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Counterfeit Spirituality Pt.2

Pt.2: New Age Connections

March 2010

Behind the public image of the Purpose Driven and Emergent Movements are clusters of New Age influences from which New Age "gurus" are frequently cited as sources.  These "authorities" who mingle and align themselves with true Christianity, not only refer to themselves as Christians, but also endorse Christian books, speak at conferences, form political alliances and partner with the church for global concerns.
 
Behind the scenes, influential players include such notables as; Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale (both champions of an occult technique known as "positive thinking"), Peter Drucker (business, political and religious integrator), Soren Kierkegaard (Danish mystic philosopher), Ken Blanchard (author), Mark Hansen (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul), M. Scott Peck (author and psychiatrist), Willis Harman (Institute of Noetic Sciences), Morton Kelsey (integrating Christianity with New Age),  Matthew Fox (New Ager/promoter and  Episcopal priest), Bob Buford (protégé of Peter Drucker), Dr. Peter Senge (founder of Society for Organizational Learning), John Templeton (Templeton prize for progress in religion), rock star Bono, mystics Roman Catholic Henri Nouwen (a pantheist with Hindu/Bhuddist sympathies) and the late Roman Catholic pantheistic monk, Thomas Merton, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and World Vision just to name a few. 

The Biblical gospel and Biblical Faith has little to do with these visionaries who, while perhaps using Christian terminology, actually change the Christian Spirit and Christian precepts. Jesus wondered in Luke 18:8, if when the Son of Man comes, will He find THE FAITH on earth?  Therefore, the nature of true faith is the issue that Christians must discern. 

The infiltration of these Emergent "change agents" into the evangelical Church is commonplace.  Not only does the Emergent's network include these New Age advocates, but their influence is also evident through the subtle redefining of Christian concepts through new, so-called Christian expressions like; God's dream9,  change10, cultural reformation11, revolution12, conspiracy13, quantum spirituality14, living fractals15, new light leaders16,  visionary, synergy17, critical mass18,  transformation19, birthing20, awakening21, visualization22,  mystical23,  uniting mankind24,  interconnectedness25,  Oneness of humanity26,  metaphysical27, as above/so below28,  recover original unity29,  new world order30, holiness of humanity31, holy fleshliness32, and God in all things33.  These terms are deliberately borrowed from New Age vernacular and presented as Christian lingo, yet are devoid of Biblical foundations.  Emergent leader, author and grandfather in the movement, Brian McLaren, is one such advocate for the adoption of these new "metaphors"... "a new user-friendly language to more effectively communicate with the prevailing culture of the "postmodern" world."34  By adopting the language of the New Agers, the words of the Bible are discarded for a more relevant and culturally appealing speech.  The strategy in adopting these new terms is to blend New Age beliefs with Christianity through a common language, a necessary step in the direction of ecumenism and reinventing the content of doctrine.


A Kingdom for Man

Why does the Emergent Movement want to integrate Christianity with the secular humanistic world?  It hopes to unite all of mankind together to usher in a world kingdom for the "global glory of God."35 While sounding quite "Christian," Emergent philosophy rejects the second coming of Jesus in power to wage war against Israel's enemies and judge the nations.  While they may make much use of revolutionary language, they prefer a more "gentle Jesus" who gives messages of "peace and safety" for a united and tolerant global kingdom. They teach that Jesus' secret message was a plan for spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world."36   They say that "God's conspiracy seeks to overturn the world as it is so that a new world can emerge."37 They ask, "What if he didn't come to start a new religion--but rather to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?"38 They claim that "God was launching a new world order, a new reality, a new realm - in short a new kingdom."39

Actually the opposite of all these statements is the meaning of THE FAITH and Biblical truth where believers evangelize through the gospel and trust God's Word which foretells of coming tribulation for the world before His kingdom is inaugurated by Him.  Jesus said He never spoke in secret but taught openly (Jn 18:20) and His kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36).  Jesus withdrew from those who wanted to make Him king before the prophesied time (Jn 6:15).  The claims of Emergent,  when considered all together, expose the New Age, Hindu, and gnostic source of its movement.


So tell me again - What is Emergent?

The movement called "Emergent" means many things to many people.  It began in the 1990s to reach the culture known as Generation X, abbreviated to Gen X, a demographic group born as early as 1961 to 1981 who, marketers felt, needed a whole new way of being approached due to their antagonism towards traditional values. Religious leaders were persuaded Gen X needed new spiritual ways of "doing church" as, it was claimed, the paradigm shift in society, from modern to postmodern, necessitated changes all round, throwing "the old" out and bringing "the new" in.

In facilitating this change, Emergents embraced pluralism which tolerates varying religious philosophies as equal to Christianity. The result has been the blending of Christianity with worldly ideologies and practices supposing diversities and opposites are able to unite.  The postmodern mindset strongly desires questioning and challenging the status quo to make room for polarities to blend. The debate is aimed at deconstructing the Biblically based church as it currently exists (based on unchanging absolutes) in hopes of reconstructing it into a new, organic, unfettered expression of all-embracing faith and worship directed toward God as one imagines Him to be. This fits perfectly into a politically correct and globally minded spirituality.

