In the previous segment of this article we examined how evangelical Christianity has allied itself with Roman Catholicism through such agreements as Evangelicals and Catholics Together (E.C.T.) and such movements as Promise Keepers; these were used to unite both in social and moral objectives such as commitment to marriage and family, pro-life, anti-pornography, Drug-free America, etc. To share the common bond of the Christian religion for the purpose of evangelizing the lost, but not Roman Catholics (though the RCC has objectives to convert evangelicals, as we shall see).
In more recent times there has emerged another movement that is a bit more covert in its operations, but nonetheless is intent on compromising biblical Christians with the same fundamentals as found in Roman Catholicism; a melding if you will of that which was once faithful to the LORD Jesus Christ and His inerrant Word but has now become increasingly apostate with a consenting conglomeration of ecclesiastical authority for global religion. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church will spearhead such a worldwide endeavor and consider herself its undisputed leader.
MOTHER of Harlots KNOWS BEST?
Again, to reiterate what I’ve stated before, in Revelation 17, scripture portrays a vision as given to John the Apostle by the LORD Jesus Christ of a woman, clothed in purple and scarlet . . .
“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” REVELATION 17:3-6
Note that this woman is referred to as “the mother of harlots” that is, the origin of all false religious systems, which of course is Babel (and later, Babylon). Much of the pagan culture, customs, traditions and observances of Babylon have been preserved by subsequent religious systems found in nations throughout history, and found a home in the Roman culture, which was then transferred into a homogenized blending of Christianity and many of the primary false religious systems into what we recognize as the Roman Catholic Church.
Two very excellent resources for your consideration on this subject are:
The Two Babylons – by Alexander Hyslop and
A Woman Rides the Beast – by Dave Hunt.
This writer has read both of these several times and the documentation and citations are impeccable, with top-rated research.
-REVIEWING EMERGENCE in the PREVIOUS ARTICLES
This writer has previously addressed the ECM and its endorsements of other religions somewhat briefly in an article on The TRUTH Under FIRE, found at this web link:
A New World Religious Order
Also remember this article by Anne Kisly, the co-writer of The TRUTH Under FIRE:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
As well as these, other articles from my blog – FROM the MIND of FIRE…
and: Holy Relics
-MOTHER’S I.D. Rome & The New Age
For the following articles in this series, I will be quoting primarily from two sources, both of which deal with the Emergent Church Movement. These two books reveal how much of the ECM associates with practices long held within the RCC as well as the New Age Movement (NAM).
Faith Undone & Roman Catholic Traditions (Dogma)
From Faith Undone we shall see how Roman Catholic and ‘Catholic’ traditions, dogmas and practices have and are increasingly making headway into evangelical churches.
In Trojan Church we shall witness how the occult and New Age teachings are likewise invading the once biblical churches here in America under the guise of the ECM.
All of this is being done in the supreme effort of bringing about a one world religion. If you believe this paradigm shift is irrelevant to you and your fellowship, you will be caught by surprise, as were many people who used to attend such churches that once were faithful in teaching and preaching from the Word of God!
It’s imperative that Christians get up to speed, get informed, and prayerfully seek the LORD for guidance and discernment in these very serious matters. A good start would be to read and research from the books already mentioned above, and of course study the scriptures for oneself and become a Berean (Acts 17:11).
So let’s begin looking at excerpts from Roger Oakland’s book, Faith Undone:
“The point I am making is simple: When leaders who profess to be Christian intentionally or unintentionally hide God’s Word from people, the darkness this creates leads to a desire for spiritual encounters (experiences). In order to convince followers they are being spiritually fed by these Bible-depleted teachings, leaders implement all kinds of experience-based religious rituals and paraphernalia- thus, the reason that icons, candles, incense, liturgy and sacraments are deemed necessary for the emerging worship-experience.” Pg. 50
Doug Pagitt is an Emergent Church leader, and in his own words, he had this to say:
“During a recent Life Development Forum we offered a session on Christian practices. In one of the four weeks we introduced the act of making the sign of the cross on ourselves. This gesture has become a very powerful experience for me. It is rich with meaning and history and is such a simple way to proclaim and pray my faith with my body . . .” Pg. 51
-from Doug Pagitt’s book Church Re-Imagined, p. 102
“Rob Redman, author of The Great Worship Awakening agrees with Dan Kimball (that people are hungry to ‘experience God’). He has noted that churches which provide liturgical vintage forms of worship are attracting the postmodern generation . . . the result of this renewed interest in liturgical worship, a ‘worship awakening’ is now underway, and Protestant worship services are beginning to incorporate liturgical practices.”
-SENSUALITY vs. SPIRITUALITY
“An article entitled ‘Ancient New’ further backs up the idea that post-moderns are looking for a sensual, experiential worship:
Post-modernists prefer to encounter Christ by using all of their senses. That’s part of the appeal of classical liturgical or contemplative worship: the incense and candles, making the sign of the cross, the taste and smell of the bread and wine, touching icons and being anointed with oil.
