(REFORMATION CHARLOTTE) Jonathan Martin is an Emergent pastor out of Tulsa, OK and has authored several books published by Zondervan, including How To Survive a Shipwreck and Help is On The Way. While I think the open-air preachers harped on some minor stuff… they pulled from him he thought Scripture contradicts itself… likewise, he twisted Scripture, and as a pastor he should be living a better life than a “single secular dude.” But what do you expect from the Emergent Movement (my largest chapter in my book in fact). In 2017, Martin was escorted off Liberty University campus for failure to follow the proper event protocol after a concert.
(Originally Posted June 2013)
Over the years I have noticed that Biola is going down a road that is based not in Christ, but in Eastern philosophy. For instance, my first encounter wit this came from an assistant pastor at a church in my town. When I was talking about how contemplative prayer came to our current faith (India, Alexandria, the Desert fathers, Thomas Merton, and then Keating/Nouwen/Foster, and the like), this pastor was shocked, and recommended a book he was studying in a class at Biola entitled, “A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton.” In it you have the christian faith laid into the matrix of Buddhist thought. Over the years since this jaw-dropping encounter with a pastor from a “Biblically conservative” church not seeing any problem with the book HE recommended to me, I have become more interested in where Biola was heading. And over the years they seem to put a stamp of approval on things un-Biblical. The most recent being a video presentation on Biola’s YouTube by Phileena Heuertz. She gave a presentation on, you guessed it, contemplative prayer.
In a question directed at Mrs. Heuertz elsewhere, Janice Kraus asks:
- “I am trying to learn more about ‘Who I am’ and starting to use Mediation for purpose of changing my ways of thinking : Do you have any links for this and How can I find out who am I?”
Mrs. Heuertz responds:
- dear janice, thanks for your honesty. i think we will all spend the rest of our life learning more about who we are. if you like to read, i recommend books by Henri Nouwen, Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr to support your journey. you can also check out my website at www.phileena.com for a list of recommended books and various blog posts that may assist you. ~be well. breath deep.
This response alone is telling. As is her recommended reading list from her site, it is a who’s who of New Age influence and Eastern metaphysics in the guise of Christianese. For instance, let’s deal JUST with Henri Nouwen whom she recommended above, and I wish to quote from my chapter on this topic, IN WHICH I quote from David Cloud’s book (pp. 317-321), Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond (Port Huron, MI: Way of Life Literature, 2008). It touches on a few other characters as well in Phileena’s reading list, like Sue Monk Kidd, but Nouwen’s alignment not with the Good News, but with Eastern metaphysics becomes clear:
Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Roman Catholic priest who taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Notre Dame. Nouwen has had a vast influence within the emerging church and evangelicalism at large through his writings, and he has been an influential voice within the contemplative movement. A Christian Century magazine survey conducted in 2003 found that Nouwen’s writings were a first choice for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy….
Nouwen did not instruct his readers that one must be born again through repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ in order to commune with God. The book With Open Hands, for example, instructs readers to open themselves up to God and surrender to the flow of life, believing that God loves them unconditionally and is leading them. This is blind faith.
“When we pray, we are standing with our hands open to the world. We know that God will become known to us in the nature around us, in people we meet, and in situations we run into. We trust that the world holds God’s secret within and we expect that secret to be shown to us” (With Open Hands, 2006, p. 47).
Nouwen did not instruct his readers to beware of false spirits and to test everything by the Scriptures. He taught them, rather, to trust that God is leading in and through all things and that they should “test” things by their own “vision.” Nouwen claimed that contemplative meditation is necessary for an intimacy with God:
“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without stillness and silence” (quoted by Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ, p. 65).
He taught that the use of a mantra could take the practitioner into God’s presence.
“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart … This way of simple prayer … opens us to God’s active presence” (The Way of the Heart, p. 81).
He said that mysticism and contemplative prayer can create ecumenical unity because Christian leaders learn to hear “the voice of love”:
“Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love. … For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (In the Name of Jesus, pp. 6, 31, 32).
In fact, if Christians are listening to the voice of the true and living God, they will learn that love is obedience to the Scriptures. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
Nouwen, like Thomas Merton and many other Catholic contemplatives, combined the teaching of eastern gurus with ancient Catholic practices. In his book Pray to Live Nouwen describes approvingly Merton’s heavy involvement with Hindu monks (pp. 19-28).
In his foreword to Thomas Ryan’s book Disciplines for Christian Living, Nouwen says:
“[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian and does not hesitate to bring that wisdom home” (Disciplines for Christian Living, p. 2).
Nouwen taught a form of universalism and panentheism (God is in all things).
- “The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being” (Here and Now, p. 22).
