PROPHECY UPDATE 2009

ARE WE THERE YET?

PART 1

Listen to this study with Real Audio HOL1083

            Welcome to our 15th annual Prophecy Update.  And as you have seen over the past year, we are moving faster and faster towards a culmination of history leading up to the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Now for some of you, this may be new to you and for others, you are aware of the things that are happening in this world that the Bible has spoken of. And please understand, when God speaks of prophetic events, they are not veiled, they are not obscure, but He is very clear in what He is saying. The fine details we may not fully understand, but we can truly see the signs of the times before us!

            I have called this study, ARE WE THERE YET? If you remember as parents or maybe even as children, as you started on a car ride, one of the questions you would hear over and over or you may have said yourself, is, “Are we there yet?”  In regards to prophecy and the Lord’s return for His Bride, the Church, I think we are very close.  The Rapture of the Church can truly happen any time. Now I am not a date setter, never have been and never will be. But what I can tell you is that as I look at what the Bible says and what is happening in this world, we are living in the last days and really the end of the last days.

            In Luke 12:54-56 we are told, Then He also said to the multitudes, ‘Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, “A shower is coming”; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, “There will be hot weather”; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?’ 

            Tragically today many do not know what time it is on God’s prophetic time clock. They do not know how do discern the times that we are living in. My prayer as we go through the things that are happening in the world and see what the Bible has to say is that you would be able to discern what time it is, that the Lord’s return is very close and thus, what are we doing about it? You see, if the Lord is coming back soon, and I believe He is, shouldn’t we be about the Father’s business? Shouldn’t we be doing what the Lord has called us to do?  Of course we should!

            We should be sharing our faith, living out our faith, letting people see Jesus through us! And so this evening we will be looking at several topics like, ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT, ONE-WORLD RELIGION, THE MARK OF THE BEST, THE COMING WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST and-so-on to prepare us for the coming year. You see, it is important to know where we are so we know what we should be doing. And knowing what is going to happen gives us the assurance that God is in control and our faith others will see, the hope we have in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!

We are going to start out this evening on a subject that is very difficult for me. We will be looking at the apostasy of the church and the formation of a one-world religion. The reason it is hard for me is that over the last few years I have seen good, Bible believing churches moving away from the Word of God and into this New Age, eastern mysticism that goes by many names but it is the same garbage that has been around, just packaged differently and the church is buying into it!

            Does the Bible speak of this falling away from the faith? You bet it does and thus we should not be surprised, but I am truly saddened by what I see. Paul tells us about this falling away in II Thessalonians 2:1-12, Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

When Paul speaks of this falling away he is speaking of a falling away from the faith, APOSTASIA (ap-os-tas-ee’-ah). And he is saying that the Day of the Lord will not come or begin until there is this falling away from the faith and the Antichrist is revealed. Also, prior to this happening Paul tells us that the Church will be removed, that is prior to the start of the Day of the Lord.  Now this falling away we see today but at the start of the Tribulation Period it will reach a climax that will continue on for those seven years until the Lord comes back to set up His kingdom on this earth.

            In regards to this falling away, it is a deliberate abandonment of a formerly professed position and this is specifically speaking of a departure from the truths of God found in the Word of God, a departure from the Jesus of the Bible to a Jesus and a faith that is made up in the hearts of man and really, from the pit of Hell! Now I believe we are seeing the emergence of this falling away, you might call it false labor pains that are preparing for the birth of this false religion that will unite the world into a religious system that will ultimately worship the Antichrist!

            Over the last several years I have seen, as well as others a departure from the Christian faith in terms of doctrine. They still call themselves Christians but they deny the foundational truths of the faith. They go on experience, New Age and Eastern religious teaching. I know, some of you may doubt that. You may find it hard to believe, but let me share with you this article from a newspaper and see what the secular media is seeing that many in the church refuse to see about this departure from the faith. The article is from the Herald Times Reporter and it is called, Survey: Americans mix and match religions, and we are told:

When it comes to religion, many Americans like the mix-and-match, build-your-own approach.

Large numbers attend services of traditions other than their own and blend Christianity with Eastern and New Age beliefs, a survey finds.

The report Wednesday from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life also shows tremendous growth over the past three decades in the number of Americans who say they have had a religious or mystical experience.

