Posts Tagged ‘Erwin McManus’

Erwin McManus, Moody, Liberty, Cedarville, and Biola Help Pave the Emergent/Social Justice/Progressive Future with Barefoot Tribe

Lighthouse Trails has been warning readers for several years about the emergent church. In those warnings, we’ve addressed the spiritual leanings of Erwin McManus.1 We also challenged David Jeremiah because he told his church that he wanted to use McManus’ book The Barbarian Way to help bring about a “major paradigm shift” in his church.2 Well, there’s no question about it, the evangelical church has gone through a major paradigm shift. This week we received some information from a Lighthouse Trails reader about an event called Barefoot Tribe Gathering, which is another example of where emergent leaders are taking the church, in particular young evangelicals, who by the way are being encouraged not to even call themselves evangelicals or Christians anymore. They see themselves on a much higher ground than that. It’s a ground that incorporates all religions, all people, and all beliefs and practices.

This emergent progressive church (which they tried to make us believe was a thing of the past) is the new “Christianity” for millions of young people. Under the disguise of helping the poor, taking care of the environment, and loving everyone (except their critics), is a growing body of people with a New Age/New Spirituality mindset that embraces all spiritual views and believes God exists in everyone. The Cross (or atonement) doesn’t mean the place where Jesus Christ took our place and died for our sins but rather means at-one-ment (that is, we are all one and connected together with a “God” energy that flows through all things and all people). This at-one-ment rejects the idea that God would actually send His Son to a violent death to pay for OUR sins; rather this emergent view of atonement means that Jesus was a good example of someone who laid down His life and we should follow that example. That’s as far as this “new church” will go with the Cross. To say He paid the penalty for our sins is to say that man is sinful and is not God. The new social justice, emergent, progressive “Christianity” cannot do that because it doesn’t believe that.

According to the Barefoot Tribe’s website, Erwin McManus was one of the speakers in the 2014 Barefoot Tribe Gathering (and by the way, the emergent church has made a lot of progress since then with the help of “evangelical” names such as McManus). We also noticed that Palmer Chinchen, who heads up Barefoot Tribe,  has been bringing the Barefoot Tribe message to various Christian colleges including Cornerstone University, Biola, Moody, Cedarville, and Liberty. What better place to change the face of Christianity than at the Christian universities. While parents keep their heads in the sand and pay huge dollars to have their children educated at “nice safe Christian colleges,” right under their noses, their kids’ spirituality is being turned upside down, and in many, if not most, cases will never be restored to biblical Christianity. Other colleges Barefoot Tribe has spoken at are:

Lest some think that Barefoot Tribe is simply an outreach to the poor and needy in the world, Palmer Chinchen’s books, including Barefoot Tribe, are packed with quotes by, references to, and inspirations from some of the leading emergent writers today (Sweet, Ortberg, N.T. Wright, Nouwen, Brueggemann, Morgan Cron, Campolo, etc.). Satan has an agenda to deceive the whole world, and most proclaiming Christians and church goers have no idea it is  happening right in their own backyards.

The information sent from our reader:

The Barefoot Tribe Gathering 2014 and 2017
We are on the crest of an epic shift in humanity. This generation views the world as an extended family – increasingly interconnected through technology – and living with a deep moral obligation to care for one another.
The Barefoot Tribe GATHERING will promote conversation, collaboration, and help network a generation of Christ-followers to respond to the plight of desperate people in broken places.”
http://www.palmerchinchen.com/gathering
– Palmer Chinchen is organizer

2014 Speakers
(1)  Bob Goff:  author of Love Does – http://bobgoff.com/
(2)  Dr. John M. Perkinshttps://spu.edu/depts/perkins/john-perkins/
(3)  Caitlyn Crosby:  Oprah pick for Super Soul 100 list  as a “Soul Giver”:  http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-100/soul-givers/caitlin-crosby
More on Caitlyn:  https://www.thegivingkeys.com/pages/our-founder-caitlin-crosby
(4)  Erwin McManushttp://awakengroup.com/?ag_team=erwin-raphael-mcmanus

Barefoot Tribe:  http://www.palmerchinchen.com/barefoot-tribe
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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.

