Barack Obama, the Senator who may become the next president of the United States, says (in an exclusive article in United Church News), that the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ), of which he is a member (Trinity United Church of Christ), are “foundation stones for his political work.” Just what are those “teachings” comprised of? On Trinity’s website (Obama’s personal home church), on a page promoting Yoga, the following statement is highlighted:
Within each [of]us is the seed of Divinity. Each Soul is divine. I bow to the divinity in us all!
This is the spirituality of Thomas Merton, who believed that divinity was in all humans and in all creation. That is why Merton stated:
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are …I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point …is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. (from A Time of Departing, quoting Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander -1989 edition, 157-158)
The United Church of Christ is an ultra liberal Christian denomination that has focused on social justice and making the world into a better place. But in the process of their all encompassing view that anything positive is spiritually sound, many leaders within this group have embraced or incorporated the teachings and practices of occultism and eastern religion. One such individual is Bruce Epperly, a United Church of Christ pastor, who wrote a book called Reiki Healing Touch and the Way of Jesus, in which Epperly says: We can utilize the practice of Reiki to transform families, relationships, meetings, and institutions.” Reiki is drawn from Tibetan Buddhism and incorporates spirit guides and psychic powers. It is very probable that Obama has been exposed to things such as yoga or reiki.
Rick Warren and Barack Obama share views on global peace and world-wide unification. Obama, who was a speaker at the “Pentecost 2006: Building a Covenant for a New America” conference, used “the speech as a call for continued dialogue and bridge-building between religious conservatives and progressives.” This “bridge-building” is the same kind of talk Rick Warren uses when he is discussing his “new reformation” that will include all religions, in which he states that he will do “whatever it takes” and work with anyone at all to accomplish this new reformation in his lifetime.
In Obama’s address at Pentecost 2006, he talked about the “connection between religion and politics.” This is what Rick Warren talks about with his “three-legged stool” philosophy that government, religion and business have to work together if global peace is ever going to happen. In light of the popularity of both these men, and given the possibility that Rick Warren could potentially be “the President’s pastor,” their views on global peace should not be overlooked.
New Age Peace
Marianne Williamson (Oprah’s featured author for A Course in Miracles) shares this same vision, as do other prominent New Age leaders. One of those who has worked closely with Williamson is Barbara Marx Hubbard, who shares this interspiritual, panentheistic vision for the world. But Marx Hubbard does not conceal her belief that those who oppose this “great awakening” of mankind will be a deficit and a hindrance:
Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose….. All who choose not to evolve will die off; their souls will begin again within a different planetary system which will serve as kindergarten for the transition from self-centered to whole-centered being. The kindergarten class of Earth will be over. Humankind’s collective power is too great to be inherited by self-centered, infantile people.” (from The Plan, quoting Barbara Marx Hubbard Happy birthday Planet Earth p.17)
Divinity in all? Not according to the Bible. But since the Garden of Eden when the serpent (the devil) told Eve “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5), and when Lucifer (Isaiah 14) said he would be like the “Most High,” there has been a New Age philosophy that declares man is equal to God and God is in him without faith. The following scriptures (among so many others) testify of the contrast between God and man.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16)
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name [Jesus Christ] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4: 12
Right now, the majority of leading Christian organizations from Focus on the Family to Awanas to YWAM to our seminaries, colleges, publishing houses, and denominations are to one degree or another either opening up to or actually promoting contemplative spirituality. Given the fact that Thomas Merton’s beliefs are the foundation of contemplative, isn’t it time Christian leaders who truly love the Lord and His Word, begin to speak up and warn their people about this devastating spirituality that is quickly overtaking our world but should not be overtaking the church. The Bible says faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but asks: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). But if the leaders, teachers, and preachers are all preaching a different gospel (a mystical, panentheistic one), then how shall the lost hear and be saved?
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