Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:21-23)

The Church And Her Mission

In the above text we can see the birth of the ancient Christian Church and that of her primary mission of following Jesus to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10). The Master says – “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And our Lord also tells us:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5)

So now we have some teaching from the Master that we can work with here–particularly vital information in verse 5 directly above – “apart from Me you can do nothing.” And this is precisely what has emerged in contemporary evangelicalism by way of fulfilling our mission to seek and to save what was lost: Virtually nothing. This might shock a few people but here I stand in agreement with the Emergent Church that a dead orthodoxy has much to do with this. In other words, too many in the Christian Church have de-emphasized the spiritual side of their relationship with the one true and living God that their witness has just about zero power. This grave mistake has also left people spiritually hungry and the Devil has stepped right in to this matrix with his Gnostic mysticism all over again.

When are we going to realize that the so-called “Christian” mysticism currently infecting our Lord’s Church, and which is spreading as quickly as a spiritual wildfire, is nothing new? Men and women, there have been “sages” and “seers” virtually from the time man was expelled from the Garden. God created mankind with a need to experience Him and since the Lord happens to be “Spirit,” then it makes perfect sense that He would try to explain to us concrete-headed sheep – God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth. By the way, the KJV is in error here when it reads a spirit because the Greek actually says: pneuma ho theos. God is not “a” Spirit; He is Spirit.

Worship Must Be In Spirit And In Truth

And while I’m at it let me also stick a huge pin into the postmodern bubble of the Emergent Church. Notice carefully here that Jesus tells us God’s worshipers must – not attempt to, they – must worship Him in spirit. Now the mystic element–though more accurately–the spiritual element inherent in the theology of the EC would be a good thing if it were approached properly. We must worship God in spirit. However, there is something else that is critically important for mankind to note because of our fallen and corrupt reason. You might think of it this way: Due to the Fall and the sinful nature that results human beings have received a “virus” inside of us that is corrupting all of our programs. And because of this it is imperative that we have an objective standard of Truth that we an reset them by.

As a result then it becomes all the more vital that we more fully understand what our Creator–Christ Jesus of Nazareth–tells us here in John 4:24. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” One who would worship God absolutely must worship Him in spirit. So let me note at this point I also feel that much of the Church has fumbled the ball here and is attempting fruitlessly to worship God through reason and intellect alone. This is exactly what I mean by “dead orthodoxy,” a spiritually dry “head knowledge” that relegates a spiritual relationship to the first century. I don’t agree with this wrong approach either. However, the equally egregious mistake made by today’s new evangelical ecumenical church of deceit–of which the Emergent Church is a major part–is ignoring the rest of this verse.

“His worshipers must worship God in spirit and in truth.” If one holds to the postmodern non-mind set it will become impossible to worship God in truth because this philosophy is hostile to that very concept in the first place. The entire of the seeker sensitive new evangelicalism of the Purpose Driven Church, the Emergent Church and the Word Faith Church is rooted in a violation of Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For those with eyes to see this can’t be any clearer. What is a bit difficult for the Emergent in particular to handle in dealing with someone like myself is that I don’t fit into the little box they have created for so-called evangelical “fundamentalists.”

First of all, I am not an “evangelical,” nor am I a “fundamentalist,” though I do have beliefs in common with each of these groups. I am also not a “cessationist,” nor am I a “charismatic” or a “pentecostal,” though again I share some beliefs with each of these groups. The point being I chose not to make the mistake of limiting God as to what He can and will do, I read the Bible literally where applicable, accept its inerrancy and infallibility without question, and in doing so–solely by His grace–I make every effort I can to worship God in spirit and in truth. The fact that people have experiences with God do not frighten me in the least because as far as it depends on me I follow the biblical admonition to test everything and to examine the Scriptures daily to see if these experiences might be true.

The Historic Orthodox Christian Faith

I wanted this all understood because I do not criticize alleged “Christian” mysticism on any other basis than where it violates Holy Scripture and departs from the historic orthodox Christian faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3, NKJV). And at this point let me clear up one other untruth and another unfounded accusation consistently put forth by the cult of the Emergent Church. Their leaders have drilled into the heads of their followers that there is no such thing as the historic orthodox Christian faith and that the Reformation was about “recent” doctrine. This is quite easily refuted from the text of the Bible itself, which is quite often the case when one is rightly dividing the Word of Truth as the King James Version renders 2 Timothy 2:15.

Let’s look closely at Jude 3 and meditate on it for a moment – I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. This verse was written down before the close of the first century. As such then we have just read a piece of “history,” or an historic statement. Secondly, what we have just read is also part of canonical Scripture. All Scripture – by definition – is God-breathed; since He is incapable of error, this verse of Scripture is also without error and therefore must be considered “orthodox” (correct). It logically follows then since Christians are Christ’s ambassadors, and Christ Himself said – the Scripture cannot be broken – that what this verse teaches us is to be the position of the “Christian.” Hence we now see that here in the first century the historic orthodox Christian faith had already been once for all [time] delivered to the saints.

The Root Of Apostasy

Now that we have established this we can move on more specifically in our discussion. The idea is to come emerging with the spiritual side of Christianity that is sadly being neglected in our time of growing apostasy as we begin to witness The Falling Away Of The Evangelical Church. In the opening text of this missive from John 20 our Lord says to His infant Church – “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (v.21). Getting away from what the Master had come to do, and how He had come to do it, is the root of this current apostasy that is so widespread in the American Christian Church that it now actually seems to be the norm. In fact, the “business as usual” approach to the Christian life is so prevalent that what someone like myself points out from the Bible has begun to seem as if it is wrong.

However, I’m comfortable that I stand on the solid ground of the Rock as I tell you, in actuality, it is that which contradicts Holy Scripture that is actually wrong. And it is undoubtedly a sorry indictment on the evangelical community today that it has now become necessary in this foolish generation we are living in to go back to the Bible and go over the basics all over again. The Lord is not pleased that we must do so, however, it has been done before:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 5:11-6:6)

God Himself Has Come

And here we find the majority of the rapidly apostatizing Christian Church in America caught up in the seeker sensitive spell of The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit. The Gospel message twisted backward in a flesh-pleasing attempt to placate the self-ish sinful nature of unregenerate men. We will begin to expose this more in depth next time and prayerfully the Lord will begin to open more eyes as to just Who the real Jesus Christ of Nazareth actually is. One need to remember here that the Master is the incarnation of God–the monogenes–the only begotten God in human flesh. Jesus of Nazareth is the one true and living Creator God Himself come into His Own creation!

Men and women, I tell you in the Spirit that it is way past time for the true Body of Christ to boldly remind this arrogant and exceedingly wicked pagan society that Christ Jesus is the awesome and majestic LORD God Almighty of the Old Testament standing upon His planet! And the best way we can do this is to teach them about the Lord from the Gospel accounts, and not from the wishful speculations about Him currently espoused by Rick Warren of the Purpose Driven Church or Brian McLaren of the Emergent Church or Joel Osteen of the Word Faith Church. This is our goal as we move along in this, I want you to look further at what Jesus tells us He has sent His Church to do, and the best way to understand our mission is to examine what He explains He was sent to do as we hear the Master say – “I have come…”

And God permitting, we shall also come emerging with the spiritual side of Christianity…