Archive | March 2016

(405.2) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: What U Need to Know About Breathing (Part 2)

C&MA, ROB BELL, RICHARD ROHR & MYSTICISM

WHAT U NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREATHING (Part 2)

 

 

 

yoga

U need to be carfule..In Part 1, we saw how Rob Bell and his wife have followed after Roman Catholic SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS and focused on the centrality of the Eucharist, and engaging in mystical practices.  A common trait to these items is the lack of support found for them in the Bible.  

Rob Bell makes references to the power that is in breathing.  He refers to the breath as being divine and discusses things such as the energy we can tap into while also mentioning concepts such as grounding, centering, inhaling and exhaling, mystical traditions, deep, meditation…etc.  These are all commonly found in mystical religions and philosophies (New Age) as well as early Roman Catholic monasticism.


On this similar note, here is an article from the website Stand Up For The Truth! in discussing similar qualities in BREATH PRAYER and YOGA….etc. with guest Caryl Matrisciana.  This article along with similar articles on these subjects can be found at –

What Links Breath Prayer, "Practicing the Presence" and Yoga?

WHAT LINKS BREATH PRAYER, “PRACTICING THE PRESENCE” AND YOGA?  One of our guests, Caryl Matrisciana of Caryl TVand producer of videos such as Wide Is The Gaterecently answered a letter about practicing the presence and Breath Prayer, a contemplative prayer from eastern religions. Sadly, it is the same technique that Saddleback’s Rick Warren, through his Pastor’s Toolbox site, recently encouraged thousands of pastors to teach to their congregants. Here’s why these New Age practices are so incredibly dangerous:

Q: Dear Caryl – We have a friend who recently left the catholic church and joined a community church that is into breath prayers. Is there a sensitive way to show her that this is really from the desert fathers and is part of the emergent church? She is like most people and will not read a lengthy article, but needs to know that using Biblical words as the breath prayer does not make it right. Thank you: Rick

A: Thanks Rick for your inquiry. I’m not sure there is a “sensitive way” as you ask, to tell someone they’re involved in pagan rituals or gnosticism which have the power (through mind altering states) to give a supernatural experience.

Any such methodology to merge with the spirit world is in opposition to the Biblical prayer model God revealed in Scripture. Nowhere after Pentecost do we read of Paul encouraging believers in “breath” praying. Such is an option only given in Eastern mysticism through Hinduism’s Yoga discipline.(see DVD YOGA UNCOILED: From East To West) The purpose of focusing on breath is to draw the practitioner into what is thought to be the “presence” of divinity. Biblically the only way to “abide” in God the Father is to enter through the Narrow Way of Jesus Christ Himself. (Mat 7:13)

With the resurgence of gnosticism, mysticism and Hindu/Eastern Meditation (Yoga) in our culture, and its entrance into even the Church, there is much confusion over “breath” prayers and “being in the presence” of so-called god”. These are really nothing short of pagan ideology repackaged for Christian consumption in Bible language with so-called Christian terminology.

Yoga disciplines teach the practitioner to focus on breath as they inhale and exhale. This exercise results in a type of self-imposed hypnotism. Yoga, a Hindu prayer discipline, has the devotee imagining their breath going in and out and at the same time quietly repeating the names of Hindu deities who the Bible call demons.

Devotees repeat the sound of a “mantra” throughout the breath routine which is an essential prayer invocation derived from Hindu Vedic traditions (texts considered to be Hindu scripture). A mantra is believed to be a powerful sound, set of syllables, collection of phrases, words etc, that have capabilities to enhance spiritual transformation. This “holy sound” is given to the devotee by their master, god-man, guru or “enlightened one”. The mantra is believed to have the power to connect the practitioner to the supernatural realm allowing the follower a spiritual experience (also known as “peace”), when the devotee “unites” with “one-ness” and is combined with external god-consciousness which the Hindu understands to be “divinity”. Within so-called Christian rationale this mystical experience of merging with the presence is tantamount to experiencing so-called Jesus, called “practicing the presence” of Jesus, and often mentioned in the Contemplative Movement. Within Roman Catholicism a similar mystical type of experience is practiced. I often experienced this “feeling” when being in the presence of the Eucharist (consecrated bread). Within Roman Catholicism, in a doctrine called Transubstantiation, the bread (Eucharist) is believed to be changed into the actual body of Jesus Christ through a ritual performed by a priest during the Mass.. The Eucharist (host) is placed in a monstrance (a vessel) on the altar to be idolised and prayed to by repeating prayers on a Rosary (prayer beads) which would often lead me into a type of ecstasy while being in the “presence”. (As a Biblical Christian I now understand this ‘presence’ to be a lying spirit , another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel (2 Cor. 11:4)).

