Preparing for the AI Tsunami: The looming spiritual crisis of artificial intelligence and how to be ready (part 1)

If you take a look at the most fantastic schemes that are considered possible: teleportation, warp drive, parallel universes, other dimensions, artificial intelligence, ray guns, you realize that they can be possible if we advance technology a little bit.”

So said Michio Kaku, a physicist and futurist with deep insight into AI and other phenomena shaping into mighty waves that will wash over civilizations in the eras ahead. [1]

But will these waves of discovery and utilization advance humanity or mount into a tsunami that wipes out societies and the people within them?

The answer to that question lies in a realm that many see as irrelevant: the spiritual.

Yet, the spiritual implications of artificial intelligence should be the most important of all. If utility rules, then we are no better than a heartless inventor seeking better and less expensive means to commit genocide.

The alarm must be sounded: a tsunami is charging toward us while many stand on the beach like surfers watching the rise of the highest wave and anticipating a good ride on its lethal crest.

I and others who warn of the spiritual implications of AI are not Luddites like woolen workers in 16th-century British mills who sought to destroy the new devices that might eliminate their jobs.

I confess that I wrote this column, as I did my book, Who Will Rule the Coming ‘gods’? on a smart machine linked to other smart machines worldwide. I know the benefit of personally having an MRI scan rather than invasive exploratory surgery, a look through ultrasound at our great-grandchildren nestling in their mother’s wombs, and instant communication with friends across the continents, to name a few.

Yet the more I study artificial intelligence and the looming spiritual crisis it will send surging upon a world casting off belief in the transcendence of the God revealed in the Bible, the greater is my concern.

There are crucial questions that can only be addressed satisfactorily in the context of the spiritual, like:

  • Who is writing the algorithms?
  • Who is wiring in ethics and values? (This could prove the most important of issues in a future where the machine decides who can live and who must die).
  • To whom or what will the machine be accountable?
  • What are the humanitarian boundaries for the machine’s powerful use?
  • How is it possible to keep the machines from falling into the hands of tyrants who worship and heed only themselves?

The Metaverse may already be beyond restraint. One “Bad behavior in the metaverse can be more severe than today’s online harassment and bullying, says a recent report.[2] “That’s because virtual reality plunges people into an all-encompassing digital environment where unwanted touches in the digital world can be made to feel real and the sensory experience is heightened.”[3]

Last March a Meta chief technology officer told his team that moderating or restraining how people use the Metaverse is “practically impossible” at any scale.”[4]

This makes even more urgent the question: Who will rule the coming ‘gods’? What kind of people?

The most serious concern: Will transcendent-hungry human beings come to consider that the machine is so powerful it is godlike and merits our worship?

This issue has already raised its head. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer, founded an AI-based church.[5] The “deity” it worshipped, said Levandowski, “is not a god in the sense that it makes lightning and causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it (but “god”)?

Though the AI church no longer exists (at my last reading), the concern of AI taking the place of the transcendent God is growing because the human being made in the image of God must have transcendence.  We are spirit, soul, and body. When our body longs for water, it can drink it in. But what about the desperate thirsts of the spirit and soul?

If a person is stranded in the Sahara for days without water, he or she will drink from any old pit, no matter how many camels have wallowed in it. So, we can grow so thirsty in spirit and soul that we will drink from any moldy well, any filthy stream.

This is injuring the human race now, and in the future people will give themselves to any machine or device that will quench the thirst in spirit and soul.

For good reason, Henry Kissinger warns that AI “will prompt consideration of what it means to be human.”[6]

In fact, in the AI age and its fascination with transhumanism, there is a desire to make Imago Dei, the “image of God,” into “Imago machina”—the “image of the machine.”

Will we be healthy users of the wonderful technology advancing in our age or will it use us, making us its slaves?

That question can be answered only in the context of the spiritual, especially the understanding of God’s transcendence.

That is the only backdrop by which we can see our true humanity and distinguish ourselves from the machine.


[1] https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/7633-michio-kaku#:
[2] metaverse: Metaverse is unsafe for women already! Reports of groping, harassment rising in VR games, Telecom News, ET Telecom (indiatimes.com)
[3] The Metaverse’s Dark Side: Here Come Harassment and Assaults (yahoo.com);
[4]Content moderation in Metaverse is ‘impossible’: Andrew Bosworth (indianexpress.com)
[5] Former Google Exec Says Artificial Intelligence is ‘God,’ Creates New Religion | CBN News
[6] Henry Kissinger: AI Will Make Us Reconsider What It Means to Be Human | Newsmax.com

Wallace B. Henley, a former White House and congressional aide, is author of Who Will Rule the Coming ‘Gods’a book exploring the consequences of the exponential development of artificial intelligence in a society that is rapidly losing the sense of God’s Transcendence. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, The Woodlands, Texas. Source: Christian Post

Progressive Christianity: Trading Sola Scriptura for Prima Scriptura

TBC: “Prima Christianity” “has other sources of divine revelation” such as “the ‘Holy Spirit,’ created order, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else.” For the full article, please click the link below.]

During the sixteenth century battle between the reformers and the Roman Catholic church, the reformers developed the Five Solas which demonstrated their core beliefs in contrast to the Catholic Church from whom they were separating. The first of the five was Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Over the preceding centuries, Rome had developed a tradition that placed the teaching magisterium (College of Cardinals) in union with the Pope, as the final authority for faith and practice. As we point out in “Thus Saith Rome,” the view of the Roman Catholic Church was and continues to be that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, which we also believe. However, in addition, the Roman Catholic Church held that their church tradition is likewise inspired by the Holy Spirit, and both sources are on an equal par with one another. Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church held that the College of Cardinals in conjunction with the Pope is the only authentic, infallible interpreter of Scripture and tradition. This allowed Rome to have continually evolving doctrines, far removed from what the scriptures actually teach. We have a short sampling of the effects of Prima Scriptura – the Roman Catholic position – showing some of the changing doctrines of Rome since the 4th Century
.
Interestingly, this position of evolving doctrine also tends to be the view of today’s Progressives. One of the major areas this impacts for Progressives is morality and human sexuality. We touched on this a bit in “Is Progressive Christianity Christian?” Progressives want to be viewed as Christian and see the need to include the Bible and a modified Jesus in their faith in some way for credibility and validation. Prima Scriptura provides the vehicle through which “mystical insight,” “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else” is given a heavy hand in assessing “truth,” apart from –and overriding – the clear teachings of scripture on a given subject.

For the last 8-10 years, The Reformation Project, founded by Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian, has been making a concerted effort to replace the clear teaching of the word of God with an experience, “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else” as inspired truth equal or even superior to Scripture. Jennifer Hatmaker, who shocked much of the evangelical church in 2016 when she called for full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the church, is a speaker at the 2021 Reconcile and Reform National Conference put on by The Reformation Project. The title of both the conference and the organization is clear. However, unlike The Reformation of the 16th century, this reformation is not to bring the church back to the Word of God as the final authority for faith and practice, but to “reform” the church in the opposite direction, embracing Prima Scriptura in order to reconcile and embrace LGBTQ+ as acceptable and pleasing to God. They do claim to be a “Bible-based, Christian organization,” but the Bible is definitely not the final authority for faith and practice, for them or Jen Hatmaker.

The Progressive leaders at The Reformation Project assert, “The Christian tradition doesn’t address sexual orientation.” Notice they do not claim or even hint that sexual activity isn’t discussed in Scripture or the writings of the early church. Instead, they sanction LGBTQ+ based upon “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else.” They implicitly admit additional revelation “for what a believer should believe and how they should live” when they write: “Affirming Christians are not overturning the Christian tradition on LGBTQ people. Until recent decades, there has been no Christian tradition on LGBTQ people.”