-from Julie B. Sevig, The Lutheran, “Ancient New” (The Lutheran, Sept. 2001)
Leonard Sweet, another Emergent Church leader, stated:
“Post-moderns want a God they can feel, taste, touch, hear and smell—a full sensory immersion in the divine.” Pg. 58-59
-citation by Sevig on Sweet’s book Soul Tsunami
It’s interesting to note that the word “sensual” appears twice in the New Testament, and in both cases (James 3:15 and Jude :19) it has an entirely unwholesome, sinful meaning.
Jesus stated that those who worship God must worship Him “. . . in Spirit and in Truth.” John 4:24.
Perhaps the reason why these people are “hungry to experience God” is because they have never experienced Him, due to the fact that they are ‘post-modernists’ which is to say, they have extended their belief systems beyond modernist (modernism is an intellectual denial of Christian Truth and of the inspiration of scripture as the inerrant Word of God) teachings yet use said belief system as a base for their own erection of religious thought.
If one is to experience God, one must first have a relationship with God, and in order for this to happen, you must become His child (much to the chagrin of the general consensus of religious people everywhere, we humans are NOT by nature God’s children). If you would become a child of God, you must be granted divine authority to do so, and this authority is indeed granted to all who are born of God, that is, to be born of His Spirit via the atonement of Christ Jesus who was offered for the sins of the world.
See John 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:3-4.
“The Bible says that ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [i.e., an intellectual and cognitive approach]’ Romans 10:17.
Leonard Sweet, Not so Sweet Exodus from the Bible
“Not so in the emerging church. Faith comes by seeing images, touching icons, smelling incense, and hearing chants and liturgical recitations; then the ‘word’ follows. Leonard Sweet calls it ‘E.P.I.C. culture: Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven, Connected’ Icons of Jesus hanging on the cross are common. So are icons of Mary and baby Jesus.” Pg. 59 -from Postmodern Pilgrims by Leonard Sweet; Nashville, Tenn. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000.
An article written by Worship Leader Magazine editor Chuck Fromm states:
“In many ways the Church is seeking a way back to its oldest and most sacred traditions: those in which all the senses are fully engaged in the act of worship from incense and bells to icons and vestments. The power of the preached words is being augmented, and occasionally outpaced, by the impact of the visual. The primacy of music is an essential expression of worship being challenged by congregations hungry for more direct means of engagement.” Pg. 60 -from The Impact of the Image by Chuck Fromm (Worship Leader Magazine, Jan-Feb 2005),
Again, if they want to sate their hunger for God by experiencing Him “more direct[ly]” they can do no better than to be infused by the very Spirit of God Himself, via the new birth, and in such a way, become a veritable living temple for the Living God Who yearns to live within and through us (1 Cor.3:16).
Why haven’t these people been taught in their own churches about the new birth available in Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world? Or perhaps they were, but they were disillusioned and bitter because the lives of those teachers and pastors didn’t line up with what they preached. Or it could be that they simply rejected such teaching outright in favor of views more palatable to the world in which they live.
Perhaps you, the reader are one such individual who sought answers in your fellowship to meet your own hunger of God, but left disappointed. May I encourage you to seek God with all your heart and read the Bible for yourself, for God is indeed a re-warder of those that diligently seek Him! Hebrews 11:6.
Might I also recommend to you an article found on this site, “A Serious and Simple Gospel of Salvation”? I pray that it might provide some answers for you in your search for reality with God, and His purpose for your life.
Getting back to Faith Undone . . .
A KEY WORD IN EMERGENT DOGMA: ‘SHIFT’
Here is a quote from Dan Kimball: “In the emerging culture, darkness represents spirituality. We see this in Buddhist temples as well as Catholic and Orthodox churches. Darkness communicates that something serious is happening.” -from The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball, p. 136
Another Emergent leader was the late Robert Webber, one of the foremost authorities on worship renewal.
“Before his appointment to his position at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Webber taught at Wheaton College for 32 years as Professor of Theology. He authored over forty books and was also a regular contributor to numerous magazines and newspapers including Worship Leader.
“Here is an excerpt from an article he wrote entitled: “Wanted: Ancient Future Talent” –
“‘I am personally most gratified to see the shift towards a recovery of the ancient. While many good choruses have been produced over the past forty years, the rejection of the sources of hymnody and worship by the contemporary church has resulted in a faith that is an inch deep.’”
What he lists as necessary for a successful worship movement are as follows:
“Rediscovering how God acts through sacred signs of water, bread and wine, oil and laying on of hands.
“Rediscovering the central nature (emphasis added) of the table of the Lord in the Lord’s Supper, breaking of bread, communion, and Eucharist. (note to readers: there is a world of difference between observing the LORD’s Supper and participating in the Eucharist! For a comprehensive analysis of this, please visit this website article by C.A.R.M., which is a site also linked at TTUF:
“Webber was very influential in closing the gap between Eucharistic adoration and the evangelical church. A document he authored called A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future states: “We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in . . . Eucharist. Two well-known evangelical publishers, Baker Books and InterVarsity Press (both of which now publish emerging church authors) sponsored the document as did Christianity Today.” Pg. 135
“Rediscovering congregational spirituality though the Christian celebration in Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost.”
