The Issue Of Other Religious Practices
by Mike Oppenheimer
As Worship in the Church
The Emergent church began as a grassroots movement of those seeking to understand what the Christian Church should look like in the 21st century. Their concept is – because the culture and thoughts have changed -we must adapt.
“We must imagine and pursue the development of new ways of being followers of Jesus ” ¦ new ways of doing theology and living biblically, new understandings of mission, new ways of expressing compassion and seeking justice, new kinds of faith communities, new approaches to worship and service, new integrations and conversations and convergences and dreams.” (www.emergentvillage.com)
Our Christian worldview should not change no matter what the culture does. We are not to be dictated by Culture but by the Word of God. Because God’s word does not change and is eternally the truth it can speak to and be used for every generation, We can point to the one who is the truth and have anyone from anywhere understand the truth alongside whatever belief system they hold. But for it to affect the hearer it must be spoken and explained correctly without tainting it with the current philosophies of the day.
The Emerging church has become indicative to be the carrier of Contemplative prayer and integrating other spiritual practices. Many involved in contemplative and centering prayer find their influence and practices from eastern mystics and Roman Catholic mystics (monks). Their main sources are from Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and Morton Kelsey, Thomas Merton. Other men looked to are Henry Nouwen, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ingatius Loyola, Henry Suso, Dorothy of Montau, Julian of Norwich, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Thomas Keating, and Basil Pennington who taught on Centering Prayer. Others associated with these same teachings Jacob Boehme and George Fox. They claim ‘Centering Prayer’ can be traced from the earliest centuries of Christianity (fourth), what they don’t tell you is that it was held on the outskirts of the Christian church (mostly monks away from civilization). We do not need to hear of bad arguments to justify non- biblical practices. If it goes beyond Scripture the apostle Paul tells us not to accept it (2 Corinthians 4:6).
When you adopt other spiritual practices to Christ’s teachings you diminish and corrupt the truth. These practices are used to bring one into an experience, a knowing of God in a deeper way. Many of the young do not know what they are participating in but some of their leaders certainly do. What we see is a movement, a community of churches that are turning people into a group of free thinkers that do not look to the Bible (alone) as literal guide for their spiritual living. They are promoting spiritual experiences ” “ ‚ which results in a Christianity without the Bible. Yet you cannot be a Christian without it. “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Once you go outside the Scripture and its principles to live a spiritual life you are damaging your growth. One may wonder how equipped those of the next generation will be if all they know is this alternative spirituality being introduced to them.
Being open to other spiritual practices translates into a Synthesis of far more than the practices. Brian McClaren states, “Western Christianity has (for the last few centuries anyway) said relatively little about mindfulness and meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another, on occasion at least.” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 255.)
McClaren is promoting an exchange of spiritual practices and this one of the common elements found in the emergent church movement. Though he does not come off as someone rejects the fundamentals of Christianity they are buried under the new teachings and practices of a new spirituality for their post- modern outreach.
McLaren (and others) admire Hindus, Buddhists and other ways to God. To do this one needs to reject, to some extent, the literal interpretation and inerrancy of the Scriptures (the Bible), make no mistake- what they are presenting is not the Christianity the apostles delivered. This concept of learning truth from other religions has long been a useful tool for amalgamation.
“Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence.” “Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pen-nington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts” www.contemplativeoutreach.org
We read “In 1974, Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.
This form of meditation, recently known as ‘Centering Prayer’ (from a text of Thomas Merton) can be traced from and through the earliest centuries of Christianity. The Centering Prayer centers one on God. (reference from contemplative outreach website)
During a conference on contemplative prayer, Thomas Merton was asked the question: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: “We must tell them that they are already united with God.” Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there (emphasis mine, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen, p. 80). It becomes obvious that many do not know they are adopting spiritual practices that are not from Jesus nor will lead to Him.
Did Jesus or the apostles ever instruct us to pray this way? If not where did it come from?