This is misleading at best. Indeed, we don’t find LGBTQ, with or without the +, in either scripture or church dogma. The term had not yet been invented. So, although the words in current usage are not found, the teaching on these behaviors most definitely is. The Scriptures and church tradition are very clear – sex outside of the marriage of a male and female is sin. That includes adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, and more.

The LGBTQ+ issue is rather a prominent flashpoint in our time. But there are many ways that people of our age are attempting to justify their behavior, to turn right and wrong upside down. Self-justification is a deadly pursuit in the end, and so useless. It’s not a matter of good people vs bad people, because everyone has transgressed God’s standards. There are no “good people” in their own right. (Romans 3:10) Jesus Christ is the only One who never transgressed God’s perfect standard. Christians are people who believe (about themselves) what God says is true and gladly accept His gift of a pardon. Without God’s loving provision on our behalf, no one would be considered by God as “righteous.” God justifies those who believe that He has saved them, through absolutely no goodness of their own.

The scripture teaches there is a Day when God will judge mankind based upon His Holy standards. It’s rather appropriately called “Judgement Day.” Any person whose name is not written in the Lamb’s (Jesus’s) Book of Life shall stand before God in that Judgment. (Revelation 20:11-15)

A person’s only hope for eternity lies not in challenging God’s clear position of right and wrong, but in reconciling him or herself to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. How will one come to God and accept His full pardon if he refuses to acknowledge his or her sin? We beg of you today to give up the fight of prideful self-justification and accept God’s gracious pardon.
https://midwestoutreach.org/2021/10/28/progressive-christianity-trading-sola-scriptura-for-prima-scriptura/

Source: The Berean Call

What I’ve Learned Rescuing My Daughter from Transgender Fantasy

gender, trans

My daughter’s story is no longer novel. Stories like it are occurring in your state, your town, and perhaps even on your street. Gender dysphoria — the incongruence between the mind and the body — moves stealthily and quickly to invade girls and boys alike.

But this isn’t a cautionary tale. It’s a warning.

My daughter was an ultrafeminine girl since birth. She insisted that her room be painted pink, and she refused to wear anything but dresses until third grade. She avoided her older brother’s toys and sports, choosing tea sets and Shopkins, a series of tiny, collectible toys.

Her favorite activity was to slip into my closet and don my few sparkly clothes and shiniest of heels. She rejected sports in favor of art and sewing.

That all abruptly changed when she turned 12. As her body matured into young womanhood, she stopped begging for a bikini and avoided any clothing that accentuated her figure. She hid her breasts under men’s extra-large sweatshirts.

I remembered doing similar things as my body changed, so I didn’t worry at first.

Then, my daughter immersed herself into anime art and cosplaying, the hobby of dressing like fantastical characters. I supported her creative side.

I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying can overwhelm a young mind. I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying involved gender-bending themes and that the community crosses into pedophilic and sexual themes.

I also didn’t know that the older cosplay community groomed the younger cohorts. 

During that same time period, my daughter went through Teen Talk — a Manitoba, Canada-based program that says it provides “youth with accurate, [nonjudgmental] information” on “sexuality, reproductive health, body image, substance use awareness, mental health, issues of diversity, and anti-violence issues” — at her public school.

She came home with a whole new language. She and all her girlfriends discussed their labels — polyamorous, lesbian, pansexual. None of the five girls chose “basic,” their term for a straight girl. 

Now, I was worried.

She distanced herself from her old friends and spent more time online. I checked her phone, but I was not astute enough to know that she had set up “appropriate” fake social media accounts for my viewing.

An older girl showed romantic interest in her. I barred that girl from our home.  I learned later that she had molested my daughter.

When my daughter was in the eighth grade, as a Christmas gift, I took her to SacAnime, an anime convention in Sacramento, California. There, she met a girl three years her senior, but light years more mature. That girl mesmerized my daughter with her edginess or magnanimous personality. 

The older girl went by “they.” After their meeting, my daughter got a boy’s haircut, stopped shaving, and asked for boys’ underwear. My daughter parroted everything about the older teen.

She started making gross TikTok videos, her language became vulgar and she redecorated her room to look like a cave. She self-pierced her nose with one of those bull rings. She broke every family rule. She was morphing into an emo-Goth-vampirelike creature.  She was unrecognizable. Her personality descended into anger and rudeness. 

The summer before ninth grade, she announced that she was transgender. Post-announcement, she began to threaten suicide. She sunk into deep depression.

I managed to get all of her passwords to all of her social media accounts. What I saw was jaw-dropping.  

Almost everyone that she was conversing with was a stranger, except for the SacAnime friend, who sent her a self-made masturbation video. The discussions on the Discord platform online involved fetishistic sexual conversations. Kids were sending each other erotica, including involving incest and pedophilia.

Older girls were instructing younger girls how to sell nude photos of themselves to men for money.

Girls bragged about their different mental illnesses. They talked about which drugs do what. They talked about how they are really boys, not girls. They discussed “top surgery” (that is, having their breasts removed) and “packers” that create a bulge in one’s pants to imply the presence of a penis.

My daughter’s electronic devices were filled with TikTok videos and YouTubers talking about how great they feel now that they had “transitioned.”

There were messages in which strangers told her to kick my head in because I was a “transphobe” for refusing to call her a male name.

I went nuclear. I took the phone and stripped it of all social media — YouTube, Instagram, Discord, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitter. I even blocked her ability to get to the internet. I deleted all of her contacts and changed her phone number.

I sat next to her while she “attended” school online via Zoom. I deleted YouTube from the smart TVs and locked up the remotes. I took every anime book from her room. I threw away all of her costumes. I banned any friend who was even the slightest bit unsavory.

I involved the police about the porn. I printed out the law and informed her that if anyone sent her porn, I would not hesitate to prosecute.

She hated me like an addict hates the person preventing her drug fix. I held my ground, despite the constant verbal abuse.

After going through seven mental health professionals, I found an out-of-state psychiatrist who was willing to examine the causality for my daughter’s sudden trans identity.

I immersed myself in reading everything on the issue, talking to other parents and other professionals. I worked unceasingly to re-create the bond she and I used to share. 

After a year and half of utter hell, my daughter is finally returning to her authentic self — a beautiful, artsy, kind and loving daughter.

I am not sure what the actual ingredients for the magic potion were for alleviating gender dysphoria in my daughter. The formula will vary, but what I did was, after a very brief misstep of using a male name, our family and all of the adults in my child’s life only used her birth name and corresponding pronouns.

We did not permit social transition, although we could not control the school setting. Unbelievably, our local Catholic high school refused to follow our edict. 

As I mentioned previously, we pulled the plug on all social media and her access to anyone other than those persons we vetted. I forced my daughter to listen to specific podcasts on the subject while driving her to school. I printed out stories about female de-transitioners (women who had medicalized, but then regretted their actions and returned to living as a woman) and left them throughout the house. 

I left all of my research out in plain view, including Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail ShrierGender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working With Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults by Susan Evans, and other books.

I followed the advice of Parents for Ethical Care’s podcasts and the book “Desist, Detrans & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult” by Maria Keffler.

I worked hard to take back the close relationship my daughter and I had once had. I bit my tongue until it bled. I took her anger and only responded with love or walked away when I knew I would respond poorly.

I caught her in vulnerable moments and hugged her or climbed into her bed. I stopped looking at her as though she were the victim of a scheme or a monster.

I let her know that I would never stop fighting for her. I let her see my posters from the protests I attended. I peppered her with questions that demonstrated the illogic of the gender ideology. I happened to have funny gender-critical memes on my computer when she walked into my office. Most importantly, I held my ground. I refused to accept her delusion with compassion.

I know that I have to continue to be tenacious as the gender ideology has crept into every facet of life. But for now, I can breathe a sigh of relief. 


Originally published at The Daily Signal.   

Charlie Jacobs is the pen name of a California wife and mother of two teenagers. Until recently, she worked part time in a professional capacity, but is now dedicated to educating other parents about how gender ideology can overtake a child.

From Christian Post – December 16, 2021

Hammers on an Anvil

Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chimes;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn out with beating years of time.

"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he and then with twinkling eye, 
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know?"
And so I thought, the anvil of God's Word
For ages skeptics' blows have beat upon.
Yet, though the sound of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed, the hammers are gone.

John Clifford

“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Peter – I Peter 1:24-25

UFOs, Hyperspace and The Unseen Realm

Years ago I remember talking to a man who was concerned about the environmental future of planet Earth. He was an intelligent, highly educated medical research doctor, and a firm atheist. His “hope” for humanity rested in the colonization of space. He seriously suggested that the planet Mars could be made to support life by exploding nuclear bombs at its poles, breaking up the ice detected there, and somehow creating a life-supporting environment!

This was his faith – his faith, in spite of the fact that the Martian atmosphere consists almost entirely of carbon dioxide and is very thin. Atmospheric pressure is 5,000 times less than that of the Earth’s. Temperatures are much too cold, averaging more than 58 degrees Fahrenheit below zero!

But evolution predicts that life has occurred throughout the Universe “accidentally”, with many different routes toward the culmination of intelligent life. The different imaginations of intelligent life, evolving through different chemistries along different paths – such as those found in the science fiction of Star Wars – should be evident all around us.

This medical research doctor wanted something to hope for other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, there is no personal hope in his scenario, only a collective hope that mankind would be able to continue “evolving” on another planet.

Because of our pride and determined resistance to our Maker, mankind tries to hope for anything that makes us humans the hero. We search for anything that makes no mention of sin and the moral justice required by a Holy God. If human life had somehow been planted on Earth by visiting space aliens in time past, there would be no standard of morality which an all-knowing Creator would require of His “image-bearers”. This absence of accountability to our Creator is the attraction – and temptation – which evolution presents, including the outgrowth idea of space-aliens as “seeding” life on Earth and “guiding” mankind through the “wise men” of history.

Evolution does away with a Creator. At best, there are only “lesser gods” – much like ourselves – that could be “extraterrestrial”. They would be members of the space-time Universe further along the evolutionary ladder in their evolved planetary systems.

Currently this summer, a report is being issued by the U.S. government on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs, aka UFOs). The report includes decades of “incidents” reported by the U.S. military, noting that many are not of American origin.

But the report does not rule out foreign or extraterrestrial origins. So, its conclusions become another incentive for national security, and for more global government!

“We must defend ourselves against another Cold War-type threat of hypersonic weapons that may be able to go in and out of extra-dimensional space” – “hyperspace”, as the science fiction of Star Wars popularized. “Who knows? Extra-terrestrial life may be spying on us, and it might be unfriendly!” There are, indeed, so many things to fear and obsess about if we don’t know the Lord and keep looking to Him!

Hyperspace, in theory, is a set of extra dimensions beyond the three spatial dimensions that we experience daily. These extra dimensions are presumably able to connect distant points in real space and allow for faster-than-light speeds across the Universe. In the Star Wars movies, the characters would cross into “hyperspace drive” to travel quickly in their spacecraft. It’s pure science fiction – just like space aliens.

But the idea of “extra dimensions” carries an important biblical truth: “Interdimensional entities” are a reality! They are beings which can cross from one set of dimensions to another. The Bible – throughout its pages – speaks of angels, fallen angels, demons and the Spirit of God as moving between the four-dimensional time-space continuum (the physical world we live in) and a spiritual dimension that is unseen and unlimited by the space-time Universe.

For example, in Genesis 6 we are told how fallen angels interacted with mankind (inter-dimensionally) to bring a thorough corruption which helped lead to the Great Flood of Noah. Jude, the epistles of Peter, and the apocryphal books of Enoch elaborate on this. Psalm 82 discusses how God stands in a congregation where “He judgeth among the gods (elohim)”, who are being rebuked for ruling with corruption.

These are arguably the “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6) which, in the study of angels, are power-player beings over the nations in collusion with Satan. This corruption of the nations, of course, led to the fact that God had to select and train His own people-group through the believing Abraham and his descendants (Deuteronomy 32). All of this supernaturalism made sense to the Hebrew worldview and writers of the Bible. But it is more difficult for modern man to be comfortable with – enlightened and limited as we are by a worldview of materialist science.

Implications for “space aliens” ala Star Wars, thus, have a basis for truth in the supernatural/spiritual reality of the God of the Bible. Satan and his fallen-angels hierarchy would like to cater to our sin nature and deceive mankind with misplaced hopes, fears, and false philosophies – thwarting the purposes of God in drawing a special people to Himself.

But our great Creator wants us to be forever united with Jesus Christ and the rest of the saints now and in eternal communion and glory – able not only to “travel safely through hyperspace” but to enjoy the heavenly blessings that He “has prepared for them that love him.” Such blessings are so wonderful that they are beyond what we can possibly imagine! This is truly a hope worth having! — Creation Moments

Where Should We Start Our Search For Truth

There is a simple shortcut to truth: start with the Bible first and investigate it thoroughly. Why start there? Not just because the Bible claims to be the only inspired Word of the one true God who created us. It also claims that all of the world’s religions and their scriptures are false and actually in the service of Satan. The Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and thus the author of its religions. So if the Bible is true, we have saved ourselves a lifetime of vain searching through false systems. 


In fact, we can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that every word in the Bible is true. The Bible has several unique features not found in the scriptures of the world’s religions, making it possible to substantiate its claims. Christianity is not a philosophy, mystical experience, or esoteric practice [but] is based upon undeniable and historical facts. The Bible stands on a four-fold foundation, every part of which can be examined and verified: 1) prophecy foretelling events and doctrines in advance, 2) fulfillment of those prophecies in detail, 3) secular history testifying to the fulfillment of prophecies and events, and 4) factual data corroborated by archaeology and science. None of this is the case with the teachings or scriptures of any of the world’s religions. —Dave Hunt[Excerpt taken from Seeking and Finding God (Bend, OR: TBC, 2007), pp 66-67) – Berean Call

A Cattle Woman Explains Biblical Meditation

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)


L.B.’s family is in the cattle business, and the following was written on Facebook to the women in L.B.’s Bible Study.


According to L.B., “When a cow eats, they inhale a lot of roughage (hay, grass)! In order for a cow to properly digest that tough food, they have to be able to regurgitate parts of the food, a little at a time. To do that means the rumen in their stomachs mixes all the (good) bacteria, juices and lots of other stuff and they burp it back up to chew on for a while…then swallow once again. It’s quite complex and amazing!”


“We always say that when a cow loses her ability to chew her cud, she’s sick…that’s a real problem. Now…put that thought in line with meditating on God’s word! We ‘eat’ a lot, sometimes quickly from God’s Word. Not sure about you, but I certainly can’t digest it all properly as it goes down the first time! If I didn’t have the ability (or desire) to (pardon me for saying it this way, Lord) “burp” God’s Word back up, chew on it, digest it again, and again and again…I’d be sick too! Spiritually sick! Eventually dead!


“This will stick with me! Hope it helps imprint on your mind, too, how important God’s Word is!” (by L.B.)


L.B.’s above description really shows how, in biblical meditation, the mind is always active (chewing the cud, so to speak). Not so with New Age and Eastern meditation, or with so-called contemplative prayer. The goal of these is to still the mind, to halt all thought, and to enter the silence, where much spiritual deception can take place. Unfortunately, contemplative prayer has already infected many in the Body of Christ.**


Concerning contemplative prayer, Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, writes, “The question may arise–how can credible Christian organizations justify and condone meditative practices that clearly resemble Eastern meditation? As pointed out earlier in the book, Christian terminology surrounds these practices. It takes only a few popular Christian leaders with national profiles to embrace a teaching that sounds Christian to bring about big changes in the church. Moreover, we have many trusting Christians who do not use the Scriptures to test the claims of others.” (pg.182)


**Who has helped bring this practice into the church? Rick Warren, Timothy Keller, Mike Bickle, and many others. Ray Yungen warns, “Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.” (Yungen, A Time of Departing, pg. 140).


https://thewordlikefire.wordpress.com/2021/03/02/a-cattle-woman-explains-biblical-meditation/

Chants and incantations to Aztec gods of human sacrifice in California’s public schools?

I have told my seminary students for years that a society or culture is never in a state of stasis.  It is just the nature of human societies – they are constantly in flux, heading in one direction or the other, getting worse or getting better, depending on your perspective.

(Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine T. Phan)

I have never been more depressed to have been proven right about American society’s increasing volatility.  Current news stories contain harrowing reports of ever more radical “woke” philosophies being imprinted on the impressionable minds of our nation’s youth – in this case the six million primary and secondary students attending California’s public schools.

If you were concerned about the cultural divisiveness of the centrifugal forces generated by Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and Black Lives Matter, wait until you see what the formerly “Golden” State of California is contemplating inflicting on the unsuspecting youth of their state.

Christopher Rufo reports that next week the California Department of Education will decide whether to approve a statewide “ethnic studies” curriculum with the goal of “decolonizing” American society of its biased “Eurocentric” white “hegemony” over the indigenous peoples which allowed white settlers to establish a “regime of coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide.” 

As Rod Dreher reports on Rufo’s research “the ultimate goal is to “decolonize” America and replace it with a new social order of “countergenocide” and “counterhegemony” which will overthrow the dominant Christian culture and result in the “regeneration of indigenous songs, chants and affirmations” culminating in teachers leading students in chants to Aztec gods, seeking empowerment to be “warriors” for “social justice” and importuning the Aztec God of war and human sacrifice, Xipe Totec known as “Our Lord the Flayed One” because typically victims of human sacrifice, before they were disemboweled, dismembered and eaten, were skinned alive (Wikepedia, “Human sacrifice in Aztec culture”).

The curriculum asserts that “white Christians committed ‘theocide’ against indigenous tribes, killing their gods and replacing them with Christianity.”  This all culminates, according to Dreher and Rufo, with students shouting “Panche beh!  Panche beh!”  seeking ultimate “critical consciousness.”

This is all so comprehensively evil and destructive it is hard to know where to begin criticism of this dangerous, divisive, retrograde cultural vandalism.  The idea that a tax supported public school system would, or could, be used to unleash this vicious cultural and spiritual poison into out young people’s consciousness is both extremely offensive and quite possibly illegal. 

How does this curriculum not violate the First Amendment’s “establishment clause?”  If public schools are not allowed to sponsor Christian prayers, why would they be allowed to sponsor prayers to an Aztec pagan idol to whom human sacrifices were offered routinely?

If California’s authorities approve this curriculum, they should be challenged in court.  Approval of this curriculum would also reveal that California is indeed a state surrounded on all sides by reality. 

Thank God for Christopher Rufo and Rod Dreher for having the courage to warn Americans about this looming, highly flammable fuel for a cultural apocalypse.  They are like modern, cultural Paul Reveres sounding the warning, “The Barbarians are coming! The Barbarians are coming!”

Rod Dreher titles his column “The Re-Barbarization of California”  and asked this rhetorical question:

Social-justice Marxists who want to teach millions of children in the state’s public schools to achieve liberation against the descendants of European colonists  of 500 years ago by teaching them to chant to Aztec gods who required human sacrifice.   How do you think this is going to end?

Dreher then closes with this line “Wake up folks, and read the signs of the times.”

Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of AmericaImagine! A God Blessed AmericaReal Homeland SecurityFor Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.

Source: Christian Post

Chicago Schools Drop TM

Why Did Chicago Public Schools Just Quietly Drop Transcendental Meditation?  

Three years ago, as a part of its mission to teach Transcendental Meditation to a million at-risk kids, the David Lynch Foundation partnered with the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs and Chicago Public Schools(CPS) to test whether Transcendental Meditation (TM) could reduce crime and improve school performance.

Two thousand students in five high schools located in high crime Chicago neighborhoods participated in the $3 million study through its “Quiet Time” (QT) program.   Earlier this month, in response to a direct email inquiry, RD was notified by a CPS official that “CPS is no longer allowing for the official Quiet Time Program through David Lynch Foundation to be offered in CPS schools.” But why would CPS quietly drop such a high-profile program?

Though CPS decline to elaborate further, a July 26, 2019 article in the Chicago Tribune provides a clue. Hannah Leone’s article includes some disturbing information about the program based on the harrowing recollections, before the Chicago Board of Education, of Dasia Skinner, a substitute teacher, and Jade Thomas, a fourteen-year-old high school student.    After hearing their testimony, the CPS chief education officer noted that while she personally visited the QT program at Bogan High School, none of the information reported in the presentations was shared with her. So what didn’t they tell her about this “simple… non-religious technique,” as the David Lynch Foundation’s brochure describes TM?   

According to Skinner, the 60 students she spoke with shared a similar experience, Jade Thomas among them. Thomas told the Chicago Board of Education that her experience began with a mandatory “initiation into the meditation program” (elsewhere in TM materials referred to as a puja, a ceremony performed by Hindus, as well as many Buddhists and Jains). Students are taken by a QT “facilitator,” two at a time, to a dark, incense-filled room with all the windows covered.   

According to Thomas, they were made to hold flowers in their hands while the instructors “chanted in a foreign language, threw rice, seasonings, [and] oranges on a pan in front of a picture of a man, ”after which they were to place the flowers on the pan. Following the ritual, they were given their mantras and were told “don’t tell anyone else your word.”(Keeping one’s mantra a secret, it should be noted, is common in some sects of Hinduism.) Thomas also notes that students were told they would be sent to the dean’s office if they declined to participate and that they would be threatened with reduced grades if they talked during the twice-daily QT sessions. She describes feeling uncomfortable about her participation because the ceremony went against the Christian religion she practiced in her home. 

  Unless this ceremony departed from the standard TM puja, as described by Business Insider, the man in the picture was likely Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, or ‘Guru Dev,’ with whom the founder of TM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “studied the Upanishads, the segments of the four ancient Sanskrit books of scripture known as the Vedas that focus on the self and its relationship to God.” And yet this is “an act that the Maharishi did not consider to be compromising to his practice’s secularity.”  