- “Prayer is ‘soul work’ because our souls are those sacred centers WHERE ALL IS ONE … It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of THE UNITY OF ALL THAT IS” (Bread for the Journey, 1997, Jan. 15 and Nov. 16).
He claimed that every person who believes in a higher power and follows his or her vision of the future is of God and is building God’s kingdom:
- “We can see the visionary in the guerilla fighter, in the youth with the demonstration sign, in the quiet dreamer in the corner of a cafe, in the soft-spoken monk, in the meek student, in the mother who lets her son go his own way, in the father who reads to his child from a strange book, in the smile of a girl, in the indignation of a worker, and in every person who in one way or another dreams life from a vision which is seen shining ahead and which surpasses everything ever heard or seen before” (With Open Hands, p. 113).
- “Praying means breaking through the veil of existence and allowing yourself to be led by the vision which has become real to you. Whether we call that vision ‘the Unseen Reality,’ ‘the total Other,’ ‘the Spirit,’ or ‘the Father,’ we repeatedly assert that it is not we ourselves who possess the power to make the new creation come to pass. It is rather a spiritual power which has been given to us and which empowers us to be in the world without being of it” (p. 114).
The radical extent of Nouwen’s universalism is evident by the fact that the second edition of With Open Hands has a foreword by Sue Monk Kidd. She is a New Ager who promotes worship of the goddess! Her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine was published in 1996, a decade before she was asked to write the foreword to Nouwen’s book on contemplative prayer. Monk Kidd worships herself.
- “Today I remember that event for the radiant mystery it was, how I felt myself embraced by Goddess, how I felt myself in touch with the deepest thing I am. It was the moment when, as playwright and poet Ntozake Shange put it, ‘I found god in myself/ and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 136).
- “Over the altar in my study I hung a lovely mirror sculpted in the shape of a crescent moon. It reminded me to honor the Divine Feminine presence in myself, the wisdom in my own soul” (p. 181).
Sue Monk Kidd’s journey from the traditional Baptist faith (as a Sunday School teacher in a Southern Baptist congregation) to goddess worship began when she started delving into Catholic contemplative spirituality, practicing centering prayer and attending Catholic retreats.
Nouwen taught that God is only love, unconditional love.
“Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, and disappointment to the One who is love and only love. … [Pray] `Dear God, … what you want to give me is love–unconditional, everlasting love”’ (With Open Hands, pp. 24, 27).
In fact, God’s love is not unconditional. It is unfathomable but not unconditional. Though God loves all men and Christ died to make it possible for all to be saved, there is a condition for receiving God’s love and that is acknowledging and repenting of one’s sinfulness and receiving Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.
Further, God is not only love; He is also holy and just and light and truth. This is what makes the cross of Jesus Christ necessary. An acceptable atonement had to be made for God’s broken law.
In his last book Nouwen said:
“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, New York: Crossroad, 1998, p. 51).
This radical rejection of the major tenants of the Christian Worldview, and acceptance of major tenants within Eastern metaphysics causes all sorts of interpretive problems for Phileena. Take for instance her understanding of the clear thesis/antithesis Jesus sets up in comparing His mission and how the world should understand the absolute worldview entwined in that mission. Here is a great Commentary on these words spoken of in Matthew 7:13:
Here is how Phileena sees it, and it is more about her and her experience than about Jesus and the source for grace:
What makes this personalizing Jesus’ message all-the-more odd is that in reality Phileena believes in some form of universalism — and we know this by the authors and people whom she recommends as well as posting a video of Thomas Keating recently (a small portion of which is below, right) on her front-page of her blog. Making one wonder how universalism is now understood as the narrow way? For instance, let us now deal with Thomas Keating’s universalism:
…Keating combines contemplative practices with humanistic psychology, eastern religion, and New Age, and he has been deeply influenced by his pagan associations.
He believes that man has a “false self” built up through one’s life experiences and this false self is filled with guilt because of a false sense of sin and separation from God. The guilt supposedly is not real and the false self is “an illusion.” The objective of contemplative techniques is to reach beyond this false self to the true self that is sinless and guiltless and already in union with God.
This is a universalistic doctrine that denies the fall and salvation through faith in the substitutionary atonement of Christ.
“As we evolve toward self-identity and full self-consciousness, so grows the sense of responsibility, and hence guilt, and so grows the sense of alienation from the true self which has long ago been forgotten in the course of the early growth period. This whole process of growth normally takes place without the inner experience of the divine presence. That is the crucial source of the false self. … THERE’S NOTHING BASICALLY WRONG WITH YOU, it’s just that YOUR BASIC GOODNESS has been overlaid by emotional programs for happiness which are aimed at things other than the ultimate happiness which is your relationship with God” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).
