Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MY RESPONSE TO THE USMB "Emerging Church Debate Casualties" ARTICLE

The USMB article, Emerging Church Debate Casualties, criticizes authors Roger Oakland and Ray Yungen on their books warning about the emergent church, and specifically regarding their warnings against popular authors and speakers such as Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll and Mother Teresa who have promoted or endorsed either the emergent/emerging church or contemplative spirituality. Click HERE to read the USMB article, Emerging Church Debate Casualties. My response to the article appears below it on their website. It is also found here:
You make this statement, "Many of the people mentioned by these writers are familiar to me as writers, speakers and ministers whose works I have read, messages I have listened to and ministries I thought were good. Youngen’s (sic) list includes Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll and Mother Teresa, and Oakland adds Roman Catholicism. Am I so blind to the deception of these people that I could not recognize apostasy right in front of my eyes? There are too many enemies!"

My question is this: What if you have not taken the time to do the hours of research that authors like Oakland and Yungen have? I have been studying the "emerging/emergent" movement for almost three years and have come to many of the same conclusions they have. Oakland and Yungen understand that authors, speakers, etc. who endorse those in the emerging/emergent church movement and its proponents are unwittingly leading their readers and listeners into contemplative spirituality (CS), the Trojan Horse of Eastern spirituality. The introduction of CS into the evangelical church was PLANNED by the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID) in the 1970's. If you are willing to do your homework you can find statements verifying this information online on MID's own website. The emerging church is the primary conduit of this mystical spirituality in the evangelical churches. This doesn't mean that everyone reading/listening to them will take the bait, but doesn't it behoove those who have studied the movement to warn believers about the dangers of this movement? We are to have no fellowship with darkness; witness to them, yes, but not fellowship. The associations and promotions of those you have mentioned (Warren, Lucado, etc.)result in spiritually dangerous, and I believe, illegitimate liaisons. This also doesn't mean that these men have erred in other areas of their teaching ministries (most of their teaching is fine, but it only takes a little leaven to leaven the whole lump!.

The emerging/emergent movement has many subgroups or roads, including the theologically conservative but culturally liberal groups. What many fail to recognize is that these roads, if they once were divided, are now once again converging into one. At the least, the thing they all end up having in common is contemplative spirituality or mysticism, since they all promote authors who are contemplative, even those who claim to be theologically conservative (Mark Driscoll, for example).

A return to plain Scripture and the simple way of the cross is a fine antidote to these obscure and nefarious movements. We are commanded in Scripture to test all things. Paul warned the churches over and over again in order to protect them from error. If the emerging/emergent movement is promoting practices that come from outside of Scripture, why are we not examining them more carefully? And why aren't people being warned about the errors in these groups. Have we become spiritual pacifists?

I put forth the challenge to you and all those in positions of spiritual leadership to take your responsibility to protect the flock from wolves and from doctrinal and practical errors (such as contemplative prayer) of the faith seriously. Much of the New Testament is written to warn and protect the flock in order to preserve "the faith once delivered". In our desire to be considered relevant and world-friendly we have failed to do so, putting the flock in grave spiritual danger.

September 22, 2009 @ 6:15 PM

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I felt it was important to expand on my response as above to give concrete evidence that the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue planned an inflitration of Contemplative Spirituality into the Roman Catholic monastic communities and the Christian church at large with the purpose of spreading its interfaith message. Please note that this organization comes straight out of the bowels of the Roman Catholic "church" at the behest of Vatican II. The emerging church is enamored with the Roman Catholic practices of all forms of contemplative prayer, their love of mysticism and the practice of sharing the Eucharist, and this has led them straight into the arms of the Roman Catholic "church" and its love for exalting experience over the Word of God.

Please also read The Mystic Plague - Catholicism Sets a Spiritualist Agenda by former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett, describing the links between Contemplative Spirituality, Roman Catholicism, false religions and the new age.

