Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end. (Psalm 102:25-27, ESV)

Through The Fog Of Postmodern Smokescreens

Apprising Ministries has more than adequately shown in Brian McLaren And Evangelical Panentheism and Brian McLaren And Evangelical Panentheism (Part 2) that Mclaren’s friend Leonard Sweet, author of Quantum Spirituality, holds to the idea of “creation spirituality”; the same as taught e.g. by mystic Matthew Fox. And remember Sweet, who is rapidly gaining ground within mainstream evangelicalism, is beyond the shadow of a doubt a leading theologian in the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity—(EC).

The main issue is that, right in line with classic mysticism, this doctrine of “Evangelical Panentheism” holds that man is divine because he is a creation, which is quite literally a part of God. I ask the reader to stop and think this through with me for a moment. Has this Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster—so-called “Christian” mysticism—a core doctrine of the EC, ever been considered a proper Protestant “evangelical” doctrine; let alone panentheism?

And if not, which is precisely my point, then why are we considering men like Brian McLaren—and others who teach this kind of foolisnness like the Elvis of Emergence Rob Bell—evangelicals? Here in Part Three we begin with a bit of an unexpected direction, and just a little taste of where all of this will be leading us, as we continue to examine the New Light Quantum Spirituality of our brand “new kind of Christian” Brian McLaren. For example, if this type of panentheism is true, then we are told the creation itself is literally alive and literally a part of the Body of God.

Further this would mean also that all of mankind shares in the divine nature of God; in other words, that man is already in God, and God in man simply through the initial creation. I know this may a bit technical for some, but please stay with me here. Adapting the logical argument posed by Dr. Walter Martin in his debate with Mormon apologist Van Hale years ago the issue then becomes clear: “If God and man are both deity, then you no longer have God and man, you only have God.”

One may equivocate with words, which happens to be a strong suit for Humpty Dumpty-like postmoderns, but this truth remains: God chose to speak to man through Scripture using words that have actual meaning. However, if these words somehow don’t mean what standard dictionaries and lexicons have defined them to mean, then we simply have lost all means of any real communication. And this is the sad result of the relativism foundational to our culture today; because the truth really is that, in the end, “postmodernism” is only a category made up by those who wish to believe it.

From someone who as been following this postliberal cult of the EC for years now, I can tell you the bottom line is that they simply choose to follow this flawed philosophical system. Sadly, Satan has been able to inject much esoteric discussion into the visible church, which is really just a re-interpreted Gnosticism; one that’s right in line with deeper  “revelation” claimed by the original Gnostics. Study it for yourself and you’ll find that they also taught that their superior knowledge gleaned from contemplative practices superceded Scripture.

I simply can’t emphasize enough how appropriate the warning given by God the Holy Spirit is for the Church right now in this time of growing spiritual blindness — 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 (Colossians 2:8). O how I wish that Christians would heed this advice because this whole problem is actually all wrapped up in classic philosophy: If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it in fact actually make a sound?

Perhaps I might paraphrase it this way for the spiritually obtuse among us: If Christ said, “you will know the Truth,” and today few people are willing to believe that, does it somehow then become an untrue statement? You know what this whole modern/postmodern thing really boils down to? Picture two four-year-olds sharing their differences. It goes something like this: “Did too.” “Nuh-uh.” “Did too!” “Nuh-uh!” (voices becoming louder) “Did too!!” “Nuh-uh!!”…etc., etc., until one finally just gets tried of making a reply.

Way Past Time To Put Away Childish Thinking

Truthfully, in the end it doesn’t really change a thing, does it? This is what we have going on here in this EC. They say: “We want to follow Jesus and do church our own way, so we’ll choose what feels best to us and insist to everyone that since the Christian faith—as it has been taught through the centuries—just doesn’t relate to this culture; so therefore, it must be wrong.” This is the spiritual equivalent of the 12 year-old—upon being told they won’t get their way—stomping up to their room, slamming the door, and turning up their music in order to drown old the mean ol’ world.

Now at this point I wish to help you avoid falling into what I refer to as wrestling with the serpent. Any of you who are familiar with sharing the true Christian faith with those in non-Christian cults will recognize immediately what I mean by this phrase. If one does not know what they are doing, they will very quickly find themselves twisting and turning and continually going from topic to topic trying to refute each point as it is brought up, just as if they were atempting to pin a large snake to the ground.

So let me try and focus attention on the main point, which way too many on both sides of this issue are missing, concerning the historic Christian faith not being “relative” to the pagan culture native to these United States Of Self-Delusion. And this would be that complacency, disobedience, and adopting the ways of the cultures around the people of God, has never been blessed by our Creator in the past; and in my humble opinion our unchanging Lord has largely judged the visible church in this narcissistic nation to be doing exactly that.

