The poisonous root of post-modern theology
“See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” Col 2:8
Psychologist, Dr Helen Schucman published the 3 volume book, “A course in miracles”(ACIM) in 1975. It was the result of 7 years of channelled messages by a spirit guide who called himself Jesus. Although Christian terminology is used throughout, the principals taught are overtly “New Age.”
Here are some quotes from ACIM with corresponding Bible verses.
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’ The only message of the crucifixion is that you can overcome the cross. Until then you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. This is not the Gospel I [“Jesus”] intended to offer you.” ACIM, vol. 1, p. 47
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Co 1:18
“The Holy Spirit will never teach you that you are sinful.” ACIM, vol. 1, p. 423
“When he (The Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: Jn16:8 (parenthesis mine)
“No one remains in hell, for no one can abandon his Creator . . . ” ACIM, vol. 2, p. 233
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt 25:46 (Jesus is referring to the sheep and goats)
“Because I [“Jesus”] am always with you, you are the way, the truth and the life.” ACIM, vol. 1, p. 108
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:6
ACIM was mainly read in New Age circles until it was championed on Robert Schullers “Hour of Power” by Dr Gerald Jampolsky. ACIM really hit the mainstream however, when in 1992, Marianne Williamson’s “Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles”, was featured on the “Ophra Winfrey show”. Ophra declared the book one of her favourites and Williamson was catapulted the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
Williamson is listed as a part of the “Living Spiritual Teachers Project”. Other of the 80 or so names on the list are Brian McLaren who recently endorsed Alan Jones (also listed) book, “Re-imagining Christianity”, in which he states “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be re-imagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” Alan Jones, p. 132
The promotion of ACIM by Robert Schuller was not a mistake. Schuller has always sought to shift the boundaries of Christian Orthodoxy. His writings show an attempt to turn the truth of the Gospel on its head.
“A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem.” (Self-Esteem, The New Reformation, pp.14-15)
This is a direct contradiction of Gods word. The Bible says that our selfish nature should be crucified with Christ.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jn 12:24 (NIV)
“I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.” (Time, March 18, 1985) The Bible tell us in Jn 16:8 (see above) that The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin.
This “feel good” gospel has also been successfully utilised by other Mega Pastors, most notably, Bishop T.D Jakes who has sold millions of copies of his Christian self-help books. Jakes, who is a popular speaker at the Hillsong conferences, promotes “self love” as a method of dealing with the issues of sin and the degenerate state of man.
Schuller implemented the same church growth strategy that was being taught by McGavren/C. Peter Wagner at Fuller’s “School of World Mission”, adapting it to his gospel of self-esteem. This Church growth model was then taught yearly at the Pastors Conference at the Crystal Cathedral where Rick Warren and Bill Hybels attended.
The strategy was to ask people what kind of church they would feel comfortable attending. After canvassing the neighbourhood, Schuller ended up with a church that avoided the issues of sin and The Cross, instead, focusing only on positive aspects of Christian life.
Warren and Hybels did not completely abandon such, so called, negativities. Rather, they marginalised them. The doctrine of “substitutionary atonement” remained in the statement of faith, but in reality, is rarely spoken of, lest it offends people. The reliance for numerical increase was shifted from a firm understanding and delivery of the Gospel message, to an accommodation of the needs and values of our post modern culture, and “Emerging Church” structures are increasingly based upon secular management and business strategies.
Another Christian Pastor who is fond of blurring the distinctions between Biblical truth and New Age mysticism, is Rob Bell, author and pastor at Mars Hill who regularly speaks at Hybel’s Willow Creek Church. The Bells also graduated from Wagners “Fuller” Seminary and in early days taught consistency with scripture. It was after reading Brian McLaren’s “A new kind of Christian”, that they began to make a departure from belief in the inerrancy of The Word, claiming that the Bible is “a human product, rather than the product of divine fiat.” Rob Bell is plain wrong here.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Ti 3:16
Bell is doing a very effective job of de-constructing the foundations of Christian orthodoxy, replacing it with a post modern theology which is universalistic, claiming that the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross, atones for all mankind, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or whatever. Moreover, Bell, and others are advocating the kind of contemplative spirituality such as breath control and inner silence that have caused some apologists to wonder if this “New reformation” isn’t really a throwback to “pre-reformation” Christianity.
Part of the problem in identifying the errors in theology so widely promoted by the Emerging Church movement, is that they are packaged in such a way as to look and feel like the genuine article, thus requiring our need to rely on The Holy Spirit to enable us to effectively discern Truth from the deceptive and dangerous.
Re-inventing Christianity along the lines of New Age mysticism is the goal of the post-modern church. Its Pastors and teachers are championing a “Global Paradigm Shift” with their rejection of Sola Scriptura.
Post modernism is, by nature, incompatible with biblical truth because it is characterised by a relativistic approach. The term “Post-modern Gospel” is an oxymoron. Jesus made the most authoritative statement regarding Himself when He said to the Pharisees: “I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!” Jn 8:58
Without exception, theological seminaries that have rejected Biblical truth in favour of a reformed, post- modern theology, are responsible for for the overtaking of our denominations, insidiously replacing solid bible based teaching, with a hollow and empty Gospel.
C peter Wagner was a Quaker and therefore it is quite probable that he has never accepted the inerrancy of the Holy Bible. Is it any surprise that many of those graduating from his seminary school also reject Sola Scriptura? It is this rebellion against the truth of Scripture that is the poisonous root which has infected huge sections of the Charismatic church.
These post-modernist Pastors mutually endorse one another, making congregations trusting as to the spurious content of their “Hollow Gospel”
Publishing companies who were once committed to spreading the truth of the Gospel, have now turned away and are promoting the “Paradigm Shift” along with their Contemporaries and we are buying their new gospel like there is no tomorrow.
Eugene Peterson, with his paraphrased “Message” bible, might not be guilty of anything more than attempting to align the Gospel to the type of “mystical spirituality” which has been embraced by our modern culture. The words “Lord Jesus” do not appear in the Message but are replaced with “Master Jesus”, a new age terminology for the Jesus who attained the office of the Christ, (merely a lower ranking amongst many spiritual masters.) There are other similarities with New Age speak in the message, “As above, So below” being one of them in the paraphrase of The Lords Prayer. It is in Petersons cosying up to the “new darling” of evangelicalism, U2s Bono, that we might glimpse some revelation into his spiritual standing. Bono has been promoting the most blatant new Age philosophies for a long time. He is featured on the “New Group of World Servers” along with Nelson Mandella and Michael Moore (farenheit 911) It is no surprise that Rick Warren also enjoys a good relationship with Bono due to their shared involvement with the aids problem. The truth is that Bono is also a champion in the global Paradigm Shift.
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. ” 2Thess 2:13-18