In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2 Peter 2:3)
Earth To Protestant Evangelicalism; Um, Have You Lost Your Mind!?
While we don’t always agree with everything espoused the great preachers of old such as an R. A. Torrey weren’t exactly “politically correct” when they would speak of preachers in the Cult of Liberal Theology as “women wearing men’s trousers.” Following will be a nauseating example of how those who practice Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) long enough come away with an effete man-centered love of the self (See—2 Timothy 3:2).
The sad fact is this CSM—regurgitated Roman Catholic pietism blended with corrupt Quaker mysticism straight out of the The Cult of Guru Richard Foster—is a festering boil upon the Body of Christ. Don’t think so? Well, consider O, But Baptist State Convention Of North Carolina (SBC) Wanyed You To Know… and Georgia Baptist Convention (SBC) Now Promoting the Cult of Richard Foster for examples of entire state conventions within the pretending to be Protestant Southern Baptist Convention are now busy spreading this spiritual sewage completely counter to the Reformaton.
I know I don’t have all the fancy degrees and the popular ministries of many of the leaders in the SBC (can you even have leaders with an Idol of Autonomy?) but as a high school graduate having never attended college on any level let’s see if we can help the ed-ja-ma-cated think this through using reductio ad absurdum. For a proper Christian spirituality “Protestant” Southern Baptists are today turning to Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic “Roshi” Richard Foster (and since when were Quakers evangelicals?) steeped in the mysticism of apostate Roman Catholicism—and specifically messed up mystics like Teresa of Avila and seducing spirits like Ignatius of Loyola.
Now consider that ol’ Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits, which were kind of a spiritual Gestapo of the Counter Reformation; in other words they were against it, k. As was Teresa of Avila and her duped disciple John of the Cross who are heretical heroes to “Brother” Foster. O, by the way, have you ever looked into the Quaker view of the Reformation? Their founder George Fox, who tells us he had direct revelation from God, throughly repudiated Sola Scriptura. I mean c’mon, who needs Scripture when you’re “centering down” to chat with the Lord himself, eh. But I digress.
Ok, so as I asked before: If the Roman Catholic Church was deemed apostate during the Protestant Reformation, and it was; and if it hasn’t changed one iota in any of the dogma of demons deemed unBiblical by the Reformers, and it hasn’t; do you suppose it makes any sense whatsoever for Protestant evangelical Christians to now return to practices taught by apostate Roman Catholic monks and monkettes who vigorously and quite specifically opposed the very same doctrines you at least give lip service to believing?
O But Tell Us Another Bedtime Story, Please “Brother” Manning
As yet another example of the grave danger of spiritual deception for those who persist in CSM’s rebellion against the final authority of God’s Word in favor of personal, highly subjective “experience,” in Reflections for Ragamuffins (RfR) by Brennan Manning the daily devotion for May 8 is based on his lovely lament concerning Isaiah 53. O but of course, first using a methodology so often employed by the Emergent Church, he begins by taking a shot at those of us who adhere to Sola Scriptura as he whines about “how difficult it is to receive anyone who has all the answers.”
What “brother” Manning has in view here is preachers like a Charles Spurgeon or a John MacArthur who would dare preach a strong and forceful message from Word from God. Manning sees those stinky icky-poo types as “invulnerable, needing nothing and no one…in control of every situation.” Ah, the postmodern (read: postliberal) postevangelical and Emerging Church method of ever so skillfully weaving men of straw in order that they may then tear ’em apart with their supposedly superior erudition. You mean you really cannot yet see through the smary air of quiet arrogance—Jesus wants to save Christians—of a Rob Bell? Save them from what there Rob?
Yeah, whatever did the Church do ‘til he and the other postliberal pythons slithered into prominence? But you see, over in the real world no true preacher of the Bible actually feels the way Manning muses above; in fact, often we feel quite the reverse. He has zero idea of what the Lord puts me through to “encourage” me to write as I am. Then Manning opines that these very meany-pants people he is talking about only make us “feel unnecessary, unneeded and reluctant to receive.” *sniff, sniff* This next part you really have to read for yourself to believe just how exactly backward Manning’s semi-pelagian ear-tickling centered on the self message actually is:
So Jesus comes in the way of weakness, giving us the chance to love him and making us feel that we have something to give him. Isaiah prophesied that he would be “like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers”(53:7 NAB). Jesus, who understands the human heart, allowed the image of a dumb, helpless animal to be applied to himself. (129)
Because the level of Biblical discernment today is so low this is the kind of trite, pious-sounding, and people-pleasing pabulum that has even begun affecting mainstream evangelicalism in the Chuck Swindolls, the David Jeremiahs, and the Charles Stanleys (the SBC is fine shape). Popular evangelicals like Max Lucado and Philip Yancey long ago succumbed. Lucado writes of Manning that “he does a masterful job of blowing the dust off shop-worn theology” [means: the stuff I don’t like] and Yancey says, “I consider Brennan Manning my spiritual director in the school of grace.” And SBC minister Dallas Willard, who is the Spiritual Formation friend of the aforementioned Foster, tells us that Manning “throws firebrands into your soul and makes you wonder why you are not living stripped, standing in the arctic ‘Sonshine’ of God’s love” (back cover).
