Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:8-10)

Is It Man Who Decides How to Approach And Worship God?

No matter how much evidence regarding some of the major spokesmen for the Emergent Church and postliberalism documenting their obscuring (at best) the exclusivity of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ we in the field of Christian apologetics and discernment clearly present from primary sources there are still those who just will not see. In this work concerning Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo here at Apprising Ministries we will begin to draw together some of the evidence concerning what this “Red Letter” Christian has said about the Gospel. The idea here is to elucidate one of the effects [read: delusions] which Campolo has received from his own personal practice of the corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).

This spurious CSM is not so slowly slithering into your churches through evangelical youth groups experimenting with the mystic musings of popular pastors and theologians in the postliberal cult of the Emergent Church like e.g. Rob Bell and his friend Emerging Church Pastor Doug Pagitt. As you could see, if you really wanted to, in Christianity Today Promoting the Cult of Richard Foster and Christianity Today Promoting the Roman Catholic Mystic Catherine of Siena it’s now getting a real assist from this respected “Protestant” publication. Then one could also note that CSM has even taken firm root in entire State Conventions of the “Protestant” Southern Baptist Convention e.g. BSCNC as shown in Apostasy, Contmeplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) in the SBC and Disease in the Church as well as in Georgia Baptist Convention (SBC) Now Promoting the Cult of Richard Foster.

I’ve also been pointing out to the few who even pay attention that this sordid CSM, which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism, has already been poisoning evangelical seminaries for years now through so-called Spiritual Formation as promulgated by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster—along with his spiritual twin Dallas Willard. In his dead on target assessment of the Emerging Church movement Dr. John MacArthur correctly stated what’s at the harlot heart of this mystical Emergent rebellion against the authority of God’s Word i.e. a repudiation of Sola Scriptura:

The bottom line, I think, in the movement is that it is a denial of the clarity of Scripture. It is a denial that we can know what the Bible really says. And as I said, it’s amorphous because there’s a mish-mash of approaches to this and a mish-mash of styles and things like that. But they have embraced this mystery as if it’s true spirituality. And so, it becomes celebration of mystery, a celebration of ignorance, a celebration that we can’t really know. I think it’s just another form of liberalism. I think it’s just another form of denying the clarity of Scripture. And I think there’s a motive behind it…it’s just another philosophy.

Post-modernism is another bad philosophy. Modernism was a bad philosophy. Post-modernism is another bad philosophy. But in both cases, they assault the Scripture. Modernism made reason, human reason, the king. Reason was supreme in modernism. Thomas Payne, The Age of Reason, The Enlightenment, all of those things, the Renaissance. Out of that came the worship of the human mind and the mind trumps God. Now mystery trumps the Bible. The human mind trumps the Bible in modernism, mystery trumps the Bible in post-modernism. It is at the foundation an unwillingness to accept the clear teaching of Scripture. (Online source)

AM has also recently been showing you that as this CSM continues its penetration deep into mainstream evangelicalism itself more and more organizations no longer even attempt to try and hide their embrace of so-called “Christian” mysticism. Take for example Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (SBC) Encouraging Southern Baptists to Use Lectio Divina, which is itself wrapped up with the so-called “Christian” meditation of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP). In line with what I mentioned above there you’ll see an entire State Convention within the larger Southern Baptist Convention—allegedly the largest “Protestant” evangelical denomination in the nation—now openly teaching this Romish CSM to their leaders and pastors.

However, its highly subjective—feelings-oriented—neo-orthodox (at best) approach to Scripture let’s the individual (or “community”) interpret the text of Scripture by what they “feel” God might possibly be saying in a given text. In other words the “enlightment” [read: Gnosis] supposedly received in this kind of mysticism-lite for the Christian trumps the Bible text when it comes to “experiencing” God. Pastor Bob DeWaay does an excellent job of showing the logical outcome of this type of spiritual Russian Roulette in his scholarly article “Contemporary Christian Divination: The False Claims and Practices of Christian Mystics.”