In Yoga, “practicing the presence” is accomplished through the mystical method of repeating yogic breathing and yogic mantras for the purpose of ushering the devotee into “oneness” with cosmic consciousnesses, the eastern understanding of god or divinity, often referred to as the “divine spark”, believed to be synonymous with all nature. The idea of god/divinity IN all is known as pantheism, that god is IN all that is material, but panentheism says the divine permeates everything including all eternity, concluding that all spirituality and all spirits are divine and acceptable. The Bible distinguishes between good and evil, claiming in James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” The Creator God is the purity of all Holiness and Righteousness and is therefore the Only One able to be God without any variation of shadow. Since sin entered our world, everything, both nature and man are marred. Certain fallen angels who followed their master’s lying voice are of the demonic realm who Jesus saw fall like lightning from heaven (Lk.10:18). These are the spirit guides who come to man’s beck and call at his bidding and are demons and lying spirits not to be listened to. God’s ministering angels, in obedience to Him only, do His bidding and are not available to the pleas of mere mortals. Jesus Christ on the other hand, Who is the believers High Priest is available and makes intercession for the saints according to God’s Will (Heb.4:14 & Rom.8:27).

The yoga devotee, through the mind altering practice of yoga, hopes to get involved in a paradigm mind shift: shifting their old thinking (called ego) into an embrace of an alternative concept of “god within” l, and to be united with “the universal energy in everything”. To accept this shift in thinking involves self-hypnotic “breath” meditation. Breath is understood to be the divine tool that created everything in the universe. OM is Hinduism’s sound vibration, or breath, or syllable, understood to be the divine vibration at the center of all.

The supernatural “connection” between the yoga practitioner and the embrace of “one with god-consciousness” is attained in the idea that breath and sound combined have power. (This thinking shows itself in the ecumenical embrace of Roman Catholicism which has infiltrated the Contemplative Movement , the Emerging Church and Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) Movement under the umbrella of New Apostolic and Prophetic Reformations).

Eastern mysticism requires the stimulation of both the imagery of the hypnotic breath patterns and the repeating of sounds (e.g. OM) or other names of Hindu deities. Its philosophy teaches that breath is part of divine “energy” and that the “uniting” of one’s breath with the encompassing all-around divine “energy” brings an “awakening” of inter-relatedness cosmic god-consciousness. Defined as an “energy” this god concept is contrary to the Biblical God Who is understood to be a Person with attributes of personhood. He is not merely an impersonal “energy” or “force” as in the Star Wars saying, “the force be with you”.

The yogic method of “connecting” emotions within (and spirit) to everything that outwardly
exists through a mind altering practice of repeated words or phrases, (also a Roman Catholic practise,) has now been embraced by mainline Protestant churches and even Evangelicalism, that justify this pagan ritual as appropriate because the repetition involves the use of names or verses from the Bible.

Such manipulation falsely implies pagan and Christian mysticism is Biblically acceptable when clearly the Bible speaks against being unequally yoked with demons. Today’s mystics claim God’s breath (His Holy Spirit) is behind the movement. Christian mysticism claims the Creator God Who breathed into Adam, Who made Adam a “living spirit” is the same spirit able to be connected to by anyone of any faith. Scripture clearly distinguishes God’s Holy Spirit as One Who can only indwell a Born Again believer after repentance of sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Savior of sin Whose work of redemption took place on the cross. This Holy Spirit of God’s Who indwells the Born Again sinner is a Person and not merely an impersonal breath energy as understood in eastern philosophy. (see DVD EXPOSING THE QUANTUM LIE: God is NOT in Everything)

The supernatural experience that results through any type of pagan mystical practice is misunderstood when it’s labeled a so-called Christian experience just because God’s Holy Word is the vehicle. Any attempts to sanctify repetitious pagan breath prayer are not found in the Bible. Many mistakenly think so-called Christian mysticism has the ability to “redeem” pagan practices because either the person claims to be a Christian or the practice uses phrases and names from the Bible but again this is not a Biblical premise but an ecumencial one that allows tolerance towards all faiths as equal. .God does not condone syncretism. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah. 5:20)

In eastern mysticism “breath” is understood to be part of “divinity” as a force and energy both within a person and part of a life-force in everything external. The Bible teaches a personal God breathed His Breath into Adam but God’s breath did not make Adam God but gave Adam’s spirit the potential of living in fellowship with His Creator for all eternity. After Adam sinned, he lost that privilege due to his disobedience. “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom.6:23)