O please; it becomes obvious that these men are reading the Bible and then still thinking only as men think. Yes, Jesus came to give man the chance to love Him alright but the Bible is painfully clear in that He was roundly rejected. Christ came “making us feel that we have something to give him”? And what pray tell would we give to Him Mr. Manning; filthy rags? You should have read a little further on in Isaiah — All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (64:6). The Bible teaches very clearly that mankind was helpless on his own to do anything to please God — when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
The terrible truth is that we have absolutely nothing at all to give God that is even remotely worthy of His incredible gift. Here’s the issue, Manning is mangling the metphor of Isaiah 53 and taking it well beyond its intended meaning. Uh-oh; I just inferred that I know what this passage of Scripture means. What a serious faux pas I have commited because my Emergent “brothers” would tell me I simply can’t know for sure what Isaiah 53 means. Because you see, those who say to us it’s humble to admit we don’t know for sure are in turn *ahem* sure that they themselves in fact know I’m wrong to be…um, sure. Ah Alice, what color is the sky out there in Wonderland? But as has been pointed out well elsewhere:
Metaphors are often used in Scripture to help the reader understand an abstract concept that might otherwise be lost or to emphasize a particular element. It is dangerous, if not completely off-base, to motivate a position using an element of a metaphor that is not supported or called out by the context. Jesus is the Lamb of God, like a sheep lead to the slaughter… The imagery is that of a blameless sacrifice who willingly, and without protest (see Isa. 5:5), takes upon Himself the wrath of a Just and Holy God in our place.
The context simply does not support the proposition that Jesus wants to be viewed as a “dumb, helpless animal” or did so for the purpose of giving us a “chance to love him.” Manning uses a novel and unsupported interpretation of the metaphor to develop a point he wants the reader to accept. In addition, Manning is a master at building an ambiguous straw man argument on the basis of feelings the reader might have, especially those of inadequacy. The fact that the reader can identify or relate to a particular story becomes the support for the proposition espoused. The methodology appeals to the reader’s experience rather than the truth contained in God’s Word.
Sola Scriptura; Sola Christus!
Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity. Its heyday came in the middle of the twentieth century with the writings of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich, and Reinhold Niebaur…
Familiar terms are used, but are redefined or employed in such a way that is purposely vague—not to convey objective meaning, but to communicate a subjective symbolism. After all, any “truth” theological terms convey is unique to the person who exercises faith. What the Bible means becomes unimportant, What it means to me is the relevant issue.
Many of the unusual positions held by the emergent leaders stem directly from their theology of the Scriptures as well as their hermeneutical approach. First, insiders of the emerging church “conversation” are fond of expressing their excitement and fidelity to the Word of God, even as they undermine it. McLaren says, “I want to affirm that my regard for Scripture is higher than ever.” Bell tells us that for over ten years he has oriented his life around studying, reading, and trying to understand the Bible.
One would have to wonder why Bell devotes so much time to the understanding of the Bible since he apparently agrees with his wife who stated in a joint interview that she has “no idea what most of it means. And yet life is big again.” In order to press home their views, the emergent leaders must perform some interesting gymnastics with the Scriptures… Anyone still clinging tenaciously to the Word, after inspiration is denied, will further loosen his grip when he discovers that the Scriptures are not inerrant, infallible nor authoritative. McLaren said these are words related to a philosophical belief system that he used to hold.
But he no longer believes the “Bible is absolutely equivalent to the phrase ‘the Word of God’ as used in the Bible. Although I do find the term inerrancy useful… I would prefer to use the term inherency to describe my view of Scripture.” By the use of inherency he is dusting off the neo-orthodox view of the Scriptures, which taught that the Bible contains the “word of God” but is not the completed Word of God, for God’s Word can be found in anything He “inspires.” If you have any confidence left in Scripture at this point, McLaren and his friends can take care of that by telling you that you have been misreading the Bible all along. (Online source)
In closing this for now we return to our utter impotence to please God on our own — when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). If you are a genuine Christian the Spirit of God will rejoice within you to read those words. And conversely, this very next statement from Manning in RfR while following his fantasy is so man-centered as to be blasphemous when he says that our Great God and Savior, “allowed the image of a dumb, helpless animal to be applied to himself.” First of all, God didn’t simply “allow” the image from the foundation of the world concerning Jesus Christ the Lamb Who has been slain (Revelation 13:8); He instituted the bloody sacrifical system itself to graphically illustrate the gravity of sin and what it would then cost Him.
There is one primary reason Christ Jesus of Nazareth was led like a lamb to the slaughter and that was to fulfill the glorious plan of salvation through the grace God the Father — Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10). Well now; how about that, why there’s the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross that teachers of a counterfeit Christianity like Brian McLaren and his pal Doug Pagitt are so busy attacking today. Listen, Jesus clearly tells us why He came for His — “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). And since this was recorded by the eyewitness Matthew not even Emerging theologian Scot McKnight can wiggle around it.
If you have been reading this kind of sappy sentimentality through Emergent contemplatives like Brennan Manning, then today I urge you to throw away those mystic musings and intead meticulously meditate for a while on the text of Holy Scripture…you’ll be surprised by just how far away from the historic orthodox Christian faith these mystics have actually drifted through their reimagined neo-Gnostic mysticism inherent with their corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism. And know this; mystics like Manning most certainly are not insightful, and they absolutely are nothing new. In the end it is just as Dr. B.B. Warfield (1851-1921) once wrote in his “Mysticism and Christianity” piece:
This Christian mysticism, now, obviously differs in no essential respect from the parallel phenomena which are observable in other religions. It is only general mysticism manifesting itself on Christian ground and interpreting itself accordingly in the forms of Christian thought. It is mysticism which has learned to speak in Christian language. The phenomena themselves are universal. There has never been an age of the world, or a form of religion, in which they have not been in evidence.
There are always everywhere some men who stand out among their fellows as listeners to the inner voice, and who, refusing the warning which Thoas gives to Iphigenia in Goethe’s play, “There speaks no God: thy heart alone ’tis speaks,” respond like Iphigenia with passionate conviction, “‘Tis only through our hearts the gods e’er speak.” (Online source)