Churches Leading Their Sheep Astray

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There are many things in todays evangelical churches that are actually leading Christians away from Biblical Christianity. Things like the social justice gospel, CRT, the Emerging Churches thinking of being “missional” basically redefining how to be a Christian (which you cannot change without changing the gospel), pursuing ecumenicism, affirmation of LGTBQ and in some denominations welcoming LGTBQ, moving away from teaching the scriptures soundly to telling stories, motivational speeches, and using scripture out of context to fit unbiblical agenda’s for the church, and utilizing spiritual formation or by its truer name, contemplative spirituality (Centering/Listening prayer, Breath prayer, Lectio Divina, spiritual guides etc.) and still so much more. The interesting thing is, all of the above are unbiblical elements being brought into our churches through pastor’s and leader’s who have aligned themselves with the Progressive/Emerging Church movement. This post is going to focus on Contemplative Spirituality.

If you listen to what Progressive/Emerging Church leaders say in regard to going back to the early church or the ancient church, they are not referring to the NT Church found in scripture, the one in Acts. They actually are referring to “Christians” from after the first century, most often they draw from the Early Desert Fathers and even quote Early Desert Mothers. The scriptures, the inspired Word of God, is the manual for the NT Church period, but many pastor’s and leaders are following men who have combined the Bible with the teachings of many who are not Christian influences, but are Catholic theologians, Jewish theologians, Catholic mystics, Jewish mystics, new age influences etc. This is really problematic for the NT Church and these influences are leading Christians away from Biblical Christianity.

Contemplative spirituality comes from the Early Desert Father’s and Mother’s (beginning around the 3rd century. They focused on austerity, prayer/contemplation, works/social justice…not the Great Commission), they were essentially Roman monastics or monks and nuns. Contemplative spirituality is really monastic mysticism which the Desert Father’s and Mother’s took from Eastern Religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, and is essentially the same spirituality used in the New Age/New Thought spirituality. Contemplative or Mystical practices have been a long standing integral part of the Eastern Orthodox Church (Catholic) and Roman Catholic churches, and focuses on “stillness” and “silence”… these practices are not rooted in scripture, nor are they rooted in the early NT church. So, why are our churches introducing us to unbiblical practices? Honestly, the only thing I can come up with is a lack of discernment. These practices are demonic and are dangerous, but more and more churches are introducing them to its people. Not to long ago I saw an event advertising this very thing not to far from where I am located. The thing with contemplative spirituality is it focuses on experience by utilizing pagan religious ways and these open the mind up to spiritual influences that are in opposition to the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches the NT Christian to seek God through prayer and through scripture by setting our minds toward God, conscious minds and hearts not with an empty mind. The NT Christian is filled with the Spirit of God and we don’t have to use false spirituality to gain access to Him, if we are truly seeking Him we will find Him, He will make himself known to us and we do this to grow in the intimacy of a personal relationship with Him! (Jer. 29:13, Ps. 63:1, Matt. 7:7, Ps. 34:4) We are not (or should not be) seeking some higher spiritual plane that we can only get to by being silent and empty minded. This is so dangerous. Matt. 6:7 tells us not to use vain repetitions when we pray because that is what heathens do. This can also mean chants or mantras these are apart of contemplative prayer and are not Biblical.

So, who are some contemplative spirituality influences impacting evangelical churches? Richard Rohr (Catholic Mystic), Richard Foster (Quaker Mystic), Thomas Merton (Catholic Mystic who draws from Buddhism), Brother Lawrence (Carmelite Monk), Henri Nouwen (Catholic Mystic), Leonard Sweet (Emerging Church Leader/New Age), Tilden Edwards (Founder of Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation), Brian McLaren (Progressive/EMC Leader), Dallas Willard (Philosopher/Spiritual Formation), Brennan Manning (author/Laicized priest), Thomas Keating (Catholic Monk). There are many more that can be mentioned and their influence into our churches through the Emerging Missional Church/Progressive Christianity is nuts! The influence of contemplative spirituality is Catholicism and Eastern Religion, it is demonic and not Biblical. I encourage you to watch out for it and to reject it. It has no place in the NT Church or in the practice of NT Christian’s. That’s it. StraightUp!

Not All God’s Children

Something I keep hearing and even seeing from those who push the social justice agenda and even those who consider themselves Christians pushing the social justice gospel is, “We are all God’s children.” To be blunt, No, we are not. That is bad doctrine that is causing a lot of trouble for the Church today.

