Posts Tagged ‘mystical practices’

Taizé Worship – Growing in Popularity, But Roots Are in Mystical Monasticism

Taizé Worship Service

Taizé Community in France during a worship service (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons; copyright owner: Damir Jelic; used with permission)

By Chris Lawson
(Author of Taizé: A Community and Worship: Ecumenical Reconciliation or an Interfaith Delusion?)

The worship practiced at Taizé has attracted many people from around the globe and from many different denominations. While many of the words found in Taizé worship music are words found in Scripture or words that do not necessarily contradict Scripture, the Taizé songs and worship services themselves are centered around contemplative, ecumenical, and oftentimes emergent spirituality themes. The emphasis is not on the teaching or exhortation of the Word of God but rather is to help participants “experience” God through sensory-focused music and singing. A church association in the UK describes the Taizé worship style as such:

The contemplative worship practices of the Taizé community are promoted at an annual international conference. Taizé worship is being incorporated in a wide variety of churches, both Protestant and Catholic and its pattern of devotion is emulated in other monastic communities around the world.

A Taizé worship service involves sung and chanted prayers, meditation, a period of silence, liturgical readings, and use of candles. There is no preaching. The style of prayer practiced at Taizé has attracted many worshippers from around the globe and from many different denominations.1

The main focus on the Taizé worship is the chanted prayers, meditations, and songs. However, the Bible warns against such practices:

[W]hen ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matthew 6:7-8)

The Contemplative Network, an online resource for those interested in meditative prayer practices, describes Taizé worship and prayer like this:

For those familiar with Taizé common prayer, but unfamiliar with Centering Prayer practices, they will discover that they grow from the same root of seeking to surrender the mind and heart to the intimate presence of God. They share the same spirit of ancient monastic traditions to open space to let the Word of God reverberate in all its dimensions. Those who have tasted of this open space during the silent period of a Taizé common prayer service may find themselves well disposed to explore related contemplative practices such as Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer.2

The Taizé worship is not based on the objective Word of God but rather offers spiritual experiences that are subjectively appealing to the flesh. In Scripture, we are instructed to build up the inner spiritual man and to resist the carnality of the flesh (Ephesians 3:16, Romans 8:1-16).

Jesus Christ instructed His disciples that they should not use repetitive prayers (chanting) like the heathen (New Agers, pagans, etc.) do. Anytime experience is given higher regard than God’s Word, it puts followers at risk of becoming victim to deception and even dangerous spiritual realms. Mystical and esoteric experiences are subjective, meaning they are not founded on anything solid or concrete. It is the Word of God (the Bible) that is to be our steering mechanism through life. Consider these verses that show the importance of the Word of God. You won’t find any verses giving credence to seeking after mystical experiences:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

Taizé Worship Influenced by Catholic Prayers

The repetitive Taizé songs are influenced by the Roman Catholic notion that a person needs to say a certain amount of repeated prayers in order for them to be enough (e.g., the Catholic works mentality—which dictates that one must do enough works to reduce the time in Purgatory).

An example in Roman Catholicism would be the Rosary—a droning repetition of the same set of prayers, something like this: six repetitions of Our Father, fifty repetitions of the Hail Marys, and three repetitions of the Glory-be prayers. These repetitive prayers are usually said before or after mid-week Masses.

Jesus said, when asked about how to pray, to only pray to God (not Mary or saints or angels) and to not repeat the same prayers over and over again like the pagans “for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Six different Psalms tell us to sing a new song unto the Lord, but not one tells us to chant. Now Psalm 136 is unique in that it uses the refrain “his mercy endureth for ever,” but this is not a chant in that each refrain is a response to a different statement. So, unlike the psalms, the Catholic uses endless repetition out of guilt (in doing penance) or to be heard by God or from the sense that the Taizé songs are sung to allow participants to go into mind-altering trance-like states.