Though the U.S. is an overwhelmingly Christian country, significant minorities say they hold beliefs of the sort found at Buddhist temples or New Age bookstores. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed overall and 22 percent of Christians say they believe in reincarnation, the idea that people will be reborn in this world again and again. . . .  About 1 in 4 Americans believe in Eastern or New Age ideas, including reincarnation, which is part of Buddhism and Hinduism; yoga as a spiritual practice; spiritual energy in things like mountains, trees and crystals; and astrology. . . .

Roughly 3 in 10 Americans say they have felt in touch with someone who has died — up from 18 percent in 1996. The belief is most common among black Protestants and Catholics. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say they have been in the presence of a ghost. . . .

Nearly half of Americans say they have had a religious or mystical experience, or a “moment of sudden religious insight or awakening,” the survey found. That represents a doubling since Gallup asked in 1962.

White evangelicals and black Protestants are most likely to say they have had a religious or mystical experience. Yet even those unaffiliated with any religion show a strong spiritual bent. Three in 10 reported having such an experience.

D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion, said the results illustrate what he calls the “playlist effect” in contemporary American religious practice.

“The way we personalize our iPhones, we also personalize our religious lives,” he said.

Count Chandler Pierce, a 27-year-old cook from Duncansville, Pa., in that group. He was raised Baptist, dabbled in Mormonism, said he is “with the whole Christianity thing,” most closely identifies with Buddhism and believes in astrology and all manner of supernatural phenomenon.

“My religion now ... it’s complicated,” he said.

That so many Christians believe in astrology and reincarnation will trouble Christian leaders already concerned about professed believers who take what they need from the faith and leave the rest.

The build-your-own-religion findings show that “culture and pop culture and the Internet are probably more powerful teachers than Sunday school teachers,” said Scott Thumma, a sociologist at the Hartford Institute of Religion Research.

Maryann Bogus, 59, of Kingsport, Tenn., another participant in the survey, attends an evangelical Christian church weekly and believes in reincarnation even though her church teaches otherwise.

“My daddy told me that a long time ago, and it stuck with me because he believed it, too,” she said.

Her belief in astrology and spirituality in nature and yoga are things she picked up from “watching TV and listening,” she said. She said she does not see any conflict with her Christianity.

                             - Herald Times Reporter, Saturday, December 12, 2009, by Eric Gorski

            Isn’t it interesting that the secular media notices what the church is getting into and yet the church sees nothing wrong with this? I am going to show you how far we have come and I am hear to say that most churches in our community have bought into this Seeker Friendly, Purpose Driven, Emergent Church philosophy that is moving people away from the true Jesus. The pretenders have come and they are spreading their false doctrine and as Jude reminds us, Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude is speaking on this difficult subject of apostasy, false doctrine and how we need to be prepared to fight against it. Folks, as important as this letter was to first century Christians, it is just as important to twenty-first century Christians!

            What is an apostate?  It is someone who knows about God, knows about Jesus, receives what the Bible says but only superficially, he is not a believer but a pretender!  So they look like believers, but they are not and that is the danger. They speak with flashy words, they speak as if they have the truths of God, but they do not!  Apostates never make a genuine commitment to God; they only make a superficial one. Yes they know the truth but they never apply the truth to their live!

            Tragically we see many Christians today taking on the mentality of a pacifist, they are antiwar, and thus, they don’t fight for anything, even the faith that has been entrusted to them. Thus, they go with the flow, they don’t want to cause trouble, and they allow the lies, the false doctrine to grow because they are not willing to fight the good fight of faith that God has entrusted to them!  The Greek word for earnestly contend is EPAGONIZOMAI, (ep-ag-o-nid’-zom-ahee).  It is a word that was related to an athletic competition, it speaks of being diligent, to agonize earnestly, it speaks of hard work, not pacifism!   And this word is in the present infinitive, which means it is a continuous struggle for us Christians!  It will continue until the Lord comes.  We are in a battle and like Paul exhorted Timothy, Fight the good fight of faithin I Timothy 6:12.  It is not time to give up or give in because lives are at stake!

            Now what is this faith that Jude is speaking of, that Jude is exhorting us to fight for? Jude is speaking of “the essential truths of the Gospel that all true Christians hold in common.”  Thus, we must earnestly contend for the truths of God found in the Word of God!  Now, do we see that happening in the church today, this departure from the truths of God found in the Word of God?  Yes and the reason is simple, many are not contending earnestly for this faith, they are unwilling to fight this good fight of faith!  You see, it is not about what I believe or what you believe, but it is the Gospel message, the truths of God found in the Word of God!

