The World Wasn’t Worthy of Them . . . Pilgrims

The First Thanksgiving. By Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1912-1915.

By Bill Randles

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)

Every year about this time (Late November), I ponder our Pilgrim forbearers, who left England for Holland and eventually for the “new World” in order to worship God in freedom and perhaps create a Christian colony in an unknown land.

These people were not professional soldiers, nor were they youthful adventurers, seeking to make a fortune. They were normal people, lower to middle class and with families, despised and persecuted within their own societies.

They had  everything to lose, humanly speaking, first as dissenters from the Church of England and then by leaving Holland because they feared their children were becoming worldly in the more permissive Dutch Society. They wanted a heavenly country.

So the congregation in Leiden, Holland pooled their meager resources and sent half of their number to the New World to become a beachhead for the remainder to come later. The farewell was heartbreaking, according to William Bradford’s recollection:

[W]ith mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves of one another,—which proved to be the last leave to many of them . . . but they knew they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted their eyes to heaven, their dearest country and quieted their spirits (Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation in Modern English, Kindle location 759-760)

They had originally chartered two boats, selling themselves into indentured servitude for seven years to pay for it, but one of those boats proved unseaworthy, so they crowded all 102 of them into a hundred-foot ship called the MayFlower, crewed by 40 men, and made the dangerous journey across the Atlantic to an unknown world.

Why couldn’t these Christians just conform to the Church of England? Why didn’t they just throw up their hands and admit defeat in stemming the tide of worldliness which they felt was swallowing up their children? After all, it would be normal for children to drift from their parent’s faith, right?

God had stirred them. These people hungered and thirsted for something far higher and purer than what their world had to offer them. They wouldn’t just settle for worldly status quo. They were Pilgrims.

Half of them died that first harsh winter. But that didn’t deter them. They buried their dead in the hope of the resurrection, and persevered in building cabins, a church, planting crops, enduring harsh weather, and sending for more likeminded Pilgrims, who would come also seeking worship, and pure and free ways to express their Christianity, in a harsh but rich new land.

Heaven was more real to these people than earth, they feared not death, having met Jesus Christ, the one who holds the Keys of death and of Hades. Having heard Him and following Him, their own world in England and in Holland had become alien to them. They could see there was no way they could make a permanent life there, not without losing their souls.

I think a lot of us have been seeing the same thing these days. We cannot live in a New Age occultic world, a homosexual world, or a Muslim world. We once lived in a Judeo Christian world, flawed yes, but somewhat livable. But it has morphed into this present perverted, corrupt, and violent world which we vex our souls over, every day and every night.

God Himself wants us to see that there is no permanent dwelling place here in the city of destruction and calls us to pilgrimage. We must forsake our Love of the World and all of the things within it. We must long for heaven and for the city whose builder and maker is God.

The Pilgrims of our American founding were wonderful and beautiful Christians to boot. They loved the Word of God, giving us some of history’s greatest Bible scholars and theologians, but in some ways, they were misguided.

America was a gift to them, but it has not ever been nor could it be a “shining city on a Hill”; it is just a resting place. Puritanism was not the replacement of Israel. America could not be the promised land.

The Pilgrims would eventually settle in, farm, prosper, open Harvard and Yale (for the training of ministers), and attain wealth and become the establishment (losing their pilgrim spirit) and eventually apostasies (New England would become the breeding ground of Unitarianism, Masonism, Mormonism, and eventually atheism in America).

The true Christian is always a pilgrim, we can never “fit in” to this world. We are always just passing through, on our way to a better country and city.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

(Used with permission)


LTRP Note: While many who came to “the new world” (America) exploited and did great harm to the native people (the Indians) (as did some Natives harm innocent pilgrims), there were also many true believers in Christ (as described in Bill Randles article above) who did not participate in the exploitation of the Indian people. True born again believers in Jesus Christ, who are indwelt with the Spirit of God, do not murder, vandalize, or abuse other human beings. As we are instructed in God’s Word:

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  (Luke 6:35)

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)

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The Lonely Road by Trevor Baker – The Cost of Following Jesus

LTRP Note: The following lyrics are written by song writer and singer Trevor Baker from his CD The Lonely Road. These lyrics below are to the title song, “The Lonely Road.” If you would like to listen to 30 second clips of this song and the other songs on that CD, click here.

Trevor Baker - The Lonely RoadThe Lonely Road
By Trevor Baker

They say the years
Have come and gone
And things are not the same
And all the ways from yesterday
Have been removed or changed
We say we’ve come so far
We can’t go back
You’d think the if we’re that smart
We’d know more than that

Chorus

I’ll take my chances
I believe the saints of old
They said a time would come like this
When many would grow cold
The Lord Himself gave warnings
So I guess we’ve been told
So I must prepare myself
To walk this lonely road

The world keeps
Growing darker now
The Light’s been left behind
And those who live their life for good
Are harder now to find
It seems that we’ve forgotten
How to blush
And if you raise your voice against it
They say, “what’s the fuss?”
I’d like to think it’s just a phase

There’s saner days ahead
‘Cuz at the rate we’re going now
We might soon raise the dead
‘Cuz they’ve been rollin’ round
For quite some time
And if they came back now
They’d say we’ve lost our minds

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Reiki in the Church! – Is Disciples of Christ An Indicator of Things to Come for the Evangelical Church?

The denomination, Disciples of Christ (aka The Christian Church or The Disciples) is a mainstream evangelical group that has ties with the World Council of Churches and is known for its ecumenical efforts. But even though one would expect to find a liberal, emerging viewpoint within the denomination, it came as a surprise to us to learn that the group has some strong ties to the occultic practice called Reiki, which is a form of  New Age “energy healing.” Is this connection to Reiki an indicator of what is to come for the evangelical church?