“We are all different. Yet we are all God’s children. We are all united behind this country and the common cause of freedom, justice, fairness, and equality. That is what unites us.” – Barbara Boxer

This statement is in total opposition to the Word of God. Yes we are all different, in many ways as God designed each person to be, but that doesn’t make us all God’s children. “But to all who did receive Him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God.” John 1: 12-13. There are thousands of people who acknowledge the concept of God, but don’t necessarily know Him and as these verses from John shows, to be a child of God, requires believing and receiving Him (Jesus), so no we are not all children of God. (Gal. 3:26, Rom. 8:16-17, 1 John 3:1. Rom. 5:10) Those who don’t know Jesus are enemies of God, not children of God. More specifically, the Bible tells us that those who don’t know God are children of darkness, of the devil. (1 John 3:10, Eph. 5:8). True followers of Christ are called to be separate from the world, which is the devil’s playground for now, we are to come out of the darkness and into the light of Jesus Christ by putting our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, those who have done this are Children of God, they are our brother’s and sister’s, our family in Christ.

This quote I shared covers the wide space that many Progressive, Emergent Missional Christians spout, not only do they confuse the fact that we are all created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) with the false doctrine that we are all God’s children, they also don’t understand that biblical freedom is freedom from the slavery of sin because of the blood of Christ. It is not about worldly freedom. They have unbiblical concepts of justice and equality, but even more in their thinking that “We are all God’s children” it is these unbiblical concepts that unite us, but according to the Word of God, His children are united in His Son Jesus Christ. His life, death on the cross and His resurrection are what unite those who believe and receive Jesus. It is these who are Children of God. That’s it. StraightUp!

The mind set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom. 8:7-8 (Read the rest 9-11).

The Weight of Influence

Why does influence matter? Do you ever ask yourself this question? I have come to realize that influence does matter – it matters a lot! Have you ever wondered how strong, biblically sound Believer’s end up veering off the narrow way into a very wide ditch? I have asked God this question more times than I can remember and you know what He has shown me – INFLUENCE. Just because someone starts out solid in their Christian faith does not mean they will end that way if the people they allow to influence them are not sound, it will eventually have a negative impact on them as well. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived; Evil company corrupts good habits.” or “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” This is about influence. It matters! I have been thinking about some of the people who have influenced me as a Believer over the years, and you know what I have realized? Many of them have allowed some sort of unbiblical thinking or practice into their “Christianity” most likely because of someone who has had a spiritual influence on them. Some of these are pastors or ministry leaders and yet someone has had enough influence over them that now they are not completely inline with sound doctrine, and they teach that to those under their authority. Have they forgotten that pastors and leaders are held to a higher standard of accountability before the Lord? I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Our influence as Believer’s in Jesus Christ carries a great amount of responsibility. Why are so many so easily or willing to accept teaching that contains error? Why do we need to learn from those who teach a mix of truth and error? A little error makes it all error! Gal. 5:9. The Bible says that we are to have nothing to do with those who teach false teaching or promote false teaching.

2 John 7 “Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-Christ.” 2 John 9 “Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching, but goes beyond it does not have God.”

Yet, there are people all over the place being influenced by such teaching right now – today!!! The Bible says that such people are to be accursed – under a curse. That’s intense! There is weight and responsibility to who is influencing us and how we are influencing others. The Lord brought the title for this blog to mind about a week ago. I wasn’t really sure where He was going with it so I have been praying asking Him, “What are you getting at?” He gave me real life flesh and blood answers! In the course of a few days this is how He answered – I had a CCM artist pop up in my social media news feed and she was joyfully promoting a new book she was just getting started on written by a Progressive Christian pastors wife. A post prior to that one showed this same person demonstrating contemplative prayer. This CCM artist is followed by thousands of women and now her influence to these women has done two things: 1. gave a thumbs up to Christian women regarding this progressive Christian as someone good to read and follow. 2. She introduced a spiritual practice to these women that is not of God and not biblical, so now all these women see that “it’s all good”…No it’s not. Then another day, a church connected to a friend of a friend, shared a book by a contemplative spiritualist on their social media for those in their church to find after a pastor had apparently promoted it. WHY??? This stuff is not biblical!

So, as I have thought on and prayed about “the weight of influence” this is where the Lord has brought me. Pastor’s, leaders, mentors, etc. who is influencing you? Do you take the time to research the people you are listening to, watching, quoting, studying? Do you know that most of the “leaders” that impact pastor’s and leaders today are not biblically sound? How can I say that? Research…lots of it.

