Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
The following is a 10-minute YouTube preview of Ray Yungen’s DVD from the New Face of Mystical Spiritualityseries. This one is on the Emerging Church and Interspirituality:
By Ray Yungen
Two authors from Great Britain portray a stunningly clear picture of New Age spirituality. They explain:
[T]he keynote of it appears to be a movement for synthesis derived from an understanding of the underlying unity behind all things and the sense of oneness that this brings.
This oneness of all life is the crux of the New Age movement.17
Catholic monk M. Basil Pennington defined the contemplative spiritual worldview in his book Thomas Merton My Brother. He related:
The Spirit enlightened him [Merton] in the true synthesis [unity] of all and in the harmony of that huge chorus of living beings. In the midst of it he lived out a vision of a new world, where all divisions have fallen away and the divine goodness is perceived and enjoyed as present in all and through all.18
The first viewpoint describes God as the oneness of all existence. In Merton’s new world, God is perceived as being present “in all and through all.” It certainly appears that the same spirit enlightened both parties. The only difference was Merton’s revelation worked in a Christian context just as occultist Alice Bailey predicted. Unfortunately, this context is now commonplace in Catholic circles, becoming so in mainline Protestant churches, and being eagerly explored and embraced by an ever-increasing number of evangelical Christians.
Evangelical leaders now debate whether such spiritual truths as resting in God are the same as contemplative silence. Based on these presented documentations, I believe contemplative prayer has no place in true Christianity. Scripture clearly teaches that with salvation comes an automatic guidance system—the Holy Spirit. Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his outstanding book Grace: The Glorious Theme, spells out this truth with crystal-clear clarity:
It is stated in Romans 5:5 that “the Spirit is given to us.” This is true of every person who is saved. The Spirit is the birth-right in the new life. By Him alone can the character and service that belongs to the normal daily life of the Christian be realized. The Spirit is the “All-Sufficient One.” Every victory in the new life is gained by His strength, and every reward in glory will be won only as a result of His enabling power.19
Show me a Scripture in the Bible in which the Holy Spirit is activated or accessed by contemplative prayer. If such a verse exists, wouldn’t it be the keynote verse in defense of contemplative prayer?
I want to emphasize what I believe cuts through all the emotional appeal that has attracted so many to teachers like Richard Foster and Brennan Manning and really boils the issue down to its clearest state.
In his book Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster emanates his hoped-for vision of an “all inclusive community” that he feels God is forming today. He sees this as “a great, new gathering of the people of God.”20
On the surface, this might sound noble and sanctifying, but a deeper examination will expose elements that line up more with Alice Bailey’s vision than with Jesus Christ’s. Foster prophesies:
I see a Catholic monk from the hills of Kentucky standing alongside a Baptist evangelist from the streets of Los Angeles and together offering up a sacrifice of praise. I see a people.21
The only place in “the hills of Kentucky” where Catholic monks live is the Gethsemane Abbey, a Trappist monastery. This also, coincidentally, was the home base of Thomas Merton.
Let me explain this significant connection. In the summer of 1996, Buddhist and Catholic monks met together to dialogue in what was billed the “Gethsemane Encounter.”22 David Steindl-Rast, a Zen-Buddhist trained monk and close friend of Thomas Merton, facilitated this event.
During the encounter, presentations on Zen meditation and practice from the Theravedan Buddhist tradition were offered.23 One of the speakers discussed the “correlation of the Christian contemplative life with the lives of our Buddhist sisters and brothers.”24
For these monks and the Baptist evangelist to be “a people,” as Richard Foster says, someone has to change. Either the monks have to abandon their Buddhist convictions and align with the Baptists, or the Baptists have to become contemplative style Baptists and embrace the monks’ beliefs. That is the dilemma in Foster’s “great gathering of God.”
Mystic David Steidl-Rast once asked Thomas Merton what role Buddhism played in his going deeper into the spiritual life. Merton replied quite frankly: “I think I couldn’t understand Christian teaching the way I do if it were not in the light of Buddhism.”25
Did Merton mean that in order to understand what Christianity really is, you have to change your consciousness? I believe that is exactly what he meant. Once he personally did that through contemplative prayer, Buddhism provided him with the explanation of what he experienced. But again the catalyst was changing his consciousness. This is what I am warning Christians about. Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.
