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.

Lord Jesus Christ – The Son of Man

The following Scriptures are about the Son of Man, a messianic term the Lord used for Himself in Scripture. I hope they strengthen and encourage you in your faith. If you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ, I hope these Scriptures will cause you to re-evaluate your rejection of Him or apathy toward Him.

We begin in ancient Babylonia when Daniel, the prophet, (530 B.C.E.) had a vision of heaven. We then weave in and out of the New and Old Testament, ending in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Be strengthened and encouraged by what the Word reveals about our coming Warrior King and Priest, Jesus Christ! Carl

Daniel 7:9-10 – Daniel’s Vision Of The Ancient of Days and The Son Of Man

“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

[10] A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened. …

Daniel 7:13-14

[13] “I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

[14] “And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.”

Revelation 1:10-18 – The Apostle John Encountering The Glorified Lord Jesus On Island of Patmos.

[10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet…

[12] Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw…

[13] … One like unto a Son of Man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.

[14] His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. [15] His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

[16] In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

[17] When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.

And He placed His right hand on me, saying,

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

[18] and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Colossians 1:15-22 – Who the Lord Jesus Is.

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. [17] He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [18] He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [19] For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…”

Hebrews 1:2-3

[2] … whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. [3] And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…

Acts 7:56 – Stephen’s Vision As He Was Being Stoned To Death.

…and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Matthew 16:27 – Jesus Christ Speaking About Himself.

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”

Psalm 2:7-12 – What ‘God The Father’ Told ‘God The Son’ Plus A Warning.

[7] “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:

He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

[8] ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,

And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

[9] ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,

You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”

[10] Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;

Take warning, O judges of the earth.

[11] Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.

[12] Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,

For His wrath may soon be kindled.

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”

Matthew 24:29-31 – Lord Jesus Tells About Gathering His Followers.

[29] “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

[30] And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

[31] And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. …

Luke 21:28 – Lord Jesus’ Instructions To Believers In That Day.

“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Psalm 110:1-7 – God The Father Speaking To Jesus, The Warrior King and Priest.

[1]The LORD (God The Father)says to my Lord (David’s Lord – Messiah -Jesus Christ):

“ Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

[2] The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion (Jerusalem), saying,

“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”

[3] Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;

In splendors of holiness,

from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten you.

[4] The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,

“You are a priest forever

According to the order of Melchizedek.”

[5] The Lord (Jesus) is at Your (God The Father’s) right hand;

He (Jesus) will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

[6] He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses,

He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.

[7] He will drink from the brook by the wayside;

Therefore He will lift up His head. … (clarification added)

Revelation 14:14-20 – The Reaping Of The Church From The Earth

[14] Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud,

and sitting on the cloud was one like the Son of Man,

having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

[15] And another angel came out of the temple,

crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud,

“Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come,

because the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

[16] Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth,

and the earth was reaped.

The Reaping Of The Lost Souls

[17] And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven,

and he also had a sharp sickle.

[18] Then another angel, the one who has power over fire,

came out from the altar;

and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle,

saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth,

because her grapes are ripe.”

[19] So the angel swung his sickle to the earth

and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth,

and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

[20] And the wine press was trodden outside the city,

and blood came out from the wine press,

up to the horses’ bridles,

for a distance of two hundred miles. …

Isaiah 63:1-6 – Jesus Treading Wine Press OF The Wrath of God When He Comes To Save Israel.

[1] … Who is this who comes from Edom (modern Jordan),

With garments of crimson from Bozrah (Petra),

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

[2] Why is Your apparel red,

And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

[3] “I have trodden the wine trough alone,

And from the peoples there was no man with Me.

I also trod them in My anger

And trampled them in My wrath;

And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,

And I stained all My raiment.

[4] “For the day of vengeance was in My heart,

And My year of redemption has come.

[5] “I looked, and there was no one to help,

And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;

So My own arm brought salvation to Me,

And My wrath upheld Me.

[6] “I trod down the peoples in My anger

And made them drunk in My wrath,

And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

(Clarification added)

Isaiah 34:1-3 – In The End, All Nations Attack Israel And Jesus Destroys Them.