Taizé Worship Practices Similar to New Age Meditation

Sadly, many of the spiritual experiences occurring during Taizé worship services are similar to what takes place during New Age meditation. The following quote is from Lacy Clark Ellman, author of the New Age website, A Sacred Journey. Her quote is from “Inside the Taizé Community: An Interview with Brother Emile.” The processes (i.e., techniques) she mentions are reminiscent of many transformative occult practices. Regarding Taizé worship, Ellman explains:

Singing their [Taizé monks] chants left me transported—centering me, bringing me peace, and thus opening me up to the Sacred. I’ve been known to describe it as the perfect combination of the contemplative and charismatic—the words simple and liturgical in nature, with the repetition making space for the Sacred Guide to enter. . . .

Instead of trying to facilitate an experience with bright lights and catchy songs, the [Taizé] brothers invite visitors into their own experience—a rhythmic practice of chants, reading, and [meditative] silence in languages found across the globe. They didn’t explain what was going on or how to participate, apart from a board that displayed which song was to be sung next.3 (emphasis added)

The problem with this explanation is that occultists (shamans, sorcerers, witches, etc.) and New Age practitioners around the globe are receiving similar experiences, in varying forms, through spirit contact via spiritualism, séances, channeling, etc. So too, non-Christians enter varying levels of voluntary and involuntary possession states using this same process.

Instead of encouraging Christian worship settings that provide for a clear understanding of sound biblical preaching and teaching of the Bible, Taizé worship services provide a fast track to spiritual experience via unbiblical forms of prayer, meditation, and silence. In many cases, they bypass the Bible altogether. In settings like this where anything goes—chanting, centering down to enter “the silence,” lengthy repetitive singing, and meditative/altered states—any form of spirit contact can occur.

Considering these things, it is of utmost importance that Christians heed this biblical warning:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

When people are not being taught the Bible and warned about the dangers of false doctrine and non-biblical practices, they will inevitably, in mystical Taizé type settings, end up under the influence of deceiving spirits. As the above passage describes, strong delusion will overtake them. This is no small problem as it is running rampant in the church throughout the world.
The true Christian has only one option at this point, and that is to obey Scripture and separate from those who bring teachings contrary to the Word of God.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18; emphasis added)

(This is an excerpt from Chris Lawson’s book Taizé: A Community and Worship: Ecumenical Reconciliation or an Interfaith Delusion?)

Endnotes:

1. The Cornilo Churches, UK (http://www.cornilochurches.org.uk/taiz.htm).
2. The Contemplative Network, “Prayer With the Songs of Taizé (http://www.contemplative.net/prayer-with-songs-taize-t-1_43.html).
3. “Inside the Taizé Community: An Interview with Brother Emile” (http://www.asacredjourney.net/2013/08/taize).

Watkins’ 100 Most Spiritually Influential People of 2016 – How Many Names Do You Know?

RobBellPhoto1

Rob Bell

Watkin’s Mind Body Spirit Magazine released its 2016 top 100 most spiritually influential people alive today. If you have been reading Lighthouse Trails for some time, you will recognize several names. One thing all of these names have in common is an affinity toward mysticism. Sadly, a number of these New Ager/New Spirituality names have had significant influence, either directly or indirectly, on the Christian church in the last several years: e.g. Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr,  Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), Pope Francis, Rhonda Byrne (The Secret), and Rob Bell. Click here to read how Watkin’s determined who should be on the list.