Keating describes thoughtless meditative prayer in Hindu terms as being united with God in a mindless experience.
“Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, BEYOND THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND EMOTIONS. It is a process of interior purification THAT LEADS, IF WE CONSENT, TO DIVINE UNION” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).
Keating describes centering prayer is “a journey into the unknown” (Open Mind, Open Heart, p. 72).
Keating wrote the foreword to Philip St. Romain’s strange and very dangerous book Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (1990). Keating says, “Kundalini is an enormous energy for good,” but also admits that it can be harmful….
….He recommends that kundalini “be directed by the Holy Spirit.” He postulates that the meditative prayer practices of Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross might have been associated with kundalini energy. Keating concludes by saying: “This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.”
Kundalini is a Hindu concept that there is powerful form of psychic energy at the base of the spine that can be “awakened.” It is called the serpent, is purely occultic, and has resulted in many demonic manifestations.
Keating and the Snowmass Conference published eight “Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding,” including the following.
✦ The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate reality to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, Absolute, God, Great Spirit.
✦ Ultimate Reality cannot be limited to any name or concept.
✦ The potential for human wholeness–or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana–is present in every human person.
✦ Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal or beyond them both
This is blatant universalism, and it is fruit of contemplative spirituality and interfaith dialogue.
Keating is past president of the Temple of Understanding, founded in 1960 by Juliet Hollister. The mission of this New Age organization is to “create a more just and peaceful world” by achieving “peaceful coexistence among individuals, communities, and societies.” The tools for reaching this objective are interfaith education, dialogue, mystical practices, fostering mutual appreciation and tolerance, and promotion of the contempt of global citizenship. ….
This goes a long way to show that Phileena parrots (see right) the universalist line that incorporates Eastern metaphysics into its ethos. And it should be yet ANOTHER wake up call to Biola… the question is, who is listening over there?
In another portion of a video presentation by Phileena, she mentions the types of prayers under contemplative practices, as well as giving a partial history or etymology of the practice. She forgot, however, to include that before the desert mothers and fathers the practice came first through/from India through Alexandria, to these early “mystics.”
….In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They are known to history as the Desert Fathers. They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks who promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. One meditation scholar made this connection when he said:
The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East … the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery.
Many of the Desert Fathers, in their zeal, were simply seeking God through trial and error. A leading contemplative prayer teacher candidly acknowledged the haphazard way the Desert Fathers acquired their practices:
It was a time of great experimentation with spiritual methods. Many different kinds of disciplines were tried, some of which are too harsh or extreme for people today. Many different methods of prayer were created and explored by them.
Attempting to reach God through occult mystical practices will guarantee disaster. The Desert Fathers of Egypt were located in a particularly dangerous locale at that time to be groping around for innovative approaches to God, because as one theologian pointed out:
[D]evelopment of Christian meditative disciplines should have begun in Egypt because much of the intellectual, philosophical, and theological basis of the practice of meditation in Christianity also comes out of the theology of Hellenic and Roman Egypt. This is significant because it was in Alexandria that Christian theology had the most contact with the various Gnostic speculations which, according to many scholars, have their roots in the East, possibly in India.
Consequently, the Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere–anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus. A current practitioner and promoter of the Desert Fathers’ mystical prayer still echoes the logical formulations of his mystical ancestors:
In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions … What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent … this is important to remember in the face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly defining them. If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising … selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.
Do you catch the reasoning here? Non-Christian sources, as avenues to spiritual growth, are perfectly legitimate in the Christian life, and if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will actually impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the Desert Fathers. So as a result, we now have contemplative prayer. Jesus addressed this when he warned His disciples: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do.” (Matthew 6:7)
It should be apparent that mantra meditation or sacred word prayer qualifies as “vain repetition” and clearly fits an accurate description of the point Jesus was making. Yet in spite of this, trusted evangelical Christians have often pronounced that Christian mysticism is different from other forms of mysticism (such as Eastern or occult) because it is focused on Jesus Christ….
How sad! Where is the adherence to the word and Jesus’ own warnings? Or does experience trump all else in Western Christianity?
The best resource in one-place on this topic is Lighthouse Trails. They have the most books, articles, and media on the matter. Apprising Ministries as well has a in-depth “category” section that helps narrow down topics and people in the movement (right hand column of their site). I recommend also my review of a book used at Biola, as well as my reasons for leaving a church after 12-years of investment (this post is a bit choppy, I apologize). Also, I recommend highly my chapter from my book on the matter as well, it is entitled “Emergen[t]Cy – Investigating Post Modernism In Evangelical Thought.”
UPDATES will appear below here and may include my thoughts to comments made about the above post from FaceBook or elsewhere (I may edit a bit my remarks to make understanding here easier):
(JUMP TO Richard Foster’s crap!)
