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Posts Tagged ‘new age’

Visited a local church this Sunday.  We’ve gone there before, they are a church “plant” of our old church.  I was assured they are independent of the old church.  We’ve gone before and not had too many issues with the sermons.  Since this church is closer to our home by twenty minutes, and services start later, we had an easy morning getting there on time.   It’s a smaller congregation, smaller town, so there’s less materialism in dress.  People do dress up, others are casual, but it’s not the same as the larger church we attended.  Not many had grey hair at the old church, not everyone is like this at this local church.  Songs were a mix of modern and hymn.  I’d say they are a comfortable place to worship, and the pastor is humble.  They do have some signs of having the same themes, but not nearly as strong as the old church.

Today was not good, however.  There was a guest speaker.  His sermon was essentially the Ortberg book.  He told the story of Peter, and yet focused on the other disciples saying they were “boat potatoes” and at least Peter got out of the boat.   Peter’s gift to Jesus was getting out of the boat.  He talked about how we need to reach this generation and they are leaving church because they’re bored, bored, bored.  And, wouldn’t it be awful if all we did every day was take care of our lawn, work, and die?  We need to not be afraid and take risks.  He used a the scripture with the parable of the talents from Matthew 25.  The man who didn’t reproduce the talents was afraid.  He said, he feared the world, life’s problems.    He began to talk excitedly saying something like this, “the man was afraid, this life has many problems, it’s risky out there…the economy’s bad, the gas prices are down…I’m safer at home.”  Okay, look that one up.  The man says he is afraid not because of what’s out in the world, not hiding at home doing nothing.  He hides what his master gave to him because of his fear of the master who was a hard man.  He was afraid of the risk because of the master’s reaction if he lost the talent all together.  The master sees him as lazy and wicked, which may also give insight that the man may have just wasted the time away, wasted the talent because he didn’t want to go and work. 

In the course of the sermon, this man mentioned Ortberg by using his book title (and I bet the perspective from the book, anyone know?).  He also knew Max Lucado, dropped that name right away.  He also mentioned a quote by Tony Campolo. 

My problems with the sermon were that the text was obviously twisted, if even slightly.  This man has obviously been paid to speak and should have his stories fit well with the text of scripture.  The call was partly to energize the youth because they are bored.  If youth are bored in churches that preach the truth, our job is NOT to entertain them, it’s to continue to teach the truth.  This theme was drilled into us by our old chruch, not at all interested in seeing that theme run it’s course again.  The basic message was that we need to get out and do something.  This man doesn’t want any one of us to regret our lives, we should have interesting stories to tell in our old age.  We should do something like go on missions trips, take risks.  Okay, but what if our entire lives are to be JUST raising our family, or being a school janitor?  There are plenty of people who do serve God but their lives aren’t full of large risks.  What of all the families and individuals throughout history that just did ordinary things like taught a Sunday school class?  What of the people who work meals on wheels or become a nurse?  What of those who are faithful to take their children to church and teach them well?  What if they don’t do anything out of the ordinary, but their grandchildren do because of their influence and faithful life?  I’m sure every life will have a human interest story to it, whether good or bad.  That is NOT the point of our lives.  I would rather be a nobody with a nothing story at the end of my life if my God is pleased with me, and says, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  A boring old life with menial labor and ordinary tasks is not a shame.  We are to do what God calls us to do, and if someone shares the gospel where they are planted, serves and gives when they can, and sees fruit from that, who is to say they are not doing it right?  These guys make it seem like we all have to be out doing something extraordinary to please God.  Usually, it’s a story good enough for a sermon or to quote in a book.  Who does this please?  God or men,  hmmm? 

So now the dilemma.  Do we return, do we share our concerns?   I say we meet with the pastor and bring up the concerns we have with the guest speaker. 