2016 Spiritual 100 list at a glance:

1 Dalai Lama 35 Thomas S. Monson 68 Ajahn Brahm
2 Pope Francis 36 Gary Snyder 69 Gary Zukav
3 Desmond Tutu 37 Alex Grey 70 Anita Moorjani
4 Eckhart Tolle 38 Pema Chödrön 71 Tony Robbins
5 Deepak Chopra 39 Francis Chan 72 Robert Bly
6 Paulo Coelho 40 Mooji 73 William Bloom
7 Alice Walker 41 Vandana Shiva 74 Michael Bernard
8 Rhonda Byrne 42 Rob Bell Beckwith
9 Alejandro Jodorowsky 43 Amma – Sri Mata 75 James Redfield
10 Oprah Winfrey Amritanandamayi Devi 76 James van Praagh
11 Matthew Fox 44 Iyanla Vanzant 77 Fritjof Capra
12 Louise L. Hay 45 Rowan Williams 78 Tara Brach
13 Jaggi Vasudev 46 Neale Donald Walsch 79 Mark Nepo
14 Graham Hancock 47 Ali al-Sistani 80 Steve Taylor
15 Arianna Huffington 48 Julia Cameron 81 Starhawk
16 Elizabeth Gilbert 49 Byron Katie 82 Huston Smith
17 Ram Dass 50 Robert Thurman 83 Caroline Myss
18 Robin Sharma 51 Bruce Lipton 84 Adyashanti
19 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 52 Dan Millman 85 Richard Saul Wurman
20 Karen Armstrong 53 Jack Canfield 86 David Frawley
21 Jon Kabat-Zinn 54 Prem Rawat 87 Seyyed Hossein Nasr
22 Marianne Williamson 55 Dadi Janki 88 Thomas Keating
23 Martin Seligman 56 Brian Weiss 89 Richard Gere
24 Rupert Sheldrake 57 Daisaku Ikeda 90 Gangaji
25 Sam Harris 58 Richard Bandler 91 Elaine Pagels
26 Richard Bach 59 Richard Rohr 92 Lee Carroll
27 Thomas Moore 60 Clarissa Pinkola Estés 93 Lynne McTaggart
28 Don Miguel Ruiz 61 Gregg Braden 94 Mantak Chia
29 Esther Hicks 62 David Steindl-Rast 95 Sogyal Rinpoche
30 Justin Welby 63 Stanislav Grof 96 Malala Yousafzai
31 Andrew Weil 64 Doreen Virtue 97 Shakti Gawain
32 James Lovelock 65 Thich Nhat Hanh 98 Michael A. Singer
33 Ken Wilber 66 Jack Kornfield 99 Sharon Salzberg
34 Daniel Goleman 67 David Deida 100 Claudio Naranjo

 Click here to read how Watkin’s determined who should be on the list.

Letter to the Editor: Many UK Christians Embracing Eastern Occult Practices For Health Reasons

To Lighthouse Trails:

My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about a year ago, and she/we have been sent on various “coping with  MS” courses. In every case, occult techniques have been encouraged, endorsed, and recommended by _____ staff nurses and others (who do them themselves!) – and outside occult “therapists” have been brought in as part of the courses to “educate” sufferers about the “benefits.” We were astonished at how effective this was at recruiting MS sufferers into joining their local groups as – right in front of us – pretty much everyone apart from we two signed up immediately afterwards.

My wife and I have become increasingly alarmed that so many UK Christians seem to be “sleepwalking into danger.” If a respected medical-professional endorses something, it’s often just accepted uncritically by many Christians here. The thought that it may be some sort of spiritual “Trojan Horse” is unthinkable. By way of example, one greatly-respected local pastor-teacher and his wife (both of our acquaintance) were recently so persuaded to try a “Christianised” form of Tai Chi & Qigong to help with his depression. We warned them, to no avail; they tell us that they have tried it, it really helps, they would recommend it, and our warnings are clearly just paranoia.

An elder and pastor-teacher in  __________ Church, UK

> UK

The Merging of Native Spirituality and the Emerging Church . . . for the “Healing” of the Nations?

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(First Nations Cree Canadian and author of Muddy Waters)

The emerging church is a movement that is said to be a new way to do Christianity, a way that is supposed to reach out to the postmodern generation in a more relevant way than traditional Christianity. In reality, the emerging church, which is really a merging church, is a full-scale ecumenical effort to unite all religions against biblical Christianity by using mystical practices to accomplish this. In the emerging church, doctrine becomes unimportant while unity at all costs becomes the most important thing.