Who is Bringing the “New” Spirituality Into the Church?

By Chris Lawson

Each of the following authors professes to be Christian and/or uses biblical terminology in his or her writing, yet promotes at least one of the following serious false teachings: contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), the emergent, progressive “new” spirituality, the seeker-friendly, church-growth movement (e.g., Willow Creek, Purpose Driven) and/or Yoga. (This list is from the booklet A Directory of Authors: Three NOT Recommended Lists.)

A
Abbott, David L.
Adams, James Rowe
Allender, Dan
Arico, Carl J.
Armstrong, Karen
Artress, Lauren
Assagioli, Roberto

B
Babbs, Liz
Bakker, Jay
Barton, Ruth Haley
Bass, Diana Butler
Batterson, Mark
Baxter, Mary
Bell, Rob
Benner, David
Bennison, John
Bentley, Todd
Bickle, Mike
Bjorklund, Kurt
Blanchard, Ken
Boa, Kenneth
Bolger, Ryan
Bolz-Weber, Nadia
Bono
Bordenkircher, Susan
Borg, Marcus
Boyd, Gregory
Bourgeault, Cynthia
Bronsink, Troy
Brother Lawrence
Brueggemann, Walter
Bruteau, Beatrice
Buchanan, John M.
Budziszewski, J.
Buford, Bob
Burke, Spencer

C
Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg
Caliguire, Mindy
Campbell, Joseph
Campolo, Bart
Campolo, Tony
Canfield, Jack
Card, Michael
Carroll, L. Patrick
Chalke, Steve
Chalmers, Joseph
Chinmoy, Sri
Chittister, Joan
Claiborne, Shane
Coe, John
Coffin, William Sloane
Collins, Jim
Crabb, Larry
Cron, Ian
Crossan, John Dominic
Crowder, David

D
De Mello, Anthony De Waal, Esther
Demarest, Bruce
Dillard, Annie
Dowd, Michael
Dykes, David R
Driscoll, Mark
Drury, Keith
Dyckman, Katherine Marie

E
Edwards, Gene
Edwards, Tilden
Egan, Harvey
Epperly, Bruce
Evans, Rachel Held

F
Felten, David
Fleming, Dave
Flowers, Betty Sue
Ford, Leighton
Fosdick, Harry Emerson
Foster, Richard
Fox, George
Fox, Matthew
Friend, Howard E., Jr.
Funk, Mary Margaret

G
Garrison, Becky
Geering, Lloyd
Gibbs, Eddie
Gire, Ken
Goleman, Daniel
Goll, James
Graham, Dom Alfred
Greig, Pete
Griffin, Emilie
Griffiths, Bede
Gungor

H
Haas, Peter Traban
Haight, Roger
Haliczer, Stephen
Hall, Thelma
Hansen, Mark Victor
Hays, Edward
Hazard, David
Healey, Charles
Hedrick, Charles
Hildegard of Bingen
Hipps, Shane
Holmes, Emily
Hougen, Judith
Humphreys, Carolyn
Hunard, Hannah
Hunt, Anne
Hunter, Todd
Hybels, Bill

I
Ignatius Loyola, St.
Issler, Klaus

J
Jager, Willigis
Jenks, Gregory C.
Johnson, Jan
Johnston, William
Jones, Alan
Jones, Laurie Beth
Jones, Tony

K
Kaisch, Ken
Keating, Thomas
Kelsey, Morton
Kent, Keri Wyatt
Kidd, Sue Monk
Kimball, Dan
King, Mike
King, Robert H.
Kraft, Robert A.
Kreeft, Peter

L
L’Engle, Madeleine
Lamott, Anne
Law, William

M
Madigan, Shawn
Main, John
Manning, Brennan
Martin, James
Mattioli, Joseph
Matus, Thomas
May, Gerald
McColman, Carl
McKnight, Scot
McLaren, Brian
McManus, Erwin
Meninger, William
Meyers, Robin R.
Miller, Calvin
Miller, Donald
Moon, Gary
Moore, Beth
Moore, Brian P.
Moran, Michael T.
Moreland, J.P.
Morganthaler, Sally
Mother Theresa
Mundy, Linus
Muyskens, John David

