Authority not Deeds

One of the main ideas of the Emerging Missional Progressive church movement is living ‘sent or on mission’ (hence the “missional” element). There are no commands in scripture to “live sent” and no commands to “live on mission” these simply come from the giving context to things in scripture that really are not there or by taking scripture out of context.

Many times in scripture Jesus refers to the Father who sent Me, or makes statements like “this is the will of Him who sent Me”… ‘sent’ is the mark or the finger pointing to the authority by which Jesus was sent or the authority behind what He said/did. It is not a word that teaches some watered down pay it forward, false doctrine like living “sent or on mission”. It speaks to authorityGod’s authority in sending Jesus. Biblically the word mission when used in reference to Christianity, refers to the “sending forth” of men with authority to preach or spread the gospel. Jesus wasn’t sent to leave big tips at restaurants, or to surprise people by paying for their coffee in the drive thru, Jesus wasn’t sent just to eat meals with people and He certainly wasn’t sent to drink beer with people, Jesus wasn’t sent to clean up cities, or to create an equal society for all… He was sent by God the Father for one purpose, to redeem sinful people, not a group, not a community but individual people. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world (humanity) that He (God the Father) SENT His only begotten Son that whoever (individual people) believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life.” When John the Baptist came as a forerunner to Jesus, the Pharisee’s questioned him asking if he was the Christ, was he Elijah, was he the Prophet… they wanted to know the authority by which he was sent preaching repent and be baptized.

Sent: one that is sent forth. This has nothing to do with how a Believer lives, it has everything to do with the authority by which we live out what God has commanded us to do in His Word. It is a word of “commissioning”… Believer’s are commissioned by God’s authority to preach the gospel (1Corinthians 15:1-4), to make disciples and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We are not sent (commissioned) to be ‘missional’, to live ‘sent’ or on ‘mission’ doing acts of kindness, social justice activism, paying it forward in the fast food line etc. Sent/Mission biblically speak to authority and commissioning, they do not have anything to do with deeds/works. Living ‘sent, on mission’ as pushed by the Emergent Missional Progressive movement is a false ideology that doesn’t have a basis in scripture.

Like Jesus, who was commissioned by His Father to save humanity from the penalty of sin, we have one purpose preach the gospel… we do this (commissioned) by Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Church, stop looking for easy works based, culture friendly Christianity, stop being deceived, stop listening to ‘thought leaders’ (the use of this title by people should be a red flag) who are teaching a false Christianity and who are rewriting the Bible to fit their narrative. That’s it. StraightUp!

Matthew 18:5-6 is a warning to those who cause others to stumble.

Happy New Year!

Good Morning on this third day of 2023! I just wanted to jump on to give some explanation as to there being no posts since last Spring. For three years the Lord had me researching and writing about the Emergent Church (Missional/Progressive Christianity) by summer of 2022 I was so discouraged by the number of churches, individual Christians, and ministries that are falling into this movement of social justice gospel and people don’t really seem to care that it is not biblical Christianity, but prefer a more palatable Christianity. The number of Born Again Christians who are totally captivated by the Chosen is also very discouraging. The show is not a biblically sound program. Like the Emergent Church movement, the Chosen is an ecumenical, socially acceptable show of which most is “creative license” not Bible. So, I had to step back a bit. Now, as we come into 2023 I will continue to see what the Lord wants to do here. In the meantime, stay faithful, stand firm, be discerning and stand for biblically sound doctrine. God bless you in this coming year!

A Handbook for the Apostate Church

Image is of my actual copy of this book.

If you have followed the StraightUp blog for any amount of time then you know I have been talking about and warning about the Emergent Missional Church movement and those connected with it. Two of the names I have mentioned over the past couple of years are Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, the two world wide experts on the missional church and unfortunately they have quite the influence on evangelical churches in the United States. Any church, pastor, leader who is using or promoting anything from these men is a huge red flag!

This is an updated re-published book it was originally published in 2008. There are SO many issues or red flags with this book, however, if you don’t really know your Bible you might be led to think this is really good because for once they actually do say some good things, but the unbiblical ideology out weighs the good, so it is rubbish.

When I saw that they were re-publishing this book due to the things going on socially, culturally and politically over the recent years, I knew I needed to read it…curiosity. Ugh! It is exactly what I figured it to be… from just the fact that Christine Caine wrote the forward (she is apart of the New Apostolic Reformation and a huge social justice activist) and is apparently quite connected with Alan Hirsch and his wife (so if you don’t understand that she is someone to stay away from this should hopefully help with that.) Then I looked over the many names of those who endorsed the book… lets just say it’s a train wreck! A whose who of social justice activist, contemplative prayer practitioners /promoter’s, progressive “Christians”… THIS IS WHAT EMERGENT CHURCH IS!!! It is not dead so open your eyes and wake up Church!

