Archive for the Excerpts Category

Excerpt: Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires

May 2nd, 2011 Posted in Excerpts | Comments Off on Excerpt: Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires

Stories-From-Indian-Wigwams-and-Northern-CampfiresMissionary work among the Indians, like that in all lands, has its hours of sadness and discouragement as well as of hope and rejoicing. We look back with thankfulness that it was not only our privilege to go forth weeping, bearing the precious seed, but that in addition the Master of the harvest gave us the joy of the reapers. It was our great happiness to see “many a sheaf both ripe and golden” gathered in. The work was one of peculiar hardships to both Mrs. Young and myself, but the conversion of scores of souls every year amply repaid us for the sufferings and anxieties of that life so isolated and lonely as it must necessarily be in mission fields so far from civilization. Many encouraging incidents were constantly occurring to cheer the hearts of the lonely toilers and to stimulate them to labor on in the blessed work. It is a joy to record some of these trophies won not only through our own feeble instrumentality, but also through the loving, consecrated efforts of our loved brother missionaries. One of these dear brethren, writing, says:

“A young Indian who was very sick had his friends bring him twenty-five miles to the home of the missionary. He wept when he came into his presence, and said he wanted to learn about Jesus before he died. He said, ‘I am very wicked, and I want to get a new heart.’ When urged to pray he replied, ‘I can’t pray; I don’t know how.’ The faithful missionary, with a conscious sense of the nearness and infinite compassion of the Divine One, earnestly pointed him to the Lamb of God. Next day, when the missionary called upon him, the poor sick man, holding out his hand, exclaimed with rapture, ‘Jesus has heard my prayer and made my heart good. Now pray for wife also.’ He began from that time to recover from his sickness, and a few days later his wife also accepted Christ as her Saviour, and now both are rejoicing in Jesus.”

A beautiful story is told by one of our earlier Indian missionaries of a proud and powerful chief who, under the preaching of the Gospel, became deeply convicted of sin. Trembling under a sense of his guilt, he came to the missionary and offered him his much-prized belt of wampum to have his load of guilt removed. When told that the Lord Jesus did not want this offering he went away very sad and depressed in spirit. Soon after he returned and offered his gun and favorite dog. “These are not what Christ wants,” said the missionary. Again he went away sorrowful, but after a time he returned and offered his wigwam and family. The faithful missionary, who saw the struggle that was going on in his heart, refused for his Master even these, saying that “the Saviour could not accept even these as a sacrifice for sin.” The poor convicted, half -despairing Indian then threw himself down upon the ground, and, lifting up his tearful eyes, exclaimed, “Here, Lord, I can do no more. Please take poor Indian too.” The answer of peace and pardon was not long in coming.

Many more delightful instances could be given of the Gospel’s power to save even the poor Indian. We give more fully in detail the story of the conversion of Joe. It has been made a blessing to many. We trust the placing it here on record will cause it to be a stimulus and blessing to many more. How true it is that it is not always that the greatest results for God are obtained when the surroundings are most favorable! The crowded, enthusiastic audience does not always yield the greatest number of converts. How often has it been seen by the faithful minister or devoted Sunday-school teacher that their work seemed specially owned of God when under difficulties and discouragements they sacrificed self and personal comfort to be in their place and do their duty!

Many can look back to some cold, wet Sunday or other apparently very unfavorable time, from the human stand-point, when, because they were in their place, precious immortal souls were then influenced by the truth and heartily, believingly accepted Christ as their personal, conscious Saviour. Little did I dream, as I stood up before the little company on that Dakota prairie and preached that short, simple sermon, that it was to be one of the successful sermons of my life. (from chapter IX of Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires by Egerton Ryerson Young, Lighthouse Trails, 2011, Retail: $15.95)

Bless the Lord At All Times

Dec 21st, 2010 Posted in Excerpts | Comments Off on Bless the Lord At All Times

by Maria Kneas
Excerpt from Strength for Tough Times

Bless the Lord At All Times
In Psalm 34, David makes a decision to bless the Lord at all times, no matter what is happening in his life. We can do the same thing:

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)

Years ago, my husband had a massive heart attack. The phrase “I will bless the LORD at all times” came to my mind while I was in the hospital waiting to see whether or not he would survive. As a result, I spent the time while I was waiting singing hymns and worship songs instead of worrying. My husband survived, and God gave both of us joy in that hospital in spite of the circumstances.