We know that contemplative spirituality has been in mainstream denominations (e.g., Episcopal, United Methodist, ELCA, etc.) for quite a long time, but now it is impacting the evangelical church in a significant way as well. Sometimes, especially in the early stages of influence, contemplative spirituality can be hard to identify for many people. But when it comes to Reiki, there should be no guess work. Reiki is based on the occultic chakras system where supposedly everything is united by a chi energy that is in all things. Ray Yungen says this about Reiki:

One obtains this power to perform Reiki by being attuned by a Reiki master. This is done in four sessions in which the master activates the chakras, creating an open channel for the energy. The attunement process is not made known for general information, but is held in secrecy for only those being initiated.

One of the main reasons Reiki has become so popular is its apparently pleasurable experience. Those who have experienced Reiki report feeling a powerful sense of warmth and security. (From The Truth About Energy Healing by Yungen, p. 1)

You can read more about Reiki here to understand its occultic New Age nature.

Before Ray Yungen passed away in 2016, he told Lighthouse Trails editors that just as Yoga was now entering the evangelical church, it was just a matter of time before Reiki would also become “normal” activity for evangelicalism. Given the nature of Reiki, this is alarming. Here are some places within the Disciples of Christ (The Christian Church or The Disciples) where Reiki is being promoted and used:

First Christian Church Pomona

First Christian Church Fullerton (October 24th entry)

First Christian Church of Albany, Oregon

Rev. Elaine Andres, a Reiki teacher within the Disciples of Christ denomination

Christian Church in Ohio

Raytown Christian Church (pastor-wife is a Reiki teacher)

Labyrinths in Disciples of Christ? Colorado Springs First Christian Church

We have listed these churches as examples of how Reiki has entered this denomination and not to single out these particular churches.

(*Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.)

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Letter to the Editor: Pastor of 50 Years Beholds His Beauty and Dwells in the House of the Lord In the Midst of Changing Times

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.  And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. (Psalm 27:4-6)

Dear Lighthouse Trails,

As a pastor for going on not far from 50 years, I know personally of some I thought to be loyal friends who seem to be set on discrediting the integrity of what God has made of my life. It is sad, but reality.  I never thought 50 years ago that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture would be a challenged concept in my time.

What I am finding as one of the most subtle tools of those who challenge is that they simply remain silent or refuse to address the questions or issues brought up, and if they do, it is to slander character and motive.

I am sure I do not stand alone in these matters, and I know I am not alone when I am in the sanctuary David speaks of in Psalm 27.  That Psalm has become so precious to me.  I have  used it in weddings, funerals, and other messages, noting the powerful truth in that “one thing” put into a three fold cord.  To be always aware of His Presence in our lives (“dwell in the house of the Lord”), to be captivated by His beauty (“behold the beauty of the Lord”), and to be always and only tuned to His Word (“to enquire in His temple”).  Then if I get in deep trouble , He hides me in His sanctuary. In the last verse of this Psalm, we have the word, “wait,” which I have found to mean to literally wrap or twist around. I have taken a thread and shown its weakness and how it is easily snapped with little effort. Then I produce a large tow rope and have another brother help me, and we twist that thread around the rope and then ask anyone to come and break that thread that has now become one with the rope. In weddings, I have taken the rope and asked the bride and groom to each take a thread with their name on a ribbon attached to the thread and twisted it around a large white rope, representing  the strength of the Lord. I placed this into a nice wooden box and give it to them as a wedding gift.

I have done this at funerals  where I placed a white box with a large red ribbon on it near the casket. I left it there during the message and closed by opening the box, in contrast to the other “box,” a coffin. I produced a large white rope with the words of Psalm 27, “wait on the Lord . . . ”  and then followed the illustration showing the widow how she could partake of the strength of the Lord by these three concepts. It was very touching and meaningful.

I pray these simple, yet profound truths can be embraced by you all at Lighthouse trails.

May God continue to use what you are doing.

A servant of the Lord,

Pastor Lyle (USA)

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What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and Mindfulness Meditation

Today we received a call from a concerned woman who found out that a local public school was about to introduce mindfulness meditation to children at the school. She called the school and has been granted a 5-minute time slot at an upcoming school meeting to explain why the school should not teach mindfulness meditation to children. During our phone conversation with the concerned woman, we developed a short outline of how to address this issue with school officials. Meditation (and Yoga) will soon be practiced in most public schools in America. Whether you have children at a public school or not, do what you can to help prevent your own local public school from incorporating meditation into the lives of the children. And keep in mind, it’s just a matter of time before Christian schools will be introducing mindfulness meditation and Yoga as well. We know this because the condition of today’s North American Christianity is of such a nature that Christians are being persuaded to go along with the culture; and, of course, with contemplative meditation so prevalent in the church, Christians are being conditioned to accept all forms of New Age meditation.

4-5 years old boy meditating outdoor

Our outline on why meditation should not be brought into the schools. 

I. Mindfulness is meditation

a. According to the respected Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is a form of meditation: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356.

II. Mindfulness is therapy

a. According to several professional sources, mindfulness exercises are considered a therapeutic practice. For example, the Journal of Psychosomatic Research and the Clinical Psychology Review associate mindfulness with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (https://www.psychologytoday.com/therapy-types/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy).

