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.

Ecstatic Dance in Evangelical Christianity

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

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!

Photo by Edmond Dantu00e8s on Pexels.com

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.

Missional or Actually Emergent/ Progressive?

Photos from Wikipedia

First, let’s talk about the photo to the right! As you can see the internet label above the photos says, “The Emergent Church leaders” that’s right. These are some of the more prominent leaders of the Emerging Missional Church Movement. The top first two (Brian McLaren and Rob Bell) seem to get a lot of space from those trying to warn the Church to avoid them since they are extremely heretical and in reality probably not even born again Christians. The third one on the top, gets some attention as well, and again he (Doug Pagitt) is extremely heretical and likely not a born again Christian. Some of you might be saying, “you don’t know if they are saved or not..” actually, research them and you will understand the statement. The other two guys on the bottom are Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch…yes! Alan Hirsch is an EMC leader! See one of the things that has made researching the EMC over the past year a challenge, is the reality that there are more than one stream of it, but all of the streams focus on being “missional”. A short background on Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, they are considered to be “Deconstructionist” (or in another term, Progressive Christians) basically, they flat out reject much of scripture, use scripture out of context when they do use it, practice contemplative spirituality, are LGTBQ affirming, all that, Like I said before, you can do your own in depth research.

I’m going to focus on Alan Hirsch for now, since he has a great amount of influence on EFCA pastors and leaders through the group Creo Collective. Alan Hirsch is South African with ties to Australia, and is one of the most prominent teachers of being “missional” and for his teaching of APEST (which would be a whole other post) – he is what is known as a Reconstructionist in the EMC stream. What is the desire of this Reconstructionist? The church is irrelevant in their (Reconstructionist) opinion so the church needs to change to meet the needs of the changing culture (even though the Church was never called to do this), so we have the push and the expertise of Alan Hirsch to be ‘missional’ and incarnational. Include everyone, exclude no one. A bigger picture of what this looks like is having conversations rather than evangelize, do works, social justice, utilize spiritual formation (contemplative spirituality…which is new age/Eastern Orthodox Mysticism) and some Emergent/Progressive Christians like Shane Claiborne promote monastic community (this comes from following the Desert Fathers – Catholic). Here is the thing NONE of this is NT Christianity.

There is a reason these things are not apart of the NT Church, they are actually influenced by the Eastern Orthodox Church which draws from 2nd – 3rd Century ‘Church Father’s’ rather than the Word of God itself, contemplative spiritual practices are common place, as well as many elements of Catholicism (which this stumped me for awhile) but Hirsch has an Orthodox view of scripture and the gospel so these things highly influence this movement. I will say of many other EMC leaders, they also have these same leanings. So, is it ‘missional’, Emergent, or Progressive? Yes! Actually, it is all the same movement. The Emergent and Progressive movements are intertwined, some a little more extreme than others. Those like Alan Hirsch follow and endorse those such as Brian McLaren. There is no separation due to heresy or apostasy as the Bible says there should be. No, these people support each other in the ‘mission’. According to David Fiorazo an author, speaker and radio host who has written on the Emerging Church confirms the Emergent movement has morphed into what we are seeing as the Progressive Christian movement. The Progressive movement reject the authority of literal interpretation of scripture therefore sound teaching of scripture is not important.

Even Creo Collective, the group for missional minded pastors in the EFCA (which is welcoming not affirming of LGTBQ), is following this Progressive movement. In September, they held teaching on the ‘Early Church’ (apostolic teaching, creeds, confessions, catechisms, early church fathers and mothers)… this is CATHOLICISM. All of these things are rooted in the Catholic traditions NOT in NT Christianity. This is ecumenism pure and simple. More clearly, this is turning evangelical churches into heretical churches. Neither the Eastern Orthodox Church nor the Catholic Church are the NT Church. The Bible gives all the information we need to see and know what the NT Church is and how it is to function. You can not bring people to Jesus with a biblical gospel, when the basis of what you believe, teach and promote are not aligned with the Word of God. Might there be some in these movements and the Catholic faith who have heard a biblical gospel and have been born again? Yes, this is possible, however their leadership are compromising with secular culture instead of being faithful to true biblical teaching.

This movement is full of mud puddles of doctrine and heresies. Alan Hirsch and many like him are Dominionist and Amillenial in their end time eschatology. The Bible is clear on the end time events, so even in this, our churches and leaders are being influenced with unbiblical doctrines. These things have to matter or we are going to find ourselves far away from our desired destination. That’s it. StraightUp!