The Apostle Paul also exhorts his listeners to bless the Lord at all times. He encourages them to sing songs of worship and praise and to rejoice in the Lord:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:16-17)

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Paul practiced what he preached. He and Silas were attacked by a mob. Then the Romans gave them a severe beating with rods (with “many stripes”) and put them in prison with their feet in the stocks.

Did Paul and Silas complain, saying “God, why did You let this happen to us?” No. They prayed and sang praises to God—loudly enough for the other prisoners to hear them (Acts 16:22-25).

And how did God respond? There was an earthquake, and the prison doors opened, and they were set free from their fetters. This affected the man in charge of the prison so much so that he and his household were converted and baptized (Acts 16:26-34).

If you had been whipped like Paul—with your back torn open, bleeding, and painful—and then thrown into a filthy prison, with your feet in the stocks (which is painful), would you feel like singing and praising God? I sure wouldn’t.

If, like David, you faithfully served a powerful leader—and instead of appreciating it, he tried to murder you and hunted you like an animal—would you feel like blessing the Lord? I wouldn’t. That definitely does not come naturally.

Paul and David demonstrated that it is possible. And God doesn’t play favorites. He is willing to give us the grace to do the same kinds of things.

Therefore, if we truly desire to “rejoice always” and “give thanks in all circumstances,” then God will enable us to do it. And, like Paul and Silas, we may see amazing results when we do.

If we don’t really desire to do it, then we can ask God to change our hearts so that we want to praise and thank Him no matter what happens to us.

What God has done for us is far more important—and far more lasting—than anything that people or circumstances can do to us. As a result, it is reasonable (in addition to being biblical) to thank and praise God while we are enduring pain and hardship.

Paul went through great suffering, including being whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, and imprisoned. Yet he called all of that a “light affliction” because he saw it in terms of eternity rather than our brief time here on earth. Paul focused on the long-term fruit that God was bringing as a result of his suffering rather than focusing on the pain of the moment.

God’s grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). He is willing and able to give us that same eternal perspective—which results in gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise, in spite of our circumstances.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

From Strength for Tough Times by Maria Kneas

Strength for Tough Times

Nov 16th, 2010 Posted in Excerpts | Comments Off on Strength for Tough Times

Strength-For-Tough-TimesAn excerpt from our new release, Strength for Tough Times by Maria Kneas:

Strengthening Our Relationship
When you know a good person intimately—when you really know their heart—then you have more trust in them. So how do we get to know God better? By reading the Bible (and asking God to help us understand it). The Bible shows us God’s character and His ways.

We can also get to know God better by spending time in prayer and worship. The Bible says:

Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Notice that the peace comes when we give things to God in prayer. It does not wait for how He answers our prayers. It does not depend on the outcome. The peace comes when we put the situation into God’s hands. The Bible says that we should cast all our cares (concerns) on God because he loves and takes care of us (1 Peter 5:7).

Gratitude
We need to develop the habit of being grateful for who God is and what He has already done for us. It is easy to take things for granted. For example, you are reading this book. Have you thanked God for the fact that you are able to see, and you know how to read?
If we look for things to thank God for, we will find more and more reasons to be grateful. And if we look for things to complain about, we will find more and more reasons to complain.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt and went to the Promised Land, they kept complaining. They got bored with eating manna every day and wanted to eat something more flavorful (with garlic and leeks). So they complained about the miraculous food that God provided. They complained when they had no water. God miraculously supplied water for them, but we have no record that they were grateful for it.

