Saturday, April 29, 2006

"CHANGING the Gospel Message"

"The church’s repackaging of the same message through new media communicates the same message, and postmodern cultural proponents are unable to access or accept it. It is a message that postmodern people cannot interpret, understand, or integrate into their worldview."

"The church must rethink its theology and message content to connect to the postmodern culture."

-Jason Clark, from his blog-28 April 2006 at 6.13 am

So, after 2,000 years I guess we have finally arrived at a point in human history where we now have a generation for which the gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer relevant. Ever since the time Christ walked the earth the Holy Spirit has used the gospel message to reach the lost to Jesus Christ in repentance of sin in spite of every culture difference, race, societal make-up, political structure, religious background, wars, poverty, prosperity, language, family, or monetary status. But the one thing I guess God didn't take into account was POSTMODERNISM. Don't worry, we have...the Emergent Church Movement to figure this one out!

This attitude to believe we must "rethink" the gospel message because someone doesn't respond to it is not that complicated to figure out. The bottom line is, someone is choosing not to respond to the gospel message. They are rejecting Christ. They are telling Jesus Christ to go away. They don't like him. They don't want him telling them what to do.

So if we can't change the person to come to Jesus then change Jesus so he can come to that person. Rethink Jesus, rethink the message, rethink the scriptures, rethink God's judgement, and even rethink the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross. Rethink ME...I'm postmodern, I'm different, everything is new (umm wait, maybe not).

It's really the same old defiant rebellious ancient lie from the garden called PRIDE. What a contrast this perspective is to that of Martin Luther's when he spoke of studying the scriptures with humility asking God to teach him.

Sorry Jason, Brian, Tony J, Tony C, Leonard, Doug, Dan, Rob and all the other usual suspects in the Emergent Church Movement who have decided to place themselves above God by deciding they need to change His words but if you think you need to change the gospel message to accommodate so called postmodernism then I have one thing to quote to you (so it's not me saying it)––

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

-Galatians 1:8-9

Maybe you ought to rethink your rethinking.


Friday, April 28, 2006

"The LORD Preserveth the Simple."

"I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
The sorrows of death compassed me,
Then called I upon the name of the LORD;
The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me."
(taken from Psalm 116).

I am overwhelmed at the grace and mercy God has shown my family and me this past weekend. My youngest child, Garrett (the three year old mentioned in some of my articles), was spared. He nearly drowned Sunday afternoon, April 23rd, at a pool party for his older brother's baseball team. Reflecting on the events that happened that day are difficult and yet joyful.

I heard the name of the team coach, Larry (who happens to be a paramedic) being shouted by multiple voices. One voice I recognized, that of my wife. It sounded desperate. I stepped around the corner of the patio. Larry was a step ahead of me. I knew that someone had been in danger in the water. I looked over from where the voices were coming and my greatest fear had come to be, the child on the ground was one of my own, my youngest, only three years old.

Now running I arrived to find my wife frantically trying to expel the water and substances from Garrett's body after snatching him out of the swimming pool. He was not breathing. Larry grabbed him and also began to work the fluids out. So far so good except that for several minutes there was still no breath. Panic set in. Thoughts of death set in. Our cries out to the Lord were rushing throughout all of us like never before. He started to slip away with every passing second, you could see it in his color, in his eyes. Then, by a miraculous act of the Lord, Garrett began to gasp and fight to breathe. Finally, we heard crying. His little lungs sucked in the air he needed. His life had been preserved! I called upon the name of the Lord and he helped. "The LORD preserveth the simple." The fire department came. We took him to the hospital and later that evening after hours of examination the doctors released Garrett to go home. Other fire department crews in the area that heard the emergency call were expecting an unhappy ending. They told us later that rarely, in these kinds of calls, does the child make it.

My wife and I cannot find the words to express the gratitude to God we have for saving Garrett's life. I thank God for putting my wife and Larry at the scene to be used by God to save my son's life. He is perfect today. He's running and playing throughout the house with his brothers and sisters like nothing ever even happened. No damage done to his body or brain from a lack of oxygen.

I also cannot even begin to fathom in the slightest degree how it is the Maker of heaven and earth spared not his only Son, but willingly gave Him up for sinners such as me. He did not stop the death of his Son. Now I can be forgiven! Thank you God. May God be forever praised!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

No Fear of God Before Their Eyes

I have been reading A.W. Pink's book "The Sovereignty of God". It helps a great deal to continually be reminded of His sovereignty in the midst of daily constant trials, deception in the pulpits and confusion having it's way within churches all across our society.

Here is an excerpt from chapter 10:

"Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Why is it that even on the battlefields multitudes were so indifferent to their soul's welfare? Why is it that defiance of Heaven is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, Because "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom. 3:18).

Again; why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord's people there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside? Ah! what needs to be stressed today is that God is a God to be feared.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7). Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His Sovereign grace."

-A.W. Pink


Are you fascinated with forms of contemplative prayer?

Are you in awe at the deep spirituality of many of the "saints" of the past and throughout the history of the Protestant and Catholic church?

Are you intrigued with so called ancient christian mystics like Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi or Thomas Merton and their alleged spiritual connection with the Divine? Or today's mystics like the Coptic Orthodox "desert father" Dr. Atef from Egypt or Thomas Keating?

If this is the case, and you claim to be a christian, chances are you either have not taken the time to find out what is behind these practices of contemplative prayer and the people mentioned above (many of which I have not included–the list would be too long) and therefore continue to be fine with it, due to a lack of knowledge. Or you have read up on it, studied the methods and find no problem with it at all, which is one of the things I really worry about.

It's my opinion, and my fear that many christians simply have no idea. Many young people especially may be dabbling into these things with very little knowledge about what is really behind these practices of contemplative or centering prayer.

Maybe there are people you trust and look up to who may have encouraged you to check these things out to help you get closer to God or have told you about the DVD, "Be Still" just released which discusses ways to pursue forms of silence in order to listen to what God may have to say to you, unaware of the misuse of scriptures like Psalm 46:10. Is this passage actually referring to contemplative prayer or is it God proclaiming His sovereignty in the midst of war and turmoil? (read the whole chapter instead of just one verse).

I think this is becoming one of the slickest lies from the devil facing the church today. Contemplative prayer seems to be the vehicle but what I believe to be the driving force is a fascination with the experiential. "I want to touch, taste, see, feel, hear God". Experience God, eat, drink, feel, smell, use all of your senses. Everything is driven by YOUR experience. Your "feeling" God. You want to really feel Him. You want to experience Him (as if that were a validation of true spirituality). I understand how someone would want to experience a closer relationship with God. I certainly want to do that as well, but the way this is being sold today to the church through the slick package of contemplative prayer and sensory-experientialism, (me me me my way of experiencing God on my terms)–is not the way God had intended it to be. –––But what difference does that make because the bible must be studied through MY experience anyway–how I see life, and why should I have to adjust my actions and life to what the bible instructs me to do? That would be a bit patriarchal wouldn't it? Isn't that right Brian? Doesn't God want me to be happy? to be happy..........meeeeee to be

(sorry for the sarcastic tirade)

I believe that today's so called postmodern youth is tilled, ready and ripe fertile soil for this trap of emotional feeling driven self-centered obsession with an experience of the presence of God sensation. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised since our entire culture is obsessed with the gratification of SELF.

I realize the ones chasing after contemplative prayer and spiritual disciplines, as encouraged by Richard Foster, believe that they are drawing closer to God into some divine self-denying, (taken up into a higher spiritual dimension than the average superficial contemporary American christian), spirituality kind of similar to the very very super spiritual ancient "christian" mystics such as the catholic monks and desert fathers.

...just a little side note...I don't understand how some people think these ancient desert fathers have achieved a spirituality far beyond anything we could ever attain to even though it is highly questionable they even understand the TRUE gospel message being completely engulfed in Roman Catholic deception of the true faith in Jesus Christ by unmerited grace alone...anyway...

It's not just the fact that these practices of contemplative prayer are emotion/feeling driven and are a prime target for the devil to toy with the christian like a yo-yo since it must be a feeling of spirituality which validates my relationship with God, but the fact that there is such an emphasis on emptying the mind in order to listen to the leading of God is so foreign to anything in the bible that one must stop for a minute, and think..."what am I doing?" "Am I crazy?" And please don't tell me that Lectio Divina is praying the scriptures to God because I don't think taking a word or phrase, proclaiming it sacred, and repeating it over and over again without focusing on the content of the truth contained in the passage is achieving closeness with God. If anything it's a violation of scripture. See Matthew 6:7.