You Don’t Always get What you See or Experience
They call it alternative worship. Those involved in the Emerging church make use of liturgies, prayer beads, icons, chants and practices from Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, the Anglicans and even eastern religious practices. They see this as a return to the ancient faith that will give them a richer spiritual experience- practicing sacramentalism. By making it their own experience many see this as privatization of their faith. Yet it was Jude and others who wrote of our commonness of the faith and salvation we all share together in the Lord. There is no mention of these practices in the Bible. Of course one may argue that not everything God told us for our spiritual practice is in the Bible, revealing their being influenced by this new thought spirituality. 2 Timothy 3:16 says otherwise.
Their worship does not just involve old style candles and crosses, and incense. They make use of multimedia- music, video projection screens etc. to bring one into a multisensory experience with “the divine.” They walk the labyrinth in the darkness lit by candles and have the fragrance of incense permeate the air as they stop and chant Christian words or contemplate their thoughts and prayers. They can also carry their portable CD players ” “ it becomes a personal spiritual experience as each one enters into their own spiritual space. Unfortunately the Bible has nothing to say about worship, prayer or meditation of this sort; but other religions certainly do.
There is a movement in youth ministry that is taking us back to what some would call ancient spiritual practices, or different contemplative tools.” (Mark Oestreicher, President Youth Specialties)
For example: It’s Sunday just after 5 P.M.. in the youth room. Seven adults are sitting around a ‘Christ-candle'” in the youth room. There is no talking, no laughter. For 10 minutes, the only noise is the sound of their breathing … now it’s 7 p.m. … one hour into the night’s youth group gathering. There are 18 senior highers and five adults sitting in a candlelit sanctuary. A gold cross stands on a table. They’re chanting the ‘Jesus Prayer’, an ancient meditative practice.”
(from the July/August 1999 issue of Group Magazine – a leading resource magazine for Christian youth leaders. quotes from www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com)
In the Dec. 3rd issue of Youth Worker. Disciplines, Mystics, and the Contemplative Life by Mike Perschon: excerpt: “I built myself a prayer room, a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns...” (November 2004)
They may call it a Christian prayer or use a sacred word (from the Bible), but it IS the same methods and practices used in eastern religions to achieve union with other gods. Saying certain phrases over and over: it does not matter whether the word is “Jesus” or “aum,” using this method you arrive at the same place. The mystics would instruct to “sound” the word silently or out loud; one can synchronize it with your breathing till it becomes part of you. You let go of all your feelings and thoughts that enter your mind and have only the sound of the word (but ignore the meaning of the word.) As it is repeated over, ones thinking diminishes, a new state of mind rises in the silence. One can have feelings of euphoria, oneness, your senses can be overwhelmed. They believe they have made a connection with something spiritual, sacred- God has broken through. The same state can be achieved with icons, mandalas; various other methods can be used to bring an alternate state of consciousness. How do I know this? I use to practice it when I was involved in other spiritual practices (the new age movement) before I became a Christian. It is non- compatible and not negotiable with the historic/orthodox Christian faith.
The Roman Catholic monk, William Johnston said: “In the mystical life one passes from one layer to the next in an inner or downward journey to the core of the personality where dwells the great mystery called God ” ¦ This is the never-ending journey which is recognizable in the mysticism of all the great religions. It is a journey towards union because the consciousness gradually expands and integrates data from the so-called unconscious while the whole personality is absorbed into the great mystery of God” (The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion p.127 (1981).
Deep Ecumenism = Inter-Spirituality
Matthew Fox is known for someone who has long crossed over the line and incorporated mysticism into Christianity. He among many wants to convince you that this is the right direction. In his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ Fox contends that we should throw out any idea of a “historical Jesus” (p. 7). We should focus on the “Cosmic Christ” who is defined as “the pattern that connects” (p. 133). His experience shaped his new theology “The birthing of the Cosmic Christ is the purpose of the incarnation … Divinity wants to birth the Cosmic Christ in each and every individual” (p. 122) The Cosmic Christ connects every part of creation with every other part: heaven with earth, divinity with humanity (p. 134). There is nothing off limits to people like this that name Christ and have no connection to the Bible or basis for their faith.
