(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a three-part series. We suggest that you read Parts 1 and 2 before you read Part 3. You can find them in our Archives: http://www.conservativetruth.org/archive.php?authorid=247
) WILL YOU CHOOSE THE EMERGENT CHURCH – OR TRUTH?
When Joshua spoke the words, “choose ye this day whom ye shall serve”, he was speaking to God’s people. Israel was about to cross the River and begin taking the land of promise, the taking of which was in the present but the keeping of which was to the end of time. Those who choose salvation through Jesus Christ cross the river and begin the present tense of the battle to take the eternal tense of the land God has given us. The command to Israel was to put the sword to everyone who refuses to bow to the Living God. This may not fit the mold of the EC interpretation of God’s relationship with man but the results of Israel’s not complying completely with the instruction to put unbelief to death remains with Israel today, evidenced by the never-ending conflict that has surrounded Israel since that ancient time.
In the same way, there exists within God’s people, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, those who remain in need of making the choice as to what they are going to believe and whom they will follow in the battle to take the land God has given us. The resistance against the Christian taking the land that God has allotted unto him will never end. And our greatest confrontations come from those among us that have determined to choose a different gospel and present themselves as having laid hold of the truth that we all must lay hold of. We must always be willing to lay hold of the truth…but not if that truth requires the suspension of or the bringing of, all things into alignment with what God’s written Word contains. The joy that comes with successfully “taking the land” will not come without the death of all that opposes the truth. And in the same way that Joshua laid down the law to those who claimed a place in the family of God’s people, we will never cease facing conflict from those among us whom Timothy addressed as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. From such turn away.” This death I am speaking of in our lives is spiritual and readily borne out in scripture. My personal proclivities toward the desires of my flesh present the battleground upon which I will stand until God takes me home. My desire is to put to death every desire of the flesh before I am escorted into the throne room.
Although the EC does appear to be moving toward the deception that man is going to clean up the earth via his own holiness, Christians in general have no problem with the idea that we are in the last days. Though no one knows the “day and the hour,” we accept that the end is imminent. It is imperative, therefore, that we also recognize the many scriptures that tell us of the many efforts of deception that will be active in these last days. The source of deception recognizes that direct confrontation to deny truth is not productive. It is the ongoing subversion of truth by preying upon our humanness that yields the greatest results. And if we can be deceived of the truth, we cannot bring truth to others. If our job is to connect humans with truth, as the EC “suggests,” we do not show God’s love by preaching a gospel allowing for false belief to result in eternal life. PT Barnum once sold cod as salmon, claiming that the pink color of salmon disappeared with special aging. Sales were a huge success. But that cod was no more salmon than false belief is truth. Barnum did a great sales job on them. He deceived them but they didn’t even realize it. This is a parallel to what is presented by the EC. But eating codfish under the guise of salmon does not bring into question the Truth of attaining Eternal Life.
Catholicism posits that its claim to true Christianity is evidenced by entitling Peter as “the first pope.” There is not a shred of connection to Peter other than that the Catholic Church makes that claim. Just as political connections of Jewish leadership were exercised to bring about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, so too were political connections exercised to bring about the declaration of Constantine in 313 AD that the new religion of Rome was to be Christianity. This is more in line with the obvious origins of the full name of the Catholic Church which became and remains “the One Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” This same Rome was the very nation that crucified our Redeemer. And if we are to believe that Constantine had some kind of epiphany, we should note that no Roman leadership of any kind has ever stepped up and acknowledged that Rome unjustly convicted and crucified God’s salvation of mankind. This Roman Catholic Church remains, to this day, an enormously wealthy, independent nation comprised of all that is contained within the Vatican walls located in the midst of the city of Rome, Italy. But the extreme, sociopolitical power of that nation contained within the very city limits of Rome, extends to the farthest reaches of the earth.
In debating this issue with a friend a short time ago, he said to me that Catholicism was responsible for the Christianity that became the protestant church of today. That Catholicism was, as it were, the carrier of the Truth. I was stunned by his comment. What we have today that is recognized as the Body of Christ is the result of the door opened by Martin Luther that allowed for Christians to come out of hiding in spite of the Catholic Church from which Christians were hiding. As Elijah complained that he was the only one left, the Lord straightforwardly told him that He had reserved seven thousand who had not bowed their knee to Baal. God had reserved the Body of Christ, however large or small it may have been at the time, in spite of Catholicism’s persecution of Christians who had not bowed their knee to the pope.