            Also note that Jude says that this faith was once for all delivered to the saints.Have you ever heard someone say something like this, “We are living in different and difficult times from when the Bible was written and thus, we must adapt the Bible to the way we are currently living, to fit in with the culture of our day!”  Sorry, but what God has said is unchanging, it has been delivered and we don’t need new revelations or a new Gospel for the days we are living in. It is as Erdman put it, “There is no other gospel, there will be none. Its content will be more fully understood, its implications will be developed, its predictions will be fulfilled; but it will never be supplemented or succeeded or supplanted.” Or, as Paul said in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

            Folks, Jude is not saying we should be like Casper milk toast, just accepting whatever people say. No, he is saying to us to stand strong in the Lord’s army, the battle is intense and thus, we must earnestly contend for that faith that has been entrusted to us.  That unchanging faith, the truths of God!  Listen to the charge Paul gave to Timothy regarding the preaching of God’s Word no matter what the people want or don’t want, you do the work that God has called you to do – you earnestly contend for the faith.

We are told in II Timothy 4:1-5, I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

            That is one of my prayers this evening. That you would not just have this information, but it would make you angry, that it would cause you to rise up and earnestly contend for the faith that was entrusted to you by God!  I am going to share with you several areas that seem to be emerging within the church that I believe are placing the church on a slippery slope into apostasy and many have already gotten there.

            First of all, for many today in the church, they feel that we have the wrong idea when it comes to salvation. Brian McLaren, an Emerging Church leader, writes:

            Is it any surprise that it’s stinking hard to convince churches that they have a mission to the world when most Christians equate ‘personal salvation’ of individual ‘souls’ with the ultimate aim of Jesus? It is any wonder that people feel victims of a bait and switch when they’re lured with personal salvation and then hooked with church commitment and world mission?”

- Brian McLaren, Generous Orthodoxy, p. 107

 

            Now why does Brian and leaders within this movement feel this way? Because they do not believe in a coming judgment and thus, why do you need to save anyone. What they do believe in is a universal paradise. You see, why rescue perishing souls when no one’s soul is really going to perish. That would be a foolish mission unless there is coming a judgment from God. And folks, there is! Jesus spoke more of Hell and punishment than anyone else in the Bible and thus, if it is not real, why would He waste His time speaking about it? He wouldn’t!

            Then how does Brian Mclaren explain those passages in the Bible? Listen carefully to what he has to say. He wrote:

            One world is all too familiar to us. It is a future too much like our past: full of regret and pain – which is exactly what hellish language like “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is intended to evoke. It is a world of increasing violence and disease, environmental degradation and economic disaster, division at every level of society, and on an individual level – fear, guilt, anxiety, lust, greed, pain.

- Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 181

 

            Is that what the Bible really says, that Hell is on this earth and the only way for us to fix it is that we have to make it better? Absolutely not! Listen carefully to what Jesus said in Matthew 13:47-50, Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  That is a far different picture of what Hell and eternal punishment is all about and I think I will trust what Jesus says over what Brian McLaren says, how about you?

            Rob Bell, another leader in this movement has the same idea. He basically says that heaven and hell are choices about how life will be on the earth now, what we make of it. He wrote:

            Now if there is a life of heaven, and we can choose it, then there’s also another way. A way of living out of sync with how God created us to live. [sic] The word for this is hell: a way, a place, a realm absent of how God desires things to be. We can bring heaven to earth; we can bring hell to earth. For Jesus, heaven and hell were present realities. Ways of living we can enter into here and now.

- Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, p. 147

 

            And just one more leader in this movement who has this same idea, Doug Pagitt wrote:

            We aid the Spirit in the work of the kingdom by making all things better in our own time and place. This understanding of the story entails that creativity is a central activity of the Kingdom of God. Imagine the Kingdom of God as the creative process of God reengaging in all that we know and experience. Imagine what it means to wonder if Jesus used so many metaphors for the Kingdom of God not because he couldn’t find the right words, but because the Kingdom is like so many things, and so many things are like the Kingdom. When we employ creativity to make this world better, we participate with God in the re-creation of the world.