At his fine Critical Issues Commentary website DeWaay writes:

In the previous issue of CIC, I argued that methods are not neutral: either humans can come to the true God by any means that they see fit or God restricts the means by which we can come to Him. This was proven by the fact that various forms of divination are forbidden where divination is defined as any technique used to gain secret information that God has not chosen to reveal. If we could come by any means, then tarot cards, Ouija boards, crystal balls, psychic powers, etc. could all legitimately be used to contact God. Since certain techniques are forbidden, then the claim that humans can come to God by any means whatsoever is unbiblical. Therefore, we conclude that God has restricted the means of coming to Him and worshipping Him.

There are restrictions. The question is, “Who determines them?” The options are that individuals determine them for themselves, church traditions determine the restrictions, or the Scriptures determine the restrictions. I argue that if individuals determine the restrictions for themselves, there are no restrictions. A good example is Morton Kelsey, the most prolific writer among twentieth century Christian mystics. Kelsey, open to any religious practice that will help in the “inner journey,” writes, “The inner journey is as individual as our thumbprint. We need to guide others on their way and never impose our way upon them.”

Many Christian mystics opt for the second option – church traditions. They find that mystics and their practices existed from the very early days of church history.4 It is surprising that contemporary evangelicals sometimes cite Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions to justify their practices. But many do. They usually try to also find Biblical support, but such support cannot be found without twisting the Scriptures.

I believe that Scripture alone determines the valid means of coming to God. The Scripture reveals one obvious restriction: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’” (John 14:6). The Bible not only reveals the only way to salvation, but it also provides the means of grace for living the Christian life. God does not leave this up to man’s ingenuity. He has not left us to sift through the religious practices of the cultures of the world in order to choose which ones to “Christianize.” Those who do are modern day Jeroboams who will not grant to God the right to tell them how God will be worshipped. (Online slource)

 Not To Answer Directly Is To Deny The Exclusivity Of The Gospel

With this as our necessary background we turn now to Tony Campolo. In her post “Tony Campolo and the Power of Doublespeak” over at Slice of Laodicea recently Christian apologist Ingrid Schlueter begins by telling us:

WorldnetDaily’s Joseph Farah addresses the eel-like behavior of Dr. Tony Campolo when it comes to hard, fast moral issues addressed in God’s Word. With verbal slight of tongue, by leaving words out, by redefining words, by weaving this way and that, by a variety of smoke and mirror tricks, Campolo tries to appear as though he is oh-so-biblical, while he is anything but. As heretic emeritus of the emerging church movement, (long before it was called “emergent”), Campolo has been undermining the authority of the Word of God for years. (Online source)

As an example of just how Campolo undermines the authority of Scripture as a result of his practice of CSM I bring to your attention the January 27, 2007 edition of the Edmonton Journal where reporter Don Retson asks Campolo a straight forward question. Take a look at the doublespeak for yourself:

Q. Do you believe non-Christians can go to heaven?

A. That’s a good question to ask because the way we stand is we contend that trusting in Jesus is the way to heaven. However, we do not know who Jesus will bring into the kingdom and who He will not. We are very very careful about pronouncing judgment on anybody. We leave judgment in the hands of God and we are saying Jesus is the way. We preach Jesus, but we have no way of knowing to whom the grace of God is extended. (Online source)

Whew-ee, most impressive isn’t it; through the smoke just look at Campolo tap dance and whistle in front of the mirror with this most deft example of fence-straddling while giving his non-answer. One, I might add, that’s right in line with the more public hedging on that issue by Billy Graham in later years, which is—in and of itself—a denial of the exclusivity of the Gospel. But the fact is that Campolo is opening the door to inclusivism and obscuring the actual point when he says that “we do not know who Jesus will bring into the kingdom.” This is what I’ve referred to as wrestling with the snake.

Partial truth. No, based solely upon the testimony of one who professes to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior we can’t know with certainty if Jesus will “bring them into the kingdom.” The sincerity of their confession only God knows. However, that is not the actual intent of the question. The Christian faith is, and one’s testimony must be, exclusive of all other religions. The real point of the question is: Do you believe non-Christians, as in those who are members of other religions, can go to Heaven? And the proper Biblical answer to that question for the Christian is quite simple: No, they cannot.

And here’s one simplified example of how we can see this from Scripture. First, John 1:12 — to all who received him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. Secondly, Jesus also tells us what we must believe concerning His Name i.e. Who He is — “if you do not believe that I Am [means: the LORD God], you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24, Greek). Then Jesus informs us that these children of His, who believe that God is their Savior, will then — carry [their] cross and follow Me [or they] cannot be [as in, are not] My disciple (Luke 14:27). And then Acts 16:23 tells us that — The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:26, NASB).