It certainly appears that the bible tells us to use our minds. It seems clear in 2 Cor. 10:4-5 that our fight as christians is against ARGUMENTS, any pretension that challenges the KNOWLEDGE of God and we take captive any THOUGHT to make it obedient to Christ. How does a christian do that if he is to empty his mind in order to get close to God?...huh?...doesn't make sense. (I hope it doesn't "feel" right either)

What about the verse that says to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND and with all your strength"?

How about what it says in Colossians 3:2 to "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things"?

What about the peace of God guarding our hearts and MINDS in Christ Jesus ?-Phil. 4:6-7...keep reading, it talks about our minds again through verse 8.

What about the prophesy of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33? He says He will put His law (Word) in their MINDS and hearts

Romans 8:6 has some important things to say about the mind.

Take some time to read Psalm 119. Notice how many times you read the words law, word, testimonies, commandments, statues, precepts. They're in just about every verse. Look how frequently these words are mentioned. (King James Version):

Word-41 times
Precepts-21 times
Statues-22 times
Law-25 times
Commandments-22 times
Testimonies-23 times
Judgments-19 times
Ordinances-1 time

In total these are mentioned 174 times. There are 176 verses in Psalm 119. That certainly doesn't look like a God who is asking us to empty our minds so he may speak to us. Quite the contrary, we should be filling our minds with His words, precepts, statues and laws. This will position us to hear God, through His Word.

I could go on and on and on. The entire bible is filled with statements, instructions and warnings about our mind, our thoughts, our reason.

When one realizes the fact that the bible is the inerrant, inspired-by the Holy Spirit-Word of God then ignoring it's truths in order to empty the mind is the worst thing a person can do. We desire his salvation, and even the feeling of it but our hope should be in His word. Psalm 119:81--"My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word."
Psalm 119:114 says "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word." Yes we may want to feel his salvation and security but whether we feel it or not our hope is in His truth, His word, His bible.

It is through His Word one is able to abide in him and become sanctified.

No where in the bible does it tell us to turn off our minds in order to allow Christ to enter into our experience and to engage in the "feeling" of Christ. It's a trick. When people in the bible drew closer to God it seems like something DID occur. It's called repentance. If we ever get near to God, in His presence, we will despise ourselves in repentance like Job did. What happened to Daniel when confronted with God's holiness? The others with him ran away in fear and Daniel lost all strength, his comeliness or vigor was turned to corruption and he fell face down on to the ground. Isaiah 66:2 says that the person who gets God's attention is one "that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." What about Isaiah, when in the presence of God hearing the angels cry "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory". Isaiah then proclaims "Woe is me! for I am undone". He realizes he is a man of unclean lips, iniquity and sin. His sin is then purged and it was at that point that he was ready to fulfill God's agenda.

The mark of true spirituality is daily DYING TO SELF and sin and becoming alive through Christ. This is a description of objective MARTYR'S FAITH in the resurrected Christ based on scripture and able to withstand intense agony.

You see it's sad. It's sad that some christians think they have to indulge in feelings and emotional experiences to validate their relationship with God. This makes such christians a prime target for the enemy. They are not relying on the infallible word of God to strengthen their relationship with Christ but rather they are relying on one experience after another. They are relying on prayer techniques and methods not even spoken of or taught in the bible.

1 Timothy 4:16--"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

2 Tim. 3:16, 17--"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, And is profitable for doctrine, For reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, Thoroughly furnished unto all good works".

The Holy Spirit will allow us to enter the presence of God but it is only achieved through acknowledging our sin before the holy God, agreeing with him about our sinful condition, and turning our lives completely over to him through repentance, holding nothing back. This will get God's attention. He promised He would forgive anyone who confesses their sin to him and cleanse them from all unrightousness. Jesus' crucifixtion on the cross paid for our sins by his blood, just like the sacrificial lamb. His resurrection allows us new life in Him. Now this is how you "feel" God, through His redemption. There isn't any other special secret knowledge or access into God's presence. This is the only thing you need. Please don't pursue other paths, they are dead ends.

I'd like to end with a quote from Brian Flynn's book; Running Against the Wind:

"Could it be they are infatuated with the seductive feeling that accompanies it—and like other contemplatives, feel the need to get closer to God? But this presents a dilemma, for it is the finished work of Christ on the Cross that allows us access to the throne of God, and that access is immediately available to us the moment we are born-again. It is not just for an elite group of people who are "mature" enough to handle it; no, it is for all who have been born of the Spirit and justified by faith."
(Brian Flynn; Running Against the Wind, 2nd Ed., p.145).


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lectio Divina-Sacred Divination

Here's another informative article by Brian Flynn on one of the contemplative prayer methods, Lectio Divina.


Modern day contemplative prayer movement stems from the monastic period of Christianity (early middle ages), which was a time of experimentation and mystical practices. One of the practices, lectio divina, meaning sacred reading, involved taking a page of Scripture and reading it over and over again.

Friar Luke Dysinger, a present-day monk at Saint Andrews Abbey, describes lectio divina this way:

"Choose a text of the Scriptures ... Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a beloved 'prayer word' or 'prayer phrase' they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as 'centering prayer' makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina....

”Then turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the 'still, small voice' of a word or phrase that somehow says, 'I am for you today ...'

”Next take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas.

”Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity."

In Richard Foster’s book, Devotional Classics, he quotes 16th Century mystic Madame Guyon to describe the practice, “…make use of scripture to quiet your mind. First read a passage of scripture. Once you sense the Lord’s presence, the content of what you read is no longer important. The scripture has served its purpose; it has quieted your mind; it has brought you to him. …You should always remember that you are not there to gain an understanding of what you have read; rather you are reading to turn your mind from the outward things to the deep parts of your being. You are not there to learn or to read, but you are there to experience the presence of your Lord!”

This practice has become extremely popular in today's Christian youth organizations and programs. Youth Specialties, a world renowned Christian organization, instructs young people and youth workers to incorporate lectio divina into their prayer lives. In their magazine, Youth Worker Journal, they describe lectio divina this way:

"This is a fancy Latin term for 'sacred reading' and has also been called 'meditation on the Word.' Sacred reading is the practice of reading scripture slowly in a spirit of contemplation. The goal isn't exegesis or analysis, but allowing God to speak to us through the word. Christians often refer to the Bible as God's love letter to mankind, and when we take the time to read it as such, we are practicing sacred reading."

The article then exhorts readers to:

"Take a short passage and repeat it over and over again aloud. With each repetition, remove extraneous words until you've broken the passage down to one thought. An obvious example is John 14:27, which could easily be broken down to the word 'peace.'"

The concept of allowing God to speak through His Word is perfectly legitimate. I experience that when I read or meditate on the Bible. However, in the context of this article the purpose is not to contemplate the meaning of a Bible verse by thinking about it but is rather meant to gain an experience from it.

There is a difference between reading the Word and understanding its meaning versus a method of focusing on a single word to gain a mystical experience. Through Youth Specialties and many other youth-oriented organizations, our youth are being taught to treat the Bible as a meditative vehicle rather than a source of knowledge to further our understanding of God.

Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project (created by San Francisco Theological Seminary, in partnership with Youth Specialties and Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church) embraces the contemplative life and teaches children and teens the basics of lectio divina. Please note that the steps below, while giving no direct instruction to repeat a mantra in order to enter the silence, closely parallel those of contemplative meditators. Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project presents a softened and subtle description, which will make the unfamiliar reader unaware of what is really being introduced. In short, the young participant is being groomed so as to make future instruction on mystical meditation more palatable.

Read these steps and see how frightfully clever they really are:

"Reading (lectio) - Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savors each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.

"Reflecting (meditatio) - Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.

"Expressing (oratio) - When you feel ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise.

"Resting (contemplatio) - Allow yourself to simply rest silently with God for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God's love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words."