In His eternal mercy and grace, God gave mankind an opportunity to be reconciled to Him again for eternity despite Adam and Eve’s eternal separation. The redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross became God’s solution. 2000 years ago, God entered the body of flesh in Jesus Christ, Who paid the penalty of Adam’s disobedience and gives all who believe in Him eternal life with God. “That whosoever believeth in him (Jesus Christ) should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15) Eternal damnation in Hell was made for Satan and his fallen angels, not for man. But if mankind chooses to reject Jesus Christ and not repent of his sinfulness and God’s solution he has brought his own judgment upon himself. “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48)

Jesus Christ told His followers NOT to be involved in repetitious prayers. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Mat. 6:7) This pagan method of repeating names of God, or scripture, or any type of repetition must be tested against Scripture, which we are commanded to do in 1 John 4:1“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

The Roman Catholic church teaches the practice of repeated prayers for appeasement, indulgences and piety. Rick, It’s easy to understand how your friend has moved from Roman Catholicism’s prayer techniques to eastern mysticism’s breath prayer consequently moving her into another wrong “presence”. Sadly any type of prayer used as a conduit to enter “the presence” is unbiblical as you rightly point out. Be encouraged, there is hope for your friend through your presentation of the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom.1:16). With a Faithful God leading you and guiding your friend through Scripture, by the Grace of God, she’ll understand there is only one way for her to communicate with a personal God and that is through the Person of Jesus Christ, not through breath prayer or any other type of self-effort or technique.

http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/02/what-links-breath-prayer-practicing-the-presence-and-yoga/

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(405) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: What U Need to Know About Breathing? (Part 1)

C&MA, ROB BELL, RICHARD ROHR and MYSTICISM

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREATHING (Part 1):

For several years now, ROB BELL has been promoting RICHARD ROHR’s books and material heavy laden with MYSTICISM.  With Rob “no Hell” Bell’s views about Hell and his strong leaning towards UNIVERSALISM, many within the Christian and Missionary Alliance Chruch (C&MA) along with many Evangelical Churches have moved away from Bell’s teachings, books, videos…etc.

The IRONY of all of this  is that there is a great deal of exposure to Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr in the C&MA denomination through their seminary, colleges, professors, and graduates who go on to become pastors in churches across the country. Bell and Rohr, show up together at events spreading their brand of mysticism to an unsuspecting audience. So, ding, ding – in an indirect way, the many within the C&MA who promote Richard Rohr are being exposed to Robert Bell (dare say, they are promoting Robert Bell indirectly to their students, church congregants …etc.).

Let’s think this through from a high level – the C&MA is an evangelical church with foundational doctrines which differs significantly and fundamentally from Roman Catholicism.  Going back to the Reformation, and the contentious relationship ever since, there are definite differences between Protestant/Evangelical theology and Roman Catholicism.  While both sides of the debate will argue who is more correct, in a nutshell, Roman Catholicism emphasizes the church at an equal level to the Bible and presents a man-made works based system as opposed to the Protestant view which holds God’s word, the Scriptures as the ultimate authority.  Protestants emphasize a grace-based relationship with God.  With the emphasis on the church, it is no surprise that someone like the Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr, engage in many practices that don’t necessarily come out from the Bible but rather are based on early church tradition.  

A significant problem arises when one participates in practices that have no biblical foundation but are instead very similar or in fact, identical to other philosophies, faiths, religions…..etc.  While many of these practices attempt to replicate what some early church fathers and ancient Roman Catholic traditions have done, when compared to Scripture, we find no solid justification for their use today.

This can result in several adverse effects on the participant, the church…etc., not the least of which, it moves one further away from a close relationship with the one true God and instead opens one up to outside spiritual influences.  When dressed up with spiritual sounding descriptions, these practices give the image of religious ceremony or of an intimate spirituality but in reality may not be biblical.  When branded in religious sounding jargon, the subtleness of this experience makes it very difficult to realize that one is moving in this direction.  The most important source for truth in measuring these experiences and practices is relying on what God has already said in his Word.  The Bible is the source of truth and should be used to measure what these other practices are promoting (2 Tim. 3:16). Experience can be based on factors such as tradition, emotion, the popularity of certain practices in the church…etc.  However, if not based on Scripture, false teaching can be introduced into the church or one’s personal walk.

So, today Rob Bell has NOT faded from the scenery. He is still writing books, participate in speaking engagements, touring across the country and has paired up with Oprah Winfrey (who’s beliefs have spanned the range of philosophies and religions including the New Age) on her network to do a show aired on Sunday mornings.  