- Doug Patitt, Church Re-imagined, p. 185

 

            I find these words interesting as they come from a man that says that words have no meaning and yet he writes many words to express that we create our own reality and as we do we are working with God to create heaven on earth! Garbage! Just one example and that is the book of Revelation speaks of God’s judgments being poured out upon a Christ rejecting world during the Tribulation Period and man is not seeking after God, they are truly trying to create their own reality apart from God and that will never work, there is coming a judgment from God. And for the unbeliever, this is their heaven you might say because it will not get any better than this for them. They will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire unless they receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! But this is just one of those dangerous errors, don’t save people because there is nothing to save them from! Garbage!

            Now let me show you how America’s pastor is leading people into New Age teaching and the people are loving it!  You may have heard of and you may even have read Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. In the book Rick has one of his main themes of “hope” and “purpose.” What is interesting to me is that he cites Dr. Bernie Siegel, who is a veteran New Age leader and he even has a spirit-guide named George. I wonder if George is curious, if so then of course, he would be curious George! I know, sorry. But if you are going to buy into this lie, then don’t be surprised what this demon named George will tell you and where he will lead you!

            Now here is the problem. Rick quotes Ephesians 4:6 from the New Century Version and it conveys the idea that God is “in” everything, which is foundational to New Age teaching. The NCV has this verse like this, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” Compare that to the KJV, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” You see, very different! Not only that, but Rick tells us regarding God, that the Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, p. 88). I am sorry, but check out New Age teaching and that is foundational, as I have said!

            Also, in The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes Eugene Peterson’s Bible version or I should say abomination more than any other Bible version. What is wrong with that? Listen carefully:

            One of the many examples of the New Age implications of The Message is seen in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. Where most translations read “in earth, as it is in heaven, “ Peterson inserts the occult/New Age phrase “as above, so below.” The significance of this mystical occult saying is seen clearly in As Above, So Below, a book published in 1992 by the editors of New Age journal. Chief editor Ronald S. Miller describes how the occult/magical saying “as above, so below” conveys the “fundamental truth about the universe” – the teaching that “we are all one” because God is “immanent” or within” everyone and everything.

- Warren Smith, A “Wonderful” Deception, p. 18

 

            Now let me tie this into another topic that is very New Age and is coming into the church today. Listen to the definition of this phrase, “as above, so below.” We are told:

            This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. “‘That which is above is the same as that which is below’ . . . The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man.”

- As Above, So Below” (http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/a/below_above.html)

 

            Do you see what is being said here? It is saying that we are God because God is in everything! How can that be?  Listen carefully and I will show you how this too has come into the church and it once again is a New Age teaching!

I believe we see this idea of man being god spoken of in Matthew 24:5, in the Olivet Discourse as Jesus tells us, For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  The Greek word for many is POLUS and it speaks of a very great number, as in millions and millions of people, not just a select few and they will claim to be god! If you still doubt that, look at Luke 21:7-8, where we are told of this same teaching, this Olivet Discourse, So they asked Him, saying, ‘Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?’ And He said: ‘Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am He,” and, “The time has drawn near.” Therefore do not go after them.’  In verse 8 the word He or Christ is italicized, it shouldn’t be there but was put there by the translators to make it clearer, but it truly doesn’t. It should read, Many shall come saying, ‘I AM.’ Isn’t that interesting because that is what the New Age movement is saying and it is what the church is now also saying, that we are god!

M. Scott Peck, a psychologist, wrote a book, The Road Less Traveled, that has been read by many Christians and New Age followers, and yet his words are not of God and that leaves only one other place they came from!  He wrote, “God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward godhood. God is the goal of evolution.”  (The Road Less Traveled, p. 270).  How sad that Christians have read this book and yet see nothing wrong with his teachings!  I have seen this book in Christian bookstores, in Christian book Distribution Company’s, being promoted by Christians!  It is not at all Christian and yet, Christians are reading it and thus, do they believe we are god?

Matthew Fox tells us that, “We need to become aware of the Cosmic Christ, which means recognizing that every being has within it the light of Christ.” “Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or love of life alive.”

M. Basil Pennington wrote, “When we go to the center of our being and pass through that center into the very center of God we get in immediate touch with this divine creating energy . . . that the divine energy may have the freedom to forward the evolution of consciousness in us and through us, as a part of the whole, in the whole of the creation.”

            “[T]he God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.” (Here and Now by Henri Nouwen, p. 22).

            “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center.” (Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster, 1998, beginning of chapter 2 – a quote by Thomas Kelly).