I have said it on many occasions, but since this series—and coverage concerning the issue of those having sexual relations with another of the same sex i.e homosexuality— has begun opening AM to many who have not read my previous work, I will say this one more time. Like it or not, the Christian faith is living in a real relationship with a Supernatural Triune Being Who literally dwells inside those believers who have been “born again.” And no matter how intellectual we like to think we are, no human being can ever convert another to Christ no matter what we do—period.

The opening of spiritually blind eyes and the re-creation of dead souls is solely the realm of God the Holy Spirit. Ryan, one of the members of my local church, is a young man whom I had the privilege of being the instrument God used to bring him to Christ only a few years ago. Through his devotion to his Lord, this on-fire for God young man is already more mature than many older men I know of because he followed some very simple advice I once gave him: Read the Bible; pray, and do what it says.

A while back he was feeling a bit frustrated by the lack of response as he shares his faith in Jesus to others around him. As I once explained Ryan, it’s only as we walk in obedient fellowship with our Lord that our witness for Him will ever be more effective; and much also depends on what God’s plan is for the particular generation in which a person may live. Simply put: And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). Attempting to “help” God do so is precisely where this EC, and the rest of the Church Growth Movement, veer off-track.

Must We Be So Dull?

I humbly offer that rather than Christ’s Church being ineffective and not “relating” to (read: compromising with) this pagan “postmodern” culture, instead based on Matthew 16:18 and Ephesians 1:11, we are having exactly the results that our Father wants for this sinful and perverse generation. My point being, since so many seem to feel we may be living at the end of the Age of Grace, then I would say—based further on the indifference I see to proper doctirne—this time in which we now live would be found here in God’s Word:

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:17-19).

Although there are those Christians who might like to put it out of their minds that we are to be the doulos [means: slave] of our Master, Christ Jesus does not. And, I tell you in the Lord that, He really couldn’t care less about our little agendas or the way we think His Church ought to operate. You may not like to hear that, but it is a little word to the wise. I truly believe that amidst all our self-congratulation for our great “ministries,” and boasting about our Biblical knowledge, if Jesus were standing in front of us today He’d look at us and ask “Are you still so dull?” (Matthew 15:16)

Meditation Is Our Key

With all of this in mind, now we’ve a good place to return directly to what I was saying above re. the doctrine of panentheism underlying the teachings of Brian McLaren and people he knows personally such as Len Sweet. Again the main issue is here is, just the same as in every mystic tradition, this “evangelical” doctrine of panentheism holds that man is divine because he is a creation that is literally a part of God. We’ll return to this fallacy in a moment; first, I remind you again this so-called creation spirituality also teaches that all of creation itself is alive, and as such also shares God’s nature.

In coming articles I will clearly show you from primary sources that, in addition to the panentheism of these so-called “Christian” mystics, there’s also a similar theme found in eastern religions like Hinduism and Zen Buddhism, as well as within the New Age Movement. And the single “spiritual discipline” runnning through each and every one of these belief systems/world views would be the practice of some form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness. Look it up for yourself; and you’ll see through embrace of the EC it’s coming to a church near you.

In his book Soul Shaper, leading EC theologian Tony Jones even tells the unsuspecting and spiritually gullible evangelicals about “the saints of the Christian church who have over the past two millennia labored at practicing and perfecting these disciplines” (O5). Well imagine that, for among these so-called “disciplines” described in Jones’ book of spurious Spiritual Formation we find meditation. But not meditation on the text of the Bible as Scripture teaches; this is seeking a mystical experience in the “presence” of God via Contemplative/Centering Prayer.

However, among “the saints” who practice the neo-Gnosticism one finds in books written by EC writers, we will not find men like Charles Spurgeon or Jonathan Edwards, which is something they don’t happen to mention. How difficult it is to refrain here from getting after the “serpent” of logical contradictions involved with that concept of meditation, where supposedly we have to go and seek to place ourselves in God’s presence. So suffice to say that if God is in man, and man is in God, then man would already be in the presence of God.

It’s no wonder these guys in the EC are pushing the messed-up mystical methods of eastern a-logic upon us, because anyone using the gray matter the Creator placed between our ears, ought to see right through this kind of idiocy. But this is one of the devastating effects that secular humanism and our careless misuse of technology has had on our society. Sadly, by and large, people today just won’t sit still long enough to develop sound reasoning skills; and so they fall victim to myriad emerging falsehoods, all rooted in — “Indeed, has God said?”