N
Newcomer, Carrie
Norris, Gunilla Brodde
Norris, Kathleen
Nouwen, Henri

O
Ortberg, John

P
Pagels, Elaine
Pagitt, Doug
Palmer, Parker
Paloma, Margaret M.
Patterson, Stephen J.
Peace, Richard
Peale, Norman Vincent
Pennington, Basil
Pepper, Howard
Peterson, Eugene
Piper, John
Plumer, Fred
Pope Benedict XVI
Procter-Murphy, Jeff

R
Rakoczy, Susan
Reininger, Gustave
Rhodes, Tricia
Robbins, Duffy
Robbins, Maggie
Rohr, Richard
Rolle, Richard
Rollins, Peter
Romney, Rodney
Ruether, Rosemary Radford
Rupp, Joyce
Russell, A.J.
Ryan, Thomas

S
Sampson, Will
Sanford, Agnes
Scandrette, Mark
Scazzero, Pete
Schuller, Robert
Selmanovic, Samir
Senge, Peter
Shannon, William
Shore, John
Sinetar, Marsha
Sittser, Gerald
Smith, Chuck, Jr.
Smith, Elizabeth
Smith, James Bryan
Southerland, Dan
Spangler, Ann
Spong, John Shelby
St. Romain, Philip
Stanley, Andy
Steindl-Rast, David
Strobel, Kyle
Sweet, Leonard

T
Talbot, John Michael
Tasto, Maria
Taylor, Barbara Brown
Teague, David
Thomas, Gary
Thompson, Marjorie
Thresher, Tom
Tiberghien, Susan
Tickle, Phyllis
Treece, Patricia
Tuoti, Frank
Twiss, Richard

V
Vaswig, William (Bill)
Virkler, Mark
Voskamp, Ann

W
Wallis, Jim
Wakefield, James
Ward, Benedicta
Ward, Karen
Warren, Rick
Webber, Robert
Wilhoit, James C.
Willard, Dallas
Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan
Winner, Lauren
Wink, Walter
Wolsey, Roger
Wright, N.T.

Y
Yaconelli, Mark
Yaconelli, Mike
Yancey, Phillip
Yanni, Kathryn A.
Yarian, Br. Karekin M., BSG
Young, Sarah
Young, William Paul
Yungblut, John R.

Z
Zeidler, Frank P.

Chris Lawson is the director and founder of Spiritual Research Network.

Two Opposite Letters to the Editor About David Jeremiah: 1 Concerned about Recent Broadcast, 1 Upset with LT

Letter #1:

The cover of the book, Life Wide Open, by David Jeremiah, which is sitting on his website today.

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

You may already be aware of this, but going into work this morning (5 Jan) I tuned into David Jeremiah’s Turning Point radio broadcast titled “Living a Life Wide Open.” In the broadcast Jeremiah lists biblical characters whom he describes as having a passion for God or being “on fire” for God. One of these characters he listed was Moses, which sounds right except he based it on the events of Numbers 20. Numbers 20:1-12 gives the account of God providing water to the children of Israel in the wilderness. Gold told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come forth, but Moses, angry at the Israelites because of their complaining, struck the rock twice. God went ahead and gave the water, but because of Moses disobedience he was not allowed to enter the Promise Land. As a matter of fact the Bible specifically tells us Moses’ action was rebellion against God’s commandment (Numbers 27:14). Just to make sure I didn’t misunderstand what Jeremiah said I listened again to a repeat of the broadcast in the evening. I scratch my head wondering how a prominent Bible teacher, preacher, and author could make such a mistake!

In another portion of the broadcast, he favorably mentioned Erwin McManus giving “insight” into one his books. Basically in the book mentioned McManus criticizes some of the old hymns such as “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” which (according to McManus) encourages believers to be passive (leaning on God I guess?) instead of passionate. I don’t know if this was a recent sermon Jeremiah preached or a re-broadcast of an older one.