            “[Even people] who have yet to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ – can and should practice them. [spiritual disciplines].” (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, p. 2).

            “[I]f I find Christ, I will find my true self and if I find my true self, I will find Christ.” (Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning, p. 125).

            In His book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Matthew Fox, a former Catholic priest and was excommunicated from the Church for his heretical teachings, now a Episcopalian priest, wrote:

 

            We are all royal persons, creative, godly, divine, person of beauty and grace. We are all Cosmic Christ’s, “other Christ.” But what good is this if we do now know it.

- Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p. 137

 

            Divinity is found in all creatures. The divine name from Exodus 3:14, “I Am who I Am,” is appropriated by Jesus who shows us how to embrace our own divinity. The Cosmic Christ is the “I am” in every creature. The divine mystery and miracle of existence is laid bare in the unique existence of each atom, each galaxy, each tree, bird, fish, dog, flower, star, rock and human. Meister Eckhart says that “in this breakthrough I discover that God and I are one.”

- Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p. 154

 

            M. Scott Peck again tells us:

            If you want to know the closest place to look for grace, it is within yourself. If you desire wisdom greater than your own, you can find it inside you. . . . To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us. We were part of God all the time.

- M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, p. 281

 

            There is a book called, From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response to the Attack On America has a mixture of New Age and religious leaders writing articles for it. Listen to the review of this book by Amazon.com:

From the Ashes is a hardbound testimonial to two enduring sources of comfort in times of grief: the word and the spirit. After the September 11 attack on the United States, poetry was suddenly heard everywhere--from memorial services to the network news. Meanwhile, churches reported an enormous increase in attendance. In this outstanding collection of essays, the world’s spiritual leaders blend their poetic words with their indestructible spirits to offer Americans solace. Collected by the editors of Beliefnet, a multifaith Internet site, these essays represent a multitude of spiritual traditions. Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh answers the question, "What I would say to Osama bin Laden." The Reverend Billy Graham speaks to "The Mystery of Evil." Religious scholar Karen Armstrong asks, "Is Islam Violent?" and Wiccan Starhawk ponders, "What would the Goddess do?"

Some of the most touching words come from the e-mails posted on the Beliefnet message board in the days after the attack. (The e-mails are displayed on a ticker tape-like band across the bottom of every page.) From the wisdom of rabbis, priests, and Wiccans to the voices of everyday Americans, this collection stands as a phoenix, symbolizing the hope and possibility that can arise from the ashes. --Gail Hudson

- Amazon.com

 

            Contributors to this book include: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bruce Wilkinson (author of The Prayer of Jabez), Karen Armstrong (author of The History of God), Reverend Andrew M. Greeley, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kathleen Norris (author of The Virgin of Bennington), Neale Donald Walsch (author of Abundance and Right Livelihood), Sharon Salzberg (author of Loving Kindness), Michael Wolfe (author of The Hadj), and many others. Also included are previously published essays about the tragedy from Pope John Paul II, Reverend Billy Graham, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

            Now, listen to what Neal Donald Walsch wrote in this book where supposedly Christians also wrote and this is very disturbing as he puts forth his New Age message. He wrote:

            We must change ourselves. We must change the beliefs upon which our behaviors are based. We must create a different reality, build a new society . . . We must do so with new spiritual truths. We must preach a new gospel, its healing message summarized in two sentences:

            We are all one.

            Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.

            This 15-word message, delivered from every lectern and pulpit, from every rostrum and platform, could change everything overnight. I challenge every priest, every minister, every rabbi and religious cleric to preach this.

- Neal Donald Walsch, From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response to the Attack On America, p. 21

 

            What does Neal Donald Walsch believe? You guessed it, the New Age teachings that the church is buying into, that we are gods! Listen carefully to what he has written:

            God is Creation.

            You are the Creator and the Created.

            You are already a God. You simply do not know it.

            You are One with everyone and everything in the Universe – including God.

            There is only One of Us. You and I are one.

 

            And John Marks Templeton summarizes this for us in his book, The Humble Approach. He wrote:

            God is five billion people on earth and He is much more. . . . God is all of you and you are a little part of Him.

            Differing concepts of God have developed in different cultures. No one should say that God can be reached by only one path.

            Scriptures have been very beneficial to the whole world, but I am hoping we can develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture.

- John Marks Templeton, The Humble Approach, pp, 38, 46, 137

 

            Do you see how many people are speaking the same false doctrine, that we are gods, that god is in everything, that we need to save ourselves, and it is doctrines of demons that are being spoken. How many of you have heard of the book by William Paul Young called The Shack? It is another New Age Christian book, if I can say that and yet millions of Christians love it, believe in it, endorse it, will fight over it because they believe it draws them closer to God. It may but not the God of the Bible.

I realize that is a harsh statement, but it is true. You see, in this book, the Shack’s Jesus told Mack, who is the distraught father and main character of the book, that God is “in” all things. He wrote, “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things. In other words, “as above, so below.”  If you still think this book is great after I share how it is nothing more than New Age propaganda, then see me after words and I will share the Gospel with you. And keep in mind that in the premier issue of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Connection magazine this book was listed as one of the “notable best-selling Christian books in 2008” and is being sold on the Purpose Driven Connection Web site.  Look at how the New Age teaching is seen in the Shack.

THE NEW AGE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SHACK

 

NEW AGE BELIEF

 

God is the ground of all being – God is “in: all things.

 

God indwells creation, therefore the word creation is frequently spelled with a capital “C.”

 

Evil, darkness, Satan have no actual existence.

 

Quantum Physics, chaos theory, fractal theory deceptively used by New Age and the Occult to try to scientifically “prove” that God is “in” everything because God is allegedly “in” every atom.

 

Bible is not inerrant and reliable. Mystical spiritual “experience” with “God” are more authoritative –even if they conflict with Scripture.

THE SHACK

 

“God,” who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things. (p.112).


The word creation is spelled with a capital “C” over twenty times.

 

“Evil and darkness . . . do not have any actual existence” (p. 136). Satan is never mentioned.


Subtly introduces quantum physics, chaos theory, fractal theory through references to “quantum stuff” (p. 95), “sub-atomic level” (p.95), “chaos” (p. 128), and fractals (p. 129). While simultaneously teaching that God is “in” everything – including every atom (-. 112).


The Bible is consistently devalued and marginalized. Mystical spiritual experiences with “God” more authoritative-even if they conflict with Scripture.

 

- From Warren Smith’s book, A “Wonderful” Deception, p. 161

 

            Folks, he says he wrote that book for his kids, you have to be kidding me. When you look at the New Age teaching that is in it, there is another agenda behind the book, whether he agrees with that or not and that agenda is to get the church to move into the New Age and ultimately unite the world into a one world religion!

            Leonard Sweet in his book, Soul Tsunami, on page 121 wrote, “The coming together of the new biology and the new physics is providing the basic metaphors for this new global civilization that esteems and encourages whole-brain experiences, full-life expectations, personalized expressions, and a globalized consciousness.”

            And David Spangler, in his book, Reimagination of the World on page 126 wrote, “When we experience such a quantum of transformation, we may simultaneously feel that the whole of the New Age is happening right now, that we are on the verge of overnight transformation – the fabled quantum leap into a new state of being.”

            I wonder if that new state of being is when mankind comes to the realization that we are gods? And the church is at the forefront promoting these doctrines of demons! Benjamin Crème, a New Age leader and a spokesperson for the false New Age “Christ” Maitreya says:

            But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent – outside of His creation – and also the concept of God immanent in all creation – in man and all creation.

- Benjamin Crème, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, p. 88

 

Not only are they telling us that we are god, that we are divine but they are also telling us that the blood atonement is wrong!  Lighthouse tells us:

            Some leading contemplative proponents say that a loving God would not send His son to a violent death on a Cross. Brennan Manning, in his book Above All states:

[T]he 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 (p. 58).

Although Manning takes credit for penning these words, they are actually the words of panentheist mystic, William Shannon, from his book Silence on Fire, who wrote them several years ago. Shannon stated:

He is the God who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased . . . This God does not exist. This is not the God whom Jesus Christ reveals to us” (p. 110).

What are the implications of Shannon’s statement? Basically, making someone suffer a violent death to save others is not something a loving God would do. Shannon believes such a sacrifice is unnecessary because he believes all creation (all people) are already connected to God:

The goal of all true spirituality is to achieve an awareness of our oneness with God and with all of God’s creation . . . and with all that is (p. 160).

