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for you do no know when the time is (Mark 13:33)

Posts Tagged ‘New Age’

Pleasing Men/Offending God

Posted by Tom Lessing on April 26, 2009

Jer 17:5 Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. (Emphasis added)

The God of the Bible always does what He says. He is not a turncoat. He never reverses his principles. “God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). Christians become overjoyed and excited when they hear these comforting and reassuring words and they praise the Lord with much thanksgiving. His promises, they reiterate again and again, are true and “yea and amen” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). And so they are; no one can deny it! . . . but lo and behold we have become “positive thinkers” in the interpretation of the Bible; we are so taken up and enthralled by all the wonderful positive promises in God’s Word that we conveniently forget the curses, the admonitions and the negative promises. Some may immediately accuse me of “Old-Testamentism”, reminding me that we are living in the age of grace and abundant blessings, and that those curses were only relevant to that time. Not so! God’s curses in the Old Testament are just as potent today. Listen to what God says in the New Testament:

1 Cor 10:5-11 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity). We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did—and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day! We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents; Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

The Old Testament kings of Israel and Judah were in many ways the reflection or mirror image, if you will, of the hopes, aspirations and in particular the spiritual and moral fibre of the entire nation. When a king sinned and rendered him guilty of spiritual harlotry (idolatry) the entire nation suffered. Manasseh, one of Judah’s most evil kings who succeeded his God-fearing father Hezekiah, reigned in Jerusalem for 55 years and continually only did evil in the sight of the Lord. Despite God’s repeated warnings, the nation refused to listen and King Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations did whom the Lord destroyed before the Israelites (2 Kings 21:9-11).

Someone once said: “God very often gives a country the leaders it deserves.” The “leaders” are not necessarily political leaders but spiritual leaders who are supposed to teach their flocks everything the Lord commanded them to do and uphold. They have not only been given the enormous responsibility to preach the unadulterated Word of the Lord but to act as beacons, lighthouses, leading the way to the only Saviour of the world, and declaring without fear and reservation “There is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” Sadly the very opposite is taking place. Spiritual leaders throughout the world and also here in my beloved country, South Africa, are increasingly replacing God’s altar of worship with the alien altars and strange fire of other religions, all in the name of ecumenical tolerance, love, a new global ethic and mutual respect.

King Ahaz who occupied the throne in Jerusalem from 732-715 BC is a perfect example of how our post modern and emergent spiritual leaders tolerate the so-called truths in other faiths and even participate in other religions for the sake of an ecumenical and global peace. When Rezin, king of Aram and Pekah, king of Israel, formed an alliance against king Ahaz in an effort to force him to join them against the Assyrian threat, Ahaz preferred to appeal for help to Tiglath-Pileser III. He voluntarily submitted as a vassal to Assyrian control and sent  a gift of silver and gold from the temple and palace in Jerusalem to encourage Tiglath-Pileser to remove the armies of his neighbours from his walls. Tiglath-Pileser obliged by attacking and capturing king Rezin’s capital Damascus. This was the beginning of Ahaz’s spiral into an even greater apostasy and eventually his death. He was so overwhelmed by Tiglath-Pileser’s victory over his enemies that he travelled to Damascus to meet the Assyrian king. There he saw and was captivated by a very large Assyrian altar. He immediately had a sketch made of it and sent it to the high priest, Uriah, instructing him to build a similar one. He also commanded him that all the regular offerings should hence be made on the new idolatrous altar. Ahaz had the bronze altar, of which God had given Moses the exact measurements on Mount Sinai, removed from it’s place in the temple and only used it to seek the counsel and guidance of God. Ahaz had done this to please Tiglath-Pileser and not to offend him. Do we need to say more to see that religious tolerance is nothing new under the sun?

King Solomon was perfectly correct when he said there is nothing new under the sun. Our own revered spiritual leaders have in many ways replaced God’s altar with the altars of other religions. They have become so captivated by the alleged truths in other religions and even the New Age that they have turned their backs on God’s one and only altar. They know it is impossible to strip God’s altar of it’s inherent offensive character (1 Peter 2:6-8) . . . and yet they are doing everything in their power to make the Gospel of God more palatable and less offensive. Some of them keep the offensiveness of the cross hidden in their churches as a means to seek God’s counsel and guidance but as soon as they move into the world they exploit the non-offensive and “unashamedly ethical,” altars, the New Age altars, and even the altars of other religions in order not to offend their new partners in religious tolerance. The great prophet Elijah unashamedly called this kind of two-faced hypocrisy “to halt between two opinions.” The LXX. render the expression “How long go ye lame on both knees?” The Hebrew verb rendered “halt” is used of the irregular dance (“leaped upon”) around the altar (1Ki 18:26). It indicates a lame, uncertain gait, going now in one direction, now in another, in the frenzy of wild leaping between two radically different and opposing altars. I have already mentioned in one of my previous commentaries that Graham Power, Chairperson of Transformation Africa with whom Rev. Jannie Pelser and many other spiritual leaders  are in close cahoots, was one of the major sponsors of the Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Cape Town from 1 to 8 December in 1999. If ever there was a time when nominal Christians were captivated by the altars of other religions, it was here, when they became “participants to meet their own and other’ traditions at deeper levels” to “encounter others whose practice, work and commitment can enrich their own,” to “inspire individuals, organisations, nations and religions and spiritual communities to offer gifts of service, which will make long-term difference in the world” and last but not least to “explore new modes of creative engagement of each institution with one another and with the critical issues which confront the planetary community.” (A New Day Dawning, Spiritual Yearnings and Sacred Possibilities”, p. 6). They are “unashamedly ethical” but have no qualms whatsoever to be ashamed of the offensive Gospel of Jesus Christ. While they unashamedly boast in the face of God that they are “unashamedly ethical” He in utter derision answers them: “all your righteous acts (global ethics, norms and values) are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6).