As we further develop the logical contradictions inherent in this “evangelical” panentheism, I ask the reader to stop and think this through with me for a moment. For now, let’s sidestep whether this doctrine of panentheism is Biblical or not, and ask this question instead: Has this doctrine slithering up in EC theology concerning “Christian” mysticism (let alone panentheism) ever been considered consistent with Protestant evangelical” doctrine; and if not (which is my point), then why are we considering as evangelicals men like Brian McLaren and others who teach it?

A Return To An “Evangelical” Spiritualism

Believe it if you want; teach it if you must, but shouldn’t the mainstream evangelical community have enough backbone to say: “Not in our churches you won’t.” Before we go further into the writings on panentheism by Sallie McFague and Living Spiritual Teacher and “Progessive Christian” scholar Marcus Borg I want to return to the main issue that this doctrine teaches. This key point would be that, if panentheism is true, then all of mankind is divine—as is the entire creation itself—because all would literally be a part of God Himself.

As I walk you through the incongruities inherent in this creation model you will be able to see that those of us who hold to the proper Christian concept of God, as taught in the Bible, will immediately recognize panentheism as a doctrine from Satan himself. What’s critical to realize is that this more modern form of “Christian” mysticism, rooted in the musings of Thomas Merton—quite literally a Golden Buddha of CSM—has now even penetrated mainstream evangelicalism through men like Richard Foster, and now even Rob Bell.

You need to understand that these pietistic practices simply refer to the eastern pagan disciplines such as transcendental meditation by other Christian-sounding names. However, reputable Church history shows that these practices were unknown in the teachings of Jesus Himself and the doctrine of his Apostles; and even Tony Jones is forced to admit that in Soul Shaper:

Like the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer grew out of the reflections and writings of the Desert Fathers. John Cassian (c.360-c.430) came from the West and made a pilgrimage to the desert to learn the ways of contemplative prayer. After almost 20 years in the desert, Cassian…wrote his book The Conferences about his conversation with the Desert Fathers to acquaint Western Christians with their teachings (073).

Tony Jones then goes on to tell us something that Cassian “learned” something, which clearly is in conflict with 1 Corinthians chapter 2 (see—particularly vv. 12,16). I ask the reader to pay close attention here as Jones informs us Cassian taught that Abba Isaac (abba=“father”; see—Matthew 23:9) told him that for “‘true prayer’” there is a particular formula that “must ever be before you” and then the result will be “by God’s light the mind mounts up to the manifold knowledge of God,…like a spark leaping up from a fire” (ibid).

Lord willing, as funding may allow, if you keep following this series you will come to see that the language of this particular neo-Gnosticism is virtually identical to that I will be quoting from those various religious systems mentioned above. Jesus tells us — “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16, NASB). As such, our concern then becomes exactly what “knowledge of God” does this magic formula of “light” eventually lead us to?

Regular readers of AM know that Living Spiritual Teacher the Very Reverend Dr. Alan Jones gives us a glimpse of it in his book Reimaging Christianity. Here’s a quick reminder of what Brian McLaren says of Jones and Reimagining Christianity:

It used to be that Christian institutions and systems of dogma sustained the spiritual life of Christians. Increasingly, spirituality itself is what sustains everything else. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply (back cover, emphasis added).

Is it just me, or has what McLaren just said all but been obscured here by the plethora of red flags that suddenly appeared flapping wildly! Here is a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who also teaches other pastors within the mainstream evangelical community, expressly praising this “reimagined” neo-Gnostic pagan spirituality of Alan Jones. This same Very Reverend Alan Jones who, as an Episcopal priest literally denies the atonement of his Lord, and whose teachings are so nebulous he is placed among a most dubious group of interspiritists as a “living spiritual teacher.”

As Bud Press of Christian Research Service, my dear friend and brother in Christ might say: “What in the world is the matter here; are we just stuck in stupid?” Well, be that as it may, we now get back to where this alleged “knowledge of God” gained through the “Inner Light” revealed through meditation will lead us. In a long meandering explanation, which I have mercifully condensed here for the reader, while using an icon of the Virgin Mary as a backdrop our guru Alan Jones, whose work Brian McLaren said “stimulates and encourages me deeply,” enlightens us:

The mystical traditions all agree that in our helplessness we come closer to the real well of life deep within us…[r]enewal and transformation could begin by our waiting for our own secret to reveal itself in the pregnant silence–in the silence of the Virgin concerning the secret of God…in the silence we, too, by the grace of the Spirit give birth to ourselves–to the true self that is both secret and known, the self-in-God. Loved and in communion with all things, the soul is born in and out of the secret silence of God, This silence at the heart of mysticism is not only the meeting point of the great traditions but it is also where all hearts might meet (172, 174, emphasis added)

Becoming Like The Most High

It should be pretty clear to those who have been able to follow the serpentine path traced by Jones above within our spiritual labyrinth that what this “living spiritual teacher” just told us has far more in common with the Dali Lama of Tibet than it does with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. One may already be coming to see that as this alleged evangelical panentheism oozes up from this so-called “Christian” mysticism, completely consistent with the Counter Reformation spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola, we’re now laying the ground work for some “new” kind of universal religion in Christ’s Name.