You don’t have to change your consciousness to grab “aholt” of God (as Brennan Manning insists). All you need is to be born-again. What Steidl-Rast and the other Gethsemane monks should have been telling Buddhists is, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
In his book, Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning mentions that once Baptist Sunday school teacher, now New Ager, Sue Monk Kidd eventually came under the mentorship of Dr. Beatrice Bruteau who authored the book What We Can Learn From the East. Since that title is self-explanatory, it’s easy to understand why Dr. Bruteau would write the preface to a book like The Mystic Heart by mystic Wayne Teasdale. In the preface, she touts that a universal spirituality based on mysticism is going to save the world.
It seems that all these people want a better world. They do not seem like sinister conspirators like those out of a James Bond film. Yet, it is their niceness that rejects the reality of the fundamental separation between Man and God. It is their sense of compassion that feeds their universalism. It is idealism that makes Manning so attractive and causes him to say that Dr. Bruteau is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”26
The irony of this is that Manning is completely correct in his statement—Dr. Bruteau is a reliable guide to contemplative awareness. She has founded two organizations, the Schola Contemplationis (school for contemplation) and the very Christian-sounding Fellowship of the Holy Trinity. With the latter, she is promoted as “a well-known author and lecturer on contemplative life and prayer.”27 Both of these organizations incorporate Hindu and Buddhist approaches to spirituality. This should come as no surprise because Bruteau also has studied with the Ramakrishna order, which is named after the famous Hindu swami Sri Ramakrishna.
The Ramakrishna order is dedicated to promoting the vision of Sri Ramakrishna. He was known for his view that all the world’s religions were valid revelations from God if you understood them on the mystical level. He was an early proponent of interspirituality. According to the book, Wounded Prophet, Henri Nouwen even viewed him in a favorable light and esteemed him as an important spiritual figure.
Sue Monk Kidd became enamored with contemplative spirituality while attending a Southern Baptist church. We could possibly dismiss that and say she was just an untaught member of the laity who was spiritually lacking in discernment. Maybe her spiritual dryness was a result of her not being grounded firmly enough in the faith. But what about the leaders and pastors whom so many look up to and who are considered trusted individuals in the church? Surely they are able to discern what is spiritually unsound. It seems safe to make this assumption. Right? Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
The Bible says we live in a “crooked and perverse” world and that as believers we are to “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). The closer we move toward the “end of the age” (Matthew 24), the darker and more perverse the world becomes. Global peace plans, inter-faith movements, emergent spiritualities, and other carnal-induced plots will not help the world’s woes. Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46). As the world moves further away from Jesus Christ, the darkness only grows. A person can never escape that darkness without Jesus Christ living in him or her … all these other attempts are futile.
The New Age movement has now permeated all areas of our society: the business world, healthcare, education, religion, and entertainment. Virtually nothing has been untouched by the tentacles of this occultic, meditation-driven spirituality, and it has entered the Christian church through contemplative prayer (i.e., spiritual formation). But there is another area that mysticism has united with … and that is the sexual realm. The marriage of the two is referred to as tantra (or tantric sex), and before you stop reading this article, thinking “What has sex got to do with exposing contemplative and the New Age?” we must tell you will all soberness, this mystical sexuality is growing faster by the day, and it may ultimately affect the lives of countless Christians. Why? Because Christianity at large is going in a mystical direction, thanks to countless Christian leaders and authors, and within the realms of these mystical states, many will be introduced to tantra.
We decided to write this article on tantra after a Christian woman contacted us and told us (after seeing tantra mentioned in a description of For Many Shall Come in My Name) that her Christian husband (who is in leadership in a large Christian movement) was being enticed with tantric sex.
Ray Yungen explains about tantra and its relevance today:
Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual experiences.
Once completely off-limits to the masses of humanity, tantra, like all other New Age methodologies, is now starting to gain increasing popularity. A google search on the Internet shows 6,600,000 entries for the word tantra! This union of sexuality and Eastern spirituality is a perfect example to illustrate just how much the New Age has permeated our society as it has affected even the most intimate areas of people’s lives.