And what was the end of the matter? That generation died in the wilderness because they refused to enter the Promised Land when God told them to. They didn’t trust God to deal with the giants there.
This is an example of how a lack of gratitude can result in a lack of trusting God. And that can lead to a lack of obedience (i.e., rebellion against God).
Compare this with the attitude of King Jehoshaphat. When he and his people were threatened by a huge army, Jehoshaphat prayed:

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (2 Chronicles 20:12)

And God came through for them. He miraculously delivered them from their enemies.
We can choose to develop the habit of thanking God. We can look for things to thank Him for. We can thank God and praise Him even when we don’t feel like it.
We can deliberately choose to be grateful, and we can ask God to give us a grateful heart. The Apostle Paul exhorted us to have that kind of attitude when he said:

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were sent to a Nazi concentration camp because their family hid Jews during World War II. Betsy died in that camp, but Corrie was released.1 After the war, Corrie traveled the world, telling people about God’s love. She knew first-hand how difficult life can be, when she said:

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.2

Betsy ten Boom was able to love the Nazis and pray for their salvation even while surrounded by the horrors of a death camp. Instead of seeing the prison guards as being monsters, she saw them as being trapped and tormented. She saw their need for God’s love and forgiveness. She prayed for their salvation, and by her example she led other prisoners to do the same.
Betsy reminds me of Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr. While he was being stoned by an angry mob, he prayed for his persecutors:

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60)

At first Corrie hated the Nazis, but eventually she was able to forgive them. After the war she heard that Jan Vogel, the man who had betrayed her family, was in prison and was to be executed. She wrote to him, telling him that she forgave him, and telling him about the love of Jesus Christ. Shortly before he was executed, Jan Vogel wrote back to Corrie, telling her that he had become a Christian. From Strength for Tough Times by Maria Kneas. Order a copy for someone you know who is going through some tough times right now and needs to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and His Word. See the Table of Contents and Preface.

A Chapter by Chapter Synopsis of Faith Undone

Jun 19th, 2007 Posted in Excerpts | Comments Off on A Chapter by Chapter Synopsis of Faith Undone

Faith Undone – Chapter by Chapter Synopsis:
1/A New Kind of Church
Leaders of the emerging church say drastic changes must take place because the church can no longer be effective with old ways and an old church. We need a new kind of Christianity if we are going to make a difference in people’s lives and the world around us. But just what is this new kind of Christianity?

Quote from chapter 1: A common technique to changing society (or the church) is to repeat an assertion over and over as fact; once people have heard a statement enough times, they come to believe it is true without questioning. They even parrot the statement in their own conversations, eager to appear in the know. Oh how we need to answer every assertion with, “Says who?” This book examines the underlying spiritual substance of the emerging church movement as Scripture tells us to do: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

2/The Birth of the Emerging Church

Contrary to what many believe, the current emerging church movement was not initiated by a group of disillusioned young people. In reality, the movement was largely the inspiration of a successful business guru whose ideas on an emerging church were catapulted into existence by other successful businessmen, and thus it became the influential religious force it is today. Backed by multi-million dollar corporations and entities, its very core has been influenced dramatically by those with mystical affinities.

Quote from chapter 2: While this chapter will lay out the origins of the emerging church, I do not wish to give the impression that this is merely a human endeavor. A distinct spiritual component to it implies a guiding force from the supernatural realm. This movement is very complex, and all of the underlying factors that played a role in its inception cannot be explained completely by just a short synopsis like this chapter. But my intent is that I can describe the framework in which this movement sprang and was able to gain the momentum it now enjoys.

3/A “New” Faith for the 21st Century
The Word of God is under attack. According to emerging church leaders, the Bible is not so much for truth and doctrine as it is for hopes, ideas, and participation. In other words, don’t use the Bible as a means of theology or absolute truth and standards by which to live; rather than the Bible molding the Christian’s life, let the Christian’s life mold the Bible.

Quote from chapter 3: In An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, [Will] Sampson writes:

A rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation was sola scriptura, Scripture alone. And while this doctrine may have arisen as a necessary corrective to abuses of church leadership in the Reformation period, it is in full effect today. Preachers speak of the Bible as an instruction book or as the only data necessary for spiritual living. But this diminishes some critical elements of theological knowledge. … Sola scriptura also tends to downplay the role of God’s Spirit in shaping the direction of the church.

Sampson says that people who fall into this category “do not take into account the subjectivity of human interpreters.” In other words, those men who penned Scripture may not have been that inspired after all. It could have been more a case of their point of view based on their own life experiences.

4/Riding the Emerging Church Wave
How far is this new kind of church willing to go to reach its objective? Emerging church proponents say there is a new wave taking place and we have to hop on. The wave is a Vintage Christianity, which in reality is an experience-based religion. Experiences must be implemented in order to attract both Christians and non-Christians alike; we must appeal to this postmodern generation with its hunger for experience, rituals, and mysticism.

