My research on a pastor who insists that our God and Allah are one and the same, made me curious as to what other errant teachings might also abound in the Evangelical churches. Suddenly, I realized that I was seeing only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30 (KJV)
It seems that the Emergent Church which teaches Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) has slithered its way into our Evangelical churches. The proper spirituality of the Christian, being sola Scriptura, is being replaced by Spiritual Mysticism, which can be traced back to the Roman Catholic church.
When preachers lose sight of their need to depend on and teach from the Word of God alone, their lofty and contrived ideas land them on a slippery slope which eventually leads to total apostasy.
What is Contemplative Spirituality?
Answer: Contemplative spirituality is an extremely dangerous practice for any person who desires to live a biblical, God-centered life. It is most commonly associated with the emerging church movement, which is riddled with false teachings. It is also used by many different groups that have little, if any, connection with Christianity.
In practice, contemplative spirituality is primarily centered on meditation, although not meditation with a biblical perspective. Passages such as Joshua 1:8 actually exhort us to meditate: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Notice what the focus of meditation should be—the Word of God. Contemplative spirituality-driven meditation focuses on nothing, literally. A practitioner is exhorted to completely empty his/her mind, to just “be.” Supposedly, this helps one to open up to a greater spiritual experience. However, we are exhorted in Scripture to transform our minds to that of Christ’s, to have His mind. Emptying our minds is contrary to such active, conscious transformation.
Contemplative spirituality also encourages the pursuit of a mystical experience with God. Mysticism is the belief that knowledge of God, spiritual truth, and ultimate reality can be gained through subjective experience. This emphasis on experiential knowledge erodes the authority of Scripture. We know God according to His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is complete. There is no reason to believe that God adds additional teachings or truths to His Word through mystical experiences. Instead, our faith and what we know about God is based on fact. – source
The Common thread in in Mystical (Emergent) churches
If you happen to attend one of these apostate churches, I am certain that you are aware of the gravitational pull back to Catholicism, which many of these preachers consider the “Mother Church.”
What happened to the Great Reformation? Did Luther’s posting of his 95 theses on the door of the Catholic church which resulted in the Protestant movement mean nothing? When Luther exposed the works based doctrine of the Catholic church, compared to Scripture which teaches that we are saved by Grace through faith – was this all for naught?
Satan is causing the Confusion because he is a liar
Is Satan not called the father of lies in the Word of God?
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees when He said:
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Signs that the ‘Emerging Church’ is Emerging
There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic in a church which may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.
Here are some of the warning signs:
- Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
- The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
- More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
- The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
- The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
- The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past
- An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
- Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
- The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
- While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
- These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
- There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.
- Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
- There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.
- Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave. – source
An up to date list of Emergent church leaders
- Brian McLaren
- Phyllis Tickle
- Marcus Borg
- Dallas Willard
- Richard Foster
- Leonard Sweet
- Bob Buford
- Brennon Manning
- Eugene Peterson
- Donald Miller
- Rob Bell
- Erwin McManus
- Tony Jones
- Doug Pagitt
- Jim Wallis
- Tony Campolo
- Richard Rhor
- Andy Stanley
- John Ortberg
- Frank Viola
- Laurie Beth Jones
- Ruth Haley Barton
- Rachel Held Evans
- Shane Claiborn
- Dan Kimball
- Shane Hipps
- Spencer Burke
- Peter Rollins
- Steve Chalke
- Nadia Bolz-Weber
- Jay Bakker
- Jen & Brandon Hatmaker
- Beth Moore
- John Piper
- Frances Chan
- Rick Warren
- and many others
So what is the connection to the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church is a CULT! Strong language you say? Well, what do you call an institution which preaches a different gospel than the one taught by Jesus Christ Himself? A CULT.
Why in the World would we desire to return to Rome?
Rick Warren said this:
The pope is CERTAINLY not my pope and hopefully you do not consider him to be your pope!
How have so many Evangelicals been duped in believing heresy?
Again, I go back to the “slippery slope” and when the leadership of churches no longer view the Word of God as our foundation and the only real TRUTH, and men choose “New ways to teach about God” they find themselves on the slippery slope which invariably lands them into apostasy – heretical teachings.
It will only get worse
The Great Falling Away has been happening for years. It seems that in the last 10 years it has become epidemic and this is the reason that the mainline churches are in decline.
The true remnant of the church grows smaller and smaller.
Brethren – make sure that you are in the faith. Make sure that you are not blown about by every wind of doctrine which comes along. The ONLY way to keep yourselves safe is to cling to the Bible and pray to Jesus for discernment. I’ve said is so many times, but we MUST be like the Bereans:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
These were brethren with much discernment. Imagine who was preaching to them! And they received the teachings “with all readiness” but yet they immediately searched the Scriptures to make sure that what was told to them was Truth!
We must do the same