According to Professor Candy Gunther Brown, author of Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools, the federal appellate case of Malnak v.Yogi (1979) ruled that teaching TM in public schools constitutes an impermissible “establishment of religion.” Indeed, the court’s ruling against TM left little room for debate:   Although defendants have submitted well over 1500 pages of briefs, affidavits, and deposition testimony…defendants have failed to raise the slightest doubt as to the facts or as to the religious nature of the teachings of the Science of Creative Intelligence [TM’s Hindu underpinnings] and the puja.

The teaching of the SCI/TM course in New Jersey public high schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, and its teaching must be enjoined.    TM proponents argue that the case is over 40 years old and no longer relevant. In an exchange in the Wall Street Journal 3 years ago, Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth wrote,    “TM is not a religion. Over 8 million people of all religions practice TM. It is taught in public schools, on military bases, and in large and small businesses. In each case, a team of legal experts has done due diligence and researched the accusations and claims and found them to have no basis.”   

When I pointed out in response that the puja ceremony is exactly the same today as it was in 1977, and that the establishment clause has not changed, Roth responded, “In the nearly 40 years since the 1979 court case you cite, tens of thousands of students have learned to meditate as part of voluntary Quiet Time programs with the full support of school boards and parents.”    That may be strictly true, but given what we’re learning about the Chicago case, that support may be largely due to the fact that TM isn’t entirely forthcoming in what it shares with school boards and parents regarding the explicitly religious content that permeates the program.       

But not all is bliss in the TM world. For example, TM teachers created “checking notes,” as a guide to handle pain and discomfort that might arise even within the first days of TM instruction. The existence and use of the checking notes document that the TM organization is well aware of these potential problems. Shaking and body movements, as well as overpowering thoughts, are frequent enough even during the first few meditations that an entire section of the checking procedure is devoted to these severe symptoms. 

More generally, a non-profit called Cheetah House, which is affiliated with Brown University, Harvard, and a number of other prestigious institutions, exists to provide “information and resources about meditation-related difficulties to meditators-in-distress.” And this is a major part of the mission of a proponent of meditation. In addition, while the UK’s National Health Service notes that meditation can be very helpful in many cases, “The serious, long-lasting nature of some of the negative experiences reported [in a recent study], however, are cause for concern.” These potential issues may be perfectly acceptable for adults voluntarily participating in TM workshops, but for children and adolescents required or even urged to participate it hardly seems appropriate. 

It took three years for CPS to conclude that TM is more than a secular relaxation method to reduce stress. And while it’s still unclear whether they dropped the program due to issues with the establishment clause, potential risks to students’ health, or both, one thing that is clear is that TM proponents will not be deterred from approaching other school systems and institutions. You might say that their belief in the benefits of TM is… religious.    https://religiondispatches.org/exclusive-why-did-chicago-public-schools-just-quietly-drop-transcendental-meditation/    

Source: Berean Call

Albert Mohler rejects the idea of ‘Christian yoga’ – The Christian Post

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. recently denounced the idea of “Christian yoga,” arguing that the origins of the practice are incompatible with Christianity.
— Read on www.christianpost.com/news/albert-mohler-rejects-the-idea-of-christian-yoga.html

Mantra Meditation – Yoga and Meditation Dangers

A warning from Chris Lawson about the dangers of mantra meditation and so-called “Christocentric meditation.”
— Read on www.spiritualresearchnetwork.org/mantra-meditation-dangerous.html

Leaving the occult: From New Age to Jesus – The Christian Post

Leaving the occult: From New Age to Jesus – The Christian Post
— Read on www.christianpost.com/podcast/leaving-the-occult-from-new-age-to-jesus.html

Knowing God In A Deeper Way

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1: 17

Following is a true story from Dr. H. A. Ironside, a former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. The subject is Ephesians 1:17. The story also contains the best definition of biblical meditation I have ever read. Enjoy. Carl

“I remember years ago, while my dear mother was still living, I went home to visit the family, and found there a man of God from north of Ireland. I was a young Christian at the time, engaged in gospel work. He was a much older man, an invalid, dying of what we then called “quick consumption.” He had come out to Southern California, hoping climatic conditions would be of some help to him. But it was evident that he was too far gone to be recovered to health again. He lived, by his own desire, in a small tent out under the olive trees a short distance from our home. I went out to see him there, I can remember how my heart was touched as I looked down upon his thin worn face upon which I could see the peace of Heaven clearly manifested. His name was Andrew Fraser. He could barely speak above a whisper, for his lungs were almost gone, but I can recall yet how, after a few words of introduction, he said to me, “Young man, you are trying to preach Christ; are you not?” I replied, “Yes I am.” “Well,” he whispered, “sit down a little, and let us talk together about the Word of God.”

He opened his well worn Bible, and until his strength was gone, simply, sweetly, and earnestly he opened up truth after truth as he turned from one passage to another, in a way that my own spirit had never entered into them. Before I realized it, tears were running down my face, and I asked, “Where did you get these things? Could you tell me where I could find a book that would open them up to me? Did you learn these things in some seminary or college?” I shall never forget his answer. ” My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time, and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart, and He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor that I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world”

Is it not true that most of us do not stay long enough in the presence of God? We do not get quiet enough to let Him talk to us and reveal His mind to us. “Meditation,” someone has said, ” is becoming a lost art in our day.” To meditate is really to chew the cud. Just as the cattle take their food in the rough, and then ruminate and get the sweetness and the good out of it, so the believer needs to read the Word and then spend time quietly in the presence of God, going over it again and again, ruminating, chewing the cud, until it becomes truly precious to the heart.

It is when one thus gets in the presence of God that the Holy Spirit delights to take of divine things and show them unto us. It is thus we grow in the knowledge of Christ. That is one reason why the Spirit came. Every believer to a certain extent has the knowledge of Christ, but the original word implies more that that. It is not merely knowledge as such; it is really super-knowledge, or full knowledge. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Perhaps you know him as Savior, as the One who has redeemed you from everlasting destruction, as the glorious Head of the Church, with whom you are linked by the Holy Spirit. He would have you to go on to know him better, for there are riches in Christ that you may be sure you have never yet entered into. We cannot afford to be negligent, or to let other things crowd out the blessing we might have by giving more time to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. ”

H. A. Ironside, LITT.D – In the Heavenlies [Ephesians] (1937), pages 86 – 89

What Marianne Williamson, Presidential Candidate, Believes About Jesus Christ

A Christian apologist who once believed in New Age spirituality criticized Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s teachings about Jesus Christ.

In a video posted to his YouTube channel Wednesday, Steven Bancarz — whose story of leaving the occult and turning to Christ was reported on by The Christian Post in September 2016 — unpacks the central error of the New Age philosophy espoused by Williamson, which is that accepting Christ is merely “a shift in self-perception.”

Promoted as a favorite author of Oprah Winfrey, Williamson is among the most visible New Age teachers in the world and has authored several New York Times best-sellers. 

In the Democrat presidential race, she currently stands in the bottom tier among the top 13 candidates, less than 1% nationally, according to today’s RealClearPolitics average of polls. 

Williamson has received positive reviews and heightened interest due to her debate performances, however. According to Google, Williamson was the most internet searched candidate during CNN’s July 30 debate. During that debate, Williamson used the phrase “dark psychic force,” which also trended in Google searches. 

“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days,” Williamson said in response to a question about the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. 

In a 2016 interview with BeliefNet, Williamson said Jesus was a human who “completely self-actualized and fulfilled in all ways the potential glory that lies within us all” when he was on Earth.

“To say there is ‘only one begotten son’ doesn’t mean that someone else was it, and we’re not. It means we’re all it.”