The history of Christianity or more specifically, Christians, following the Ascension of Jesus is a study in and of itself. When we read the words of 1,2,3 John, the Book of Jude, and part of The Revelation, we see without question that chaos already ruled when it came to the idea of who the Christians were or were not. I recommend that Christians look into the life of the early church. It is really quite fascinating. However, this is far too extensive a topic to discuss in this writing, except, owing to the EC embracement of so much Catholicism, to deal with the claims of the Catholic Church.
As is typical of man, this new Gospel of Faith became a marketplace begging to be exploited. Whether misdirected believers or energetic charlatans, an abundance of choices as to what “truth” was and was going to be, quickly developed, none of it having to do with the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church did not even have a name until after the Council of Nicaea which followed Emperor Constantine’s law, in 313 AD, that Christianity was the new religion of Rome. Preceding Constantine was Dionysius, who persecuted and murdered thousands of people accused of being Christians. But this persecution was of a sociopolitical bent and the political connections that developed with Constantine brought an end to that extreme persecution, with the changes being specifically a result of the new political alliances made between the big guns of false doctrine and heresy, with the new emperor of Rome. Simply put, this pseudo-religious movement was gaining in influence and wealth. Rome wanted in on that and made a deal to change the religion of Rome to what became Catholicism. Then, as now, these connections were with people of wealth and influence, pretending for Christianity in order to have control of that segment of society. These were the people of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They were cardinals and bishops of distinction, exchanging the truth of God for a lie to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator Who is Lord of all.
Although the Council of Nicaea was a meeting of the leadership of the various religious Catholic cultures, Constantine, an outsider, was named as head of the council, obviously, an inside deal. Who will resist the Emperor of Rome? It was the alliance between Constantine and those who needed the law of Rome to cement leadership over this new “Christian” deal, that prompted Constantine to proclaim Christianity as the religion of Rome and the very idea that this outsider was now the big gun at the council of Nicaea only furthers the evidence that the Catholic Church never has been what it claims to be. But it was the money-making religious arm of the Nation of Rome, with all of the power that goes with sharing the acquired wealth with the emperor of Rome.
The hierarchy of Roman Catholicism was bathed in money, with the ongoing goal of increasing wealth through power. One of the common means of extorting money was through the sale of indulgences. All Catholics know that none of us go to Heaven when we die, except for those that the Catholic Church has determined to be saints or individuals whom the Catholic Church tells us were holy enough to go directly to Heaven upon death. But everyone else has to go to purgatory until we have had enough judgment burned out of us so that we can get into Heaven. Indulgences were sold to shorten our time in purgatory. One paid the Catholic Church money for dealing with the Purgatory problem. Time in purgatory was shortened or even eliminated, depending upon who and how much was making the deal. It does not take a lot of imagination to think that since money was involved, most who bought their way out were the wealthy and powerful. And these people literally believed that they were walking safely upon the earth, without fear of purgatory, while everyone else they looked at was subclass and destined to long-term purgatory. Just as we read about the Jews, these people loved the prominent places of seating and the recognition of their being able to purchase freedom. The church hierarchy, as clergy, did not receive time in purgatory, nor did those “saints” and “mystics.” This is the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, “one who conquers and subdues the people,” noted by Jesus in Revelation 2 saying “which things I hate.”
This is what led to the Theses of Martin Luther being posted on the church door. His Theses dealt with three issues, the most significant one being the “justified by faith.” The rebuilding of the Basilica of Saint Peter’s cathedral was taking longer than expected with higher costs than expected. The Catholic Church began an aggressive program to increase the sale of indulgences to pay for the job. Even as a Bishop in the Catholic Church, this was more than Martin Luther could buy into. He could not continue in the ruse of making heaven available for purchase, quoting the Bible passages regarding the fact that we are saved by grace through faith. This became problematic for the Catholic Church and led to giving Martin Luther the left foot of fellowship, decrying him to have been excommunicated. This is what opened the door to those Believers that had been hiding from Catholic persecution for hundreds of years and the knowledge of Truth that those believers had retained by faith became the basis for what became known as the Protestant Church that we know today.