So, after seeing the endorsements I didn’t really need to go any farther, but again curiosity got the best of me. The Preface…wow…or better yet…YIKES. They talk about all the different “movements” that have happened within the Church over the years and basically how they have left a trail of disappointment. I find it a bit funny that they mention the “emergent” as well, when that is EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS! They talk about how this is a time that they feel the need to reground their faith around Jesus and thus call others to do the same. Now, this sounds like a good thing, right? However, you have to understand who their Jesus is…very important! The “missional” Jesus, the Jesus of these two guys, is a social justice, ecumenical Jesus. That is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. They use Eph. 1, Col. 1, Rom. 5 to support their understanding of the “uniting of all things in Christ”… that through the “rejesus affect it will not just involve our celebrating Jesus as our Savior.’ In their thinking this is the “great evangelical reduction of the gospel” and they go on to talk about the need to pattern our lives after Jesus the “holy” human, but again, you have to understand which Jesus they follow…it is not the Jesus of the Bible. I will come back to this. I want to mention some concerning things in the Preface beyond their “Christology” ideology…yes, I’m still on in the Preface! That’s how bad this is. I could have burned the book at this point, but curiosity.

One thing I have been warning about regarding these people and all of those in their camp, is the teaching and practicing of contemplative prayer practices, which is no different than New Age, Eastern mysticism so you have to pay attention to wording and phrases. They quote some questionable people in the Preface like David Bentley Hart who is a promoter of Universalism, The SBC theologian Russell Moore who is a progressive, Sarah Bessey who is a progressive. Then they go on to say that what they are actually doing with this book ReJesus is practicing what Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (who Hirsch seems to love) calls “trinitarian Christology” the idea that the Trinity must start with Jesus because it is he who introduces us to the Trinity… Um, this is heretical and just stupid. Also, why are we trying to get evangelical churches to follow the theology of a Catholic theologian? Wake up Church!!! I beg you.

As you can see this will get rather long so I am going to condense it. As I went on reading through the book there is the continual use of quoting Catholic theologians, contemplative practitioners, and progressives. So, maybe you are wondering what Christology is? Well, it is the doctrine of focusing on the works and nature of Jesus. The entire point of Rejesusing the Church (they are talking Evangelical and Catholic – ecumenism) is to move away from the doctrine of salvation (which is the mission of the NT Church) to Christology. This is not biblical. They follow a social justice Jesus and in order for the Church to be authentic that is what all of us need to follow….um, no thanks! I will stick with the biblical Jesus that called people to repentance, who flipped tables in the synagogues and warned about false teachers.

To be the Church that Hirsch and Frost are longing for is to ignore sound biblical teaching of the whole Bible, to be a Church that is into social justice activism (like them), to be ecumenical (which will lead to universalism), where progressive Christians are not apostates, where we should give all our money away (they actually say this in the book – both of them are worth over a million dollars so maybe they should start)… this is NOT a biblical NT Church, this is what would cause apostasy in the Church – this book truly is the handbook for the apostate church. Wake Up Church. Time is running out. That’s it. StraightUp!

Ecumenical. Social justice is not biblical. We worship God which includes Jesus! These people have no idea how to rightly divide the Word of God.
Quotes by contemplative mystics.

All Things ‘The Chosen’ and Red Flags

I am not a fan of the Chosen and nothing about it compels me to want to watch it in a dedicated manner. I have however watched clips from different episodes as well as interviews that Dallas Jenkins has given…they make me even less inclined to watch the show. Recently I was asked what my thoughts were regarding The Chosen Bible study…I didn’t know there was a Bible study, but my initial thoughts were, “How do you write a Bible study based on a show where 95% (which Dallas Jenkins has stated in interviews) of the material is NOT based on the Bible? The second thing was let’s look up the Bible study. I was able to pull up a page where I was able to view through the study, nothing impressive. Seems to focus on characters from the show and then questions. Here is another concern – from the clips I have seen the creators/producers take way too much liberty in how they formulated the characters for the show verses the Bible, so again how do you write a Bible study where 95% of the shows content is NOT based on the Bible? The answer is, you can’t. At least you can’t write anything of Biblical substance that will truly draw people to the Lord. I noticed that Amanda Jenkins was one of the writer’s of the Bible study, so I looked her up and then I looked Dallas up on his social media as well. This collage of images from social media are of Dallas and his wife promoting a friends book that is teaching the prayer of Examine, this is contemplative spirituality and the author is very much into contemplative spiritual practices (the same thing as New Age/ Eastern mysticism) as well as she seems to like and promote progressive Christian writer Anne Lamott. Actually, I left out the shot of Dallas telling people to “go buy this book” instead included his post from Contemplative Richard Rohr. This should be very concerning. Influence matters and so does doctrine!

This is a major RED flag. This made me go watch a few more clips of episodes and look more at the information given in interviews. So, from interviews, The Chosen is highly attached to the Mormon church from producers to set for season two. Jonathan Rumi (Jesus) is played by a Catholic, and the shows advisers are a Rabbi and a Catholic Priest… this is ecumenism. This is unbiblical unity. Dallas Jenkins considers both Mormons and Catholics to be brothers and sisters in Christ, but both of these have extra biblical beliefs and practices. The Chosen down plays Jesus’s deity and enhances his humanity creating a more palatable, ecumenical and culturally acceptable Jesus. When people do things that involve the Word of God, there is accountability. They don’t seem to worried about the accountability part. They think it’s great that so many inter-faith people are watching and liking the show, but here’s the thing, if anyone can watch no matter their faith background or no faith background and think its great, that says more about what the show isn’t doing that what it is. It means no body is really being drawn to the Son of God who lived, died on the cross and who rose again three days later. It means people are getting a Jesus that suits them where they are! When the people behind the show have a very strong ecumenical tendency, when they don’t understand the truth of scripture as to what a NT Christian is, when they don’t separate from those who are teaching false doctrine, this is problematic and it is tragic that so many born again Christians think this show is so amazing…

As for the Bible study, well, when we do things teaching others the Word of God we are accountable for what they are taught and where that leads them. A big concern besides the lack of Biblical substance and truth is the connecting of people with Dallas and his wife who apparently have no problem with contemplative spiritual practices and people being drawn into that occult spirituality through those they promote. This is not a small thing Church. We have to be willing to recognize and separate ourselves from the things that are not aligned with scripture. In the times we are in, we must know who is influencing those who influence us! It is time to wake up or you may find that your walk with the Lord isn’t leading where you think it is. That’s it. StraightUp!

Ecstatic Dance in Evangelical Christianity

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I was going to make this months blog post about the origins of inner healing prayer (which are horrible), but decided to set that aside either until later this month or next month because something else caught my attention and it just blew my mind!

So, in my previous posts for last month I wrote about contemplative spiritual practices and terminology. In a section where I was quoting Richard Rohr I believe, there was mention about ecstatic singing. I had to look that up and I found way more on ecstatic dance then I did ecstatic singing. In 2019 I was introduced to a group of emergent missional pastors (and non-pastors) within the EFCA, Creo Collective. If you research this group at all it doesn’t (shouldn’t) take long to realize they are not promoting a biblical NT Christianity. Creo Collective’s Christianity includes everything from contemplative practices, to reading and quoting contemplative mystics, to social justice. Recently, they posted a video that had a woman dancing in the woods alone very slow and flowy with the invitation “come dance with us let’s get a big ole party started” and another post of the same they talked about “practicing the art of Jesus movements.” It was a webinar, maybe they were going to actually have a virtual dance party or maybe not, however I kind of think they did. They like to party! So, what’s the big deal? Well, the dancing that was taking place in the video of the woman in the forest was ecstatic dance. Ecstatic dance is an occult spiritual practice. I have already been aware of this group and the unbiblical things included in their “Christianity” but seeing them post a video of a person doing ecstatic dance actually blew my mind. They just keep getting more and more into occult spirituality.

In a article written by a practitioner of ecstatic dance explaining some of what it is etc. This person explains that ecstatic dance isn’t about performance or entertainment for others, but it is about entering powerful trances, to have visionary and healing experiences. There are flow – state and high energy ecstatic trance. (this should be raising red flags). Ecstatic dance is connected with Shamanism, Buddhism etc. These are occult false spirituality. Ecstatic dance is a spiritual meditative spontaneous practice that leads to trance and feelings of ecstasy.

Other elements of why people practice ecstatic dance:

Healing ( supposed to bring emotional healing), done as a meditation, to achieve oneness, to contemplate, to increase creativity, idea generation, to reach enlightenment or awakening, embodiment, mindfulness, conscious awareness and more.

These things are not apart of biblical Christianity but yet here we have so called Christians utilizing such things in the name of creative Jesus movement? I don’t think so. Creo Collective isn’t the only place you will find this stuff. You can find it at the big church in Redding, Ca. I can tell you one thing, if you as a Christian or your church promote or practice these things, you are not a Christian and your church is not a Christian church! It is time to wake up and start paying attention to what is being put out in front of the church as things to do to be more spiritual or to have a greater spiritual experience. If this is you or your church, you are not led by the Holy Spirit, you are led by a false spirit. That’s it. StraightUp!

Names That Should Raise Red Flags

Red Flags

I realize more and more that people just do not want to guard themselves from false teachers, false practices and other things. We really should be paying attention to the names of authors and such that our pastors and leaders quote in their sermons or on their social media. Maybe they don’t directly quote a false teacher, but the people they are following just might be! Even recently someone shared about a book they had read I looked up the author, and sure enough he follows several Missional church leaders. I have looked up people that people I followed (don’t anymore) to see who is influencing them and it is nauseating to see certain names show up in follows and in quotes or re-tweets. So here is a list of the most common contemplative mystics you might run into if you or someone in your church are being influenced by false teachers.

Richard Rohr – Franciscan Friar, mystic and ecumenical teacher. (Founder of CAC).

