., the “new” Christianity).

Blue Like Jazz, the book, published by Thomas Nelson in 2003, was essentially a “soft” introduction to the emerging church. There are two myths about Donald Miller that all concerned Christians should know:

Two Myths about Donald Miller

Myth 1: Donald Miller is not really an emerging church figure.

Truth: Miller shares the same spiritual outlook as other emerging leaders (even in Blue Like Jazz, which has sold over a million copies and has gained enormous influence in the evangelical church). That is why Brian McLaren (who rejects biblical atonement) said there is “no better book than Blue Like Jazz to introduce Christian spirituality.” McLaren said this about Miller because he recognizes Miller as a soul mate of emerging spirituality.

The following quote by Miller (in BLJ) reveals much about his spiritual propensities:

For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained (p. 115).

When Miller says that “Christian spirituality” cannot be explained, he means that solid, unchangeable biblical doctrine and theology do not exist. When Miller says “Christian spirituality” can only be “experienced,” this is referring to mysticism. That can be substantiated when Miller says: “You cannot be a Christian without being a mystic” (p. 202). He has echoed mystic Karl Rahner’s words who said the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will be nothing. Some may say that Miller is merely defending ideas like the trinity or eternity (which he refers to in BLJ) as being mystical. But putting in context Miller’s statement above, he is actually defending “Christian writers” who embrace “mysticism.” These are two different things. When the “Christian” mystics speak of mysticism, they are referring to altered states of consciousness (the silence) reached during mantric-style meditation. And while Miller doesn’t mention contemplative or mantras in his books, he helps condition people to see mysticism as a legitimate and valuable practice.

For those who may be skeptical regarding Miller’s view on mysticism, in his book Searching for God Knows What in the acknowledgements, Miller thanks New Age meditation proponent Daniel Goleman. Goleman (author of The Meditative Mind) writes favorably about mantra meditation and Buddhism. He was the editor for a book titled Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health.

Miller backs up his dismissal of doctrine and theology (an earmark of all emerging leaders) when he says he has “climb[ed] outside my pat answers [doctrine],” and says “Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid” (p. 205). That might sound acceptable to many people today in our feel-good, redefining society, but it is the “pat answers” and the “chart” that the Bible has given us so we can understand God, life, and salvation. Miller reiterates his rejection of immoveable doctrine by concluding:

At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. (emphasis added)

A million to one is very low odds that “any” of our theology is right. What about the theology of the atonement? Is our chance of understanding that a million to one? What about the theology of Jesus Christ’s return? Can we possibly know whether or not He is coming back? And what about the theology of biblical inerrancy? Can we even trust the Bible? With the odds Miller suggests, no, we can trust nothing about God’s Word at all. Praise God, that Miller’s odds are completely wrong.

Myth 2: The emerging church isn’t against debating the abortion or gay issues; they just don’t want those to be the ONLY issues.

Truth: In Searching for God Knows What, mystic proponent, Tony Campolo, endorsed the book, saying, “We need this book.” Brian McLaren and other emergent leaders endorsed the book as well. In that book, Miller echoes the emergent voices when he states:

I wondered if the Christian faith in America had not been hijacked as well, hijacked by those same two issues: abortion and gay marriage. How did a spirituality such as Christianity, a spirituality that speaks of eternity, of a world without end, of forgiveness of sins and a mysterious union with the Godhead, come to be represented by a moralist agenda and a trickle-down economic theory?

The mantra of the emerging church is the false accusation that the only two things biblical Christians care about is stopping abortion and gay marriage. They state publicly that we should also care about the sick, the poor, and the needy. But you see, this is not what they mean: Since biblical Christians have cared about the poor, the sick, and the needy already, what they really mean is those two issues should be dumped altogether.

Rick Warren and other emerging leaders are not being honest when they use the media and their books to convince the masses that biblical Christians do not care about those in need. And whether they know it or not, they are helping to bring about a new spirituality, which has its foundation based on death. How’s that? The driving force behind the emerging church is mysticism. The premise behind mysticism is man’s divinity. Believing that man is God ultimately leads to death because in that belief system, there is no need for a Savior. Man erroneously thinks he can save himself. Thus, he dies in his sin because he rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Everything that Satan does leads to death. Abortion and practicing homosexuality are in essence practices of death, and it only makes sense that this New Age mystical spirituality that is entering the church condemns Christians who oppose abortion and the practice of homosexuality.

The reason the emerging church must ultimately accept practicing homosexuality and abortion is because both of these practices lead to death, and emerging spirituality is ultimately a belief system that draws people away from biblical truth that gives life and takes them toward an interspiritual, panentheistic “religion” (i.e., man is God) that leads to spiritual death (see Sue Monk Kidd).