If you know nothing about Progressive Christianity, checkout Alisa Childer’s new book Another Gospel…it will be a starting point.

Missional Church – Why You Should Say No Thanks

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you are a Christian you may of heard something about being “missional” or on “mission”, these are basically the concept or methodology of the Emerging Church Movement. There are those who will argue that is not so, but I have done enough research over the past year to know that it is in fact the Emerging Church. However, for the sake of those who may choose to argue, I am going to leave it this way, the theology of being “missional” is heavily tethered to the EMC. Everyone who teaches, trains or writes about being “missional” are EMC leaders and influencers. That in of itself is a problem.

First, what does it mean to be “Missional”? It comes from the idea of missio Dei God’s mission to the world, working to restore and heal creation. (this should already be raising a red flag). The furthered idea that the Church is on “Mission” for this purpose. This idea that God’s mission was/is to restore all of creation is not a Biblical concept, it is Kingdom Now theology and Replacement theology. God does not need our help to solve the issues of societies all across the globe before He will come and receive His Kingdom from us, fallen, wretched, humans and the promises of God to Israel, are for Israel not the Bride of Christ…the Church. God did not send Jesus to restore creation; God sent Jesus to save humanity, sinners, people!!! The way the EMC/Missional church takes the focus off the redemption purpose of God sending His only Son and making it about Jesus being “sent” totally removes the cross and its purpose for humanity from the Church…nothing matters but WHY Jesus was sent! Why do they do this? The reason was very well articulated by Dr. A. Taylor back 1960 (yes, this is not a new thing, just a more visible one) in The Presbyterian Journal where he wrote, “Missions’ in the traditional concept, suggests outreach. One goes out to another who is outside until he is brought in. ‘Mission’ on the other hand suggests in-reach. One reaches across to a neighbor who is already a brother within, but not yet ‘identified’ or ‘committed’.” What?!!!! Yet, that is exactly what is being taught today. People like Caesar Kalinowski and others, who teach that we should love everyone as family, everyone is a brother or sister…well, not according to the Bible. Yes, every human is created in the image of God, but the Bible is very clear when it comes to speaking about who is or is not a child of God. In fact, the Bible tells us that those who do not put their faith in Jesus Christ are children of the world, they are enemies of God. The basic idea in the “missional” movement is that the traditional way of going out and sharing the gospel as commanded in the Great Commission is no longer its purpose. The church’s purpose is to include everyone, which is extremely ecumenical and even universalistic. The unity of the NT Church is based on the gospel not anyone or any organization that labels itself “Christian” – there is an obligation to sound Biblical doctrine when we unite with others who call themselves Christians and when that is not there, we should not be uniting.

The other big common thing you hear from the EMC/Missional Church is being “incarnational”, “transformational”, “living sacrificially” all to transform the world. There is a shift from Holy Spirit led proclamation of the gospel to a man centered inspired gospel. These people use all the Biblical terminology but the substance is very different. Lesslie Newbigin, who is very influential in the EMC/Missional movement saw the church as God’s embassy in a specific place; “It will be a community that does not live for itself but is deeply involved in the concerns of its neighborhood. It will be the church for the specific place where it lives, not the church for those who wish to be members of it.” Here is the thing, the Church was not called to change the culture of local communities, it was not called to change culture in a larger global scale. The Church was given one purpose, preach the gospel and make disciples. Basically, when you live on mission and incarnationally, you are living a relationships based (hyper friendship evangelism), conversational, good works (this includes social justice) false Christianity. If you do good works and don’t share the gospel, all you have done is humanitarian work, you are not even being a witness for Jesus Christ. Why would God need our good works to transform the world? The Bible tells us that our (humanity) goods works are as filthy rags (I will let you look deeper into that and understand exactly what is meant) our good works don’t even do anything for us.

There is so much I can write about this, but I am just hoping to provide a snap shot so that if you find yourself connected to a church or a ministry that is pushing the “missional” stuff… you need to realize that it is moving away from Biblical Christianity and you need to reject it. The Bible tells us that in the last days the world is going to wax worse and worse, violence will increase, suffering will increase, disasters, disorder, death it is all going to increase and get worse and part of the reason for that is God’s judgement on a rebellious world, the world is not going to get better, it is going to get worse! Have you looked at what is happening all over these days…we need to wake up! We need to stand for a Biblical gospel that is true to the purpose of why God sent Jesus to earth otherwise we are going to find ourselves in a totally different end than we had anticipated.