Richard Foster – Quaker mystic who is a primary connector between evangelicalism and contemplative spirituality. (Quaker doctrine says that every person possesses a Divine inner light of truth.)

Henri Nouwen – A Jesuit Catholic priest and mystic who interestingly enough was a homosexual.

Thomas Keating – Catholic (Trappist) monk a key developer of contemporary Centering (contemplative) prayer. Moved mystical contemplative practices out of the RC monasteries and introduced them to the Catholic church.

Thomas Merton – Catholic (Trappist) monk, mystic who popularized contemplative mystical spirituality among the Catholic church and introduced the practices to the Protestant church.

Rumi – A Sufi (Islamic) mystic.

Honi or Choni – Jewish mystic who lived in the 1st century. Honi was the inspiration for the book Circle Maker which has brought this false mystical practice into thousands of churches.

Again, the Desert Fathers & Mothers – very popular among those who promote missional church as are all those I mention prior.

I’m also going to put Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding on this list. They practice and sell books on contemplative/mysticism.

Now, I don’t know about you, but ALL of these individuals are from the Catholic religion or some others. None of these practice anything close to NT Christianity, but they are the influences of those training up new pastors and leaders in our churches, they are the influences of those who were once biblically sound but now have gone into a ditch of heretical teaching. If we see or hear these names among our pastors, leaders, friends etc. we need to question it – is it a one time oops or is there a pattern of drawing from such influences? Maybe your pastor has stopped naming the sources he quotes in his sermons, why? Just because Rumi can say things that sound good and nice doesn’t mean he is someone we as born again Christians should be reading or quoting. The Bible and those He used to write it is the only resource for the NT Church all of these other things and people I have written about are outside of biblical Christianity. Time is running short. Are you really following the Jesus of the Bible (have you surrendered your life to Him) or are you following a Jesus that is relevant to how you think He should be? Church, we are commanded to be watching, alert and on guard for those who try to pull us away with false teaching, methods, philosophy of men. Wake up! That’s it. StraightUp!

Spiritual Terminology That Should Raise Red Flags

Red Flags

This first post of the New Year is really a continuation of my last post that illustrated how the Progressive Church and the Missional Church make up the book ends of the Emergent Church with all their commonalities. One of the central elements of both ends is the practice of Contemplative Spiritual practices which are nothing more than New Age – Middle Eastern mysticism. I am encountering more and more Christians who have no idea what Contemplative Prayer/Spirituality is and it is horrifying to see them walk right into it because it gives them what they want. An experience. Church, we do not need false spiritual practices to experience God! His Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwells in every born again Christian. We experience Him regardless of feelings and emotions. If He is leading us, we are experiencing Him. It has taken some time to pray through and research the following terms so that I can give the best explanation of them as possible. If we are hearing or seeing these kinds of words in our churches, it is time to find a new church or new church leaders.

Spiritual Director or Director of Spiritual Formation – Leader who is going to teach you and your church contemplative spiritual practices.

Spiritual Formation – Christianized term for contemplative spiritual practices.

Contemplative Prayer – Any of the following: Centering Prayer (focus on internal silence using a sacred word or phrase to experience Divine presence within), Circle Prayer ( a practice of drawing a circle to stand in and pray for that which you want to see God do. This practice comes from the legend of a Jewish mystic Honi. This practice has been brought to the church through books by Mark Batterson), Breath Prayer (An ancient form of prayer where you choose one to two lines to meditate on as you inhale and exhale over them. An example of a prayer commonly used in this practice is the Jesus Prayer.)

Imaginative Prayer or Ignatian Contemplation – Basically you use your imagination to create and experience the sights and sounds of the scene of the text you have placed yourself in. This practice is meant to bring your whole self into the presence of Christ. This is meant to lead into a time of silence.

Lectio Divina or Divine Reading – This is a traditional Benedictine/ Monastic practice of interpreting scripture – popular in liturgical churches . It has four steps, reading, meditating, praying, and contemplating. You meditate on a single word or phrase from the text. The focus of this practice is not theological understanding such as biblical context etc. instead the practitioner enters into the text with Jesus. Intended to lead into silence.

The Silence or Contemplative Silence – Is the awareness of being drawn into the spaciousness of Love. According to a contemplative life website (which has a very interesting image on it) This Silence is not something that is necessarily done but rather a response to ‘being’. It went on to talk about this response there is a yearning for a stillness that draws you inward and propels you into the world. It stirs within all kinds of feelings and emotions as well as raising to consciousness aspects of personality and community that need healing. (This is why you will find just about every social justice activist practices Contemplative Spiritual practices.)

The Presence – I guess simply put it is experiencing the Divine Presence. It is the heart of Contemplative practices. This can be any “god” he or she etc.