The potential to impact a very great number of people, especially men, was brought out in an article by a sex worker who incorporates “Tantric Bodywork” into her services. She paints a very sad portrait of the dynamics of the “enormous sex industry” in which millions of stressed and unhappy men seek out “erotic release” from women who are just as unhappy and stressed as their clients. She observes that there is a “culturally rampant phenomenon that spouses are disconnected from each other.”
To remedy this tragic interplay of exploitation, she has turned to Tantric Union to give her clients what she feels is not just sex but “union with the divine.” After she read a book called Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute, she turned her erotic business
into a “temple.” Of this temple, she says it is:
…dedicated to being a haven of the sacred, a home for the embodiment of spirit, filled with altars, sacred objects, plants, art, dreamy sensual music, blissful scents. My space is home to Quan Yin [a Buddhist goddess], crystals blessed by the Entities of John of God [a Brazilian spirit channeler].
Now the “multitudes of men” who come to her get much more than they bargained for. In the past, wives and girlfriends needed only to worry about sexually transmitted diseases from cheating husbands and boyfriends, but now their men may instead bring home spiritual entities!
Most readers might think that tantra is something exceedingly obscure that would never attract average people. But the movie industry thinks otherwise. In a 2003 movie, Hollywood Homicide (starring Harrison Ford, one of the industry’s leading men), viewers were presented with a brief snippet of tantric sex in one scene where fellow police officers opened the locker of Ford’s rookie detective partner and out falls a book (which the camera focuses on) about tantra, revealing the side-kick’s spiritual/sexual affinities (incidentally, he also teaches yoga in the film). (For Many Shall Come in My Name, 2nd ed., pp. 115-116)
If Christians begin to incorporate their contemplative proclivities with their sexual lives (a Christian version of tantric sex), the results will be devastating to the church, and we predict sexual perversion will be more rampant than ever. Why? Because if the altered states of consciousness are truly demonic realms (as we believe they are) then tantric sex is another venue of the hidden darkness that Jesus spoke of.
These assertions may sound absurd and far-fetched to some readers, but evidence of the truth of this does exist. For instance, Henri Nouwen (who along with Thomas Merton is one of the top icons of the contemplative prayer movement), in his last book The Sabbatical Journey, favorably revealed how he listened to audio tapes on the seven chakras which is the basis for tantric sex (p. 20). Also in Nouwen’s book, he makes mention of his encounter with a homosexual mystic named Andrew Harvey, whom Nouwen referred to as his soul friend (spiritual mentor) and how much Harvey’s mysticism had touched him (p. 149). And yet Harvey’s mysticism includes the tantric element. In a 2007 conference (The International Conference on Sacred Sexuality), Harvey led a workshop called “Sexual Liberation, Tantra, and Sacred Activism” in which Harvey:
… show[s] that sexual liberation and Tantra are vital parts of the Divine Mother’s plan for the birth of a new humanity, since they make possible a profound and ecstatic contact with what Andrew calls Divine Eros – a tender passionate dynamic love-connection. True Tantric sexuality gives its’ practitioners access to extraordinary and unified energies which will form the base of a commitment to Sacred Activism.
Most Christians would have a hard time believing that tantric sex could enter the church. But it’s “closer to home” than most think. One of the most popular evangelical authors is promoting an author who wrote a book on tantric sex. Gary Thomas is a contemplative advocate. In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas instructs readers:
It is particularly difficult to describe this type of prayer in writing, as it is best taught in person. In general however, centering prayer works like this: Choose a word (Jesus or Father, for example) as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing. (p. 185)
In Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage, Thomas introduces readers to a woman named Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and to her book Conjugal Spirituality. Thomas favorably references or quotes Oliver several times throughout Sacred Marriage. Who is Mary Anne McPherson Oliver and why should Christians be concerned about Gary Thomas’ promotion of this woman’s book, Conjugal Spirituality?
On the back of Oliver’s book, it states that “[r]eligious practice as we know it today remains, in effect, ‘celibate.’ Mary Anne Oliver proposes an alternative … she examines the spiritual dynamics of long-term relationship.”
You may be wondering, “What does that all mean?” To put it simply, Oliver believes that sexuality and spirituality go together and that couples are missing out because they have not incorporated the two but rather have practiced what she calls a celibate spirituality. But she is not just talking about spirituality – she is talking about mystical spirituality!