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Evidence regarding the agenda to spread mysticism and promote Eastern religions from the MID website- a report on the October 1977 Monastic Meeting at Petersham: Opening Session with Abbot Cornelius Tholens:

This conference has the very practical aim of helping monks and nuns, as representatives of the monastic world, make better known the Oriental renaissance, the discovery of mankind’s inexhaustible riches in Asian cultures and religions, of promoting a more universal humanism and establishing communion which will result in the using of each one’s characteristic heritage for the benefit of all.

In the quest for ultimate meaning in human existence, there is a monk in every man, and each one faces the task of integrating this dimension of himself. The monastic experience can be a bond of unity transcending dividing lines between religions. Merton pointed out that common contemplative experience must precede the dialogue and theology. The study of Hinduism, it has been said, is gaining popularity in the West partly in reaction against materialism. We are living at a moment in history when the Church is for the first time beginning a serious encounter with the Oriental tradition.1.
~~~and~~~
How can we help the West open out to the East? The East around us. How can we help others share in this task? How make Christian monasticism known in the East?

Some suggestions: we need a list of experts, East and West; of monasteries; of useful publications. We need exchange of persons between East and West; visits to ashrams. How can we instruct our Christian monks in techniques and methods of Asian meditation? Yoga, etc.

In answer to questions, Abbot Tholens pointed to some texts to be found in the New Testament which can serve as links to Yogic doctrines. Contact is most possible at the highest point of each religious tradition: this contact may be made in silence, but very really. In this way the East-West dialogue differs from ecumenical reflections among Christians. We need to start where we are one, in the Spirit of God. Even as Christians we must go beyond all thought. One is first a human being, then a Christian, then a monk. Christians are always “on the way” to God. The monk, as homo religiosis, is a point of reference for all men; each of us has a point of reference to the infinite.2.
~~~and~~~
The evening concluded, as did each subsequent evening, with a short prayer service led by Father Basil. The following day’s work began, as did that of each day of the meeting, with a meditation period of an hour guided by Abbot Tholens or by another Master making use of the Asian insights into the divine nature available also to Christians. “These prayer services, as well as the daily liturgies at 5 p.m., were held in a room adjoining the main meeting room. The prayer room was furnished with cushions for those who preferred to pray seated in the Eastern postures. The adornment of the altar (quite empty on a day of discussion of Zen; adorned with flowers situated at eight points of the compass when the emphasis was Hindu) and the style of the meditation carried out the Eastern themes. A short prayer service drawing from the Chinese tradition, prepared by Sister Helen Wang, concluded each morning session.3.


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A list of quotes from the mouths and pens of emergent church leaders themselves revealing their false gospel, false doctrine and unbiblical practices, many of them adopted from the Roman Catholic cult, from calvaryadvisor.org:
"The church has been preoccupied with the question, "What happens to your soul after you die?" As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, "Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die." I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don't think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line." —Brian McLaren, (from the PBS special on the Emerging Church)

"Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter. Do you show up at a dinner party with your neighbors and ask, 'What's this dinner party's position on absolute truth?' No, you don't, because it's a non-sensical question." - Tony Jones (at the 2005 National Youth Workers Convention)

"Meditative prayer like that we experienced in the labyrinth resonates with hearts of emerging generations."—Dan Kimball, (from the Vintage Faith)

"My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ," McManus, author of a new book called The Barbarian Way, said in a telephone interview.

"Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right."—Erwin McManus (from The Barbarian Way)

"Many Christians use "Breath Prayers" throughout their day. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath." —Rick Warren

"The fact is that contemplative spiritualitywill play a huge part in the Church of the future, and candles are just the beginning." - Duane Cottrell

"He [Brian McLaren] cites Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, with their emphasis on spiritual disciplines, as key mentors for the emerging church."—The Emergent Mystique, Christianity Today, 11/04

"We should stop to reflect and to treasure the words, to turn them over and over in our minds, repeating them ..."—Richard Foster, (Renovare)