Why is it necessary to do this at all? For two thousand years, since Christ’s ascension, His followers have been able to gain assurance of God's presence in their lives through the knowledge that He has risen and now dwells in their hearts. For the early church, there was no written word in wide circulation to "resonate," "attract"' or "disturb" them. Throughout the centuries, faithful believers focused on the Word [who] became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) rather than trying to find assurance through a single written word circulating through their minds.

I was having a discussion over lunch with a pastor who taught Lectio Divina at a local seminary, and he attempted to defend the practice. He stated that in the process of reading a page of scripture over and over again a word will “jump out” at you. He said that the Holy Spirit chooses this word for you. However, how do I know that this concept is true? First, there is no reference to Lectio Divina in the Bible. Secondly, how do I know what this word is supposed to mean to me? If it were “love”, does that mean I should concentrate on love for self, God, the world, sister, mother, brother? There is no way of knowing other than using my own imagination or desire.

If the Holy Spirit wishes to give me my word for the day, why would it only come from the Bible? Could it not come from another source? Why would I need to read an entire page of Scripture? Could I not simply flip the pages of the Bible and point to a word with my finger? If the Holy Spirit is controlling this then it should work just as well. I attempted this once and my finger landed on the word “divination.” Hmmm, I don’t think that will work.

By using this practice, we are turning the Bible into a mystical device for personal revelations rather than a source of knowledge. By taking passages of Scripture, which have an intended meaning, and breaking them down into smaller, separate segments, often for the purpose of chanting over and over, the true meaning of the passages are lost. Rather a form of occult mysticism is practiced—with the hope and intention of gaining a mystical experience that God never intended when He gave the inspired words to His servants.


I found this article on Franklin Road Baptist Church's website. It is very applicable to the contemplative prayer issue and expalins the meaning of waiting for God in silence of Psalm 62 as in the New American Standard Bible version.

check it out


Contemplative prayer and Psalm 62:1.

Supporters of contemplative prayer cite such Scriptures as 1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 46:10 and Psalm 62:1 to encourage the practice. Regarding the last mentioned verse, Richard Foster writes, "Contemplative Prayer is the one discipline that can free us from our addiction to words. Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence. 'For God alone my soul waits in silence,' declares the Psalmist (Ps. 62:1)."[1] But does David's description of waiting in silence qualify as a proof text for practicing listening prayer?

Psalm 62 was written amidst a personal crisis--evil men were out to "murder" David (Ps. 62:3b). The situation in David's life that gave rise to this psalm is unknown. Absalom's rebellion and attempted overthrow of David may provide the historical background for the psalm's composition (2 Sam. 15:14; 17:1-4).

But whatever the life situation, having exhausted his human defenses and resources in the crisis, David said two times, "My soul waits in silence for God only . . ." and again, "My soul, wait in silence for God only" (Ps. 62:1, 5, NASB). While verse 1 is a self-declaration, verse 5 is a self-admonition. David enjoins himself to wait silently for God. But as Richard Foster employs the statement to mean, does David's mention of "silence" indicate that he practiced silent or contemplative prayer?

To begin with, it must be noted that the versions are not unanimous in translating the Hebrew word (dûwmiyah) by the word "silence." The word can mean "a silence, a quiet waiting, or repose." Some versions read "silence" (NASB, NKJV, RSV, and NRSV); others read "rest" (NIV, NAB, NCV, and Darby). The Hebrew word possesses either of those meanings. So in the psalm's opening statement David declared that he was experiencing personal peace in the midst of a life threatening situation.

Second, the Hebrew word order communicates that David's focus is not upon the rest or silence per se, but rather upon the source of it. The psalmist's confession is toward God. Literally, the opening affirmation of trust might read, "Surely toward God is rest, O my soul . . ." Of David's frame of mind one commentator writes, "The words have all been said--or perhaps no words will come--and the issue rests with God alone."[2]

Third, David is not silent. As he speaks his state of soul is confident, but realistic. First he speaks to himself (vv. 1-2, 5-7). He confesses he "waits in silence for God only" (v. 1), and later exhorts himself, "My soul, wait in silence for God only" (v.5). Twice he confesses that God alone "is my rock and my salvation" (vv. 2, 6). David addresses his enemies (v. 3-4) and asks them, "How long will you assail a man, that you may murder him, all of you . . .?" He encourages fellow believers (v. 8-10) to "trust" in God and "pour out" their hearts to him. He testifies regarding what God has told him (v. 11). And finally in the psalm's last verse, David addresses God (v. 12).

Does this sound like a man practicing silence? If David had been in a self-induced state of contemplation he would not have written or said anything! But rather he is assessing the danger, declaring his confidence in God, addressing his enemies, encouraging his own trust in God, and exhorting fellow believers to do the same. The soul in a state of "faith-rest" will focus upon God's care for it, but that attention will not be the result of "some mystical trance that enables it to ignore the nastiness of life . . ."[3]

Psalm 62 is not a call to unexpressed contemplation, but rather a song of expressed confidence. In the candor of his own heart David affirms that he will rest and trust in God. Whether in silence or rest, David's soul trusts in God. The psalmist is not providing an example for retreating into silence. Rather he is telling fellow believers to go to God; to "Trust in Him at all times"; and to "Pour out your heart before Him . . ." (v. 8).
[1] Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992) 155.

[2] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973) 221.

[3] Michael Wilcock, The Message of Psalms 1-72 (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2001) 221.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Altered State of Silence

The info in this newsletter from Lighthouse Trails Research shows how extensively contemplative prayer is now sweeping through the body of Christ. Check it out below.


ps.-this is not a time for silence


The Altered State of Silence - Promoted by Both New Agers and Christian Leaders

Different than finding a quiet place away from noise and distractions, the silence is referring to a stillness of the mind.

Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, says it is like putting the mind in neutral. Contemplatives say it is like tuning into another frequency. New Agers call it different things like a thin place, sacred space, ecstasy; whatever it is called, both New Agers and Christian leaders are telling us we must practice silence and stillness if we really want to know God. Here is a sampling:

"What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear." —Ruth Haley Barton, "Beyond Words" (Running Against the Wind, p. 153)

"The basic method promoted in The Cloud is to move beyond thinking into a place of utter stillness with the Lord ... the believer must first achieve a state of silence and contemplation, and then God works in the believer’s heart."—Tony Jones, ATOD, p. 174

"Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence.... It is this recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer.—Richard Foster, RAW, pp. 169, 173, Be Still DVD participant

"It is through silence that you find your inner being."—Vijay Eswaran, In the Sphere of Silence, RAW, p. 198

"This book [In the Sphere of Silence] is a wonderful guide on how to enter the realm of silence and draw closer to God."—New Age sympathizer, Ken Blanchard, RAW, p. 198

"Go into the silence for guidance" —New Ager, Wayne Dyer, ATOD p. 18

"While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to 'God's speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.'"—Richard Foster, RAW, p. 145

"When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness ... the profound mystical silence ... an absence of thought." —Thomas Merton biographer, William Johnston, ATOD, p. 33

"In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that."—Interspiritualist, Wayne Teasdale, ATOD, p. 55

"I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person [intimate with God] without stillness and silence.” —Charles Swindoll, ATOD, p. 190

"The most important human activity in the life of any believer is spending time with God in meditation," referring to his 3 part series, Meditation: The Power of Silence.—Dr. Charles Stanley, 4/11/06 radio broadcast, Be Still DVD supporter

From the Be Still DVD:

"One of the great things silence does, it gives us a new concept of God."—Calvin Miller, Be Still DVD participant

"We Live in an Age of Mysticism"

by Bob DeWaay

"We live in an age of mysticism. People lust for spiritual reality and spiritual experiences. The danger is that unbiblical practices will give people a real spiritual experience, but not from God. Deception is the likely outcome. God puts a boundary around the means by which we come to Him and grow in Him for our own protection. If we ignore the boundary set by Biblical guidelines, there is no telling were we will end up. If however, we come to God on His terms, knowing that we have a High Priest who is at the right hand of God, and that we have access through His blood into the holiest place, we can be assured we cannot be any closer to God this side of heaven."

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Read Bob DeWaay's ENTIRE ARTICLE, it's very good.

Monday, April 24, 2006


He was about 16 years old. He got up in front of the youth group and said "let's pray". I thought "O good, he's being a leader". The next thing that came out of his mouth was "Yo God! What up?" The kid meant well. I know him. But as many young people, he was not taught how to approach the Almighty.