Letter #2:

To Lighthouse Trails:

Praying for you to be able to understand God’s Word with true understanding. That Satan will leave the person, who is trying to discredit the work being done in El Cajon, California.  Really blatant remarks being made.  Dr. Jeremiah preaches the Word according to the Bible.  No nonsense, but True Scripture from God.  El Cajon being located in the most populous state in the Union and David Jeremiah choosing to be among the people bringing the Gospel and trying to meet the people’s needs.  Being obedient to God in spreading the Gospel.  He uses his time raising up rather than tearing down. Satan interacts through his demons here on earth. We pray that you walk in God’s light rather in the darkness of Satan’s work. [LT Note: We have removed some derogatory remarks from this letter about Lighthouse Trails that are unbeneficial, untrue, and have nothing to do with the subject matter.]

All I am asking is that you focus on God’s Word and not on God’s true servants, who are being obedient by reaching millions of we sinners each week, through his obedience to God. I will say no more. Please make each of your days count for God and not for Satan’s condemnation of others.

Our Comments: First, we would like to reiterate previous statements we have made regarding the articles at Lighthouse Trails. We are not attempting to destroy the reputations of those we critique. However, as we watch the complete silence by Christian leaders in matters pertaining to the preservation of the Gospel message, we remain compelled to challenge them and beseech them to stand for truth and against apostasy no matter the cost.

Coincidentally, Lighthouse Trails received both of the letters above just a couple days apart. The second letter is an example of someone who is devoted to David Jeremiah but who has not gathered all the facts before making his assessment. The sermon that is referenced in the first letter pertains to David Jeremiah’s book Life Wide Open,which was published several years ago but still in circulation today and as one can see from the recent broadcast, still inspiring Jeremiah today. Lighthouse Trails wrote a review of Life Wide Open a number of years ago. Below we are re-posting a portion of our original review of the book because it is still a relevant issue and is a case in point of another Christian leader who is not speaking out against spiritual deception, including his own. While the broadcast mentioned above is from an earlier date, the present-day introduction by Jeremiah shows that he still approves of his book and his ideas on a “passionate” life.

Sadly, as he did in Life Wide Open, you will hear Jeremiah speaking in this broadcast in a demeaning matter about hymns, much differently than he did in his 90s book Invasion of Other Gods, where he commendably gave a strong warning about the New Age and spoke lovingly of hymns. In Life Wide Open, he stated: “Unfortunately, we often encourage comfort zones in the church.” He then quoted contemplative Calvin Miller as saying, “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). We are wondering what invaded David Jeremiah’s thoughts to change them regarding hymns over the course of a decade. And how is it that he condemned the New Age in the 90s but in Life Wide Open (ten years ago) admired them, and today, still resonates with that book?

From our original review:

David Jeremiah’s 2003/2005 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).

When one ponders the spirituality of some of these names, it is disheartening to see that David Jeremiah continues promoting his 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 about 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 Waits is 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 of Reimagining 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 throughout mainstream book venues.

In 2006, a year after the second edition of Life Wide Open came out, Jeremiah said 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 admits 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.  (END OF REVIEW)

Related Articles:
Ravi Zacharias on Henri Nouwen – “I regret having said that” “Henri Nouwen Was One of the Greatest Saints In Our Time”

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

David Jeremiah Opens Pulpit to Contemplative Advocate John Ortberg

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

David Jeremiah Quotes Mystic/Panentheist Henri Nouwen … Again

David Jeremiah Quotes New Ager … A Mysterious Twist

David Jeremiah Instructs “Visualize Jesus” – References Mystic Francis de Sales

David Jeremiah Proposes “Major Paradigm Shift” For His Church

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus

They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus – How Conservative Christians Are Being Manipulated and Ridiculed, Especially During Election Years written by the Editors at Lighthouse Trails is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus, click here. There is also an Appendix in the booklet that summarizes news articles to show a definite effort to alter the sociopolitical views of conservative Bible-believing Christian adults and their young adult children during a presidential election year.