Quote from chapter 4:The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [i.e., an intellectual or cognitive approach]” (Romans 10:17). Not so in the emerging church. Faith comes by seeing images, touching icons, smelling incense, and hearing chants and liturgical recitations; then the “word” follows. Leonard Sweet calls it “EPIC culture: Experiential, Participatory, Image-Driven, Connected.” Post-moderns require such stimulation to experience God. Images of Jesus hanging on the cross are very common. So are icons of Mary and baby Jesus.

5/Ancient-Future Worship
The emerging church embraces multi-sensory worship. Leaders of the emerging church say the ideas and beliefs of the early church fathers (100 AD to 600AD) are important and these teachings from the past will bring spiritual transformation and success to churches in the 21st century.

Quote from chapter 5: Stimulating images that provide spiritual experiences are an essential element of the emerging church. While many are bewildered why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries and setting up prayer stations with candles, incense and icons, the promoters of the emerging church movement say they know exactly what they are doing. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Fellowship explains:

Everything in the service needs to preach-architecture, lighting, songs, prayers, fellowship, the smell-it all preaches. All five senses must be engaged to experience God.

Often, Christians who have been attending church all their lives find the changes their pastors are implementing disconcerting. They see the trend away from Bible teaching to multi-sensory stimulation.

6/When West Meets East
Contemplative spirituality (i.e., mysticism) is to the emerging church what the wind is to a sail boat. Without it, there is no momentum, and it is woven into the very fabric of the emerging church. In order to understand why this is so important, we must first understand the dynamics of contemplative spirituality.

Quote from chapter 6:Contemplative spirituality* is a vital element of the emerging church. One proponent defines it like this:

To help the mind become quiet, we can follow our breathing. Or we can repeat silently a chosen prayer phrase or a word.

That may sound beneficial at first glance, to quiet ourselves in the midst of a busy and hectic world. What Christian doesn’t want to be find rest and peace?

7/Monks, Mystics, and the Ancient Wisdom
The emerging church is embracing contemplative spirituality and what is called the ancient wisdom. While appearing to be Christian because of the altered terminology, in actuality, it is occult based and New Age.

Quote from chapter 7: Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology of Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania, is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. His own testimony is an example of someone who has not only embraced mysticism, it is the avenue through which he considers himself born again. Campolo states:

In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time-sometimes as much as a half hour-to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.

8/The Second Coming of the Eucharistic Christ
The Roman Catholic Church has a plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth and win the world to the Roman Catholic Jesus-the Eucharistic Christ. It is believed the “triumph of the Eucharist” will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren) come under the rule and reign of Rome and the Eucharistic Jesus. The presence of “Christ” in the Eucharist is the second coming, Roman Catholic style. The emerging church is a bridge to Rome.

Quote from chapter 8: To those who traditionally haven’t had much ritual in their lives (i.e., Protestants), the ambiance of the [Catholic] Mass would have great appeal because of it’s religious novelty-thus the interest in the Eucharist [Catholic communion service where the elements are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus] by those who promote contemplative spirituality. And for many Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented), in and of itself, is not a mystical experience. However if the contemplative dimension is added, one actually can enter the mystical realm. On the surface this phenomenon seems complex, but once we begin to understand mysticism, it all makes sense. Within the contemplative prayer realm, the meditator is actually getting in touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many who are raised in the Catholic Church, with the relatively recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic Church sees this as a way to recover its robust state it had in previous decades.

9/The Kingdom of God on Earth
The Bible says that Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom when He returns to Earth. But today a theology called Kingdom Now or Dominionism is permeating the walls of Christianity, and the emerging church movement is taking this heretical belief full speed into the next generation. With the idea that the church can establish the Kingdom of God before Christ returns and essentially turn our world into a Christian world, this belief system has literally changed the way countless Christians view the world and go about their Christian living. What most of them don’t realize is this Kingdom of God on Earth mindset is an all out effort by Satan to merge the religions of the world and thus negate the gospel message.