A fellow bibliophile passes (updated tribute).
Take note that while a solid believing Christian can glean some practical wisdom and life organizing skills from Dallas Willard… this same Christian should be wary of Dallas’ theological bent. Dallas was off in his theology…he was a UNIVERSALIST in the mold of other Emergent theologians:
The following [long] audios comes by way of Chris Rosbrough from PIRATE CHRISTIAN RADIO. They are — again — long, and allow the astute listener some insights into where the late Dr. Willard may have been missing the Gospel target.
But Dallas Willard is not the only person promoting some bad theology via New Age authors and books (like the below) and authors:
I will explain why anyone recommending this work is either ignorant of it’s contents, or theologically soft on cults and the occult. Celebration of Discipline is a New Age book, here are some scans of a couple worrisome parts (CLICK TO ENLARGE IN ANOTHER TAB). Here are pages 27 through 28 from Richard Foster’s book:
And page 170 from the 1st printing (this was changed in later printings):
The Real Roots of the Emergent Church – Updated Director’s Cut (3-hours long!). Here is the videos description:
Dr. Martin was perhaps the 20th century’s greatest defender of the Christian faith and of God’s Word. Though the phrase “Emergent Church” was not even in use yet, in this 1987 clip Martin nailed the exact problem sweeping our churches and theological institutions today.
Postmodernism is often viewed as a reaction to modernism. Some see it as a form of extreme modernism. Basically, it is a radical kind of relativism that denies absolute truth, meaning, and interpretation.
Forerunners. The premodern world (before 1650) stressed metaphysics. The modern period (1650-1950) emphasized epistemology, and the postmodern (1950—present) is focused on hermeneutics. The differences have been expressed in terms of an umpire:
- Premodern umpire: “I call ’em like they are.”
- Modern umpire: “I call ’em like I see ’em.”
- Postmodern umpire: “They ain’t nothin’ till I call ’em.”
The forerunners of postmodernism include Hume’s radical empiricism, Kant’s agnosticism, Kierkegaard’s fideism, Nietzsche’s atheism, Frege’s conventionalism, Wittgenstein’s noncognitivism, Husserl’s phenomenologicalism, Heidegger’s existentialism, and William James’s pragmatism. The postmodernists Jacques Derrida and Paul-Michel Foucault added to this a form of deconstructionism, in which the reader deconstructs the meaning of the author and reconstructs his or her own meaning.
The Reaction to Modernism. Postmodernism can be seen as a reaction to modernism in the following ways:
Unity of thought
Diversity of thought
The Result of Postmodernism. Postmodernism is an outworking of Nietzschian atheism. If there is no Absolute Mind (God), then there is
1. no absolute (objective) truth (epistemological relativism),
2. no absolute meaning (semantical relativism),
3. no absolute history (reconstructionism).
And if there is no Absolute Author, then there is
4. no absolute writing (textual relativism),
5. no absolute interpretation (hermeneutical relativism).
And if there is no Absolute Thinker, then
6. there is no absolute thought (philosophical relativism),
7. there are no absolute laws of thought (antifoundationalism).
If there is no Absolute Purposer, then there is
8. no absolute purpose (teleological relativism).
If there is no Absolute Good, then there is
9. no absolute right or wrong (moral relativism).
In brief, postmodernism is a form of total relativism and subjectivism. At its base, it is a form of antifoundationalism. Foundationalism stressed
1. Law of Existence: “Being is” (i.e., something exists);
2. Law of Identity: “Being is being” (B is B);
3. Law of Noncontradiction: “Being is not nonbeing” (B is not non-B);
4. Law of Excluded Middle: “Either Being or nonbeing” (Either B or non-B);
5. Law of Causality: “nonbeing cannot cause being” (Non-B–/–>being),
6. Law of Analogy: “An effect is similar to its efficient cause” (B—->b).
As antifoundationalist, postmodernism rejects these basic principles of thought. With them it also rejects the correspondence view of truth—that all true statements correspond to reality. Without this foundation and correspondence, one is left in complete agnosticism.
Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 9-10.
- My wife and I were reminissing about Northpark and figured that my time-line was off a bit — and that my date of initial attendance was a bit off. I (and then we) actually attended Northpark for 10-years, not 12… hence the change in the title.
Postmodern, Cultural-Marxism in the Church
My last semester at seminary introduced me to a previously unknown movement within evangelical circles known as the “Emergent Movement.” In reality, it is merely liberal theology repackaged to look like the core of the Gospel… when in fact, it is the jettisoning of core doctrines that are the foundational to the Gospel. 2 Timothy 2:15 reads: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.”