“Jesus actualized the Christ mind, and was then given the power to help the rest of us reach that place within ourselves. He was sent down by God — as we all are.”

Bancarz says that while Williamson’s words are a distortion of the real Jesus, her teachings fulfill some prophetic utterances Jesus made about the end times.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Who Goes There?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Discernment

Encountering voices in contemplative prayer . . .

“We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
—The Apostle John, 1 John 4:6, NASB

Introduction
Through practicing the discipline of solitude and silence, contemplative spiritualists hope to hear God personally speak to them. As one nationally known personality stated on the Be Still DVD, “intimacy automatically breeds revelation.” [1]  But if a voice speaks, there is some question regarding its identity. Therefore in the video’s same segment, “Fear of Silence,” Richard Foster offers advice about how to discern who might communicate in the stillness. He said:

Learning to distinguish the voice of God . . . from just human voices within us . . . comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we can know the difference. [2]

Though there could be others, Richard Foster admits to a cacophony of possible voices that might speak: first, human voices within and without (a source that could involve hearing oneself speak, in which case, contemplators would be listening to themselves); second, the voice of Satan or demons; and third, God’s voice.

Who’s Voice?
In order to determine whose voice might be speaking, Foster provides criteria. If the voice is positive and reaffirming, then the voice is God’s. If however the voice is negative and that like a bully who “pushes and condemns,” then the voice must be that of Satan. To discern whether or not the voice is human, Foster offers no advice.

So if the voice is human, one is left wondering, why go into a meditative trance to hear yourself or another human speak? After all, in the normal concourse of life people talk to themselves and listen to others all the time, unless contemplators feel so isolated and alone, or unless in accord with the eastern monistic worldview, meditators believe they are gods so that when they listen to their voice, they are listening to god’s!

Yet Foster is of the opinion that the voice could be God’s. He errs however, by asserting that the divine voice invariably “draws and encourages.” Scripture does not record that God exclusively speaks in that manner. Yes, God encourages. To disobedient Israel he said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). But God can and often has spoken negatively. Speaking for God, the prophets of Israel called the sinful nation to repentance as they warned the people of coming wrath and judgment. Of the prophets who droned on and on with their “encouraging” message even in the face of Israel’s utter moral and spiritual collapse, the Lord said, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). In light of God’s manner of speaking through the prophets, can biblical Christians legitimately dismiss negative messages as being from Satan?

In his classic work on the subject of holiness, German theologian Adolf Köberle countered the significance of the negative criteria Foster mentions. He wrote:

The clear-cut difference between mystical piety and that of the Bible can be seen most clearly in the attitude towards prayer. All mystical prayer . . . becomes a blissful absorption into divinity, where personal consciousness ceases, like the impassible, dreamy rest of Nirvana. The experience of all Biblical suppliants stands in direct contrast to this beatific transcendence. When anyone has really encountered God Himself and not merely a higher ego or an imaginary, fantastic portrayal of God, he is roused from dreaming to watchfulness, from an impure approach to a terrified retreat, from the familiar confidence of bombastic prayers to words that express a real feeling of awe towards the One Who is so far above the suppliant himself. [3]

Köberle then cites Isaiah’s response to his beatific vision and communication he had of and from the Lord as his response was: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Can Isaiah’s beatific experience accurately be described as one of being drawn to and encouraged by the Lord? If not, then to use Foster’s expression, was Isaiah being “bullied” by Satan?

Assuming that God speaks Soul to soul today, what if Foster’s paradigm for determining the supernatural communication’s origin was reversed, that the negative voice is God’s and the positive is Satan’s? It happened that way in the Garden. God warned Adam and Eve that for disobedience to God, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17), but Satan reassuringly told Adam and Eve, “You surely shall not die!” (Genesis 3:4). The point is that when engaging in meditative spirituality, the contemplator or mystic can never be certain who will speak, and as a consequence, the experience can become the spawning ground for myriads of flashy ideas based solely upon, he or she “heard this or that.” At the juncture of such hearing, Christians and the church will have turned aside to the hearsay of “myths” (2 Timothy 4:4).

We live in the age of the Holy Spirit and His spiritual communion and communication with the human soul. But the Spirit’s communication is not always pleasant. Of the Holy Spirit Jesus predicted, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Even the Comforter does not always comfort. Sometimes He convicts, and conviction of soul is not pleasant to experience. It upsets. We do not like to be told we are wrong. Yet without the voice of the Spirit’s conviction, we would continue in sin, pursue unrighteousness and deny we are accountable to God for our behavior. So when for legitimate reasons the Spirit’s conviction comes over them, will Christians be so deluded by the positivity and feel good message that saturates today’s evangelical church that they will ignore the Spirit’s conviction; or worse, in a turnabout, they will assign the criticism to be the bullying voice of Satan?

None of us likes criticism. Never is it pleasant, especially if deserved. Instinctively, we become defensive. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is not only the Comforter of believers, He is also their critic. As we might indulge the fleshly inclinations of our hearts, the Spirit brings feelings of guilt to bear down upon us. He calls us to repent of sin and return to God’s righteousness. Again, should believers rightfully assign all guilt feelings to Satan? If the message of the plethora of positivity preachers who dominate evangelicalism is to be believed, then the answer would be, “yes.” Negativity is satanic. But if the Bible’s standard of spirituality is believed, the answer is “no,” for one mark of spirituality in the Bible is a person’s sensitivity to sin (See Genesis 18:27; Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8; Romans 7:14-25; etc.).

A Warning
That contemplative spiritualists engage in practices that by their own admission expose them to the influence of Satan’s voice is troubling. Scripture admonishes believers, “Neither give place [i.e., an opportunity] to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). But in his advocacy of contemplative prayer, Richard Foster admits that Satan may seize the silence as an occasion to speak. He states:

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance . . . there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! [4]

How to Contemplate
In the first edition of his book The Celebration of Discipline (1978), Foster proposes “four forms” of meditation. [5]  The first involves two activities: one, in yogic style, sitting for about five to ten minutes with your palms down (consciously letting go of your problems—release it) and then with your palms up (silently waiting for God’s peace—receive it); or two, concentrating on breathing (exhaling worries, fears and concerns, inhaling God’s peace).

The second involves meditating on some aspect of creation because if we will but listen, God as Foster quotes Agnes Sanford (1897-1982), “still speaks to us through the earth and the sea, the birds of the air and the little living creatures upon the earth . . .” [6]

The third involves meditation for an extended period of time on a particular Scripture during which time the contemplator can “actually encounter the living Christ . . . be addressed by His voice and be touched by His healing power.” [7] In contrast to imagination that might happen during meditation, Foster writes that with Jesus “it can be a genuine confrontation” and then adds, “Jesus Christ may actually come to you.” [8] Meditators can, it appears, stimulate their own personal and private Parousia, Presence or Second Coming (Matthew 24:30), and this despite the fact that Scripture declares the event will be public (Revelation 1:7).

But Foster describes yet a fourth type of meditation, one he calls “the Mt. Everest of the soul,” one that “has its objective to bring you into a deep inner communion with the Father where you look at Him and He looks at you.” [9] And this can happen despite Jesus’ testimony that He alone had visage of the Father; He said, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father”; and despite the Apostle John’s statement, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 6:46; 1:18; Compare 1 Timothy 6:16.). But go for it anyway.