Quote from chapter 9: Most people, with any common sense and compassion, would like to see a planet without poverty, disease, and illiteracy. I thank God for all the organizations that are working to help the suffering, the sick, and the poor. Jesus made it very clear that we are to care for and reach out to those in need. However, working to bring about utopia on Earth through global and religious unity is futile. My saying that might make some people angry, and they may accuse me of being fatalistic. But nowhere in Scripture is the notion supported that there will be a kingdom without tears, pain, poverty, and suffering until Jesus Christ physically returns and establishes it Himself.

There is another question that needs to be considered: Can the kingdom of God be established by those who don’t know the King? In other words, can people of all religions and faiths who don’t know Jesus as King and Lord be members of His kingdom?

Rick Warren believes that God has shown him not only the boundaries (or lack of them) of this coming global kingdom, but also the strategy to bring it about. Before Warren came up with the plan, he says he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world.

10/The Undoing of Faith
The fruit of the emerging church includes: changes in views on sexuality, the desire by emerging leaders to stop identifying with Christianity, eradicating the gap between good and evil (the very goal of Satan’s religion, the New Age), and developing a new missiology which says keep your own religion, just add Jesus. This truly is the undoing of Christian faith.

Quote from chapter 10: It should be apparent what is occurring as the emerging church evangelization program unfolds. Walls that once separated biblical Christianity from pagan religious belief systems are being demolished. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves sinners from hell, a new kind of gospel is being preached, and its preachers are wearing interspiritual robes of deception. Jesus proclaimed it is a narrow pathway that leads to heaven, and He is the only door through which to enter-but now the supposed pathway to God has been broadened to permit open access for the sake of establishing the kingdom.

11/A Slaughterhouse Religion?
If someone said that emerging church leaders don’t like the Cross, many would cry out, “Yes, they do. I’ve heard them talk about Jesus and the Cross.” But while this may be true, there is an underlying theme building momentum in the emerging church that says, “Jesus going to the Cross was an example of sacrifice and service that we should follow. But the idea that God would send His Son to a violent death for the sins of mankind-well that is not who God is. He would never do that!” This mindset negates the very atonement on which biblical Christianity rests.

Quote from chapter 11: In [Harry Emerson] Fosdick’s book, Dear Mr. Brown, he states:

Too many theories of the atonement assume that by one single high priestly act of self-sacrifice Christ saved the world.

Fosdick ends that statement with a pronounced-“No!” He insists, “These legalistic theories of the atonement are in my judgement a theological disgrace.”

12/A New Reformation?
Faith Undone shows that the nature of the emerging church’s new reformation is anything but new, and when it comes to pass could bear violence and persecution on those who defend the Bible as the true and literal Word of God. This is a heavy chapter that will zero in on what this new emerging reformation will look like.

Quote from chapter 12: Most likely, you have heard the term new reformation, or as some refer to it, postmodern reformation. Rick Warren talks about it, emerging church leaders discuss it, and New Agers for a long time have been saying, “We need a new reformation.” Referring often to the reformation that took place in the 16th century, these current reformation advocates believe that something as radically different as the early reformation must happen again. In fact, they believe that the church (and the world) will not survive without it. Statements like “We’ll do whatever it takes,” or “reinvent or die” often leave the lips of the new reformation evangelists. The passion and zeal to bring about the new reformation equals that of the early reformers.

13/Or An End-Time Deception
The Bible says that in the last days Satan will deceive the whole world with doctrines of demons and seducing spirits. The question must be asked, is the emerging church spirituality part of this great falling away? And just what are the earmarks of a church that has become part of this end-time deception?

Quote from chapter 13: There is no question about it, the world is in serious chaos, with poverty, sickness, and disease inflicting millions and millions of people. Suffering seems to be at an all time high level. Understandably, the world is looking for answers. Many religious leaders (including New Agers) believe we need a new reformation. Neale Donald Walsch, a prominent leader in the New Age, is one of those who has new reformation on his mind. He states:

We are suggesting that people become modern day Martin LutherՉ۪s and take the five steps to peace and tack them up on church house doors, as Martin Luther did with his 95 theses in 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany, which started of course, the first Reformation. Our intention is to stimulate the second great Reformation of world religion. That is our intention, our goal and our purpose. We intend to, in fact, inspire the second great Reformation of world religion.