III. Mindfulness is a religious practice.

a. Webster defines the word religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

b. The premise behind mindfulness is that divinity dwells in every human being, and therefore this meditative state that alters one’s mind can be reached by anyone because the divinity within allows for this connection. This belief that everyone has divinity within is a religion within itself but is also the premise of Buddhism and Hinduism (and the New Age).

c. Since public schools in America have made the decision that religion cannot be taught in the public schools, Yoga and meditation have no business being taught in the public schools. This is discriminatory against Christian influence in the schools, which has been banned from American public schools.

IV. Meditation is dangerous, and the schools should not be experimenting on vulnerable children.

a. There are numerous documented reports that meditation can be dangerous, especially for the vulnerable and weak (a category in which children fit). Here are a few articles that discuss this:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/meditation-is-touted-as-a-cure-for-mental-instability-but-can-it-actually-be-bad-for-you-10268291.html

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-hidden-dangers-meditation-you-should-know.html

This is probably the best article on the dangers of mindfulness and meditation. It discusses a study done by researchers at Brown University: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4538240/The-dangers-meditation.html.

We recommend printing this outline and also the articles that it links to and giving this to your local public school district officials. And Lighthouse Trails is willing to send a free copy of one of our booklets on meditation to any school district official who would like to read it. Just e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com the name and mailing address of any school official who agrees to receive the booklet.

Some of the dangers and effects of meditation according to the sources listed above:

a. insomnia

b. fear

c. hypersensitivity to light and sound

d. anxiety

e. difficulty eating

f. panic and paranoia

g. psychosis

h. seizures

i. mania

j. visual hallucinations

k. unable to function or work

l. a loss of sense of identity

m. psychotic depression

n.  elevated mood and grandiose delusions

o. unrestrained behaviors (sexual and violence)

p. pain

q. confusion and disorientation

r. feelings of emptiness and ennui (listlessness, dissatisfaction)

s. depersonalization

t. impairment of social relationships

u. cognitive, perceptual and sensory aberrations

v. disempowering

w. causes passiveness and compliance (even when those are negative responses to certain situations)

*It is interesting to note that most of these symptoms are similar to symptoms that occur with the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Is this really what children in the public schools should be put at risk of enduring? There is no way for a teacher to know which children will respond negatively to meditation. Also worth noting in reference to mass shootings, some of these men had a history of long-term meditation habits. This is even mentioned in one of the articles above. When you read some of these symptoms – depersonalization, unrestrained behaviors, psychotic depression, a loss of sense of identity –  we must ask the question, will this huge thrust by American public schools to have all school children meditating end up producing violence and psychotic behavior in our society rather than peace?

Related Resources:

Kyle Odom, the Man Who Shot Idaho Pastor, Says Meditation Started it All

How to Protect Your Child from the New Age and Spiritual Deception by Berit Kjos (a handbook with practical and biblical ideas)

Mindfulness! Heard of It? What Does it Mean, and Where is it Showing Up in Christian Circles?

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

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NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf  by Linda Nathan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

By Linda Nathan

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, with 5 million daily users worldwide.1

Should Christians use pot? Should they condone the use of it in our society? What would Jesus do? The author’s extensive experience, biblical approach, and current research provide clear guidelines for those struggling with today’s exploding drug culture.

INTRODUCTION

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
For the first time in U.S. history, Christians in America are facing the challenge of a majority approval of marijuana. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 58% of Americans now favor its legalization, and 67% of ages 18 to 29 back legalization. Yet when Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12% favored legalization.2

By September 2017, there was some form of marijuana legalization in 29 states and the District of Columbia.3

This massive change has occurred in less than fifty years, and it is a major sign of the seismic shift occurring in our culture—a shift that should concern Christians deeply.

But some Christians are uncertain how to view this shift, for the Bible doesn’t mention marijuana directly—or does it?

What do we know about marijuana? Is it good for our health? Or can it be harmful and even lead to psychosis? But, most important, how does the Bible deal with it?

Before we continue, let me tell you a little about myself and why I’m writing this booklet. I think it’s fair to say my involvement with marijuana stretches over half a century, through experience, observation, and research. My husband Richard and I met in San Francisco in 1962 and spent fourteen years in the Bay Area counterculture. By the grace of God, we survived the ’60s meltdown for thousands of young people into corruption, crime, and madness. And we personally experienced and saw with our own eyes the destructive effects not only of marijuana but also of some of the other drugs to which it opened the door. And the pot we smoked then was much milder than what is available today.

I thought I knew all about marijuana from my experiences during the ’60s and ’70s. But as I researched what is happening today, I saw that it’s now an entirely different ballgame. Today’s marijuana has a much, much stronger psychoactive (THC) content. Billionaires now power its promotion. And radical changes are occurring in our society as a result.

Besides our personal experience, Richard, who has a B.S. in Biology and a Master’s in Christian History, has spent the last 24 years working in psychiatric and drug treatment centers where he has continually observed the devastating effects of marijuana and other drugs.

So, let’s look at what’s happening.

TWO MOVEMENTS IN ONE: MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL
Although there are around 400 derivatives of the marijuana plant, the battle for legalization focuses mainly on two: medical marijuana (cannabidiol or CBD) and recreational marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).

“Recreational” marijuana (THC). Currently (2017) eight states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado) plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but the movement is growing rapidly as other states are moving toward legalization.4 More on recreational marijuana later.

Medical marijuana (CBD). By September 2017, twenty-nine states and Washington DC had medical marijuana laws, and another eighteen had passed CBD laws.5 CBD has minimal THC content. Therefore, many states have legalized it for specialized cases, primarily with childhood epilepsy or seizures. Some believe that legalizing CBD isn’t the same as legalizing medical marijuana because it’s not using the entire plant.6 A common assumption is because the CBD extract has some healing benefit, then the entire plant does too. But there are many dangers with using the entire plant.