Although some of our distinguished preachers and teachers, amongst them Rev. Jannie Pelser, sincerely believe that the global ethics (norms and values) they intend to cultivate in our society are akin to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, they conveniently forget that the fruit of the Spirit is uniquely just that —  the fruit of the Holy Spirit — and can only be cultivated in the lives of those who have come to repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on God’s altar, the cross. Notwithstanding this eternal and immutable truth, Jannie has repeatedly said (on Radio Pulpit, Radio 702, Radio Sonder Grense and several other public forums) that everyone from all walks of life and different religious persuasions can participate in the New Heart Foundation’s efforts to change our society. His modus operandi is nothing short of an attempt to replace God’s altar (which alone can cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in peoples’ lives) with other altars, and not unlike king Ahaz, to maintain the regular Christian terminologies (fruit of the Spirit) on these altars for the sake of tolerance an a non-offensive interreligious or ecumenical brotherhood.

Jannie Pelser’s norms and values, articulated in the New Heart Foundation and Heart Initiative of South Africa is nothing new. The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago commissioned Hans Kung to develop a draft of a “Declaration of the Religions for a Global Ethic.” which you can read here. It provides a link to the Global Ethic Foundation which states, amongst other things, the following:

We affirm that there is an irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races, nations, and religions. There already existFalse Dawn ancient guidelines for human behavior which are found in the teachings of the religions of the world and which are the condition for a sustainable world order.

Lee Penn, the author of False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the quest for a One World Religion describes in great detail how the URI intends to cultivate a global ethic. A preview of the book can be seen here.

The interfaith movement, which began with the 1893 Worlds Parliament of Religions in Chicago, has grown worldwide. Although this movement has been largely unknown to the public, it now provides a spiritual face for globalization, the economic and political forces leading us all from nationalism to One World. The most ambitious organization in today’s interfaith movement is the United Religions Initiative (URI), founded by William Swing, the Episcopal Bishop of California. Investigative reporter Lee Penn, a Catholic ex-Marxist, exhaustively documents the history and beliefs of the URI and its New Age and globalist allies, the vested interests that support these movements, and the direction they appear to be taking. The interfaith movement is no longer merely the province of a coterie of little-heeded religious idealists with grandiose visions. The URIs proponents have ranged from billionaire George Soros to President George W. Bush, from the far-right Rev. Sun Myung Moon to the liberal Catholic theologian Hans Kung, and from the Dalai Lama to the leaders of government-approved Protestant churches in the Peoples Republic of China. The interfaith movement, including the URI, is being promoted by globalist and New Age reformers who favor erosion of national sovereignty, marginalization of traditional religions, establishment of global governance, and creation of a new, Earth-based global spirituality, in effect, a one-world religion. Therefore, the URI and the interfaith movement are poised to become the spiritual foundation of the New World Order: the new civilization now proposed by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union. In The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, French metaphysician Ren Gunon spoke of the anti-tradition (the forces of materialism and secular humanism) finally giving way to the counter-tradition (the satanic inversion of true spirituality), leading to the regime of Antichrist. The anti-tradition weakens and dissolves traditional spiritualities, after which the counter-tradition sets up a counterfeit in their place. Since Gunons time, as is well known, anti-traditional forces have greatly advanced worldwide. It is less well-known that counter-traditional movements have also made great strides, and now stand closer to the centers of global political and religious power than ever before. The counter-tradition is making inroads on the political and cultural Right, as much as it is doing on the Left. False Dawn painstakingly documents these trends, and speculates on their future development. In so doing, the author takes investigative reporting to the threshold of prophecy, and gives us a stunningly plausible picture of the global religious landscape of the 21st century. This extraordinary project is the literary equivalent of turning over a flat rock. There is much to be seen and learned here all of it unsettling, disquieting, occasionally downright scary. William Murchison, Radford Distinguished Professor, Baylor University When a bishop of a Christian church happily worships alongside a Wiccan invoking other gods, something has gone horribly wrong. In False Dawn, Lee Penn has produced a comprehensive and critical history of the United Religions Initiative. (Emphasis added).