Even more concerning, Rob Bell is increasingly promoting mysticism and has teamed up with Richard Rohr on several occasions to do just that.  Rob Bell has just posted a video in which he instructs his audience on breathing.  Yes, breathing, and it has been titled “What you need to know about breathing”.  In the video, Bell uses words and phrases commonly found in mystical religions as well as Roman Catholic monasticism, Emerging Church and “Evangelical mysticism”.  Does he use Scripture to teach his concepts on the video or see if you hear words such as “energy”, “grounding”, “centering”,  “breathing”, “inhale/exhale”, “great traditions of the church”, “mystical”, “meditation”, “deep”,….etc.  With mysticism, variations of the word “DEEP is commonly used to describe these practices.  Take a look at these brief video with Rob Bell explaining breathing – 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDcAt35IQ5

Being a mystic Rohr’s main claim to fame is as “a leading guru of corrupt Counter Reformation CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY/MYSTICISM (CSM), which incontrovertibly grew under ROMAN CATHOLICISM”. (web-based source)

“The crowning achievement with CSM is a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness known as CONTEMPLATIVE / CENTERING PRAYER (CCP) i.e. transcendental meditation lightly sprayed with Christian terms.”

A few years ago, Rob Bell had begun recommending Richard Rohr’s book  Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (EB), which is all about CCP.

Bell finally came out as a mystic in 2009 in a sermon.  In that sermon Bell opined:

It’s interesting how many traditions (pause) When you read the great enlightened ones; meditation, centering prayer, reflection—in every tradition you can find the mystics—and what’s always at the heart of the spiritual lives, the everyday lives of the great ones was always a period of time.

Whether it’s prayers, chanting, meditation, reflection, study—whatever you call it—what is it essentially; it’s taking time to breathe. Because when you’ve been breathing, (slight pause) in a proper sort of way, you’re far better equipped to handle what life throws your way.1

When you consider the adverse influence of Richard Rohr, it’s not a real surprise that Rob Bell would be among those who believe that the mystics, in whatever religion mind you, are to be considered “the great enlightened ones.”

In EB, Richard Rohr muses this myth:

The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. How different than the “account manager” that most people seem to worship. God is a lover who receives and forgives everything.2

This is a clear description of the spiritual deception these mystics open themselves up to. Translation: I find the god that I want to worship made in my own image; and notice it’s “the mystics” who supposedly “know God well.”

“Like all neo-gonostics Richard Rohr makes no real distinction concerning religions, which is why such as these are listening to what mystics of whatever stripe say.

In other words, we’re being told that these mystics have “more” understanding of God through their

meditation in altered states of consciousness than we poor mere second class citizens do with only our Scriptures.    (K. Silva)

Which now brings us around to the following segment below from the Fighting for the Faith program of Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough on Pirate Christian Radio. You’ll hear Rob Bell talking about his Christology.

As he does he reveals his ownsinful ecumenicism and mysticism:

Over the years, spending time at the Dominican center, here in town; and reading Richard Rohr and Ronald Rolheiser…and finding in the Catholic Jesus a sacramental imagination…[a profound respect of the Eucharist] and what it is that brings us together—an integration—of my soul, and my heart, and my body, and nature, a-and a Jesus who brought it all together; instead of constantly dividing it apart.

Not a Jesus of components and pieces; but a Jesus who wove it all together and was fine [a holistic Jesus]…was fine, [he] could take all of me; was fine, I met the mystic Jesus.
(15:52-15:59; 17:03-17:08; 17:-48-18:10; 18:18-18:22)

There’s no “Catholic” or “mystic Jesus”, there’s only Christ Jesus of Nazareth. The point is, you can see that Rob Bell—through prolonged exposure to, and practice of, Rohr’s CSM teachings—radically changed; for the worse.

(Silva continued) Back in 2009 I showed you Richard Rohr: Roman Catholicism And Christian Universalism. That’s the eventual fetid fruit of CSM. So is it really any wonder that Rohr’s disciple Rob Bell would come to his Love Wins mythology.

Closing this out, the video clip below comes from an appearance by Rob Bell in April of 2011 at the spiritual black hole Winnetka Congregational Church in Winnetka, IL. Bell was introduced by pastrix Jennifer Gleichauf.3

The acoustics in the room caused quite a bit of echo so a transcription follows the clip. It’s quite telling as

Bell again talks about the evil influence of neo-gnostic Richard Rohr and other apostate Roman Catholics upon him:

From the video (not included here):

Audience member: [I’d like to know the] the Catholic Church has influenced your walk with the Lord? Catholic thinkers?

Rob Bell: How the Catholic Church has influenced my walk with the Lord? Which I’m sensing… (laughter)

Audience member: (laughing) Half of the Catholic clergy were wondering. (laughter)

Bell: Um, I don’t even know if I’ve ever told this story. Our church grew quite quickly and became a very awkward, interesting place for my wife to go to church, because a normal church experience became sort of impossible for her.