Richard Twiss talks about “heal[ing] the rifts”1 between Natives and Anglo-Saxons, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, rich and poor, etc. and asserts how we can “all have a part to play in the healing of our nation [America].”2 This is exactly what the emerging church is proposing to do. But the healing of the nations (America, Canada, or any part of the world) is not going to happen before Jesus Christ returns. The teaching that we can, in and of ourselves, usher in the Kingdom of God on earth now before His return is heretical. Our focus, as Native or non-Native Christians, needs to be the preaching of the Gospel according to the Holy Scriptures. It is not the earth we are to save but rather men, women, and children’s souls.

When Twiss tells us to “imagine Native believers enjoying the fragrant aroma of burning sage, sweet grass or cedar”3 or “smudging,4 I believe he is misleading many. Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” In other words, our focus as born-again believers isn’t to practice rituals from the cultures we were born into. We are born again, into a brand new culture—God’s culture. The one “culture” that God has bestowed on all mankind is the Gospel; it is the one heritage passed on to us by God, yet we are destroying it today.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In 2010 at the Emergent Village Theological Conference, Richard Twiss was part of this emerging church event. A blog for the event states:

Richard Twiss . . . began by blessing us with sage incense and having a member of his team dance a healing dance. . . .
He moved from rejecting his reservation upbringing, to re-discovering his heritage and hating white people, coming to faith in Christ through evangelical churches, walking away again from his heritage, to re-re-discovering his Native culture and integrating it into his faith.5

The emerging church fits in very well with Native Spirituality and Catholicism. Icons, incense, earth-based spirituality, ushering in the kingdom of God, and healing for the earth through ecumenical unity, mantras and chanting—these are all elements they have in common with each other.

In One Church, Many Tribes, Richard Twiss echoes Rob Bell, a leader in the emerging church. Twiss talks about removing the barriers between the “sacred” and the “secular.”6 He says that “Native people do not have a split view of reality.”7 On Bell’s national tour, Everything is Spiritual,8 Bell tells his audiences that God is in everything and no gap exists between the secular and the spiritual. Twiss says that “Western Christians struggle with . . . a dualistic belief”9 with regard to the secular and the spiritual. Whether Twiss realizes it or not, he is describing a core viewpoint in the New Age and occultism where the secular (the flesh or carnal man) and the spiritual (God) are one. I think this explanation by Christian author Ray Yungen demonstrates the subtleties that lie within bridging the gap between the secular and the spiritual (i.e., man and God) in his book A Time of Departing:

Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether. When we understand this approach it helps us see why . . . Jack Canfield said he felt God flowing through all things. . . . Such reasoning implies that God has given His glory to all of creation; since Satan is part of creation, then he too shares in this glory, and thus is “like the Most High.” . . .

If the all-is-one view were true, then salvation through a Redeemer would become unnecessary and Jesus’ death on the Cross would be rendered altogether futile and pointless. In order for the Cross to make any sense, there must be a separation between God’s perfect nature and Man’s sin nature.10

The Native view, which maintains there is no division between the secular and the spiritual, goes against what the Bible says about the wretched carnality of man. God is so holy and so pure that He cannot even look upon such sinfulness. It is only through the perfection, sinlessness, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, and through being washed clean by His blood that anyone can be saved.

There is a gap between the sacred and the secular, and there is only One mediator Who can rectify that. Native Spirituality, Catholicism, and the New Age—none of these belief systems can do it nor can they eradicate that huge chasm that has been fixed between God and man. This may be hard for us to understand because the Bible also says “God so loved the world . . .” and is “not willing that any should perish” (John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9). But yet, by the same token, John 3:16 also makes it very clear that only “whosoever believeth on Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” He has bestowed upon every man and woman the ability to believe upon Him in as great a measure as He has also given every man the ability to reject Him. Thus, we are all without excuse.