On another note, many people have contacted us from the old church wanting to meet…most are in leadership. They want to know why we left.  My husband has a meeting upcoming already.  We shall see what this accomplishes.  For a family the elder said would not be noticed if we left by the pastor in question, we sure are being noticed by several others.  What is wrong with this one pastor?  I believe he will know we’re gone.  Either way, it only matters if God wants him to notice.  Each meeting is another chance to tell someone the truth.  Hopefully something good will come from all these opportunities.  God willing.

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For the Time Being I pulled the link..

 

If you do not think Focus on the Family is getting contemplative, don’t be fooled.  Here’s a link to a blog about the disciplines of silence and solitude.  Note the comment about New Age at the end.  I find no comfort knowing the quote on disciplines comes from Focus on the Family. 

The link had a quote from J. P. Moreland, and then a description of being contemplative and silent.  The final quote from this man was as follows:

“If you are reading this and plan to make a comment about how New Age these thoughts are, just know that I got the J.P. Moreland quote from a Focus on the Family website.  Instead of fighting it just Be Still and Know that God is God.” 

Huh.  This is sort of “Borg” like to me.  Assimilate or die.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve written my letter, mostly.  I’m having a few friends I trust look it over.  So now what? 

I’m a bit confused now, really.  I do not know how to trust any longer when it comes to hearing a sermon.  It’s like when I was younger and read “Late Great Planet Earth” and everything around me I saw was pointing to scary events.  I was hyper focused on the stuff I read, and was walking in fear.  I now feel unraveled, that I need to go back to basics so to speak, to get my bearings. 

I believe the emergent/seeker friendly/new spirituality/new age church is wide spread.   Because it is so widespread, I’m afraid I’ll just church shop my way into the same problem again.  Also, and this is very difficult, I now wonder how much of what I believe has been colored and touched by false teaching.  I do not want to throw away the good and true things I have learned because it seems like what mergent churches might teach.  I want to hold fast to what is good even if Rick Warren said it once.  You see, the lie is so close to the truth that there is some truth there.  It would be easy to loose faith after realizing the lies we were rubbing up against.  It’s hard to wonder how much of my “good will” feelings were my own or what was prompted by the suggestions of my church leaders.  Sometimes I look at the good things our church was doing (in terms of service and missions projects) and I begin to wonder what was wrong with that?  The only thing wrong, really, was that it wasn’t coming from God but coming from man’s plans.  To top it off, the message was distorted only slightly (more so now than then), and so what we were doing was not for God.  Is is an accurate thing to say our church was like Cain?  Abel brought the true sacrifice God required, and we were bringing something else.  That made everything we did not quite good enough, not quite right.  We were missing the mark.  So now, I live in this little world where I question so much of what I’m doing.  What do I do next? 

I also don’t want to judge people wrongly.  If there is a tie in to mergent, fine, I’ll avoid or try to redirect.  I don’t want to shy away from going out and walking around and praying for my neighbors.  Though “prayer walks” come from contemplative style churches, this doesn’t mean that praying for my neighbors should stop.  I don’t want to avoid going out by myself and praying just because contemplatives talk about solitude.  I also don’t want to avoid trying to find a quiet place to have a “quiet time” or spend time reading and praying because contemplatives talk of being still.  There is nothing wrong with going to the Father in prayer and finding a quiet place to pray.  It’s whether or not that is requried for “a closer relationship” to Him that’s questionable.  I will not be meditating with repetative phrases, I will not be opening myself up or centering in prayer.  So, being quiet for a while is not evil.  It’s just the distortion of the requirements and the mimicking eastern meditation methods that is wrong.  It’s not wrong to expect to be changed because I am a Christian, it’s just wrong to transform into something of this world.

So, I guess the “now what” is to just “do the next thing.”  I need to take time to be with my family, to study the Bible, to pray, and to find a place we can worship the only wise God, the true God.

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I spoke with one carefully selected pastor today.  He was amazing.  He first prayed, and asked God that I would speak in “truth” with “clarity” and “boldly.”  I cried before I started, but got it together so that I could speak at all.  He agreed with me that the “emergent” themes are popping up in our church.  He agreed that the youth organization camp (YF) outside of our church is emergent and that the emergent is linked with the New Age.  He also feels that our church pastors have historically been focused on Christ and are saved, but that they are trying to replace language with new language and it’s not just the language that’s the problem but the meaning behind it, and the focus.  He believes this church’s focus is now just off enough that they are no longer focusing on Christ, on the Word of God, and it’s subtle, but it’s truly there.  He says he’s spoken to pastors about his concerns.  One pastor even brought a book from lighthouse trails research to him and asked him to read it.  He said he did, but he’s also reading another book much more technical and looking at theology and emergent.  I am facinated to hear this.  He really almost begged us to stay, that we would share our concerns carefully in love.  He did say he understands though if we really feel called to leave because our children are important.  He was glad I came to him and am honest, and he feels our family is rooted in the faith and loosing families like ours is bad for our congregation.  Many have already left, he’s spoken to them.  He suggests before we make our final exit, we write to a few of the pastors and outline our struggle specifically, telling them truthfully what we are seeing and where the message has gotten off.  He says to wait for their response.  He says he prays they will admit their mistake, and that they will put their focus back on Christ, the gospel, and reaching people for Christ. 

I feel for him, I really do.  He says he is not “a warrior” in this church trying to be on a high horse and change them back.  He does feel he’s welcome to speak the truth here (and I’ve never heard any of this stuff from him).  This is very good to hear.  He says he doesn’t feel he needs to leave and then he added, “yet.”  He wants to stay in contact with us, and really is concerned with things I brought up, and made it clear he has seen it too.  His hope is that the church will get off of man centered focus and back to focus on glorifying God.

I believe him.  I don’t think he’s playing any games.  He might be let go if he does push forward, and may have to find another job someday.  However, it’s possible, maybe, the church will be brought back.  Now we are back to square one, almost.  Actually, my husband has released himself from the area of ministry he was involved in.  He let the pastor of that area know we were leaving.  Of course, if we do decide to stay, we will not hide anything at all.  We will stay with the hope that our church does change back.  We can still participate in missions, service, and arts worship.  We just have to START with the focus on God.  The works can flow from this.  Oh, I believe there needs to be a humility, repentance, call for forgiveness, and then maybe a pruning, and then we’ll see what God will do.  Of course, I only spoke with someone who “got” what I was saying.  I think we’re going to come upon resistance like we’ve never seen if we really push forward.  At least we’re not in any positions of power, we don’t have anything to loose.  I am nobody.  I am not worth anything.  I am just a sinner who is saved by the mercy, grace, and faith given me by Christ Jesus.  Period.  That’s what I got. 

 

So now it’s to prayer, and talk with my husband to see what we should do.

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Wow.  I have a comment on here telling me that:

“sometimes the best thing that can happen to a church trying to move beyond the evangelical-cultural understanding of “bible-based” teaching and into a more meaningful expression of what it means to live the “with-God life” as a community – is to have people like you go somewhere else and critique some other pastor from your pedestal.”

Wow.  Ouch. 

I will say that if I were just about critique this comment would be fair.  We are to respect those God has placed in leadership over us.  I absolutely do love and respect my pastors.  I grieve, grieve, grieve the fact that their focus is off the gospel lately.  They (and I would say not all ) have begun to focus more on mission rather than on the gospel, on Christ.  It’s not okay to take the foundations for granted.  I am not just being critical.  I’m not asking that we get rid of the screen at the front of the church during music time, I’m not asking for us to take communion more times a month or less, or asking for us to change every little thing.  I am asking that my pastors do not bring another gospel or a different religion into Christianity.   I do need to share my struggles and concerns with the church pastors.  I should do this in love.  I am not free of sin, free of pride.  I am no one, only Christ is supreme, and is perfect.  I have to walk humbly.  I do believe though, that in this case, I am dealing thougthfully with my church.  I have not intentionally written my pastors’ names here, not interested in tarnishing their reputations.  I also believe what I am writing can be helpful to others, so I am sharing my thoughts here.  I may sound critical, but I see that I am being like a Berean and taking what is said back to the Bible itself.  Does it match up?  Not all the time.  That is what I’m taking to task.  I thank my critic for the reminder, I need to tread boldly and carefully in love.