Later, I will discuss the use of marijuana for medicine and the positions of major medical organizations.

Many powerful factors are propelling these movements, but first, we need to know what the Bible says. While it doesn’t address the issue of marijuana specifically, it has a great deal to say about its effects and about God’s demand for holiness for His people.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

1. We are to obey the law. We are to obey the Law of God (Romans 13:1–2), as well as the laws of the land, unless those laws conflict with God’s law (Acts 5:29). Marijuana is still illegal by federal law except within approved research situations.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

2. We are to live soberly. The Bible tells believers to be sober and practice holy behavior. Marijuana (THC) can lead to a vulnerable, drunken type of state.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (Romans 13:13)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

3. Marijuana can be harmful. There is a great deal of scientific evidence concerning its mental and spiritual harm, which is discussed later. According to the Bible, our bodies are not our own; we belong to Christ.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

4. Only God’s Word can transform our minds; supposed “consciousness-raising” drugs can be spiritually dangerous. Here again, I speak from experience: Under marijuana, the soul can become more vulnerable to false teachings.

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)

5. Marijuana can lead to idolatry and demonic bondage. Whatever has power over you becomes an idol, and behind every idol is a demon. Richard has observed marijuana leaf tattoos on many young psychotic patients, sometimes entwined with a cross. The idolatry of drug abuse involves both spiritual and physical bondage.7

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21)

6. Marijuana is a method of sorcery. This is one of the strongest arguments against Christians using marijuana and the reason why it opens the door to worldview changes. Witches have used it and other such drugs for centuries to contact the demonic realm. The Bible uses the word pharmakeia for “sorcery,” which is the root of our modern word “pharmacy.”8 Consider the following thoughts from a Bible forum:

Marijuana is a hallucinogenic. This is one of the reasons why using it is sorcery and witchcraft. With the use of drugs, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of spiritual attacks and seducing spirits. Mind-altering drugs are used in witchcraft to alter your reality. This can be very dangerous. This is why God calls us to be sober and avoid attacks from Satan (1 Peter 5:8).9

Let us make it our concern to grow in holiness through obedience to Christ. Scripture exhorts us:

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

TURBO POT—
NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S MARIJUANA

It occurred to me lately that these new ultra-high THC level marijuana breeds or what the kids refer to as (KB) Killbud mixed with any other narcotic is [sic] altering the children’s minds in such a destructive way the consequences are irreparable.10

When I committed my life to Jesus Christ, I knew that I needed to give up marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs. I realized that the influence of these drugs was the opposite of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The two are incompatible.11

Now, maybe despite the Bible’s warnings about how we are to live, you’re not convinced that there isn’t some good in using marijuana recreationally.

But there’s a vital fact many people don’t realize: The current weed is immensely more powerful than it used to be—to the point of being hallucinogenic. In their book Going to Pot, William Bennett and Robert White explain:

Let’s acknowledge that today’s marijuana is at least five times stronger than the marijuana of the past. The THC levels of today’s marijuana average around 15 percent, but go as high as 20 percent and above in the dispensaries found throughout the states that have legalized it for ‘medicinal’ or recreational use. The marijuana of today is simply not the same drug it was in the 60s, 70s or 80s, much less the 1930s. It is much more potent, leading to a great many more health risks.12

The Marijuana Potency Project at the University of Mississippi has found levels of THC as high as 37 percent. That is a growth of a psychoactive ingredient from 3 and 4 percent a few decades ago to close to 40 percent.13 (emphasis added)

WHAT IS THC, AND WHY DO HIGH LEVELS MATTER?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives the “high.” Synthetic versions can be very harmful.14 Consider the following:

The difference between 3 to 5 percent THC and 13 to 30 percent THC is very significant. It is like comparing a twelve-ounce glass of beer with a twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka; both contain alcohol, but they have vastly different effects on the body when consumed. Indeed, many argue that because of the difference in potency, it is not even the same drug we once knew. Some have taken to calling today’s marijuana “industrial marijuana” or “turbo pot.”15

A hallucinogen. Such high levels can be hallucinogenic and cause profound perceptual distortions of reality. Regular use may lead to “flashbacks” or (sometimes frightening) hallucinations that can reoccur for years. There may be panic and anxiety attacks, and health problems. Used with other drugs or medications, it can lead to vomiting, stroke, increased blood pressure, convulsions, seizures, and nerve problems; and it can affect babies in the womb.16

Psychosis. And then there is the connection with psychosis. “Nine studies following hundreds to thousands of people for decades searched for a connection between marijuana use and psychosis. All but one of these studies suggest a connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia.”17

Other studies reveal the connection between high pot use and a clinically significant increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses during adolescence.18 Our own experience has shown that you can’t know how it will affect you; it might seem fine for a while and then act without warning as a depth charge in your soul.

Sir Robin Murray, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London, says, “Even I, 20 years ago, used to tell patients that cannabis is safe. It’s only after you see all the patients that go psychotic that you realize—it’s not so safe.’”19 My husband says amen to that, having worked 24 years at treatment centers.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART I: THE BATTLE

In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then . . . [21% of the U.S. population] now lives in a state where smoking weed is legal.20

There is no level of marijuana use that is actually completely safe. . . . even the casual use of marijuana changes the brain.21

This new marijuana is waaaaaaay beyond simple medical use for pain.22

The controversy rages. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines medical marijuana as:

. . . the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. Cannabinoids can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; they can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. They can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerisation of cannabidiol, or manufactured synthetically.23

So, do the Bible’s warnings apply only to using marijuana with THC? After all, the CBD used for medical purposes doesn’t contain THC. Does it?