[1] … Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples!

Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.

[2] For the LORD’S indignation is against all the nations,

And His wrath against all their armies;

He has utterly destroyed them,

He has given them over to slaughter…

Revelation 19:11-16 – Jesus Christ, The Son of Man, Returns To Earth.

[11] And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse,

and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True,

and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

[12] His eyes are a flame of fire,

and on His head are many diadems;

and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

[13] He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood,

and His name is called The Word of God.

[14] And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

[15] From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations,

and He will rule them with a rod of iron;

and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

[16] And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written,

“ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” …

Conclusion

What a mighty Lord and Savior we serve, a Warrior King and Priest. He is coming to deliver the true Body of Christ and to reveal Himself to the nation of Israel and save her from all of her enemies. The Messiah is coming in a second advent to finish what He started in the first advent.

Are you ready to meet Him Christian? Are you ready to meet Him lost person? That is the question.

Carl

What Does Intercessory Prayer Look Like?

Let me say right off the bat that we are not “dream” people. We don’t try to interpret dreams or live our lives according to our dreams.

That said, one night this week, my lovely wife had a dream concerning intercession, praying for the souls and needs of people. She said it was unlike any dream she had ever had. Vivid colors.

I wanted to share the dream with you in hopes it may encourage you to persist in your prayer life and to continue to intercede for lost souls and the needs of the Body of Christ. Feel free to share it with someone if the Lord directs you to do so.

Keep Praying!

Carl

Intercession

Last night I dreamed I was interceding along with others for many different requests. The prayers of the saints were flowing like a multi colored, liquid rainbow. Occasionally, while praying, a feeling of hopelessness tried to creep in, to hinder the prayers for others and the prayers seemed to fall out of the flow, to the ground, in the form of solid, colorless matter. I was running beside the flow, gathering the fallen prayers and putting them back up in the colorful, undulating flow that eventually came before the Lord of Lords. The enemy was constant, in trying to block and halt the prayers through discouragement, hopelessness, loss of vision and other tactics. But God, in His faithfulness, remembered every prayer that was birthed in the heart of the intercessors and voiced in faith.

The Root Cause of the Catholic Sex Scandal

The following document is from Berean Beacon, a ministry operated by former Catholic priests. Please pray for the many people affected by this scandal regardless of their religious affliation. God bless. Carl

The Root Cause of the Catholic Sex Scandal

“While the USA is entangled in a Catholic sex abuse scandal similar events are being revealed in other nations.  “Of all the countries where sexual-abuse revelations have scandalized the Roman Catholic Church, Ireland has been among the hardest hit.  In the past decade, this predominantly Roman Catholic nation of 3.8 million people—which has exported priests worldwide from its now largely closed network of seminaries—has seen more than 100 priests convicted for molesting children and church-state relations torn apart.  Bishops have admitted they frequently knew of abuse claims but transferred pedophile priests to new parishes rather than notify police, as they now concede should have happened.  One of the earliest public cases triggered a government collapse in 1994.”[1]  While the case in the USA has engendered the most attention, this has actually been a global scandal, with incidents documented in many countries around the world. The highest number of occurrences takes place in the strongest Catholic countries where the Church is held in the highest veneration, such as in Latin American countries.

Many Catholics are quite irate concerning child abuse by their Priests and call for the removal of corrupt Bishops, reform, and redress and compensation.  There are many of such groups,[2] one of these demands, “that Corrupt Bishops must go!”[3]  While Catholics call for the exposure of the facts, the Vatican has for many years ordered strictest secret in child abuse cover-up cases. The order, written in Latin, was sent from the Vatican in 1962 and is marked with the seal of Pope John XXIII….The document states: ‘Matters should be pursued in a most secretive way … they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any … is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.’”[4] While the grave concerns of ordinary Catholics are quite commendable, they are just a genuine humanistic response to depraved behavior.