Contemplation – I went to one of the most popular mystics there is for this one. I’m just going to quote R. Rohr and let the explanation come from the horses mouth. He says, “In short, contemplation might be described as entering a deeper silence and letting go of our habitual thoughts, sensations, and feelings in order to connect to a truth greater than ourselves.” Um, a truth? hmmm? He then goes on to mention some of the different forms of ‘contemplation’ that people practice such as Centering Prayer and Breath Prayer, other expressions like dancing, Yoga (this is Hinduism), drumming, ecstatic singing or chanting. I have been a Believer for over 30 years – this is NOT biblical stuff. Last, he mentions, “Contemplation is a word that is not easily defined. It has ancient roots and is continually evolving.”

Soul Care (spiritual direction) – Popular term for the use of contemplative practices in peoples personal well being. This is popping up in more and more churches. You might also encounter it in counseling especially mental health or addiction counseling.

Mantras/Rhythms – Ancient (Middle Eastern) practice. A mantra is a sacred utterance (syllable, word or verse) that is considered to possess mystical or spiritual ability to produce a desired or intended result. As you chant you create a rhythm. They are used to focus or center the mind.

Higher Self – It’s basic premise describes an eternal, omnipotent, conscious and intelligent being, who is one’s self. Also know as as the transcendental Self, or Purusha. In Hinduism it means the Divine Self.

True Self – Richard Rohr says, “Your True Self is a tiny little flame of this Universal Reality that is Life itself, Consciousness itself, Being itself, Love itself, Light and Fire itself, God’s very self.” Basically, the True Self in every person is God. Hmmm…

Enneagram – Spiritual psychology system based on ancient Sufi (Islamic) mysticism. R. Rohr explains that the Enneagram is intended to help you live more fully as your True Self. It is intended to be done along with contemplative practices.

Labyrinth – Ancient spiritual discipline of walking a marked (patterned) path. It is intended to foster contemplation and spiritual transformation. It is rooted in paganism.

Mandalas – Middle Eastern sacred circles used to facilitate centering and meditation.

New Age – An eclectic range of beliefs and practices based on Middle Eastern religion. Strong focus on the spiritual authority of self.

Mysticism – Eastern meditation. The spiritual belief that a connection can be obtained with “God” or the spirits (hmmm) through thought and meditation. In this meditation is the emptying of one’s self, the inner silencing etc.

Monasticism – Institutionalized religious practice or movement whose members attempt to live by a rule that requires works. This is a huge part of the model for the Missional church movement.

Asceticism – The practice of abstaining from worldly pleasure often with a spiritual focus.

Ecumenism – It is basically the unifying of different Christian denominations over sacrament rather than doctrine. The draw of all denominations into Catholicism = one world religion.

Universalism – Religious belief that because every human is created in the image of God, that sooner or later every person will be reconciled to God. This is why our churches need to teach the difference between what the Bible teaches about being created in God’s image and what it actually teaches regarding those who are Children of God.

Desert Fathers/ Mothers – Early 3rd Century monks and nuns who lived in the Egyptian desert. They were the beginning or as one author put it the ‘head waters’ of “Christian” contemplative/mystic practices. They drew from Middle Eastern religion.

Ancient Wisdom – Pre- Christian knowledge, philosophy and beliefs.

Church, it is time to wake up! None of this is supported by scripture unless you use scripture out of context. All of these things are under the umbrella of contemplative spirituality and outside of biblical Christianity. I said in the beginning of this post that this is one of the commonalities between the Progressive church and the Missional church, the other two main staples are ecumenism and social justice/social activism. The Emergent church is not dead, it hasn’t disappeared and it isn’t going to! This movement is leading right into the last days. The missional/micro-church is the leading threat to evangelical churches right now! Some of its most prominent leaders very openly practice and draw from the things I have written about. If your church has incorporated any of these into what they teach, you need a new church or you need new leadership. There are churches using contemplative practices as a model of how to pray or study scripture. Why? That is just as bad as the full practice of these things! This stuff is all rooted in false religion and the occult. That’s it. StraightUp!

A Look at the Emerging Church

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There are two defining elements to the Emergent Missional Church movement. 1. Social Justice or social activism (which is how you live on mission, sent and incarnationally) – that may not actually be a word, but you get my point. 2. Contemplative Spiritual practices/ Spiritual Formation/ Soul Care and following Mystics. Every one of the Emerging Church leaders I have looked at over the past two years have these two things in common as well as organizations like Creo Collective which is a group of people in the EFCA who are following the Emergent ideology. If you as a Christian practice contemplative spiritual practices or your church promotes it even as “Spiritual Formation” or “Soul Care” technically you or your church are “Emergent” … might be time to wake up!

The Emergent Church is made up of two elements (for lack of a better word) Progressive Christianity and Missional Christianity. There is a huge amount of cross over between those who walk the Progressive Christian lane and those who are in the Missional lane. In reality Progressive Christianity is apostate Christianity and Missional at best is heretical Christianity. If Missional Christianity were biblical those in its box would have nothing to do with the Progressive side, but that is not the case. The whose who of each group are more than accepting of each others “Christianity” after all we are all God’s children, right? NOPE. Not true. In fact, the Emerging Church was started by a group of men along with a guy named Bob Buford. Some of these men were Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones. Bob Buford wasn’t even a Christian! Today, these men are all Progressive Christians! Think there is a connection? Absolutely. This movement is railroading churches at warp speed! It is very discouraging and yet at the same time the Bible tells us this is going to happen.