This is all necessary framing as we continue our discussion the next two parts where you’ll learn more about the panentheism of both Sallie McFague and Marcus Borg, who each also happen to be teachers whose work Brian McLaren has told us he enjoys and holds in high regard. In closing this for now, let me walk you through the logical conclusions of this doctrine of panentheism; because they do quite clearly reveal that at its very satanic source, we will quite clearly find the very enemy of men’s soul himself.

We will elaborate on this further in another piece, but for now we see that this “evangelical” panentheism will necessitate that whatever God creates is a part of Himself, and therefore, must also share His nature—which is Deity. As such then, Satan himself would also share this divine nature of God thus fulfilling his boast in Isaiah 14:14 — “I will make myself like the Most High.” In addition, we’ll also see that since mankind is also divine, we have now obliterated the uniqueness of Jesus Christ Who would no longer be monogenes—or the only begotten one of a kind Son of God—the God-Man.

And as if all of that wasn’t bad enough, in panentheism, because mankind shares God’s nature there would now be no need for the Cross where Christ Jesus defeated Satan (e.g. Colossians 2:13-15). In turn, there would also be no need for the Christian doctrine of the new birth because mankind would be inherent deity. So now with Brian McLaren and this evangelical panentheism, just as with the Tower of Babel, man himself attempts to become like the Most High without the intervention of God and His Christ. Hint: It’s not a good thing.

No doubt this plays great to the selfish pride of the sinful nature of man; but I ask you, exactly how many things that are antichrist does it take before we finally recognize that something is just not of Christ? After all He did tell us to test the spirits, and I’d have to say we’re just a bit past due with this emerging from the shadows of Hell “Christian” spiritism. And should you choose to do a bit more research you will find that this reimagined Christianity espoused by men like Alan Jones and Brian McLaren, the Emergent disciple he spawned, is basically just a twist of an old philosophy known by its New Age buzzword as actualism.

The New Age Now Comes Emerging

In closing out Part 3, I mentioned above that Brian McLaren holds the work of the aforemenioned Marcus Borg, a fellow with The Jesus Seminar, in high regard and has even shared the preaching platform with him. Well, among the books Borg has co-authored is one called Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings where we are told: “Their subversive wisdom was also an alternative wisdom: they taught a way or path of transformation.” Now let us consider these words of “wisdom”:

The work of the Buddha and the Christ must now be intelligently carried forward by a humanity wise enough to recognise its dharma … the awareness of the soul’s perfect line of development; the inner nature unfolding itself. There is the emergence of a new kingdom in nature, the fifth kingdom; this is the Kingdom of God on earth or the kingdom of souls.

It is precipitating on earth and will be composed of those who are becoming group-conscious and who can co-operate in group formation. This will be possible, because these people will have achieved a self-initiated perfection (even if relative in nature) and will be identified with certain group expansions of consciousness.

It will also be because they have arrived at a love of humanity, just as they have loved themselves in the past. Their work will largely be to summarize and make effective the work of those two great Sons of God, the Buddha and the Christ.

As you know, One of them brought illumination to the world and embodied the principle of wisdom, and the Other brought love to the world and embodied in himself a great cosmic principle – the principle of love. (Online source, emphasis)

Now, now before you get too upset at Dr. Marcus Borg, I really must tell you that this last quote wasn’t actually from Borg. No, that last bit of blasphemy was channeled from the spirit world through Alice Bailey in her book Discipleship in the New Age Volume I written in 1944. It was Bailey who first coined the term New Age and what she was saying was exactly the same thing Borg was saying in his book Jesus And Buddha: The Parallel Sayings. Not only that but to all except possibly the really, really faithful among the McLarenites it all sure sounds eerily reminicent of the “Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality” that Alan Jones.

You know, the one he’s been “reimagining”; the very pantheistic New Light “work” of Emerging/ent/ce Christianity that spiritual guru Brian McLaren has told us, “stimulates and encourages me deeply.” You may be aware of the recently concluded Jurgen Moltmann Conference, which was put on by a most dubious duo of the Emerging Church, heretical theologian  Tony Jones and his equally heretical quasi-universalist Emergent Church pastor Doug Pagitt. If you had attended, as did my friends Chris Rosebrough and Bob DeWaay, in this Emergence de-formation of the Christian faith you would have heard virtually the same “group-conscious” message from those in the EC who have also arrived at “a love of humanity”:

People will be lovers of themselves,…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:2, 5)

See also: