“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)

Evangelicalism Is Now Following The Same Broad Path As The Apostate Church Of Rome

With things not looking too good f for Apprising Ministries right now, you need to know that as this tsunami of apostasy grows—likely fueled by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments sent by Jesus—I’ve essentially just been documenting these things so people will have no excuse. A case in point is my writing concerning the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church. The EC—headed by, among others, the unholy EC trinity of apostates, Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Dr. Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch—would prove to be a Trojan Horse full of heresy

I’ve told you that part of their loathsome legacy is their bringing into the mainstream of rapidly apostatizing evangelicalism a new postmodern form of “big tent” Progressive Christianity—a Liberalism 2.0—sometimes referred to by these rebels against the final authority of God’s Word as Emergence Christianity. Some ask: “But do you really have to put it like that?” I’ll answer with the words of the late Dr. Walter Martin: If you have any brains you do. For you see, this isn’t a game; this is a spiritual war for the souls of men, and we only have one lifetime to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ — And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Jesus has given you years of straight ahead apologetics exposing the drifting of major players in the church visible, e.g. former EC rock star icon Rob Bell and Genral of the Seeker Driven Army Rick Warren; when that didn’t work, He’s also sent polemists like me to tell it like it is in a more blunt fashion. And if you think I’m rough, just wait until you see the next preachers God sends as this spiritual darkness continues to descend upon apostatizing evangelicalism. You don’t like that kind of talk; well, as Martin used to say—and too many cult of celebrity preachers conveniently forget today—the Christian ministry is no place for personality contests. You need to understand that both of the aforementioned men openly promote Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) so deep within the mainstream now.

The incontrovertible fact is that this spurious CSM—the refried Roman Catholic mysticism “discovered” by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, and now perpetrated within the very heart of evanjellyfish as supposed Spiritual Formation with an able assist from his spiritual twin Dallas Willard, was a core doctrine in the EC right from its slithering into the mainstream. In fact, this was all a part of the plan of Druckerite Leadership Network to move away from sola Scriptura to man-centered dominionist theology; in fact, I showed you in Rick Warren Guilty For Endorsing The Cult Of Guru Richard Foster And His Reimagined Gnostic Mysticism, that while discussing what he calls The Discipleship/Spiritual Formation Movement, Warren praises both Foster and Willard. Well, with barely a murmur of protest, I’m afraid he’s become even more emboldened now.

This is evidenced by Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, And Spiritual Disciplines, where at the Spiritual Disciplines page of its The Spiritual Growth Center at his Saddleback flagship we find a prominent recommendation of Richard Foster’s magum opus Celebration Of Discipline as well as The Spirit of the Disciplines by Willard, who’s also a—supposedly Protestant—Southern Baptist minister as is Rick Warren. For the sake of many new readers to AM, and I ask older ones to please extend grace while I bring them up to speed, it’s critical for you understand that the crown jewel of this spurious CSM of Foster-Willardism is actually a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness commonly referred to by its practitioners as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP).

Now it stretches past the point of credulity to believe that Rick Warren, as well as his staff at Saddleback Church who’re also recommending the works of Foster and Willard, are not familiar with the meditation of CCP that both Foster and Willard practice and promote. It’s against this backdrop I now warn you that what I’m seeing as I monitor Intel along the Internet front is that the younger sectors of evangelicalism have been heavily influenced by rhetoric of the Emerging Church. As we then combine this with their being filled with Seeker Driven teachings, and that for them sola Scriptura has now been jettisoned in favor of what’s essentially a highly existential “feelings-oriented” approach to the Bible, we see that they now interpret Scripture in the darkness of their practice of mysticism-lite for pouty postmoderns.

Consider Rick Warren’s sermon series last year on “how to hear from God,” and fellow Church Growth guru Bill Hybel’s book The Power Of A Whisper is on the same thing, which Larry DeBruyn will cover below. We fast forward to Rob Bell’s book of Love Wins universalism mythology and notice that there was barely a murmur of protest when spread into evangelicalism there should have been Acts 15:1-2 outrage. You can mark my word, evangelicalism is now on the very same path as the mainline denominations circa mid 1960’s when out went the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura; and into that void came charismatic, and then full-on contemplative practices, which were what led to ecumenicism. The next mistake was the ordination of women in violation of God’s Word; and they would then attack the doctrine of hell. What later followed was so-called “equality” and the mainline churches became gay-affirming; and what was left in this pitiful progression of apostasy was the ordination of those practicing the deviant lifestyle of homosexuality.

As this famine and spiritual blindness spreads I can tell you in the Lord that the younger sectors of the mainstream are absolutely ripe for the picking by guys like Rob Bell. As I said before, under their circus big tent, what such as these have done is to create a new postmodern form of liberalism that embraces the mystical; like modern theology was aimed at its culture, so this postmodern theology is aimed at this one. In a virtual repeat of history, the mainstream of the visible church began “experimenting” and letting these emerging fools (cf. Matthew 23) teach their young—some as far back as the late 1990’s; meanwhile many Emergent leaders were given publishing deals with evangelical publishing houses, which then helped them penetrate deeper into its own denominatonal structures and seminaries.

They’ve actually been running a propaganda campaign for years aimed at destroying sola Scriptura and capturing the younger sectors who are the future of the church. I believe they’ve been quite successful because at the same time the Rick Warren’s of the world lost faith, if they ever even had it, in the all-sufficiency of Holy Scripture. I can also tell you from observing the reaction in comment boxes at websites concerning Bell’s book Love Wins, where for the most part he rehashes arguments against hell originating with liberalism, that the majority of those jumping to his defense are not Emerging/Emergent; no rather, they were often younger evangelicals ignorant of church history. It’s simply a hunch but I say that, because these EC leaders can see such as these don’t have a Biblical defense, “soon” someone well known within evangelicalism will come out as gay, which will then detonate this issue now ripping apart the mainline—right within the mainstream.