Going OBE (Out of the Body)
As contemplators climb smaller meditative peaks, and meditatively gaze at the sky above, they may sense a desire to go higher. [10] Foster describes an exercise of meditation that can induce and transport the contemplator’s soul to experience another dimension of reality. “After awhile” wrote Foster, “there is a deep yearning within to go into the upper regions beyond the clouds.” [11]  So to climb the highest peak, Foster tells readers,

In your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily. Imagine your spiritual self, alive and vibrant, rising up through the clouds and into the stratosphere. Observe your physical body, the knoll, and the forest shrink as you leave the earth. Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence. Listen quietly, anticipating the unanticipated. Note carefully any instruction given. With time and experience you will be able to distinguish readily between mere human thought that may bubble up to the conscious mind and the True Spirit which moves upon the heart. Do not be surprised if the instruction is terribly practical and not pointed if no words come; like good friends, you are silently enjoying the company of each other. When it is time for you to leave, audibly thank the Lord for His goodness and return to the meadow. Walk joyfully back along the path until you return home full of new life and energy. [12]

Question: In light Scripture’s admonition to “resist the devil” (James 4:7), why should Christians flirt with a spiritual practice that might expose them to hear Satan or a demon speak?

Conclusion
The fact that contemporary evangelicals seek “fresh” revelations from and experiences with God, even to go “out of the body,” indicates that they no longer consider Holy Scripture to be sufficient and authoritative in matters of faith and its practice (Contra 2 Timothy 3:16.). Yet if the Bible is no longer considered sufficient, hearing another voice give a revelation raises the following conundrum:

If a voice repeats what’s in Holy Scripture, then the word is unnecessary. If a voice intuition or actual speaking contradicts the Word of God, then what it says is heresy. If however, the voice supplements the Word of God, then the fresh revelation points to Scripture’s insufficiency, and regarding this last point Proverbs warns: “Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he [God] reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6, KJV).

So the Apostle Paul warned the Colossians against the folk religion that was leading them astray from the faith:

“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Emphasis added, Colossians 2:18-19).

One of the marks of spiritual defrauders is, as Paul points out, that they take their “stand on visions they have seen.” Would it not also be a legitimate application of Paul’s words to think that spiritual defrauders might also take their stand upon voices they have heard?

___________________
Endnotes
[1] Michelle McKinney Hammond, “Fear of Silence,” Be Still (DVD © 2006 Twentieth Fox Home Entertainment LLC).
[2] Ibid: Richard Foster segment.
[3] Italics mine, Adolf Köberle, The Quest for Holiness, John C. Mattes, Translator (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1938): 35-36.
[4] Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1992): 157.
[5] Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1978): 27-28. In the books 10th Anniversary revision, Foster still advises the same formats for meditation, but eliminates much of the advice and goals of meditation evident in the first edition. See Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, Revised Edition (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988): 29-32. Christianity Today, the magazine of evangelicalism, has called the book, having sold over a million copies, one of the top ten books of the twentieth century. This raises the question, How many copies of the 1978 edition are still in circulation as used books? If they are still circulating, then the issues raised deserve continuing address for the mystical path Foster promotes is even today being followed and experienced.
[6] Ibid: 25. During the 60s thru the 80s, Sanford was a charismatic leader of the Inner Healing Movement.
[7] Ibid: 26.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid: 27.
[10] As they climb the “mystic mountain,” contemplators may at hear and experience “attendant voices and visitations.” See Ray C. Petry, Editor, Late Medieval Mysticism: The Library of Christian Classics, Volume 17 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1957): 21. Other experiences may include body illumination and levitation. Other experienced paranormal phenomena (PSI) can include clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, prophecy and so on. See Herbert Thurston, S.J., The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, J.H. Crehan, Editor (Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 1951); Montague Summers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism: With Especial Reference to the Stigmata, Divine and Diabolic (London, GB: Rider & Company, 1950); and Raynor C. Johnson, The Imprisoned Splendor: An approach to Reality, based upon the significance of data drawn from the fields of Natural Science, Psychical Research and Mystical Experience (Cambridge, GB: University Press, 1989).
[11] Foster, Celebration of Discipline (1978), 27.
[12] Ibid: Emphasis added. In a bibliographical note regarding the first edition of Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (1978), Christian philosopher Arthur Johnson stated: “In an attempt to provide advice on living the Christian life, Foster promotes a very mystical view of Christianity.” Therefore Johnson concluded that, “Much of what the Protestant Reformers opposed is promoted by Foster.” See Arthur L. Johnson, Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988): 153.

The Medium Who Gave Herself To Science

Dave Hunt

There is considerable data to support the belief that “possession” involves the invasion of the person by another independent entity. Eileen Garrett was so uncomfortable with being possessed by “spirit controls” who spoke through her that she gave herself to every possible scientific test in order to prove to herself that it was all a figment of her imagination. But the tests, in fact, confirmed her worst fears: that she was indeed possessed by entities she could not escape.

One series of rigorous medical tests was conducted in New York by Dr. Cornelium H. Traeger, a specialist in arthritis and heart disease. When he began the tests, Dr. Traeger held firmly to the common opinion of psychologists that the entities allegedly speaking through Garrett were simply splits of her psyche and not separate entities with their own minds. While Garrett was possessed by different “control” spirits, Traeger tested her “blood count, bleeding time, clotting time, respiration, pulse, heart pressure and cardiac reaction by an electrical cardiograph, as well as by the injection of various drugs.” According to an associate, Dr. Elmer Lindsay:

“The results were…so surprising that Dr. Traeger hesitated to show them to his colleagues. No human heart could show records so diametrically opposed and divergent…. When the bleeding time…blood counts [etc.] were checked the results suggested an actual change in the physical composition of the medium’s blood when she was [controlled by different entities]….”

Other elaborate tests were administered to Mrs. Garrett and her “controls” by Hereward Carrington, director of the American Psychical Institute. Again the results were startling. When Carrington tested Mrs. Garrett and the various entities speaking through her with a lie detector, the polygraph confirmed that each entity differed fundamentally from the medium and from each other. Referring to cases where “possession” is suspected, SRI senior scientist Willis Harman points out:

“Physiological and biochemical changes…can include brainwave patterns, chemical composition of bodily fluids, immune status, allergies, skin electrical responses, and other [which differ depending upon which “personality” is in control]…. This development leaves little doubt that in some important sense the alternate personality ‘really exists’ as surely as does the usual personality.”

Not surprisingly, the entities controlling Eileen Garrett presented the same lies right out of the serpent’s mouth. They claimed to be gods who represented “the God principle which is within us all.” Their message agreed with that coming through all the other channels: that there is no death and no judgment—only acceptance as the departed ones move on from this life to another level of existence and continue to learn their lessons and advance ever higher.

The evidence is overwhelming that intelligent entities exist independent of mankind and that they are able, when given entrance, to use the human body to their own ends. The consistent message they present betrays their true identity and purpose.

Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” (Part 2) – Neale Donald Walsch, “God” and Hitler

March 19, 2015

By Warren B. Smith

Several months after the tragic events of 9/11/2001, Oprah Winfrey did a special program on the ten most “memorable thinkers” she had ever met.1 One of these memorable thinkers was a controversial New Age channeler by the name of Neale Donald Walsch who teaches—among other things—that we are all “God”2 and that “Hitler went to heaven.”3 Oprah’s high praise of Walsch provides important insight into the strong New Age beliefs she attempts to pass off as being “Christian.”

Who is Neale Donald Walsch?