John the apostle arguably had the closest human relationship with Jesus than probably any other human on earth. When he was faced with the risen Christ in Revelation 1:17, he fell to the ground as if dead in utter respect and fear and trembling. Did John say "Yo blood! What up?" Or say "Hey Jesus, long time no see." He did not. Nor did he refer to him as his home-boy, his home-slice or whatever. He fell to the dirt. Where John belonged.

John didn't have time to be contemplative or be "centered". He was too busy trembling over the stark contrast of seeing himself against a holy, consuming fire, almighty God and creator who spoke and the universe lapped into existence.

God is always to be approached formally. Never informally. A.W. Tozer said that our conduct will never rise above our view of God. The Jesus being preached today is our pal. But this is not how he was depicted in scripture. You cannot show me one instance in the Bible where Jesus was approached by anyone other than an enemy with informality, irreverence and a lack of respect.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom says scripture (Ps 111:10). The fear and respect of God will be evident in our actions, in our worship, in our separation from the world.

Consider Hebrews 12:28, 29.

"...worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."


Parents Pray for Your Kids

Parents pray for your kids. Pray for the youth in your churches. We never know how long God will allow them to remain with us.


Psalm 116:1-6

1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

Our Divine Warrior

Thanks Kevin for reminding us that God is our Divine Warrior as we rely on Him and seek Him in true worship.

O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."
-2 Chron. 20: 12

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "
-2 Chron. 20: 12

'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.
-2 Chron. 20: 15

Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
-2 Chron. 20: 21-22

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thanks to the Soldiers

This illustration by my nephew Johnny Barron is a reminder of what these soldiers are fighting for.

We can't thank you guys enough. While we sit here so comfortable and safe you guys are in harms way in very difficult and life threatening positions.

Thanks Johnny and all the other soldiers working for freedom so far from home.
-From your Uncle Kenny and a grateful American

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Christians Should Dump Contemplative Prayer

by Brian Flynn

Eleven years ago I walked away from the life of a New Age medium and gave my heart to Jesus Christ. As a medium, I performed psychic readings and, through meditative practices, contacted spirit guides. At the time, I did not realize these guides were demonic. Now as a Christian, I no longer have to chant, go into altered-states of consciousness or perform rituals to find the peace and truth I found through the Lord and his Word.

Three years ago, I read a book called "A Time of Departing," which claimed that many Christian leaders were teaching a mantra-meditation technique. You can imagine my shock when I discovered the New Age had infiltrated Christianity through such a technique, a practice called contemplative prayer.

The technique involves repeating a word or phrase over and over until reaching what is called "the silence." Sometimes, instead of a word or phrase, the breath is focused upon, thus the name breath prayers. The goal? Reaching an altered-state of consciousness in order to communicate with God.

Contemplating God's Word is a good thing. But the contemplative prayer I speak of is not. First practiced by monks centuries ago, it died out and did not re-enter again until the 1960s when Catholic monks, Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton, decided to introduce the practice to mainstream Christianity.

Richard Foster, a supporter of contemplative prayer, writes a curious warning about this practice in his book "Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home." "I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance," he explains. "While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection."

Then why do it, Mr. Foster? Why would God put me in a position to fend for myself in this unknown spiritual realm surrounded by spiritual beings that are not in cooperation with God and his way? He would not.

The Achilles' heel for Mr. Foster is that there is no scriptural support for contemplative prayer other than this warning, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore, do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7,8).

What would martyrs of the faith who departed from Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism say to us if they could speak of our intermingling Christianity with Eastern mystical practices? As a former New Age medium, I know the difference between Eastern meditative practices and biblical Christian prayer. Sadly, too many in the Christian community do not.

Brian Flynn is the director of One Truth Ministries based out of Minneapolis. His first book, "Running Against the Wind," will be released in March by Lighthouse Trails Publishing.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Watch these two videos and see how similar they are. One is promoting the new 20th Century Fox DVD "Be Still" dealing with contemplative prayer with comments from Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and others.

The other is also a promotional video from Abbot Thomas Keating's website on Centering Prayer where they teach courses in contemplative prayer methods. When you click on Thomas Keating's link below it is the first one listed called "What is Centering Prayer".

• 20th Century Fox "BE STILL" promo video

• Thomas Keating's "WHAT IS CENTERING PRAYER" video

This just demonstrates a point we will be getting into in more detail on thinkerup where this whole contemplative prayer methodology amounts to nothing more than an unbiblical mystical attempt to gain union with God not unlike techniques used by ancient desert fathers and Catholic counter-reformers and mystics.

It ought to really make one "contemplate" how these things may be connected.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


We will be placing several posts on the subjects of Spiritual Disciplines and Contemplative Prayer. Since these trends are making a great deal of head-way into the church today it is important to be aware of the history and background of these practices and weigh them against scripture in order to test all things:

1 John 4:1-
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Thess. 5:21-22-
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Col. 2:8-
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

John 17:17-
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

How does God speak to us? Is it through silence and solitude and an emptying of the mind in order to "fill" it with "Divine love" or is it through His Word? I believe it is the latter. These current trends encourage people to reach God through being still and silent using methods and techniques adapted from the ancient Catholic monks, mystics and desert fathers/mothers to prepare a person to become more receptive to God's promptings. The mind is secondary if it even has a place at all, and the senses and intuitions are the primary factors directing the process of hearing from God.

Our goal is to point out how this is unbiblical and dangerous.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bored With the Gospel

The Lord's command in Mark 4:24 is "take heed what ye hear". Corrupt nature is thoroughly in love with error and will more readily and eagerly receive false than true doctrine.

Should any dispute our statement, we would refer them to Jeremiah 5:31: "the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so". Said Christ unto the Jews, "because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not" (John 8:45): what a commentary on fallen human nature - had He preached lies they would have promptly received Him.
Alas, what is man: he will run greedily after something new and sensational, but is soon bored by the old story of the Gospel.

How feeble is the Christian, how weak his faith, how fickle and unstable the moment he is left to himself. Peter, the most courageous and forward of the apostles in his profession, denied his Master when challenged by a maid. Even when given a heart to love the Truth, we still have "itching ears" for novelties and errors, as the Israelites welcomed the manna at first, but soon grew weary of it and lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt. Real and urgent then is our need to heed this command, "Beware of false prophets."

--AW Pink, The Sermon on The Mount

Monday, April 17, 2006


We decorated the Easter eggs Saturday night. And as expected, my youngest child, as most three year olds would do, wanted the best decorated egg for himself. Once in his hand, he quickly began to break up and remove the beautifully decorated shell, only to find a boring, bland, undecorated, white egg inside, which he, after one little nibble, abandoned it like it was bowl of uncooked leaf spinach. So I ate it. I wanted what was on the inside of the decorated shell. I was totally unconcerned about the outside.

Kids care only about how it looks and tastes, not whether or not it is healthy or good for you. This you expect of a child. But no matter how the egg is decorated, a kid ain't gonna eat the egg, that is unless, of course, it is the egg that he wants.

I couldn't help but notice the analogy. So many of our churches today are too often trying to get the world to eat the egg by decorating the outside. This they do by offering entertainment, by advertising FUN, by softening the hard things of the gospel like self-denial, by only whispering of themes on hell and God's judgment and so on. Yes, it will bring in the masses, it will keep the attention of many, but are they coming for what's inside or are they attracted and lured by the decorating of the true gospel?

What happens too often is that if the true message of the gospel is ever revealed, many of those who were lured in, turn away because the gospel demands too much (John 6: 60, 66: "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.").

But what's worse is that these same churches who use such techniques often never even reach the point of revealing the true hard gospel. They basically spend their time giving their flock candy filled decorated eggs, hallow of any real truth and no good for anything other than a worldly country club existence. These are the churches that are full of christians who have not gone beyond babyhood, churches lacking solid teaching of biblical doctrine, lacking regular prayer meetings, lacking confrontation of sin, missing warnings about hell and God's hatred of sin and guilty of building up youth groups which neglect to tell young people about obeying their parents and submitting to God ordained authority.

Here is a great quote from Charles Spurgeon on a similar subject back in Jan. 17, 1858;

"Now the christian that has gone beyond babyhood does not care about how the man says it. It is the thing that is said that he cares about. All he asks is 'Did he speak the truth?' ...he cares not for the trimming of the feast, nor for the exquisite workmanship of the dish. He only cares for that which is solid food for himself"



(gleaned from Dean Gotcher of

God just said it.
But the devil talked about what God said.