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I cannot express how difficult it is to go to another church.  It feels like I’m disowning my own family, like I’m cutting myself off from them.  Given everything, if the pastors in our old church weren’t showing clear signs of being into contemplative prayer, of merging with the New Age, we’d still be there with the other problems we’re seeing.  I mean, if we were just using the P.E.A.C.E. plan as a model and it seemed the pastors were ignorant to the New Age only, it would be something we could work with.  Even better, if we were doing all the things like missions, serving the poor, concerned about orphans, and doing service projects in the community, that would be fine.  The church promotion and marketing can be a little much, but some of what our church was doing I don’t really see as wrong.  Sending out mailers, trying to attract the community to church, well, for me that seems logical if you are evangelical.  You want to get the world to come in and hear just in case you’re meant to plant a seed for the.  However, the message is tainted.  Just a dusting or arsenic, just enough to make the cake look like it has powdered sugar on it, in fact, it does have powdered sugar.  But it also has that little bit of poison.  I was sad today thinking of my church worshipping and the message being shared, and the pastors having an agenda to eventually teach the crowd how to pray in a contemplative way.  I am sad thinking about how lost our pastors are, how blind they are.   They can talk about god-consciousness just like New Age leaders.  They speak of silence, of Christ coursing through veins, of mission, of being “little christs.”  These things slip into their speech, and no one really hears it (I did, but I’d ask and many would say no and then I’d listen to sermons online later and it would be confirmed).  Today, people filled a church building (our old church), and people were missing the mark.  So we sat with strangers, my kids taught by strangers.  We heard the message, and I listened carefully to every word.  I watched as they prayed, did they have an agenda too?  Maybe, maybe they did, maybe they are doing God’s will or maybe not. 

I did share a bit of our story with the pastor, and he understood.  He knew that shift was going on all around our city.  Just a few weeks ago an older couple visited from our old church.  The pastor knew our church was merging.  He knew of other churches with this problem.  The offered to pray for us, they offered materials for free on the topic of the New Age merging with Christianity.  The pastor even had spoken with one of the many pastors from our church and gave him a book that was a good warning to show this shift.  Did this pastor read the book?  How did it impact him?  I don’t know. 

So we visit a new church, go to lunch.  The kids say it was cool, it was different.  The younger ones liked the new songs they learned, the older ones wished the music was better.  There were only 15 children 10 to toddler.  That is a change.  We are not done looking, but this church at least looks like one that has the gospel message clear.  They are studying the bible and read through the bible in their bible study groups each year.  This is good.  More churches, more people to meet.  I just wish our old church would change.  I’d rather be there.

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“Proclaim the gospel that sinful man needs a Savior and know that salvation is:

Through faith alone

in Christ alone

only by God’s grace

as revealed in scripture alone

to the glory of God alone”

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9:40-12:00 Central Time

 

http://www.calvarychapeljoco.com/index2.htm

 

Still going and it’s past 12:00.  Another pastor is speaking…

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If you click right now, 1:30 central time through this afternoon, you can link to hear them speak about New Age spirituality in church.  There is a break coming at 2:20, and then Yungen speaks. 

http://www.calvarychapeljoco.com/index2.htm

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It’s amazing how relieved I feel, and yet how sad I feel.  I have been attending this church for eight years, and intended to raise our children in this church.  Stability is a big deal to me, as is loyalty.  We had invested ourselves into children’s ministry, prayer ministry, and men’s ministry.  I had a particular desire to help women with miscarriage, and possibly to try to mentor pregnant women and teens.  Missionary work appeals to both of us, and we were hoping to go on short term missions as well as take our children on service missions.  Our church appeared to offer many places to devote service to God.  It was our desire to really devote ourselves to God’s service.  We still desire this, but we cannot do it in a church that has been going New Age. 

I am sad also because people are falling for a lie.  I love these people.  It’s like watching a person become a drug addict.  Knowing they won’t listen, it’s hard to sit and just watch.  That is likely what sent my husband for the doors.

Sunday, we almost attended a different church, but I couldn’t do it yet.  I had to feel closure, know it was my last Sunday there.  My husband actually parked in a church parking lot, and I said, “no, I’m not ready today.”  He promptly turned it around and we went to the church of our membership.  We listened to the sermon, which was more of the same.  The pastor talked about Christ coursing through our veins, and also had a time of silence at the end of the service.  Besides this, his message was about story and how we are to write ourselves into God’s story, and how the God’s story is the greatest story or some such something.  I will look at sermon notes later to get a better idea. 

We did let an elder friend of ours know we are leaving.  “Ouch,” was his reply.  He asked why, and so I delved carefully.  I tried to explain that really, our pastors have been promoting a religion much like the New Age.  I found my explaination to be halted, awkward, and difficult.  He listened.  He also said he was torn.  Listening to me had him confused.  One particular pastor was his mentor.  I had to share that this pastor really seems to be leading the charge following after Rick Warren/Dallas Willard and more.  He said, “you know, we came to a decision that people were just sitting and getting comfortable in our church, especially seasoned, mature Christians.  The 40 Days of Purpose was our way to combat that.”  I told him I understood why, that people can get complacent.  Still, the message has been tainted.  I shared a few phrases I have heard the pastors say, and one in particular was “Jesus coursing through your veins.”  Conversation moved on after a while, though I kept trying to revisit.  The elder went on to life and to things he has been involved in for business etc.  We chit chatted, and did come back to church topics.  He said, “we’re not called to change the church,” and “you need to do what you feel you are called to do.”  He added that if we were “not comfortable with the preaching in church we should find another church.”  He offered some other places, asked where we thought of attending and made a few comments on these places.  Really, he sidestepped the issue, and told me to not confront this in church.  I was told to write a letter, wait three days and then re-read it.  Send the letter, but don’t meet with any pastors.

I decided to write the letter, but I also decided to meet with one pastor.  This meeting will be next week based on schedule.  I hope to share a book with this pastor.  I hope he will hear me and investigate for himself.

Along the way, one of my friends who knows about my online writings has read about this issue.  Since this is also her church, she is alarmed.  At first, she didn’t believe it was really happening at our church.  Now she realizes better.  Her goal now is to just hang out, see if anyone will hear some reason.  She’s also going to work in church ministry and try to keep it pure where she is.  She hopes to impact the church in a positive way with the truth.  This also has been making her physically ill.  That is how she’s oppressed spiritually, through physical illness.  Hopefully, she can be healthy enough to fight the good fight here. 

I did listen to the last sermon online yesterday.  The quote, “Jesus coursing through your veins” has been edited out of the audio.  It’s a clear edit becaue you can hear the beginning of a word that is cut off.  Seems rather weird to me.  Evidence that they will likely back off any weird New Age language just to keep from running people off too early. 

So, our next step is meeting with the one pastor, meeting then with our small group, and letting our group shepherds know.  We also have to inform the children’s minister we won’t be helping.  I have let the pastor know I’m not helping with prayer any longer as I had before. 

We still have friends in the church.  I can think of some I want to inform.  I have got to figure out how to proceed in a way God would want.  My husband is pretty much hoping not to have to talk about this much more.  What he wants is to find a church and be in a Bible study group that actually studies the Bible and NOT some topic or book as often suggested by our church pastors.

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