Question to LT: What about the “Voice Bible”?

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

What is your view of this new translation [the Voice]? Thank for all you do. Looking up. Bob

Our answer (from a 2007 LT article):

According to a February 11th article in Christian Today, “New Bible Project for Young Generation Launched”, Thomas Nelson’s 2006 “Bible” project called The Voice is going full speed ahead. The project, announced by TN last spring, is a “re-telling of the Bible that consists of creative voices from historians to poets, storytellers to songwriters,” and is for young people who are “searching for new ways to explore the Bible, or who are seeking to read it for the first time.” The project will be a combination of books, music CDs, artwork and an interactive website. With the largest Christian publisher backing the project, there is little doubt that The Voice will reach countless young people and have a significant impact in many lives.

Unfortunately, the project turns out to be an emerging church creation, thus the foundation of it is marred from the beginning. Because mysticism, New Age ideology, and a return to Rome, are the building blocks of the emerging church, The Voice is going to be a spiritually dangerous conduit for adherents. Some of the emergent leaders involved in the project are Chris Seay (project founder), Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, Leonard Sweet, and Blue Like Jazz author, Donald Miller. In last year’s press release by Thomas Nelson, Erwin McManus was also listed.

This month’s new release (the third book in the project) is called The Voice of Matthew, written by emergent/contemplative Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath).

Chris Seay, the founder of The Voice, is pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas. A mission statement on the website illustrates the theology of the emerging church:

We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person’s life and culture. We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.

We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself – she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.

Saying that all of creation (e.g., all humanity) is redeemed is in direct opposition of the teachings of Jesus who said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). And the belief that the church will usher in the Kingdom of God as opposed to Jesus Christ ushering it in with his literal return to the earth is indicative of the contemplative/emerging mindset. (It is also classic dominionism.)

The contemplative affinities of the contributors of The Voice will assure that mysticism will be an integral part of this project. This new version of the Bible has the potential to lead thousands, and possibly millions, of young people away from the words of Jesus Christ who said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (John 10: 1-4)

We contend that The Voice is not the voice of the Good Shepherd, nor is it the Word of God that says:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:12-13)

To understand more about the emerging church and the new missiology, read Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone.

The New Look of Christian Missions

by Roger Oakland

“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.1 – Brian McLaren

Emerging spirituality is changing the way missions is being conducted. The idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term Christian. At the 2005 United Nations Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, Rick Warren made the following comments to 100 delegates who represented various different religions:

I’m not talking about a religion this morning. You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or you may have no religion at all. I’m not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion.2

While he did go on afterwards and say he believed that Jesus was God, the implication was that your religion doesn’t matter to God, and being Buddhist, Mormon, or whatever will not interfere with having Jesus in your life. Donald Miller, author of the popular Blue Like Jazz, puts it this way:

For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained.3

In Erwin McManus’ book The Barbarian Way, he refers to “Barbarians” in a positive light and says that this is how Christ-followers should be:

They [Barbarians] 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.4

A May/June 2000 issue of Watchman’s Trumpet magazine explains what this new missiology really entails:

Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. A March 24, 2000, Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to “hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices” so as to refrain from offending others within their culture.5

The Charisma article in which Watchman’s Trumpet reports elaborates:

“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, according to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved.6

The Charisma story reports that a YWAM staff newsletter notes the new converts’ lifestyle changes (or lack thereof):

They [the new converts] continued 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.7

When one of the largest missionary societies (YWAM) becomes a proponent of the new missiology, telling converts they can remain in their own religious traditions, the disastrous results should be quite sobering for any discerning Christian.

In an article titled “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” the following statement is made regarding the research of Herbert Hoefer, author of Churchless Christianity:

In striking research undertaken in the mid-eighties and published in 1991, Herbert E. Hoefer found that the people of Madras City are far closer to historic Christianity than the populace of any cities in the western Christian world could ever claim to be. Yet these are not Christians, but rather Hindus and Muslims. In their midst is a significant number of true believers in Christ who openly confess to faith in fundamental Biblical doctrines, yet remain outside the institutional church.8

The article expands this idea that one does not need to become a Christian or to change his religious practices; he just needs to add Jesus to his spiritual equation:

However, some might argue that this [the “smothering embrace of Hinduism”] is the danger with the ishta devata strategy I am proposing. It will lead not to an indigenous Christianity but to a Christianized Hinduism. Perhaps more accurately we should say a Christ-ized Hinduism. I would suggest that really both are the same, and therefore we should not worry about it. We do not want to change the culture or the religious genius of India. We simply want to bring Christ and His Gospel into the center of it. (emphasis added)9

