Francis Beckwith h/t:
This is a BIGGOV Import:
There is an old saying that politics make strange bedfellows. A great example of this is seen in the union of a George Soros, Jewish born billionaire who collaborated with the Nazis and was convicted of insider trading, funding the organization of Jim Wallis Christian writer and political activist, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, leader of the Progressive evangelical movement, Obama adviser and advocate for “social justice.”
The original charge was made Marvin Olasky in the Christian Magazine, The World. Olasky reported that Soros had been giving money to Sojourners since 2004.
[Soros] bankrolled Sojourners with a $200,000 grant in 2004. A year later, here’s how Jim rebutted a criticism of “religious progressives” for being allied with Soros and MoveOn.org: “I know of no connections to those liberal funds and groups that are as direct as the Religious Right’s ties to right-wing funders.”
Since then Sojourners has received at least two more grants from Soros organizations. Sojourners revenues have more than tripled—from $1,601,171 in 2001-2002 to 5,283,650 in 2008-2009—as secular leftists have learned to use the religious left to elect Obama and others.
Maybe he was surprised by the charges, because the “man of God,” Walis lied about the Soros funding claiming that Olasky was trying to imitate Glenn Beck:
It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros. Given the financial crisis of nonprofits, maybe Marvin should call Soros and ask him to send us money.
So, no, we don’t receive money from George Soros. Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners. That’s where it comes from. In fact, we’ve had funding blocked, this year and last, by liberal foundations who didn’t like our stance on abortion. Other liberal groups were happy to point out to them that our stance wasn’t kosher on abortion, so our funding was blocked.
So tell Marvin he should check his facts, and not imitate Glenn Beck.
Wallis got one part correct, Olasky did imitate Beck, both the TV commentator and the Christian writer both use facts and evidence to build their cases.
After starting with a lie (or maybe because the evidence was dug up) Wallis relented. Faced with his group’s tax returns which show donations from Soros, he fessed up to a partnership with the Democratic Party’s “sugar daddy.”
Recently, I participated in an interview about the future of Evangelicalism. The interviewer asked about a blog post in which an author made accusations about Sojourners’ funding. I should have declined to comment until I was able to review the blog post in question and consulted with our staff on the details of our funding over the past several years. Instead, I answered in the spirit of the accusation and did not recall the details of our funding over the decade in question. The spirit of the accusation was that Sojourners is beholden to funders on the political left, which is false. The allegation concerned three grants received over 10 years from the Open Society Institute that made up the tiniest fraction of Sojourners’ funding during that decade — so small that I hadn’t remembered them. Sojourners doesn’t belong to the political left or right. Sojourners receives funding from individuals and organizations across a broad spectrum who are committed to our mission of “biblical social justice.”
Holy Cow, Sojourners must raise lots of money to consider over $7 Million Dollars from one person a “tiniest fraction.” Or maybe Wallis is suffering from some sort of memory lost because the group’s total revenue in 2008 for example, was only $4.6 million, a person with a normal memory who ran an organization the size of Sojourners would remember a donation the size of Soros’ and wouldn’t describe it as a “tiniest fraction.”
Wallis has shown that he is a liar and considering his false charges of Olasky lying, he is also someone who disregards the commandment about bearing false witness. There is nothing wrong with Wallis having his religious beliefs even if I disagree with them. What is wrong is that the Obama adviser misrepresents those beliefs and their political nature, even to the point of lying about them.
Wallis claims his group is non-partisan. One of his favorite lines is
“We’ve seen religion made partisan. When I talk, I talk about a moral center. I want us to go deeper, not left or right.” He advises Obama while claiming he is “nonpartisan evangelical minister.
Yeah right! non-partisen my ass!
A blogger in New Zealand has a great post on Obama and Jim Wallis. I will excerpt from it here , but for the more in-depth person – you should read it in its entirety:
Wright is a Marxist and admirer of the founder of “Black Liberation Theology”, James Cone – who wrote in 1969 “All white men are responsible for white oppression. . . . Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil.'”
