Phylis Tickle and The New Seminary President

Phyllis Tickle is one of the well known leaders in the emergent church movement.  She is particularly known for coining or popularizing the phrase “Emergence Christianity.”  She wrote a book called The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing And Why, in which her main point is that great changes always occur in the church every 500 years, and that we are in the midst of such a time again.  She compares this time to such other movements as the Protestant Reformation, among other movements in history.  According to Tickle. the emerging church is now playing a pivotal role in yet again redefining the future of Christianity.  Her premise is that a new and “more vital” form of Christianity is emerging.  If this is true, we in trouble.

In chapter one of the book, she likens this supposed great new change to a rummage sale, where old things are cleaned out and discarded, and replaced with new fresh ideas and approaches to Christianity.  This is exactly what the emergent church is all about.  It’s really the same concept that false teacher Brian McLaren promotes, that of a “New Kind Of Christianity”, and as he states in the title of one of his books, “everything must change.”  And he really means it, and I’m sure Phyllis Tickle also agrees with him.

In his post Who Is Phyllis Tickle?, Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries points out that she receives high praise for her emergence concepts from false teacher and emergent church leader Doug Pagitt, who promotes “Christian yoga”, denies the concept of original sin, and seems to support a kind of “Christian universalism.”   Pastor Silva also brings out another association:

…at her website we read the following endorsement from an apostate Episcopal “Bishop and Primate”:

“Phyllis Tickle offers a creative and provocative overview of multiple social and cultural changes in our era, their relation to previous major paradigm shifts, and their particular impact on North American Christianity. This is an immensely important contribution to the current conversation about new and emerging forms of Christianity in a post-modern environment—and a delight to read!”
—The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori,
Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Bishop Schori is clearly an apostate.  She has stated in a message to the Episcopal General Conference that individual salvation is the greatest heresy in the church today, and that there is only a collective salvation.

From Tickle’s website, her About section says that she:

is currently a Senior Fellow of Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral… A lay eucharistic minister and lector in the Episcopal Church.

 At the WNC website:

Washington National Cathedral is a church for national purposes called to embody God’s love and to welcome people of all faiths and perspectives. A unique blend of the spiritual and the civic, this Episcopal Cathedral is a voice for generous-spirited Christianity and a catalyst for reconciliation and interfaith dialogue to promote respect and understanding. We invite all people to share in our commitment to create a more hopeful and just world.


Ken then points out that she is on the board of advisors of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.  Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science cultic religion.

As you dig deeper, the Cathedral promotes contemplative prayer, including centering prayer and practicing the silence.  I suggest you read the full post by Pastor Silva in order to get an even better look at the very dubious associations that Tickle has with apostate groups and false religions.

You’ll hear her in this conversation with emergent proponent Peter Rollins as he “tickles her ears” while discussing emergence Christianity.  Tickle is also a proponent of mysticism, as is her friend Rob Bell.  From the Museum of Idolatry website, you can hear a clip of her speaking at Rob Bell’s church, where she was invited to speak about the ‘feminine attributes’ of the Holy Spirit.  At the 8:11 mark, she claims that when we take communion we are “FEEDING THE “GOD” WITHIN US”.

Finally, a dialogue at Fuller Theological Seminary with Tony Jones and Lauren Winner (who was a guest speaker at Eastern Nazarene College as well as Point Loma) will astound you.  I was amazed at the contempt for the Bible coming from Tickle and her two colleagues that day, and how they were so enthralled with each other.  Here is the video: Emerging Spiritualities In The American Church.  She is also proud of her affinity for large amounts of hard liquor.

Here is one quote from that dialogue at Fuller:


“Any good emergence Christian worth his or her salt will tell you that there is an incredible arrogance in thinking that we can reduce God Almighty to a set of words that we understand.  Yes the scripture is given to us, yes it is in words, but the scripture is written in a way that we can have it, but we cannot entirely understand it.  It is beyond us in every way.”
34:58-35:30

She goes on to talk about “where we exist as lovers of Jesus in the fullest and most erotic sense.”  There is quite a bit more nonsense in this three way dialogue, but I’ll let you be the judge, don’t take my word for it.

Her presentation starts at the 27 minute mark, if you wish to skip Lauren Winner.  But it is well worth listening to all three of these speakers truly tickle each other’s ears, to get a real good idea of the warped and twisted self loving humanism that comes from such folks as these in the emergent/emerging/emergence movement.

What’s The Connection With NTS?

What does this have to do with the new Seminary president?  Dr. David Busic recently gave his inaugural message as the newest president of Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Here is the transcript of the message: Inaugural Address President David Busic October 28 2011-1

Here is the video link: http://vimeo.com/32479319

In attendance was at least one General Superintendent.  I believe there are questions of discernment or perhaps at best a lack of understanding as to what Phyllis Tickle represents.

At the start of his references to Tickle, Dr. Busic says the following:  “While some have questioned the veracity of her reading of history, and certainly not all would agree with her assessment, few would argue that we are living in a time of rapid and disruptive change. And so for the sake of argument let’s hear what she has to say.”

