By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Aug 19, 2010 in AM Missives, Brian McLaren, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Current Issues, Dallas Willard, Doug Pagitt, Emergence Christianity, Emergent Church, Erwin McManus, Features, Henri Nouwen, Jay Bakker, Leonard Sweet, Marcus Borg, New Spirituality, Peter Rollins, Richard Foster, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne/New Monasticism, Shane Hipps, Southern Baptist Convention, Spiritual Formation, Tony Campolo, Tony Jones, Youth Ministry
This online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been blessed of Jesus to be used as one of His “go-to” ministries in the area of the ne0-Gnostic corruption called Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which is now pandemic within mainstream evangelicalism through its foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church aka Emergent Church with its quasi-universalism in a new version of Progressive Christian theology under their spiritual circus “big tent” Emergence Christianity.
You need to understand that this spurious CSM—the refried Roman Catholic mysticism “discovered” by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, and now perpetrated within the mainstream of evangelicalism as supposed Spiritual Formation with an able assist from his spiritual twin SBC minister Dallas Willard, was a core doctrine in the EC right from its hatching in Hell. In Good Shepherd Church Going Ape…Almost I gave you another pathetic exhibit of how just how squishy—man-pleasing—evanjellyfish is becoming as a result of practicing this mysticism.
In The Gloves Must Come Off yesterday I told you that there will be nothing gained by foolish “conversation” with unregenerate Apostles of Unbelief in the EC; and among their number you’ll find mystics like rock star Emerging Church pastor Rob Bell and his good friend, heretical quasi-universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt who heads the Emergent Solomon’s Porch where the equally heretical Tony Jones happens to be his “theologian in residence,” who’ve long been teaching counterfeit forms of Christianity to young mainstream evangelicals.
The quicker you come to understand that such as these long ago jettisoned the proper Christian spirituality of Sola Scriptura—of course we can experience God in His Word—for myth-based mysticism the better for you; for you see, their mentors like Living Spiritual Teacher and Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr along with his fellow Red Letter Christian pal Living Spiritual Teacher and leading Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren, are just as off spiritually as the original Gnostics, which were being roundly rebuked by the authors of the New Testament.
A couple of years ago in Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) Of Spiritual Formation Is Reckless Faith I pointed you to Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern , oft-overlooked 1994 book by Dr. John MacArthur. In this book, one of our Lord’s most trusted generals told you—three years before their even was any Emerging Church—why in this postmodern time these neo-Gnostics, who’re neo-orthodox in their theology (at best), would run to embrace mysticism:
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… Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy: the Bible itself is not objectively the Word of God, but it becomes the Word of God when it speaks to me individually.
In neo-orthodoxy, that same subjectivism is imposed on all the doctrines of historic Christianity. 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… Thus while neo-orthodox theologians often sound as if they affirming traditional beliefs, their actual system differs radically from the historic understanding of the Christian faith. By denying the objectivity of truth, they relegate all theology to the realm of subjective relativism.
It is a theology perfectly suited for the age in which we live. And that is precisely why it is so deadly… [Contemplative Spirituality aka] Mysticism is perfectly suited for religious existentialism; indeed, it is the inevitable consequence. The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings, the imagination, personal visions, inner voices, private illumination, of other purely subjective means. Objective truth becomes practically superfluous.
Mysticial experiences are therefore self-authenticating; that is, they are not subject to any form of objective verification. They are unique to the person who experiences them. Since they do not arise from or depend upon any rational process, they are invulnerable to any refutation by rational means… Mysticism is therefore antithetical to discernment. It is an extreme form of reckless faith.
Now I’ll be blunt; if you can’t see what MacArthur has just told you fits these Emerging Church mystics perfectly, then in my view it’s because you just don’t want to. Charles Spurgeon dealt with their fetid forebears in the original Cult of Liberalism; do you remember what it would cost him in the Downgrade Controversy? Too bad in this New Downgrade, while so many praise him, there doesn’t appear to be any Spurgeon on the immediate horizon. If there were, here’s what he’d be saying:
Beloved, your risen Lord wants you to be happy. When He was here on earth, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled”; He says just the same to you today. He takes no delight in the distresses of His people. He loves you to believe in Him and be at rest.
Find if you can, beloved, one occasion in which Jesus inculcated doubt or bade men dwell in uncertainty. The apostles of unbelief are everywhere today, and they imagine that they are doing God service by spreading what they call “honest doubt.” This is death to all joy! Poison to all peace! The Savior did not so…
I have not much patience with a certain class of Christians nowadays who will hear anybody preach so long as they can say, “He is very clever, a fine preacher, a man of genius, a born orator.” Is cleverness to make false doctrine palatable? Why, sirs, to me the ability of a man who preaches error is my sorrow rather than my admiration.
I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware? It makes me indignant when I hear another gospel put before the people with enticing words, by men who would fain make merchandise of souls; and I marvel at those who have soft words for such deceivers.
“That is your bigotry,” says one. Call it so if you like, but it is the bigotry of the loving John who wrote—”If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
I would to God we had all more of such decision, for the lack of it is depriving our religious life of its backbone and substituting for honest manliness a mass of the tremulous jelly of mutual flattery.
He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. Oh, if some of you were like fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. You would have hurled out of your pulpits the men who are enemies to the fundamental doctrines of your churches, and yet are crafty enough to become your pastors and undermine the faith of a fickle and superficial generation.
These men steal the pulpits of once orthodox churches, because otherwise they would have none at all. Their powerless theology cannot of itself arouse sufficient enthusiasm to enable them to build a mousetrap at the expense of their admirers, and therefore they profane the houses which your sires have built for the preaching of the gospel, and turn aside the organisations of once orthodox communities to help their infidelity: I call it by that name in plain English, for “modern thought” is not one whit better, and of the two evils I give infidelity the palm, for it is less deceptive.
I beg the Lord to give back to the churches such a love to his truth that they may discern the spirits, and cast out those which are not of God… (Online source)
 John MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern [Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994], 27, 28.