In June 1998 Wright attended the Black Radical Congress in Chicago where he shared a panel with Cornel West and and former parishioner Michael Eric DysonDemocratic Socialists of America Religion and Socialism Commission, plus a former Communist Party member from his own Trinity United Church of Christ named Kevin Tyson…. of the
Today President Obama gets his spiritual nourishment from another source, a leader of American “progressive” Christianity, named Jim Wallis.
Jim Wallis is white and oh so smooth and reasonable. He is no firebrand like Jeremiah Wright. He is a registered Democrat and the respectable face of the Christian left.
Rev. Wallis has served on Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, or “Faith Council” since 2008, but the relationship is personal and goes back at least a dozen years.
Jim Wallis was raised in a devout Plymouth Brethren household, but broke with the Church at fourteen over its failure to commit to political causes.
Wallis went on to join and then lead the militant Students for a Democratic Society, at Michigan State University.
After College Wallis went on to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois where he joined with other young seminarians in establishing the community that eventually became Sojourner. In 1979, Time magazine named Wallis one of the “50 Faces for America’s Future.
In 1977 Wallis moved his radical Sojourner community, to Washington D.C., specifically to a small district named Columbia Heights, only a mile from the White House.
Meanwhile, many of Wallis’ old SDS comrades had founded a new Marxist organization with some older Communist Party veterans , patriotically named, the New American Movement. In 1982, NAM, in turn, merged with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee to form Democratic Socialists of America.
The new organization took penetration of organized religion very seriously, immediately forming a Religion and Socialism Commission.
After pointing out that the name is spelled a bit different and making the point that the address is similar to the area Wallis lived and that this is most likely a typo, New Zeal continues:
….Is the President’s “spiritual advisor” cut from the same cloth?
Jim Wallis, is socialist, a fervent believer in the state redistribution of wealth. He is connected to some of the most radical people in America.
Wallis works hard to portray himself as moderate and a “bridge-builder”. He is a Bible scholar and comes across as sincere and as trustworthy as the President himself.
But maybe the millions of Christians and Jews who voted for Obama, should remind themselves that it is not only men of God who can quote the Scriptures to suit their purpose.
The New Zeal throws another bone for the reader, entitled, “Obama File 101 Who’s Been Fibbing Then? Evidence That Obama Was Deeply Involved in Socialist New Party ‘Sister Organization'” I have to say that churches and Christians vary on lots of items and beliefs. Whether you believe Jim Wallis is kosher or not is not a salvonic issue. But for Christians to not want to engage even in a look at whom they voted for and his ties to all these organizations that are rabidly anti-Christian and wish to supplant the Gospel with a secularist/multi-cultural/politically correct version of religion, is, well, dangerous. It smacks of anti scholastic thought and shows how people are ripe for watering down the history of the Christian message and its power.
The original recording of this I did disappeared into the wasteland of the Internet. So I re-downloaded it into a new file. Rob Bell has his presentation of the “Gospel” put to the test of the Word of God as well as Christian historical points examined. This topic is long, but important (2hrs). Pirate Christian radio can be found here as well as a couple other sites by Chris Rosebrough:
This show was done well after my paper was first published on Scribd and emailed to Chris. The similarities can be attributed to coincidence or me focusing Chris in on the issues at hand. My paper can be found here:
In both my paper and the audio portion of Lee Strobel added in the Pirate Christian Radio broadcast, Rob Bell’s history is shown to be way off and in line more with Gnostic scholars like Pagels and the Jesus Seminar. My paper also included Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, probably the premier historian on pre-Christ history.
(Originally posted at RPT at Blogspot 3-18-2010.) As I have studied this subject and getting into some of the characters involved — many Catholic — I have thought to myself, is this reaching out in contemplative prayer a form of works? Does it make man the prime mover towards God as all too often many of the rituals in works oriented beliefs do. As I read along with Thomas Merton and other contemplatives, this thought became solidified for me. These Catholic monks and persons who separated themselves from society created many ritualistic works to commune with God (breath prayer, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, silence [which differs from physical solitude], palms up palms down, whatever).
Instead of going the way of Reformation using the Bible as their guide, studying the many Protestant Reformers and changing Catholic doctrine, praxology, and the like; thus, allowing God through Christ to fulfill in them the finished work that they try to achieve daily. Instead, they choose a pagan form of “freedom.” This freedom is called “darkness” by Merton (Chapter 5 in Merton’s Contemplative Prayer).