You may know that I have many sources inside Mars Hill Bible Church, where Rob Bell was once pastor; prior to the fateful meeting where Bell addressed his Love Wins mythology, they were quite upset. Unfortunately, some ended up  buying into his little dog and pony show. So they clammed up; but not before one of them who was in lower level leadership told me that during a leadership meeting with the MHBC staff, then co-teaching pastor Shane Hipps shared a Bahá’í passage from Bahá’u’lláh that he said was an inspiration for his Wind In The Sail message where he said even the practicing Muslim extremist Osama Bin Laden has “a spark of the divine” already within him. Then they told me that usually, “I would join with the others in celebrating our spiritual diversity like I have when we used the Talmud, Koran or the Pāli Tipitaka (I mean, we’ve done a group Lectio from the Gospel of Thomas),…” but then went on to aim his criticism at the now departed Hipps.

Sadly, this spurious CSM has even permeated the New Calvinist camp, which to me looks like a postmodern form of Calvinism where they hold Reformation theology and then also embrace paradox by practicing Counter Reformation spirituality. First we have John Piper, reputed to be one of the patriarchs of this section of the Reformed Camp pronouncing Rick Warren doctrinally sound; then from an audio series I personally have, we see Tim Keller—another pillar in that crowd—teaching this CSM to his own church leadership at the turn of 1998 into 1999 as you’ll see documented in: Tim Keller Recommending Roman Catholic Mysticism. That was the last bastion where sola Scriptura was held; and this all shows you their own younger sector is now infected as well, e.g. Mark Driscoll And Neo-Reformed New Calvinist Contemplative Spirituality.

To quote pop philosopher Chris Cornell, this is how the visible church “fell on black days.” I think you need to know that there appear to be very rough spiritual waters ahead as this and famine in the land for the Word of God and spiritual blindness show signs of rapid increase; and without the anchor of sola Scriptura, the church needs to prepare herself for “dueling revelations.” Unfortunately, what’s going to be happening in increasing numbers within largely pretending to be Protestant evangelicalism will be people running to and fro definitively declaring that “God told me personally” thus and so. If you think things are confusing right now in the visible church, as the old saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. So in closing this, for now, I point you to Herescope and pastor Larry DeBruyn’s piece Hush! Whispers at Willow Creek.

DeBruyn scores a touchdown as he warns:

Sixteen years ago a psychologist noted our culture’s shift to mystical spirituality, a shift which involved people hearing “a distinct ‘inner voice’,” a voice that from time to time gives “the listener advice and counsel.”[1] Perhaps the Christian shibboleth, “The Lord told me . . .,” evidences the shift. But amazingly, what characterized the mysticism of the New Age/New Consciousness movement fifteen years ago is now emerging amongst mainstream evangelicals. In their attempt to keep in step with the culture and in the process becoming culturized (Contra Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-17.), this phenomenon of hearing God speak in a personal way has become quite chic in evangelical Christendom.[2]…

The fact that contemporary evangelicals seek “fresh” revelations from God indicates that they no longer consider Holy Scripture to be sufficient and authoritative in matters of faith (Contra 2 Timothy 3:16.). Yet if the Bible is no longer considered sufficient, the coming of “fresh revelations” raises the following conundrum. If whispers repeat the Word of God—and there is much in Hybels’ book that does—then they are unnecessary. If whispers contradict the Word of God, then they are heresy. If they add to the Word of God, then they point to Scripture’s inadequacy and insufficiency. To this point Proverbs warns: “Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he [God] reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6, KJV).

Fifteen years ago the Van der Merwes observed this trend. They wrote:

By all appearances, Christians are knowingly or unknowingly dabbling in eastern mysticism and the spirit world. . . . Deeper spiritual understanding seems to be the motivation behind it all. The problem is that Christians are no longer satisfied with the literal Word of God. They are looking for experiences “beyond the sacred page”. The Bread of Heaven, according to their inner “sacred feelings”, has become stale and outmoded.[3]

Behold, I am against the prophets,
saith the Lord,
that use their tongues,
and say, He saith.
(Jeremiah 23:31, KJV)


End notes:

[1] Elizabeth L. Hillstrom, Testing the Spirits (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995): 15. Listening to and hearing the voice of God is a popular experience claimed by many of today’s New Age/New Spiritualists. In 1965, Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology Helen Schucman (1909-1981) began to hear an inner Voice speak to her. Over a period of seven years, the Voice dictated material to her that, with transcriptional help provided by her faculty colleague William Thetford, became A Course in Miracles. See Helen Schucman with William Thetford, A Course in Miracles, 3 Volumes (New York, NY: The Foundation for Inner Peace, 1976). Schucman credited the Voice that dictated the Course to be that of Jesus. New Age spiritualist Barbara Marx Hubbard (1929- ) also listens to someone who speaks inside her. See Warren Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2011): 25-34. New Age guru Neale Donald Walsch also claims to have heard God speak to him. See Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialog, Book 1 (New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995, 1996). His two subsequent volumes (Books 2 and 3) were published by Hampton Roads Publishing in Charlottesville, Virginia, 1997, 1998.

[2] See Larry DeBruyn, “Be Still: Contemplative, or Listening Prayer and Psalm 46:10,” Guarding His Flock Ministries, online: http://guardinghisflock.com/2010/04/09/be-still/.

[3] Travers and Jewel Van der Merwe, Strange Fire: the Rise of Gnosticism in the Church (Lafayette, IN: Discernment Ministries, 1995): 21. Available online: http://discernment-ministries.org/StrangeFire.pdf.

Further reading