God, the patriarchal Father, said "Do not eat from the tree" (Gen. 2:17).
But the devil, the rationalizing questioner, said "Did God really say?" (Gen. 3:1).

The devil introduced a situation with Eve where feelings came in conflict with standards. This was done simply with words in Eve's conversation with the devil. This is called neu·ro·lin·guis·tics: (the study of the relationships between the human nervous system and language especially with respect to the correspondence between disorders of language and the nervous system).

Eve's feelings affected, or played a part in, the standard, i.e. what God said.
The devil persuaded Eve to evaluate God's command instead of just of obeying it.

The devil's action of questioning God's words, was a direct rejection of a Patriarchal authority and a collapse into a group think framework. Now where am I going with all of this?

The same thing happens many times in our churches through small groups where conversation and discussion of God's Word replaces the study of God's Word. The priority for many small groups is to build relationships more than to teach scripture, therefore the discussions in these groups are characterized by exploring, evaluation, feeling, etc., even on those things that are clearly stated as black and white issues in the Bible. This is a dangerous practice and leads to a Pandora's box of biblical error and deception.

Dean Gotcher said that we were created to obey, not to evaluate. Now understanding is good, but in doing so, the goal must always be obedience. If Eve would have ended her encounter with the devil in obedience, then she would have been faithful to God. But because she entered into a conversation about whether or not she should obey, and what God "really was saying" she fell into sin and disobedience. She also, like the devil, questioned "did God really say?" What was there to discuss? God said don't eat it. Therefore, don't eat it. Case closed.

Too often in small groups, there is everything taking place but what God commands the church to do, to teach, to preach and the public reading of scripture. 1 Tim. 4:13 says "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching."

The small group discussion method is referred to as the HEGELIAN DIALECTIC PROCESS. This process has been used by governmental groups and fringe religious groups for decades to change people's way of thinking from patriarchal authority to group-think ways of determining truth. The goal of the group is to get along. If your words are harsh and hard to deal with logically, then the "facilitator" will make sure you do not leave the group without patching things up. Everybody's friends. Right? The goal is good relationships and not ultimately the truth.

The problem is that this technique of thought/feeling manipulation is being done in thousands of churches across America. But this approach is not compatible at all with God's Word. The ultimate outcome must be God's Truth as revealed in scripture. Without this as the goal, you can rationalize and question everything and anything. Dean Gotcher further explains that those who embrace a group think mindset eventually end up unable to even condemn sinful practices like homosexuality or adultery. The preacher when asked where he stands on homosexuality will often say, "Well, it's a complicated issue and we need to be understanding and sensitive...". Instead he should say "well, it is a sinful lifestyle and the person involved in it needs to see it as sin and repent and receive forgiveness".

There is much more to be said about this issue. It is very interesting. For further study, I suggest listening to THIS AUDIO interview of Dean Gotcher discussing this process. This is from the radio program Crosstalk, March 29. Or this excellent article which explains in detail the HEGELIAN DIALECTIC PROCESS.

God is the Father. He described himself that way for a reason. Let's accept "What God said" instead of questioning "did God really say?"


Friday, April 14, 2006


When I think about the words to this old hymn "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" by Isaac Watts, especially the last two lines ...

"Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all." reminds me of the passage in Philipians 2: 8-11 where it says that every knee shall bow before Christ and confess that He is Lord. His love is so amazing, and what He did on the cross is so amazing that EVERY knee will bow before Him.

People think they have a choice. They really do not have a choice as to what they will do regarding Jesus. They only have a choice as to when they will do it. They may reject Jesus now but Jesus will receive His Lordship from all of creation. They will bow. They may choose not to bow now but they will bow. What he did on the cross demands nothing less. Even if He had never paid for our sins on the cross and allowed us to go into a lost eternity without Him we would still bow before Him. It is what He deserves. It will take us an eternity to be able to fathom His glory, His magnitude, and His plan of salvation.

To quote the two Moravian missionaries who willingly sold themselves into slavery for the sake of the the gospel

"May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward for his suffering".

...something to ponder during this Easter weekend.


Thursday, April 13, 2006


After running into one situation after another while speaking to people of the dangers of the Emergent Church movement I've decided to create a list of philosophies and characteristics of the Emergent Church as well as authors, speakers, and historic figures which have had and continue to have a major influence on the beliefs and doctrines of those involved in this movement. This is not a commentary on the views or the people involved in the Emergent movement just a list for the purpose of identification.

It's important to understand the factors influencing this movement and to inform readers so as to help them discern whether or not the leaders in their churches are drifting toward these views, and if suspected to be so, prayerfully confront their church leaders and ask what the views of the church leadership are. In many cases the doctrinal statements of Protestant churches are very solid and biblically sound but unfortunately what is being taught from the Sunday morning worship service or in the youth groups may NOT be in line with safe biblical doctrine.

If your church's website recommends certain books and you discover a book by one of the authors listed below like BRIAN MCLAREN or DAN KIMBALL or if let's say your youth pastor esteems authors such as RICHARD FOSTER and his book Celebration of Disciplines or teaches things similar to that of someone like ROB BELL, I would suggest you first read up on what this author believes and is teaching. Next you should pray and then approach your pastor and ask him to give you a reason why the church would endorse such books and/or teachings. This does not necessarily mean your church is headed toward Emergent but it is cause enough to question where their leanings might be.

This is a list of warning. This list is not exhaustive and there may be some personalities or issues I have overlooked. There are articles on this site and MANY LINKS which will provide plenty of information on the dangers of the Emergent movement to christians and those who are intrigued with spiritual experiences.

Emergent Beliefs and Characteristics:

• Redefine the Christian Faith to accommodate "post-modernity"
• Redefining the doctrine of hell as not being literal
• God's judgement interpreted as simply being embarrassed by your sin or an inability to gratify your desires
• Reinterpreting the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross
• Questioning the inerrant authority of scripture
• The bible primarily as a "story" or narrative
• Conversion as becoming a part of "His story"
• Planetary salvation (Restoring the entire earth to it's original Creation and "rhythm")
• Proclaiming of the Kingdom of God being established on earth in present history more than the gospel of salvation
• Promoting a "social gospel"
• Defines themselves as "missional"
• The Protestant Reformation as possibly an ongoing process
• Believes Emergent could be a "Second Reformation"
• Questions are esteemed higher than answers
• Social and environmental activism
• Anti-war and political liberalism
• Promoting spiritual disciplines (meditation, fasting, contemplative prayer, breath prayers, centering prayer, labyrinth prayer walks, guided imagery, Lectio Divina, Ignatius Examen, stations of the cross)
• Promoting the mystical, the sensory and the experiential
• Anti-establishment
• Truth is determined by cultural influences or tradition
* Truth is not propositional
• Teaching should be multi-sensory and creative rather than linear
• Traditional preaching is replaced by discussion and dialogue
• Reluctant to call homosexuality a sin
• Occasionally use profanity to get point across
• May become worldy to reach the world
• Life experiences determine theology and orthodoxy
• Language is oriented around self – feelings, opinions, and attitudes
• Community, relationships and unity are highest priorities
• Uncomfortable with historic christian orthodoxy as having an exclusive claim on truth
• Tolerate ideological and theological differences, very inclusive and ecumenical

Emergent Preferred Authors and Speakers:

• N.T. Wright
• Brian McLaren
• Henri Nouwen
• Dallas Willard
• Richard Foster
• Donald Miller
• Tony Campolo
• Rob Bell
• Dan Kimball
• Doug Pagitt
• Erwin McManus
• Gregory Boyd
• Andy Crouch
• Chris Seay
• Tony Jones
• Leonard Sweet
• Shane Claiborne
• Brian Walsh
• Miroslav Volf
• Brennan Manning
• Walter Brueggemann
• Dr. Robert Webber
• Steve Chalke
• Alan Mann
• Matthew Fox
• Tom Hohstadt
• Bono
• Ryan Bolger
• Spencer Burke
• David Bosch
• Eddie Gibbs
• Tilden Edwards
• Marcus Borg
• M. Scott Peck
• Jacques Derrida
• Karl Barth
• Søren Kierkegaard
• Carl Jung
• Thomas Merton
• Thomas Keating
• Cynthia Bourgeault
• C.S. Lewis
• Sue Monk Kidd
• Anne Lamont
• Rowan Williams
• Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
• Madam Guyon
• Jürgen Moltmann
• Dietrich Bonhoeffer
• William Blake

Emergent Preferred Catholic Mystics, Desert Fathers and Monks:

• St. John of the Cross
• Ignatius of Loyola
• Peter Faber
• Dionysius
• St. Francis of Assisi
• Juliana of Norwich
• Thomas Merton
• Meister Ekhart
• Basil Pennington
• St. Teresa of Avila
• St. Thomas Aquinas
• Pierre Teilhard d Chardin
• Richard Rolle
• The Cloud of Unknowing (anonymous monk)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


"God's transforming power is not and never has been dependent upon the toys, games and schemes of people acting in stealth. No one will be tricked into the Kingdom of Heaven by being lured into a church group or fellowship through a flattery and bribery called "love;" but many WILL be tricked into believing they are saved simply because well-meaning people tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear from the Word of God."