In an article in Yoga Journal, titled- One Truth, Many Paths What other spiritual traditions tell us about meditation can illuminate our own tradition” ”and the era in which we live. Matthew Fox writes “Ours is a time of what I call “deep ecumenism” : religious pluralism and discovery of one another’s spiritual traditions and practices.
I’m reminded of a statement made by Griffiths (a Christian monk who truly did know his mystical tradition and practiced it in an ashram he directed for 40 years in Southern India): “If Christianity cannot recover its mystical tradition and teach it, it should simply fold up and go out of business.”
Douglas-Klotz’s vision is comforting and challenging at the same time” ¦ using primal breath sounds from the languages of these three Biblical faith traditions, thereby connecting practices of the great Western traditions with those of the East.
For example, he encourages us to “take a moment to breathe with the word adam….Inhale feeling the sound ‘ah’ as a breath from the Source of All Life. Exhale feeling the sound ‘dahm’ resonating in your heart, reminding you that your heart beats with the rhythm that began the cosmos.” (Yoga Journal, http://www.yogajournal.com/views/309_1.cfm)
In the PBS special on the emergent church we see the practice of yoga in the church. In Hinduism, Yoga is used to help one neutralize their karma, to find a way off the cycle of rebirth (reincarnation), it is a spiritual not just physical practice. How can this spiritual exercise be sanitized for Christian use. And for what reason would it be used? To relax! The Bible teaches God will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). One cannot make an excuse that they want to use it to experience peace and or the divine.
The idea of incorporating yoga, mantras and eastern type meditative practices should be appalling to any biblical Christian. The men [those] that promote this in the church (unknowingly) have no discernment, nor do they base their teachings or practices on what the Bible teaches; the way Jesus taught or how the apostles taught. However there are many who profess Christianity that have synthesized some of the teachings OF Jesus Christ (MOSTLY about love- they think is tolerance) with other religious practices, to intentionally change the church into something they have in their mind. the goal is to make us new and powerful in our age. Contrary to his statement of “Christianity recover its mystical tradition and teach it, it should simply fold up and go out of business.” We have entered an era of the danger zone for the church unlike any before. If we do not take a stand and be outspoken on yoga, meditation and the growing mysticism practiced inside the church we will watch the true church crumble before our eyes and be left with a transformation into a counterfeit. That’s how serious this all is.
We find certain leaders bringing in a hybrid form of Christianity. “I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.” (Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy).
This would be like sending a Mormon or a Jehovah Witness who has come to the truth of who Jesus actually is and the way of salvation back into their false religious system. Be assured they will be eaten up and spit out, the seed of truth will be ripped off. In the very least this is negligent to say, on the other hand it is a dangerous way to do ministry.
Leonard Sweet is a major leader in this Emerging church movement. Brian McLaren has become well known because of his statements ‚ and books that challenge the church to question her teachings (i.e. his book The Last Word and the word after that, urges Christians to reassess conventional views of hell PBS interview).
Though he makes the point, ‚ he does not speak for everyone in the Emerging church movement. However, the Emerging church’s most intellectual and influential thinker is Leonard Sweet.
Sweet calls the word an energy The Bible teaches that God is “spirit” or “energy” (p.64). What he describes is a metaphysical concept “Matter is the energy of Spirit. Ultimately, all that exists is spirit” (p.59-60). “I am spirit masquerading in matter’s form….I cherish the illusion of being substance, yet I am as much the spatial nothingness of atoms” ¦” (Scientist/soldier/conservationist/aviator Charles A. Lindbergh). Those who hold to mysticism often describe God in this fashion as Norman Vincent Peale explains, “God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be reenergized!” ( Norman Vincent Peale Plus the magazine of positive thinking vol.37, no.4 p.23 May 1986).