He then continues to go into detail about her idea of every 500 years of a great change occurring in Christendom.   He later also wonders whether Tickle’s reading of history is correct, but I can’t help but believe that Dr. Busic likes what she has to say.  He clearly has nothing unfavorable to say about her, nor any warning whatsoever of her emergent ideology.   It is also interesting that he quotes the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the top seminaries in the country, but which has gone down the road of apostasy with its promotion of contemplative spirituality, ecumenism, and downright rejection of God’s infallible word.

I am now even more worried about the future of  Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Why would Dr. Busic use material attributed to a promoter of contemplative spirituality, and someone who promotes the emergent church movement and all its heresies?  That is a question others besides me will have to ask Dr. Busic over the coming months.  I have other concerns that have been addressed to Dr. Busic in an email I sent a few weeks ago, and I hope to get an answer to those questions.  Yet at this point I am troubled, because under the previous president, Dr. Ron Benefiel, there was a whole lot of error being promoted and allowed to be taught at what is the flagship seminary of a denomination that proclaims and preaches holiness.  Will there be significant and promising changes under Dr. Busic, or will it be the same old thing continuing on?


For me, these are just some of the  lingering questions:
- Will Doug Hardy stop teaching an occultic Celtic Spirituality course?  Will he renounce his involvement with the highly ecumenical and interfaith group at Spiritual Directors International?
- Will NTS stop promoting contemplative spirituality, to both its students and even to middle school age children?
- Will NTS stop promoting Roman Catholic practices?
- Will NTS cancel any plans for another Spiritual Formation Retreat at the next General Assembly?
- Will Mike King stop promoting contemplative spirituality to youth, and stop being involved with heretical youth festivals such as Wildgoose?
- What will Dr. David Busic do as leader of NTS to stop some of the ungodly trends at the major seminary of the Nazarene denomnation.

I believe we will have a good idea of the future direction of this seminary very soon, one way or the other.

 

 Addendum:

Here are a few previous posts about Nazarene Theological Seminary and its errors

 

Promotion of a retreat at Roman Catholic center and teaching of contemplative spirituality:
http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/nazarene-church-welcoming-contemplative-spirituality/

 

Promotion of a spiritual formation retreat with Alden Sproul and Doug Hardy: http://www.lillenas.com/nphweb/html/ht/printerFriendly.jsp?id=2719&sid=10000013


Promotion of contemplative spirituality and ecumenism:  http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/nazarene-schools-drifting-away-from-biblical-soundness/

 

Teaching of occultic Celtic spirituality by Dr. Doug Hardy: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/occult-coming-to-nazarene-theological-seminary/

 

Mike King, a professor at NTS, and  national Nazarene youth leader speaks at heretical festival:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/mike-king-and-friends-leading-youth-to-spiritual-death/

 

 Doug Hardy’s book recommendations for Windsor Hills Camp in New Hampshire.  Most of the books were written by or about Roman Catholic mystics or promoters of contemplative mysticism:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/windsor-hills-camp-promotes-error-filled-books-to-nazarenes/

Taizé: Interspiritual Worship Promoted At Northwest Nazarene University

Thanks to John Henderson who posted the following and saved me a bit of writing.  It is hard to keep up with all the apostasy going around in the evangelical churches and “Christian” universities of today, including my own Nazarene denomination.  He brings up the subject of “Taizé” worship.  As you read this, it is not the first time this has been mentioned on my blog or emails (see this story on Point Loma).  The chaplain at Point Loma Nazarene University has an affinity for Taizé, which is an interspiritual, multi-religious ecumenical worship center in France.  Mark Carter also likes Brother Roger, a founder of the Taizé community.  And in one of the books promoted by Barefoot Ministries, the Taizé center is recommended as a place to go for a pilgrimage.  And so we continue on with the bad news for you, but we have a duty as Christians to expose this stuff, so read on and find out what’s the fuss all about, and you decide.  I am forwarding this (as usual) to the Board of General Superintendents for their consideration and counsel on this matter.  Is this good, or bad?  It can’t be both.

What Next? How ‘Bout Taizé?

by John Hendersonon Thursday, November 17, 2011

It would be humorous if it were not so sadly pitiful and deadly to the soul.  The emergent church movement, like an addict, has more ways to get at the same tired deceptions.  It is different “approaches” and often different words and phrases, but it is still the same old evil.

Have you heard the term, “he doth protest too much,” indicating a desperate attempt to avoid discovery?  It is all over the place with this seduction of unsuspecting souls.

If Taizé has not come to a church or “Christian” college near you yet, it probably will in the near future—if Jesus tarries.  It is already in vogue at Northwest Nazarene University.  That is where Thomas Jay Oord, an advocate of open theism (God is limited, etc,), and postmodernism is a professor.  It comes under their Spiritual Formation program where they dedicate an entire Facebook page for such things.

http://www.facebook.com/nnuspiritualformation?mid=52

An October 27, 2011 entry says:  “Tomorrow in Chapel–Our first Taize service!!! Come and see what it is all about.”  I decided since I had missed the chapel service to find out what it is all about.  The Taizé people are shameless about any of it.  If you understand the emergent agenda, you will recognize it in what you are about to read.

From Wikipedia:

“The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of about 100 brothers who come from Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic traditions. The brothers come from about 30 countries across the world. The monastic order has a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutz, a Protestant.

“The community has become one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community’s ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.

“The Taizé Community attempts to send pilgrims back from youth meetings to their local churches, to their parishes, groups or communities, to undertake, with many others, a ‘Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth.’” (Official Taizé Community Website)

On that website are the following comments:

“As we continue the ‘pilgrimage of trust on earth’ that brings together young people from many countries, we understand more and more deeply this reality: all humanity forms a single family and God lives within every human being without exception. (Brother Alois, Letter from Kolkata)”

“The brothers wish to support the search for peace and reconciliation wherever it exists. In this way, the pilgrimage of trust appears to widen out more and more, “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).”

IT IS HIPPIE-NESS WITH A RELIGIOUS FLARE and a misrepresentation of Acts 1:8, which says:  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” (NET). [A better rendering of “power” would be the power OF the Holy Spirit.]

Lighthouse Trails furnishes the following which I have excerpted:

“Taize is a form of contemplative worship that incorporates mystical practices and interspiritual beliefs [an odd term?  Probably means, “all roads lead to the same Heaven,” or something similar.]

’Short chants, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character,’ the brothers explain in a brief introduction printed in the paperback songbook. ’Using just a few words, [the chants] express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being.’”

The entire matter is “just another indication that contemplative spirituality is no respecter of denominations. Nearly all are affected and influenced.”

Taize Worshipers:  “Practicing the silence with icons, candles, incense and prayer stations, this very contemplative community is attracting young people from around the world.”

Photographs of Taizé meetings show monkish-style robed individuals sitting in circles with lighted candles in the area.

 

I find it enormously puzzling as to why Nazarenes, especially in a Nazarene university or a Nazarene church, would have so easily abandoned the simple faith in Christ for this satanic form of the worship of strange gods and evil spirits—and then call them by God’s names.  An even greater wonder is how they unabashedly resort to mauling the Word of God to force-fit those precious words of life to this spiritual sludge.  They seem to sense no shame in it but, rather, boast in it and lie that God is pleased with it.  It is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah and I fear that God’s judgment will not tarry much longer.  I had rather be in Heaven when it breaks open but He might keep me here to witness it and I just do not look forward to that.

Then the sons of the World and the Sons of the Church

Walked closely hand and heart,

And only the Master, who knoweth all,

Could tell the two apart.

 

Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,

“I am rich and my goods increase;

I have need of nothing, or aught to do,

But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”

The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,

And mockingly said, aside:

“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;

And her shame is her boast and her pride.”

 

The angel drew near to the mercy seat,

And whispered in sighs her name;

Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,

And heads were covered with shame.

 

And a voice was heard at last by the Church

From Him who sat on the throne:

 

“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,

‘I am rich, and hast not known

That thou art naked, poor and blind,

And wretched before my face;’

Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,

And blot thy name from its place.”

[The last portion of the poem by Matilda C. Edwards, “The Church Walking With the World.”]

“…you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

      “Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18


John Henderson

 

Trevecca Leaders Continue Indoctrination Of Heresy

2 Peter 3:17-18 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

We are under obligation by our Lord Jesus Christ to expose, as often as it happens, the errors of lawless men who continue to teach another gospel.  It matters not one bit how well liked or famous they are, how many degrees they have, and how many awards they receive every year.  The wolves that have crept into our Christian universities are leading countless youth down an attractively wide path of destruction, while they continue to receive the plaudits of their colleagues who are more interested in their academic freedom rather than the truth of God’s word.  Under the oft-used “we are a liberal arts school” excuse, they expose students to doctrines of demons.  At the very least, we must shine the light of truth on them, in order to rescue at least one student from their unbiblical ideology.

And so, under the leadership of President Dan Boone, Trevecca Nazarene University has continued in the same error filled ways.  Once again, they have scheduled a Spiritual Formation Retreat, in February 2012.  The only good news I see is that they are limiting the retreat to only 25 students.  This time it will not be at the Abbey of Gethsemani (spiritual home of the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton, one of the modern day fathers of contemplative spirituality who mixed Buddhism with Christianity).  (Here is the new retreat site: http://www.lorettocommunity.org/who-we-are/loretto-motherhouse/)    But the influence of Merton, Henri Nouwen and other mystics are just the same.  Moving the venue does not change a thing.  Here’s just a little bit about a monk who is very popular now amongst the emergent church crowd, and continues to influence Nazarene pastors and university leaders after his death.