The Hand of God in Providence

It is necessary to see the whole crisis in the light of the sovereignty of God, and to discern the root cause of what has become a persistent agonizing and revealing wound.  The doctrine of God’s sovereignty in the Scriptures gives us an exalted view of His purposes.  By understanding the nature of God we gain wisdom and understanding because, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.[5]   God is the Father and fountain of all good.  He is not and cannot be, the author or advocate of anything that is evil.  He is acknowledged as the cause and spring of every thing that is good, in the words of Scripture, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.[6] However, since God controls all things, this means that evil is also under the control of God, He has, in His good judgment, decreed that the evil of Apostasy would have full dominion throughout history for His own purposes and to His glory!  Apostasy and its evil fruits are included among God’s eternal decrees, made known to us in His Word of truth in the Scriptures.[7]

In our own day however, it appears that Christ Jesus is beginning His end time judgment, upon the apostate Vatican Church.  There has come upon that Church an “evil… which you will not know how to charm away.[8]  A wound has come upon the Church of Rome that she just does not have the charisma to overcome.  So therefore, “the Lord reigneth; let the people tremble![9]   The Lord God rules the world by His providence, governs true believers by His grace, and administers and judges apostate systems in His righteousness, even unto repentance.  We are not only to believe that the Lord lives, but that the Lord reigns even through the Catholic scandals and their origins!

The Root of the Crisis

The true nature of the crisis in the Catholic Church is not pedophilia, but homosexuality.  The root cause of the predicament is however much deeper.  The starting place is the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church regarding overcoming evil.  To deal with sin the Church of Rome proposes for her Priests and her people a looking within to find their destiny, thus she states,

“This is the reason why this sacred Synod, in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, offers to co-operate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs.”[10]

This is one of the basic concepts of Pagan religions, which hold that there is a spark of the divine within each human being. Thus, in Hinduism it is held, “By understanding your true Self, by coming to know one’s own undying soul, one then arrives at the knowledge of Brahman itself…”[11]  Rome persists in maintaining this Pagan teaching of “an element of the divine” within man, and brings such a concept to its logical conclusion in attempting to deal with sin and evil inclinations.

“…Nevertheless man has been wounded by sin.  He finds by experience that his body is in revolt.  His very dignity therefore requires that he should glorify God in his body, and not allow it to serve the evil inclinations of his heart.  …When he is drawn to think about his real self he turns to those deep recesses of his being where God who probes the heart awaits him, and where he himself decides his own destiny in the sight of God.”[12]

For a sinner to attempt to be right with God by deciding “his own destiny in the sight of God” is to degrade the person of God, and His written Word.  The Scripture makes known God’s character and the means of salvation is proclaimed as “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.[13]  Such a glorious portrayal of the nature of G
od may drive sinners to despair of self.  This is exactly how it should be.  It is not until the sinner loses hope of any help from within himself that he will depend solely on God’s mercy and grace.  Once the Holy Spirit convicts that person that there is no help from within, he will recognize that he is lost, and cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.[14] The God of infinite mercy be merciful to such a one.  The sinner however who “decides his own destiny in the sight of God,” will be ever undone, forever lost, as we see in the lives of those Priests involved in child abuse.

Self-Salvation Leaves the Priest Hopeless

What Catholic priests have learnt, and the doctrine to which they look for help with moral problems, is such as the following official teaching,

“It is, however, only in freedom that man can turn himself towards what is good.  … For God willed that man should ‘be left in the hand of his own counsel’ so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.  Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint.”[15]

