Showing posts with label mystic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystic. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Does Mysticism Lead Us To God?

Posted by Christine Pack

Tomorrow's New Age Global Oneness Summit is proclaiming that spiritual growth and peace can be achieved on earth, in our time, through meditation and people on earth awakening to their own inner divinity (a panentheistic concept).  From the promotional materials:
"Mystics teach us our sense of separation is an illusion perpetuated by the fear-driven mind. However, a deep sense of oneness is within reach, if only we can move beyond habitual thinking and patterns."
As I have written in the past, this is the New Age/New Spirituality concept of salvation: that all human beings are already connected to "Divinity." Divinity is the New Age concept of "God" and is known by different names: Divinity, Source, God, Essence, Vibration, etc. This God/Divinity is thought to be something, as I noted above, that all humans, regardless of spiritual background or beliefs, can "awaken" to or evolve to through meditation and positive self-talk.

Translation: If you are a born again Christian, your ideas of "sin" and "separateness" from God without Christ are "fear-driven" and based just on "habitual thinking and patterns." If you oddball Christians could just get with the program, the whole planet could evolve to a better place, a more peaceful place, you see...
"Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor 1:20) 
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become 'fools' so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness'." (1 Cor 3:18-19)
Fellow believers, the truth is that mysticism does not and cannot lead us into union with God. The carnal "wisdom" of a man-made utopia without the God of the Bible, the one true God who alone determines how it is that man is reconciled to God, is a lie that dies very hard. This is a modern day version of "'Peace! Peace!' when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14). Peace does not come from "awakening" to one's own divinity, because this is not truth. We don't need to awaken to the fact that we are already God....we need to awaken to the fact that we are eternally separated by our sins from God, and we desperately need a Savior. Only then can peace be achieved, true peace, the peace that comes by repenting and placing our faith in Christ's atoning death for the forgiveness of sins.

Incidentally, this Global Oneness Summit features a round-up of today's most prominent New Agers and mystics:
- Neale Donald Walsche (author of the Conversations With God books) 
- Jean Houston - one of the founders of the Human Potential Movement, a New Age movement based on eastern mysticism and occultism 
- Barbara Marx Hubbard (author of the book The Revelation, her New Age version of the last book of the Bible by the same name) 
- Ken Wilber (a New Age mystic, and also the author of a book filled with New Age concepts that popular Emergent Church Movement author Rob Bell highly recommends to his own readers) 
- Michael Beckwith (a New Thought teacher who has been on Oprah many times, and who teaches that your words and your thoughts create your reality, an idea contrary to biblical truth, and similar to Word of Faith teaching) 
- Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup For the Soul books) 
The reason this is an important event for Christians to be aware of is because most, if not all, of these New Age/New Spirituality/New Thought concepts are now coming into the church in "Christianized" forms: contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, labyrinth, prayer circles, breath prayers, Word of Faith "name it and claim it," etc.

 Additional Resources 

Mysticism: A Counterfeit Holy Spirit

Interview With A Former Mystic

What Is New Age Eschatology?

Conversations With (an Occult) God - a critique of Neale Donald Walsche

Conversations With (an Occult) God - quotes from Neal Donald Walshe's books

Conversations with God - a critique by Russ Wise (Christian Information Ministries)

Can Mysticism Lead To God?

Barbara Marx Hubbard - What does she believe?

What Is Mysticism?

Chicken Soup For The Soul - a Review

Rob Bell Recommends New Age teacher Ken Wilber to His Readers

Friday, June 15, 2012

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola?

Posted by Christine Pack

Pastor Tim Keller,
Redeemer Presbyterian
An excellent post by Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries points us to a talk by Tim Keller in which Keller points his followers to the mysticism of Roman Catholic Monastic practices for deepening their prayer lives. Keller, who is a Presbyterian-PCA pastor and a leader of The Gospel Coalition had this to say:
"The best things that have been written, almost, are by Catholics during the counter Reformation: Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Ávila.....great stuff."
At the end of this short video is the reminder that Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits in 1540 with the specific purpose of destroying the Protestant Reformation. The obvious question is: why would a Protestant pastor point Christians toward the teachings of a Roman Catholic mystic who poured his life's work into destroying the Protestant Reformation?