In his description of Thomas Merton, David Cloud says:

Thomas Merton (1915-68), was a Roman Catholic Trappist monk whose writings are influential within Catholicism, the New Age movement, the peace movement, as well as the centering prayer movement that lies at the heart of the emerging church and that is permeating evangelicalism.

How influential was he?   Here’s what Ray Yungen says:

“What Martin Luther King was to the civil rights movement and what Henry Ford was to the automobile, Thomas Merton is to contemplative prayer. Although this prayer movement existed centuries before he came along, Merton took it out of its monastic setting and made it available to and popular with the masses” (A Time of Departing, p. 58).

From David Cloud’s article on Merton, we learn how he died.  He was in Bangkok, Thailand, participating in an interfaith dialogue of contemplatives. The conference began with a welcoming address from the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism (Living with Wisdom, p. 235). In the final talk of his life, Merton said:

“I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own [Christian] traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have. … Now I will disappear from view, and we can all go have a Coke or something” (Merton: A Film Biography, 1984).

He then went to his cottage and was electrocuted by a faulty fan switch.

Thomas Merton’s influence on Trevecca leadership continues.  The contact for the retreat is Brent Tallman, Director of Campus Spiritual Formation.  But he’s not the only one who has bought into the unbiblical practice of “the silence.”  Trevecca President Dan Boone is just as responsible for this, and all the others who are complicit in allowing this yearly retreat to occur.  Oh, but it’s so much more than simply another retreat that is the problem at Trevecca and other Nazarene schools.

Here is what Trevecca’s website says as it promotes what is basically a “Christianizing” of pagan practices, which Dan Boone believes is okay:

How does one learn about silence?  By being silent.
How does one hear the voice of God?  By listening.

Scripture says that, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Rom. 10:17

What is being promoted in this retreat is not a focus on hearing the voice of God through His word, but to become silent and somehow have God speak to you directly.  But if someone tells you that he heard God’s voice, how would you know if it was not actually a demonic voice?  They also say this:

So the goal of this retreat will be to help us minimize distractions and noise, so that we might gain a better understanding of how to be silent and how to truly listen for the voice of God.

So what they are saying here is, to truly listen to the voice of God, we must be silent.  Is this how we are taught to listen to God?  Where is the biblical basis for this?  Is this the technique Neal Donald Walsch used before he wrote his book, Conversations With God, in which he claims he actually had conversations with God?  How does one believe him, and not me, or someone else?


Union with God in prayer requires us to learn to quiet ourselves–yes, from the noises which surround us, but also from inward noises (restlessness, fears, our agenda’s, etc.)  It is this stillness and emptiness which allows us to be open to hearing the voice of God.

Union with God?  Stillness?  Emptiness?  Emptiness allows us to be open to the word of God??  Where is this remotely taught in scripture?  I can tell you, it is not.  Dan Boone and the emergent church people try justifying practicing the silence by quoting Psalm 46:10.  (“Be still, and know that I am God”).  He needs to read all of Psalm 46 in context, and he should know that it has nothing to do with practicing the silence.  Why do so many ordained elders in the Christian church today twist scripture for their own agenda?

This is a consistent promotion of not only mysticism and pagan prayer methods invented by man and not found anywhere in scripture, but also an encouragement of ecumenism and fellowship with those who practice a false works-based religion.  Instead of rescuing their students from the clutches of the false system of Rome, these leaders are recklessly sending our students directly back to what those from the Reformation were rejecting, year after year now.

In a response to one of my previous posts, Dr. Boone suggested to his followers that they should just “stun them with our silence” (that is, those Nazarenes who reject his ideology).  How ironic that he does not practice what he suggests, and instead rips into “fundamentalist Christians”, equating them with jihadists.  Dr. Boone also has claimed that we have made false statements about Trevecca, yet he has never substantiated that claim. In a Trevecca student blog post, Dr. Boone said:  “I only argued with them in the first place because they were making false claims about Trevecca, and to expose them for who they really are—religious fundamentalists,” Boone said. “But you can’t have discussions with people whose minds are already made up.”

Dr. Boone has never shown us what the false claims he purports we have made.  If only Dr. Boone and others would make their minds up instead of blowing around like the wind every which way and never “coming to the knowledge of the truth”.

Dr. Boone and those in leadership who are with him on this ought to be ashamed of what they are doing, and I call on them to repent.  If not, the board of trustees of Trevecca ought to dismiss Dr. Boone and all who are supporting this nonsense.  If not, then is there any reason for continued financial support of this school, and others as well?  To continue peddling false doctrines to the youth at Trevecca and expect our money is wrong.  Dr. Boone has said that Henri Nouwen is a spiritual guide for him.  Henri Nouwen was a universalist who also mixed Eastern religion with Christianity.  And who did Henri Nouwen look to for guidance?  Thomas Merton.

In his alumni spotlight page at Nazarene Theological Seminary (which for some reason has vanished), Dr Boone said: “I find myself deepening in the practices of spiritual formation that have shaped the saints of the ages, Lectio Divina, fasting, Sabbath observance, care for the poor, journaling, and contemplative prayer.”  Perhaps Dr. Boone never thought anyone would ever make such a fuss about all this.