Comments like the one above are quite interesting because Walsch is not a Christian, but he speaks of a religious reformation that he is hoping to witness. But Walsch’s reformation does not include Jesus Christ. On his website Group of 1000, a statement explains what Walsch calls “the new spirituality”:

The New Spirituality is a global movement to create the space for humanity to experience its natural impulse toward the divine in a way which makes no one else wrong for the way in which they are doing it.

I realize that most Christians would probably laugh incredulously if someone told them they were heading toward the spirituality of Neale Donald Walsch. Most of them would see themselves as orthodox and biblically-based and certainly not as New Agers going toward some kind of new reformation that says everyone is God. But as I have tried to convey in this book, I believe the emerging church is the bridge between Christianity and this “new spirituality.” And the question that every Christian must ask themselves is, is this a bridge on which I am willing to walk and eventually cross?

For more information about Faith Undone, CLICK HERE.

A Chapter by Chapter Synopsis of Faith Undone

 
Faith Undone – Chapter by Chapter Synopsis:
1/A New Kind of Church
Leaders of the emerging church say drastic changes must take place because the church can no longer be effective with old ways and an old church. We need a new kind of Christianity if we are going to make a difference in people’s lives and the world around us. But just what is this new kind of Christianity?

Quote from chapter 1: A common technique to changing society (or the church) is to repeat an assertion over and over as fact; once people have heard a statement enough times, they come to believe it is true without questioning. They even parrot the statement in their own conversations, eager to appear in the know. Oh how we need to answer every assertion with, “Says who?” This book examines the underlying spiritual substance of the emerging church movement as Scripture tells us to do: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

2/The Birth of the Emerging Church

Contrary to what many believe, the current emerging church movement was not initiated by a group of disillusioned young people. In reality, the movement was largely the inspiration of a successful business guru whose ideas on an emerging church were catapulted into existence by other successful businessmen, and thus it became the influential religious force it is today. Backed by multi-million dollar corporations and entities, its very core has been influenced dramatically by those with mystical affinities.

Quote from chapter 2: While this chapter will lay out the origins of the emerging church, I do not wish to give the impression that this is merely a human endeavor. A distinct spiritual component to it implies a guiding force from the supernatural realm. This movement is very complex, and all of the underlying factors that played a role in its inception cannot be explained completely by just a short synopsis like this chapter. But my intent is that I can describe the framework in which this movement sprang and was able to gain the momentum it now enjoys.

3/A “New” Faith for the 21st Century
The Word of God is under attack. According to emerging church leaders, the Bible is not so much for truth and doctrine as it is for hopes, ideas, and participation. In other words, don’t use the Bible as a means of theology or absolute truth and standards by which to live; rather than the Bible molding the Christian’s life, let the Christian’s life mold the Bible.

Quote from chapter 3: In An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, [Will] Sampson writes:

A rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation was sola scriptura, Scripture alone. And while this doctrine may have arisen as a necessary corrective to abuses of church leadership in the Reformation period, it is in full effect today. Preachers speak of the Bible as an instruction book or as the only data necessary for spiritual living. But this diminishes some critical elements of theological knowledge. … Sola scriptura also tends to downplay the role of God’s Spirit in shaping the direction of the church.

Sampson says that people who fall into this category “do not take into account the subjectivity of human interpreters.” In other words, those men who penned Scripture may not have been that inspired after all. It could have been more a case of their point of view based on their own life experiences.

4/Riding the Emerging Church Wave
How far is this new kind of church willing to go to reach its objective? Emerging church proponents say there is a new wave taking place and we have to hop on. The wave is a Vintage Christianity, which in reality is an experience-based religion. Experiences must be implemented in order to attract both Christians and non-Christians alike; we must appeal to this postmodern generation with its hunger for experience, rituals, and mysticism.

Quote from chapter 4:The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [i.e., an intellectual or cognitive approach]” (Romans 10:17). Not so in the emerging church. Faith comes by seeing images, touching icons, smelling incense, and hearing chants and liturgical recitations; then the “word” follows. Leonard Sweet calls it “EPIC culture: Experiential, Participatory, Image-Driven, Connected.” Post-moderns require such stimulation to experience God. Images of Jesus hanging on the cross are very common. So are icons of Mary and baby Jesus.

5/Ancient-Future Worship
The emerging church embraces multi-sensory worship. Leaders of the emerging church say the ideas and beliefs of the early church fathers (100 AD to 600AD) are important and these teachings from the past will bring spiritual transformation and success to churches in the 21st century.