Let me also point out that the meditation practices of the Catholic mystics recommended by Pastor Keller are pagan, occultic practices. As a former mystic who was saved out of mysticism, my challenge to the church will always be this: what could a Catholic mystic who holds to Catholic doctrine (and thus is lost) teach us about deepening our relationship to God? These are pagan practices that have been Christianized with biblical terminology, but they are pagan to the core. Focusing repetitively on ANYTHING for a length of time (whether it is one's breathing, a candle, an icon, even a snippet of Scripture) will put someone into a light hypnotic state. Thus, the thing focused on becomes merely a device, so trying to clean this practice up by making the device a snippet of Scripture does not somehow sanctify this practice. Christians, I urge you to reject these unbiblical practices. Christians are meant to be a people who "walk by faith," (2 Cor 5:7not a people who walk by tangible experiences. In fact, the the entire book of Hebrews is written as a warning against tangibility, as this was a critical time in the church's history during which many Jewish Christians were struggling with the idea of giving up the tangibility of the sacrificial system which had been a part of their culture for several thousand years. Is this not what mysticism encourages, though? A chasing after of mystical encounters with "God?" I put "God" in quotes here because, as a former mystic, I can assure those who engage in mysticism that this is not the way we are to enter into God's presence. Those who engage in mysticism will encounter something of a spiritual nature. Only, it will not the God of the Bible.
"And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14)
I'm going to circle back to the Reformation here, and do a little history lesson. The Reformation came about when God providentially raised up brave men who were willing to fight for the truth, and point people back to God's Word instead of the fallible, human priests of the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church had had a spiritual stranglehold on the world for centuries, but through the providential invention of the printing press, and men like Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliff, etc., the tiny spark lit by Martin Luther's 95 Theses, a document exposing the unbiblical nature of Roman Catholic teaching, became a flame that tore through Europe and England, and eventually impacted the entire world. Men and women were now reading God's Word - truth - for themselves, not waiting for it to be told to them by priests.

Thus, the motto of the Reformation became Post Tenebras Lux (translated, After the Darkness, Light). This motto meant that truth (light) was now piercing a dark world that had been taken captive to mysticism and tradition....for lack of having access to the Bible.

And yet, with this willful embracing of mysticism in the church today, I sometimes think this generation's motto ought to be Post Lux Tenebram (After the Light, Darkness). By rejecting Sola Scriptura and embracing mysticism, the church today seems to be going back to the Middle Ages in which, instead of not knowing God's Word because it's not available to them (as was the issue during the Middle Ages), they now do not know God's Word because they are rejecting it in favor of mystical experiences. And pastors like Tim Keller are leading the way.

 Additional Resources 

Ignatius of Loyola, an Examination of His Teachings (Pastor Gary Gilley)

What Is Mysticism? (Sola Sisters)

Mysticism: Spiritual Crack (Sola Sisters)

Catholic Mysticism Infused Into Our Society (Berean Beacon)

Why the Reformation Was Important (Sola Sisters)

After The Darkness, Light (Post Tenebras Lux) (Sola Sisters)

Biblically Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (Dr. John MacArthur)

A Chart With Christian/Catholic Views Side-By-Side (Berean Beacon)

Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic Priest....From Darkness to Light (Berean Beacon)

Far From Rome Near To God (Amazon)

On The "Faith" of Mother Teresa: John Ortberg Strikes Out (Sola Sisters)

The Myth of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa A Lost Soul (Berean Beacon)

Mother Teresa in Her Own Words (Sola Sisters)

CNN Reports That Mother Teresa Underwent Exorcism (CNN Archives)

BBC Reports About Exorcism Performed on Mother Teresa (BBC Archives)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Interview With Sarah Flashing About Our Open Letter To Tim Challies

Posted by Christine Pack

Sarah Flashing,
Faith in Culture Radio
Thank you to Sarah Flashing of Faith in Culture Radio for having me on her show today. We discussed the recent controversy over Tim Challies' apology to Ann Voskamp (In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp's Forgiveness...), after Mrs. Voskamp emailed him regarding his review of her book One Thousand Gifts (a book with a decidedly mystical and Panentheistic slant), and to invite him to lunch with her at her family farm.

After the second post - the apology letter - my sister, Cathy Mathews (who co-writes this blog with me), felt compelled to write an open letter to Mr. Challies, in which she attempted to explain to him that just as Ann Voskamp wants Tim Challies to see and understand that Mystic Christian Panentheists (like her) are real people, we ex-Mystic Christian Panentheists - who survived Mystic Panentheism - want Tim Challies to see that we are real people too, and not only that, but that Mystic Christian Panentheism is a real and present danger in the church today.

Sarah and I discussed all of these topics on her show today, including the problematic trend of Mystic Christian Panentheism in the church today. This show was fast paced, and we covered a lot of ground.

You can listen to the show in its entirety here. 

 Additional Resources 

An Open Letter To Tim Challies (by Sola Sisters)

Tim Challies Reviews One Thousand Gifts (by Tim Challies)

In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp's Forgiveness... (by Tim Challies)

Ann Voskamp: Mystical Estrogen (Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith radio show)

Concerning One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (by Ken Silva)

A Commentary On Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" (by Marcia Montenegro)

Romantic Panentheism, a review of One Thousand Gifts (by Bob DeWaay)

Panentheism! What Is It? (Apprising)

Panentheism Is Not A Gift (Amy Spreeman)

Monday, May 28, 2012

An Open Letter To Tim Challies

Dear Mr. Challies,

As you may or may not know, we recently posted an article in which we commended your book review of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. And then today, a reader forwarded your most recent post, entitled In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp's Forgiveness..., an article in which you wrote that after Ann Voskamp emailed you, inviting you to lunch, you felt a twinge of remorse over some of the wording of your original article, especially in light of the fact that you might soon find yourself face to face with her, sharing a meal.