Shannon says that we are all “contemplatives” (“mystics”) and that “God is the Hidden Ground of Love,” and we are “all one in that Ground” and “contemplative prayer [is] becoming conscious of what is already there [God]” (p. 22, 154, 160). That is why Thomas Merton said if we knew what was really inside of each other, we would fall down and worship one another - Merton’s biographer totally agreed with this.

Manning, Shannon and Merton are not the only ones who downplay the doctrine of the Cross. Alan Jones, in his book Reimagining Christianity, says that “Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry God. Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine” (p. 168). Brian McLaren suggests that the doctrines of the Cross and of Hell are “false
advertising for God.”

If it were true, that Jesus Christ suffering a violent death on the Cross was unnecessary for man to be saved, then Scripture becomes invalid for in Hebrews it says that “the Mediator [Jesus Christ] of the new covenant” had to die before the covenant could take effect (Hebrews 9). If Christ had not died a sacrificial death, the new covenant of grace would be non-existent, and there would be no means in which anyone could be saved.

Contemplative spirituality ultimately rejects the gospel message, and those who continue in its path will eventually follow after other gods and be led away from the salvation freely given to all who will believe. Henri Nouwen, one of the most prominent figures in the contemplative movement, said that Buddhism and Hinduism offered many spiritual treasures to contribute to the life of the Christian (Disciplines for Christian Living - Ryan). What do Buddhism and Hinduism offer? Panentheism (God in everything)

If Manning, Shannon, Merton, McLaren and Jones are right, then there is no need to preach the gospel to the lost, for there are no lost - they are already connected to God and they just need to be made aware of that. But if Scripture is correct, then believers are compelled to defend and preach this message that we are reconciled to God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

            - Lighthouse Trails, Would God Send His Son to a Violent Death? Some Say No

 

And British Emergent author Steve Chalk wrote, “If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.” (The Lost Message of Jesus, pp. 182-183).

Now how is this all going to come together into a one-world religion? We can only speculate but let me share a few more points regarding this and then I will rap this study up. In regards to this Ecumenical Movement, what is this all about? “Ecumenism has come to mean, ‘reducing all elements of faith to the lowest common denominator. God’s Word is neglected, experience is valued above truth, a false and selfish “faith” is promoted, and sound doctrine and correction are despised as “divisive” and “unloving.” In other words, we need to compromise our faith or we are unloving and we are the ones that are bringing problems to this earth, stopping the spread of peace upon this planet! Really?

Where did this get its start?  We are told:

The bridge to a one-world religion, however, began over 100 years ago with a meeting of The World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Since the creation of the UN in the 1940s, every decade has pursued proposals for a United Religions on a global scale, including the World Council of Churches, formed in 1948; Vatican II in 1962; the World Conference on Religion and Peace in 1970; and the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. None has gained momentum and support as quickly as the current URI.

[Bishop] Swing fine-tuned his sales pitch and traveled around the world for three months in 1996, while promoting his vision by holding discussions with people from many varied beliefs. He seeks to bring together representatives from all 258 religions in the world, as well as “spiritual traditions” and “indigenous peoples,” into a United Religions which functions similarly to the United Nations. Their broad, open-arms policy welcomes faiths such as Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Muslim, Wiccan, atheist, Druid, Baha’i, Goddess worship, and Taoist, while Christianity and Judaism are only included with great reservation. It’s a “one faith fits all” mentality–almost.

Fundamentalists, such as Christians and Jews who believe in the Ten Commandments or worship a single God, are considered threats to global peace and are frequently warned against “proselytizing” (i.e. evangelizing), as specified in principle #21 of the Charter: “Members of the URI shall not be coerced to participate in any ritual or be proselytized.” In his 1998 book, The Coming United Religions, Bishop Swing groups those who proselytize with those who are “condemning, murdering and dominating.” Not surprisingly, the Prince of Peace is soundly eliminated from the global peace process.