Because, she’s sort of introverted and the people who would stop her and she really went through a struggle where she was like, “When I go there, all of these people sort of attach and want something…” and it was a very, very traumatic thing to start a church and realize that it didn’t work for your wife to go there.

And there was a Dominican center near our house, and she started going there for classes in spiritual direction. And it absolutely changed her and transformed her at a key moment in our lives. And so she’s like, “Rob, there’s this school sister of Notre Dame there who’s a spiritual director and you’ve gotta go meet with her.”

So I started meeting with her and from there, was taken into a whole world of Ronald Rolheisers and Richard Rohrs and, um, absolutely transformed meMy understandings of incarnation, the centrality of the Eucharist, um, the world is good, um…

So I am extraordinarily indebted. And, I even, when people talk, well “there’s Catholics and then there’s Christians”… I think they’re all followers of Jesus.

So, you can see how Rob Bell has been influenced by Roman Catholic mysticism as he and his wife follow after SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS, the centrality of the Eucharist, engaging in mysticism and moving further from the church, the Bible….etc.  Enough for now, let’s look at the mystical concept of using breathing techniques in more detail in Part 2.

(404) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Jim Wallis & Racial Reperations

Jim Wallis Discusses Reparations

Derryck Green

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Derryck

Green has earned an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He will receive his Doctorate in Theology and Ministry this fall.

Jim Wallis

February 22, 2016

As part of the promotional tour for his new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America, Jim Wallis conducted an interview with Religion News Service (RNS) to discuss the content and thesis of his book. The interview touched on why Wallis wrote his latest book in addition to a number of other issues including, oddly enough, reparations.

As mentioned in my review of America’s Original Sin, I think Wallis’ definition and “proof” of racism, including his approach to ending – or at the very least, mitigating the practice and effect(s) of racial discrimination – are shortsighted and thoroughly one-directional. For Wallis, and other Christians who share his perspective on race, the task of ending racism and minimizing racial disparities – the mere existence of which, despite any and all nonracial variables that blacks contribute to these disparities – is the sole responsibility of white people.

In my view, this assessment is condescending as it stigmatizes all blacks with the narrative of perpetual helplessness. It places blacks in continual need of white intervention to do for blacks what blacks are, as the narrative intends, incapable of doing themselves. But it also maligns all white people, including white Christians, as racists who are fully invested in the maintenance of white supremacy and “privilege,” regardless of any and all actions that contradict such disparagement. To view blacks as lacking ingenuity and self-determination, while castigating all whites as racial supremacists bent on the continued racial subjugation of blacks, offends common sense and isn’t very Christian.

During the interview, Wallis takes several steps further away from common sense but more importantly, away from a Christian-infused platform that leads to racial reconciliation. Wallis’ perspective does very little to help the church, or the country, transcend racial divisiveness. As a matter of fact, I think much of what he’s encouraging Christians to do actually increases white resentment and contributes to black grievance entitlement, neither of which has offered anything meaningful to the “conversation on race.” Christians should want serious and consequential conversations about what the church can and should do to overcome racial bigotry where it exists, not wasting time with the pretense of looking busy while accomplishing very little or nothing at all.

The answers Wallis gives during the course of this interview, similar to much of what’s written in his book, gives the impression that Wallis seeks applause and congratulations for saying the right things about “racial justice,” rather than contributing to the much needed, difficult and honest conversations that both black and white Christians need to hear in our pursuit of racial unity.

For example, when Wallis was asked about why racism is the central problem in America, Wallis responded in part by saying:

“When privilege and punishment are the results of skin color, our stated values and culturally captive religion are revealed as our greatest hypocrisies. And the marginalization of people of color in our society, including millions of children who remain our poorest in the world’s richest nation, would still make the biblical prophets scream.”

You know what else would make the biblical prophets scream? The millions of parents, regardless of color, doing irresponsible things that contribute to the high numbers of children living in poverty. I think the prophets would also be concerned about the numbers of black children born to irresponsible and unmarried black mothers and fathers. The biblical prophets might also express unease in regards to how our country discourages marriage among poor people, relegating the unmarried poor, including the children they will have, to a prolonged experience in poverty, supplemented by government dependence.

I agree with Wallis. There are too many children subjected to poverty in this country. But I suspect he explains this by blaming racism or some other external forces rather than, at the very least, a combination of both external forces and individual choices and behaviors.

Wallis offers the obligatory lament of “privilege and punishment being the results of skin color” to explain and condemn the racial demographics of those imprisoned. But his complaint doesn’t carry much weight. So “privilege” and “punishment” have nothing to do with attitudes, thoughts, ideas and behaviors of those deserving of each?