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time (hour, the end of this age). And as you have heard that the antichrist [he who will oppose Christ in the guise of Christ] is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen, which confirms our belief that it is the final (the end) time.

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The Enigmatic Ping-Pong Love of the Emergent Fraternity

Posted by Tom Lessing on April 13, 2009

King Solomon’s wise remark in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “The thing that has been, it is what will be; and that which has been done is that which will be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” is relevant and true to this very day. It is particularly true of most people’s reactions, and especially high profile persons such as professors, doctors, and pastors (“dominees)” in the post modern emergent camp, when they are confronted with the unalterable, infallible and eternal truth of God. Allow me to explain this in terms of an incident in the Bible when Paul and Silas were severely beaten in prison subsequent to their witnessing to the truth. Paul and Silas, as with all the other disciples, witnessed to the truth; they heralded it and never sought to engage in a conversation with the idolaters of their time. They never said: “Ok you guys, let us congenially gather around the coffee table where you may teach us the beatitudes in your religion and we will teach you ours. We’re not interested in converting you to our religion; we’re merely trying to find common ground so that we may learn from one another.”

Acts 16:25-37

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying, “Release those men.” And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.” (Emphasis added)

That’s what I love about Paul. Contrary to today’s emergent leaders such as Stephan Joubert who make such a big fuss of the integrity of Rob Bell, his own name and even those of his fellowmen were of little concern to him (Galatians 2:6) when matters pertaining to God’s truth and the doctrine of salvation needed to be defended in the face of Christ’s enemies. Nevertheless, when simple justice called for it, he stood his ground like a man and confronted his persecutors head-on: “Hey, you guys cannot just cast us out like common dirt when you violated your own country’s laws. They have beaten us mercilessly and now your highly respected magistrates whose integrity you hold in high esteem want to thrust us out shamelessly and secretly? Tell your highly esteemed magistrates to come here and accompany us out with due respect and honour.”

Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that I have no concern for my own name when it is maligned in behalf of Christ and His Gospel. In fact, the “black-and-white” defined truth is that all Christians should leap with joy when they are maligned, ridiculed and persecuted for the Name of Jesus Christ and His Gospel (Matthew 5: 11; Acts 5:41). However, I fail to understand how someone who calls himself a Christian can publicly associate my name with the devil, who is the father of all lies and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), and subsequently make an about turn to send me a private e-mail, assuring me that he is praying for me and my family. A serious dilemma arises: should he pray to God for Tom Lessing and his family or should he pray for “an agent of the devil (the father of all lies and a murderer from the beginning) and his family? He reminds me of Dr. Johan van den Heever of the Eldoraigne Dutch Reformed Emergent Church who recently also very piously called me his brother. It is this kind of ping-pong love no one dares to trust, because you never know what they are going to call you next. A fountain cannot bring forth bitter and sweet water (James 3:11).

Although Rev. Guillaume Smit did not give me permission to post on my blog an e-mail he recently sent me, he has no authority to prevent me from disclosing the general content of his mail. I never gave him permission to label me an agent of the devil and yet he wilfully and maliciously called me the agent of the father of all lies who is a murderer from the beginning on the internet for the entire world to see. Now he clandestinely wants me to continue our discussion in private. He wants to gently and secretly get rid of me like those magistrates in Paul’s day. Nonetheless, I have decided to disclose, on the internet as he had done in calling me an agent of the devil, that he has now piously decided to pray for me and my family. He is determined to pray that God would overcome me with His love; that He would open my spiritual eyes so that I may know the truth, and yet when I presented him with the truth from Scripture he accused me of legalism and pharaseeism; and that my “black-and-white” theology is an outright fallacy. His ad hominem accusations are not even original. He parrot-talks after other emergent gurus who call themselves Christians. In one of his reviews of Ron Martoia’s book, “Static,” he wrote here: Ron Martoia

Static “I also re-read Ron Martoia’s book, Static, in this time. Martoia challenges his readers to rethink salvation and sin in light of a biblical understanding of Scripture rather than a theological understanding (my words). I agree with him on the issue: We are way too obsessed with black-white legalistic issues when it comes to Christian life and ethics. It results in the Christian church becoming more and more like a Pharisaical religion in stead of being an authentic Jesus movement” (Emphasis added).

The overriding meaning of the above quoted section is evident: If you believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, unalterable and eternal Word of God, you are a “black-and-white-legalistic-Pharisee” as opposed to the “authentic Jesus movement” that promotes yoga and other disciplines in Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age philosophies. Many emergent preachers claim that all religions have wonderful and beautiful truths that may be incorporated freely into Christianity in order to enhance the “authentic Jesus movement’s” evangelical outreach throughout the world.