So you see by Biblical definition a “Christian” is a person who by the grace of God (alone) through the gift of faith (alone) given him (see—Ephesians 2:8-9) has then believed (Greek: pisteuo, “totally committed”) in, i.e. surrendered their lives to, Christ Jesus of Nazareth (alone) as God in human flesh and is now a child of God and one of His disciples (means: student). These are the people—Christians—who have been regenerated; passed from death into life, and from this world into the Kingdom of Heaven. So if we abide by a proper approach to God’s Word (Sola Scriptura) i.e. the Bible is the final authority concerning faith and morals of the historic orthodox Christian faith, and not by our “feelings,” then we can see that “non-Christians” cannot go to Heaven.

Tell The Truth As Lovingly And Gently As Possible, But Tell It

We’ll look more specifically at the way this neo-gnostic CSM practiced by men like Tony Campolo ends up trumping Scripture in Part Two. But for now, as an illustration of sharing the Biblical Gospel with a non-Christian, I’ll tell you briefly about something that happened while I was witnessing to some Mormon Missionaries one afternoon in my home. As we were studying the origin of the Bible, what Sola Scriptura means, and how to properly understand verses pertaining to the Gospel itself I noticed that one of their faces was slowly growing very red. Now if you’ve ever witnessed to non-Christian cultists who are sent out in pairs such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, or in this case Mormon Missionaries, you’ll know that one of them takes the “lead” and does the majority of the talking.

Actually the other young man hadn’t really said much at all in the few weeks that we’d been getting together for this study on Sola Scriptura. So in this particular instance the head “elder,” whom I’ll call Dan, was the one whose face was turning a deeper shade of crimson. Well, I knew that he wasn’t growing flushed because the house was too warm so I mentioned to Dan that I sensed he was becoming upset with me. Dan confided that he was indeed feeling uncomfortable about something. So I asked him what was bothering him. Dan told me that he felt that I was telling him he was going to Hell.

I politely corrected him by explaining that based on his flat rejection of what I was showing him in regard to salvation I was saying as of now he was on the broad path that leads to Hell. Remember Jesus tells us — wide is the gate and broad is the roda that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (Matthew 7:13). And as Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) would occasionally ask while he taught: “If you don’t believe that then why are you bothering to call yourself a Christian?” The fact is the Bible teaches that the vast majority of mankind will be lost because they just will not repent. This is crystal clear by what Christ says next — But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads ot life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14).

But I also knew that in opposition to what Jesus has said Mormon theology still teaches most people will not go to Hell. It holds that only those deemed as “sons of perdition,” who have been clearly presented and yet still refuse to believe what is commonly known as Mormon doctrine, end up in Hell. So I then posed a question to the Mormon Missionary Dan. I asked, based upon my conscious and willing rejection of the Mormon doctrine he had clearly been teaching me, wouldn’t I now be considered a son of perdition by his church. It kind of caught him by surprise but he quietly said that this would be true. I simply smiled and said, “Well, I can live with that.”

Then I explained to Dan how I actually respected him for his honesty and for his standing by his beliefs even though he knew quite well I personally believe they are wrong according to the Bible. I told him that I certainly wasn’t offended he cared enough about me to warn me according to his Mormon doctrine I was headed for Hell. In his view he was trying to help me so I asked him, “Suppose you were me; and you believed that based upon what I’ve been showing you in the Bible these nice young men you were talking with were on their way to eternal conscious torment in a literal place Jesus called Hell, wouldn’t you try and prevent that?” He smiled and nodded his head.

You see, Dan then understood the issue from another perspective; and one that as an ambassador for Jesus Christ I know to be the correct one.  As a matter of fact they both kind of chuckled after that and the ice, so to speak, had been broken. We actually continued studying Sola Scriptura every Wedenesday for a few more weeks until they rotated out to a new area. Only the Lord knows what He’ll do with the large mount of Truth I was able to share with them in that time. However, as I close, in contradistinction to Emerging dreamers like Tony Campolo I knew that those young men were not in my house to teach me about God, nor were they there in order for me to learn how God was “working” in their lives:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).