(c) StraightUp 2021.

This is my attempt to help explain the Emergent Missional Church since I am being asked more and more to explain it. It is a complex movement with variations between it’s people and churches, so explaining it is not always simple. So, the picture is like it says, a snap shot. We need to be aware of these things! This movement has a lot of nice sounding elements, but it is not biblical Christianity by a long shot. The Bible tells us to be on guard, be alert, and to be watching! Church, it is time to wake up! There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing leading churches today we are to be able to recognize this and to call it out and reject it. It’s time to get away from pay it forward, social justice Christianity. It’s time to get into the scriptures and see what they say for yourselves, don’t just trust something because the pastor is saying it or promoting it or because a particular teacher/leader use to be biblically sound…that doesn’t mean they still are. If you read the Bible and don’t understand it, you may need to consider did you accept the Jesus of the Bible or a false Jesus of the social justice gospel? Did you truly surrender your life to Jesus or did you just get a “Get out of hell card”? The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is in us when we are born again, He will give us understanding of the Bible, without the Holy Spirit a person cannot understand the scriptures. It’s time to wake up Church. That’s it. StraightUp!

An Explanation of Contemplative Prayer

This summer has been full including studying and researching for future blog posts. Something that is ravaging the NT Church is contemplative spirituality/spiritual formation and it is HUGE in the Emerging Progressive Missional Church movement, so I decided rather than try to break it completely down myself, for now anyway, I am linking to a video teaching by Ray Yungen because it is excellent in the information he is providing. I will add some names to be aware of but he gives a few. This is only a partial teaching at a conference. I will try to remember to post the follow up video as well.

Ray Yungen mentions Brennan Manning, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, others to be aware of are Richard Rohr, Leonard Sweet, Walter Brueggemann, Lesslie Newbiggin. These people have a huge influence on those who lead and promote the Emerging Progressive and Missional Christian movement, this element of Contemplative, New Age Mysticism is what brings so many together who if you were to look at doctrine should actually have nothing to unite around (ecumenism) but this false spirituality will draw the followers in the Emergent movement together because like Ray says, it does away with the biblical gospel. The true gospel of the Bible is a marker of what Truth is and that is not subjective it is absolute.

If you are in a church teaching or promoting contemplative spirituality/ spiritual formation you need to run! This is not biblical, it is occultism. That’s it. StraightUp!

Hey Caesar, I Don’t Think So!

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I started looking into Caesar Kalinowski back in the summer of 2019 after watching some teaching of his that a pastor had shared on social media and found the teaching to be a bit unbiblical. I have read a couple of his books, listened to many of his podcasts, looked at who he is closely associated with and it is not encouraging. I continue to check out his social media and podcasts from time to time, most is just repeated material (he doesn’t really have much to say just pushing the same garbage in different ways). This is a guy who is influencing hundreds of pastors and leaders in evangelical churches across the country and even a few in my state and that is very concerning. A few weeks ago Caesar did a podcast on “Being Salt and Light in a Divided Culture “. He has some rather unbiblical suggestions for the “Christian” so this post is going to address these things.

One of the first things in this podcast that should be a red flag is Caesar’s mentioning of early Mystics, these are not NT Christians nor did they practice biblical or historic Christianity as we see in scripture. Emergent Missional Progressive Christians today are very much drawn to Catholic practices, Contemplative Spirituality and the like. These are dangerous things to bring into the NT Church. The NT Church’s main and only source of authority and teaching is the Bible, The Word of God, not the writings of early Mystics, not the Catechism or anything else. Another problematic view expressed by Caesar is the ‘drawing closer as humanity’ idea. We are not called to unite humanity (this is the goal of a one world society); not all people belong to God. All people were created in His image as taught in Genesis, but that is it. When Christians try to unite with the world we are unequally yoking ourselves to it and we are told in scripture not to be unequally yoked 2 Cor. 6:14 (not to be in a tight relationship with unbelievers in relationship, business etc.) The idea of uniting humanity is universalism and ecumenical. The Bible says that those who have put faith in Jesus Christ are His children (Gal. 3:26, John 1:12) and those who have not are children of darkness (Eph. 5:8, 1Thess. 5:5). There is no drawing together as humanity because Light cannot mix with darkness. Our culture appears to have many things ‘dividing’ people today, but in reality the heart of the division is good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, the Christian view vs. the secular view. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” That sword is Truth. There is no drawing closer as humanity, the Christian is to be united with other believers not all of humanity.