"Some of the values of the emerging church are an emphasis on emotions, global outlook, a rise in the use of arts, and a rise in mysticism and spirituality."—Josh Reich (Creating Worship Gatherings for the Emerging Church )


"Church Should Be Like a Dance Club" —Josh Reich (Creating Worship Gatherings for the Emerging Church)"I stopped reading from the approved evangelical reading list and began to distance myself from the evangelical agenda. I discovered new authors and new voices at the bookstore." -Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen

Contemplative spirituality seemed to open up a whole new way for me to understand and experience God. I was deeply moved by works like The Cloud of Unknowing, The Dark Night of the Soul and the Early Writings of the Desert Fathers." —Spencer Burke, (The Ooze)
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Serious-minded Christians have every reason to be alarmed by what is going on in the emerging/emergent church movement, its fuzzy theology and its mystical practices, and every reason to sound the warning loud and clear. Preachers, teachers and authors, who have widespread influence need to be warning the flock, not endorsing these false teachers who are spreading this error. On this website I have provided as much information as I can to help you understand why the church is in the process of apostasizing. The problem is that many people do not want to accept the facts even when the evidence is staring them in the face. This indicates that there is a spiritual blindness in place. Scripture warns of the falling away in the last days, that the love of many will grow cold. It is happening faster than you think.

Examine your hearts!
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1.http://monasticdialog.com/a.php?id=648
2. ibid
3. ibid


4 comments:

Anders Branderud said...

Hello! I think that the website www.netzarim.co.il will be of interest to you and your readers. It contains research about Ribi Yehoshua (the Messiah) from Nazareth and what he taught.

Have a nice day!
Anders Branderud

Bonnie Klaassen said...

Anders,
I believe this is the second time you have left a comment like this on my blog, and in both cases your comment had nothing whatsoever to do with the blog posting. I believe you may be making this recommendation deceitfully, trying to trick my readers into believing that you and I have the same spiritual beliefs. This is not so! In any case, I wanted to leave you a reply so that you understand fully what I believe so that you may examine your own beliefs, which are in error according to God's Holy Word. I highly recommend that you spend much time studying the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to gain a better and more accurate understanding of Christianity. Before you read, ask God to open your heart and mind so that you may receive the truth should He grant you that privilege.

I had checked out your recommended website when you previously contacted me and did not agree with the premise of your site, that Christians practice "Displacement Theology" and are in error. Therefore, I cannot recommend your website to my readers. I strongly disagree with the solutions to man's greatest problem, his sin, which you have presented on this website, that of achieving salvation by works of the law.

Contrary to your website, I do not believe that Christians replace the nation of Israel or the Jewish people. Rather, true Christians have been grafted in. I believe Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a nation and that they are chosen of God through which He has revealed Himself to the world. I believe God will deal with the nation of Israel (His unfaithful wife - read the book of Isaiah) separately from the Christian Church (His betrothed, His waiting Bride). When this has been accomplished and the nation of Israel turns in repentance and in faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, he will make the two (His repentant and now-faithful Wife and His Bride, the church) into one unit in which we will live and fellowship with Him forever. It is rather unfortunate that there are some Christians who believe that they have replaced Israel as God's chosen nation. I believe they are in error and misunderstand God's plan for the ages, and have misinterpreted God's Word.

Contrary to what your site teaches, true Christians believe the "Jeshua HaMashiach" (the Messiah or "Ribi Yehoshua" as you call Him) did not come to destroy, abolish or put away the law but to fulfill it, since He is the only one, being fully God and fully man, who could do so. As fallen sinners, there is no man on earth who could go throughout his or her life without violating one on the Ten Commandments given to Moses and the people of Israel. We all have broken God's law at some time in our lifetime, most of us many times. We serve an absolutely holy and righteous God who will not allow the presence of sin near His being. But because He also loves us, His own creation, he sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sin (eternal separation from God) as a substitute for us. Just as Abraham lived by faith, we too must live by the same faith in the promises of God. It is by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ that we receive eternal life.