Years ago, it would have been unthinkable  to me that a Nazarene university would be led by such blind guides into such apostasy!  Dr. Boone and all those who are supporting this heresy need to repent.  And yes, I know, he does not answer to me.  However, I know that there is One that he will answer to someday.


Additional Notes:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/conversation-with-a-university-president/

http://sadnazarene.wordpress.com/category/dan-boone/

http://trevechoesonline.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/controversy-causes-massive-mess-under-one-denomination/

Dan Boone on Sexual Orientation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDBoBhIqfwQ&feature=player_embedded

Thomas Merton:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=217sRJ3QFEE&feature=related

What Really Is Spiritual Formation?

Are you hearing the term “spiritual formation” more often now?  How about “the silence, or stillness?”  Has your pastor or church leaders been recently talking about this?  Is it being introduced as part of Bible Study, or prayer service, or in Sunday School?  Do you know what you might be getting into?  The following by my friend John Henderson should give you pause if you have encountered this new terminology in your church.  Most likely it will be the same kind of spiritual formation that false teacher Richard Foster is using to deceive so many today.  An article on the continuing apostasy at a Nazarene university will be posted next week.

What Really Is Spiritual Formation?

by John Henderson

The speaker, a leader in his denomination, mentioned the term spiritual formation towards the end of his message.  He defined it in non-objectionable terms for an evangelical-minded congregation such as he was addressing.  One could take the same definitions he used and probably apply them to what is commonly understood as developing and growing in grace.

Emergent advocates have recently resorted to more subtle approaches to get their emergent doctrines accepted.  This is not a new approach because many who have an agenda that is basically without substance or is weak in substance frequently rely on the used-car-salesman approach—they make it sound good but put sawdust in the crankcase.

The pastor of a large but diminishing church stated that he was using a particular book in his messages that some had raised questions about and insisted it was authored by a very godly leader in the church.  I suppose he knew folks would check that out.  It turns out the author has some red flags in his vitae.  He has a seminary degree from a very emergent seminary and is a leader within his denomination in training people in spiritual formation.  Just one of the chapters in his book raises other flags about the emergent heresy.

As much as you and I would like it otherwise, words do have meanings we would rather they did not.  In this day of fanatical political-correctness and people everywhere looking for some excuse to create a stir over otherwise innocent comments, we Christians are under some moral obligation to measure our words as best we can.  For instance, no matter how happy we might feel, we would be instantly misunderstood if we announced that we were gay.

Consider the term itself.  Lighthouse Trails, an evangelical website, defines spiritual formation this way:

Spiritual Formation is “a movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.”

Contemplative spirituality is a “belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.”

I have a problem with the term itself, even when used in the most “evangelical” of expressions.  Even speaking evangelically, the definition gets around to saying that spiritual formation means that believers can attain spiritual growth through the practice of spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines, they say, are exercises that usher one into God’s presence, [RED FLAG!] where His life has the opportunity to transform our lives.  They will deny it as being a salvation by works or of somehow conjuring up the Holy Spirit then turn around and tell you this.

The word, formation, is the indicator.  Formation is construction, materialization—becoming other than what it is.  There is genuine Christian development and growing in grace and the Scriptures tell us precisely what that is and how it is done.  Emergent heresy, as is its nature, offers persuasive counterfeits.  The above “evangelicalized” definition smooths out the bumps but it all arrives at one or more of those mystical “spiritual disciplines” which is the work of demons over the work of the Holy Spirit.  It wants to be “like the Most High” but not actually include Him as is evidenced by their many denials of His Person and truth.

One of its most common approaches to “spiritual discipline” is what emergents call disciplined spirituality: engaging in the historical disciplines.  This is where they delve enthusiastically into the “ancient practices” of the “early church fathers.”  What they don’t tell you is that those “fathers” were largely engaged in departing from and corrupting the Early Church practices by superimposing many pagan mystical exercises over a definition of Christianity that lost its true meaning in the mix.  The tainted gospel always takes on the characteristics of the elements that contaminate it.

This is precisely why there were those in the interim we call the Dark Ages who attempted to rise above it and stand for Scriptural truth.  It was the singular drive behind the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther.  To return to them is to bypass Luther and those who blazed trails before him and to immerse once again into the very practices that corrupted the church in the first place. The irony is that many “evangelical” Protestants are enthralled by ancient Catholic practices that many modern Catholics are finding unacceptable.  As teenagers used to say, “Go figure!

It’s Not New

We should know that the idea of “spiritual formation” is not recent.  As an objective of “spiritual disciplines,” it is centuries old and has waxed and waned in popularity over time.  This is a clue to its possible inadequacies because truly spiritual (Biblical) disciplines are constant and are only accepted or rejected according to people’s spiritual state.  One can always go back to God’s Word and see His guidelines and mandates on the disciplines of the Christian life.  Current emergents who use these terms are more fluid with definitions and applications.

