Archive for the ‘Berean’ Category

How Biblically Illiterate America is Being Deceived

September 24, 2018

Back in September of 2016, someone recommended that I should read a book entitled, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.  In a previous post, I asked the question what do you think about Eckhart Tolle?   One of Talk Wisdom’s long time readers wrote that the book helped her and in her opinion, perhaps I was being too judgmental against the young man who had encouraged me to read it.

She wrote:

I decided to comment because I have read the power of now and I love it! I think it is a beautiful ode to Jesus’ teachings. I did not get anything but messages of love from it and I too felt compelled to share it as I share bible verses. I guess your post made me feel bad about that, as if I was somehow not as good of a Christian when this book has brought me nothing but joy and strength in my Christianity.

Of course, it isn’t my intention to harm anyone’s “joy and strength in [their] Christianity.”  However, we are warned in the book of Jude* that there will be “certain men [who] have crept in unnoticed” who are “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Readers can to go that previous link (above) to read the rest of the conversation.

Today, I read a very comprehensive post about Tolle and his book at CIC Ministry.org.

I need to acknowledge Truth 2 Freedom’s blog for sharing an excerpt from that commentary which led me to the CIC Ministry website.

First, I want to say that I understand that many people are on their own life’s journey and along the way, they may find themselves taking a “detour” while searching for truth.  Been there, done that!  I was raised in the Catholic church, and when I read and studied the Bible, the encounter of Nicodemus and Jesus Christ led me towards the need to be born again.

[Please see John 3 and this excellent commentary.]

When individuals find something that works for them (in the here and now) as did Tolle’s book for both the young man in my previous post and commenter Jennifer, my goal is not to disparage them in any way. My goal is to hopefully steer them toward God’s truth – which is found only in the Bible.

Here is an excerpt from the CIC Ministry essay:

The “Pain-body” and Interconnectedness

 

A common theme in neo-paganism is the transpersonal soul and interconnectedness of all things.6 Tolle’s pantheism has the same theme. In his case he posits the existence of a “pain-body” which is something like karma. He says:

 

Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you . . . The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are forced to reenact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma. (Tolle: 129)

Tolle explains that we have been “mind-possessed” and a false self (ego) has developed that is identified with the mind and thinking (which is a bad thing). The emotions are also a dimension of the ego and they are problematic as well. Then there is the “pain-body” that connects us to all the negative vibrations of the human race. Our problems are not just ours, but those of the unconscious human race who went before us. Tolle describes the “pain-body” in its individual manifestation:

 

The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body. It consists not just of childhood pain, but also painful emotions that were added to it later in adolescence and during your adult life, much of it created by the voice of the ego [i.e. thinking]. It is the emotional pain that is your unavoidable companion when a false sense of self is the basis of your life. (Tolle: 142)

Keep in mind that the “false sense of self” is the belief that we have a unique, independent existence, that our personal identities are meaningful, and that our unique identities can be defined objectively. The true self is consciousness of Presence, I Am, Now, and other ways of describing deity. It appears to me that Tolle’s pain-body idea is a replacement for the biblical idea of sin. Our problem is not that we have rebelled against the unique creator God who has given us His moral law, but that we have allowed our thoughts, emotions, and addiction to forms to define us and keep us from becoming conscious (i.e., aware of our deity).

In this scheme of things, there is also interconnectivity or collective karma:

 

The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis. (Tolle: 142, 143)

So this “pain-body” is a huge problem, endemic to the human race, and the cause of the many problems we encounter. The solution for Tolle, of course, is to realize that it is illusion, escape from thought that attaches us to ego, and awaken to our real identity as I Am.

Christ has a role in helping us with this problem of pain-body suffering:

 

Why is the suffering body of Christ, his face distorted in agony and his body bleeding from countless wounds, such a significant image in the collective consciousness of humanity? Millions of people, particularly in medieval times, would not have related to it as deeply as they did if something within themselves had not resonated with it, if they had not unconsciously recognized it as an outer representation of their own inner reality—the pain-body. . . . Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence. (Tolle: 144)

Tolle introduces the idea of Christ, and cites Jesus often as a teacher of the new consciousness. But he makes no effort to actually understand what the Bible tells us about the person and work of Christ. Christ came to die for sins, not to embody pain and possible transcendence. God’s wrath is directed against sin. That wrath is satisfied for believers by the once-for-all shed blood that Christ offered. The new consciousness “Christ” that Tolle describes is not the Christ of the Bible. We do not need to merely identify with Christ as the one suffering pain, but to repent and believe the gospel. But that idea will not be presented by Oprah through her huge media network. Instead, Tolle and his ilk get massive promotion. People are attracted to such a “Christ,” but this attraction does them no good; rather it leads them to further deception.