Along with this idea of drawing closer as humanity is the thought of respecting each other’s differences, which no two people are a like so this is a simple concept, however he is not talking about the natural differences between people, he is talking about racial issues, political issues, gender issues etc. If we would just respect each other’s differences we could draw closer as humanity. Well, no actually. Caesar goes on to encourage his followers to advocate for the underdog and the marginalized regardless of which side of an issue they are on (politically, racially, gender) it sounds really nice, but it is not biblical. Caesar says, “Be an advocate for the underdog. You’re not condoning anything.” Well, actually that is exactly what it means. If I decide to advocate for someone who is on the political side of being pro-abortion, then I am condoning abortion. So what about those on the LGBTQ issue? What about those who are ‘marginalized’ because they are buying into the systemic racism (Marxism which is antithetical to biblical Christianity) propaganda? Christian, YOU CANNOT ADVOCATE FOR THAT WHICH IS IN OPPOSITION TO GOD AND HIS WORD.

To Advocate: a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
He goes on to say the Church is divided (I would also say that he is also speaking about the separation of the evangelical church & the Catholic church), yes it is mostly because many churches are following unbiblical ideas like the social justice gospel (which if you haven’t picked up on it is a subtle undertone in the things Caesar is talking about), you have churches teaching the junk like he is pushing and then you have a few who are trying like crazy to honor God by sticking with a Biblical worldview and choosing to support those who promote the ideals that are most inline with that view. He basically mocks the Church for ‘retreating’ into its Christian bubble and isolating themselves. Speaking out against abortion, taking a stand for the biblical view of sexuality and marriage and rejecting Critical Race Theory is not “retreating into a Christian bubble” it is standing for the truth of who God is and what He says. If you aren’t willing to stand up for that, you are not a born again Christian. Caesar talks about justice and doing good, unfortunately he takes the scriptures that he reads out of context to fit his narrative (as do all emergent missional progressive Christians). People are constantly yelling for justice, just look at the most recent events in the news, it is all about getting justice. The problem is that this ‘justice’ is not biblical justice. God is the root of what is right and just; you cannot have justice without Him. The Bible makes clear that God is a just God; there will be a day that every wrong done to me will be righted, it will be avenged by Him. I don’t have to fight for justice now, it is coming. Justice biblically is about what is right and in most scriptures that speak about it the idea is not taking advantage of people, not cheating people in legal matters (judges not to take bribes or favor one over the other) and we know that we are to show ‘charity’ to those in need, to watch out for widows and orphans, but these things do not mean equality. He talks about erring on the side of grace. (You have to have truth) Without truth then we accept and tolerate sin; Christian, we cannot do that. He also says that repentance means ‘to return’… uh, nope. Repent – Greek (metanoeo) Biblical usage; to change one’s mind; heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. Repentance (metanoia ‘change of mind’) involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; Repentance is making a complete change of direction and walking in righteousness.
Another red flag is Caesar’s continued use of scripture out of context and his constant use of the Message paraphrase. Eugene Petersen the author of the Message was a Emergent Progressive Christian. (The Message removes the following: God’s Holy name, Occult Spirituality, Sinful Nature, Consequences of Occult involvement, Homosexuality and Adultery, Obedience and Grace, Sexual immorality). These removals are why most Emergent Missional Progressive Christians use the Message a lot. The use of this for teaching or anything is a red flag. He talks about Matthew 5:13-16 being the salt and the light… which he uses out of context. The disciples (therefore believers) as salt we are supposed to purify a corrupt world (not be like it) through righteous living and the proclamation of the gospel. (not what he is promoting in the podcast) he tries to make this about ‘grace’ all grace no truth.

A light to the world that Jesus’ disciples (therefore believers) are to be an extension of His ministry, they and now us keep it going, His ministry of carrying salvation (the gospel) to the ends of the earth. If a disciple or believer is not proclaiming the gospel of salvation he is not a true disciple. (let that sink in) what are you hearing in your churches today? As a light to the world the disciple should no more hide his righteousness or the gospel message than a lit up city at night should turn off the lights. The gospel of Jesus Christ is meant for all people (regardless of ethnicity, wealth or lack of) and our good deeds (being a godly husband, wife, parent, friend, in how we conduct business, helping someone in need etc.) are a reflection of our righteousness (right living) they are not the means to our righteousness (they do not save us) Eph. 2:8-9. It is not about grace. It is about living for the Lord rightly and letting what is in us come out in doing good (which takes different forms).