The questions we should ask is why we need to have second thoughts about biblical salvation and what the purpose is behind the emergent fraternities “rethinking” process. Biblical salvation is an individual-istic redemption. The Holy Spirit deals with every individual in a personal way convicting him/her of their own particular sins with the purpose of bringing them to a position where they contritely acknowledge (confess) their sins and eternal lostness to Jesus Christ in order for them to be saved from the righteous wrath and indignation of an infinitely holy God. Not so with the emergent church. This kind of salvation is too narrow-minded, too harsh and judgmental, too simplistic and out of touch with postmodern man’s immediate needs. They can no longer wait for Jesus Christ to usher in His Kingdom of peace, wholeness, and wellness. They want it here and now, the result being that they have derailed biblical salvation and shunted it to a parallel sounding rail of a global resurrection or salvation, which is nothing more than a social gospel. Rev. Jannie Pelser’s transformational theology to inculcate healthy and sound norms and values in our society falls squarely in this category.

In Flip Loots’ programme “Oop Gesprek” (Sunday, 12 April 2009) his two guests, Jannie Pelser and Graham Power (who was one of the sponsors of of the “Parliament of the World’s Religions” in Cape Town in December 1999), once again advertised their missional programme to inculcate sound and healthy norms and values in our society. How do they aim to forge healthy and civilized norms and values in our society when they unashamedly tolerate the corruption and highly unethical transformation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their churches and seminaries, and unashamedly and publicly spread the lie that we may learn from other religions and even the New Age because they too have certain beneficial truths inherent in their beliefs? (read here). Strengthened by their maxim “unashamedly ethical” they aim to eradicate corruption, crime and unethical practices from the top to the bottom. How dare they appoint themselves to the lofty position of guardians of social ethics (norms and values) when they unashamedly cuddle up to men who unashamedly corrupt the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Jannie Pelser admitted that we are living in the last of the last days which, according to Scripture, will be unashamedly characterized by a falling away from the faith. And yet, Jannie and Graham Power are confident and very excited that their missional thrust to transform South Africa and the whole of Africa with their norms-and-values-heart-transplant will be a resounding success. Who should we believe —  God or Jannie Pelser and Graham Power? I have written extensively on the fallacies of their unbiblical transformational “gospel” here and here.

I have already posted one of Rob Bell’s Nooma videos in one of my previous comments but would like to do so here again to prove to you what I mean.

The Gospel is NOT just about God not having given up on the world; that a giant resurrection rescue is on its way and that He wants to put it all back together, you, me and the whole world, again. The Gospel is the Good News of God’s unending longsuffering toward mankind as a whole, not willing that any should perish but that the entire world should come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The sad news, however, is that the majority shun God’s divinely ordained way of saving lost sinners. They have rejected the cross of His Son because to them it is sheer foolishness  (1 Corinthians 1:18). They want Him to resurrect them into a new and wonderful life of well-being, wholeness and peace without the blood of His cross. The Gospel is the Good News only to those who in faith and repentance have responded to God’s divinely ordained way of salvation. To those who reject His free gift of salvation, there is no peace (Isaiah 42:22).

The late Alice Bailey, a Theosophist during her life, who was used as a channel by die spirit guide, Djwal Kuhl, said something very similar about a universal resurrection in her book The Externalization of the Hierarchy – Section III – Forces behind the Evolutionary Process

An Easter Message

Easter Day 1945

On this day, we recall to our minds the fact of Resurrection – a universal and eternally recurring resurrection. I would like to talk with you anent the Christ, about His work as head of the Hierarchy, and about the rebuilding which humanity must undertake and which the Hierarchy is seeking to impulse at this time. A great period of reconstruction is planned. Here are the two words around which I wish to create my theme: Resurrection and Reconstruction. It will be a reconstruction implemented by Those Who know the meaning of resurrection, and it will involve a resurrection of humanity through the medium of its intelligentsia and men and women of goodwill. These two groups (the Hierarchy and Humanity) will need to be brought into a closer rapport, and this is entirely possible if the followers of the Christ realize their opportunity and shoulder their responsibilities. I would point out that when I use the phrase “followers of the Christ” I refer to all those who love their fellowmen, irrespective of creed or religion. Only upon this basic premise can a hopeful future be founded.