Webber, in addition to encouraging such participation in these rituals, and Catholic celebrations, also endorses an adherence to mystical practices, stemming directly from the early church fathers who were Catholic.
-MIGRATING to the MYSTICAL MOTHER Roman Church
Let the reader be reminded that one of the titles of the “Mother of Harlots” as quoted in Revelation chapter 17 is “Mystery”. Mystical practices, ceremonies, and beliefs are all central to what the one world church will look like. With that in mind, read on:
“The primary source of spiritual reading is the Bible. But we now we recognize that in our love of Scripture, we dare not avoid the mystics and activists (emphasis added). Exposure to the great devotional literature of the church is essential. More and more people are turning to the great work of the mystics. Richard Foster has called us to recover Augustine’s Confessions, Bernard of Clairvaux’s The Steps of Humility.”
Webber, for all appearances, a respected evangelical with years of scholastic achievement and experience, endorses such books written by:
Thomas a Kempis, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Merton and others. All of these, without exception, are Catholic authors, and he commented that “Those who neglect these works do so to their own harm and those who read them do so for their inspiration and spiritual growth.”
These authors, mystics of the Catholic faith, have another commonality, which is they have all seen visions of an apparitional woman they believed to be Mary, the mother of Jesus. Webber documents this in a book, Saints Who Saw Mary. Such mystics are listed in the book: Francis of Assissi, Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, and Bernard of Clairvaux. Pg. 65
There are those that would make the distinction between ‘Catholic’ and ‘Roman Catholic’ and claim that such mystics and writings as mentioned above are not from Roman Catholic sources. However, as Oakland points out, the Roman Catholic Church claims successorship of the Popes, beginning with Peter, and that all Catholic practices, teachings and dogmas throughout the period of the early church and church fathers are incorporated into their theology.
Thus to practice Catholicism, is to adhere to that which the Roman Catholic Church claims as its own.
As one advocate of ‘ancient faith’ and of the church fathers posed:
“But why do we study them? The Holy Father (Pope) has given us the basic reasons. These are the framers of the structure of the Church built upon Christ Jesus as the cornerstone and the Apostles as the foundation. Specifically, they are the privileged witnesses of traditions. Founders, whether they be founders of institutions or founders of religious societies, always have a privileged position . . . They were the closest sources; the early Fathers, referred to as Apostolic Fathers, personally knew the Apostles and Disciples. They had access to the purity of the sources of the living tradition, the very teachings of those closest to Christ, and they were the ones that developed the first structures of the Church.” Pg. 76
-from Importance of Studying the Church Fathers by Douglas Mosey; International Catholic University.
FRAMED By GOD’S WORD
These are the same sources, these “framers of the structure of the Church”, that are exalted by Emergent Church leaders, whose teachings are extolled, even venerated as being authoritative far more than the scriptures themselves!
Yet we as Christians maintain that it’s the scriptures themselves, God’s Holy Word of Truth that is the framer of the true church. Its books and verses are the very substance of spiritual parameters and guidance, without which the church would be adrift on a storming sea of erroneous doctrine and devastation without an anchor!
See: Isaiah 28:10-13; Ephesians 4:14
The claim is, that because these ‘Apostolic Fathers’ were personally knowledgeable of the Apostles and Disciples, and of the pure source (of what they call ‘living tradition’) of the scriptures, that these are somehow worthy of an audience, as being legitimate teachers and guides into spiritual truth and doctrine.
On the contrary, one of the very Twelve was Judas Iscariot; he had personal knowledge of Jesus Christ Himself, and heard the pure teaching from God Incarnate, and yet he would hardly be a reputable source for Christians to receive teaching from (remarkably, there are those that give credence to a forged document purportedly written by Judas Iscariot, entitled The Gospel According to Judas, a Gnostic writing)!
Some of the greatest heretics throughout church history had access to the best schools, seminaries, and teachings but were nonetheless unsuitable as sources of biblical teaching or “living traditions”.
The apostle Paul even declared to the elders of Ephesus:
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
And later when the LORD Jesus addressed the church of Ephesus in Revelation chapter two, He said:
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
It was the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitans that the LORD Jesus hated. This is a strong word for Love Incarnate to use, and we would be wise to avoid that which our LORD hates. In this case, the Nicolaitans were among the very first to promote the idea of a priestly clergy that stood as intermediaries between the ‘common’ Christians (laity) and the LORD God. They were lords (Niko- to conquer, to lord over) over the people who were deemed less worthy of spiritual things!
We will continue this article and review more of Roger Oakland’s book, FAITH UNDONE, as well as other source materials in the next article. Until then, keep yourselves in the love of God! Jude :21
Brother James Fire
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