They run into the problem that Biblical Christianity asserts that transformation of the heart is a work of grace that only God can accomplish and that we are saved not by our works or efforts, but by God’s grace (unmerited favor).   When people in the church are tempted to marginalize the usefulness of Biblical disciplines so as not be confused with preaching “justification by works” (a false premise), they become more agreeable to the suggestions of mysticism that leads them into trying to get closer to God by their own design and efforts.  Since this is unacceptable to God, they become prey to the seducing spirits around them and are fooled into believing they have actually approached God.

The cover story is that “it is not salvation that is at stake, but rather the need to develop people of genuine Christ-like character to live in the world and confront its values.”  This effort to separate salvation from “spiritual disciplines” is crucial to the deception.  Salvation cannot be isolated from growing in grace.  Salvation is precisely why we grow in grace and develop in Christian service.  The prayer of Jesus in John 17 makes it clear that we are in the world but not of the world.

Our calling is not to confront the values of the world but to preach Christ crucified.  The values of the world will confront us but our message of Jesus should never give way to debating issues over pointing souls to Christ.  It is good to campaign for social changes but never in lieu of or even alongside the preaching of the gospel.  All of that must come after evangelization of the soul.

Emergents will say that spiritual formation “involves the growth of the whole person: the mind, body, heart, and will. Over time a believer may work with different pathways or facets of spirituality in the process of spiritual growth.”  As innocent as that appears at first, notice that the second sentence defines the first one.  Different pathways in the process of “spiritual growth”?  Different facets of spirituality?  This kind of thinking goes directly into the universalism that characterizes the end result of “spiritual” formation.

Spiritual formation, no matter how innocently defined, is just more snow heaped on the garbage pile.  The garbage will still be there when the snow melts.

John Henderson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qxwgxTQi2o

 

 

Responses To: What Should A Christian Do About False Teaching?

A few weeks ago, I asked for anyone to submit an answer to my question, “What Should A Christian Do About False Teaching?”   I asked those who opposed what I and others are doing to submit responses, and I would publish them.  Not one responded.  But I am happy to post all the responses I have received.  I believe they will be helpful and instructional to you, especially those who have been confused about what to do as a Christian when faced with false teaching that can be destructive and harmful to many Christians.  Scripture is clear, and I believe these answers will continue to put to rest any argument that we ought to stay silent and let false teachings and false teachers go unchallenged.  I thank God for those who have been blessed with discernment and a love for protecting their fellow Christians from danger.  I pray for and give warning to those who continue to close their eyes to the truth and refuse to confront evil for the sake of a false “unity”, because that is clearly the opposite of Christian love.

REFUTE ERROR WHEREVER AND WHENEVER
(Donna Campbell)

I believe the Bible is plain about how we are to deal with false teaching.

I believe the Bible teaches us that we have a responsibility to expose the works of darkness, to defend the Gospel, and to refute error whenever it comes into the church. With God being the same yesterday, today, and forever, His attitude does not change with regards to false prophecy. He said that if a prophet prophesies something in the His name, or by the name of a false god that that prophet should be put to death. Today we don’t practice stoning in the New Testament, but the penalty is the same eternally I believe.  False prophecy is so offensive that it brings the same penalty as did adultery in the Old Testament. To fear the Lord is to love good and to hate evil, and false teaching is evil and leads men into destruction. False teachings bring a false gospel, a false salvation, and a false sense of eternal security. It is an abomination.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important document on the planet, it is the only thing that has the power to change men’s hearts, and to lead them to eternal life, and anything that takes away from it’s purity should be exposed to it’s light.

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, and any teaching that casts a shadow on His Deity, or  His finished work on the Cross comes from the lips of lying prophets, and lying teachers  whose end is destruction.

It is love to warn false teachers and  to call them to repentance, and it is merciful, and not judgmental as some would have us believe.

 

WHAT IS THE BELIEVER’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE FACE OF APOSTASY?  (2 John 7-11)
(Mission Venture Ministries)

Scripture gives us three references on this subject. The apostate the Bible talks about are not simply unbelievers, but are teachers of apostate doctrines, who propagate their destructive rejection such as denials of the Trinity, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, and the second coming.

First, we read in 2 John 7-11 that the believer is not to fellowship with such an individual. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

So if someone fits the description illustrated here, fellowship is forbidden, even to the point of not allowing the person into one’s home.

Second, this concerns the local church. If a member is found proclaiming a destructive denial, he is to be ousted from the church as Paul stated in Galatians 1:8-9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be anathema!

As we read in verse 9, if anyone in their church is discovered to be an apostate, he or she is to be declared anathema which means “untouchable” and they should be expelled from the church. We also find this advice in Proverbs 22:10: “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.”

The third is where the believer is faced with a church where apostates are in control of the leadership of the church and cannot be ousted. In this case the believer’s obligation is to separate himself from apostasy. In 2 Timothy 3:5, after characterizing apostasy as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof,” Timothy is admonished from these also turn away. Timothy was urged to separate himself from such apostasy.

