This time we live in is marred by the false philosophy of postmodernism, which is more deeply entrenched within the gates of Christendom than most realize. Circa 2000 mainstream evangelicalism made the ill-fated decision to embrace the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church.
Sadly, the EC—headed by, among others, its trinity of apostates, Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Dr. Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch—would prove to be a Trojan Horse literally filled with heresy.
One of its most pernicious teachings was corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), Roman Catholic mysticism “discovered” by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, now spread within the heart of evangelicalism as supposed Spiritual Formation with an assist from his spiritual twin Dallas Willard.
This spurious CSM was a core doctrine in the EC right from its slithering into the mainstream circa 2000. In fact, this was all a part of the plan of Druckerite Leadership Network to move away from sola Scriptura to man-centered dominionist theology. This CSM has horribly corrupted the younger sectors of the visible church.
No longer do they practice the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura; instead, so-called “spiritual disciplines” of CSM have convinced them they are receiving direct revelations from God. From years of studying mystics of all stripes I can tell you their perceived revelations then trump the texts of Holy Scripture for them.
In other words, rather than testing these experiences by God’s Word, now these practitioners of CSM are instead using their feelings to interpret the Bible through what they think God is saying. I’m telling you, the tragic fact is, the mainstream of professing Christendom is rapidly devolving into all kinds of silly superstitions.
Against this backdrop let me point out that this afternoon Christianity Today would tweet:
The link takes us to Mary Neal Describes Her Visit to the Gates of Heaven by Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today.1 He tells us:
In 1999, orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal was kayaking on a river in southern Chile when she got trapped under a waterfall and apparently drowned. In the thirty minutes she was “dead,” she says, she experienced some incredible things, which she finally described in her book Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again (Waterbrook). (source)
Galli goes on to explain that this book by Dr. Mary Neal has been on the NY Times “bestseller list for two years.” According to her website Neal would claim to be a Christian though she “did not clearly state this when I initially wrote my book.”
She also informs us:
I regularly attend church services and have served on the board of elders, but I believe that loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength is of the greatest importance. (source)
I’m really not sure why Neal felt she needed to use the word “but” to negate her statement she “regularly” attends church services, which essentially pits that against loving God. This aside, in the CT interview Galli also lists a couple of other books about alleged near-death experiences that are the NYT bestseller list as well.
Then he points out that:
In the cover story in the current issue of Christianity Today… I try to understand why these [near-death] experiences fascinate us so, and how we might understand them theologically. I begin that article by summarizing Mary Neal’s experience. But I also wanted to hear her tell her own story, and ask her a few questions about it. (source)
Galli starts out his interview by asking Neal to tell us what happened to her. So Neal begins to describe her accident years ago while kayaking with some friends in Chile:
the front of my boat became pinned in the rocks underwater. I and my boat were completely submerged in the water—probably eight or ten feet under. One of the guys who ultimately tried to find me actually kayaked right over me and didn’t even know it…
I couldn’t move at all…I made a conscious decision and asked only that God’s will be done… At that point, I gave up control of the outcome. And the minute I said that, I was immediately overcome with a very physical sensation of being held and comforted and reassured that everything was fine. (source)
Neal, who refers to herself as a cynic, tells Galli that at that very moment she:
recognized that Christ was holding me, and Christ would hold anyone who asked… I felt my body break away from the boat, and as my body was coming out of the boat, I could feel my spirit peeling away from my body. I rose up and out of the river.
I was immediately greeted by a group of beings, spirits, people. I’m never really sure what to call them, because those words mean different things to different people. They were so overjoyed to see me and welcome me and love me, and I knew that they had known me and loved me as long as I existed. I knew—and when I use that word know,it’s a very different sense of knowing—I knew at an absolute, core level that they had been sent by God and were from God and were there to welcome me and guide me and protect me…
They had physical form—head, arms, legs—and they were wearing something like robes. They were absolutely brilliant, radiating. And they were exuding this incredible love… It’s funny, because I knew that I knew them, but at the time, I didn’t actually look at them closely, because they were taking me down this incredibly beautiful path to this dome-like structure, which was exploding with color and this absolute pure love of God.
I knew that was basically the point of no return. It was the entrance to heaven—whatever, however you want to describe it, that was where I was going. When I greeted these people and was greeted by them, it was more like, “I know you, but we have plenty of time to chit-chat later. I want to get down this path.” (source)
Neal says she had actually left her body and was headed “home” to heaven so:
I looked at my body fondly and thought, Thanks, that was a good ride. See you later… I was also absolutely overcome by the sense of being home, of being where I truly belonged…at that point, I could hardly wait to get to the threshold of God’s kingdom of heaven. (source)
Galli now asks Neal if she ever got to this threshold of heaven. She explains that:
Eventually we did get to the big arched entryway, and inside I could see many, many other spirits, angels, people—I don’t know what they were. They were all running around. They were all very busy, and I’m not sure what they were doing, but I knew that they were busy doing God’s work. When I arrived they looked up and had this same sense of absolute joy at my arrival.
Another profound part of the experience—and again, I can’t explain it using three-dimensional language: During that time, it became absolutely clear to me that these people were joyful not only at my arrival but at the arrival of every person who shows up. More importantly, I understood how God can actually know each one of us, love each one of us as though we were the only one, and can have an incredible plan for each one of us. (source)
Next Mary Neal goes on to tell Mark Galli:
So, I was ready to dive across that threshold. But as I was pushing to do so, the spirits who had taken me there said that it wasn’t my time, that I had to go back to my body and back to earth, that I had more work to do.