- Bridge to a One-World Religion: The Foundation © 2000 Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes

 

            And now we have a new document, new since the one in the 1990’s that Chuck Colson helped spearhead called Evangelicals and Catholics Together or ECT. This new document, again spearheaded by Chuck Colson, with signers of over ¼ million people is called the Manhattan Declaration. Some of the signers of this document are Kay Arthur; Dr. Albert Mohler; Gary Bauer, President, American Values; Chairman, Campaign for Working Families (Washington D.C.); Jim Daly, President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO); Dr. James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO); Jerry Jenkins, Author; Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Pastor, The Moody Church (Chicago, IL); Josh McDowell, Founder, Josh McDowell Ministry (Plano, TX); Dr. Jerry Newcombe Host/Senior Producer, Coral Ridge Ministries (Fort Lauderdale, FL); Dr. J.I. Packer, Board of Governors, Professor of Theology, Regent College (Canada); Dr. Joseph Stowell, President, Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, MI); Chuck Swindoll, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Insight for Living, Senior Pastor—Stonebriar Community Church (Frisco, TX), Chancellor—Dallas Theological Seminary; Dr. Michael Youssef, President, Leading the Way (Atlanta, GA); Ravi Zacharias
Founder and Chairman of the board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, GA); and many, many more. Now, what is so wrong with this document? First of all it is ecumenical and it focuses on the sanctity of human life, on the dignity of marriage and the rights of religious liberty. So what is wrong with this? There is nothing about the Gospel in this document and thus, you have all kinds of religious people signing this, many who are not even Christians!

            Listen carefully to what we are told about this project:

Given the fact that a large number of the main 149 signatories have directly or indirectly promoted advocates of the New Age/New Spirituality (i.e., contemplative/emerging), it is not difficult to see that (even with good intentions) the Manhattan Declaration may provide an appealing and subtle avenue into the New Spirituality for a vast number of signers, many of whom might not otherwise have had exposure to it given the conservative tendencies of most of the signers.

Some may ask, how could this introduction to the New Spirituality possibly take place just by signing the Declaration-even if some of the main signatories are promoting it? The answer, in part, has already surfaced. On the Manhattan Declaration website, it now states:

Thousands of you have sent e-mails asking what’s next - a good question. The goal of those of us who drafted and signed the document is not just to get a lot of names on a manifesto, gratifying though that is. We are seeking to build a movement - hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Catholic, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox Christians who will stand together alongside other men and women of good will in defense of foundational principles of justice and the common good. These are people who could expose the lie which so many in our culture have embraced about self being the center of life; and then winsomely present, in the words of St. Paul, “a more excellent way.” (emphasis added)

We are looking for people who will work in every possible arena to advance the sanctity of life, rebuild and revitalize the marriage culture, and protect religious liberty.

So what’s next for you? . . .

Finally, we want to point out one more resource that the Manhattan Declaration is recommending: Renovare, which is the organization founded by contemplative pioneer Richard Foster. An entire book could be written on Foster alone, but in this article we are going to draw your attention to just one aspect. Those who understand the dynamics of the New Age/New Spirituality (i.e., contemplative) can research the Renovare website to gain further insight. One of the people whom Foster has used extensively for both his Spiritual Formation Study “Bible” and his Life With God “Bible” is Walter Brueggemann. Brueggemann helped to edit these Renovare “Bibles.” Yet, Brueggemann, who could actually be considered a pioneer of the emerging church movement, resonates with atonement denier Alan Jones and actually endorsed the back cover of Jones’ book, Reimagining Christianity. In that book, Jones says that the doctrine of the Cross is a “vile” doctrine and that:

The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it. (p. 132).

- Lighthouse Trails Publishing

 

            This is where we are headed folks, and when I say “we” I am speaking of the false church and not the true church, not those like us who believe God’s Word and are refusing to compromise our faith, the foundational truths of the Bible for any cause. We must earnestly contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us! What are those fundamentals of faith? There are five fundamentals of the faith, which are essential for Christianity, and upon which we agree:

  1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
  2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
  3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
  4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
  5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).

 

Let me end with these remarks, and I mean it this time. Listen to what Dr. Harry Ironside, (1876-1951), warned about the dangers of this deceptive notion that “all truth is God’s truth,” he wrote:

            Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaventh the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.

- Dr. Harry Ironside, Exposing Errors: Is it Worthwhile?

 

            And Francis Shaeffer wrote:

            But if we are going to have this answer [that Christianity is true to what God said in the Bible and to the real world we live in], notice that we must have the full biblical answer, and not reduce Christianity to either the paneverythingism of the East, or the paneverythingism of modern, liberal theology, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic. We must not reduce Christianity to the modern existential, upper-story theology!

- Francis Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent, p. 18

 

            I hope I have shown you that now is the time to rise up and take a stand for the faith, to earnestly contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us by the Lord because the PRETENDERS have come and they are leading people away from the Jesus of the Bible and to an ecumenical Jesus that will unite the world into a one world religion. The apostasy has begun!