They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus“They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus – How Conservative Christians Are Being Manipulated and Ridiculed, Especially During Election Years”

In 2008, which was an election year, books, videos, broadcasts, and news articles were pouring into mainstream America with a guilt-ridden message that basically manipulated conservative Christians into thinking that either they shouldn’t vote because “Jesus wouldn’t vote,” or they shouldn’t vote on morality issues such as abortion or homosexuality. Suddenly, all over the place, there was talk about “destroying Christianity,” or “liking Jesus but not the church,” or “Jesus for president” (suggesting that maybe we could get Him on the ballot but certainly we shouldn’t vote for anyone already on the ballot). It all sounded very noble to many. After all, everybody knows there is so much political corruption in high government and certainly as much hypocrisy within the walls of many proclaiming Christian leaders and celebrities.

This special report by Lighthouse Trails is not going to attempt to answer the question, “Should a Christian vote?” But we hope to at least show that things are not always as they seem, and what may appear “noble” and good may not be so at all.

In January of 2012, another election year, a young man, Jefferson (Jeff) Bethke, who attends contemplative advocate Mark Driscoll’s church, Mars Hill in Washington state, posted a video on YouTube called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” Within hours, the video had over 100,000 hits. Soon it reached over 14 million hits, according to the Washington Post, one of the major media that has spotlighted the Bethke video (hits as of May 2013 are over 25 million).
The Bethke video is a poem Bethke wrote and recites in a rap-like fashion his thoughts and beliefs about the pitfalls of what he calls “religion” but what is indicated to be Christianity. While we are not saying at this time that Bethke is an emerging figure, and while some of the lyrics in his poem are true statements, it is interesting that emerging spirituality figures seem to be resonating with Bethke’s message. They are looking for anything that will give them ammunition against traditional biblical Christianity. They have found some in Bethke’s poem. Like so many in the emerging camp say, Bethke’s poem suggests that Christians don’t take care of the poor and needy. While believers in Christ have been caring for the needy for centuries, emerging figures use this ploy to win conservative Christians (through guilt) over to a liberal social justice “gospel.” Emerging church journalist Jim Wallis (founder of Sojourners) is one who picked up on Bethke’s video. In an article on Wallis’ blog, it states:

Bethke’s work challenges his listeners to second guess their preconceived notions about what it means to be a Christian. He challenges us to turn away from the superficial trappings of “religion,” and instead lead a missional life in Christ.1

What the article is talking about when it says “preconceived notions” is Christianity according to the Bible. Emerging figures accept some of it but find to accept all of it is too restricting. Many of them call themselves “red letter Christians,” supposing to mean they adhere to all the red letters that Jesus said; but they have actually chosen which red letters they adhere to—they don’t accept them all. For instance, they dismiss red letters that refer to there being a hell for those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord, God, and Savior. When the word missional is used, this doesn’t mean traditional missionary efforts to evangelize the world. It means to realize that all of humanity is saved and being saved along with all of creation and that the means of salvation didn’t take place in a one-time event (the Cross) but is an ongoing procedure that occurs as people begin to realize they are all connected to one another and can bring about a Utopian society through this interconnectedness. Such emerging buzz words like missional fool a lot of people though.

Incidentally, if you’ve never read the article we posted in the summer of 2010 regarding Jim Wallis and Sojourners, “Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis’ Revolutionary Anti-Christian “Gospel” (and Will Christian Leaders Stand with Wallis?)” we highly recommend it.2 But be warned—you may find it quite disturbing when you read what the agenda behind the scenes really is.