-Paul Proctor


Why are so many churches falling for these techniques? Are people really getting saved? These trends seems to be on the increase as pastors and church leaders desire to have their churches grow and grow and grow but are they filling their churches with true believers?

READ MORE from Paul Proctor's article "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?"


"WE WANT spiritual direction, but it has to be real for US
and available when WE need it. WE WANT a new format for
getting Christian perspectives...

... issues that WE care about, that WE want to talk about, and it comes in a way that fits OUR world. It's a format that's there for US when WE need it, as WE need it, how WE need it." (1)

This is the statement that introduces (on the website) the Rob Bell Nooma teaching materials and videos from Mars Hill Church.

You may ask: So, what's wrong with that? Well, it's a bit self centered. Self-centeredness is the exact opposite of how Jesus presented this call to follow him. Jesus gave one option in following Him. That is on His terms. To follow Him the way HE wants it, when HE wants it, what HE cares about, what HE wants to talk about in a way that fits HIS world in a format that's there for HIM. It's got nothing to do with us. At all. Oh, and by the way, this is nothing "new".

Here's how Christ described the cost of discipleship Luke 9:23, 24: "Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." (NIV)

Maybe the youth of today can spot phoniness a mile away. I don't know. But I do know that it would benefit today's young people greatly to recognize the self-centeredness reflected in the opening statement of the Rob Bell video series (we'll discuss the content of the videos in the near future). I once heard that it's hard to see your whole body when your nose is pressed up against the mirror of self. This bent towards self fulfillment is dangerous and counter to the Gospel. It conveys a different Gospel, one without inconvenience to self, which scripture warns against. Consider Galatians 1:7, 8. "Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (NIV)

2. Emergents like Rob Bell often prefer to embrace mystery (2) rather than certainty. That's why Rob Bell, as shocking as this is, recently led YOGA breathing exercises in one of his church services (3). It's bad enough that Rob Bell presents a discipleship that is totally on your terms without costing you any inconvenience and promising instant gratification, but going so far as to conduct YOGA exercises at Mars Hill Church?. Since when should an evangelical pastor promote idolatrous, mystical, eastern, religious practices in the church? This goes totally against what Ephesians 5:11 tells us: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (KJV)
Rob Bell did not reprove unfruitful works of darkness like YOGA, he has actually approved and promoted them. Can today's "Christ followers" spot idolatrous Eastern mysticism a mile away? Many at Mars Hill Church obviously can't.

Stay tuned for Part II.
1. taken from NOOMA FILMS.

2. ("...we want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it."..Rob Bell
Christianity Today, November 2004 article entitled THE EMERGENT MYSTIQUE)

3. taken from an Emergent blog site:


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The AWESOME Names of Jesus

This is really cool and lengthy but hey if we're going to spend eternity worshiping Jesus we ought to have as much information about who he is as possible. This is a good start:

“Who do you say I am?” (Matt 16: 15)

Son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)
Son of David: (Matthew 1:1)
Immanuel: “God with us” (Matthew 1:23, see Isaiah 7:14)
Beloved Son: (Matthew 3:17)
The Beloved: (Matthew 12:18)
Rabbi: Teacher, literally "my great one" (Matthew 23:8)
Son of God: (Matthew 26:63)
Son of Man: (Matthew 26:64, see Daniel 7:13)
Yeshua of Nazareth: (Matthew 26:71)
King of the Jews: (Matthew 27:37)
King of Israel: (Mark 15:32)
Stone: (Mark 12:10)
Chief Cornerstone: (Mark 12:10)
Son of the Most High: (Luke 1:32)
Horn of Salvation: (Luke 1:69)
Sunrise From on High: (Luke 1:78)
The Expected One: (Luke 7:19)
Master: “Chief, Commander”“ (Luke 8:24)
The Chosen One: (Luke 9:35)
Living One: (Luke 24:5)
God: (John 1:1)
Only Begotten God: (John 1:18)
The Prophet: (John 1:25, see Deuteronomy 18:15)
Lamb of God: (John 1:36)
Messiah: (John 1:41)
Son of Joseph: (John 1:45)
The Bridegroom: (John 3:29)
Savior of the World: (John 4:42)
The Bread of God: (John 6:33)
The Bread out of Heaven: (John 6:32)
The Bread of Life: (John 6:35)
Light of the World: (John 8:12)
The Son: (John 8:36)
Good Shepherd: (John 10:11)
The Door: (John 10:7)
The Resurrection (John 11:25)
The Life: (John 11:25)
The Way, the Truth, and the Life: (John 14:6)
The True Vine: (John 15:1) ...

See THIS SITE for more of the Names of Jesus.

-Richard J. Krejcir Copyright 1990, revised 2001

The Loveliness of Christ

by John Owen

Lovely in his person—in the glorious all-sufficiency of his Deity, gracious purity and holiness of his humanity, authority and majesty, love and power.

Lovely in his birth and incarnation; when he was rich, for our sakes becoming poor—taking part of flesh and blood, because we partook of the same; being made of a woman, that for us he might be made under the law, even for our sakes.

Lovely in the whole course of his life, and the more than angelical holiness and obedience which, in the depth of poverty and persecution, he exercised therein—doing good, receiving evil; blessing, and being cursed, reviled, reproached, all his days.

Lovely in his death; yea, therein most lovely to sinners—never more glorious and desirable than when he came broken, dead, from the cross. Then had he carried all our sins into a land of forgetfulness; then had he made peace and reconciliation for us; then had he procured life and immortality for us.

Lovely in his whole employment, in his great undertaking—in his life, death, resurrection, ascension; being a mediator between God and us, to recover the glory of God’s justice, and to save our souls—to bring us to an enjoyment of God, who were set at such an infinite distance from him by sin.

Lovely in the glory and majesty wherewith he is crowned. Now he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; where, though he be terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love, and compassion, towards his beloved ones.

Lovely in all those supplies of grace and consolations, in all the dispensations of his Holy Spirit, whereof his saints are made partakers.

Lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom, which he exercises in the protection, safe-guarding, and delivery of his church and people, in the midst of all the oppositions and persecutions whereunto they are exposed.

Lovely in all his ordinances, and the whole of that spiritually glorious worship which he has appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.

Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he takes, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people.

Lovely in the pardon he has purchased and does dispense—in the reconciliation he has established—in the grace he communicates—in the consolations he does administer—in the peace and joy he gives his saints—in his assured preservation of them unto glory.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Misguided Compassion Toward Gays

OK...I am really really having a difficult time understanding some of these comments coming from people involved in the Emergent church as they talk about the issue of homosexuality.

For example:

"some of the most Christ-like and compassionate Christians I have met are gay"

"I have met extremely compassionate and heartfelt lovers of Jesus Christ who are gay"

"Proclaim God's love and acceptance for them the same way Jesus proclaimed God inclusion for those forced to the margins by the dominant religion of his day"

"When your church is full of gay folks and most of your peers are doubting your salvation then you will know you have walked with Jesus"

"Then I realized that it was a Gay Pride parade, and there were biker lesbians making out on a blanket on the lawn, etc etc. And then I looked across the street, and saw these protesters with signs like YOU WILL BURN IN HELL, and GOD HATES FAGS. And suddenly, to me, the evil that the protesters were perpetrating was more abhorrent to me than anything the gays and lesbians were doing inside or outside of their bedrooms."