We also see Paul writing to the Corinthians about this: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.  “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” –  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

This is an important passage for it cautions the believer to separate himself from the apostates and not to continue to congregate with them. As we see there can be no fellowship between unrighteousness and righteousness. Believers are a part of righteousness, whereas unbelievers are part of iniquity, and there can be no fellowship between the two in the same church.

Furthermore, there is no communion between light and darkness. Believers are of the light, but unbelievers are of the darkness. There is no common ground between the two. There can be no agreement between Christ and Satan as they have two separate areas of operation and two distinct programs. The same way, the believer is part of Christ’s program while the unbeliever is part of Satan’s. One is destined for heaven and the other is destined for hell. And there is no agreement between the temple of God and the temple of an idol. The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the unbeliever is not. Since there is no fellowship, communion or agreement in the area of worship, with an unbeliever there is an unequal yoke, therefore we are not to place ourselves in a worship situation with unbelievers.

The command of separation involves three phases:

  • Come out from among them
  • Be separated and
  • Touch not the unclean things 

In verses 17-18 we have three promises that are given to those who comply and separate themselves:

  • I will receive you
  • I will be to you a Father and
  • You will be to me sons and daughters 

In verse 7:1 Paul concludes urging the believer, on the basis of these promises, to follow through on his separation from apostasy where necessary. 

When we study the book of Revelation we read the letters to the seven churches, the last one being written to the Laodicea or apostate church. It can hardly be denied that the majority of churches today have given in to and become a part of the apostasy. 

“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.

 

APOSTASY & FALSE TEACHING

(Dr. Jay Jeffers)

There is little doubt that we are today in the midst of widespread apostasy. By that term I mean: Departure from the faith once for all delivered to the saints, for which we are to earnestly contend. [1] I believe that apostates include two types of people:

(1) Those who have knowingly turned completely from Christ and no longer even pretend to be Christians; and

(2) Those who still claim to be Christians but have departed from the faith.

The latter would likewise be divided into two groups:

a) Those who deliberately twist the Scriptures, perverting the gospel “to draw away disciples after them”[2] or who endorse false teachers (though they know better) because they want to share their fame and power [3] – or who simply want to be

“positive” so as to “offend” no one; and b) The naive, who are genuinely deceived by false prophets/teachers.

Apostasy, of course, in some measure, has existed as long as the church. (most of the epistles involve, to some extent, correction of false doctrine and practice that was already in the early church in the days of the apostles.) It is the mushrooming, widespread incidence of the apostasy described under 2) above, however, among those who claim to be Christians, that I believe Scripture points to as a specific sign of the last days just prior to Christ return.

Christ’s warning made several things clear: 1) The major sign of the nearness of His coming would be religious deception by professing Christian leaders; 2) A central feature of the deception would be false prophets showing “great signs and wonders,” which, though convincing, would also be false; 3) The repetition of the word, “many,” indicated that this religious deception would be widespread, apparently worldwide; and 4) The words Christ’s, prophets, signs and wonders, and elect indicated that the deception would be among professing Christians, i.e., inside the church.

“When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14. Time on this earth is quickly drawing to a close. Let us determine once again to remain true to and earnestly contend for “the faith once delivered unto the saints.” And in that perseverance, may our example give renewed courage and conviction to many others – and may we rescue many before it is forever too late.

 

Dr. Jay Jeffers Christian Psychologist/Licensed Minister Sparks Nazarene Church

Sparks, Nevada


CONTINUE TO CONTEND AND CONFRONT

(Todd)

Jesus Himself writing in Matthew 24 predicted that there would come false Christians, false prophets and false Christs.  Peter predicted false prophets and false teachers who would lead people astray and be very successful at it.  John warned of many Antichrists who were already at work in the church in his epistle.  Jude warned about evil, wicked, lascivious men who would come and cause us to have to contend for the faith, once, for all, delivered to the saints.  And the Apostle Paul fought false teachers everywhere he went as he told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9,

“1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.”

Now Paul knows that it takes strong men to stand against this. He was one, he wanted Timothy to be one and certainly this became Scripture so that God might call us to be among those who take strong stands.  Contend and confront is what I would call it.  And there are very few who would do this or are willing to do this, contend for the faith and confront those who aren’t.  There are a lot of pastors, leaders, and Christians that recognize this apostasy in the church but there seem to be few who want to get involved as stalwart soldiers with an uncompromising resolute commitment to stand against the tide that flows against the truth.  And if you take strong stands and if you’re a non-compromising resolute kind of defender of the faith, the enemies of the faith attack you but some within the faith who are weak can’t understand what you’re so exercised and excited about. They don’t even understand the nature of the spiritual warfare and they treat the real fighters as if they were some off-balance fanatics.

What more could Satan do to try to destroy the church than undermining God’s Word, shifting the focus off Christ, and minimizing holy living?  We all need to be praying that the Lord would elevate the authority of His Word, the glory of His Son, and the purity of His people in the evangelical church. May the Lord revive us!