The rally call to throw out Christianity but keep “Jesus” isn’t a new one—we’ve heard it many times before from various emerging contemplatives. Futurist Erwin McManus once said in an interview:

My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ . . . Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.3

And, of course, there is Dan Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church. In a book review of Kimball’s book, Lighthouse Trails stated that the book should really be called They Like (Another) Jesus But Not the Church, the Bible, Morality, or the Truth.4 Kimball interviews several young people (one is a lesbian) who tell him they “like and respect Jesus” but they don’t want anything to do with going to church or with those Christians who take the Bible literally. Kimball says these are “exciting times” we live in “when Jesus is becoming more and more respected in our culture by non-churchgoing people.”5 He says we should “be out listening to what non-Christians, especially those in their late teens to thirties, are saying and thinking about the church and Christianity.”6

According to Kimball, it is vitally important that we as Christians be accepted by non-Christians and not thought of as abnormal or strange. But in order to do that, he says we must change the way we live and behave. Kimball insists that “those who are rejecting faith in Jesus” do so because of their views of Christians and the church.7 But he makes it clear throughout the book that these distorted views are not the fault of the unbeliever but are the fault of Christians, but not all Christians, just those fundamentalist ones who take the Bible literally, believe that homosexuality is a sin, and think certain things are wrong and harmful to society . . . and actually speak up about these things.

Perhaps what is most damaging about Dan Kimball’s book is his black and white, either or reasoning (the very thing he accuses Christians of). He makes it very clear that you cannot be a Christian who takes the Bible literally and also be a humble, loving, thoughtful person. They are two different things, according to Kimball. There is no such thing as a loving, humble Christian who takes the Bible literally. His book further alienates believers in a world that is already hostile to those who say Jesus is the only way to salvation, the Bible should be taken literally, homosexuality is a sin, and we are called out of this world to live righteously by the grace of God.

Brian McLaren, the emerging church’s early pioneer, resonates with these ill feelings toward the Christian faith when he states:

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.8

Roger Oakland deals with this “we love Jesus but hate Christianity” mentality in his book Faith Undone. Listen to a few quotes Oakland includes in that book:

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.9—Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz

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.10—Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

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.”11–Leonard Sweet

I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions.12–Rick Warren

I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.13–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 Muslims–worship.14–Peter Kreeft

Roger Oakland relates a story from the Book of Acts:

“[T]he 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.”15

It’s hard to believe there was not at least some political agenda in this storm of “we love Jesus but not the church or Christianity” especially witnessed in election years. And we believe this agenda was aimed particularly toward young people from evangelical conservative upbringings who had joined the emerging church movement. In a CBS Broadcast, anchorman Antonio Mora suggests there may have been over twenty million participants in the emerging church movement in the United States alone by 2006.16 Even half that number would be enough to change the results of a presidential election.

Some may contend that Jefferson Bethke’s song doesn’t have any political message at all—it’s just about hypocrisy of religious people. But interestingly, in the very first few lines of the song, Bethke raps:
“What if I told you getting you to vote Republican, really wasn’t his [Jesus’] mission? Because Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian.”

Could there be some message here that Bethke is trying to relay? Is it just to tell people that just because they are Republican doesn’t mean they are Christian? Surely not. A fourth grader could reason that out. It’s difficult not to believe there is some other message here that just happens to be taking place on an election year.

Just consider some of the things that were said by evangelical and emerging figures during the 2008 presidential election year. And think about what you are hearing today. A lot of people love the messages being sent out by people like Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus, and let’s not forget Frank Viola and George Barna’s book, Pagan Christianity, where they condemn church practices like pastors, sermons, Sunday School, and pews, but say nothing about spiritual deception that has come into the church through the contemplative prayer movement. These latter two figures (Viola and Barna) give readers a feeling that they should hate Christianity but just love Jesus. But what Jesus are these voices writing, singing, and rapping about? It may be “another Jesus” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

As the world is gradually (but not too slowly anymore) heading toward a global government and global religion, it is becoming more and more apparent that this global society will be one where “tolerance” is the byword for everything other than biblical Christianity. And what better way to breed hatred toward biblical Christians than to say “we love Jesus but hate the church” (i.e., Christians and Christianity)? Perhaps they have forgotten what Jesus said:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15: 18-19)

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)

This report we have written may produce more questions than answers regarding things like politics, voting, the role of Christians in the world, the view the world has of Christians, and so forth. But while we have not answered such questions, we hope we have shown that indeed things are not always as they seem and that often what seems right may actually be from a deceiving angel of light and those who appear good may actually be only false ministers of righteousness.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness. (2 Corinthians 11: 14-15)