Take note that the ideas presented by Tolle are offered as the wisdom of the spiritual masters that he has gleaned, modified, and presented as the means of obtaining the “new earth.” He sees no need to present evidence or proof that the universe is as he says it is. It would be counterproductive, in his way of thinking, to do so. Why? Because evidence causes our minds to spring into action and analyze things, and thoughts are the problem—the awakened consciousness is the solution.

Thus we see odd claims tossed our way with no evidence reinforce them. Consider these statements:

 

Thoughts consist of the same energy vibrating at a higher frequency than matter, which is why they cannot be seen or touched. Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, with negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. The vibrational frequency of the pain-body resonates with that of negative thoughts. (Tolle: 147)Thus our collective pain-body is attracted to negative thoughts, which causes addiction to unhappiness. Here is why: “This is because the pain-body at that time [when you have negative thoughts] is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure” (Tolle: 147).

I think this sort of idea is what attracts many people to the Oprah/Tolle understanding of spirituality. If the negative thoughts their listeners and readers wish to be rid of are merely a pain-body (that is, not them) resonating at a lower frequency, then perhaps finding a different state of consciousness would solve the problem. The problem is not our own sin and guilt, but an unfortunate equating the interconnected pain and guilt of unconscious humanity with who we really are. If we find a way to awaken to the reality of our own divinity, all that pain will instantly disappear. It will be seen for the unreality it is.

But is there any reason to believe this material which has no evidence for its veracity? What if it is all a lie and our guilt really is our guilt and it needs expiation not relegation to the category of “illusion”?

Good question, isn’t it?

There is much, much more to read, so I suggest going over to CIC Ministry.org to read the entire commentary.

Today, there are so many different viewpoints being expressed by various Christian denominations, it can be difficult to ascertain what is truth via the Bible vs. human errors that can be taught due to social and politically “correct” ideology.

With that said, I also suggest reading about the Berean Bible Society.  People may ask, what does Berean mean?

Answer:

What is a “berean” anyway?

Thanks for asking. We get asked that a lot. Being called a Berean comes from Acts 17:10-11. In verse 11 it says that those from Berea (hence, the Bereans) were nobler than the people in Thessalonica because they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”So, when we say that someone is a “Berean” we mean that they do two things: (1) They have an open mind and willingly receive the Word of God when it is taught to them and (2) But then, they check out what they were taught by comparing it with the Scriptures.Both aspects are important. Some people are so closed-minded that they will not even listen to anything new or that might threaten what they already know. Others are so gullible that they accept whatever is told them without ever checking it against what the Bible says. Both extremes are to be avoided.

A Berean is one who has a balanced viewpoint. We listen to what someone has to say because we are eager to learn the word of God more perfectly. We realize that we have not learned it all. But then, we take what we have heard and compare it with the Bible. Then, if both match, we have learned something and increased our knowledge of God’s Word, rightly divided.

*******

*Jude 1:4
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I truly believe that it is more compassionate to share the truth of the Bible with people who may get trapped in deception!

And yes!  It can be painful for both the person currently “in the fire” as well as the Christian who is trying to “pull them out of the fire,” right?

Isn’t the reward of eternal life worth it?

Jude 1:20
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Jude 1:21
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jude 1:22
And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[fn]

Jude 1:23
but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[fn] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:24
Now to Him who is able to keep you[fn] from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

Jude 1:25
To God our Savior,[fn]
Who alone is wise,[fn]
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,[fn]
Both now and forever.
Amen.

Hat tips to all links.

Syncretism Stew

April 17, 2016

 

 

Stew…

In the comment section of this post,  I introduced several columns, including Berean Research: Evangelicals Divided, A Movement Fractured, Part 1 written by Marsha West. Upon further research, I found that West’s columns can also be found at Renew America.

I have only read about half a dozen of her essays, but they have all been absolutely on-target for those of us who hold to biblically-based Christianity!

Her column entitled Purpose Driven dismantling of Christianity, Part 1, written back in 2011 caught my eye this morning.

Excerpt:

The real danger to traditional Christianity is not from without, but from within its own ranks. Millions of professing Christians have conformed to the world and have been taken in “through philosophy” and “the tradition of men” and are “not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8) Not that this is anything new. The attempt to blend Christianity with paganism has been going on since the days of the early church. And here we are 2 millennia later, still fighting some of the same battles.

One of the major problems Christendom is combating is pagan spirituality. The pace at which unbiblical pagan beliefs are seeping into evangelical churches is dramatically quickening. Many of the orthodoxy have been sounding the alarm, but few have been listening.