To those who believe Rome’s teaching regarding man’s dignity and his ability to choose God, we pose the Lord’s question, “how can ye believe, which receive honour one of another?[16]  Water cannot flow uphill, nor can a sinner act contrary to his corrupt nature.  What then can one do?  One must first acknowledge that he is spiritually dead, and cry out for help.  It is the Holy Spirit that awakens a sense of need.  We hear and learn from the Father by the Holy Spirit through His written Word.  God’s Word shows forth the mind of God “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.[17]  It is exactly opposite to what Rome proclaims, man, as “left in the hand of his own counsel.”  This concept of self-salvation however is ingrained in Catholicism, together with its dependence on its seven physical sacraments to obtain grace.[18]  Man “left in the hand of his own counsel” and to his “dignity and freedom” is the red wine of deceptive pride.  This teaching is a thousand light years away from the conviction of the Holy Spirit that comes from God alone, through His written Word.  This type of teaching is the basic cause of the moral crisis within the Catholic Church.  For decades Archbishops and bishops have kept dreadful accounts of child abuse out of the public eye through an elaborate code of secrecy, deception, and intimidation.  Under it strictest penalty that of pain of excommunication Rome has since 1962 warned the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops to keep the clergy sexual abuse secret.  The press has exposed this clandestine legislation.[19]  The many homosexuals within the priesthood are also a most serious cause of the crisis.  Homosexuality can be ranked, after an incorrect method of dealing with sin, as the second major reason behind the present calamity.

Homosexuality in Catholic Seminaries

Were it not documented in Catholic books[20] one would hardly believe the utter decadence in seminaries and in colleges that train for the priesthood.  The subculture of homosexuality is rampant right across the U.S.A.  Page after page of ‘Goodbye, Good Men’ tells of the horrific influence of homosexuality, which has permeated the youth in the Catholic seminaries.  The ideals of the youth are replaced by unnatural lusts that have become prevalent in major seminaries and colleges training for the priesthood in the U.S.A.[21]

Donnell Cozzens, a leading Catholic priest and rector of St. Mary’s in Cleveland Ohio (one of the leading U.S. Seminaries) states in his book on the priesthood that: “An NBC report on celibacy and the clergy found that ‘anywhere from 23 percent to 58 percent’ of the Catholic clergy have a homosexual orientation.[22]

Other studies find that approximately half of American priests and seminarians are homosexually oriented…  Moreover, the percentage of gay men among religious congregations of priests is believed to be even higher.”[23]  Then nonchalantly he states, “At issue at the beginning of the twenty-first century is the growing perception—one seldom contested by those who know the priesthood well—that the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession.  And to the point is the question: Does it matter?  Does not the question reveal still another form of homophobia?”[24]

Then under the heading “The Gay Crisis” Cozzens states, “Gay seminarians are likely to feel at home and at ease in a seminary with a significant gay population.  They feel they belong and their need for meaningful, deep relationships with other gay man is easily met, and because they instinctively recognize other gay seminarians, circles of support and camaraderie are quickly formed… The straight seminarian meanwhile, feels out of place and may interpret his inner destabilization as a sign that he does not have a vocation to the priesthood”[25]  In the concluding sentence of the book Cozzens says, “Behind the changing face of the priesthood remains the saving face of Jesus the Christ.”[26]

The Unthinkable Has Happened

The doctrine of self-salvation, and the tolerance of homosexuality[27] in the priesthood, has been the root evil behind the present ignominy.  While the unthinkable has happened the Vatican has been unashamed and has continued to declare that her teachings and tradition are
not the cause.  Thus, she officially declares,

 “In any case, the [Catholic] church of the West cannot weaken her faithful observance of her own tradition.  And it is unthinkable that for centuries she has followed a path which, instead of favouring the spiritual richness of individual souls and of the People of God, has in some way compromised it, or that she has with arbitrary juridical prescriptions stifled the free expansion of the most profound realities of nature and of grace.”[28]

The unimaginable is now in front of men’s faces, both tradition in doctrine, and celibacy in practice, have failed.  First again looking at the traditional way of dealing with the “slavery to the passions.”  The audacity to teach that God is willing to do His part if you “freely choose what is good,” is a God insulting denial of the Gospel.  This is exactly what Rome teaches; we give another official quote from Vatican documents,

 “Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward towards his goal by freely choosing what is good, and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.  Since human freedom has been weakened by sin it is only by the help of God’s grace that man can give his actions their full and proper relationship to God.”[29]

This tradition repudiates one of the most precious truths taught in the Bible, namely, that God helps those who are incapable of helping themselves, those who have tried again and again only to fail.