In this distorted worldview, whites have privilege only because they’re white and blacks are punished only because their black. What privilege do poor whites in West Virginia, Mississippi and Oklahoma have that Asian Americans or African immigrants don’t? Reducing privilege and punishments to skin color and nothing else is silly and insults the intelligence of those listening.

As a parenthetical, I don’t understand this trend of using the phrase “people of color” in reference to blacks and other minorities. Notwithstanding word order, this is the same as referring to minorities, specifically blacks, as “colored people.” This is part of the incoherency of the racial language used by the political and religious Left. “People of color” is noble and virtuous, but “colored people” is an epithet.

Interestingly and confusingly, Wallis was asked about the idea of paying reparations to blacks. He says:

“Isaiah 58 instructs us to be the ‘repairers of the breach’ and ‘restorers of streets to live in.’ We should lift that biblical language of ‘repairing’ into the conversation about ‘reparations.’ The terrible breach of racism in America must be repaired and healed. We can’t just be sorry about what has happened and still does; we have to fix and heal the continuing racial inequities. So we should have a national conversation about what that could mean—specifically.

“… So reparations would certainly involve repairing our racialized and broken criminal justice systems, and the incredible racial disparities in our educational and economic systems… That is a conversation we urgently need to have.”

“Repairers of the breach” and “restorers of streets to live in” involves, of all things, government-led monetary redistribution in the form of reparations? I could be wrong, but I don’t think that’s exactly what Isaiah had in mind. Wallis is taking a biblical passage out of context and transparently applying it to a social movement that truncates some form of “justice” to curry favor with likeminded people and to sell books.

Wallis did the same thing several years ago on his publicity tour for his book, On God’s Side when he suddenly realized the biblical understanding of marriage between a man and a woman changes for the sake of a narcissistic and morally confused culture infatuated with sexual license under the guise of “marriage equality.” He’s also used Matthew 25 as the pretext for condemning the government shutdown several years back. While labeling the shutdown, “unbiblical,” Wallis appealed to “the least of these” in Matthew 25 to justify the continuance of the welfare state as a “biblical responsibility to help the poor.”

In any case, no topic is more time wasting than the issue of paying reparations to blacks. It’s a considerable waste of time because it’s never, ever, going to happen. Nor should it.

In reality, Wallis only wants to have a “conversation” about reparations because he knows how pragmatically unfeasible paying reparations to blacks would be. Why should blacks get reparations? Who decides? Why them? How much should blacks get? Whatever the amount that’s decided, why that amount and not slightly more/slightly less? And what blacks get reparations, all blacks or just some? Why? Do African immigrants get reparations too? After all, they’re “black.” What about president Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan and mother was white? Should Obama – a man who successfully integrated one of whitest institutions in American history, the presidency, with the help of white people, and himself a millionaire – get a reparations check as well? Technically, he’s black too, so why or why not? If so, how much?

Then comes deciding the morality of who pays reparations. Will all white people be forced to pay into this reparations scheme, including poor whites? Why? What about recent white immigrants from Eastern Europe who’ve come to America over the course of the past few decades? Are they responsible too? What about Mexican immigrants or immigrants from Central and South America? What about Asian immigrants and immigrants from Armenia? Should they be required to pay into a monetary scheme to receive absolution from racial sins they aren’t guilty of committing? Or, are they also guilty of benefiting from “privilege,” thus obligated to pay? Will all of these people be forced to have their income and wealth confiscated and redistributed to atone for America’s original sin, to ease white guilt as a costly gesture to compensate blacks for racial discrimination and oppression?

What about the social welfare system that has routinely redistributed money and other resources to blacks for more than fifty years with little success? Many would call this ritual of national penance a system of reparations, and we still have racial disparities in too many socio-economic quality of life indicators. How will diverting more money and resources to blacks in hopes of (re)reshaping their collective destiny, without the necessary values and behavior modifications to accompany such a vast wealth transfer, be any different or better than what’s already been tried?

This is what happens when economic solutions are the only solutions offered as answers to moral problems. Moral problems need moral solutions.

No Christian should be talking about reparations because it’s a distraction. The effort and energy wasted on contemplating reparations should be put into commonsense ideas of what can and should be happening to rectify social and economic inequities blacks face. Much of it starts with black self-determination and responsibility, not romantic notions of coercing non-blacks to pay for alleged racial criminality and oppression.