Oliver received her doctorate in mystical theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and her book permeates with her mystical persuasions. She describes her “discomfort” regarding present views on sexuality and religion and says she hunted for answers by talking to monks, going on retreats and even spending an entire (“liturgical”) year at Taize, an ecumenical, meditation-promoting community in France. Eventually, she came to identify what she termed “conjugal spirituality” (p. 1).
Oliver says that “negative attitudes” and “walls” toward sex have inhibited people and says: “Although the walls are coming down, the separation of sex and spirituality which has been operative since the 4th century has yet to be completely eliminated” (p. 16).
What exactly is Oliver proposing couples do to remove these “walls”? Very clearly, her message to couples is to turn to mysticism. In dismay, she says that “spiritual counsellors and writers” have not begun to teach the “Upanishads [Hindu scriptures] and Tantric writings as the basis for moral theology for couples” and that “[s]ome still refuse to grant that mystical experience can be associated with erotic love” (p. 18). Oliver says that changes in mainstream theology have prepared the way for “the emergence of conjugal spirituality.” She adds: “An upsurge of interest in the spiritual life and a renaissance in mystical studies have widened the domain of spirituality” (p. 27).
This mysticism that Oliver encourages is experienced through “bodily exercises” that the couple practice together, “creating one’s spiritual space.” Listen to some of her instructions in what she describes as “intercourse on all levels of consciousness”:
1. “Center ‘that whole human reality which some people are beginning to call bodymind’” (p.85).
2. “Two basic movements in which each can contact the core energy of the other and experience the enlarging of the oval inhabited by the divine presence” (p. 91).
3. Yin and Yang movements
4. “Concentrate in the stillness and silence” (p. 93).
5. “Center yourselves.”
6. “Meditate using the five senses. Experience the circuit of energy circling slowly through the joined bodies” (p. 93).
7. “Focus a few minutes on the breath as a sign of the Spirit’s activity within yourself” (p.102).
8. “Repeat name or “I love you” as a mantra” (p. 102).
In Conjugal Spirituality, Oliver talks favorably about mystic Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point and the “Indian Tantric Yoga tradition … spoken of as kundalini potential energy” (p. 97). She describes public sexual ceremonies in which couples practice “Taoist visualizations and meditations, accompanied by breathing exercises” and talks of “[i]nvoking the gods and goddesses.” Oliver says that society may frown on such public displays of sexual mysticism at this time and couples may have to improvise until restrictions are lifted. She says that “sexual union celebrated [is] an eschatological sign of God’s kingdom where all will be one” (p. 101).
When Gary Thomas read Oliver’s book, he must have resonated with it. Otherwise he would not have referred to or quoted from it so many times (over a dozen times) in Sacred Marriage. This is not guilt by association, but rather guilt by promotion. Sacred Marriage has sold over 500,000 copies according to Gary Thomas’ website. This means that countless readers have been introduced to a tantric sex advocate! This is a primary example of how tantric sex is coming into the church.
As believers who are to “shine as lights in the world,” we must flee the deeds of darkness and “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” We cannot do this in our own strength, but Jesus Christ living inside us will enable us through His mercy and grace: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). (this article originally from our 2007 newsletter archive)
Further information on this topic:
By Ray Yungen
I believe the Bible contains an important signal that the changes of times and seasons may indeed be at hand. In Matthew 24:3-5, which is a chapter dealing with the tribulation period, Jesus spoke these revealing words to His disciples concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the world (age):
And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign [indication] of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (emphasis mine)
In the past, I have heard two basic ways of interpreting verse 5—“for many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and shall deceive many.” The first interpretation is that there will be various ones claiming to be the returned Jesus Christ. The other view, which has gained greater acceptance in the last ten or fifteen years, is that a number of messiah figures would appear and gather followers to themselves in a fashion similar to Jim Jones or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I now feel both of these interpretations may be incorrect. It is in light of some predominant New Age viewpoints that these verses take on major significance.
A basic tenet of New Age thinking is that of the Master Jesus. Adherents to this idea believe that during the unrecorded period of His life, Jesus traveled to various occult centers and Mystery Schools in such places as Tibet, India, Persia, and Egypt where He learned the metaphysical secrets of the ages. Thus, they claim He spent seventeen years of travel on a pilgrimage of higher consciousness. According to this theory, Jesus of Nazareth became the Master Jesus, one who has gained mastery over the physical world by becoming one with his higher self.
You will recall that one of the terms that New Agers regularly use for the higher self is the Christ consciousness. To them, Christ is not a person, but a state-of-being. Excerpts from the following New Age sources explain it this way:
Jesus Christ educated His followers to discern the real man. He taught that there is a power in man that gives him authority over the things of the world. This principle is the higher self, the spiritual man, the Christ.1
The Christ Consciousness or Christ Principle represents the idea of a Saviour, but not, as taught in orthodox religions, a physical, material person. Jesus became the Saviour as He rose to the heights of His inner powers and became a True Son of God. . . . In other words, when Jesus, the man, was ready, the Christ Principle or Consciousness took over and predominated.2
After reading innumerable such statements in New Age material, I decided to take a closer look at Matthew 24:5. What I found astounded me. The Greek word for “many” in this verse is polus, which means a very great or sore number, as in millions and millions. A term derived from this word is hoi polloi, which translates the masses. The Greek words for “shall come in my name” means they shall come claiming to represent what He represents by using His name or authority. Therefore, Matthew 24:5 is saying that a very great number of people shall come claiming to represent what He represents, but are in fact, deceiving people. In light of come in my name, consider the following remarks taken from a variety of New Age sources:
Jesus was an historical person, a human being; Christ, the Christos. is an eternal transpersonal condition of being. Jesus did not say that this higher state of consciousness realized in him was his alone for all time. Nor did he call us to worship him. Rather, he called us to follow him, to follow in his steps, to learn from him, from his example.3
Jesus was one soul who reached the state of Christ consciousness, there have been many others. He symbolized the blueprint we must follow…. The way is open to everyone to become a Christ by achieving the Christ Consciousness through walking the same path He walked.. . . He simply and beautifully demonstrated the pattern.4
The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him—or at least have the potential to be. The significance of Jesus is not as a vehicle of salvation but as a model of perfection.5
Jesus was aware of himself as a finished specimen of the new humanity which is to come—the new humanity which is to inherit the earth, establish the Kingdom, usher in the New Age.6
This view, then, is that Jesus is a model of what the New Age or Aquarian person is to become. I would say these statements can be called coming in His name or claiming to represent what He represents.
Now let us look at the second part of verse 5 in Matthew 24, “saying I am Christ.” Again, we find a multitude of statements such as the following:
Every man is an individual Christ; this is the teaching for the New Age. The experiences of contacting the Christ Self and the subsequent vibrational lifting are not to be reserved for a favored few. Every person in the world, sooner or later, will receive this lifting action. No one will be left out or left behind. Everyone will receive the benefit of this step in human evolution.” (emphasis mine)7
Could it be that many Christians have been looking for “the Christ” in all the wrong places? Could it be that when Jesus said “no man knoweth the hour” of his return, it was because the return of the Christ comes now, within us, and is beyond space and time? Jesus may have been hinting at this when he told us the kingdom of God is within you—not in some time, nor in some place, but within. When we look within, through meditation and the expansion of consciousness, we move beyond time, and meet face-to-face with the Christ.8
The Christ is You. You are the one who is to come—each of you. Each and every one of you!9
Christhood is not something to come at a point in the future when you are more evolved. Christhood is—right now! I am the Christ of God. You are the Christ of God.10
Even more specific evidence ties the New Age into Jesus’ prophecy. In Luke 21:7-8, we find the same discourse as in Matthew 24:3-5. Again, note the warning:
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near; go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:7-8)
Notice “Christ” is italicized in verse 8, meaning that it was not in the original manuscript. The translators of the King James Bible probably thought it awkward that it said, “Many shall come saying, I am.” Probably for the sake of clarity and to be consistent with Matthew 24, the translators added the word “Christ.” It is very interesting that New Agers refer to themselves (or their higher selves) as the “I AM,” (one of the names of God). Note the following:
The first experience of unification with the Christ consciousness may come with the initial crossing of the psychic barrier and contact with the Christ Self or I AM Self.11
This Inner Self is called by many names such as: God-self, Higher-self, Christ Consciousness, I-AM, Buddah Nature, and many others.12
This I AM is God . . . this I AM is You.. . . Universe and Individual Consciousness.. . . God knowing Itself as God, God knowing Itself as You, and You knowing Yourself as God.13
So what Jesus may have been saying is many shall be saying “I AM.”
Because of these statements, I firmly believe what Jesus Christ was prophesying in Matthew and Luke was the current New Age movement when it reaches its full fruition world-wide. He clearly stated that just before His physical return, a huge number of people will proclaim their own personal divinity and that “many” (polus) will deceive—not some, but “many.” There was a good reason for Him to preface these prophesies with the warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” These people will be offering a spiritual message that will look, feel, and sound like it is of Jesus Christ but is not.
(from For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen).
1. Charles Fillmore, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (Unity Village, MO: Unity School of Christianity).
2. Donald H. Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 73.
3. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
4. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Wyoming, MI: Coptic Press, 1982), p. 49.
5. John White (Science of Mind magazine, October 1981), pp. 40-42.
6. John White, “Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of Humanity” (Science of Mind magazine, September 1981), p. 15.
7. Armand Biteaux, The New Consciousness (Willits, CA: Oliver Press, 1975), p. 128.
8. Gregory Barrette, “The Christ is Now” (Science of Mind, March 1989), p. 17.
9. Life Times, Vol. 1, No.3, p. 91.
10. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), pp. 143, 145.
11. Anne P. and Peter V. Meyer, Being a Christ (San Diego: Dawning Pub., 1975), p. 49.
12. John Baughman, The New Age (Self-Published, 1977), p. 5.
13. John Randolph Price, The Planetary Commission (Austin, TX: Quaratus Books, 1984), p. 98.
By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails
The church of today is very much astir. Everywhere we turn, embellishments are being added to Christianity as if to improve it. The old ways do not seem to satisfy anymore. A great influx of new teachings and practices have exchanged the God of old as depicted in the pages of the Bible with a deity much more palatable to the post-modern mind. Brennan Manning illustrates this when he stated in one of his books, “ . . . the god who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.”1 This “progressive” contemplative/emerging church has gone so far as to place in pulpits men who blaspheme God and who deny the atonement. But let us step back for a moment to see how emerging thought has developed. Such a statement did not come out of the blue, but as Ray Yungen suggests, a “creeping” effect made it all possible.2
Over the years, Christian leaders and pastors have stopped defending the faith and have exchanged the Word of God for things that outwardly appear very spiritual and promise a “quantum leap” into a “new spirituality.” Though there have always been those who deny Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross, most of this kind of thought and teaching has been kept out of the evangelical/Protestant church. But as the walls of biblical truth were gradually torn down, it is no longer unusual to hear this kind of teaching in Christian colleges and seminaries. Much of what we see today began with men who pioneered the way to apostasy, then as a domino effect these ideas caught on and accelerated to the unbiblical thoughts and teachings we are witnessing in so many Christian circles today.
An example of this creeping effect can be seen in the Brennan Manning quote above from his 2003 book because it is nearly a word for word rendering of several lines from New Age sympathizer and mystic William Shannon’s 1995 book Silence on Fire.3 This book is the biography of Thomas Merton who possibly had more to do than anyone else in giving mysticism (namely contemplative prayer) that initial push whereby it has now avalanched into the mainline evangelical/Protestant churches. But it all began as a creeping or rippling effect with the initial momentum almost imperceptibly slow.
Over the last couple of decades, countless pastors and religious leaders across North America have pulled out for their evening reading books written by mystics like Henri Nouwen hoping to glean something to carry them to the next level of spirituality. Unfortunately, that quantum leap ends in the web of apostasy. As you may know by now, Henri Nouwen (also a great admirer of Thomas Merton) wrote in a provocative intellectual style that has intrigued many pastors, but what happened when these pastors stumbled upon these words:
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.4
Nouwen said these words toward the end of his life after spending years involved with mysticism. And yet, pastors, leaders, and professors are enamored with Nouwen. And on goes that seemingly subtle creeping in of deception slowly but surely.
Pastors of North America, it’s not too late, but the North American church is in on borrowed time. We have become weak and spoiled, and it is time to change course, return to a no-compromise faith, the kind many of us had when we first became Christians. To straddle the fence, as has been the case for way too long, has cost the church dearly and could mean a steady erosion of biblical faith and a fall into the mire of full-blown apostasy.
While the mystics and emergents attempt to strip Jesus of who He is and what He came for, we should never forget that in Him we have a priceless treasure. Isaiah said of Him, “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Most importantly, Jesus came to redeem us from our sins:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, he used a number of illustrations, one of which should have special significance in our churches today:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)
While the emerging, purpose-driven, contemplative “progressives” of today are casting biblical doctrine on the dung heap more than ever, we should be holding on to it as something truly sacred, for it is biblical doctrine that defines our faith and gives to us living water. Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
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.
No wonder the devil wants to undermine and get rid of the Word of God, and he is attempting to do it through many who call themselves Christians.
Contending for the faith may cost us everything we have, but it is worth it, a jewel far about price. This life will soon be over, but eternity will last a very long time. Shouldn’t we be putting our treasures in heaven no matter what it may cost us now?
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:45-46)
1. Brennan Manning, Above All, pp. 58-59 as quoted from Roger Oakland in Faith Undone, p. 195. (2003)
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 94. (2nd ed. 2006)
3. William Shannon, Silence on Fire, pp. 109-110. (1195)
4. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p. 51. ( 1998 Hardcover Edition)
To Lighthouse Trails:
I am writing to inform you of a deeply worrying experience I had.
After having chiropractic treatment for years, I decided to give osteopathy a try, as it seemed to be more gentle on the body. But at the end of the treatment, something strange happened. The practitioner held my head for about seven minutes or so. Up until this point, I figured it was all part of the therapy. But then I became concerned. I couldn’t work out what he was doing, as he was not massaging my neck nor did he seem to be applying any pressure. Then I heard him taking several deep breaths.
I am a Christian who has deeply researched into how New Age philosophy and occult practices are entering theology and the churches. I know about the dangers of meditation, yoga, spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, etc. But this threw me. Yes, I could have spoken up, but I had been taken by surprise and was somewhat confused. I just wasn’t sure what was going on. Then I began to pray to God for protection if anything weird was happening. Soon after this, he stopped.
My treatment had ended. When I got up, I felt incredibly relaxed, as if I was somehow medicated and floating. It felt wonderful. But I knew something wasn’t right. I asked him what he had done, and he was very evasive. Then I told him that I have studied into the New Age and want nothing to do with it or its healing practices. He mumbled that he was not interested in the New Age but that he could help heal my insomnia by applying traditional relaxation techniques to balance my energy centres.
When I walked out of his office, I noticed a small picture on the wall of his reception. It was the drawing of a person in the yoga position showing the seven chakras.
I told him I wouldn’t be back. I knew he had performed some kind of psychic healing on me, but it wasn’t until the bus ride home that it hit me – it must have been Reiki!
Clearly, this osteopath conducts this occult healing practice on all his patients without asking them or telling them. And I wonder how many others in the medical profession (modern or traditional) are secretly doing the same thing. I was furious. However, it has made me much wiser and more prepared in the future should this ever happen again.
But my deep concern is this. I have been a Christian for 31 years, but it is only in the last five years that I have learned about New Age concepts and how Christians are, in many cases, being unwittingly seduced by them. Christians who have had no experience [or understanding] with the New Age (such as myself, until fairly recently) are the most vulnerable, as it is, for them unchartered territory and not recognised for what it is. Had I had this experience prior to learning about the dangers of New Age spirituality saturating the Western World, I am sure I would have kept returning to this osteopath, thinking he was indeed helping me.
I don’t think osteopathy is the problem, rather it is practitioners, such as the one I had, who want to add new methods to their “science”, quite possibly in their genuine search to provide “better” healing.
Sometime back, I had read on your website about how Reiki is being introduced to patients in hospitals. Nevertheless, when it happened to me it took me completely by surprise.
I thank God for your ministry of discernment. I am now writing a letter warning this osteopath about the source and dangers of his psychic healing techniques. Maybe God can use my experience as a witness to him. I may even send him your website link.
Zoe from Sydney, Australia (name used with permission)