To order copies of They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Matthew Santoro, “Viral: ‘Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus’” (God’s Politics blog, January 11, 2012, http://www.sojo.net/blogs/2012/01/11/viral-why-i-hate-religion-love-jesus?quicktabs_1=2).
2. M. Danielsen, “Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis’ Revolutionary Anti-Christian “Gospel” (and Will Christian Leaders Stand with Wallis?)”  (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4545).
3. “Pastor, noted author takes uncivil approach in new offering Book seeks to uproot ‘Christianity’ to return to its roots” (Christian Examiner, http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Mar05/Art_Mar05_09.html).
4. “They Like Jesus, But Not the Church (or They Like (Another) Jesus But Not the Church, the Bible, Morality, or the Truth)”  (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=3292).
5. Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus But Not the Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), p. 12.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid., p. 19.
8. Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy ((Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), p. 293.
9. Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (Nashville, TN: Zondervan, 2003), p. 115.
10. Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005),p. 6.
11. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints, First Edition, 1991), p. 130.
12. 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.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletternovember05.htm.
13. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
14. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996), pp. 30, 160.
15. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), pp. 180-181.
16. Cited from Faith Undone, from chapter 1; taken from Antonio Mora, “New Faithful Practice Away from Churches” (CBS Broadcasting, July 10, 2006).

To order copies of They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus, click here.

Question to the Editor: What’s Up with Lilly Endowment – Funding Pastoral Sabbaticals with a Contemplative Agenda

To Lighthouse Trails:

Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceutical company, in conjunction with Christian Theological Seminary (a liberal seminary in Indianapolis, IN) is funding pastoral sabbaticals.  It appears it is just a part of a national program.

Seems highly suspect to me.  I wouldn’t be looking twice except that I know a local  pastor applying for the grant. I find it very disturbing, but not necessarily surprising considering this church was already “purpose driven” several years back.

M. ___________

 

OUR RESPONSE:

Dear M._______,

In 2007, Lighthouse Trails became aware of the Lilly Endowment grants that were being given to congregations and their pastors (the pastors then allowed to go on sabbaticals that had contemplative/emerging overtones). Since then, Lilly Endowment has turned over the administration of the Clergy Renewal Program to Christian Theological Seminary in Indiana (incidentally one of the schools on the Lighthouse Trails contemplative college list) but is still giving the grants. And today, just as was the case back in 2007, the Clergy Renewal Program has contemplative/emerging leanings. That’s actually an understatement. A look around the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs website will show ample evidence of these propensities. We are reposting below our 2007 article as you may find it helpful as it includes further documentation. Once again, another instance where Christian pastors have compromised the calling to walk in the truth of God’s Word and rather participate in a mystical paradigm shift.

In 2012, the Lilly Endowment gave 6.5 million dollars to clergy members through the National Clergy Renewal Program. According to one report:

One hundred and forty-seven congregations will receive up to $50,000 to enable their pastor to take a three- to four-month sabbatical to gain fresh perspective and renewed energy for the ministry.

And according to the Lilly Endowment document that lists the winners of the 2012 grants, pastors will:

. . .  seek to regain spiritual vitality through the ancient Christian practice of walking as pilgrims in several countries—the path of Jesus in Israel, the path of the Exodus, some or all of the 500-mile Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) in Spain, the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul in Greece, Turkey and Italy—and making retreats in Benedictine monasteries, walking the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, and living in sacred space on the Isle of Iona and other Celtic spiritual destinations.

Winners represent various denominations including Southern Baptist, Independent, Presbyterian, Reformed, Episcopal, United Methodist, Lutheran, Nazarene, Evangelical Free, and Mennonite.

http://www.pastoralexcellence.com/resources (Resource page that is provided by the Clergy Renewal Project – filled with many contemplative/emergent resources).