Not only is the talk about reparations a distraction, it does significant harm to blacks. Besides allowing another fruitless vehicle for blacks to focus their attention and energies on which offers no alleviation from social and economic stagnation, the idea of reparations reinforces in blacks an identity centered in a collective sense of victimization. In no other racial group does the idea of being monetarily compensated for embracing an unproductive, self-defeating sense of victimization exist. It’s a sad reality, and truly heartbreaking, but blacks are the only group in the country, because of a distorted sense of justice, that has willingly allowed themselves to be manipulated as a group to the point of de-stigmatizing helplessness as the cornerstone of their identity. No other group celebrates a historical sense of helplessness and victimization to be used as leverage for a false sense of social power (which actually reveals powerlessness). Blacks should center their identity in Christ as co-bearers of God’s image rather than a racial identity submerged in victimization.

That Wallis, a self-identified Christian, would join in this racial scheme and racial manipulation undermines his professed concern for blacks. He simply and continually pretends to care about blacks with no regard for the consequences of his actions, or the fate of those he claims to defend.

The same goes for applying reparations to reduce the racially disproportionate numbers of blacks that are incarcerated because it is allegedly another form of slavery. How will monetary reparations prevent people with bad values from going to prison? There are a lot of people incarcerated who had acquired lots of money and wealth, legally and illegally, prior to being imprisoned. So the idea that money can cure bad values, hence bad behaviors, is foolish and only exists on the political and religious Left.

Slavery was an immoral system. Very few people dispute this. But what system of right and wrong deliberately equates the evil of slavery with rightly interning people who violate the law? Of course there are areas of the criminal justice system that need modification and repair, but Wallis and those who agree with him would deceive people into believing that the entire system is broken simply and only because so many blacks and other minorities are behind bars. They intentionally ignore the specifics of what these people did to deserve criminal detention.

Wallis’ should be encouraging blacks to start the process of moral regeneration as a cure for moral poverty, which would go a long way toward reducing the excessive numbers of black prisoners. But Wallis’ ignores black self-determination and self-reliance for passing the blame and dependency.

This leads to his comments about InterVarsity and Black Lives Matter. When asked why this controversy, Wallis responded:

“…organizationally, Intervarsity still lives in the white evangelical world, with constituents and donors who have a negative response to honest and gospel talk about racism in America. This will be a very important and revealing case — whether an evangelical group like Intervarsity can move out of their white cultural context and support a new generation that wants to embrace diversity as a gift from God.

“Of course, I support the movement. The compelling language of ‘black lives matter’ strikes to the heart of America’s Original Sin—which said at the founding of our nation that black lives and bodies matter less than white lives and bodies. That foundational sin is what white American Christians used to justify the cruelty of our most venal kind of slavery—which claimed that kidnapped African slaves were less than human.”

Black Lives Matter’s racial agenda doesn’t consist of ‘honest and gospel talk about racism’ by any stretch of religious imagination. Not even close. Wallis insinuated that if InterVarsity – and by extension, white Evangelicals in general – rejects the kind of “diversity” represented by Black lives Matter, they’re complicit in unilaterally trying to maintain racial and religious marginalization of blacks.

It’s no surprise that Jim Wallis supports Black Lives Matter. His glowing rhetorical compliments, like that which is found in his book, were delivered without a sense of irony.

At the beginning of our nation’s history, many white Christians used racism to justify slavery for numerous reasons, but white Christians were also instrumental in ending slavery as well. Shouldn’t they be given ample credit for it?

That Wallis, as a Christian, doesn’t spend more time on that inescapable fact – that his brothers and sisters in Christ were instrumental and unique in ending slavery – should be concerning to all Christians who seek racial harmony in the church.

To be clear, Black Lives Matter can continue their sleight-of-hand by using an all-inclusive phrase to fool people into thinking that it’s concerned with having a direct and immediate impact on improving the quality of all black lives. But there is no obligation for Christians to support this group as evidence that they are serious about ending racial discrimination.

Listening to progressive Christians, it becomes clearer that they are much more (politically) progressive than they are Christian.

(403) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Mainstreaming “Spiritual Living”

It is becoming more and more difficult to deny that our culture is being enveloped by principles found in Eastern religions as well as non-Christian beliefs.  Today, it is certainly not unusual to hear words such as KARMA, YOGA, MEDITATION……etc.  It affects many areas of life today, including areas of health, medicine, food, stress reduction…..etc.

Unfortunately, even in the Evangelical community as well as most of American Christianity today, we see this same effect.  Many Christians refuse to see this influence in church life, seminary teachings, popular books, teachings on the radio…..etc.

In case you are not seeing it yet, here is Newsweek’s recent special edition on the topic of “SPIRITUAL LIVING” where they are just too happy to share with their readers views from every religious philosophy they can.