David Cloud, whom I find a bit legalistic, nevertheless shines through on this particular topic by documenting various works found in Catholicism. Lets just focus on one of them, the Mass:
Before David Cloud ends the section on the Mass and jumps into his section on Labryinths, he finishes off his thinking with another example:
These work based religions can be dangerous for the soul; these practices of prayer as Thomas Merton lays out can be equally dangerous.
An example of this type of meditative practices leading to demonic presences masquerading as spirit guides can be found in Johanna Michaelsen’s book, The Beautiful Side of Evil. Johanna got involved in meditation and New Age/Eastern teachings and soon was being guided by multiple spirit guides, one of them being Jesus. Who wouldn’t want to be lead by Jesus personally? Truly there is a way that seems right to a man but ultimately leads to deaths door (Proverbs 14:12).
How does Johanna’s experience connect in any way to Merton? If this technique were really a form a meditation influenced by Eastern practices leading to altered states of consciousness, you would expect some sort of warning about it if trying to Christianize it. Bingo.
The above quote/book by Thomas Merton has the introduction written by Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Zen Buddhist Monk. Mentioned quite a few times as well is Abbe J. Monchanin (Swami Parama Arubi Ananda), who founded a “Christian” Ashram. Which brings me to the reason for this post. A pastor asked me to read Esther de Waal’s book, A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton.
This pastor recommended the book as a healthier presentation of Merton than my previously posted biographical insights via RPT (see: Part I, Part II, Part III). I was happy to hear of a book that may correct some of my faulty thinking on the matter. I was open to view a book that would allay some of my fears, dare I say paranoia, that Eastern meditative practices had so infected the Evangelical denominations through this monk by combining panantheism with Christianity.
As I read along alI was fine until page 14, where there started to be talk of “silence.” Silence, as Merton teaches, is not merely seclusion, but an emptying of the mind. The book often mentioned by these contemplatives, The Cloud of Unknowing, talks at length about this emptying – it’s called: this darkness, this nothingness, this nowhere, the blind experience of contemplative love. David Cloud documents some quotes from this book the Desert Fathers were very enthralled by. (I wish to quickly make the point that about the time these “Desert Fathers” were writing in the area of Egypt they resided, so too were the Gnostics [same area as well] writing their poison that still lives-on today in the Word Faith movement, in the Emergent movement, and various cults and the occult, Freemasonry as an example):
Across from the reference to “silence” on page 14 of The Seven Day Journey we find the following photo on page 15 (to the right):
I told myself that maybe I was being too paranoid and that this photo Merton took was just of an old wagon wheel and had nothing to do with Eastern meditative practices encapsulated in the Wheel of Life. So I told myself to give it a chance, so I put page 14 and 15 out of my mind. Okay. Page 16 mentions repeating words in a mantra, something Catholics are use to, even in light of Matthew 6:7. Again I put it aside. When I got to page 26 however, all these thoughts reemerged with this:
My thoughts were back to that wheel. I remembered where I had seen it before — So I flipped the book closed and there on the cover was where that wheel sat (see photo above), confirming my thought that Merton truly believed what he said when he said “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” Now I was back to my comparative religious mindset. Mind you it only took me 26-pages to resume this thinking. On page 32 (SDJw/TM) the Desert Fathers are mentioned, keep in mind that the progression of their practices and Merton’s lifting them up for modern consumption looks like this:
This reference to the Desert Fathers in his Contemplative Prayer book and Esther de Waal mentioning that Merton loved the Desert Fathers (42) is troublesome to me. Loving the Desert Fathers is a “ding” in my book, especially considering the other biographies I put together (see: Part I, Part II, Part III). There are offensive theological and philosophical positions throughout SDJw/TM. However, I wanted to point out a big one or two that take an Eastern slant (there are positions in this book that fly in the face of Reformational thinking that undergirds Protestantism as well) — On pages 66 and 68 we find the following:
Writing to the Zen scholar Daisetz Suzuki he speaks of Christ within:
In case you didn’t catch it, those two quotes are very New Age’ish. There is a bit of universalism involved because this God-consciousness indwells all. De Waal tells a story Merton shared:
She continues with a different quote, same page:
Taken by itself of course, the above would be hard to make a case from. Taken as a whole however, it is pretty damning. I am not done however, I love this upcoming page. It made me wonder how pastors think of this page in light of all the evidence as a whole, especially conservative Reformed and Evangelical pastors. What contortions do they need to go through in order to make this philosophy fit with the inerrant Word of God. To me it must be mind-boggling! Feelings and emotions [e.g., these practices “make me feel good,” or, “give me the feeling of being closer to God.” Aside from feelings, how do they compare to the Word of God?] must be imported into the equation to ease over the obvious heresies involved. Here is page 88:
How this could be taken as “normative” in a Christian’s life is beyond me. A page later we find this, “It is not a question of either-or but of all-in-one… of wholeness, wholeheartedness and unity… which finds the same ground of love in everything.” Hogwash! A couple of pages later (93) we find this as well, “It is an invitation to become part of that dance, in harmony with the whole universe…” Last I remember, the universe isn’t in harmony (Romans 8:22). What is presented to us in this book is not Christian theology, it is a mix of paganism and Catholicism — both of which are works oriented. Man trying to spread the gap between God and himself. By-the-by, the forward to this book is by Henry Nouwen, another damning sign for those apologists who live by the Sword (Hebrews 4:12):
 David Cloud, Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond (Port Huron, MI: Way of Life Literature, 2008), 85-89.
 (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1982), 85.
 Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer (New York, NY: Image/Doubleday, 1996), 35-36.
 Cloud, 64-66
 Esther de Waal, A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton (Ann Arbor, MI: Charis, 1992).
Here (“Calvary Chapel Albuquerque States: Leonard Sweet Will Not Be Speaking at Conference – Lighthouse Trails Calls For Answers“) is an update to an old story imported/reproduced at my old site (“New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet To Speak at Pastor Skip Heitzig’s Calvary Chapel Church“). In this newsletter is a link out to another post about Rick Warren and his dangerous game of footsies he plays with New Agers, I would say enjoy, but…
In 1995, just a year prior to the release of The Jesus Prescription for a Healthy Life Warren and Sweet did an audio series together called Tides of Change. Ray Yungen in his book, A Time of Departing, discusses the audio series as well as the Warren/Sweet connection:
In the set, Warren and Sweet talk about “new frontiers,” “changing times” and a “new spirituality” on the horizon.
Later, in Sweet’s 2001 book, Soul Tsunami, Warren gives an endorsement that sits on the back as well as on the front cover of the book. Of the book, Warren says:
Leonard Sweet … suggests practical ways to communicate God’s unchanging truth to our changing world.
Some of these “practical ways” include using a labyrinth and visiting a meditation center. Sweet also says, “It’s time for a Post Modern Reformation,” adding that “The wind of spiritual awakening is blowing across the waters.” He says that times are changing and you’d better “Reinvent yourself for the 21st century or die.”
To better understand Leonard Sweet’s spirituality, I would like to draw your attention to a book he wrote a few years prior to the Tides of Change audio set–Quantum Spirituality. I highly recommend you take a look at this book yourself–Sweet has now placed the book on his website at www.leonardsweet.com in a format easy to download, which, of course, shows that he still promotes its message. The acknowledgments section of Quantum Spirituality shows very clearly Sweet’s spiritual sympathies. In it, Sweet thanks interspiritualists/universalists such as Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ), Episcopalian priest/mystic Morton Kelsey, Willis Harman (author of Global Mind Change) and Ken Wilber (one of the major intellectuals in the New Age movement) for helping him to find what he calls “New Light.” Sweet adds that he trusts the Spirit that led the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.”
In the preface of the same book, Sweet disseminates line after line of suggestions that the “old teachings” of Christianity must be replaced with new teachings of “the New Light.” And yet these new teachings, he believes, will draw from “ancient teachings” (the Desert Fathers). This “New Light movement,” Sweet says, is a “radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.”
Throughout the book, Sweet favorably uses terms like Christ consciousness and higher self and in no uncertain terms promotes New Age ideology: [Quantum spirituality is] a structure of human becoming,
a channeling of Christ energies through mindbody experience.