Herbert Hoefer’s research is quite interesting. His idea that rather than “changing or rejecting” the Hindu and Muslim culture missionaries should be “Christ-izing” it.10 He says there are thousands of believers in India whom he refers to as “non-baptized believers.” Reasons for the believers not becoming baptized vary, but usually it is because they will suffer financial or social loss and status. Hoefer admits that these non-baptized believers are not Christians, and usually they do not choose to call themselves that. In many of his examples, these non-baptized believers continue practicing their religious rituals so as not to draw suspicion or ridicule from family and friends. Hoefer explains one story:

[There is] a young man of lower caste who earns his livelihood by playing the drum at Hindu festivals and functions. “All this is what I must do,” he said, “but my faith is in Christ. Outside I am a Hindu, but inside I am a Christian.”11

Another family of the Nayar caste consisted of a wife, her husband and one son. Hoefer describes their situation:

[H]er husband and son have been believers in Christ for eight years. They both had studied in Christian schools and learned of Christ. The husband’s father had a vision of Christ, and one brother also is a non-baptised believer. The husband does not join his wife in coming to Church, but he occasionally joins her for the big public meetings. They do not have family devotions, but worship Jesus along with the Hindu gods in their home. Their approach to the Hindu festivals is to carry them out but to think of God, not Jesus specifically.12

I am not here to judge whether these non-baptized believers are truly born again. That is for the Lord to decide. My concern lies with the way missions is changing and how the Gospel is being presented. To say that someone does not have to leave their pagan religion behind, and in fact they don’t have to even stop calling themselves Hindu or Muslim, is not presenting the teachings of the Bible.
And the apostle Paul, who ended up dying for his faith, exhorted believers to be willing to give up all for the sake of having Christ:

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Philippians 3:8)

The implications of this new missiology are serious and, what’s more very unbiblical. Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries has done extensive research and analysis on the new missiology. In his article, “A ‘New Evangelism’ for the 21st Century,” Oppenheimer states:

Can a Christian now call himself a Muslim? The word Muslim is made up of two words, Islam and Mu. Muslim does not just mean submission; it means submission to the God Allah; not the Lord Jesus Christ or Yahweh. Can a Muslim be called a Christian and walk with Allah? This seems to make no doctrinal or practical sense, unless they change the names and the meaning. This only brings confusion. Why do this when you can introduce Yahweh as the true God without any baggage and shuffling around in names, nature or descriptions? The answer is that you may not see the same results. This is what this is all about isn’t it, results; pragmatism, the end justifies the means.13

In a book by Oppenheimer and Sandy Simpson titled Idolatry in Their Hearts, they show how widespread this new missiology has become. Listen to some of the comments made by a few new missiology proponents:

New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths…. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”14–Leonard Sweet

I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions.15–Rick Warren

I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity…. I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.16–Thomas Merton

Allah is not another God … we worship the same God…. The same God! The very same God we worship in Christ is the God the Jews–and the Muslims–worship.17–Peter Kreeft

Oppenheimer and Simpson present page after page of documentation showing this paradigm shift in Christian missions. They ask the question, “Can one be a Hindu or a Muslim and follow Jesus?” They explain why the answer is no:

One cannot be in relationship with Jesus within the confines of a false religion. One must leave his or her religion to follow Jesus, not just add Him on….

This broadens Jesus’ statement of the road being narrow into a wide, all encompassing concept. What is concerning is that these same kinds of statements are also made by those who are New Agers that hold a universal view. Alice Bailey said, “I would point out that when I use the phrase ‘followers of the Christ’ I refer to all those who love their fellowmen, irrespective of creed or religion.”18

With Rick Warren saying your religion should have no bearing on your spiritual life, Erwin McManus saying he would like to destroy Christianity, and missionary societies telling new converts they can have Jesus without Christianity (or baptism), the results could be devastating and will very likely undo the tireless efforts of many dedicated missionaries around the world. These Bible-believing missionaries have risked their lives and given up comforts and ease to travel around the world sharing the good news that becoming a Christian (having Jesus Christ come into your heart and life) is the way to eternal life. Now, right behind them, come emerging church missionaries who say Christianity is a terrible religion, and Christians are out to lunch–so just become a Christ-follower, and you don’t even have to tell anyone about it. In fact, you can still live like you always have.
To the many who have suffered persecution and martyrdom over the centuries for being Christians and being courageous enough to call themselves that, we now must believe they suffered and died unnecessarily–after all, they did not need to confess Jesus as the only way. And they didn’t need to renounce their pagan religions. We also find that the following words of Jesus do not fit into this emerging church paradigm:

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

There is a powerful story in the Book of Acts, in which the apostle Paul had been arrested for preaching the Gospel. He was brought before King Agrippa and given the opportunity to share his testimony of how he became a Christian. He told Agrippa that the Lord had commissioned him to preach the Gospel and:

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)

Agrippa continued listening and then said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (vs. 28).” Paul answered him:

I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. (vs. 29)

If Paul had been following the emerging mentality, he would have told Agrippa, “No need to become a Christian. You can remain just as you are; keep all your rituals and practices, just say you like Jesus.” In actuality, if Paul had been practicing emerging spirituality, he wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. He would not have stood out, would not have preached boldly and without reservation, and he would not have called himself a Christian, which eventually became a death sentence for Paul and countless others.(from chapter 10, Faith Undone)

Notes:

1. Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, op. cit., p. 293.
2. Rick Warren at the 2005 United Nations Prayer Breakfast, September 2005. For more information about the prayer breakfast, see “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); quote in this book is from transcript of Warren’s talk that was provided to Lighthouse Trails Publishing.
3. Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (Nashville, TN: Zondervan, 2003), p. 115.
4. Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005),p. 6.
5. “Youth with a Mission Experiments with New, Unscriptural Missions Strategy” (Foundation, Watchman’s Trumpet, May – June 2000, http://www.feasite.org/WTrumpet/fbcwt004.htm#Youth%20With), p. 39.
6. Andy Butcher, “Radical Missionary Approach Produces ‘Messianic Muslims’ Retaining Islamic Identity” (Charisma News Service, March 24, 2000, http://web.archive.org/web/20010818051517/www.charismanew s.com/news.cgi?a=285&t=news.html).
7. Ibid., quoting from a report in “The International YWAMer,” YWAM’s staff newsletter.
8. H. L. Richard, “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” a review of Churchless Christianity by Herbert Hoefer (Mission Frontiers, March/April 1999, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/1999/0304/articles/04f.htm).
9. Ibid.
10. Herbert Hoefer, Churchless Christianity (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001 edition), p. xii.
11. Ibid., p. 17.
12. Ibid., p. 16.
13. Mike Oppenheimer, “A ‘New Evangelism’ for the 21st Century” (Let Us Reason ministries, 2006, http://www.letusreason.org/Curren 33. htm).
14. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, op. cit., p. 130.
15. Rick Warren, “Discussion: Religion and Leadership,” with David Gergen and Rick Warren (Aspen Ideas Festival, The Aspen Institute, July 6, 2005, http://www.aspeninstitute.org); for more information: http://www. lighthouse trailsresearch.com/newsletternovember05.htm.
16. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
17. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad, op. cit., pp. 30, 160.
18. Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer, Idolatry in Their Hearts (Pearl City, HI: Apologetics Coordination Team, 2007, 1st Edition), p. 358.

Related Information:

The spirituality of Alice Bailey

They like Jesus but not the church

Jim Wallis and Other Emerging Leaders Tell Christians and Media – Stop Challenging Obama’s “Christian” Faith

LTRP Note: The following news story is not posted as any kind of endorsement but rather for informational and research purposes only. Please also read: Obama appoints “faith-based” advisory council, “New Spirituality” President’s Plan for Older Citizens, Obama: Grew up with “the Bible and the Koran” – Believes Many Paths Lead to God, Obama Foreshadows the Coming Spirituality

“Faith is not a political issue”
by Eleison Group

Washington, DC (August 25, 2010)—Over 70 prominent Christian leaders and denominational heads from across the ideological spectrum joined together today to call for a stop to the misrepresentation of President Obama’s Christian faith.   In an open letter, these Christian leaders called on the media, public officials, and their fellow Christians to stand with them in opposing those who continue to insinuate that the President is a Muslim, not a Christian.

The full text of the letter and a list of signatories is below.

As Christian leaders— whose primary responsibility is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with our congregations, our communities, and our world— we are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama’s faith. We understand that these are contentious times, but the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate.

President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith.  Many of the signees on this letter have prayed and worshipped with this President.  We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far.

This is not a political issue. The signers of this letter come from different political and ideological backgrounds, but we are unified in our belief in Jesus Christ.  As Christian pastors and leaders, we believe that fellow Christians need to be an encouragement to those who call Christ their savior, not question the veracity of their faith.

Therefore, we urge public officials, faith leaders, and the media to offer no further support or airtime to those who misrepresent and call into question the President’s Christian faith.  And we join with the President in praying that God will continue to bless the United States of America. (Source – Eleison Group)

Some of the signers include:

Jim Wallis

Brian McLaren

Ron Sider

Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz)

T. D. Jakes

Richard Stearns
(Pres. World Vision)


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