Then he used Matthew 25:40 out of context. He tries to say that when we do good to the least (the underdog and the marginalized) that we are showing love to Jesus…not what this passage is about at all. Caesar makes a comment in regard to people like me who point out that brothers and sister are fellow Christians not everyone, well this passage doesn’t support his statement at all. This is a passage where Jesus is speaking about the coming judgement where He will separate the sheep from the goats. Understand, this is still yet to come. Christians don’t gain heaven by good deeds, they are a reflection or evidence of those who are righteous and belong to Christ, a lack of good deeds shows that one is among the goats. Okay. The idea that Caesar is saying that when we stick up for the underdog we are doing it to the ‘least of these’ is bogus. “You did it to the least of these brothers (depending on translation) sisters of Mine” deeper study and even in my study Bible that has Emergent garbage in it speaks to this indicating that Jesus had in mind Jewish believers, especially those who suffer persecution during the Tribulation (the Tribulation is about God’s judgement on Israel) and who receive help and comfort from Gentile believers at that time. This is why He says, “If you do it unto the least of these you do it unto Me” they are believers and even more they are Jews, His people. Verse 40 indicates that these acts of kindness are rendered especially (not exclusively) to Jews and to believers in general. If you study further in the passage (you know for complete context and understanding which Emergent Missional Progressives don’t do) this is still speaking of the judgement to come; those who are not true believers in the Tribulation will not show kindness to believers whether they are Jewish or Gentile, this will also show that those “believer’s” have no connection to Jesus Christ. Their destination is with the goats into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels, which is enlarged for all who are apart from Christ. The only thing we can truly take from this in context is, be there for others in the Body of Christ first…in scripture it is always about the Body of Christ first, then others. We should do prison ministry, help the poor and needy but those things don’t equal social justice and they are never apart from the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ.

If your church, pastors, leaders are using or promoting Caesar’s teaching or are being coached by him, you need to get it out or you need to get out. Church, we cannot ever advocate for that which is in rebellion to God and His Word if we do, we are not His. That’s it. StraightUp!

This was republished to do a syncing cliché.

Be Holy As I AM Holy

A few weeks ago, I was hit with the verse in 1 Peter 1:16 that commands, “Because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY’.” I asked the Lord, “How has the Church forgotten this?” Sadly, it’s because the Church has decided to be likeable to the unsaved world, to culture, rather than be true to the Word of God. Churches, and those who lead them, have chosen to believe that God can use false teaching, so it is no longer imperative to separate the Church from those who are unbiblically sound.
We know this is a wrong attitude regarding false teaching in the Church. The Word of God gives multiple warnings regarding being aware and alert of false teachers. The reality that God can use anything He chooses does not negate the fact that the Church is supposed to reject it and those who promote and teach it. Basically, we (the Church) are supposed to separate ourselves from those who are unbiblically sound in what they teach (Matthew 7:15; Romans 16:17; Galatians 1:9; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:10-11). Instead, our churches continue to use and follow ideas, methods, and concepts that totally lead the Church into a culture friendly, biblically weak direction that is far from “Being Holy for I am Holy”.

“BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY” is a command to be set apart. It is the idea of being consecrated unto the Lord (Leviticus 20:7, 26). SET APART: To make someone or something different and special; or to keep something separate in order to use it for a particular purpose. The Church has one purpose: to represent Christ in sharing the Gospel. The purpose of the command to “Be Holy as I am Holy” – this separation, this action of moving or being moved apart, is so that those who profess faith in Jesus Christ hold fast to the ways of righteousness through Christ and that we grow in our salvation, our faith and our personal purity (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1). We are supposed to act, speak, live differently from those in the world around us, in our communities, wherever we are. We are to live set apart for the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we don’t interact with the unsaved or reach out to them. We must do this, but we must be doing it according to God’s standards.

We need to limit or even avoid relationships, activities, and behaviors (maybe even with those in the Church) that will cause us to compromise God’s commands and standards (1 Corinthians 5:9-11; Romans 12:2). See, when the Church begins to function with a goal of being “culturally friendly”, it stops being set apart. It stops being a representative of the Jesus of the Bible. Emerging Missional Progressive Christianity is a great picture of failing to really represent the Jesus of the Bible. The “thought leaders” of the EMC/PC are all about being like the world. It’s all about culturally friendly church; everyone is welcome. No one is kept out. That is not biblical. The invitation given by God is all inclusive; however, to actually walk through the door is extremely exclusive (John 3:16).

When Churches, and those who lead them, stop following the Word of God because it makes Christianity “harsh”, or because actually just giving people the gospel might cause rejection, or it makes the Christian look and feel weird, etc. Or, if they prefer to follow men like Caesar Kalinowski, Alan Hirsch, Hugh Halter, Brian McLaren, Brandon Hatmaker, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Creo Collective and so many others who promote an all-inclusive Christianity that lets everyone be who they are and do what they want to do, it is no longer biblical Christianity and makes it impossible to follow the command “TO BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY”. Pastors and leaders need to get back to a biblical reverence of God so that those who sit under them might actually understand that we are all, as those who follow Christ, accountable to God.

The old worship song Refiner’s Fire is such a great prayer for those who truly want to live set apart for Jesus…who want to be consecrated to Him. There is a line that says, “I CHOOSE to be holy, set apart for you Lord”. Do whatever it takes to get free of false teaching. Get back to the scriptures. Throw out heretical resources. Today, choose to be set apart for Jesus. That’s it. StraightUp!