This is, then, the same Catholic Church that has assumed upon itself the authority to determine who is qualified to be canonized by the Catholic Church into sainthood. The Bible tells us that believers are saints. The Catholic Church tells us that the Catholic Church will determine who are saints. And it is these saints that have been canonized by the Catholic Church that the leaders of the EC insist have been the missing ingredient in the Body of Christ. And that as a result of not carrying forward the amazing spiritual enlightenment of these saints, the protestant church has “obviously been a miserable failure.” I have been a “protestant” since 1971 and I could not be more thankful that this “Protestantism” was revealed to me by God and that I was forever delivered from the deception that is Catholicism. In fact, it takes quite a large ego to proclaim several hundred years of a church that stands on the Bible to be a miserable failure. I am thankful that I will not be standing in the shoes of those who make this claim. This claim is based upon comparing the Body of Christ with the teachings of mysticism that should have been added to the Word of God in order that Christians wouldn’t result in miserable failure. I would recommend a study of Deuteronomy 4 and Revelation 22 before stepping into the middle of that puddle. It is extremely unwise and even dangerous to take away from or add to God’s Word. But the doctrines of the EC are, even admittedly, without scriptural support, leaving them to add or take away at will. Of such boldness is demonic deception.
A quick study of the kind of mystical meanderings that qualified these people to be saints after their time in exile, is to recoil at the volume of doors opened into the world of darkness. To one like me, who muddled in these doorways as an acid head, reading their nonsense is akin to running into someone from the past that I never wanted to run into again. And yet, the leadership of the EC proclaims these writings of darkness to be just what the doctor ordered as a remedy for the abysmal failure of the church. WHEN THE BLIND ASK THE BLIND
Recognizing the significance of the doors that open with the glorifying of these so-called saints meanderings very quickly explains how EC leaders have so readily embraced and absorbed the lies and demonic deceit of so many deceived writers of the past. I decline to even post a laundry list of the various authors whose names and even books have been and are being used by many teachers in the Body of Christ today. If leadership within the Body of Christ can utilize those authors as viable tenants of our Faith, those leaders are already moving down the road of deception. There are far too many works by authors of scriptural faith to voluntarily expose the Body of Christ to these authors for any reason whatever. And if we run out of authors of scriptural faith, we can always teach the Bible, unusual as that may sound to some. But even teaching from these false teachers is not the end of the EC deception. The EC will not even condemn the tenants of Eastern Mystic religion as those tenants thoroughly reject the person of Jesus Christ as anything more than a teacher. EC leadership refuses to directly answer the question of whether there is salvation in any name other than Jesus, supplanting that scriptural teaching with the idea that, for all intents and purposes, pretty much everyone one will get there somehow and eventually. This is one of the many areas to be suspicious of the EC, not to mention a straightforward lie. After all, isn’t the entirety of our relationship with God the substance of Jesus taking our place on Golgotha? And extending that eternal relationship to those who choose to reject Golgotha is no small rejection of what the Bible specifically states. This is precisely why this deception first brings the validity of the Bible into question. Belief in EC doctrine requires suspension of the Bible in terms of absolute, to be used only generally as a possible reference. And as the Bible is not necessary to Catholics, neither is the Bible necessary to the EC believers. Deception cannot stand before the Truth of God’s Word and it is easier for the EC to discount the validity of the Bible than to be faced with ongoing questions regarding the difference between EC doctrine and the Bible.
The EC does not stop with Catholicism but goes on to embrace the writings and claims of the Eastern gurus. Deceiving the Christian with ideas of demonic deception that drive them toward the false Gods of Eastern Mysticism. Once buying into the “mystical,” there is no end to the growth of deceit. Within the EC, we have beliefs promoted such as creating our own labyrinths, finding our own mantra, transcendental meditation exercises, and many other practices that are supposed to lead to this less than specifically defined place. The names may be changed to protect the innocent but I was there. I know labyrinths, I know the purpose for mantras, I know about out of body experiences. As Abe Lincoln said: “you can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time”…but you can’t fool someone who lived there. Whether college professor or an acclaimed person of leadership, if deception is confused with Truth, feel comfortable in rejecting that person’s claims in favor of holding to the Truth that is the Word of God. SUMMARY
Whether EC leadership knowingly built the EC movement out of the hand of the flesh or were deceived by the enemy of our Faith, I cannot say. Only those at the top of the EC ladder can answer that question. For my part, I am convinced that men called by God to preach the Gospel allowed their minds to dwell in dangerous places, places that appealed to the natural man that should have been immediately rejected. 1 Peter tells us that “the devil himself prowls about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Failing to slam that door of deception, these men were devoured by that lion, falling prey to that lion and the subsequent doctrines of deception that followed.
As a sinner dependent through faith upon our God, it is not within my purview as a human being to judge those men/women. God does not need me to judge them. All of these leaders, as much as I have been able to determine, are people who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, was crucified and raised to life for their personal salvation (with the exception of Sue Monk Kidd, a nutcase to the max). The problem is that they posit that although they are pleased to have chosen Christ as the Savior, alternative means of salvation are undoubtedly available, directly contradicting what we call “the Bible.” But while directly contradicting scripture, they hide from directly supporting any specific alternative. Recall the “island of plastic,” constantly reshaping with the forces of nature, never being held to anything specific. The “old man on the hill” is an example of this. The EC does not tell us directly that the old man on the hill seeking nirvana through eastern mysticism will attain eternal life. The EC merely poses the question in terms of why should he not be saved, directing minds onto that pathway of philosophical meandering, never arriving at anything definitive, the meandering being the sum total of the exercise.
The word philosophy is used only one time in the Bible and that is in Colossians where Paul is concerned that the church not be spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit. Paul was a smart guy in the Jewish Sanhedrin, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He knew all the ropes of the Jewish philosophers. But after salvation, Paul recognized that philosophy had no place in the church. His use of the word “vain,” modifying the word deceit, should be quite interesting. It means to be “led away as booty.” No one is led away as booty unless the enemy has gained a victory.
Paul tells the Ephesians that Christ Himself gave apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and pastors. And that He gave these offices of leadership for the purpose of leading the Body of Christ to a maturity that would not be tossed around by waves and blown about by winds of teachings and the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. The leadership of the EC has violated their responsibility to lead the people to the kind of maturity that those people can then teach to others. They have chosen, instead, to lead the people into the very eye of the storm in teaching that the Word of God is not enough, that the Word of God must be supplemented by philosophy and mysticism. These are two very anti-Christ terms that have no place in the Body of Christ.
The EC deception is spreading and infecting the Church at large. Youth group leaders that have been captured in the net are indoctrinating our youth with error. As various Church organizations reflect leadership change through age, entire denominations are yielding to the distorted influence of younger leadership. Previous non-believers are being led into what they have been assured is the truth, while not having to deal with the unchanging nature of God that never violates His Written Word. Who can know if they are being denied the salvation that they have been told they have, denied by never having to confess that Jesus Christ is the salvation of man? And denying to Christians that gradually succumb to the false doctrine, the conviction that willingly calls upon others to believe specifically in Jesus Christ.
If the Body of Christ no longer holds to the Written Word of God, it no longer holds to the Doctrine of that Word. The Body of Christ ceases to be the Body of Christ and becomes nothing more than just another church. And salvation does not come through any particular church. It comes only through Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
If (when?) this EC movement becomes accepted by our nation’s laws and by our nation’s sociopolitical environment as a sufficiently palatable form of Christianity, those who refuse to bow their knee to the false doctrine, will become persecuted Christians in this country. The accepted EC of that day will be holding up those more palatable beliefs as evidence that God changes with the times, and as evidence that “old fashioned” Christianity is extreme. There will be no recovery from that.
It is my hope that this writing will motivate others to seek out that place of an unshakable embrace of the Word of God as the source of our defense against the deception that is prophesied for the end times. I implore Christians to resist succumbing to so groovy a sounding doctrine as that of the EC, choosing instead to give heed to Timothy Chapter 4, keeping in mind that this a prophetic revelation written to the Body of Christ.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned into fables.”