As I said, my introduction to this movement came about at Seminary because of some of the books recommended to me in my syllabus, which led me down a rabbit hole of reading. This trail sparked conversation between one of the new pastors and myself… he assured me that the movement wasn’t all that bad, and that I needed to read up on the topic. So, we had some coffee at my house and we had a cordial meeting and he left me an armful of books. (I will post some of the content and the authors thoughts on salvation — from this armful of books given to me by a pastor from an “conservative evangelical church — in an appendix at the end.)
I read them… Wasn’t all that “bad” ~ my ass.
In one of the books for instance, and this would be important to a well-liked sermon at my old church on core doctrines that one shouldn’t sway on,
This reading led me to other instances like the following November 2004 Christianity Today article written by Andy Crouch, titled “Emergent Mystique,” Rob Bell said,
Merton of course is famously known for saying that he sees “no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” [Monastic Studies, 1969] 7:10).
I can list more instances that threw red-flags up for me, but needless to say I had a coffee infused meeting with my pastor, and I thought we were on the same page. I had a few more short discussions with him and some of the other deacons, but it wasn’t until a young man came up to me and mentioned the book the pastor who handed me the armload of counter-Christian books was using in the men’s college group that I knew I needed to protect my family from bad teaching.
- I do deal with many more of the books handed to me in that original encounter in my chapter on this topic, Emergen[t]Cy – Investigating Post Modernism In Evangelical Thought: But Who Do You Say I Am Rob Bell?
Much like the author I too wore Rage Against the Machine shirts (p. 97 – I think my oldest son still wears some of my old shirts) mainly because I genuinely like the music, and secondly, my reasoning behind wearing Rage Against the Machine shirts was that often times conversation would open up with young people that would lead to me talking about the bands radical Marxist leanings. It was a chance for me to lead these misguided persons towards a healthy-well-balanced understanding of American history and ideals, separated from the Howard Zinn type histories that many of those teaching them would infuse their young minds with. (See my RIP of Zinn’s passing.)
Shane, in contradistinction, wore the shirts of this band with full knowledge of and support for this class warfare idea found only in Marx and Engels manifesto.
I say this confidently only after reading Irresistible Revolution.
In his book, Shane makes the argument that you have to be an atheist to be a Marxist. Besides flying in the face of history this is only a small value in Marxism — granted an important one — however, Marxism is much more than merely a belief in disbelief. or disbelief,in the divine. In fact, the divine is merely transferred to this world in dialectical materialism, and a push for utopia creates the “divine” in man and his anthropogenic fundamentalism… as exemplified in Shane’s writings. Take note as well that I argue that Mormonism is a form of Dialectical materialism and is closer to atheistic Marxist philosophy than to Christianity. Last time I checked Mormonism is riddled with the Divine as is atheistic Buddhism. (In other words, to be “religious” does not require the Divine” as Shane posits.) Not to mention how the Communists (atheists) used religion:
Back to the story. After the young man told me about the book, I purchased my own copy, and began reading it, coming to page 34 I read the following:
This is how the footnote read:
- In appendix 1 at the back of the book, you will find a list of ordinary radicals with whom I enthusiastically redistribute the money I receive from the publication of this book through the Simple Way’s Jubilee Fund.
Here is that appendix:
It didn’t take much time in this appendix, unfortunately, I didn’t have to. The following is some of what I found merely by following the links Shane provided in his book. (I emboldened the main site referenced in Shane’s appendix. Following that I either a) include a quote that represents some positional statement of that site, or b) simply went to that sites “links” section and linked out to whom they recommend themselves. Although I could have listed many links, I think the few I chose make the point. I would say enjoy… but…
Obviously one can see the extreme political nature of this book and how it rejects history for one superimposed by Chomsky and Zinn, as well as in Shane’s continued commentary on the world around him. Lit-sen Chang many years ago foresaw this radical nature of the current emergent movement, as, it incorporates an old lie:
There seems to be a correlation as well in Shane’s book that some are saved because of their works. He mentions in this light, Mother Teresa. I do not know ultimately if Mother Teresa was truly saved or not… only God knows this… that being said, I can say that if Mother Theresa believed the following…
Among the all-too-accessible examples that could be cited, consider the following excerpts (chosen because they are representative of the genre, not because they are outstandingly bad) from Novena Prayers in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a booklet published by the Sisters of St. Basil with official church approval (Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur):
Have pity, compassionate Mother, on us and our families; especially in this my necessity (here mention it). Help me, 0 my Mother, in my distress; deliver me from all my ills; or if it be the will of God that I should suffer still longer, grant that I may endure all with love and patience. This grace I expect of thee with confidence, because thou art our Perpetual Help (p. 5).