In light of your recent post, then, please allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Cathy Mathews, and I'm one of the writers of the Sola Sisters blog. I live in Arkansas (not on a farm, however), and I was hoping that perhaps you might come to Arkansas and have dinner with me and my family? And hopefully, you would see that I am also just as real as Mrs. Voskamp. And just as real was the bondage that I was under after reading Christian Panentheist Mystics about 25 years ago. Why is this relevant? Because Ann Voskamp appears to have been profoundly influenced by Christian Panentheistic Mystics, if the recommended reading list from her blog is anything to go by, and is also herself introducing Christian women to this concept of Panentheism in her book One Thousand Gifts, albeit a highly poetic, eroticized, "Christianized" version of Panentheism:
The Christian’s Secret of A Happy Life (by Hannah Whitall Smith)
Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home and Celebration of Discipline (by mystic Richard J. Foster)
The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime–A Manual for Prayer and The Divine Hours, Volume II: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (by emergent leader and mystic Phyllis Tickle)
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (by "female pastor" and mystic Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)
Ann Voskamp,
author One Thousand Gifts
For those who aren't familiar with what Panentheism is, Panentheism is a worldview that embraces the view that God is "in" everything: in humans, in whales, in giraffes, in sand, in the ocean, the wind, the mountains, the stars, and on and on. In this worldview, God is reduced to being an essence, an energy, a vibration, that permeates and gives life and energy to all things. Panentheism is part of the eastern worldview (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) and is NOT part of the biblical worldview. The Christian worldview is that we are "dead in our trespasses" (Eph 2:5), while the eastern worldview is that we all have a "Divine inner spark," and at least some aspect of God/Divinity inside of us, regardless of our faith (Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.).

Of course, Mystical Christian Panentheism (of the variety found in One Thousand Gifts) is its own sort of subcategory under Panentheism in which Christian terminology is used, although - and here's the rub - the terms have been redefined, thus nullifying the doctrine that, in the orthodox tradition, weights each of those terms with meaning.

But back to my own story and how, in my own life, I became ensnared in Mystical Christian Panentheism. Twenty-five years ago, I was not a believer. I had rejected Christianity after having grown up in a liberal mainline denomination. Ironically, I rejected what I thought was Christianity because it gave me no answers on how to deal with the horrific sin in my life. (As I'm sure you are aware, the mainline denominations gave up Sola Scriptura and preaching the real Gospel for man-centered pragmatism and a social gospel about a hundred years ago.) So I turned to New Age teachings in order to find an answer for my sins. The funny thing is, I would only read the books that talked about Jesus and God and the Bible. I didn't want to stray too far from my "Christian" roots, you see, I didn't want to completely reject God. And believe me, there was plenty of what I was looking for amongst New Age teaching. I was lured into a Panentheistic worldview through beautiful esoteric writing bathed in Christian terminology (what I have now termed Mystical Christian Panentheism). Is that Ann Voskamp's intention? I have no idea. All I know is that this particular type of teaching is dangerous.

After being ensnared for several years, and falling more and more deeply into despair, something miraculous happened: God reached down and mercifully saved me. But can you imagine my early years as a Christian in the current professing church? The emergent church was in full bloom, with its mystical panentheistic leanings, as was the "bridal paradigm" teaching, which basically teaches people to lust after Jesus in an emotional, sensual way. And to top it off, if you questioned any of this stuff, you were called uncharitable and Pharisaical. I won't go into my very real slide into despair over the fact that most of the professing Evangelical church today teaches against biblical discernment, either out of ignorance of Sola Scriptura or out of a lust for "unity" (though it is a false unity, and not a unity of the Ephesians 4 variety, which is soundly rooted in doctrine), but let's just say it's a big part of the reason why we started this blog. Can I sit by and say nothing while the same Mystical Christian Panentheism that once ensnared me now threatens to engulf the church (and many unsuspecting Christians)? No!

Oh, how I have compassion for all of the other real women out there who have not been shepherded well, and thus discern teachings and books based only on the emotional pull, poetic writing, and likability of the teacher. I also have compassion for women who think the greatest sin is to say that a teaching is wrong because it does not line up with Scripture, but who have no fear of the Lord, nor reverence for his Word, and honestly do not think that believing a falsehood about God is a sin. This is the very type of woman who will, in all likelihood, embrace Ann Voskamp's book. And I would say all of that to Ann Voskamp herself, given the opportunity, though certainly in a respectful and gentle way. I guess I'm asking you to be as mindful of the just as real, though nameless, women out there who are primed to accept this version of "Christianity" because of its sensual appeal. It is these same women who will read this and will label me a hater because they will see this article as some kind of personal attack against Mrs. Voskamp, when it is nothing of the sort, but only a warning borne out of my own personal experience with mysticism.

With kindest regards (and hoping to put out an extra place setting for you soon),

Cathy Mathews

 Additional Resources 

Tim Challies Reviews One Thousand Gifts (Tim Challies)

In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp's Forgiveness... (Tim Challies)

Ann Voskamp: Mystical Estrogen
 (Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith radio show)

Concerning One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (by Ken Silva)

A Commentary On Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" (by Marcia Montenegro)

Romantic Panentheism, a review of One Thousand Gifts (by Bob DeWaay)

Panentheism! What Is It? (Apprising)

Panentheism Is Not A Gift (Amy Spreeman)