I do not care whether or not those who read my words accept the occult teaching of a spiritual and planetary Hierarchy over which the Christ presides, or whether they think in terms of Christ and His disciples. The essential recognition for which I plead is that this great group of spiritual Individuals, Who receive so general a recognition throughout the world and in all the great religions, should be [469] regarded as active. The Christian view of the Christ is built upon that which He enacted for us two thousand years ago and through which He symbolically indicated to us the way which all aspirants must go. It portrays a picture of a waiting, quiescent Christ, living in some vague and far away heaven, “resting on His laurels” and practically doing nothing very much until such time as the sons of men of every race and creed acclaim Him as Savior; this they must do both as individuals and as representing the organized Christian Church. It is a picture of a listening, observing Christ, animated by pity and compassion, but Who has done all He could and now waits for us to do our part; it is also a picture of One Who waits to see what humanity, as a whole, will accept theologically. In the mind of the narrow, fundamentalist theologian, Christ is seen as presiding over a peaceful place called Heaven, into which the elect are welcomed; He is also seen as consigning all who remain aware of their own spiritual integrity and responsibility, who refuse to be gathered into organized churches or who go idly or wickedly through life, to some vague place of eternal punishment. To this vast multitude (probably the majority) His love and compassion apparently do not reach, and His heart remains untouched. It appears that He cares not whether they suffer eternally or attain complete annihilation.

This surely cannot be so. None of these pictures is accurate or adequate; they are not true in any sense of the word. . . Resurrection is the clue to the world of meaning, and is the fundamental [470] theme of all the world religions – past, present and the future. Resurrection of the spirit in man, in all forms in all kingdoms, is the objective of the entire evolutionary process and this involves liberation from materialism and selfishness. In that resurrection, evolution and death are only preparatory and familiar stages. The note and message sounded by the Christ when last on Earth was resurrection, but so morbid has been mankind and so enveloped in glamor and illusion, that His death has been permitted to sidestep understanding; consequently, for centuries, the emphasis has been laid upon death, and only on Easter Day or in the cemeteries is the resurrection acclaimed. This must change. It is not helpful to a progressive understanding of the eternal verities to have this condition perpetuated. The Hierarchy is today dedicated to bringing about this change and thus altering the approach of mankind to the world of the unseen and to the spiritual realities. (Emphasis added).

“Liberation from materialism and selfishness” is a recurring theme in many religions and philosophies. On Saturday, 24 April 1982 the following advertisement appeared in the Rand Daily Mail under the title “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE.”

WHO IS THE CHRIST?

Throughout history, humanity’s evolution has been guided by a group of enlightened men, the Masters of Wisdom. They have remained largely in the remote desert and mountain places of earth, working mainly through their disciples who live openly in the world. This message if the Christ’s reappearance has been given primarily by such a disciple trained for his task for over 20 years.

At the centre of this Spiritual Hierarchy stands the World Teacher, Lord Maitreya, known by Christians as the Christ. And as Christians await the Second Coming, so the Jews await the Messiah, the Buddhists the fifth Buddha, the Muslims’ the Imam Mahdi, and the Hindus await Krishna. These are all names for one individual.

His presence in the world guarantees there will be no Third World War.

WHAT IS HE SAYING?

My task will be to show you how to live together peacefully as brothers. This is simpler than you imagine, My friends, for it requires only the acceptance of sharing.

How can you be content with the modes within which you now live: when millions starve and die in squalor; when the rich parade their wealth before the poor; when each man is his neighbour’s enemy; when no man trusts his brother?

Allow me to show you the way forward into a simpler life where no man lacks; where no two are alike; where the Joy of Brotherhood manifests through all men.

Take your brother’s needs as the measure of your action and solve the problems of the world.

It is very interesting that yoga and transcendental meditation are presented on the internet as metaphysical ways to alleviate the suffering in the world:

Transcendental Meditation can improve your grades, make you a better citizen, assure you of a higher salary, alleviate world suffering, and increase the productivity of the national economy, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi promised an overflow crowd of about 200 in Leverett House Junior Common Room last night.(Read here).

It is evident that this resurrection of humanity will take take place by means of a massive paradigm shift, corporately induced primarily through meditation, and contemplative spirituality (centering prayer) which, in turn, is solidly embedded in Eastern religious practices such as yoga and other New Age philosophies. The Bible warns against passivity or inactivity of the mind because the mind, according to Scripture, is the avenue by which change and transformation is brought about in a person’s life. Paul warns us not to be conformed to this world system and its philosophies but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind so that we may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). In Ephesians 4:23 he says that we should be renewed by the spirit of our mind and Peter in his first Epistle (1:13) warns that we should gird up the loins of our mind. Our minds should continually be taken captive in obedience to the will of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 10: 5). Indeed, the mind is the battleground for the souls of men and Satan will  do everything in his power to neutralize the mind so that he may invade and take captive the thoughts of men in obedience to his will. In fact, the Bible states very clearly that it is he, the god of this world, who blinds the minds of unbelievers so as to keep the Gospel veiled in them that perish (2 Corinthians 4:3). Contemplative spirituality with its emphasis on stillness and passivity of the mind (altered states) is unmistakably the primary vehicle Satan utilizes to captivate the hearts of men and to bring about change in the world; a change that allegedly brings on global peace, tranquillity, wholeness, wellness and euphoric love and compassion. This kind of peace, love, wholeness and wellness cannot and will not last because its orchestrator is bent on the destruction of mankind. No wonder the Bible says that when they say peace and safety a sudden inescapable destruction will come upon them (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Ron Martoia who pleads that we should rethink salvation and sin in the light of a biblical understanding of Scripture and whose ideas Rev. Guillaume Smit endorses wholeheartedly, has some very unbiblical ideas about salvation and sin. In his opinion Jesus rarely said anything about getting to heaven. Tony Cartledge of the ABP Associated Baptist Press released a report on 8 February 2007 of a conversation Ron Martoia had with several religious leaders on January 29. 2007. He wrote:

CONOVER, N.C. (ABP) — Despite decades of tweaking evangelistic methods, there is little evidence that many Christians are experiencing true life change, Ron Martoia told church leaders Jan. 29. (Read he entire article here.)

Perhaps, the church consultant said, that failure is because Christians in the Western world have been prone to think of salvation as a “point-of-sale” transaction that focuses on getting to heaven instead of appreciating that Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament promise of shalom, a concept that suggests wholeness, wellness, and peace.

Based on surveys he has done, Martoia said nine out of 10 pastors define the gospel as the good news that Jesus died for people’s sins so they can go to heaven. But Jesus rarely said anything about getting to heaven. He focused mainly on present human needs. Jesus’ self-stated mission, as found in Luke 4:16-19, is derived from Isaiah 61:1-2 and incorporated the Old Testament sense of bringing deliverance, healing and wholeness.

Preaching about forgiveness from sin becomes increasingly ineffective in a postmodern world where a sense of guilt and obligation is less often operative, Martoia said. In contemporary American culture, one can no longer assume that people identify themselves as sinners in need of grace.

“People may not think of themselves as sinners going to hell, but they seek wholeness and recognize they’re not there,” he said.

Thus, Martoia suggested that the Genesis 1 creation of humankind in God’s image (imago Dei) is a better starting point for evangelism than beginning with the “fall” story of Genesis 3: “What would it be like for us to begin the conversation with people as if we’re trying to live out the image of God in us and want them to live out the image of God in them?”

The inner imago Dei creates the yearning to believe that there is purpose to life, that life can be better, and that belonging is possible, Martoia said. It’s a trio of longings that correspond to faith, hope and love, he said.

Helping others identify and get in touch with the image of God in them is more of a process than a one-time transaction. And seeing the gospel through imago Dei calls for an apologetic that begins relationally, not just rationally, Martoia said. (Emphasis added)

You need not look far to realize what Ron Martoia, also known as a transformational architect, means when he says get in touch with the image of God in them is more than a one-time transaction” (i.e. being born from above). It provides ample proof why he is into Eastern mysticism and why his ideas on salvation (i.e. wholeness wellness and peace) are based on his keen interest in yoga and the integral theory. The “Excellerators” website describes Ron Martoia as a transformational architect who is addicted to golf and is also a yoga instructor. A short description of his book here reads as follows:

Dr. Ron Martoia proposes using modern interpretations of basic Christian terms sometimes employed in evangelistic attempts. So many witness encounters are compromised by, among other things, the unwillingness to rephrase biblical language into something more understandable to the listener. Maybe the words we sometimes use confuse more than inform. Is the Christian message hopelessly out of date? Dr. Martoia would say no, it just needs to be rephrased. Addressing secondary elements of the witness encounter (the basics of conscience-level communication and subsequent conviction are not addressed), Martoia tells the story of his interaction with two young adults and their attempt to fully present the Gospel to their friend. While advocating positive positions on some issues that many feel are at odds with Christianity, including yoga and feminism, Martoia does address the need for a change from how evangelism has been attempted in recent years. (Emphasis added).

If Jesus rarely spoke of heaven and focused mainly on human needs, his crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension would have been a nonsequitur. The biblical facts, as He Himself stipulated prior to His ascension, are that He was going to prepare a place in heaven for all His true followers (John 14:1, 2). In addition, He also promised them that they would encounter hatred, persecution, affliction and tribulation in this world but that they should remain vigilant and loyal to Him, even unto death, because He would never forsake or leave them. Biblical salvation is not a transaction; it is a command. When the biblical Jesus began his public ministry His very first words were “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Repentance is not an option, it is an absolute necessity and anyone who disobeys His command will forfeit eternal life in heaven (John 23:36). Brother Paul said, in stark contrast to Ron Martoia’s rethinking philosophies, the following:

1 Cor 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (Emphasis added)

I have not only recently been accused of being an agent of the devil but also of unethical practices such as “stealing.” What can be more unethical than stealing away the truth out of the hearts of men, women and children who could have been saved if they had heard the true Gospel instead of the mishmash “gospel” of the emergent church? What is more unethical than the infringement of God’s sole rights on His Gospel by rethinking, changing and revamping it to make it more palatable for the postmodern creature? It is not only unethical and not only amounts to spiritual theft but is also downright dangerous. Read here.