Actually, CBD does contain the hallucinogen THC, in varying ratios. Some claim the two work together therapeutically and that “a patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor to determining the ratio and dosage of CBD-rich medicine.”24 But many advocates don’t differentiate and insist on using the entire plant.

Proponents argue that it can treat the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced vomiting, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, childhood epilepsy, and neuropathic pain. Testimonials are the main support for other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.25

In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association published the preliminary conclusion of a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who used marijuana for self-medication. The report stated:

Smoking pot was found to be of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy, and “spasticity” for multiple sclerosis patients. The authors of the study did not rule out other medical benefits, but found little evidence of any so far.26

Opponents decry marijuana’s dangers, the fact that it lacks FDA approval, and that legal drugs make marijuana unnecessary. They point out its addictiveness and that it can lead to harder drug use and mental problems; they also say it “interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They claim medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.”27 There is no clear optimal dose for its various approved conditions. THC concentrations vary widely; and sometimes users breed out CBD, which can ameliorate THC’s negative effects, to increase THC’s potency.28 Furthermore, marijuana smoke can contain up to 70 percent more carcinogenic materials than tobacco smoke.29

No one medicine has ever been recommended or used for the number of diseases and ailments political proponents of medical marijuana say it is a therapy for. The proponents have turned it into some kind of major miracle drug while, at the same time, the scientific literature finds marijuana either dangerous or of extremely limited use, and often both.30

Now let’s look at the positions of professional medical associations.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART II: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SPEAKS

The American Psychiatric Association—

There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders.31

Medical treatment . . . should not be authorized by ballot initiatives.32

The American Medical Association—
In November 2013, the AMA retained its longstanding position that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” Recent policy changes call for further well-controlled studies.33

The American Society of Addiction Medicine—
The ASAM warns against marijuana’s adverse effects on mind and body, its increasing potency, and its influence in precipitating relapses in alcoholism and other drug dependencies. It recommends carefully controlled medical use and drug education for early school grades and health workers.34

The American Cancer Society—
A 2013 position paper states that cancer patients may receive benefit from marijuana, which can “help alleviate the nausea, vomiting, wasting, and muscle spasms caused by chemotherapy in some patients.” The ACS supports more research for treatments for cancer and its side effects, but it does not advocate marijuana legalization.35

The American Ophthalmological Society—
In 2014, the AOS reaffirmed its stand that marijuana does not help glaucoma. Ophthalmologists believe marijuana has side effects that could endanger eye health, increasing risk for cancer and eye diseases.36

The American Academy of Pediatrics—
In 2015, the AAP reaffirmed its opposition to legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical use. It recommended protections for children in states that have legalized either. It says, “For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.”37

CRITERIA FOR MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE
The general conclusion appears to be, “If marijuana is to be used for medical purposes, it should be subjected to the same evidence-based review and regulatory oversight as other medications prescribed by physicians.”38

Bennett and White offer the following controlled program for obtaining medical marijuana: a) A physician specialist for the patient’s chronic condition must sign a special waiver; b) Approval by the Institute of Medicine; c)Both patient and physician must sign a formal statement under penalty of federal perjury charges limiting the marijuana to that patient only; d) The patient must sign a waiver of understanding releasing the government of any liability regarding marijuana’s possible adverse side effects; e) It must be a standardized dose of government-provided marijuana; f) A hospital pharmacy must fill the government-approved, doctor-certified prescription; g) The patient’s prescriptions must be based on the doctor’s regular reviews.39

So, if marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and all these authorities oppose or caution about its legalization, why is the legalization movement growing so rapidly? This is a question that begs an answer.

BIG MARIJUANA AND CULTURAL CHANGE

“The pro-legalization movement hasn’t come from a groundswell of the people. A great deal of its funding and fraud has been perpetrated by George Soros and then promoted by celebrities,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush. “The truth is under attack, and it’s an absolutely dangerous direction for this country to be going in.”40

Marijuana use in the United States before the ’60s was mostly underground; but as its popularity spread, the public became much more accepting, until by the ’90s,

]L]eaders and politicians stopped speaking of the harms of marijuana . . . anti-drug ads became less prevalent . . . arguments on behalf of marijuana use were no longer answered . . . a market was found to create medical marijuana and call marijuana medicine because of its analgesic effects, and . . . Hollywood made punch lines out of the use of marijuana in blockbuster movies and popular television shows.41

NEVERTHELESS, LEGALIZATION TODAY IS NOT A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT.

Billionaire financier George Soros and other wealthy people jump-started it and are maintaining it. Soros “has become one of the largest supporters of drug reforms ranging from medical marijuana use to the easing of sentencing for drug charges. His foundation has donated about $200 million to drug reforms since 1994.” He has also spent around $80 million on reforms through a nonprofit network and his mouthpiece, the Drug Policy Alliance.42 Soros provided 68% of the financial backing to pass Washington State’s 2012 initiative and is focusing on other states.43

Other promoters include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and billionaires Peter B. Lewis, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz of Facebook.

THE NEW GOLD RUSH
Today the pot industry is viewed as the “new gold rush,” with “hundreds of tributary businesses.”44

Sales of marijuana grew 30% in 2016, and as long as acceptance continues to gain steam, the industry could hit $20.2 billion in North America within four years, according to a marijuana market research firm.45

The legalization movement and industry are transforming our culture and institutions.

THE POT PRESIDENT
Former President Obama’s administration greatly expanded the movement. He openly admitted smoking marijuana when young, calling it merely a “bad habit and a vice,”46 and supported legalized pot in Washington State and Colorado. In April 2013, his administration even told the Supreme Court to ignore a lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska opposing legalized pot in Colorado.47

The Obama administration also pressured the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice to consider removing marijuana from the list of the country’s most dangerous drugs.