We have no greater help,
no greater hope than you,
O Most Pure Virgin; help us, then,
for we hope in you, we glory in you,
we are your servants.
Do not disappoint us (p. 16).
Come to my aid, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; not even from Jesus, my Judge, because by one prayer from thee, He will be appeased. But one thing I fear, that in the hour of temptation, I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace to have recourse to thee, 0 Mother of Perpetual Help (p. 19).
Elliot Miller and Keneth R. Samples, The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1992), 57. An astute reader pointed out that the above actually comes from an Eastern Orthodox liturgy officially authorized for use by the Catholic Church.
…No matter what her good works are or would be, this dedication to other than Christ clearly — according to Scripture — negates the adherent from salvation. There is good evidence that this Marion worship was employed in Mother Teresa’s faith. Shane also talks of and quotes Gandhi approvingly, which seems odd. Odd because Gandhi was a racist and ordered, in racially tainted radio broadcasts, his followers to kill Zulu’s (blacks). Gandhi only used “peaceful” protests with the British because militarily India could not cope with the British and Gandhi was a good politician first and knew where to draw his lines and which strings to pull.
I wish I could say differently, but the book is just bad from beginning to end. Noteworthy as well is that it is not a proper resource for a church to use, at least a church that claims conservative Evangelical mores. Obviously no book is COMPLETELY bad, and there are noble points in it… I mean who wouldn’t want to stamp out poverty worldwide and stop all wars as Shane says? The question for me is: How has this worked in real life? Shane makes a myriad of claims about war and poverty that do not fit reality, but, rather, are closer to some make believe candy-land Utopian dream. To wit I wish to debunk some of Shane’s thinking:
Again, Shane exudes noble ideas in the book. Who could argue the goals? They just may not be very realistic, that’s all. On pages 123-124 you find a portion of what Shane’s “ministry” does on “an average day”:
Unfortunately, this “kingdom now theology” that so infects the Word-Faith Movement and the name it and claim it gospel, also infects the eschatology of the extreme theological Left. Both theologies have the view that Shane enumerates when he encourages us to “take courage, as you will then have more grace as you liberate others” (p. 32). I am sorry, no person can liberate me, they and I are fallen and cannot liberate even ourselves. A great example of this egalitarianism:
Obviously the political and theological tome of this book is very charged, to say the least. (If you need to understand more of my reasoning, or have questions about this post I will be more than happy to talk to you — my email is in my bio section.) As a Mennonite group of churches points out as well, not only is the book politically charged, but missing anything to do with the Gospel. In writing a reason why nine Mennonite churches were withholding their kids from an event that included Shane Claiborne, the The Mennonite Brethren Network mentions the following:
You see, when you forgo the plum-line of Scripture and include practice as your truth… problems tend to follow. As I was looking for new churches, I started to attend what was billed as a conservative Reformational/Bible based church. At this church I was attending to find a new home church I was in conversation with an elder/assistant pastor when I mentioned Thomas Merton, to which he replied he loved Merton! Not only that but that a class he was taking at Talbot was using a Merton “biography” (of sorts) in class. He then said he didn’t see anything wrong with the book or Merton. So, I purchased the book and read it.
- And this is the current state of the church apparently, not discerning enough on important doctrinal areas, and making some issues that are in house debates front-and-center.
There was a gentleman, who I am still friends with from North Park (the church I left) who contacted me, this is our conversation on FaceBook that included a couple of people:
Part of Convo One:
Another friend mentioned that this should be handled in a more private manner I mentioned in parts the following:
Part of Convo Two:
Before we make it to my old “Afterward, I left all this up (above and below) because it is and has been a great help to those seeking a healthy-well balanced church in our Valley, as well as providing others who are in need of some resources to better respond to this nonsense in their home church. So I am both happy that this has been a good resource for some, but sad I even had to write it. Take note that both Pastor Dave and I agree on the facts of the case… but acting on and believing the facts are two entirely different things.
There was a final meeting between myself and pastor Dave White of NorthPark Community Church. After this meeting I wrote a caveat that I have not rejoined North-Park. The church has continued its slow decent away from doctrine and closer to unhealthy relationships.
This is basically a history of philosophy ending with the pseudo-hermeneutics of the Emerging Church movement.
Find Bill here: http://www.havenministry.com
This is via TrueFreeThinker (TFT)… whom I recommend with one reservation [and I hate that I have to do this]: TFT has a deeply flawed view of the New World Order type conspiracies. I was where TFT was about 22-years ago, so I sympathize. But other than that, TFT has GREAT resources available for the skeptic as well as the believer.
This will be a very basic introduction to why many — like myself — believe apologetics to be very important in the believers life. A “WHY APOLOGETICS 101,” so-to-speak.