Quote from chapter 5: Stimulating images that provide spiritual experiences are an essential element of the emerging church. While many are bewildered why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries and setting up prayer stations with candles, incense and icons, the promoters of the emerging church movement say they know exactly what they are doing. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Fellowship explains:

Everything in the service needs to preach-architecture, lighting, songs, prayers, fellowship, the smell-it all preaches. All five senses must be engaged to experience God.

Often, Christians who have been attending church all their lives find the changes their pastors are implementing disconcerting. They see the trend away from Bible teaching to multi-sensory stimulation.

6/When West Meets East
Contemplative spirituality (i.e., mysticism) is to the emerging church what the wind is to a sail boat. Without it, there is no momentum, and it is woven into the very fabric of the emerging church. In order to understand why this is so important, we must first understand the dynamics of contemplative spirituality.

Quote from chapter 6:Contemplative spirituality* is a vital element of the emerging church. One proponent defines it like this:

To help the mind become quiet, we can follow our breathing. Or we can repeat silently a chosen prayer phrase or a word.

That may sound beneficial at first glance, to quiet ourselves in the midst of a busy and hectic world. What Christian doesn’t want to be find rest and peace?

7/Monks, Mystics, and the Ancient Wisdom
The emerging church is embracing contemplative spirituality and what is called the ancient wisdom. While appearing to be Christian because of the altered terminology, in actuality, it is occult based and New Age.

Quote from chapter 7: Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology of Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania, is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. His own testimony is an example of someone who has not only embraced mysticism, it is the avenue through which he considers himself born again. Campolo states:

In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time-sometimes as much as a half hour-to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.

8/The Second Coming of the Eucharistic Christ
The Roman Catholic Church has a plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth and win the world to the Roman Catholic Jesus-the Eucharistic Christ. It is believed the “triumph of the Eucharist” will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren) come under the rule and reign of Rome and the Eucharistic Jesus. The presence of “Christ” in the Eucharist is the second coming, Roman Catholic style. The emerging church is a bridge to Rome.

Quote from chapter 8: To those who traditionally haven’t had much ritual in their lives (i.e., Protestants), the ambiance of the [Catholic] Mass would have great appeal because of it’s religious novelty-thus the interest in the Eucharist [Catholic communion service where the elements are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus] by those who promote contemplative spirituality. And for many Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented), in and of itself, is not a mystical experience. However if the contemplative dimension is added, one actually can enter the mystical realm. On the surface this phenomenon seems complex, but once we begin to understand mysticism, it all makes sense. Within the contemplative prayer realm, the meditator is actually getting in touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many who are raised in the Catholic Church, with the relatively recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic Church sees this as a way to recover its robust state it had in previous decades.

9/The Kingdom of God on Earth
The Bible says that Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom when He returns to Earth. But today a theology called Kingdom Now or Dominionism is permeating the walls of Christianity, and the emerging church movement is taking this heretical belief full speed into the next generation. With the idea that the church can establish the Kingdom of God before Christ returns and essentially turn our world into a Christian world, this belief system has literally changed the way countless Christians view the world and go about their Christian living. What most of them don’t realize is this Kingdom of God on Earth mindset is an all out effort by Satan to merge the religions of the world and thus negate the gospel message.

Quote from chapter 9: Most people, with any common sense and compassion, would like to see a planet without poverty, disease, and illiteracy. I thank God for all the organizations that are working to help the suffering, the sick, and the poor. Jesus made it very clear that we are to care for and reach out to those in need. However, working to bring about utopia on Earth through global and religious unity is futile. My saying that might make some people angry, and they may accuse me of being fatalistic. But nowhere in Scripture is the notion supported that there will be a kingdom without tears, pain, poverty, and suffering until Jesus Christ physically returns and establishes it Himself.

There is another question that needs to be considered: Can the kingdom of God be established by those who don’t know the King? In other words, can people of all religions and faiths who don’t know Jesus as King and Lord be members of His kingdom?

Rick Warren believes that God has shown him not only the boundaries (or lack of them) of this coming global kingdom, but also the strategy to bring it about. Before Warren came up with the plan, he says he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world.