From what I have read in Quantum Spirituality Sweet does not begin with a Biblical basis for his philosophical expressions of reality (or the future reality we are converging on). Consider Leonard Sweets statements in his book “Quantum Spirituality” that describe a new consciousness surfacing and a synthesis of faith. “The emergence of this New Light apologetic is a harbinger and hope that anew, age-old world is aborning in the church, even that the church may now be on the edge of another awakening.” But this awakening he describes is not like any other- its emphasis is not a Biblical one. “New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths” ¦. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”
“A globalization of evangelism “in connection” with others, and a globally “in-formed” gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim–people from other so called “new” religious traditions (“new” only to us)–without assumption of superiority and power. One Caribbean theologian has called this the “decolonization of theology.” ~ It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing” (pp.130-131 emphasis mine)
Are we ALL believers in the same thing? I would more accurately call this a deconstruction of theology not decolonization (unless it means the same thing). Sweet then reconstructs- ‚ not inhibited to express the idea of inter-spirituality to his readers, because this is what the Emerging church is on board with. Hybrid religion is their answer to the changing church. It was Thomas Merton who uttered: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity” ( quoted on p.12 of Quantum Spirituality)
Whether he is quoting other authors or coming to his own deductions they all lead to the same conclusion, the truth is not contained only in the Bible (showing disdain on fundamentalism). We must reach over the barriers of separateness and embrace each others truths. This is the essence of interfaith and the new inter-spirituality.
On the Living Spiritual Teachers Project website “It may well be that the meeting of spiritual paths ” ” the assimilation not only of one’s personal spiritual heritage, but that of the human community as a whole” (Ewert Cousins, Professor of Theology, Fordham University).
Sweet agrees, he writes, “4. An absolute faith stance can be shown to be compatible with the notion that truth is relative? 30 In Philosophy of Religion Society founder Joseph Runzo’s words, “To believe that your faith is best, you need not believe that only the beliefs inherent in your faith can be right.” (Quantum Spirituality– my emphasis)
Here Sweet is endorsing what some have identified as the precept that All truth is God’s truth; that truth can be found not just in Christianity but nearly all religions. But there is only one faith- delivered to the Saints (Jude 1:3). He even tells us that we can still be faithful, that “Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths.” No longer is Jesus THE Way but has become one of many, as in theosophy.
What we are hearing is a presentation of a Faith that does not come from the Word of God but can be practiced separate from it. Some even take the position that the word of God is not the Scripture but the Son of God, even though Jesus made it clear when refuting the Devil, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:4) quoting him the book of Deuteronomy. It is written is Jesus’ response of what man shall live by, as He further said to his disciples if you love me you will keep my words, my commandments.
Sweet seems to make the point of the logos (Jesus Christ) being just one of many metaphors for truth: “Every religion has a “root metaphor” that gives it depth and substance. For the Chinese it is Tao. For the Indians it is Dharma. For the Egyptians it is Ma’at. For the Jews it is Berith or Torah. For the Christians it is Logos” (Quantum Spirituality)
Under the topic of Coincidence, or connection? And how light affects us. “Leadership toward the light is the heart of what it means to be New Light,” he then quotes a medieval manuscript on the Trinity and proceeds to say the “feature of all the world’s religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed’s light-filled cave, Moses’ burning bush, Paul’s blinding light, Fox’s “inner light,” Krishna’s Lord of Light, B ƒ ¶hme’s light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus’ fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini’s fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on.53 Light is the common thread that ties together near-death experiences as they occur in various cultures.(p.236 This is quoted from Ralph Metzner, Opening to Inner Light: The Transformations of Human Nature and Consciousness (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1986), who Sweet quotes numerous times).