Quick thoughts as to why you should say no thanks to the Missional, incarnational concept of Christianity:

  1. Based on Kingdom Now/Dominionist theology.
  2. Man Centered works focused/social justice gospel
  3. Does not follow Biblical end time eschatology
  4. Replacement theology (Church replaces Israel)
  5. Doesn’t follow Biblical concept of community.
  6. It is ecumenicalism and universalism.
  7. Incarnational spirituality is no different than New Age incarnational spirituality.

It just isn’t Biblical. Just say NO. That’s it. StraightUp!

A New Kind of Christianity – What?

Have you heard this? Maybe you have heard something like one of these – “A new way of being Christian”, “Reinventing the Church”, or “Re-Imaging Christianity”. You might be saying yes or you might be shaking your head no and thinking what?! These are statements you will hear from “evangelical Christians” (Those who are connected to the Emerging “Missional” Church movement) who think that the Church needs to change in order to be more relevant to today’s society and culture, but actually, it is all a bunch of false gibberish, ideas, philosophies, concepts and methods that are not biblically sound. There is only one way to be a Christian (through repentance and a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), that doesn’t change and the Word of God doesn’t change because God doesn’t change. (Hebrews 13:8) the Word of God and the Gospel are just as relevant today as they have ever been- that will NOT change! Whether a society accepts God’s Word as absolute Truth or not, the fact remains that it IS!

So, what does something like “A new way of being Christian” mean? Well, it means being a culturally friendly Christian. It means softening the Gospel so you don’t have to feel weird or sacrifice a friendship because you shared the Gospel and someone got offended, so now you have one less friend. What does this soft gospel look like? The Story of God (A summary of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation). Sorry but this is NOT the biblical Gospel! Jesus never commanded the disciples or us to go share the “Story of God” – Jesus never shared the Story of God. Jesus told people, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.” When we soften the Gospel so that we don’t offend people, we are denying who Christ really is and what He really did on the Cross. The Word of God tells us, that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. (Matthew 10:33) Think about that! Jesus will DENY you before His Father if you deny Him before men- that should scare the milk duds out of you! The only thing that is relevant in any culture at any time is the Word of God and the biblical Gospel, Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Repent and call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved – that’s it.

One such person who promotes The Story of God in his book The Gospel Primer is Caesar Kalinowski. Now there are many things with this guys overall “doctrine” that should raise flags, but for now I am going to focus on this book. It is not biblically sound. Just the concept of learning and telling the story of God over the pure biblical Gospel is not biblical. This book, which I have read through, has a few things that should send up red flags, as if any more are needed beyond the obvious. Personally, this book sounds like nothing more than conditioning. It is all about getting you, the Christian, to second guess what you believe and to get you to rethink what and how you should be sharing the “gospel” – Pg. 65 He writes, “But if we want to tell our stories in ways that others who have not learned this UNUSUAL DIALECT will relate to and connect with, we need to RETRAIN ourselves to proclaim the gospel using language that communicates good news in words that the listener will understand.” Um, NO!!! Sharing the Gospel as demonstrated in scripture is NOT hard to understand, it is offensive!(1 Cor.1:18) … and we can’t have that now can we? (that is sarcasm) We do not get to change that! The Gospel is not meant to make people feel good or even happy. There is a cost to following Jesus.

On another page 1.1 he writes “In a nutshell, we can sum it up this way: The gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and renew creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Why does creation (which includes you and me) need rescuing? Because of sin. There is a huge problem in this, this is kingdom now theology and it is not biblical. Jesus did not live, die and resurrect to rescue and renew creation, Jesus died and rose again to redeem HUMANITY from SEPARATION from God because of SIN. This planet we live on is His provision to sustain His creation (you, me and every other human) but He did not shed His blood to save the earth. In this same section, he writes, “In order to effectively equip our missional community to be “fluent” in the gospel (he isn’t talking about the biblical gospel), we will need to create a culture where it is normal to speak the gospel to each other regularly, naturally.” This is conditioning! If you hear something enough and do it enough, you can convince yourself it is right. This is not! Then there is the whole concept of being “missional” the main concept of the Emerging Church. No where in scripture are we told to be incarnational or missional. They are not biblical concepts. They are however, the idea of people who think they have figured out a better way to be Christian. This book is published by Missio Publishing, a publisher for emerging and progressive Christians like Brandon Hatmaker. The editor of this book is Hugh Halter (check out his FB page) who is also an Emerging Missional Church leader who is endorsed by Brian McLaren another Emerging Missional guy (Google him or even find him on YouTube…this guy is NOT a Christian). The Word of God says we are to have NOTHING to do with false teachers. Caesar is surrounded by them. That’s it. StraightUp!