The gospel message is a confrontational message. When you remove the confrontation-or soften, downplay, or bring it in through the back door-you have compromised the message. The modern pulpit is weak, not for a lack of witty messages, but because men fear to speak the hard truths of God’s Word powerfully and with conviction.

C. H. Spurgeon, facing a similar mindset in his day, said this:

“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd. If he did not save them he felt that it was of no avail to interest them. Unless the truth had pierced their hearts, affected their lives, and made new men of them, Paul would have gone home crying, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”…

Now observe, brethren, if I, or you, or any of us, or all of us, shall have spent our lives merely in amusing men, or educating men, or moralizing men, when we shall come to give our account at the last great day we shall be in a very sorry condition, and we shall have but a very sorry record to render; for of what avail will it be to a man to be educated when he comes to be damned? Of what service will it be to him to have been amused when the trumpet sounds, and heaven and earth are shaking, and the pit opens wide her jaws of fire and swallows up the soul unsaved? Of what avail even to have moralized a man if still he is on the left hand of the judge, and if still, “Depart, ye cursed,” shall be his portion?”

The strategy of church-growth today focuses on attracting and keeping the unchurched. For what? To entertain them? To get them to attend church meetings regularly? Merely “churching” the unchurched accomplishes nothing of eternal value. That is where their strategy seems to end.  We need to set our strategy for church ministry, right here and right now.  And it needs to be straightforward, a Christ-centered proclamation of the unadulterated Word of God. If you trade the Word for amusements or gimmicks, you will not only find that you have no effective means to reach people with the truth of Christ, but you will find yourself working against the Lord Himself.  The Pastor needs to “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).  Why should we proclaim the wisdom of men when we have the privilege of preaching the Word of God? The truth of God does not tickle our ears. It burns them. It reproves, rebukes, convicts– then it exhorts and encourages. Preachers of the Word must maintain that balance.

 The church’s duty should always be to confront such skepticism and answer it by clearly proclaiming the truth God has revealed in His Word. We have been given a clear message for the purpose of confronting the world’s unbelief. That is what we are called, commanded, and commissioned to do  (1 Corinthians 1:17-31). Faithfulness to Christ demands it. The honor of God requires it. We cannot sit by and do nothing while worldly, revisionist, and skeptical attitudes about truth are infiltrating the church. We must

not embrace such confusion in the name of charity or unity. We have to stand and fight for the truth–and be prepared to die for it–as faithful Christians always have.

But as long as Christians are being duped or intimidated into softening the bold claims of Christ and widening the narrow road, the church will make no headway against this emerging church’s new view. We need to recover the distinctiveness of the gospel. We need to regain our confidence in the power of God’s truth. And we need to proclaim boldly that Christ is the only true hope for the people of this world. That may not be what people want to hear. But it is true nonetheless. And precisely because it is true and the gospel of Christ is the only hope for a lost world, it is all the more urgent that we rise above all the voices of confusion in the world and say so.

But the pastor who turns away from preaching sound doctrine abdicates the primary responsibility of an elder: “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

Continue to contend.  Continue to confront those who oppose these scriptural truths.  God will prevail.  He loves His church.  If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He will fight for us, He will be with us, and He will be victorious.  He is still the risen Lamb of God!  Fight on!  And stand firm! 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!”

Until He Comes,

Todd

 

 

CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
(Vern Westgate)

We’re told to contend for the faith…If we leave those outside; Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those inside without a challenge we’re taking the chance of letting someone else miss the truth and going to hell.

With their eternities at stake, it doesn’t make much difference to me if I hurt someone’s feelings… Especially those who promote lies.

 

 

Three Things Suggested
(John Baptista)


I have thought of this for a while. 1. Challenge the minister or false teacher to teach what is in the Bible. 2. Withhold funds and ask others to do the same, but not to deprive the Lord.  Set them aside, and when the errors or teachings are corrected give the tithe back to the church. 3. Leave the church to seek out a Bible based church such as the ICN, inform the board of what you are doing and give the withheld tithe to that church. And, you may also have Bible study at your home independent of church to correct the errors of the teaching. I think there are more ways, I know there are, but the fastest way is attendance and money.  If there is false teaching they are more grounded in the ways of the world than of the Word so remove the things of the world that they are interested in.
John

 

MORE CHRISTIANS MUST SOUND THE ALARM
(Rika)

Hi Manny,

I wish I had time to write something. I will say at least this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with how you are doing it and to tell you the truth, more Christians should be sounding the alarm. You have been respectful, but forthright. You have spoken from scripture and allowed scripture to answer.  Without that final authority all our doctrine becomes opinion and conjecture. We are all called to discern and expose darkness, searching the scriptures to see if what men say are true, even if it is questioning Paul himself. Let God be true and every man (and their manuals) a liar.  May God’s fire go before you, and may He strengthen your heart to unashamedly defend the true gospel of Jesus Christ.