The Bible does not describe Jesus Christ as an energy channeling its way in and through us. Without a doubt, this is New Age lingo. The wonderful thing about the Gospel that is presented in Scripture is that Jesus Christ is presented as a personal God who loves us and will have a relationship with anyone who, by faith, comes to the Father through Him. This is where the contemplatives have it wrong. They believe that through this meditative prayer they can reach God. Sweet also tells his readers that humanity and creation are united as one and we must realize it. Once humanity comes to this realization, Sweet says: Then, and only then, will a New Light movement of “world-making” faith have helped to create the world that is to, and may yet, be. Then, and only then, will earthlings have uncovered the meaning … of the last words [Thomas Merton] uttered: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.”
Leonard Sweet is what could be called an Alice Bailey Christian because his views on the role of mysticism in the church are evident. He states:
Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center…. In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology.
It is this same mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer) that I believe Rick Warren is also promoting. Warren extends his promotion and endorsement of Sweet to his pastors.com website. Nearly a dozen times Sweet is referred to positively, including an article featuring Sweet and another article written by him.( A Time of Departing , pp. 158-160)
While many have no problem speaking out against emergent heresies, they will emphatically uphold and defend the Purpose Driven paradigm, when in reality, in all things that matter, they are going in the very same direction. Now the question that each believer must ask, Just what is that direction, and does it line up with the direction the Bible tells us to go?
For those who still have doubts that Rick Warren and Leonard Sweet are on the same page spiritually, take a look at a document on Warren’s website, dated 4/4/2001 (the 3rd edition of his newsletter). It is titled, 24 Transitions For Moving Into The 21st Century.
Listen to some of these transitions:
“From control to out-of-control”
“From critique and pick-apart [discern] to celebrate and pick up”
“From structure to rhythm”“From ‘Does it Make Sense’ to ‘Was it a Good Experience?’”
“From Excellence to Authenticity — From Performance to Realness”
“From Denominations to Tribes”
This is where the emerging church is going.
Here are some links out to various people and topics involved in this important subject:
- The [False] Gospel According to Rob Bell w/ Critique by Chris Rosebrough (2hrs)
- Albert Mohler Sermonizes a Major Emergent Error – “Why Do They Hate It So? The Doctrine of Penal Substitution” (77-minutes)
- R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias on the Emergent Church
- Mark Driscoll Critiques Rob Bell and Brian McLaren
- Todd Friel on Brian Mclaren and the Dangers in the Emergent Church from the Program “Wretched”
- Brian McLaren on the Doctrine of Hell
- Rob Bell Critiqued by Cameron Beuttel
- Rob Bell’s Theology Egalitarian: Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic vs. Grammatical Historical (important key: illiberal egalitarianism)
- Stand to Reason (Koukl): Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be
- Pastor Mark Driscoll Tackles “The Shack,” and Its Heretical View of the Trinity
- Pastor Mike Miller Discusses the Book “The Shack” and Explains Why Sound Theology Is Important in the Christians Life
- Bob Dewaay & Chris Rosebrough (Pirate Christian Radio) Discuss Their Visit to the Emergent Conference
- Is Rob Bell a Christian? Pirate Christian Radio
- Doug Pagitt Interviewed on Doctrine of Hell
- Doug Pagitt being Interviewed by Chris Rosebrough on Pirate Christian Radio (plenty of Emergent history for the researcher) – 65-minutes
- Sermon by Phil Johnson on the Errors of Postmodern Thinking in the Church Today – Key for Understanding the Emergent Error (67-minutes)
- Doug Pagitt Interviews Chris Rosebrough On His Radio Program with Commentary by Chris (93-minutes)
- Tony Jones: “Paul was a Platonist”
- Rob Bell Quotes (from: Velvet Elvis & Christianity Today)
- Emergint/Emergent Church/Emerging (Postconservative/Postmodern)
Various Emergent Topics/Persons
~ Brian Driscoll
~ Contemplative Spiritual Formation/Emergent Church — Many Articles & Resources
~ Doug Pagitt
~ Henry Nouwen
~ Rick Warren
~ Rob Bell
~ Shane Claiborne
~ The Shack
~ Tim King
~ Tony Jones
~ Thomas Merton