The plan of the emerging church is to see the earth “healed” by bringing in a global, all-inclusive kingdom of God that would include all religions and all people. The problem with an all-inclusive “kingdom” is that there is no room for a Savior who proclaims there is only one way to Heaven. One very popular New Age/New Spirituality proponent who believes man is on the threshold of enlightenment and healing for the earth says this:

It will take an unprecedented act of courage, on a grand scale. You may have to do something virtually unknown in the annals of human history. . . . You may have to give up some of your most sacred beliefs. . . . let me make something clear. The era of the Single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation.11

How is the world going to grab hold of this “collective” effort to unite together and save the world? Through mysticism and occult practices. And because mysticism is such a major component in Native Spirituality, the emerging church, and the New Age, it is easy to see how these three spiritualities are really on the same path. And it is a path that excludes the single Savior of the world.

(from Muddy Waters by Nanci Des Gerlaise, pp. 141-145)

Notes:
1. Richard Twiss, One Church Many Tribes, p. 23.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid., pp. 132-133.
4. Ibid., p. 133.
5. Emergent Village Theological Conference, http://iowaemergent.blogspot.com/2010/11/emergent-village-theological-conference.html.
6. RichardTwiss, One Church Many Tribes, p. 92.
7. Ibid., p. 91.
8. For more information on Rob Bell’s Everything is Spiritual tour, see the DVD Quantum Lie with Warren B. Smith and Bob DeWaay at www.lighthousetrails.com.
9. Richard Twiss, One Church Many Tribes, p. 93.
10. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006), pp. 108-109).
11. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2002), pp. 175, 157; as quoted from Deceived on Purpose by Warren B. Smith (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2nd edition, 3rd printing), pp. 61-62.

False Doctrines and Seducing Spirits Leave Christians Open to Bizarre Teachings and Mystical Practices

By Kevin Reeves
(author of The Other Side of the River)
It was a cool evening for summer, and as the neighborhood was some distance out of town, the area was quiet and dark. The night and solitude worked in our favor, for the gathering itself was not of the barbecue fellowship variety, and I, for one, wished to avoid unwelcome stares from neighbors. I felt ill at ease in the evening atmosphere of the event. It just didn’t feel right, like we were involved in a perversion of something.

About ten of us stood in the backyard of elder Bob Matson’s [not real name] house, knotted together in the gloom and listening intently to instructions. Jason Klein [not real name] stood as the usual centerpiece. Handing out the bread, which in our case was individual saltine crackers, he reminded us of the importance of our presence there and of the power of what we were about to engage in. He began to pray, and with the bread in our hands, we bowed in agreement with him. I looked around. If others felt fear or nagging doubt, they didn’t betray it. Maybe I was the only one out of sorts, just not as spiritual as I should have been. Again.

Putting the crackers to our lips, we ate half, then crumbled the other half and sprinkled it on the ground as we walked in single file around the perimeter of the property. We made a full circle and declared that the body of Christ sanctified the ground. We then did the same with the wine, or in our case grape juice, drinking half and pouring the remainder onto the ground to conform to the property boundaries, thus forming a “blood line.” Then came the final prayer:

Now we give notice to all demons that have inhabited this area that your time is ended. We command you to go now, in the name of Jesus! This property has been claimed for the kingdom of God, so go!

Amid all the smiles and rejoicing, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was glad to just go home.