(402) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Christian & Missionary Alliance ‘Rohring’ Down the Mystical Path

C&MA’s ‘Rohring’ Deeper Into MYSTICISM.  

Let me first say, there is much to commend in the C&MA. In many ways, it has set a high standard in areas such as cross-cultural missionary work around the world. It is looked at by other Christian groups and denominations as having much to emulate in their missionary endevours.  Along with that, they carry with them a broader focus with their emphasis on JESUS in everything they do.  They tend to lean on the conservative side of many theologically issues and have high view of Scripture as God’s word.  Personally, I appreciate their balanced approach to viewing issues such as the gifts of the Spirit – taking, in my view, a biblical approach to issues like this.  All of this is funneled into a church actually living out our Christian walk both in the local community and around the world.

That said, there is no perfect church.  Sadly, along with the C&MA, there are many within the broader Evangelical Church which are stearing their ships in a direction that moves further from Scripture and closer to ancient church tradition.  With this, we are seeing the inclusion of other religious practices being mixed in with Christian practices with Christian sounding titles and names.  Fresh off the SEEKER-SENSITIVE MOVMENT from the 1990s, today we are seeing the effects of contemparary movements such as the EMERGING CHURCH which are bringing in concepts and ideas that move Christians away from the Bible and instead point Christians in a direction that looks more to tradition and mystical practices.  I bring these issues up because it burdons me to see the path that some/many within the C&MA are heading which has to result in changing the church in the long run if nothing else changes their course.  How could it not?  Mysticism focuses more on the “DEEP“, “INTERNAL”, “TRANSFORMATION” of the INSIDE as they strive to be UNIFIED with God.  According to this line of thinking, it opens up to joining with other people in the world today who look internally to be unified with God, unified with each other, unified with nature, unified with other creatures….etc.  Why should we “do Missions” when we can strive for this internal unity right where we are?

In previous postings, we looked briefly at how C&MA seminaries and colleges are being influenced heavily in areas of ancient Roman Catholic and Eastern mysticism. At Nyack and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS), we see the training of the next generation of pastors and leaders across a wide spectrum of exposure. For example, some professors spend time at ROMAN CATHOLIC MONASTERIES practicing their SPIRITUAL DICIPLINES of SILENCE and STILLNESS over periods of days and weeks.  During these times, they converse with monks who teach them the so-called rich history of ……the Bible – No! Rather they instruct them on the ways of ancient monastic practices of the DESERT FATHERS & MOTHERS. They acknowledge that the similarieties to modern Eastern Mysticism found in many Eastern Religions today.  The attitude is that we can learn from others who supposedly engage in similar religious practices in which Evangelical Christians could learn a great deal from……etc.  Some scholars believe that the early DESERT FATHERS were also influenced by EASTERN MYSTICISM during their time in ancient Egypt.

We also see course work at C&MA seminaries and colleges based on Roman Catholic and now Evangelical promoters of mysticism through Christian sounding jargon such as SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES and SPIRITUAL FORMATION.  The trend is to study ancient church history to see firsthand how these practices were developed in the EARLY CHURCH. Simpley stated the reasoning goes something like this – If its from the EARLY CHURCH, it must right? Right?

Contemporary authors/teachers are studyied such as RICHARD ROHR, RICHARD FOSTER, DALLAS WILLARD, RUTH HALEY BARTON…..etc. applying the modern versions of these same mystical practices found in ancient Roman Catholicism and Eastern Mysticism.

So, let’s continue on with one of these teachers – RICHARD ROHR.  His material is being used in classes at Nyack / ATS.  There are professors who are actively contributing to journals from Richard Rohr’s organization – the previous post, we looked at this in more detail. Today, let’s look further on other areas dealing with what Rohr believes and how he is influencing Evangelicals today.  Again, Richard Rohr is a Roman Catholic priest, and a leading proponent of CONTEMPLATIVE MYSTICISM today.  We could spend a great deal of time on differentiating ROMAN CATHOLICISM and EVANGELICISM but let’s start out taking small steps.

Take a look at this brief video and see how may issues are brought up that Rohr glosses over but really conflict with how many views held by Evangelical and most importantly, the Bible.  Some of these include UNIVERSALISM, PURGATORY, ORTHODOXY,..etc.  It is no accident that with this topic, another name is brought up – ROB “ALL IS SWELL WITH NO HELL” BELL.  Rob Bell has done a number of things with Richard Rohr and according to this clip, Rob Bell will be teaching (if not already) at Richard Rohr’s new school.  What amazes me is how these supposed Evangelicals seemingly take in everything Rohr is saying. But this effect is becoming more and more common in today’s environment.