Also contrary to the premise on your site, Christians do not believe that we no longer need the Torah or that it is invalid. What we believe is that God has written His law on our hearts, and that we obey Him because of our love for Him.

Bonnie Klaassen said...

To Anders, (continued)

I believe everything written in the Torah is true. I believe God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us what His Holy moral standard is. He then gave us Passover and all of the other Feasts as a type or shadow of the person and work of Jeshua HaMashiach. The blood of the sacrificed animals could not take away the sin of the people, it could only cover it (atonement), and when God saw the blood covering He did not see our sin so that we could then have fellowship with Him. But all of the feasts and the sacrifices were only pointing to a future permanent sacrifice which would once and for all pay the penalty for our sin, not just merely covering it. It was Jesus Christ (Jeshua HaMashiach), God's only begotten Son who was the "sacrificial lamb of God".

The symbology of the Tabernacle, the blood sacrifices and the Feasts are all very important to me. It is rather unfortunate that many Christians fail to understand this. Not all people who call themselves "Christian" believe the same thing. Many Christians do not have a very good understanding of their own faith. Some of these people have never acknowledged their sinful state, nor come to God in repentance. They are simply relying on their own "good" works, which in God's sight are only filthy rags compared to His righteousness. These "good" works cannot save us because they cannot cancel out the evil we have done. In a human court of law, one is not excused from the penalty of a crime just because you did something else good. That person is still guilty before the judge.

This is why only faith in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for sin in full, can save us. Only He kept the law perfectly, and being perfect man and perfect God, after His death He had the power to rise from the dead and after 40 days upon the earth returned to His Father and is now seated at His right hand interceding for His own.

I will now clarify the difference between those who call themselves "Christian" and those who are truly God's children. Roman Catholics call themselves "Christian" but continue to rely on their own efforts to reach heaven, not on the blood of Jesus sacrifice which washes away our sin. Muslims also try to gain heaven by their own works, as do all of the other world religions outside of true Christianity. This sets the true form of Christianity apart from EVERY religion in existence in the world.

Bonnie Klaassen said...

To Anders, (continued)

In conclusion, the Torah is good and right, and it is God's Holy Word to all of mankind. I accept its full authority. The Ten Commandments are God's Holy moral law. As human beings who have fallen in sin since the time of Adam, there has been no one on earth who is able to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly, except Jeshua HaMashiach, God's only Son, who came to this earth to pay the penalty for breaking the law, which is eternal separation from God. It is by faith in His blood sacrifice that we receive pardon and can have fellowship with God. The pattern of the Tabernacle, the sacrifices and the Feasts were all types or a shadow of things to come which had their complete fulfillment in the person of Jeshua HaMashiach. True Christians do not abolish any of these things, but rather understand their meaning.

Have you come by faith on God's terms? The New Testament says there is no salvation by any other way (through God's Son). All others will be eternally separated from God when they pass from this life. Jeshua HaMashiach can save you if you have faith in His blood sacrifice which takes away our sin and makes us acceptable in God's sight. Just as the Temple in Jerusalem had three gates, the "Way Gate", the "Truth Gate" and the "Life Gate", so Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father except through Him. Jesus fulfilled all of the Spring Feasts the first time He came to earth. He will fulfill the Fall Feasts when He returns a second time. He also fulfilled over 300 prophecies about him from the Law and the Prophets. He will fulfill the rest of them before He returns to set up His kingdom on the earth for one thousand years. Will you be ready to meet Him face to face? God will not accept you into His presence apart from your faith in Him. God gave the answer to man's greatest problem which is sin (breaking God's holy law), the sacrifice of His own Son and His Son's resurrection from the dead. It is now up to you to either accept or reject this answer, God's greatest gift to the world. If you reject this gift you will be separated from God forever. Confess your sin, repent and turn by faith to Jesus Christ to save you now before you die and it is too late to change your mind.

Sincerely, Bonnie