So again, do you know who is influencing you? Do they use basic Christian lingo (Jesus, gospel, discipleship etc.) but on a deeper level believe and promote the social justice gospel/cultural marxism? Do they believe and promote universalism and ecumenicalism? Do they believe and promote contemplative spirituality/spiritual formation/mysticism? Do they believe and promote the idea of being missional or incarnational? Do they believe and promote the story of God narrative over the Biblical gospel? Do they believe and promote relational evangelism (cultural Christianity) over Biblical evangelism? Do they believe and promote a prosperity gospel/WOF? Do they believe and promote the idea that the Church is to dominate all major areas of society and change the culture? There is so much more…but if you are saying yes to any of these, you are being influenced by false teachers. Why? The Bible doesn’t tell us to filter out the false teaching, it tells us to reject it. If we cannot find solid, sound, Biblical resources to learn from, then perhaps it is time to focus on the Word of God rather than elevating the thinking and concepts of men above it. There is weight in influence. That’s it. StraightUp!

Don’t Be Duped!

Are you being duped by your church? Does sound doctrine matter? YES! Doctrine in the simplest form is “teaching” and the Word of God is clear that what we teach is to be sound doctrine (teaching), meaning what we are teaching or being taught should not be anything that is not supported by scripture. This includes taking scripture out of context and twisting it to fit an idea, concept, method or philosophy that isn’t found in scripture. Can people teach false doctrine and still proclaim they are about the gospel, discipleship, Jesus? Sure they can, however, it will not lead people to a biblical Jesus or a biblical gospel.

Again, I’m going to pull apart the unbiblical teachings of Caesar Kalinowski – and there are many! You will hear these same teachings from his friends and ministry partners Alan Hirsch and Hugh Halter. (These guys are Emerging Church leaders. Look them up. Their social media alone is very eye opening). One of the main ideas that is taught is the discipling of nonbelievers. This is NOT supported at all by scripture, however, it is the base you need to create a more cultural friendly kind of Christianity. What does Caesar and others use to support such teaching? Well, they don’t have any scripture to support this idea, so they say the disciples were pre-converted. If Jesus discipled nonbelievers then we do too. Again, this is not supported by scripture. Caesar will also say that we disciple nonbelievers because we disciple our kids, but this is NOT supported by scripture either. In any way you look for a definition of a disciple from a biblical perspective, you are going to find that a disciple is a committed follower or learner of Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are neither committed to following or learning the ways of being Christian. (Acts 2:38, 2:41). We know from the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) that the disciples of Jesus (including us) are to go (as you go) preaching/proclaiming the gospel. (they change this out with using the unique language of the Story of God – NOT the gospel). We are to see others come to be followers and learners of Christ..that is NOT unbelievers. Now, however, scripture DOES support the disciples being true followers of Jesus. Jesus’ call to the disciples wasn’t “Hey, come pray this prayer and be my disciple” it was “FOLLOW ME” and these men obeyed Him immediately- they LEFT EVERYTHING! (Matt. 4:18-22. Repeats in Mark 1:18) Then Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) in Mark 2:14 with the same command “FOLLOW ME” and up he went immediately. Later we find Jesus with his specific group of men from whom we have the 12 apostles. (Mark 3:13-19).

“Jesus’ call to come follow him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer- it was a summons to let go of their lives and find a new life in Him and for Him.” – Unknown

Perhaps the disciples were actually more correctly converted disciples than those of us today. Who or what have you given up to follow Jesus? What has it cost you? Something to think about. For them the call was “Follow Me” the act of faith was getting up, leaving everything behind and following Jesus. Then, there is the claim that we disciple our kids, so we do in fact disciple nonbelievers. NOPE. This is NOT supported by scripture either. God’s Word tells us to TRAIN up our children (Prov. 22:6), not disciple them; these are two very different ideas. Most Believers would understand that the point of discipleship is to teach a committed follower how to live their new life in Christ according to God’s Word. The scriptures speak of “training” our kids- in the Hebrew “Khanak” means to dedicate. The same word is also used in regards to dedicating such things as a house, a temple, and an image. (Deut. 20:5, 1 Kings 8:63, Dan. 3:2) however only in Proverbs 22:6 is the verb Khanak translated “train”. Khanak speaks to setting aside, narrowing, or hedging in. So, we are told in scripture to train or even shape our kids so as they grow up they will know and desire to follow Jesus. There is a big difference between shaping our kids to come to Christ and discipling them to walk it out (following Him). The teaching by Caesar and others that the disciples were pre-converted, therefore we disciple nonbelievers is simply unbiblical. The Word of God does not support it. Don’t be duped. That’s it. StraightUp!