And I said, “No, I’m not leaving!” I think this was the only reasonable thing to do! You got it wrong, I thought. You can’t make me do that. But they did give me some information about some of the work I still had to do, and they took me back to my body. And I was reunited with my body. (source)
However, this apparently wasn’t the only time Neal was “in God’s world.” She shares another “out-of-body experience” she’d had while still recovering in the ICR that includes a personal “chit-chat” with Jesus Himself:
[O]nce, when I was contemplating, I had another—I don’t know the words to use—out-of-body experience, when I felt that I was back in God’s world… I was in this incredibly beautiful field. Again, it was a beauty of an intensity that doesn’t exist here on earth. It was as though you could look at a color and not only see it, but you could feel it and taste it and hear it and experience it.
It’s almost as though you could see the life within the color, or the essence of the color. It’s not something I have the words to describe. But again, it was this hyper-real, sun drenched field. I was sitting on the ground, and I believe Christ was sitting on a rock conversing with me.
Again, it took me a long, long, long time to be willing to say that to other people. Why would Jesus chit-chat with me? But the fact is, the way it works with this different sense of time and space, he’s there for each of us. The reality of that can make me cry just thinking about it now. He really is there for each of us.
We talked about a number of things, and during that time I was also given a little more information about the expectations for my life, including my expected role at the time of my oldest son’s death. And then a mandate to share my experiences, helping people face challenges with hope, seeing them as opportunities for spiritual growth—inspiring people to seek God and develop or deepen their relationship with him. (source)
After describing how she later “questioned” her “own experiences” Neal points out that she kind of put all of this out of her mind until:
the day that God threw me out of bed and said, “Okay, now is the time you are going to write this.” And from that point on, this has been an incredible lesson in obedience, because I said, “Okay. I’m doing it.” (source)
Galli then tells Neal that a lot of “Christians remain skeptical of near-heaven experiences” because invariably professing believers, as well as non-believers, “are overcome with a sense of God’s unconditional love.” Now carefully consider the response that comes emerging from Dr.Mary Neal:
Well, first, I would say that I know what I know. I know what I experienced. And I am not going to pretend to know what I don’t know or didn’t experience. I don’t know what other people’s experience would be. Mine was a Christian experience. There’s no question…
I think human beings want to create a box and put God inside the box, because that way they can define God and control the outcome. But I’ve come to realize that God is way bigger than that. God truly loves every one of us,…
It’s a very complex discussion, but many human beings would like to think that justice means, “I’m in and you’re out, and you’re out because you haven’t done what I understand should be the thing that gets you into heaven.”
But God knows the heart of each one of us, and the God of the New Testament is not going to turn his back on a person who, for circumstances out of their control, has not developed that relationship in the here and now. (source)
You can find the entire CT article right here. Now notice the Neal appeal to her experience and her words of Love Wins mythology about the so-called God box that could have just as easily been spoken by Rob Bell himself; and how, in her experience, she realizes that “God is way bigger” than the way He’s revealed Himself in Scripture.
“The more I follow grace, the more I’m drawn to him [God], the more I’m willing to stand up for people being persecuted,” said Bakker. “It sounds so churchy, but I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘[homosexuality] is not a sin.’ ” (source, emphasis mine)
Let me warn you here, that in order for you to safely traverse through the coming spiritual minefields of conflicting “revelations” from God, which more and more people like Mary Neal are going to be claiming to have had, you’ll need to remember that it is written:
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
The truth is, you simply cannot believe everything you are going to hear about God; but that said, know this, you can believe everything you read in the text of Holy Scripture in God’s Word, the Bible. As I close this out, for now, below I share with you exclusive video of Mary Neal’s appearance July 19 of this year on The Today Show.
You can read the transcript of that interview right here and, while this is certainly not an endorsement of the website, NDE-Stories also provides some interesting information on Dr. Mary Neal as well. I’ll leave you with the following from ‘I was home’: Former skeptic shares glimpse of heaven by Scott Stump.
In his July 19, 2012 piece for Today books he says:
A self-described cynic, Dr. Mary Neal had her view on spirituality radically altered during a near-death experience on a kayaking trip on a remote Chilean river in 1999… It was a life-changing event for a person who was not fervently religious.
The incident also prompted Neal to write her best-selling book, “To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again,”… (source)
Stump then underscores that Neal was supposedly sent back to earth by divine decree with a command from Jesus to write her book, which we’ve already seen in her own words above:
Neal claimed that she survived because she was told by God that her family would need her in the face of an impending tragedy and that the world needed to hear her story…
My primary mandate was not being here for my son’s death. My primary mandate was to return and share my story because my story is comforting and reassuring and inspires other people to really look at their own lives and find God working in their own lives.’’ (source)
Sorry about that; I don’t need this mythology from Dr. Mary Neal and her mush god of unconditional love. I already have real reassurance and comfort in the Person of Jesus Christ and His-story, the Bible. The one Who died for my sins that I, an unworthy wretch, might have peace with God.
And mine is the testimony of every single person who’s found repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name:
- “EXPERIENCING GOD” BY HENRY BLACKABY: HOW MYSTICISM MISLEADS CHRISTIANS
- HENRY BLACKABY’S MYSTICISM-LITE NEGATES SOLA SCRIPTURA
- CONTEMPLATIVE DEEPER LIFE PIETISM