Light is also the experience that binds the whole new age movement together. Though Sweet has some negative things to say about the NAM he continuously uses their language, concepts and authors to present his new spiritual transformation of the church. He conglomerates all experiences of light from different religious teachers as if they are all the same and from God. Muhammed, Krishna, Fox, Kundalini’s fire are not the same as Moses’ burning bush nor Paul’s conversion. The others had a very different revelation- that is not from God. For example George Fox converted a number of seekers of new spirituality to the Society of Friends that was called the Children of the Light. To them, Jesus Christ was the light within that everyone had the potential to experience this “light.” 2
As the church we “are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness“ (Quantum Spirituality, Page 122). Christ consciousness is a strict new age term (is used about 10 times in his book) and the concepts he is introducing throughout his book are decidedly not Christian. When you have professing Christians speaking the same language and promoting practices of the new age what does that make them? If you are promoting the same concepts in other spiritual practices you may not call yourself or even identify with the new age movement (new spirituality) but the fact remains, you have accepted its system
Sweet, who has corresponded with David Spangler quotes him several times (admittedly favorably) says this in his footnotes #86. I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.” New Light leadership obviously has everything to do with what the new age means by new light. Spangler wrote the book Emergence, the rebirth of the Sacred. He has a different Christ than the Scriptures. David Spangler states in his own book Reflections on the Christ, that “Christ is the same force as Lucifer… Lucifer prepares man for the experience of Christhood. (He is) the great initiator.”
This is a major deception. If you try to go through Lucifer-the light bearer- you will never come to the true Christ- Jesus of Nazareth who died for your sins. This is an initiation into the new age movement.
The Emergent movement is also ecological friendly. Many other spiritual practices are Christianized, it is not surprising to see Gaia Christianized as they leave the Christian religion for something new. After Sweet defines Pantheism and panentheism in his book Quantum Spirituality he writes, “New Light communities extend the sense of connectionalism to creation and see themselves as members of an ecological community encompassing the whole of creation. “This is my body” is not an anthropocentric metaphor. Theologian/feminist critic Sallie McFague has argued persuasively for seeing Earth, in a very real sense, as much as a part of the body of Christ as humans.” This is panenthism-plain and simple- he goes on to state we constitute together a cosmic body of Christ.
To become part of the body of Christ, you must receive salvation by the gospel, something the planet earth cannot do. Nor is the planet alive with consciousness as some surmise.
The Contention of Biblical Purists and the New Light spirituality
This is all about the word and a literal, biblical interpretation, make no mistake about it. This emergence is a liberal, mystical hybrid movement that is developing and growing before our eyes.
Sweet writes quoting “Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who used to warn us against Soviet totalitarianism. “Old Lights are revivalists of the old. Their movements are defensive in nature, often constituting classic examples of letting the dead bury the living. Old Lights include the resurgent fundamentalists in every religion who put a freeze on history and fortify their adherents against the “new dark age” in which they are forced to live.80 “Back to the Bible,” Old Lights shout; “back to the Koran,” Old Lights thunder. But not everything Old Lights say is wrong. Much is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old adage reminds us.”
Back to the Bible is what Jesus told the Pharisees, back to the Bible is what the apostles tell the church. “That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2; Jude 1:17). One can say the same for his new light transformers, not everything they say is right either. In fact, I’d rather be right twice a day then not at all.
What really is Emerging? Unfortunately “Emergence” has been used as a New Age term and genre for over 25 years since the Tara center announced the new Messiah would be revealed to mankind. This Christ teaches the unity of all religions. He too is about experience, community and service. Some may know what they are introducing into the church, some may not- it really does not matter if it all leads to the same end. As stated in his book– “Quantum Spirituality is a hybrid work.”
The similarity of statements by Maitreya the New Age Christ are disturbing and should make one stop and think of the various correlations of language, intent, and meaning. Maitreya: “Wherever I look today around the world, I see the shining points of Light of my people, those on whom I rely. These beacons of Light shall bring all men to me, and thus the Plan will unfold. May it be that you will gather yourselves around me in this way, that my Light may kindle your flame; and so together we can transform this world.” (Maitreya, message No. 85). These are the people of the new light.
Sweet quotes apostate Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “But there are moments when this impression of transformation becomes accentuated and is thus particularly justified.”
Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of a new mysticism and a universal Christ who … satisfies them all: that seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution (Collins, 1971), p. 130)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his book The Phenomena of Man (Sweet refers to) writes of formulating a Planetary Faith that explored his vision of the Omega Point and the evolution of consciousness. He said, “I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe.” Here is the new age experience and revelation of oneness which one can achieved by various means. It is apparent that a number of people already on the path of this movements agenda are bringing about a synthesis with the new age movement, the two streams have converged.
Sweet borrows extensively from philosophers and new agers, as well as some Christians of the past. “The Third Testament is thus no simple extrapolation of the First and Second Testaments into the future, but a divine inbreaking into the historical moment through which Alpha beginnings and Omega endings converge. The Third Testament is everything new about the old, old story. Or in Teilhard’s more mystical phrasings, a “descendent divine involution” combining with the “ascendent cosmic evolution.” 35 (p.258)
“With the crooked lines of our lives God is wanting to write “a new account of everything old,” a Third Testament. This book has been breathed forth with the prayer that the crooked lines and cracks of New Light ministries, whatever they maybe, will become openings through which God’s light can shine. (p.259 emphasis mine). These quotes are only a fraction of what is said and proposed in his book Quantum spirituality.
This movement is not without its critics that notice that they have incorporated other religious practices and philosophy into the mainstay of their assembly. The ‚ emerging church cannot be categorized as just a movement – but a new way of thinking-which brings one to practice a new spirituality. It goes far beyond being a “new [kind of] Christian. They are practicing what they teach. ‚ What we are seeing is an intellectual – philosophical pursuit that stimulates the mind. A baptism into a new openness of spirituality powered by an experience that may even touch the recesses of the soul. But without the preaching of the cross it neglects the true spiritual condition and need of mankind. This is not leading people to the truth of their sin by being confronted by the gospel for salvation but instead pursuing a spiritual experience outside the parameters given by Jesus. This is all integrated in the church to reach the post- modern generation that does not see any one way more valid than another. It is opening the door to thousands to go another way. All this leads to is interfaith- accompanied with universalism. The Bible tells us there is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death. It has been documented that 90% of the people who come to Christ do so in their teens. The youth are very susceptible to being influenced with other spiritual practices, many do not know any better. These are the people that are being drawn into the emerging church. They are Marketing a new spirituality to the youth in the church and it is working because so many are unfamiliar with THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT, THE OCCULT, and ALTERNATE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES found in other religions.
As Paul told young Timothy “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
They are not questioning what they are doing, only what the majority of the OTHER (classified as traditional/evangelical) churches are doing wrong. There are no alarms going off, Their discernment is non- active.1 Cor. 2:11-14: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Do not conform to this world means not only to resist worldly influences but forbids us to adopt other religious practices (Jesus said He was the way). Finding our spiritual needs and questions answered by the Bible should supercede any worldly reasoning. Without it we have words and beliefs without any spiritual substance. Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life,” not the words found in other religions. Some obviously do not believe this and think they can find spiritual life in most any religious practice. They are trying to reach an experience by the natural mans spirit; by various other spiritual ways that are not of Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit cannot honor such ways. The words of Jesus have not changed, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We had better believe this and hold to it despite the world making the way wider. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” . (John 10:1- the rest of the discourse is about those who hear only Jesus as their shepherd).
We have to adhere to the already revealed eternal truth, ‚ we are not to view these matters by the culture we live in, we must be the ones to bend and submit to what is PLAINLY written, not bend what is written to our “new interpretations” because the culture has changed.
If I were a new ager (which I’m NOT) where could I go to church to promote new age practices and tell everyone I’m a Christian and not have them suspect I’m bringing in the New Age practices or agenda? In a church that has NO discernment, that’s where…
This is what the new age movement is about and this is certainly what the new spirituality is in the emerging church. The Emerging church is the new age movement; I see little difference. Sometimes hard statements need to be said: Don’t call the emerging church- church, if you practice other spiritual ways found in the worlds religions.