"We need to reach out to everyone, including the GLT (gay, lesbian, transgender) community, with friendship, love, and interest in them, without any expectations for them to change. Allow them the space to feel like they can belong with no strings attached. "

These people seem to be more concerned with how homosexuals are treated by those who cry the warning that homosexuality is an abomination to God than they are about the eternal destiny of a person who refuses to repent from this sin of sodomy.

We are being pressured to believe that opposing sodomy is more offensive to God than the act of sodomy. I have read in the bible that when a man lies with another man as one would lie with a woman it is an abomination to God. So now am I to believe that Jesus just hung out with homosexuals regularly and "loved" them by just allowing them to be who they are without ever confronting their sinfulness toward him or demanding that they repent of their sin? If this was true were the homosexuals ever repelled by Christ's holiness? Strange, I have never read in the bible that Jesus hung out with homosexuals but that doesn't stop people from claiming that he did (I guess that's part of the re-imagined christian faith)...yet I have read in the bible that God sees homosexuality as an abominable sin. Interesting how they use their imagination to add to what is not written in the bible and conveniently ignore what is.

These people who feel this way need to remember that the same Jesus whose teachings they claim to adhere to is also the same Holy Spirit who inspired men to write the scriptures which state clearly that homosexuality is a sin.

I understand that traditionally the church has been weak in reaching out to the needs of homosexuals therefore the emergent crowd, eager to help these people (I believe they are sincere) take it to the other extreme with a misguided compassion believing that the way to help them is to be comfortable with their "alternate" lifestyle and avoid defining it as the bible defines it– as sin. They better be careful. If they are choosing to side with the homosexual community and not call it a sin then they opposing God and his word.

When this issue is handled this way I get very uncomfortable because I know that God does want us to have compassion for sinners–all sinners. I know that some who oppose sinful lifestyles may not always be dealing with it in an outwardly loving manner and I would not condone everyone's methodology, but the very fact that they are calling it what it is accurately according to scripture IS a form of love because they have the decency to tell someone the truth about their sinful choices. I'd hate to go to a doctor and have him beat around the bush about a terminal disease I have which is exactly what sin is in a spiritual sense. A doctor such as this would be of no value to the patient if he could not clearly explain the disease and then offer the remedy. Are we not to tell them the consequences if they continue in their sin? (unless of course there is a re-definition of the consequences).

I also know that it is our absolute stance against sinfulness which is what causes the world to hate us. Jesus did say the world will hate us. The world will hate us because the world loves darkness rather than light. And as we bring the light of God's truth as ONLY found in His holy inspired word we should expect to get reactions of defiance and animosity.

Genuine christians will have compassion for the lost–thieves, murderers, rapists, liars, cheats etc., You don't generally see anyone crying to reach out to rapists or murderers the same way they do for homosexuals because society in general believes that murder is sin, wrong, and evil. However, our society today DOES NOT believe that homosexuality is a sin, it's just not the best choice you can make for your life. This sounds exactly like the positions taken by those involved in the Emergent church each time the issue comes up. So whenever you see christians take a bold stand against this sin, in particular, the theologically liberal side of evangelicalism is right there ready to stand side by side with the homosexual movement condemning christians.

I don't get it.

This Emergent church movement crowd is following right along in typical relevant postmodern like fashion as lemmings running to their death into the sea...and as they are running getting mad at the person holding a sign warning them of their impending doom. They ought to come to a screeching halt thanking that person for warning them.

THIS POST from Dan Kimball's blog talks about what happened to him one day when he unknowingly stumbled upon a gay pride parade in his town.

The quotes listed in the beginning of this article are from readers responding Dan Kimball's post.

I don't know what is going on. I cannot understand why so many in this emergent movement are so quick to side with those engaged in sodomy and so easily condemn and oppose christians who are trying to take a stand against sin.

I find no glee in addressing an issue like this. I have compassion for the lost. But if I truly love some one I am going to tell them the truth even though they may not like to hear it. All sinners need to repent and cling to Christ for forgiveness. No one person is any better than the other. We have all offended God. But if I want to abide in Christ then I need to have his word abide in me. Therefore I need to know what his word says and submit to his will as clearly taught in his word. This will enable me to see his truth, his requirements and see my sin clearly.


––by the way

If you want to check out more of this blending of dark and light then you can listen to THESE AUDIOS of Tony Campolo and his wife when speaking to the "gay christian" network (isn't that an oxymoron?). It's not directly connected to the above info but it's just more of the same old same old postmodern emergent compromising and re-inventing of the christian faith.


What will it take ? Why does the concept of revival seem so foreign to us? Why does it seem almost impossible?

I mentioned in an earlier post about attending a weekly PRAYER MEETING at a church near my house. The one thing I did not mention was the fact that the pastor at this church continues to pray for revival. I think he means business because he also preaches with boldness and conviction. This pastor also is constantly encouraging the congregation to pray. He wants the church to pray for revival. He is not waiting around for someone else to do it, he's doing it himself. I like to hang around a guy like that. I'd like to pray with someone like that. I haven't seen a pastor with that kind of hunger for revival in a long time.

I find it interesting when studying REVIVALS of the past how two elements were consistently present:

1. Prayer, prayer, and prayer... did I mention prayer?
2. An enormous wide spread conviction of sin. Old fashioned, (understood by ANY generation even postmodern) conviction of sin.

The below excerpt from Stephen Olford confirms this very fact:

The Hour of Desperation!

"It is my conviction that we are never going to have revival until God has brought the church of Jesus Christ to the point of desperation. As long as Christian people can trust religious organization, material wealth, popular preaching, shallow evangelistic crusades and promotion drives, there will never be revival. But when confidence in the flesh is smashed, and the church comes to the realization of her desperate wretchedness, blindness and nakedness before God, then and only then will God break in.

Yes, there must be the point of desperation but there must also be the point of intercession. Oh, that God would bring us to this place of intercession! We cannot think or talk, let alone taste of revival, without intercessory prayer. Indeed, the reason for an unrevived church in the last analysis is the sin of prayerlessness.

Certainly there are individuals who are praying for revival, and God is graciously meeting them at the point of their need, but where are the prayer groups, where are the companies of intercessors, where are the churches united in an agonizing that God would rend the heavens and come down and cause the mountains of hindrance and sin and unbelief to flow before His presence? Yes, there is only one thing that will save us in this hour of desperation and that is prayer."

-Stephen Olford

We don't need a Second Reformation. We need a revival. I'm not an expert in it. I don't know of any church-growth method or program which could prompt it. I am just trying to learn from the Lord how to pray for revival and be aware of my sin and pursue holiness in his sight. The whole revival thing is up to the Holy Spirit how and when He is ready.

But it would be awesome and I believe it is still possible today, but I don't see it ever happening if the church does not pray.

just something to think about... and maybe pray about.


Friday, April 07, 2006


This is the most extensive information resource I have found on the Emergent movement. THIS LINK provides dozens of articles showing the dangers of this movement. I am also adding this to the side bar of thinkerup–see EMERGENT CHURCH INFO under the discernment logo for future reference.



It's uncanny how accurate this excerpt is for today's generation as they stuggle to grasp the understanding of truth.

"The present chasm between the generations has been brought about almost entirely by a change in the concept of truth. Wherever you look today the new concept holds the field. The consensus about us is almost monolithic, whether you review the arts, literature or just simply read the newspapers and magazines.... On every side you can feel the stranglehold of this new methodology—and by ‘methodology’ we mean the way we approach truth and knowing. ... And just as fog cannot be kept out by walls or doors, so this consensus comes in around us, till the room we live in is no longer distinct, and yet we hardly realize what has happened....

"Young people from Christian homes are brought up in the old framework of truth. Then they are subjected to the modern framework. In time they become confused because they do not understand the alternatives with which they are being presented. Confusion becomes bewilderment, and before long they are overwhelmed. This is unhappily true not only of young people, but of many pastors, Christian educators, evangelists and missionaries as well. So this change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem... facing Christianity today.... The shift has been tremendous."

-Francis Schaeffer from "The God Who is There" (1968)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Purpose Driven View...From The Inside

On this blog I don't comment much on the whole Purpose Driven Life/Church frenzy from Rick Warren but once in a while I read something which I believe should be read.