What is the word “apologetic” even mean? How do we defining the word, Biblically. Apologetics is explaining to the non-believing friends, co-workers, family, the soundness of the Christian collection of beliefs about life and the universe in easy to express ways that allows co-operation of our created will and intellect with the Holy Spirit in evangelizing those around us. We are not robots under God’s divine hand (automatons) but individuals whom God works through keeping our personality intact in sharing the Gospel effectively and showing how Christianity stands in stark contrast to competing beliefs around us. The non-believer is not expected to interpret the data of history, psychology, and morality (let alone theology and miracles), as does the Christian. However, he must be given such data as the Christian interprets it… Otherwise he is not being witnessed to by a Christian.
For instance, apologetics should stir ones knowledge base about their own faith and understanding towards positions Christianity naturally takes. Or, what are known as “truth statements,” i.e., “Jesus rose from the grave,” “God exists,” “God changed my life,” “Jesus is not like the Buddha,” “God is creator,” and the like. People often times will stop you at one of those points and ask you to elucidate. You should be prepared to.
Apologetics is one of the steps one takes (should take) in advancing their faith past milk by increases one’s “awareness” about the world in which they live and parts of it we should separate ourselves from. This includes as well aberrant thinking in our own camp.
1) Apologetics helps with correct belief (truth) and in this regard is very important:
Believers may not fully comprehend or may have genuine misunderstandings or even limited exposure to and about Christian truth, but there are doctrinal parameters outside of which a person cannot cross without suffering apostasy and divine judgment. Embracing a false Christ and/or a false’ gospel leads to dire consequences. Paul’s warning to the Galatia church concerning a different gospel dramatically underscores the importance of sound (biblical) doctrine: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8)
2) Christianity as a truth position, a worldview, necessitates an apologetic response:
Christian apologists must take the religions of the world seriously. The effective apologist will come to know other religions and their adherents with an insider’s mastery. Only then can he or she graciously expose a given religion’s flaws in light of essential Christian truth. Not an easy task for the apologist for sure, however, a well-done expose can have a powerful effect. This endeavor seems to be what Scripture calls for in terms of the apologetics enterprise. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
3) Apologetics offers People, deservedly, the proper respect:
As creatures of God, all people bear the imago Dei and therefore have inherent dignity and moral worth. Every person consequently deserves respectful treatment regardless of race, sex, social class, political, or religious belief. Christians are called by God to guard the individual right of others to believe what they choose, whether their particular beliefs are wrong, absurd, or contrary to Christian truth. This regard basically amounts to respecting human personhood, volition, and individual moral responsibility. Christians should even tolerate the practices (religious and otherwise) of others, so long as those practices are legal, moral, and prudential. However, respecting another person’s beliefs must not be misconstrued as approving those beliefs. Christians are responsible to use their powers of persuasion to convince others of truth, especially the ultimate truth of, Jesus Christ. While being socially tolerant, Christians must at the same time be intellectually intolerant of conflicting truth claims.
(#s 1-3 are from: Kenneth Richard Samples, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004], 178-180)
Ravi Zacharias tells a story that is worth repeating, it is called “The Bell Tower”:
There’s a story of a man who used to go to work at a factory and every day would stop outside a clockmaker’s store to synchronize his watch with the clock outside. Seeing this routine, the clockmaker finally asked the gentleman, “Excuse me, sir, I see that every day you stop and adjust your watch with my clock. What kind of work do you do?” The man replied, “I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but, I keep the time at the factory nearby, and I have to ring the bell at four o clock every afternoon when it is time for the people to go home. My watch doesn’t work very well, so I synchronize it with your clock.” The clockmaker sheepishly responded, “I’ve got bad news for you. My clock doesn’t work very well either, so I synchronize it with the bell that I hear from the factory at 4:00 every afternoon.” …. Even a clock that doesn’t work may show you the right time twice a day…but it’s not because it’s keeping time.
Adapted from Ravi Zacharias, “Address to the United Nations’ Prayer Breakfast.”
Apologetics is analogous to wearing a pair of glasses:
The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas.
Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 17-18.
Below is a wonderful graphic of what the person seeking to use and learn apologetics properly should look like. It is from the first chapter in a book I am currently reading and it has helped me to understand the delineations (or sub categories) to a healthy, well-balanced study of apologetics. Gregory Ganssle, in the before-mentioned book (Come Let us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics, by-the-by, this is not a good introductory book on apologetics… it is a bit technical), points out the areas of study one might find him or herself in the “theological theme” (tt) of the pyramid:
As one enters into studies on topics like these, red flags may appear in your reading general books by Christian authors. Does this mean you shouldn’t read these books or get information from such people. Not necessarily. It really depends how far they twist major doctrines of the Gospel [Bible]. For instance, would I tell a person (like my wife for instance) not to read Beth Moore? Of course not. I would however, as the spiritual leader of my household, explain some of my “red-flags” I encountered in reading her stuff and mention that an author highly recommended by her is a person I WOULD NOT read. (That being said, as I learn more about what is aberrant, I find my reading of these books has increased for my own personal apologetic studies, not as books that I incorporate into my walk.)