Liberalism, with its false social justice gospel, has also reared its ugly head in the Church of Jesus Christ. The liberal “social justice Christian” sees traditionalists as out of touch with the times. Their clarion call is: The Church must change! The next generation of Purpose Driven pastor’s accuse traditionalists who speak out against change agents of being “haters.” Purpose Driven/charismatic pastor Steven Furtick rapped his disdain for outspoken traditionalists in Hey Haters. “Fall back! It’s a new day!” he rebuked. The orthodoxy’s “day is done.” They are “haters…nit-pickers…black and white…full of opinions, low on the Spirit.” Steven seemed angry, even, well, low on the Spirit. I saw no love emanating from this pastor’s eyes, what I saw was arrogance.

I have been sounding the alarm bells regarding the heresy of Rick Warren over the past several years, but Ms. West does a superb job in listing not only the wrongs of the “purpose driven” Warren in this piece, but also shares the mix of “syncretism stew” that is currently ravaging many local churches (especially, sadly, several mega churches) that were once biblically based!

West writes, “liberals were serving up platefuls of Christian stew” and lulling them into “la la land” through a “blend of Christianity with paganism.”

I know SO MANY PEOPLE that I would LOVE to share this with!  Especially, there is a great need to share this information with Millennials who have fallen for unbiblical pagan beliefs.  However, in today’s twitter and texting generation, an article like this would probably cause their eyes to glaze over and they would not even get past the 140 characters that they are used to reading at any given time.   Sad observation, isn’t it?  And, I know this is true because I have shared previous articles with some 25 to 30-something individuals.  But when I ask “did you read…” I get the usual, “no, didn’t read it yet.”  They probably read the first line or two and perhaps decided to reject what was being said?  Well, maybe some day they will come back to this blog and read the difference between biblical Christianity and the satanic stew being mixed in by the “change agents.”

Ms. West explains what she means by “syncretism.”

SYNCRETISM

False teaching has made inroads through the blending of religions. It’s called syncretism. Syncretism in Protestantism occurred when elements of other religious beliefs were integrated into mainstream denominations. As syncretism takes place fundamental beliefs change.

Those involved in syncretism have a name and a goal:

Grievous wolves (Acts 20:29) masquerading as evangelicals introduced false religious beliefs (abominations) into mainline churches. Many of them are forthcoming about what they’re doing, others not so much. Their main goal is as I stated above, change. The plan (yes, they have a plan) is to dismantle historic orthodox Christianity and usher in a “new paradigm,” a “new kind of Christianity.”

Ms. West lists the ingredients of syncretism stew:

SYNCRETISM STEW

Ingredients:

Darwinian evolution
Eastern religions
Neognosticism
Neopaganism
New Age
Theosophy
Transformation
Simmer for several decades, then gradually turn up the heat and add an abundance of ‘isms’:
Annihilationism
Communitarianism
Cultural Marxism
Ecumenism
Emotionalism
Environmentalism
Freudian naturalism
Globalism
Homoeroticism
Inclusivism
Liberalism/progressivism
Moral relativism
Multiculturalism
Pluralism
Postmodernism
Postmortem evangelism
Pragmatism
Secular humanism
Universalism
Bring to a rapid boil. (For added flavor sprinkle in gimmyism, meism and voyeurism.)

While the isms boil, toss in a whole lotta movements, phenomena, and worldly practices:
Alternative medicine
Angelology
Charismatic
Church Growth
Contemplative
Emergent
Global Peace
Man-centered (self-esteem)
Metaphysical
New Apostolic Reformation/Kingdom Now/Dominionism
New Revelation
Pentecostal
Progressive (social justice)
Purpose Driven
Psychology
Reformed
Revolution
Signs & wonders
Televangelist
Twelve-steps
Universal Reconciliation
Word of Faith (health & wealth)
Turn down the heat and simmer until the flavor of historic biblical Christianity completely disappears.

Serve to the sheep.

Quite a long list…isn’t it?

No wonder there is so much confusion going on in the lives of Christians who do not, and have not, studied the Scriptures in order to recognize heresy, apostasy, and the satanic “stew” being fed to them via the wolves in sheep’s clothing!

I encourage all to read the entire article!

When Christians realize, study, understand, and finally see the following:

“The attempt to blend Christianity with paganism [which] has been going on since the days of the early church.  And here we are 2 millennia later, still fighting some of the same battles.”

…it means that they have taken the Berean road towards discovering the truth within God’s Word through diligent study of the Scriptures so that they can earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

One more excerpt:

Followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to contend for the faith! Listen to what Jude 1:3, 4 says:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

According to Clark’s commentary:

The meaning of the apostle seems to be this: ‘Beloved brethren, when I saw it necessary to write to you concerning the common salvation, my mind being deeply affected with the dangers to which the Church is exposed from the false teachers that are gone out into the world, I found it extremely necessary to write and exhort you to hold fast the truth which you had received, and strenuously to contend for that only faith which, by our Lord and his apostles, has been delivered to the Christians.’

Hat tip: Marsha West at Renew America

Hat tips to all links.


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