10/The Undoing of Faith
The fruit of the emerging church includes: changes in views on sexuality, the desire by emerging leaders to stop identifying with Christianity, eradicating the gap between good and evil (the very goal of Satan’s religion, the New Age), and developing a new missiology which says keep your own religion, just add Jesus. This truly is the undoing of Christian faith.

Quote from chapter 10: It should be apparent what is occurring as the emerging church evangelization program unfolds. Walls that once separated biblical Christianity from pagan religious belief systems are being demolished. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves sinners from hell, a new kind of gospel is being preached, and its preachers are wearing interspiritual robes of deception. Jesus proclaimed it is a narrow pathway that leads to heaven, and He is the only door through which to enter-but now the supposed pathway to God has been broadened to permit open access for the sake of establishing the kingdom.

11/A Slaughterhouse Religion?
If someone said that emerging church leaders don’t like the Cross, many would cry out, “Yes, they do. I’ve heard them talk about Jesus and the Cross.” But while this may be true, there is an underlying theme building momentum in the emerging church that says, “Jesus going to the Cross was an example of sacrifice and service that we should follow. But the idea that God would send His Son to a violent death for the sins of mankind-well that is not who God is. He would never do that!” This mindset negates the very atonement on which biblical Christianity rests.

Quote from chapter 11: In [Harry Emerson] Fosdick’s book, Dear Mr. Brown, he states:

Too many theories of the atonement assume that by one single high priestly act of self-sacrifice Christ saved the world.

Fosdick ends that statement with a pronounced-“No!” He insists, “These legalistic theories of the atonement are in my judgement a theological disgrace.”

12/A New Reformation?
Faith Undone shows that the nature of the emerging church’s new reformation is anything but new, and when it comes to pass could bear violence and persecution on those who defend the Bible as the true and literal Word of God. This is a heavy chapter that will zero in on what this new emerging reformation will look like.

Quote from chapter 12: Most likely, you have heard the term new reformation, or as some refer to it, postmodern reformation. Rick Warren talks about it, emerging church leaders discuss it, and New Agers for a long time have been saying, “We need a new reformation.” Referring often to the reformation that took place in the 16th century, these current reformation advocates believe that something as radically different as the early reformation must happen again. In fact, they believe that the church (and the world) will not survive without it. Statements like “We’ll do whatever it takes,” or “reinvent or die” often leave the lips of the new reformation evangelists. The passion and zeal to bring about the new reformation equals that of the early reformers.

13/Or An End-Time Deception
The Bible says that in the last days Satan will deceive the whole world with doctrines of demons and seducing spirits. The question must be asked, is the emerging church spirituality part of this great falling away? And just what are the earmarks of a church that has become part of this end-time deception?

Quote from chapter 13: There is no question about it, the world is in serious chaos, with poverty, sickness, and disease inflicting millions and millions of people. Suffering seems to be at an all time high level. Understandably, the world is looking for answers. Many religious leaders (including New Agers) believe we need a new reformation. Neale Donald Walsch, a prominent leader in the New Age, is one of those who has new reformation on his mind. He states:

We are suggesting that people become modern day Martin LutherՉ۪s and take the five steps to peace and tack them up on church house doors, as Martin Luther did with his 95 theses in 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany, which started of course, the first Reformation. Our intention is to stimulate the second great Reformation of world religion. That is our intention, our goal and our purpose. We intend to, in fact, inspire the second great Reformation of world religion.

Comments like the one above are quite interesting because Walsch is not a Christian, but he speaks of a religious reformation that he is hoping to witness. But Walsch’s reformation does not include Jesus Christ. On his website Group of 1000, a statement explains what Walsch calls “the new spirituality”:

The New Spirituality is a global movement to create the space for humanity to experience its natural impulse toward the divine in a way which makes no one else wrong for the way in which they are doing it.

I realize that most Christians would probably laugh incredulously if someone told them they were heading toward the spirituality of Neale Donald Walsch. Most of them would see themselves as orthodox and biblically-based and certainly not as New Agers going toward some kind of new reformation that says everyone is God. But as I have tried to convey in this book, I believe the emerging church is the bridge between Christianity and this “new spirituality.” And the question that every Christian must ask themselves is, is this a bridge on which I am willing to walk and eventually cross?

For more information about Faith Undone, CLICK HERE.

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