"We must imagine and pursue the development of new ways of being followers of Jesus ... new ways of doing theology and living biblically, new understandings of mission, new ways of expressing compassion and seeking justice, new kinds of faith communities, new approaches to worship and service, new integrations and conversations and convergences and dreams."40  

The emerging church is a quest for a more integrated and whole life of faith. There is a bit of theological questioning going on, focusing more on kingdom theology, the inner life, friendship/community, justice, earth keeping, inclusivity, and inspirational leadership. In addition, the arts are in a renaissance, as are the classical spiritual disciplines. Overall, it is a quest for a holistic spirituality. 41    

Their questioning attitude may seem like naïve experimentation to some, but unwittingly the church and its appetite for "new" is being drawn toward a worldly spirituality.  Innovative approaches toward "doing" a new type of church have become stepping stones to falling away from THE FAITH, which Christ taught was based on God's Word and the Prophets' teachings, proclaimed by the apostles and Paul for the building up of the Body of Christ, in order to spread His Gospel. The "New Spirituality" is giving way to Satan's man-centered coming kingdom.

Emergents' creative ideologies include redefining the church as a community which might gather in church buildings, houses or on the internet (Heb 10:25).  Spirituality becomes contemplative in that it mystically encounters God through experience (2 Pet 2:2; Jude 1:19; Jas 3:15)Truth becomes subjective as new interpretations arrive at consensus through widespread "conversation" (Php 1:27). The gospel is expressed loosely in personal stories or nonverbally through sacrificial living to demonstrate the grace of God instead of verbally communicating the good news (Ro 1:16a; Ro 10:14; 10:17).  Systematic theology is considered dogmatic and set aside for a tolerant, subjective and non judgmental discovery of truth (2 Tim 3:16).  Missions (the Biblical idea of going to a nation or people) are relabeled as 'missiology' which examines cross cultural practices of Christianity, the assessment of environmental, economic, political and international impact of Christian evangelization and charitable work in a particular area with the goal of preserving a culture in tact (1 Jn 4:5). Evangelizing includes performing acts of social kindness and may not necessarily verbalize the message of the cross (1 Cor 2:1-2).   The New Age Emergent ecumenism places value on discovering other cultural and religious practices normally outside the realm of Biblical Christianity (2 Tim 3:5).  Hence, the emergent practitioner experiences a strong sense of social, environmental and global responsibility and in doing so, becomes highly syncretistic and well suited to become a compliant global citizen (1 Jn 4:5) of the anticipated future kingdom of man.

Next in series: Counterfeit Spirituality Part 3: Myriad Levels Of Entanglement


References
:

[9] Rick Warren, http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/smith-rethink.htm

[10] Brian McLaren http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/discernment/6-6-mclaren-1.htm

[11] http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/discernment/7-23-dream.htm

[12]http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:SsfY-EfEO1cJ:www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php%3Fp%3D456%26more%3D1%26c%3D1+let%27s+start+a+revolution+rick+warren&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

[13] http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/5-25-rebranding-christianity.htm 

[14] http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/Church/post-modern/leonard-sweet.htm

, Windblown Media, Newberry Park, CA. pg. 138 Source Cited: http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/spirituality/lighthousetrails/09/8-fractals.htm

[16] Leonard Sweet cited at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter20090720.htm See also: http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/spirituality/lighthousetrails/09/8-fractals.htm

[17] Rick Warren quote at; http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter051908.htm 

[18] Rick Warren quote at; http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter051908.htm

[19] Rick Warren quote at; http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/peace-un.htm  

," http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/peace-un.htm

[21] Leonard Sweet "Quantum Spirituality,"http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/peace-un.htm  

[22] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter110308.htm

[23] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter101607.htm

[24] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/alicebaileyfalseone.htm 

[25] http://www.lighthousetrails.com/awdch12.pdf  

[26] http://www.lighthousetrails.com/awdch12.pdf 

[27] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/reikimertonfoster.htm

[28] Eugene Peterson, The Message, http://www.lighthousetrails.com/awdch12.pdf 

[29] Leonard Sweet quoting Thomas Merton, http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/Church/post-modern/leonard-sweet.htm

[30] Brian McLaren quote found at http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/5-25-rebranding-christianity.htm

[31] Emergent Manifesto, Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2008, pg 88 

[32] Emergent Manifesto, Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2008, pg 88 

[33] Thomas Merton cited at; http://www.lighthousetrails.com/awdch12.pdf 

[34]Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus : Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything, 2006.  Source Cited, Warren Smith, A Wonderful Deception, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2009, Pg. 89

[35]  Rick warren,  Source Cited: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/peaceplan.htm 

(Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 1006), page 4, Source Cited: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/006/kingdom-world.htm#1

(Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 1006), page 143. Source Cited: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/5-25-rebranding-christianity.htm, Rebranding Christianity, Discernment Group, May 2008. 

(Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 1006), page 4. Source Cited: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/5-25-rebranding-christianity.htm, Rebranding Christianity, Discernment Group, May 2008.  

(Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 1006), page 31. Source Cited: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/discernment/5-25-rebranding-christianity.htm, Rebranding Christianity, Discernment Group, May 2008. 

www.emergentvillage.com; Source Cited: http://www.barnabasministry.com/ec-emergingchurch.html

[41] Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005) 42; quoting Mark Scandrette of ReIMAGINE! in San Francisco.  Source Cited: http://www.soundwitness.org/evangel/Downloads/emerg_all_parts.pdf

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