That list was created as part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which consolidated all federal drug laws into a single comprehensive measure and defined marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, LSD and other drugs that the government says have no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. That meant marijuana was saddled with the strictest possible restrictions and penalties.48

To date though, the DEA has maintained its “core priority” to oppose marijuana and prosecute “those who manufacture, distribute, or possess any illegal drugs, including marijuana.”49

However, movement is underway to reclassify cannabis as a non-Schedule I drug, allow states to regulate medical marijuana programs, remove CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, and reconcile federal banking issues in the legal marijuana industry.50

DRUG-DEALING STATES
George Soros also funds studies about the profits from marijuana legalization.

Colorado. Such a study found that marijuana legalization could generate as much as $100 million in state revenue after five years. “That research was widely considered to have influenced the election.”51 (emphasis added).

Washington State. Marijuana sales generated $70 million in tax revenue during the first year of legalization, with over $257 million in sales.52 But one business owner said $70 million is low and sales should increase.53

Logan Bowers, who co-owns a recreational cannabis store in Seattle, claims there’s a “cultural shift happening in Washington, Colorado and other states that have started to legalize marijuana use.” 54 (emphasis added) Although the article doesn’t describe that “cultural shift,” I know it well. And my husband sees its results every day.

POPULAR ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST

You talk to the kids and with everything that’s going on with it being legalized in Colorado and comments being made that it’s just not that bad for you, the kids are taking it one step further and they’re telling me, “It’s just an herb. It’s OK. In fact, it’s used for medical purposes, it’s not bad for you. It’s good for you.” And that’s the belief our kids are getting.55—Fourteen-year veteran, Salt Lake City Police Department

There’s a wide spectrum of opinion about legalizing marijuana, but the battle doesn’t fall on a simple Left-Right continuum. Some Republicans favor it and some Democrats oppose it. Issues involve personal health and freedom, tax revenues, public policy, expense to our justice system, cultural change, and states’ rights. Many believe a ban would be futile.

Bennett and White conclude in Going to Pot that most advocates are poorly informed because of deliberate falsehoods by interest groups, ignorance about the strength of today’s marijuana, and unwillingness to give it up.56

Even Christians have many different views, as you will see in the chart below.

FOR

Divine intervention. Pot is God’s intervention to bring healing and relief. Even Jesus must have smoked it because it grew in the Middle East then.

AGAINST

What can bring temporary relief isn’t necessarily good (e.g. alcohol, opioids, etc.) (1 Corinthians 10:23). To assume that Jesus Christ smoked it because it may have been around is an irrational unbiblical leap.

FOR
Relaxation. It relaxes me, so it must be good.

AGAINST

Don’t count on it. Marijuana is not a sedative; it can excite and even stimulate hallucinations and psychosis. The present high levels make it unpredictable.

FOR
God’s creation. God created everything and gave us the plants of the field (Genesis 1:29).

AGAINST

God created deadly nightshade, too, but we treat it with care. This is a fallen creation.

FOR
Not from Satan. Satan doesn’t create, so marijuana couldn’t be of Satan.

AGAINST

Instead of creating, the devil spins webs of deceit (2 Corinthians 11:3).

FOR
Freedom. Jesus wasn’t legalistic; Christians live by grace.

AGAINST

This is true, but Scripture clearly says that we are never to use our freedom as a license to sin (Romans 6). And the Bible has given us many instructions on how we are to live including being sober minded and avoiding drunkedness.

FOR
Fairness. Trust the democratic process.

AGAINST

The democratic process also brought us homosexual marriage and transgender bathrooms.

FOR
Just an herb. Marijuana is just a medicinal herb.

AGAINST

Opium can be medicinal too, but recreationally it’s destructive.

FOR

Popularity. My friends all use it.

AGAINST

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15; see also 2 Timothy 2:22).

FOR
Bigotry. You’re a bigot to oppose pot.

AGAINST

Don’t be afraid to be criticized for standing for righteousness. Be bold. (1 Peter 4:1–5)

FOR
Legality. It’s okay for Christians in states with legalized pot.

AGAINST

It’s still illegal on the federal level, and even if that changes, it won’t make it safe or right. You can sin with legal and social approval.

 

WHAT CAN CHRISTIANS DO?

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. . . . Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:9, 11)

Many Christians today are confused about marijuana. This may result from:

Lack of education

Misreading the Bible / rejecting biblical authority

Peer pressure and moral laxity in churches and society

Confusing propaganda

Naiveté and/or ignorance of the devil’s wiles

Here in Washington State, we’ve not witnessed any noticeable Christian resistance to the “legalization.” On the contrary, we’ve encountered apathy in some churches and casual openness to it in some church youth groups. Online, youth pastors sometimes seem uncertain. There seems to be little awareness of its spiritual dangers. A woman who had opposed a marijuana factory in her neighborhood called us after our letter protesting the new law was published. She’d approached many Christian neighbors, but few had signed her petition. There was a lot of apathy, she said, an attitude of, “Well, it’s a law now, what can we do?”

Well, there’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can pray. In spite of all that is happening in the world today, including the growing use of marijuana and other drugs, as Christians, we serve a God who cares and who listens to our prayers.

