For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, KJV)

Message: Heaven To The Church

This is a bit of an addendum to Part Two of A Southern Baptist Pastor Investigates Emergent and Contemplative Within the SBC. I’m still amazed at the lack of response this series has generated here at Apprising Ministries, though I really shouldn’t be. The mainline denominations were killed by the original Cult of Liberal Theology, which is exactly what Dr. Walter Martin (SBC) referred to it as, and the mainstream evangelical denominations appear to be in a death stare having already been infected with the same spiritual cancer from the new Cult of Liberal Theology.

We all know that the upper echelons of these denominational structures and seminaries have now been infiltrated by wolves in sheep’s clothing who do not believe the genuine Gospel. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand because at that level in whatever denomination you pick it’s all about politics and we know it. But our text above has already told us this will be the case. For example this will explain why Lifeway Christian Stores (LCS) won’t carry the book Reinventing Christianity by my friend Bob DeWaay. This excellent work is actually the antidote to Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life but you see the dollar speaks louder than the Spirit.

So what are we to expect next? Tony Robbins addressing the General Assembly of the SBC on the “Seven Steps To The Beautiful You?” Which brings me around to the book I mentioned previously True Self/False Self: Unmasking the Spirit Within (TSFS) by so-called “Spiritual Master” and Roman Catholic monk M. Basil Pennington (1931-2005), which by the way as of this writing 11/16/06 is still available from LCS. The little blurb describing this book of spiritual skubalon asks the ever poignant man-pleasing and centered on the self question:

Do we have the courage to unmask our false self and enter into the Christian spirit of being our true-selves–images created to mirror the love-image of God?

Last time I did say I was going to take you through some of the false teaching within this book. Unfortunately I’m afraid in this particular piece we won’t really need to get any further than this sicky-sweet blurb and the tired title itself to show you just how far into the spirit of antichrist TSFS truly is. O please. Yes, we are going to “unmask our false self” alright but we certainly aren’t going to be entering into “the Christian spirit” to do it. No, what we are actually doing is “being our true-selves,” our depraved human selves. Let me show you what I mean.

The Real Truth About The “True Self”

Today’s worse than lukewarm new evangelicalism is summed up very nicely in another book I mentioned in my previous piece. You may wish to down a little Pepto before you see the title. It’s called The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Benner, who is “Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality at the Psychological Studies Institute in Atlanta, Georgia,” with a foreword from our late Spiritual Master Pennington. This gem, also still available at LCS, is published by InterVarsity Press and as I pointed out in Enemies of the Cross IVP is a financial supporter of Emergent Village.

But what utter man-centered garbage timidly true to the new reformation of the godfather of the Church Growth Movement Robert Schuller. Forget the “sacred call to self-discovery,” for this is what mankind is already involved in–rebellion against God in discovery of his own perverted pleasure. Professor Benner this “gift of being yourself” was already spelled s-i-n by God. More specifically to Pennington as we take the precision laser light of Holy Scripture and “unmask the spirit within” we quickly find it is completely false that our “true self” is a gift. Instead we find that the imago Dei was shattered in something known in genuine Christian circles as “the fall.” The real truth about the “true self” is that mankind is totally corrupt, degenerate, depraved and sold under sin.

Now, you won’t hear that preached very often–if at all–because it doesn’t sell. The truth rarely does. Men and women, we must be honest that far more professing Christians in this nation abandoned by God worship the dollar than they do the Lord. What is more I’m testifying to you that this message right here is one that Christ Himself sent me to preach to you. O, and for those who think I claim to be some sort of prophet I refer you to Slicecast: Rob Bell The Emergent Elvis where you can hear for yourself I make no such claim. As A.W. Tozer correctly put it my job as pastor-teacher is to get alone with God, to pray, read the Bible, listen to what the Lord gives me to say, and then tell it to the people.

Your job is to take up the Bible and test it. This won’t be much of a problem for anyone because this is precisely where we’re about to go. Our first stop is the Gospel of Matthew for an eyewitness account of the most important Life ever lived. Let’s see what Christ Jesus of Nazareth–the LORD God Himself in human flesh–has to say about mankind’s “true self.” During His teaching about the importance of persistence in prayer and the incredible Gift of the Holy Spirit the Master asks the following question:

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (Matthew 7:9-10)

Now let’s note carefully what our Creator says next – “If you, most wonderful people who are simply trapped behind your false self would discover your ‘sacred call to self-discovery’ and the precious ‘gift of being yourself’ then you’ll be able to find your ‘true self.’ ” No! Our Lord says – “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will Your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Did catch that? Jesus says – “Your Father” – so these are His Own disciples He’s talking to here. And the Master didn’t even spare them the awful truth that God the Holy Spirit would further reveal through Paul:

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:18-20, NASB)

The Truth Is The True Self Of Mankind Is Evil

You can forget the argument that this is the Apostle Paul talking about before he was born again/born from above because the unregenerate man has no such struggle. And this is really nothing new. It was written as far back as Genesis 8:21 not long after righteous Noah and his family had stepped off the ark – The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” So you see, when Christ Jesus our Creator told His disciples we are evil the Lord is simply being consistent with what He had already told mankind in Genesis after the fall and again after the flood.

And if you still have a doubt that these fools in the Ecumenical Church of Deceit wish to take you back into the bondage of their harlot mother the apostate Church of Rome then consider this a little further on in the inerrant and infallible Word of God in the Gospel of Mark. The spiritually dense of that day were overly concerned about outward appearances and performing ritualistic disciplines as religious people are prone to do. You know like: Hey, look at me I’m a powerful Christian leader because I go around the globe trying to solve the problems of the world. Or I am the real Emergent follower of Jesus because I am very spiritual and much more involved in social activism than you are. Or I show you just how special you one as of the King’s kids and can help you to claim your best life now.

So Jesus gets His real disciples together after they had been confused by these other hypocrites who were claiming to be children of God. And who is the author of confusion even today? Then in an expression of true love the Master sets these obtuse sheep (us) straight in no uncertain terms:

“Are you so dull?” He asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ” (Mark 7:18-23)

So there’s the sad situation of your evil “true self,” and mine. This would be a tragic story indeed if this is where our loving and merciful Creator left it…but He didn’t. God came into the world in Christ and lived the life of perfection required to be in God’s presence. You need to understand here that it isn’t that the Lord is some kind of cosmic meanie demanding perfection just for the sake of perfection. No, the LORD God Almighty literally cannot have evil in His presence so our Creator Christ Jesus Himself paid the unspeakably awful price on the Cross for those who will believe and thus become God’s children (see–John 1:12).

The Way To Life Is Death…To Self

This is written to exhort you that rather than looking around in places like LCS for silly self-help books that will only tell you want you want to hear, open up the Word of God and read what it says about the true nature of mankind. Because the only way you will ever come to know the absolute Truth about the only God (see–John 5:44) is to go the way of the Cross. And what happened when someone went to the cross? Did they go discover their “true self”? Or maybe this precious gift of being themselves while nailed to the cross led them on the “sacred call to self-discovery”? No, they went there to die. The Master already said to you – “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).

There are at least two things that come emerging here. The Christian Church in America isn’t producing “seeds” because it refuses to go to the Cross and die. And unless we tell people the truth about our evil “true self” which I have just shared with you here from the Bible they will never be driven by the Spirit of God to that Cross and cry out:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

He who says he has an ear, then let him hear what the Spirit says…and obey Him…

See also: