Special Note From Lighthouse Trails:We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior. However, we also do not believe that hate crime legislation is necessary or legitimate because there are already laws prohibiting the abuse and/or violence against any person.
“Hate Crimes Bill Passes House – Christian Leaders Partly to Blame”
On Wednesday, HR 1913 (“Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”) passed in the US House of Representatives with a vote of 249-175. According to one report, “The bill is now headed for the Senate, which Obama urged to work with his administration to ‘finalize this bill and to take swift action.'”1
If this legislation is passed by the Senate (and then signed by Obama into law, which he has promised to do quickly), this broadened hate-crime law could ultimately affect Christians who preach, teach, or report that the homosexual lifestyle is prohibited according to Scripture. One report states: “Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the U.S. and abroad.2 In a WorldNetDaily report, it says that even pedophiles could receive special protection if this bill becomes law.3 According to the text in HR1913, penalties for breaking this law would be severe–from 10 years up to life in prison. While wording in HR1913 is somewhat vague, amendments could be added to strengthen and further define how this law is implemented. Plus, because of its vagueness, Supreme Court judges may be able to further broaden the scope of the law through their own interpretations of it.
Keep in mind that this bill will not only give special rights to homosexuals, it has the potential to bring restrictions to Christians who reject the idea that other religions are valid ways to God.
Ironically, and in an indirect manner, many Christian organizations who are concerned about hate crime legislation have been partly responsible for this current legislation passing. How so? The legislation is passing because of the new administration and a supportive Congress. And as we have stated in previous articles, Lighthouse Trails believes it was the emerging church segment of voters who helped bring in this present White House administration. Now, Christian organizations and leaders who have helped to propel contemplative spirituality (i.e. spiritual formation) have, inadvertently helped to propel the emerging church. When people begin to incorporate mantra-type prayer and other contemplative spiritual disciplines, over time their spiritual affinities change and many become interspiritual, which is what the emerging church is all about. Thus, if someone is promoting contemplative spirituality, they are promoting the emerging model. The two terms are virtually synonymous. So while Christian organizations are alarmed about the hate crime law (which they should be because it is indeed disturbing), they have and continue to fuel the momentum merely by their promotion of contemplative spirituality.
When it comes to the emerging church, Christian leaders seem to lack understanding and discernment. Some books and many articles have now been written about the emerging church, and interestingly, the majority of them lack the most important element–the emerging church is a conduit for mysticism and is heading right into the arms of a universal interfaith church that is panentheistic (God in all) by its very nature.
Many feel that the real problems with the emerging church are centered around methodology (e.g., how much lighting to have, where to hold church services, and what to wear while attending them, etc.). Such distraction from the true concerns is like telling a neighbor that his dog is tearing up the garden when his house is burning down and his children are inside.
The emerging church is fundamentally mystical as can easily be seen by the leaders who feed the emerging movement a steady diet of contemplative spirituality. Leonard Sweet, one of the emerging church movement’s most prolific leaders (and a co-worker in ministry with Rick Warren) explains the role of mysticism in the emerging church:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center…. In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology. (p. 160, A Time of Departing–*see reference below)
If indeed the present administration came into power by picking up the large emerging church sector of voters, then a lot of Christian leaders are responsible for what is taking place today. For instance, Rick Warren, perhaps the most influential Christian leader today, has been and continues to be one of the strongest proponents of the emerging church movement and the contemplative prayer movement as well (see our research site for documentation).
What is needed here is for Christian leaders of ministries, churches, organizations, and schools, to repent for misleading many toward a deceptive spirituality that will not lead them into a relationship with the God of the Bible through faith in Jesus Christ by grace but will instead fulfill Karl Rahner’s words that they will be mystics or they will be nothing at all.
For those who are skeptical of the ramifications, consider the words of prolific contemplative author Marcus Borg. At a seminar in which Borg was speaking, he told the audience of a time when he and his wife attended what he thought was an emerging church and in the end of the service the pastor talked about Christ dying on the Cross for man’s sins. Borg told the audience that that statement showed him that church was not an emerging church after all.* This is the reason why Brian McLaren (who openly resonates with Borg) loves Alan Jones’ book, Reimagining Christianity so much because its not based on the Gospel but based on panentheism and contemplative prayer.
These are serious and spiritually perilous times in which we live. It would be wise for Christian leaders to reconsider the path on which many of them are now treading.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3
* Quote by Leonard Sweet from Quantum Spirituality, p. 76.
* Ray Yungen and a colleague were attending this seminar by Borg and relayed this story to Lighthouse Trails.