When Mr. Sarel van der Merwe (in Jannie Pelser’s programme “Brandpunt” – 03/04/2009) pointed out that Rob Bell promotes Yoga in his Mars Hill sermons they thought he was off his rocker. Subsequent to the programme, Rev. Guillaume Smit wrote a comment on his blog under the title “Does Rob Bell teach Yoga?” After a quick survey on the internet he found a sermon Rob preached on May 29, 2005 called “breath.” Instead of doing an in depth survey on the dangers of yoga, he came to the conclusion that Rob only used Yoga as an illustration and ended his comment in sympathetic praise for yoga. Read his comment here.

But as I’m not a member of his community I’m not privy to the subcultures prevalent in Mars Hill. Maybe yoga is practiced by a lot of his church members as part of their daily exercise routine. After all, yoga, as with karate and judo and other martial arts sports, can be practiced without getting involved in eastern religions or eastern philosophy. (Emphasis added)

The issue is not whether Rob Bell’s congregants practice yoga but that he promotes and teaches yoga during some of his sermons.

The Hindu masters or yogis themselves maintain that Yoga cannot be divorced from its inherent spiritual purpose which is to be yoked to the impersonal Hindu God Brahman. Yogi Baba Prem, Vedavisharada, CYI, C.ay, C.va wrote:

It was quite astonishing to see on the flyer “Christian Yoga! This Thursday night….” I could feel the wheels spinning in my brain. “Christian Yoga”, I thought. Now while Christians can practice yoga, I am not aware of any Christian teachings about yoga. Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! It is not a part of the Roman Catholic teachings and certainly not a part of protestant teachings. It is not found within the King James Version of the bible. It is a Hindu word, or more correctly a Sanskrit word from the Vedic civilization. So how did we get “Christian Yoga”? From this I could conclude that “Christian Yoga” could only indicate one of two possibilities:

1) Christianity is threatened by yoga and is attempting to take over this system that “invaded their turf” pertaining to spiritual teachings and techniques.

2) Christianity is subconsciously attempting to return to the spiritual roots of civilization—the Vedic civilization.

I thought to myself, “why would they want to take over yoga?” Could it be due to the decline of members within the Christian church within the last 60 years? Is this an extensive marketing plan cooked up in some New York marketing guru’s head? Is it an attempt to water down the teachings of yoga and import their own teachings into the system? Or is it that they cannot stand not to own everything spiritual? I think the best reason might be that yoga, and eastern spirituality, offered answers to the spiritual questions that the spiritually hungry masses had. It offered a practical, rational, logical, and truthful approach to spirituality. It did not contain any form of self-righteous condemnation, but offered love and acceptance to all. It did not prey upon victims with terms such as “Sin” and “eternal damnation”. But most importantly, it had answers! It offered a practical approach to cultivating a relationship with divinity. It offered a systematic approach and an abstract approach to meet the varying temperaments of the spirituality hungry.

The second possibility was that Christianity was itself looking for answers. A small book filled with judgment, inflexibility, and condemnation was no longer fulfilling the needs of the masses or the leaders of the church. Offering yoga classes allowed the Christian to secretly practice Hinduism without having to renounce their Christian tradition. Possibly by embracing the technology of yoga and meditation, the Christian church could finally return to the idea of love and acceptance that it believed it was founded upon. It is ironic that one religion would need to look to another religion to teach them about love, peace, harmony, and forgiveness. If successful, it could embrace these ancient teachings and save itself from the fate it planted over the last few thousand years. (From: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com) (Emphasis added).

This is exactly what happens to Christians who practice yoga. They become yoked to a Hindu god (a demonic entity) who teaches them that the Bible and the God of the Bible are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of people in a wretched world full of misery, suffering, poverty and disease. It has become a redundant “black-and-white” book that only makes people feel guilty about themselves while all they need is love, love and more love — they need a relational (an experience orientated) and not a rational theology.

The following excerpt comes from The Encyclopaedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 595

The Oxford American Dictionary defines “yoga” in the following manner: “1) A Hindu system of meditation and self-control designed to produce mystical experience and spiritual insight. 2) A system of physical exercises and breathing control (4414:1085). Most people only think of yoga in terms of the second definition. We will show that this is a mistake. When examining the true goal of yoga, one sees why these two definitions cannot ultimately be separated. In other words the one who practices yoga as “a system of exercises and breathing control” is also practicing a system “designed to produce mystical experience and spiritual (occult) insight.” For example, Ernest L. Rossi of the Department of Psychology at UCLA states how yoga is designed to induce altered states of consciousness.