Below is the article we wrote in 2007. Still relevant today because Lilly continues to pour money into pastors lives to help them become more contemplative and more emergent. It is also still a relevant article because the Christian figures who participated in trying to thwart and diminish their critics (e.g. Lighthouse Trails) never recanted what they were doing and supporting.

“Emerging Church – A Move of God or a Well-Funded Enterprise?” – from 2007

The name keeps popping up – Lilly Endowment . Huge amounts of money being given in the form of grants to proponents of the emerging church. As Roger Oakland documents in his book, Faith Undone, Lilly gave $691,000 to the Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project (Mark Yaconelli) in 2001. Lilly had funded the beginning of that project in 1997 as well. Lilly also funded Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, another emerging-type project with Diane Butler Bass . 1 New Age sympathizer Parker Palmer (friend and inspiration to emerging leader, Len Sweet) also enjoyed the benefits of Lilly Endowment grants.2

In an article titled “Social Change and Communitarian Systems,” it explains:

The Lilly Endowment “a private foundation…that supports community development, education and religion,” has also helped fund the [Peter] Drucker Foundation. But more recently, it has shown its support for Baptist leadership and pastoral training. Strangely enough, the two — Drucker’s communitarian vision for the “social sector” and seminary training in community-building — fit together….

This grant [$300,000] makes all the more sense in light of a new partnership between Golden Gate Seminary and Saddleback Church. The Baptist seminary will build a new branch on the Saddleback campus to train church leaders to use the digital data tracking technology needed to meet and monitor community needs around the world.3

In 1999, the now emerging/contemplative-promoting Bethel Seminary received $1.5 million from Lilly Endowment in a project created to identify “the next generation of Christian leaders.”4 Now, according to an article by emergent Tony Jones, in a more recent grant called Faithful Practices, Jones reaped benefits from Lilly.5 [Jones article no longer online.]

And the money just keeps coming in. While many think that the emerging church must be a move of God because of its success and popularity, big funding could have a lot to do with it.

Some of the participants of the Faithful Practices project include Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Karen Ward. All four are part of the emergent church and the shift toward the new spirituality that rejects biblical Christianity. Pagitt and Jones are the editors of the new release, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope; McLaren and Ward are contributing writers for the book. That book is reviewed in Emergent Manifesto: Emerging Church Coming Out of the Closet and also in Faith Undone. The Manifesto clearly shows the pantheistic/universalist/New Age element of the emerging church. But while the message of the emerging church is anything but biblical, with a little financial help from its friends, it doesn’t look like the emerging church is going to disappear anytime soon.

Lately, some emergent leaders have been posting articles on the Internet, complaining about their critics. Erwin McManus wrote a recent article titled, “Emerging Angle” where he referred to critics’ analyses as “violent attacks” and likens them to war violence. Dan Kimball, in a recent blog posting, calls emerging critics “little barking poodles” (showing a photo of a growling poodle with sharp fangs).6 And it is no secret that Rick Warren has done everything from accuse Lighthouse Trails of breaking into Saddleback’s server (telling us Federal agents are investigating us)7 to calling fundamentalist Christians a big enemy of the 21st century and likening them to Islamic terrorists.

What is ironic is that most of the “critics” of the emerging church are small, obscure ministries that have virtually no extra funding and operate on their mere love for the truth and the Gospel message. What’s more, emerging leaders outnumber their critics, have the support of mass media (both Christian and secular), and are published by the biggest Christian (and secular) publishing companies.

But in spite of the contrast between emergents (and their funding and support) and Bible-believing critics (and their lack of funding and support), critics have become a sore spot to emerging leaders to the point where they refer to us as “barking poodles,” enemies of society, and violent. Is it possible God is using the foolish things of the world to confound the wise? Is it possible that things are not always as they seem?

The critics of the emerging church are no great thing – we could be gone tomorrow, but that does not matter because what is a great thing is the God who has sent His Son as an atonement for sin (something often rejected by the emerging church), and offers salvation freely to those who receive Christ by faith through His grace. That is a great thing, and that is worth defending … and it is a message that can never be snuffed out. No amount of funding can destroy God’s truth.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written,

 How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:9-17)

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.


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