To better explain myself, here is the small portion that sent a red-flag up for me and is found near the end of Beth’s book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (p. 290):
So the question is, 1) who is Brennan Manning that so influenced Beth Moore to have evoked her to [highly] recommend his book, Ragamuffin Gospel? and 2) where does he fall on the major doctrines we hold so dear to? This is where a decent study of theology comes in and should make aberrant teaching smoother to spot. I wish to allow Dr. Norman Geisler to lead off a quick summation of some of the doctrines the postmodern movement Mr. Manning finds himself in the thralls of:
Pastor Gary Gilley, after bullet pointing some of the problems in Manning’s book introduced to many people through Moore’s book, says this:
This short critique (above) by a pastor should send up some warning flares and stir in us an apologetics bent to understand more how these associations can lead a weak Christian astray. For instance, let us “rabbit trail” some positions of this Catholic mystic. Manning recommends highly and even quotes the mystic/New Ager, Beatrice Bruteau in one of his books:
“I AM,” of course, is one of the biblical names of God (Exodus 3:14). Why would Manning recommend Bruteau with no warning if he does not agree with this blasphemy?
This isn’t “guilt by association” — so one knows the difference — it is “guilt by proxy.” A much more powerful legal term.
Merton was a Trappist monk who promoted the integration of Zen Buddhism and Christianity. The titles of some of his books are “Zen and the Birds of the Appetite” and “Mystics and the Zen Masters.” He is of course famous for saying, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” I critiqued Merton because of an associate pastor at a local Bible centered church (in Castaic) saying he loved Merton. Mentioning that his professor at Biola was using a book in class that he didn’t find anything wrong with.Very sad and maddening at the same time. Simple care in learning our doctrines in fun ways (evangelism) can be a big help in leading us away from heresy.
As with many such teachers who gain popularity by tickling ears, Manning overemphasizes the love and grace of God while ignoring His attributes of justice, righteousness and holiness. He teaches that Jesus has redeemed all of mankind. His “good news” is that everyone is already saved. Manning quotes David Steindl-Rast approvingly in his book, The Signature of Jesus (pp. 210, 213-214). Steindl-Rast, a contemplative Roman Catholic priest, said:
Manning quotes Matthew Fox approvingly in two of his books, Lion and Lamb (p. 135) and A Stranger to Self Hatred (pp. 113, 124). Fox says:
Even Manning’s approach to prayer is aberrant. In The Signature of Jesus Manning promotes the dangerous practice of centering prayer, which involves chanting “a sacred word” to empty the mind and allegedly enter into silent experiential communion with God within:
This is a New Age/Eastern concept of prayer.
Not a Christian concept of it.
So where does this example leave us? It leaves us at a couple of places. Some of the critique I use above comes from a book that I would recommend to a friend/believer, but with a caveat. The author can be very legalistic and I would point out that some aspects of how the author applies their understanding of the Gospel is dealt with in Galatians (maybe mentioning Luther’s commentary on Galatians as a resource to better grasp this concept of the freedom we have in Christ). The book is Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, by David Cloud.
Likewise, I am sure the believer who is well moored in the foundational beliefs and how they work themselves throughout our culture can read Beth Moore and glean from it helpful input into one’s faith. Should it be at the top of a recommend list for one God fearing woman to recommend to another, no. Can it be of benefit as a resource for a woman struggling with issues, of course, as long as the person doing the recommending adds a cautionary note. Like I did with my recommended resource.
As one studies all the facets of apologetics, rabbit trails will appear, but in them all remember a key thing, harkening back to Dr. Ganssle when he mentioned that our sinful condition has even effected our reasoning skills. Building on that take note that even if we have thought through a matter, worked on it, got it to line up with orthodoxy and have sound reasoning… often times our intentions in presenting it as well as the delivery and how the other corrupted person hears it are all at play. Which is why we say the Holy Spirit must be the Prime Mover at the deepest levels for a person to be moved by a truth, by thee Truth. Quoting Dr. Ganssle again:
I hope this short introduction to apologetics was and is helpful. There are three books I highly recommend as great starter points to both understanding the importance of apologetics as well as seeing the differing models of thinking in the world compared. These three resources are technical enough to invigorate the thinker as well as great introductions to the subject accessible to the layman.