The Gospel of the Sovereign Lord

If there is to be a real answer to the horrific crimes, it is necessary that Catholic Priests and people be convicted that they are made right with the all-Holy God by grace alone through faith alone, and in Christ alone and all glory and praise is to God alone.  To come to Christ Jesus for life, is for the sinner to recognize that he is utterly destitute of any claim upon God’s grace. It is to see that in ones own power he is lost and hopeless.  It is to come clean with God and admit that he is deserving of nothing in himself but eternal death and punishment.  To come to Christ for life, is for the sinner to abandon his own imagined dignity, and so-called ability to overcome passions.  To know eternal life is to disown man made self-salvation and to unreservedly believe only on the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord.  “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”[30]  Looking to personal dignity and ability, and to rid oneself of “all slavery to the passions” is worse than foolishness, it is soul damning.  Catholic Priests and people are responsible to use the means of that the Lord God’s has appointed.  The Sovereign Lord has shown His hand in the midst of crisis!  Forgiveness of sin, including homosexuality is God’s gift to the believer.  It is granted to the believer, based on Christ’s finished work on the cross.[31]

God’s action in Christ Jesus shows His graciousness to believers so that their eyes of faith are fixed on Him alone.  “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.[32]

As the Sovereign Lord judges in time, we pray it will result in true repentance and true belief.  Since we are dealing with Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, we boldly pray that the Lord’s own words will be fulfilled as never before!  “Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live… Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols,nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.[33]  The end design of Sovereign Lord is the giving of renewing grace enabling sinners to be a kind of first fruits of His creatures, that sinners should be God’s portion and treasure.  In the words of Scripture, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.[34]  In history past, the Sovereign Lord has often displayed His renewing grace in the midst of great evil, that this would be so again is our heartfelt prayer.  The resurrection of souls from the depravity of sin to life Christ Jesus is the Gospel of good news, which we proclaim!


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.

Pastor of Underground Church in Kenya Beaten Unconscious

Please pray for this Christian pastor and his family. Hebrew 13:3 instructs us to:

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Carl

NAIROBIKenya, March 11, 2019 (Morning Star News) – The Somali pastor of an underground church in Kenya near the Somali border suffered a broken thigh bone and other injuries after Muslim extremists beat him with wooden clubs on Friday night (March 8), sources said.

Pastor Abdul (surname withheld for security reasons), a 30-year-old father of three, had finished leading a prayer gathering at 9 p.m. on the outskirts of Garissa and was on his way back to his house when several ethnic Somali Muslims attacked, he told Morning Star News from his hospital bed, still visibly in pain.

Pastor Abdul said he did not know the assailants. As they approached him, he said, one of them told him, “We have been following your movements and your evil plans of changing Muslims to Christianity.” 

Leader of an underground church of 30 former Muslims, he clandestinely met with them in smaller groups on varying days for worship, prayer and Bible study, he said.

“Immediately several assailants began hitting me with wooden clubs, and I became unconscious,” Pastor Abdul said. “I woke up and found myself surrounded by neighbors. I was rescued by the neighbors who found me in a pool of blood.”

They rushed him to a hospital in Garissa, where doctors found his thigh was broken and bruises throughout his body.

“Apart from the thigh pain, I now feel pain all over my body, especially the waist, the back and my left leg near the ankle,” Pastor Abdul told Morning Star News between groans. “I’m almost unable to bear the pain. My family is in great fear, and Christians have located us to another place. Our prayer for now is to get a safe place for my family. My life and that of my family is at stake.”

His children are 8, 5 and 3 years old.

The pastor, who became a Christian seven years ago, said the Muslim extremists discovered his activities even though he had taken precautionary measures to try to keep his movements secret.

The population of Garissa, about 100 miles from the Somali border, is predominantly ethnic Somali.  On April 2, 2015, 148 people at Garissa University College lost their lives in an attack by Muslim extremist Al Shabaab, a rebel group in Somalia affiliated with Al Qaeda, and several attacks on churches and Christians have taken place in Garissa.

Somalis generally believe that all Somalis must be Muslim. Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.

Somalia is ranked third on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian; Kenya is ranked 40.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.

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.