We can also help to educate those around us, in our homes, churches, and neighborhoods. And while it may seem like a hopeless case there are some encouraging signs. As of this writing, the White House has announced that we should expect to see greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws, regardless of states’ laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug. Furthermore, marijuana is still classified on the federal level as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

But the battle will continue. The exploding marijuana industry is up in arms about losing its huge profits from a possible major crackdown. While President Donald Trump doesn’t oppose medical marijuana, the White House views recreational use differently. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is examining the whole issue. If the White House and the DOJ go easy on the “legal” states, the marijuana industry will continue flourishing, with the states as drug dealers. But if the DOJ cracks down, marijuana will increase as a powerful symbol of rebellion. One thing is clear: President Trump, the DOJ, and the country need our prayers.

No one knows which w

ay the nation will go.

But which way will you go?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17–18)

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

ENDNOTES
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24904437.
2.https://tinyurl.com/y7zl4f5y.
3. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
4. http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal; www.westword.com/marijuana/eleven-states-considering-pot-laws-in-2017-8720; see a current map of state marijuana laws at http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
5. https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473; https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881; and http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
6. See http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881 and http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473. See a chart of medical marijuana pros and cons at http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141.
7. There is a good discussion about this at https://justprayno.org/tag/idolatry.
8. See http://www.revelation.co/2010/01/27/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marijuana-is-smoking-pot-a-sin-in-gods-eyes.
9. See http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/127483-Sorcery-Drugs-In-The-Bible for a thorough discussion. Also http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-sorcery.html.
10. William Bennett and Robert White, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2015), p. 152.
11. http://www.sosmin.com/pdf/marijuana.pdf.
12. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 172.
13. Ibid., p. 18.
14. See http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/what-is-spice.
15. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. xiv–xv.
16. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby.
17. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
18. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders.
19. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
20. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org; http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-in-america-20-of-americans-can-now-access-legal-weed-2016-11.
21. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 92. Also see http://adf.org.au/drug-facts/hallucinogens.
22. Ibid., p. 19.
23. “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2015, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251).
24. https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cannabis-dosing.
25. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana” (2014, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1874073; https://tinyurl.com/yd6tet2a).
26. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/12/editorial-a-bust-for-medical-marijuana.
27. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
28. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana,” op. cit.
29. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 19.
30. Ibid., pp. 61–62.
31. https://web.archive.org/web/20161003070041/https://www.recoveryanswers.org/pressrelease/apa-position-statement-on-marijuana-as-medicine.
32. Ibid.
32. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/addiction/marijuana-and-psychiatric-patient
33. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/20/ama-reaffirms-opposition-to-marijuana-legalization; http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/AMA09policy.pdf.
34. http://www.asam.org/docs/publicy-policy-statements/1marijuana-5-062.pdf.
35. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=001399.
36. https://tinyurl.com/yb5mxrt9.
37. https://tinyurl.com/zolhjrl.
38. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 68.
39. Ibid., pp. 65–66.
40. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/2/billionaire-george-soros-turns-cash-into-legalized.
41. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. 177–178.
42. https://tinyurl.com/ybt8ph67.
43. https://tinyurl.com/mfqdk4o.
44. http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/how-marijuana-could-be-the-new-gold-rush; http://www.fox5ny.com/news/160812124-story.
45. https://tinyurl.com/yctqxtm9.
46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8pZ2AC_pv0.
47. https://tinyurl.com/y962aclb; http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/01/obama-tells-supreme-court-to-legalize; https://tinyurl.com/y8am2h57.
48. Joel Warner, “Marijuana Could Soon Be Rescheduled As A Less Dangerous Drug By The DEA, So Why Aren’t Cannabis Proponents Excited?” (04/14/16, https://tinyurl.com/yd3bvlm2).
49. The DEA Position on Marijuana, https://www.dea.gov/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf, p. 1.
50. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars.
51. https://tinyurl.com/ya9tkpqg.
52. “Pot Money Changing Hearts in Washington” (July 2015; http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars).
53. Ibid.
54. Ibid.
55. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 12.
56. Ibid., p. 82.

Note: To follow this discussion and for updates, visit http://www.logosword.com/blog.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Nathan spent many years in the ’60s and ’70s West Coast counterculture before Jesus Christ rescued her. She has a B.A. in psychology and master’s work from the University of Oregon, and ten years in the legal profession. Since 1992, she has provided professional freelance writing, editing, and publishing consultation services through her company, Logos Word Designs, LLC (www.logosword.com). You can visit Linda on the web at www.logosword.com.

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

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Brian McLaren, You Have Missed the Boat With Your “All-Inclusive Reformation”—Homosexuals and Feminists: Yes; The Bible and White Christian Men: No

As groups around the world celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with highly ecumenical events and speeches, Brian McLaren, once likened to Luther,1 has outlined his view of what the next reformation will look like in an article he wrote on November 1, 2017 titled, “The Last Reformation … and the Next Reformation.”  A disgruntled former evangelical Christian, McLaren says that the first reformation was led by white European men whose belief of an inerrant Bible was “papal authority with paper authority.” In contrast, McLaren says the next reformation will be much different:

The last reformation is associated with one “great man”–Martin Luther. He was joined by other “great men” – all white and European. The next reformation will be associated not with one “great man” but with many diverse people–especially women and people of color. The contribution of Liberation Theology, Black Theology, Feminist/Eco-Feminist/Womanist/Queer and related theologies will be as central to the next reformation as white European theology was to the last reformation.2

Photo: a 2-second clip from a YouTube video of Brian McLaren (2014); used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act. (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfL76BnO3g0)

This, of course, is what McLaren has been hoping would occur for a very long time.

McLaren’s public beginnings on this emergent “progressive” anti-Christianity path began back in the late 90s when men Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, Rick Warren, and Bill Hybels put their heads together and came up with a way to raise up a group of young men, get them into the lime light, and bring the new spirituality into the church through them. They succeeded, and most don’t even realize they were the initial driving force. What brilliance! If you have never read about this time period, it’s worth doing so. We’ve put together a PDF of chapter 2 of Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone, which describes the early days of the emerging church and McLaren’s role in that.

