“thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Mark 7:13) 

Selfish Subjectivity With Scripture Invites In Spurious Spirituality Of Emergence

Apprising Ministries wants you to know it’s simply beyond question that the vast majority of those in leadership within the developing postliberal cult of what’s becoming known as Emergence Christianity hold to an existential [feelings-oriented]—and thereby highly subjective—neo-orthodox (at best) approach to Holy Scripture. And this is also becoming true within evangelicalism itself, which is a major reason why—despite the fact that Rob Bell Says Sayounara Sola Scriptura—the highly ecumenical and inclusive teachings of Emergence icon Rob Bell would have even had a chance to slither into the Protestant community today.

Bell’s friend Peter Rollins also has no use for the final authority of the Bible; and earlier, AM showed you that in June of this year Emergence Pastor Rob Bell Is To Have His Friend Peter Rollins In Conference. While gearing up for his Lessons in Evandalism tour Rollins reveals we’re not exactly talking about a new way to understand the Christian faith here; no, we’re being prepared for a whole other religion to come emerging, whose basic message appears to be that God has a man-shaped hole in His heart:

The current religious landscape is cluttered with various expressions of faith that claim to rethink Christianity at the dawn of a new cultural epoch. However such groups often accomplish little more than the repackaging and redistribution of faith as we currently understand it. A repackaging that involves flashing lights, video projectors and ‘culturally sensitive’ leaders who can talk about the latest mediocre pop sensation.

Throughout his Spring 09 tour Peter will be arguing that, in the midst of this arid landscape, there exist small but fertile sites of resistance. Groups who offer a way of thinking that not only challenges the way we express faith but fundamentally ruptures the way we understand it. He will argue that these pockets of resistance represent a growing, organic movement that are proclaiming the death of God, church and religion as we know them in preparation for their resurrection in a radically different form.

Through a mix of parables, philosophy and discussion Peter will be exploring the theoretical kernel of this emerging movement and addressing its dangerous, revolutionary and transformative potential. (Online source)

In his post The Next Chapter In The Reformation Jonathan Brink, “Managing Director of Thrive Ministries,” gives us his eyewitness wrap-up of the recently concluded Emergence Convergence Apostasia-Poloosa. Yep, you read that right; Brink, Phyllis Tickle, Rollins, et al have become so dramatically deluded that they actually see themselves as part of a new reformation from God. Brink boasts:

Emergence is shifting. For those who missed it, I truly believe this was one of the more important moments in the history of the church… Emergence conversation is really getting at, which is the next chapter in the reformation. The one really great thing I love about emergence Christianity is this idea that it is changing before us… The Spirit of God is refusing to be controlled, and I love that. For anyone trying to understand what the emergence Christianity really is, this was the conference to go to… 

We are writing the next chapter in the reformation process. No longer are we going to be defined by something that has happened over the last 400 years. We were going to reveal what it looked like to create the next 400 years, one built on listening, dialog, and reconciliation… Tears flowed as we were witnessing the pathway to the next chapter… We were writing the next chapter of the reformation. (Online source)

We’ll come back to Rollins and this new quasi-Christian Emergence another time so for now I will refer you to Peter Rollins And Phyllis Tickle Discuss Emergence Christianity. But in his oft-overlooked 1994 book Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern Dr. John MacArthur hits the target dead on as he shows you why this neo-orthodox, centered on the self, approach to the Bible is such a perfect fit for those like Rob Bell who practice the Contemplative/Centering Prayer of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) at the corrupt core of so-called Spiritual Formation.

From what Dr. MacArthur will say below you should be able to see that this self-ish approach to Holy Scripture—rooted as it is in the question: “Did God really say?”—is actually a necessity for the neo-Gnosticism of so-called “Christian” mysticism aka CSM to flourish as it is; right now, while spreading its spiritual poison throughout the apostatizing evangelical community:

Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity. Its heyday came in the middle of the twentieth century with the writings of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich, and Reinhold Niebaur. Those men echoed the language and the thinking of [Soren] Kierkegaard, speaking of the primacy of “personal authenticity,” while downplaying or denying the significance of objective truth. Barth, the father of neo-orthodoxy, explicitly acknowledged his debt to Kierkegaard.

Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy: the Bible itself is not objectively the Word of God, but it becomes the Word of God when it speaks to me individually. In neo-orthodoxy, that same subjectivism is imposed on all the doctrines of historic Christianity. Familiar terms are used, but are redefined or employed in such a way that is purposely vague—not to convey objective meaning, but to communicate a subjective symbolism. After all, any “truth” theological terms convey is unique to the person who exercises faith. What the Bible means becomes unimportant, What it means to me is the relevant issue. All of this resoundingly echoes Kierkegaard’s concept of “truth that is true for me.”

Thus while neo-orthodox theologians often sound as if they affirming traditional beliefs, their actual system differs radically from the historic understanding of the Christian faith. By denying the objectivity of truth, they relegate all theology to the realm of subjective relativism. It is a theology perfectly suited for the age in which we live. And that is precisely why it is so deadly…

[Contemplative Spirituality aka] Mysticism is perfectly suited for religious existentialism; indeed, it is the inevitable consequence. The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings, the imagination, personal visions, inner voices, private illumination, of other purely subjective means. Objective truth becomes practically superfluous.

Mysticial experiences are therefore self-authenticating; that is, they are not subject to any form of objective verification. They are unique to the person who experiences them. Since they do not arise from or depend upon any rational process, they are invulnerable to any refutation by rational means… Mysticism is therefore antithetical to discernment. It is an extreme form of reckless faith. Mysticism is the great melting pot into which neo-orthodoxy, the charismatic movement, anti-intellectual evangelicals, and even some segments of Roman Catholicism have been synthesized.

It has produced movements like the Third Wave (a neo-charismatic movement with excessive emphasis on signs, wonders and personal prophesies); Renovaré (an organization that blends teachings from monasticism, ancient [Roman] Catholic mysticism, Eastern Religion, and other mystical traditions); the spiritual warfare movement (which seeks to engage demonic powers in direct confrontation); and the modern prophesy movement (which encourages believers to seek private, extrabiblical revelation directly from God).

The influx of mysticism has also opened evangelicalism to New-Age concepts like subliminal thought-control, inner healing, communication with angels, channeling, dream analysis, positive confession, and a host of other therapies and practices coming directly from occult and Eastern religions. The face of evangelicalism has changed so dramatically in the past twenty years that what is called evangelicalism today is beginning to resemble what used to be called neo-orthodoxy. If anything, some segments of contemporary evangelicalism are even more subjective in their approach to truth than neo-orthodoxy ever was. (25, 26, 27, 28, 29)

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