Learned from Gwen Shaw’s book Redeeming the Land,1 this practice was utilized in our church for “breaking the curse of the enemy” upon our town, as we liked to put it. This was one of a host of methods for removing the stranglehold of sin and religious stodginess over both the people and the land. As matriarch of End Time Handmaidens, a “prophetic” group composed mostly of women who minister throughout the world via publications and in person, Gwen Shaw spoke with authority. I met her once, when she was invited to speak at our congregation of New Covenant Fellowship, in the late 1980s, and I have to admit being impressed with her angelic face and what I then perceived to be a godly demeanor. An attractive woman probably in her fifties at the time, she spoke humbly, and as we sang some of the old hymns I love that were never a part of our group’s corporate worship, she won me over without a struggle. Attended by another older woman whose name I’ve long forgotten, Mrs. Shaw’s sermon focused on the doctrinal abuses within the Catholic Church, spotlighting the specific practices of certain penitent of the Roman clergy. Priests would abuse their bodies to the point of death with self-imposed penance in order to secure acceptance into heaven. Having spent twenty-four loyal years within the ranks of Roman Catholicism, even memorizing the Mass in Latin, I was understandably horrified. Yet I well knew that such abuses were indeed possible. The Catholic Church’s emphasis of salvation through an unceasing battery of good works was a fertile breeding ground for fanaticism.

So I was quite taken with Gwen Shaw. Were we purposely duped? I suppose it depends on your definition of the word purposely. The sincerity with which she presented her case seemed genuine. And the books she brought with her for sale (and there were lots of them) seemed to speak powerfully to the need of our community. We were a cutting-edge church, and these were the tools to get the job done. In the back of one of her books, an advertisement showcased a supposed recording of the angelic host singing along with a choir—I was wowed and wanted to hear it. In Redeeming the Land, when Mrs. Shaw outlined a host of demonic entities, their specific abilities, and their assignments over geographic locations, I was enthralled. In that same book, she presented the testimony of one man who said he had died and was taken by the angel of the Lord to view and record all the demonic principalities and powers so that the church might more successfully prevail against them.2 Hearing this, I craved more.

Although she obviously believed them, the very practices and teachings outlined in some of these volumes presented tremendous obstacles to a Bible-believing Christian. And the group’s extreme preoccupation with angelic beings led to extra-biblical beliefs and manifestations, some of which are documented in the book Our Ministering Angels.3 This compilation of anecdotes and supposition mixed with a certain amount of Scripture merge doctrine and personal experience to convince the reader that people resemble their assigned “guardian angel,”4 that the “photograph” of angels over a coffin is genuine,5 that angels are seen in the most unusual places, such as a car hood,6 and that an angel joined in worship at the community of Engeltal.7 Mrs. Shaw claims she has had many interactions with angels. She writes that once while walking in Jerusalem’s Garden Tomb area, she heard the spiritual hosts singing the resurrection hymn sung by them on the morning of our Lord’s rising from the dead.8 Of course, she acknowledges that precedent for this cannot be found in Scripture, but she heard it nevertheless, and the reader is left with the impression that to argue with her is to deny spiritual reality. Hers seemed to be the voice of authority.

Her strange doctrines found willing ears and hungry hearts in my former congregation.

What needs to be understood is that most, if not all of us at New Covenant Fellowship [not real name], were truly desirous of serving the Lord and fighting the good fight of faith. Like so many other independent charismatic churches, we wanted to see souls saved and the miraculous power of God manifest in healings, deliverances, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But there was an underlying factor, a premise woven throughout the fabric of our church probably from its inception—elitism. We were the fortunate ones, called to walk in the authority that the church was so bereft of in these last days.

Through its own incompetence and adherence to legalism and dead religious doctrines, we were repeatedly told, the body of Christ had surrendered the wisdom and power that came from knowing Him. It was up to us at New Covenant to demonstrate that God’s kingdom power was real and available to every Christian in our town. This prideful mindset was a recipe for disaster. Our heartfelt desire to belong, a need to submit to spiritual authority, and the hidden agenda of the flesh to be one of the super-anointed took their toll on our church’s scriptural integrity.

My former congregation was not alone in its beliefs then, nor are they now. All across the world, many groups like this are given over to the excitement of carnal manifestations, esoteric wisdom, and elitist mentality. In fact, this thinking within the charismatic community has grown so common as to minimize the legitimacy of those who simply want to serve Jesus and know the Word of God. Anymore, that’s old hat. The “new thing” demands subservience to the experiential, and the current trend of gross subjectivism doesn’t allow for old fashioned adherence to Scripture as the basis of faith and practice.

These are critical days for the body of Christ. We are in the epoch of church history spoken of by the apostle Paul as “perilous times” (II Timothy 3:1). What makes the danger all the more imminent is that not much of the church believes it. Many of us have owned the glorious but erroneous vision of an end-times remnant walking in unconquerable power, transforming entire societies. The result has been nothing short of catastrophic. How soon we forget. Every cult in the world has sprouted from the fertile soil of deception, always initiated by a drastic move away from the primacy of the Word of God into the nebulous, self-defining atmosphere of experience. At New Covenant, our desire to accumulate otherworldly wealth (i.e., supernatural power) had ushered us into a contrived system of personal spiritual elevation . . . .

In the case of my former congregation, our pre-supposed love of the Word of God, along with our ignorance of and opposition to nearly every scriptural warning about false doctrine and seducing spirits in the church, left us open to bizarre teachings and practices. As we embraced mysticism, our biblical parameters melted away. Yes, we were sincere, but what we were wanting was diametrically opposed to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Like physical signs of pain, there were signs in our church that something was terribly wrong. But just like the person who ignores the pain and avoids going to the doctor, we too ignored what should have been so obvious. That is, until it got so bad that avoidance was no longer an option.

Why do people ignore warning signs? It’s like a motorist painting over his oil pressure gauge so he won’t notice the depleting measure. But the reality of the situation will become evident enough when his engine seizes up, and the car comes to a sudden halt. I’ve discovered that in the spiritual arena most people will do exactly this: they take pains to look the other way when something bumps up against their doctrine. As a Christian, there’s no quicker way to start a fight with a friend than to tell him that some of his most fervent beliefs are wrong. I know. I’ve lost my share of friendships that way. The problem comes when folks aren’t willing to deal with the uncomfortable. And the horror of it is that in spiritual matters, we’re dealing with eternal things. While the person who ruins his vehicle can at least purchase another, the human soul is irreplaceable.

What we believe and place our trust in will certainly determine our eternal destiny, regardless of our sincerity. . . .

In my own case, association with a cutting-edge group offered me security and personal power, and for years, the paranoia of offending God kept me from asking too many unsettling questions. It’s ironic that, in a fellowship that taught a watered-down version of the fear of the Lord, it was fear that motivated me to stay put.

Many other Christians find themselves in this same predicament, especially those with a genuine heart for the truth. When some doctrine foreign to biblical Christianity is introduced into the congregation, they want to inquire about its origin and validity, but fear holds them in check. If it comes from the pastor, who surely must be more spiritual than the rest of the group, then God must simply have approved it. Therefore, questioning or opposing the pastor or church leadership is seen as opposing the Lord Himself.

But God doesn’t work that way. Throughout the Bible are examples of those who love the Lord who questioned authority when it was wrong. And what’s more, “prove all things” is clearly God’s instruction to the believer (1 Thessalonians 5:21). (from Chapter 1 of The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves)

Related:

“Touch Not Mine Anointed” – the Cry of Modern-Day Prophets and Heroes  by Kevin Reeves

That Dreaded Word . . . HERESY!!  by Kevin Reeves

Gwen Shaw and Her End-Time Handmaidens, a story of Heresy, Plagerism, and Necromancy by Mark Scheiderer (testimony of former member of End-Time Handmaidens)

Notes:

1. Gwen R. Shaw,  Redeeming the Land (Jasper, AR: Engeltal Press, 1987)

2. Ibid., pp. 107-113.

3. Gwen R. Shaw, Our Ministering Angels (Engeltal Press, 1986)

4. Ibid., p. 52.

5. Ibid., p. 6.

6. Ibid., p. 117.

7. Ibid., p. 136.

8. Ibid., pp. 69-70.

Reiki “Power” and Rick Warren’s Health Plan

by Berit Kjos
Kjos Ministries

“Pastor Rick Warren [is hosting] three health experts – including the star of the ‘Dr. Oz Show’ – at Saddleback Church… ‘The Bible says that God wants us to be as healthy physically as you are spiritually,’ Warren said… ‘This is God’s prescription for your health.”[1]  Rick Warren, Dr. Oz to partner on health plan

Reiki has become a sought-after healing art…. Pamela Miles has been instrumental in the integration of Reiki into conventional medicine and has written an intelligent, sensitive guidebook to this remarkable healing practice.”[2] –Mehmet Oz, M.D.

“As the Reiki Practitioner places her hands lightly on your head, you feel yourself drawn into a sweet state of relaxation….You notice that sometimes her hands feel warm, even hot, and deeply soothing. Each hand placement brings a sense of ease….”[3] Pamela Miles, REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide


Is Rick Warren telling the truth? Does the Bible really say that “God wants us to be as healthy physically as you are spiritually”?

No, it does not!  Though Jesus often healed the sick and continues to do so today, our spiritual and eternal life with Him is far more important than our physical and temporary life on earth. Countless faithful martyrs have faced torture and death because they refused to compromise their faith! Of course, we should take care of our bodies and help each other, but our highest priority is to trust God and follow His narrow way no matter what the cost. And that’s not bad news:

“Even though our outward man [the body] is perishing, yet the inward man [our soul/spirit] is being renewed day by day….For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Holistic practices such as Reiki clash with God’s guidelines. But they sound good to those who don’t know Him. After all, “empowered” Reiki masters offer what people have always wanted: relief from stress, pain, and disease. Praised by Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, Reiki’s popularity has soared.

This belief system may work wonders for some. But what is the true source behind its unseen force?  Is it similar to the “intelligent” power behind Ouija Boards, Tarot Cards, shamanism, and Theosophy?[4]

The Mystery behind Reiki, Polarity and other “Holistic” Practices

To maintain my RN license back in the seventies, I attended a Holistic Health Conference. The list of optional classes included a workshop on Polarity, which is similar to Reiki. It seemed to be an interesting way to earn my “continuing education” credits, so I signed up. As a new Christian, I knew little about spiritual dangers and nothing about New Age healing.

At the start of the class, the therapist promised that her massage would “balance the energies” in the (volunteer) patient’s body. That should have alerted me to the spiritual danger ahead, but it didn’t! Before we left, she assured us that she could fix any kind of back problem, including mine, which stemmed from childhood polio. Impressed, I signed up for a future private therapy session. Click here to continue reading.

Dr. Oz and Deepak Chopra: Meditate to Lose Weight

VIEW WITH CAUTION – FOR WARNING AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

In the video below, Dr. Oz, the new weight-loss mentor for thousands of Christians through Rick Warren’s new Daniel Plan, talks to New Ager Deepak Chopra about meditating to lose weight. What they don’t tell you in this video is that eastern-style meditation can put participants into contact with demonic spirits. The Bible warns against such harmful practices. Yet, Dr. Oz, also a Reiki advocate, is taking his spiritual “insights” to Rick Warren’s followers. Note: After you have watched this video, please consider spending a few minutes reading the Word of God and praying for those who are attending Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan.

Related Information:

Rick Warren to Share Platform with Deepak Chopra (2005)

Rick Warren’s Speaking at Muslim Convention (with Deepak Chopra)

Deepak Chopra Comments on Evangelical Manifesto

A Visit to Rick Warren’s Health Seminar – The Unfolding of a Global New Age Plan

Emanuel Swedenborg’s Occultic Beliefs Influence Rick Warren’s Health Advisor and Now the Christian Church

Special Report:Rick Warren’s New Health and Wellness Initiative Could Have Profound Repercussions on Many


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