Rick Warren has his own ideas and hopes for a new reformation. He’s been talking about it for years. The following quotes illustrate some similarities between Brian McLaren’s new reformation and Rick Warren’s:

Who’s the man of peace in any village—or it might be a woman of peace—who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation.3

Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be “one of the big enemies of the 21st century.” “Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism – they’re all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.”4

Today there really aren’t that many Fundamentalists left; I don’t know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren’t that many Fundamentalists left in America … Now the word “fundamentalist” actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity.5

As for Brian McLaren, he is convinced that it is white European Christian men who are the source of corruption in the church, and even in the world. In his article, he uses the term “white Christian supremacy” to refer to white Christian men saying they “naturally led” the “genocide” of the Holocaust and the nuclear war. He believes if there can just be a reformation that is made of everyone else (no matter what their beliefs are), then we will have a truly pure reformation that will change the entire world and make “Christianity” what it should be. But, like other emergent teachers, McLaren threw out the Bible as the actual Word of God, and in so doing, has embraced and clung for dear life to ideologies that try to explain why there is evil in the world. The only thing McLaren can come up with is it must be white Christian European males. McLaren has become so deceived in his rejection of biblical truth that he actually believes this, and with a passion. He rejects Christianity now because he believes it is a “white man’s religion.” He cannot see that man’s heart is sinful and full of deceit, and it has nothing to do with color or status. While we know there have been great atrocities and abuses done at the hands of white men, there have also been great atrocities and abuses done at the hands of non-white men. McLaren believes the problems and sufferings of this world are because men of one color – white – are more wicked than any other race of people. Tragically, many will believe his new reformation theology and will turn against the God of the Bible altogether and join forces with an all-inclusive god of this world. That god, however, cannot save one single soul. He cannot give lasting peace, and he cannot give eternal life. McLaren hates the fact that the Jesus Christ of the Bible says, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) and “narrow is the way” that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).

The reformation leaders from over 500 years ago tried to separate themselves from what they saw as a false corrupted Christianity (Roman Catholicism). And that was a good thing. Many of them paid a high price to stand for truth; for many, even their lives. But there were groups that formed after the reformation that created their own forms of “Christianity,” and many of those groups became corrupt as well. But that is not the church (the body of Christ). The church is made up of people, starting with the very first Christians described in the New Testament, who name the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who become born again through His Spirit, and who have the mind of Christ because they are born again in Him. While some of them may belong to different groups and denominations, they know in their hearts that their first allegiance is to God. This body of Christ has been in existence since the beginning of the church after Jesus Christ was crucified and rose from the dead. It consists of both men and women, rich and poor, and of many different skin colors and from many different nations. Those distinctions merely describe the outer shell of these believers. The important distinction that separates them from the entire world is that they are sealed through the Holy Spirit in Christ (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). They have been translated from the kingdom of darkness (sin) into the kingdom of light (Jesus Christ) (Colossians 1:13). Because they have the Spirit of God living in them, they do not hate, they do not despise someone because of the color of his skin, and they pray for the lost knowing that God loves them and wishes for all to come to repentance and the knowledge of Him; and while they may attend various denominations, they first are Christians, born again and sanctified through Jesus Christ. Though not perfect by any means and can succumb to their flesh and sin, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who convicts them of sin, gives them power from on high to walk righteously, and cleanses them from all sin. After reading this article by Brian McLaren, we must seriously doubt that he has ever seen or entered this Kingdom of Jesus Christ (who said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Tragically, Brian McLaren and those like him have missed the boat and are sinking in a mire of lostness, always seeking, but never finding, and taking anyone with them who will follow. Equally tragic are the many Christian leaders and pastors who somewhere along the line jumped into that quagmire of deception because they were tempted by that evil one who offered them popularity, wealth, and lust in exchange for a truth and discipleship that costs dearly.

Brian McLaren, truth isn’t about white men or black men. Yes, there are racists, and people of color have often been victim to them. But that is because of sin, sin in the hearts of men who became cold, callous, and wicked from the hardness of their hearts. But you Brian McLaren have chosen to walk on a path that is also cold, callous, and wicked. You have been kept from truth because your eyes have been on this world rather than on an invisible world that is far above anything you can imagine. You think your neo-political, anti-Christian, pro-gay, environmental, anti-Bible rhetoric is going to save the world. You are wrong, dear sir. Truth does not lie on the path you are venturing on. Nor does it lie in any man-made institution. It is found in the pages of a book that God gave us, along with His Spirit, to show us the way to One Man Who has invited all to come unto Him and believe on Him. You think that your “progressive” relevant, emergent talk is so far above those who simply believe in a simple Gospel. You have swung to the other side of the pendulum, and you are just as off as those on the opposite side.

Endnotes:

  1. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=3665.
  2. Brian McLaren, “The Last Reformation  . . . and the Next Reformation” (Patheos, November 1, 2017, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/brianmclaren/2017/11/last-reformation-next-reformation/#o77FxR1O0HGLI2ws.99)
  3. Rick Warren quoted in “Myths of the Modern Megachurch” (Pew Forum on Religion, 2005, http://www.pewforum.org/2005/05/23/myths-of-the-modern-megachurch/).
  4. Rick Warren quoted in “The Purpose Driven Pastor” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2006, http://web.archive.org/web/20060116060443/http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/religion/13573441.htm)
  5. Rick Warren speaking at the Pew Forum on Religion, 2005, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/pewreligion.htm).

 

 

 

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