Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Emergent Paganism

“I built myself a prayer room—a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine Monks. I meditated for hours on words, images and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns, the state in which dreams occur, while still awake and meditating. I made many journal entries of my thoughts, dreams and prayers.” - Mike Perschon, Youth Specialties website, “Desert Youth Worker: Disciplines, Mystics and the Contemplative Life.”
Mike, whose mystic journey has led him to a sealed room in someone's basement, is an associate preacher at the Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton Alberta. He teaches contemplative practices at youth retreats and describes entire nights “devoted to guided meditations, drum circles, and ‘soul labs’. Search the internet for drum circles and you'll see quickly that drum circles are now and always have been a pagan ritual for numerous purposes none of which are to glorify God. They have become quite a fad in the Roman Catholic church along with peace circles and prayer labyrinths and other neopagan gimics whose primary purpose is to distract the parishioner from the word of God.
This is what the Lord says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. (Jeremiah 10:2)
Here the term nations is not what we generally consider nations to be in modern parlance. We consider a nation to be a political entity like Canada or Russia, but the biblical word for that kind of nation is "kingdom". In fact a nation is a group of people bound together by a common descent, history, culture or language. In Jeremiah 10:2 the nations that are mentioned are pagan (or in the KJV 'heathen') groups. 

Mike Perschon could have saved himself a lot of money, instead of buying the candles, incense, prayer beads, tapes and CDs, and books of pagan chatter if he had just opened his bible and began to read with an open heart. There's enough spiritual mysteries bound up in 66 chapters of God's word than can be found in a lifetime of pursuing pointless spiritual meandering. 

Christian mysticism incorporates all of these things; the yoga, the drum circles, the soul labs, the meditation, the incense, the candles, the beads and trinkets, the chanting. All these things are leaking into the emergent church with the promise that they will bring God closer to you when in reality you should concentrate on moving closer to God. The primary purpose of all this mysticism is to drive a wedge between you and God. 

First of all, the term Christian Mysticism is an oxymoron. Christian doctrine clearly states that we can experience God through belief and faith in Christ Jesus, while Christian Mysticism tries to grasp spiritual truths inaccessible though any other means. Christian mystics believe that emulating Christ will reveal spiritual truths while true Christian doctrine teaches that spiritual truth comes from the Holy Spirit and is accessible to everyone though the bible.

Lets look at a couple of these mystical heresys that have crept into the Emergent Church:

Contemplative Prayer (AKA listening prayer AKA centering prayer) the practice of relaxing, emptying the mind and letting one's self find the presence of God within. Contemplative prayer requires you to 1. Chose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God's presence and action within, 2. Sit comfortably with eyes closed and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God's presence and actions within, 3. When engaged with your thoughts return ever so gently to the sacred word, 4. At the end of the prayer period remain silent with eyes closed. This is little more than old school satanic occult practice, it's the exact same thing that occultists do when trying to contact demons. Prayer is a conversation with God, what kind of a conversation can you have with someone who just emptied their head of all rational thoughts? We are to meditate actively on the word of God, use the minds and hearts that God gave us and not leave it open to demonic oppression. Romans 12:2 is good advice.

Prayer Labyrinth - think of a path designed to wander around while doing the occult Contemplative Prayer. According to the Labyrinth Society their vision is to “activate and facilitate the transformation of the human spirit.” Transform the human spirit to what? God made you just the way He wants you, the only thing he wants us to change is our mind through repentance, your spirit, your soul he made just perfect. Personally the only being I can think that would want to transform the spirit God gave us would be Satan. New Age practitioners of prayer labyrinths use them to transcend into an altered state of conciousness (like contemplative prayer) and in that state become one with the universe, or in other words, worshiping the creation rather than the creator. As a practitioner wanders through the maze they meditate and chant mantras. What they don't understand or have been deceived into ignoring is that revelation is given by the will of the Holy Spirit, not by wandering through labrynths, not by chanting mantras. Labyrinth prayer walks are not biblical nor should they be used within the Christian faith. As Paul said to the church of Galatia which was being duped by false teachers who were trying to undermine the church: 
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3)
Guess where these gems of occult worship came from. Go on, guess. I dare you. If you said anything but "The Roman Catholic Church" you'd be wrong. Yes, occultism is leaking into Christianity from the RCC through the Emergent Church. The emergent church is based on an unhealthy immature "trinket envy" of the RCC and the EC is working hard to catch up to two millenia of heresy and apostasy. The EC has their own pope (Rick Warren), their own catechism (The Message) and their own college of cardinals (Rob Bell, Eugene Peterson, Bill Hybles et al) it won't be long before they have their own Jesuit style hit squad running their very own inquisition. 

The prayer labyrinth is a long held catholic tradition going back at least to Constantine. The first documented prayer labyrinth was in a church in Algiers North Africa, placed there in 324 AD. For centuries labyrinths appeared all over the catholic landscape, the most popular being in the French Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres which has a huge labyrinth on the sanctuary floor that pilgrims come to walk.

As for contemplative prayer - it's part of the RCC catechism "Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2715) as Catholic Online describes it: "Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind.  Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a saying or one may simply be in the presence of God." The bible is full of advice on how to pray; 1 John 5:14-15, Psalm 4:3, Micah 7:7, Philippians 4:6, John 16:23. We know from John 9:31 that God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers but hears all the prayers of believers, and we know from Mark 1:15 that God hears the prayers of repentant sinners. And we know from Proverbs 2:1-11 that God promises to answer the prayers of believers who ask to understand His word. How can you ask God for anything if you're just sitting there chanting the word "poindexter" over and over? Contemplative prayer is not addressed in the bible, because it's neither Christian, nor is it prayer. It's meditation imported from eastern paganism such as Buddhism and Hinduism. 

Prayer Labyrinths and contemplative prayer are embraced by the catholic church because they have one very important component to them: They keep the poor dupes busy doing something they think is good while all along its only purpose is to keep them from reading the bible. Lets face it, if they read (and understood)  Matthew 23:9 do you think a priest would be called 'father' by anyone? And if they read (and understood) Matthew 6:7 do you think a single rosary would still exist? The Catholic church has a long torturous history of keeping the bible out of the hands of the common man (inquisition). And that brings the Emergent Church directly in line with the RCC. As John MacArthur said:
"The Emerging Church Movement is an amorphous sort of loose-knit association of churches that have decided that there is value, there is even virtue in uncertainty about Scripture. The bottom line in the movement is they believe that we aren't even suppose to understand precisely what the Bible means... The bottom line, I think, in the movement is that it is a denial of the clarity of Scripture. It is a denial that we can know what the Bible really says."
And if you convince people that they cannot know what the Bible really says, how are they going to argue with you when you start to tell them your version of what the Bible says, with your own spin attached of course. Insidious. 

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