In 1992, Neale Donald Walsch, a disillusioned and distraught former radio talk-show host, public relations professional, and longtime metaphysical seeker, sat down one night and wrote God an angry letter.4 He was amazed when “God” immediately answered his letter by speaking to him through an inner voice. That night, and in subsequent conversations, Walsch wrote down all the dictated answers to his questions. Walsch’s Conversations with God, Book 1 was published in 1995 and became the first in a series of best-selling Conversations with God books. It seemed that in Walsch, “God” had found yet another willing channel for his New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality teachings.

In a style reminiscent of John Denver and George Burns in the movie Oh, God!, Walsch and “God” present a more “down home” version of the same New Age/New Gospel teachings that were conveyed through previous “inner voice” dictations to Helen Schucman (A Course in Miracles), Barbara Marx Hubbard (The Revelation), Benjamin Creme (Messages from Maitreya), and many others. With Walsch playing the role of devil’s advocate, “God” cleverly plays off of Walsch’s leading questions and comments. Walsch and “God” come across in these conversations as a couple of “everyday Joe’s” who systematically dismantle biblical Christianity with their straight-from-the-source, “thus saith the Lord,” “spiritually correct” teachings. With the assurance of two foxes now in control of the henhouse, they emphatically assert that their New Gospel is from God and the “Old Gospel” is not.

To read whole article click here.

Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” and the Emperor’s New Clothes

The following article shows how dangerous the new age/new spirituality is. By promoting certain authors, Oprah has spread far and wide, her version of “Christianity”. Marianne Williamson, a candidate in the 2020 U.S. presidential race, is one of the authors she has promoted. Now is the time to be paying attention:

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12

God bless you.  Carl

March 2, 2015

By Warren B. Smith

“The twenty-first century will be the time of awakening, of meeting The Creator Within. Many beings will experience Oneness with God and with all of life. This will be the beginning of the golden age of the New Human, of which it has been written; the time of the universal human, which has been eloquently described by those with deep insight among you. There are many such people in the world now—teachers and messengers, Masters and visionaries—who are placing this vision before humankind and offering tools with which to create it. These messengers and visionaries are the heralds of a New Age.1 (emphasis added)—Neale Donald Walsch’s New Age “God”

Get ready to be awakened.2 (emphasis added)—Oprah Winfrey

The colorful orange and blue paper band around the book issued the following invitation to readers: “Join Oprah and Eckhart for a worldwide web event . . . Every Monday night for 10 weeks . . . Register at Oprah.com.” A personal message from Oprah stated, “Get ready to be awakened.” It was early in 2008, and it all had to do with a much-publicized selection from Oprah Winfrey’s book club—A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose by New Age author Eckhart Tolle. Through this worldwide web event with Tolle, Oprah was making a definite statement. She was no longer content to just share and promote her New Age beliefs. In this Internet class with Tolle, she would now be actively teaching them. This was a bold move by a woman who was willing to do everything in her power—which is considerable—to convert humanity to a new worldview and to a New Age “Christianity” that is no Christianity at all.

The “Shift”

With her good friend Marianne Williamson simultaneously teaching a daily year-long class on A Course in Miracles on Oprah and Friends XM Satellite Radio, Oprah was unleashing two very public New Age classes. And these classes were teaching millions of people that the way to save themselves and the planet was not by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior but rather by accepting the “God” and “Christ within.” As Williamson put it in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles: “I accept the Christ within.”3

For entire article click here.

In Defense of the Faith

Dear Reader: the following is an question concerning the authenticity of the Bible that was received by The Berean Call. Dave Hunt, the author of the God Makers, The Mind Invaders, and The Woman Rides The Beast, gives an excellent answer. I pray you are blessed by the discussion. Carl

February 1, 2019 Dave Hunt – Berean Call– February Newsletter

What about Satan as Serpent?

Question: I think one of the great evidences against the authenticity of the Bible is its treatment of the serpent. In the Bible, the serpent is the embodiment of evil, whereas ancient myths and religions give exactly the opposite view. The Bible equates the serpent with the devil, but the most ancient religions, some of which are even practiced  to the present time, almost universally identify the serpent as the Savior, or at least as benevolent and to be worshiped. How can the Bible be true at the same time be so much out of touch with what is clearly the common intuition of humanity?

Response: This is a fascinating subject, and its implications go beyond our ability to understand fully. There is no doubt that the Bible repeatedly identifies Satan both as the serpent and the dragon, not only in Genesis 3 but elsewhere. For example, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation:12:9 – “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”)

In view of the usual human revulsion and fear of both dragons and serpents, one would think that Satan would do everything possible to deny such a connection, yet the opposite seems to be the case, for some strange reason. How intriguing it is that both are so closely associated with nearly all pagan religions. The dragon is found on thousands of temples throughout Asia, while the serpent permeates and even dominates the religion of India.

Serpent Worship Everywhere

In the temples of ancient Egypt and Rome the body of the god Serapis was encircled by the coils of a great serpent. In Hinduism one of the three chief gods, Shiva, has serpents entwined in his hair. Yoga is symbolized as a raft made of cobras, and its goal is to awaken the kundalini power coiled at the base of the human spine in the form of a serpent. Numerous other examples could be given, from the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, the Savior-god of the Mayas, to the annual snake dance of the Hopi Indians. One of the greatest authorities on the occult (himself a practitioner of occultism) has written:

“Serpent worship in some form permeated nearly all parts of the earth. The serpent mounds of the American Indian; the carved-stone snakes of Central and South America; the hooded cobras of India; Python, the great snake of the Greeks; the sacred serpents of the Druids; the Midgard snake of Scandinavia; the Nagas of Burma, Siam, and Cambodia . . . the mystic serpent of Orpheus; the snakes at the oracle of Delphi . . . the sacred serpents preserved in the Egyptian temples; the Uraeus coiled upon the foreheads of the Pharaohs and priests—all these bear wintess to the universal veneration in which the snake was held. . . .”

” The serpent is . . . the symbol and prototype of the Universal Savior, who redeems the world by giving creation the knowledge of itself. . . .  It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation.” (Manley P. Hall, The Secret Teachings or all Ages: An Encyclopedic outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Sybolical Philosophy (The Philosophical Research Society, Inc, Lost Angeles, CA 90027, 1969)

In Greek mythology a serpent was wrapped around the Orphic egg, the symbol of the cosmos. Likewise at Delphi, Greece (for centuries the location of the most sought-for and influential oracle of the ancient world, consulted by potentates from as far away as North Africa and Asia Minor), the three legs of the oracular tripod in the inner shrine of the temple were intertwined with serpents. As one further example, consider the Greek and Roman god of medicine, Aesculapius, whose symbol of modern medicine, the caduceus, was derived.

In the temples erected in his honor, Aesculapius was worshiped with snakes because of ancient myth that said he had received a healing herb at the mouth of a serpent. Here again we have the Genesis story perverted: The serpent is not the deceiver and destroyer but the Savior of mankind, replacing Jesus Christ. At graduation ceremonies of medical schools around the world, where prayers to the God of the Bible or to Jesus Christ would not be allowed, graduates, upon receiving their MD degrees, still repeat loudly in unison the Hippocratic oath. It begins, “I swear by Apollo, by Aesculapius, by Hygeia and Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses. . . .”

Surely the Bible’s depiction of Satan as a serpent and dragon, the deceiver and destroyer of mankind, and then as the god of this world who originates pagan religions, fits the evidence. Furthermore, the very fact that the Bible stands alone against all ancient religions provides further evidence that all of them have a common source and that the inspiration behind the Bible is, exactly as it claims, independent of theirs. In fact, the two sources of inspiration are obviously diametrically opposed.

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