The Purpose Driven and Willow Creek juggernaut has handed off the baton to the Emergent church movement for the postmodern generation with it's multiple variations of experimental and experiential mystical tendencies. There will always be plenty to comment on regarding Emergent as each day they re-imagine and redefine who they are. Stay tuned.

For now, these 2 posts below are simply reminding us how this pragmatism blossomed into an American Evangelical Wrecking Machine. It's a shame.

If you as a reader have not researched much on the damage this has done to christians all throughout Christendom, hopefully THIS ARTICLE and THIS ONE should help shed some light on the subject.

Pastors "without an agenda"

Hey, if you want to get married and don't want a pastor to make any moral judgments about your lifestyle don't worry, we can find a pastor for you who will be more than happy to do the job..."without an agenda."

On Tony Jones' blog (the director of Emergent US) is a recommendation of a website for pastors who are tired of having to ask people those really difficult and uncomfortable questions like are you living together ? Have you ever been divorced ?

Don't ask couples questions which are going to suggest moral judgments on them. You want to try to avoid getting the "wrong" answers, that would make them feel very uncomfortable.

You see the problem is not that there aren't enough pastors who are willing to marry people, it's just that there are too many of them still stuck in this moralistic mindset that couples getting married ought to adhere to some biblical and moral standard. Don't let that bother you just get rid of your standards. It sounds so open minded and understanding.

Hey you can even take this so far as to oversee the marriage of a Muslim with a Greek Orthodox. You could also make some good cash out of the deal.

(I wonder how much a gay couple would pay ?)

Here's some quotes from Pastor Bill Yaccino:

"I was sure that by being selective about whom I married, I was saving the institute of marriage. I was being righteously selective, I wonder how many couples I made feel terrible about themselves?"

"To be honest, a few years ago I was one of those “wrong answer” pastors"

"for the first time in a dozen years, I felt Missional. I felt authentic. I felt empowered to serve these couples without an agenda."

This is yet another reason why I am so uneasy with this whole Emergent movement. They seem so eager to reach out to the world and attempt to be missional that they disregard and overlook biblical moral standards of the real Lord and Master whom they claim to serve.

Are they choosing the approval of man above the approval of God ?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting

I went to a prayer meeting tonight. Yes, a Wednesday night church-wide old fashioned prayer meeting. They still do exist if you look hard enough. True I barely knew anyone there, maybe I knew 1 or 2 names, but the idea of a church in this present time, actually having a weekly prayer meeting I think is awesome.

I have no idea why so many churches have eliminated a church wide weekly prayer meeting. I certainly hope it is not due to the existence of so many church growth trends where the idea of such a meeting would give the perception of being too old fashioned and traditional that the unchurched would be a little put off by it. I do have my suspicions.

The thing is, I wasn't really up to it. I didn't really know anybody. I had no personal connection to any of the people on the prayer list. But I knew this was the right place to be. I knew that a church which holds a prayer meeting gets God's attention.

Well, just before the meeting started I was in the room where the youth hang out playing foosball, annihilating some kids when before long I noticed it was about 10 after 7. I was late for the meeting. I though to myself I better get in there, this is why I came here tonight. So, I finished the game and went in, sat in the back and attempted to prepare myself to approach the throne in prayer. The small gathering of believers were already in to their second hymn, acappelo style. After the leader spoke briefly about some of the answers to the previous week's prayers he asked for other requests and the group began to pray. I began to pray also, then my mind began to drift. I tried to listen as someone else prayed aloud but I just wasn't into it. I continued to pray anyway, whether I felt like it or not.

It wasn't much longer after that, that I realized I am approaching the throne of our holy God. That there is nothing impossible with God. And that he asks us to come to him with our requests in prayer, holding up others before him with physical sickness, praying for healing and God's provision. Prayer for the spiritual struggles and praying for those who are not saved. Wow, what an incredible privilege we have, what an opportunity to be allowed to come before the creator of all things with ours requests.

I started to feel the peace of the Holy Spirit and my prayers started to become more sincere and heart felt rather than just forced and uncaring.

I wasn't looking for any "experience". I wasn't using any "techniques to get to God" (i.e. contemplative prayer). I was just a screwed up guy who was stuck on himself, wanting to hit the road, looking at my watch, but instead I followed through with prayer struggling and wrestling with my own lack of desire until God snapped me out of my own little world and granted me access before his throne with requests and petitions for others. It blessed me. It completely changed my attitude.

When I got home I read this very brief commentary by A.W Tozer. It is exactly what I had experienced.

Here is an excerpt:

"If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way through."


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


“Christianity is always only one
generation away from extinction.”

Boy, did I get scared when I first read that!

My former pastor put it in an article he once wrote. I think whoever first came up with that phrase was trying to frighten the daylights out of the reader. I don't think anyone even really knows who first said it. But that doesn't matter because what's going on today in churches is that evangelical pastors of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) and Emergent movements are using this saying to put just enough fear into church members (especially the older folks) that they (out of frustration) decide to leave it all up to the culturally savvy "pundits" to reach the upcoming generations.

You know who I'm talking about reaching, today's young people, the 18 to 35 year olds, the ones that are "oh so extremely unique and different" than anyone over forty. If we do not step back and allow the generation-culture experts run it all, then Christianity is doomed! Get on board or you'll get left behind. They alone have the answers and must do "whatever it takes". In other words "trust them" (of course I'm using sarcasm to make the point).

This statement is used to manipulate church members (called "traditionalists") into putting the church leaders in control of the fate of the church. I don't believe this for one minute but many involved in the CGM do. How do I know this? It's what they're saying. This is an example of what Os Guiness, in his book Prophetic Untimeliness, calls "the citing of one extreme to justify the collapse into another".

But Christ did not shed his precious blood on the cross to redeem the church only to place her survival into the incapable hands of frail, sinful humanity.

While I believe their intentions might be sincere, the end result in many churches is a neglect to rely on the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel preached for results. Rather, the reliance ends up on the local church leadership "experts" to navigate the church through an over exaggerated gen-x, post modern, mosaic, MTV secular world created by even bigger "experts" of the CGM and Emergent movements.

The statement taken at face value is heretical. It does not align itself with scripture. It may be true that our families or nation may become less christian, and the institutional church may suffer, but to state that the future of christianity is one generation away from extinction, based on our lack of action, is unbiblical. Don't worry, the church will survive. Christianity will survive.

Consider Matthew 16:18-26 and Romans 1:16. In Matt. 16 Jesus said that HE will build the church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The main point? That He, Jesus, would build it. Not man.

What we read in the following verses I think is a similar problem present in popular church growth and Emergent trends in the evangelical church today. I call it the "Soft Gospel".

Jesus talked about how he would suffer. Peter tells Jesus, NO! It must not be so (the hardships Jesus must suffer). Peter proposes a soft road, a softer gospel without death. Jesus immediately slams him and exposes how Peter is being influenced and controlled by Satan (man's methods). Jesus tells Peter that he does not have in mind the things of God but rather the things of man. Man's methods. And this in the same breath just after Jesus commended Peter for his knowledge of and belief in Christ! Within minutes of Peter's profession of Christ the devil began his deception: to attack the church and to choose ANY plan other than the one where Jesus is the one to build the church.

Jesus next informs the disciples what it WILL cost them (the church) to really follow him, to take up their own cross and to suffer, to die to the sinful self.

Lastly, let's consider Romans 1:16. Here Paul tells us that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for the Jew first and then to the Gentile, and to all those who believe. This means that we can trust the simple preaching and teaching of the plain Gospel to bring about the salvation of the lost and dying world. The gospel crosses over to all whether Jew or Greek or anyone who believes. This verse covers it all. All people no matter what the culture, the generation or the history. Paul nowhere in this text even remotely implies that we need preachers who are cool, can relate to the kids, can speak the same cultural language, know how to move the masses, market the church, be the mystics, teach the "spiritual disciplines", stir the hearts, be the experts, build the church, write the books, offer the PEACE PLAN, etc.

In the local church we need to pray, teach the Word, preach the Truth, worship reverently and go out into the streets and spread the Gospel, unhindered by man and let God and God alone build the church, on his terms, in his timing, his way. Not ours.