“When one considers the ancient yoga science of pranayama (controlled breathing) to have relevance, then one must admit that the manual manipulation dyhana is the most thoroughly documented of techniques for altering consciousness. For thousands of years these techniques for the subtle alterations of nasal breathing have been gradually codified into classical texts: Hatha Yoga Pradipika (II, 6-9, 19-20) Siva Samhita (III: 24, 25), Geranda Samhita (V: 49-52) and Yoga Chudamani Upsanisad (V: 98-100). A new tradition of psychological and experimental research exploring these ancient techniques has been developing during the past decades (Gasegawa en Kern, 1978), the work of Vinekar (1966), Rao and Potdar (1970), Eccles (1978), and Funk and Clarke (1980) also provides a broad background of independent studies using Western laboratory methods in studying the relationship of this nasal cycle to the ancient yogic tradition of pranayama in achieving psychosomatic health and the transpersonal states of dhyana (deep contemplation and Samadhi or occult enlightenment) (1046:113-14).

The end purpose is for the individual to realize that he or she is one essence with God or ultimate reality. In other words, one must realize he or she is God. Whatever school of yoga is used (hatha, raja, bhakti etc.) whether it is Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi, Tantric or some other, the goal is typically the same: occult enlightenment achieved by internal manipulation of occult energies (prana, chi) leading to altered states of consciousness in order to produce awareness of one’s inherent union with God or ultimate reality (611).

Read here what Rev. Guillaume Smit says about Ron Martoia who is a yoga instructor and practices yoga himself.

“Ron Martoia said in his book, Transformational Architecture, that we reduced the Bible to a set of propositional statements that explain salvation and that we further on focus on the communication of information. We miss the reality that the Bible testimony is of God’s work on earth by way of a collection of stories.”

Who is Ron Martoia? Look here:

In an interview (emergent conversation) with Ron Martoia 11/28/2006) he said:

Thomas Keating & Ken Wilber “But I will say this, I am renewed in the commitment for a quiet daily centering prayer practice and the immense impact it brings. I have just come off a five-day integral Christianity conference with father Thomas Keating, eighty-three-year-old Benedictine monk. One of the things we did each day was at least two to four sessions of centering prayer at a minimum of twenty minutes a session. Total silence, total inner silence.” “I think the thing I am challenging is the either/or of your questions “either wholeheartedly Christian or ashamedly secular?” We have to have both of those . . . all out full card carrying members of both. When we start to see unity where we have seen distinction, and I mean this in the sacred/secular distinction way, we will see spiritual emergence is happening and arising all around us and it is up to us to clear the obstacles that would impede that emergence. This is really an articulation also of John 16 that lets us see the Holy Spirit is at work in the life of every unbeliever (just like every believer) and it is up to us to help point out that activity.”

Also read here.

Now to Rhythm…
“Spiritual solitude is key for me as well. I have already mentioned the value and importance of a regula fidei and I genuinely believe in it’s centrality. That said, there is one thing I do every day, that is centering prayer. I have been on this pattern for nearly 4 full years now. Two times a day/20 min. (sometimes only one but ALWAYS at least one) I do centering prayer of the Father Thomas Keating sort. This is the way I enact and live into Psalm 46.10. I am convinced a centering practice along with daily input channels are what accounts for whatever creative and theological reflection I have going on in my life. My writing flows from the confluence of these two patterns.”

“Seven years ago I started down the yoga trail. Ashtanga Yoga is the power yoga, get a hard sweaty workout type of yoga. Some of you hear the word yoga and all sorts of red flags go up. Get a grip and do some reading. Yoga practice does not require you to be Buddhist, so relax. My nearly daily practice has improved so much. Yoga’s interface with a centering practice is actually a very interesting interplay. Maybe sometime I will write a post on that.”

Thomas Keating is one of the frequent lecturers on Ken Wilber’s website “Integral Spirituality.” The introduction to his site consists of a logo depicting the many symbols of different faiths with a cross right in the middle which all come together and merge into one single abstract symbol of ultimate unity. One can hardly miss the meaning when we take into account that the entire world is rapidly moving toward a one-world religion in which the infiltration of yoga and especially the contemplative spirituality into the Christian church are playing a major part.

Ray Yungen speaks on Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington. Read here.

“In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by these two Catholic monks, the following advice is given: ‘We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices … “Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer. I met a woman who once enthusiastically told me that in her church ‘we use a mantra to get in touch with God.’ She was referring to centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart, and both are major evangelists for contemplative prayer.

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that contemplative spirituality and yoga are wholly compatible and indeed strange bedfellows. These are the kind of issues we are dealing with — the infiltration of the New Age and the practices of other religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. These are the dangers that are causing immense harm to the body of Christ, especially the younger generation (little lambs). What is the church going to do about it? Probably nothing, because most of them are already so deep into it that it would take a miracle to convince them they are playing with fire.

1 Tim 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

Re 18:4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;”

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