Tag: new age

Exposed

img_7202

What do the Bible Reading Challenge, the Sheologians Book Club reading of “(A)Typical Woman“, the Grace Church of the Valley womens study of “A Gospel Primer“, and ongoing discussions with several of my friends all have in common?  They all had me rethinking this week what went on in Eden and what certain occurrences there mean for women today. Come take a stroll with me down the garden path of Genesis 3. I’m taking stops at nearly every verse so pardon the halting pace. Verse 1:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.”

This has not changed. Can we all just keep that in mind? The serpent is still crafty but he’s not infinitely creative in his craft, which means he’s mostly always up to the same old tricks.

“He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Ladies, something should happen when you hear words like “the Bible never says…” or “the Bible doesn’t explicitly forbid…” There should be an instant red flag. This should cause us to spring into action, pull out our concordances and do a little fact checking. We may find that it’s true — that the Bible truly says no such thing. Or we may find that the Bible actually does say the very thing we’re being told it doesn’t say. Or we may find that the Bible says something similar but we’re not sure if it’s the same thing, in which case we better do a little research till we are sure. But in every case we should be sure about what the Bible actually does and doesn’t say, NOT BECAUSE SOMEONE TOLD US SO, BUT BECAUSE WE’VE ACTUALLY READ IT THERE. Which brings me to my next point.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Poor Eve. She was so close to getting it right. But this passage shows how being off just a little bit can open the door to some really big error. Of course, talking to snakes in general can open that door pretty wide, too. But notice her little added phrase, “neither shall you touch it,” which was absent from God’s original command.  One could say that adding not to touch a thing would only rightly reinforce the command not to eat it. And indeed that is the reasoning behind much of the legalistic “X is forbidden, Y could lead to X, therefore Y is forbidden as well” mentality.   It’s not just legalists who error in this regard.  There are other ways to be just a little bit off when it comes to wielding God’s Word.

Think of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. Satan used a similar tactic with Him in Matthew 4:1-11. The twist here was instead of questioning God’s law, he abuses God’s promises. Didn’t God say, “He will command his angels concerning you?” Didn’t God say, “On their hands they will bear you up?” Do you really think Satan is beyond using those same tactics today? “God promised X to this person. You are a person. Therefore you should demand God do X for you as well.” If this tactic doesn’t sound familiar to you go watch “American Gospel” now on Netflix.

Whether it’s something we’re told the Bible says not to do, or something we’re told the Bible says God will do, the consequences for not getting it absolutely right can be disastrous. This is why Bible translations matter. This is why the content of our worship matters.  This is why the books and the podcasts and the conferences that we ingest matter.  This is why the cute little Christian sounding memes we repost matter. A little error can have enormous consequences.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Now this one doesn’t seem that subtle but for some reason it works on us women anyway. In Genesis 2:17 God says “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” In Genesis 3:4 Satan says, “You shall not surely die.” This seems to be a pretty obvious contradiction of the law of God.  The average Christian woman should be able to see right through that kind of tactic, right? Yet on any given day I can scroll through my social media feed and see a whole lot of messages that should come with a little red flag warning Christian women that the following statements should definitely be checked against scripture. Instead they are being reposted with little praise hands. “Love yourself” “You are enough” “Believe all women” “Divorce doesn’t disqualify you from anything” “Woman can be pastors too” “You deserve to feel great” “This drink will solve all your problems” “Yoga is just stretching” “Exposing all your ugly stuff is actually beautiful and real” “It’s wrong to judge” “We don’t have to obey. We’re not under the law” “God’s not angry about sin.” Maybe you don’t think any of those statements are lies. Maybe you think all of them are. Maybe you think some are and some aren’t. The question I have for you is, can you show me in your Bible what makes them true or false?  Are you letting Scripture determine what is true? Or are you, like Eve, allowing your own desires and appetites to govern your decisions?

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 

Here’s the thing about most women’s ministries. They seek to indulge our appetites rather than change them. “Women want to hear this and they want to eat that and they want it to look like this and they want to experience that and they want to leave feeling like this.” And voila, the publishing companies, and the conferences, and the Etsy shops deliver all of the above.  It’s interesting to me that when the Israelites needed to be fed in the wilderness, God didn’t just rain down the cucumbers and leeks they were craving from Egypt. He gave them a brand new diet of manna meant to whet their appetite for the true Bread of Life. I’m not saying that the books and Bible studies and conference themes shouldn’t be beautiful and appealing or that austerity is somehow more holy in nature. But I am saying that if the focus of your ministry to women is giving them what they want, maybe you should stop taking your cues from Eve.

It’s not that her desires were overtly corrupt either. She just wanted organically grown fruit which I’m sure was packed with gut cleansing probiotics, and it just happened to have all the right filters to make it glow and all she was really going for was an authentic growth experience in self awareness and personal truth… so “she took of its fruit and ate.” Oh and then because she happened to be extremely influential with her husband she was somehow able to convince him to do the same. Don’t know how. Who ever heard of a woman being able to change her husband’s mind about anything?

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The original bikini bottom right there. And even with just her hubby around Eve knew it was a little unsubstantial. As soon as God shows up they hide themselves and their beachwear out of fear of exposure.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 

Ladies, what’s changed? Why is exposing our bodies, our sins, our sexual history, our conflicts with others, our messy homes, TO EVERYONE IN THE WORLD suddenly an act of bravery cleverly captioned as “authentic” or “vulnerable”? Have we forgotten that God’s solution for His scantily clad creatures was not to remove their sense of shame or or analyze their guilt complex or take a picture and post it for all the fallen angels to relate to? No! His solution is right there in verse 21 of the same chapter. “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” God lovingly, mercifully, compassionately stooped and covered them properly.

No, I don’t think we should all pretend to be something we’re not. And yes, true confession born out of repentance of sin has it’s rightful place. I’m just suggesting that FB and IG and Twitter and the blogosphere and your women’s Bible study group and the conference podium are NOT that place. As brave as exposing one’s self to the world might seem, I can’t help but wonder what other fears our exposure is covering up.

With that, I’d like to invite you to a different kind of exposure that takes a different kind of bravery. I’d like to invite you to a feast with no forbidden fruit. It starts June 1 and it’s called Same Page Summer and you can find out more by clicking here. For about 4 chapters a day, 5 or 6 days a week, you can join thousands of other women all over the world as we read through the New Testament together, with our families, with our Bible study groups, on-line, and in many languages.  Come, take and eat.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12,13

 

Tolle Lege: “The Physics of Heaven” part 3

I’ve been putting this third part off out of dread of having to open up that sorcerers handbook known as “The Physics of Heaven” put out by the leadership of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, Redding.  It really has become a wearisome task but I aim to see it through.  You may ask why.  Go ahead.  I do every time I turn a page.  But then the glaring heresies that greet my eye provide the answer.  People I love have bought these lies.  And hundreds more in my acquaintance are entrenched in the worship culture mass-produced by this kind of teaching.  And all the while the one true God as revealed in the pages of His sacred scripture is misrepresented, maligned, and minimized.  You might think heresy is a strong word but here is what it means according to Oxford: “Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.”  And here are a few examples from “The Physics of Heaven”:

1. A new doctrine of angels: “God sends angels to run errands on our behalf.” The example given in the book is of an apostolic leader saying “God is beginning to release Kingdom building codes.”  Right after, an angel stood in front of Cal Pierce and said, “I’m sent by God to answer your question about the energy crisis.  I am the energy angel.”  This angel went back with Cal to his hotel room to talk about energy.  The angel showed him the plans for a “water car” on a scroll and also “shared how water produces energy and about Niagara Falls and how we can use water to produce power”(89,90). Now I’m pretty sure the concept of hydro-electric power showed up long before that so-called angel but the next level of this heresy is certainly brand new.

2. A new doctrine of God’s Word: “God’s Word is living and active and it will not return void”(92).  This is true.  Nothing heretical there.  But what follows is this, “What makes it not return void?  Angels” (92). Here’s their explanation:

“When you get the will or word of God in you, you have something in you of God that is creative.  When the creator releases a word, the word itself becomes creative.  Angels obey the sound of His word. When we speak His word, angels then take what we say to completion… they are waiting to for us to speak the sound of God’s word so that they can take it out to accomplish what He has sent it to do.  It’s our partnering with the angels and angelic activity that is going to cause sound to become creative.  Angels are around you to activate the revelation of the truth that you speak out into its creative form.  That’s why faith requires a confession–so that it can be heard.  Because Angels don’t know what you’re thinking, they’re waiting to hear what you’re saying.  So as we speak out the word that God has given us, angels will begin to bring it to completion and it will no longer go out void… That’s why the Word requires a sound” (92,93).

3. A new doctrine of the Holy Spirit:  According to “The Physics of Heaven, the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as promised by Jesus Christ was incomplete.  But “we are on the verge of experiencing Pentecost at a new level and in a new measure” (95).  Since we never got the fullness of Pentecost, since what Christ Himself promised was insufficient, here’s what we “really need”:

“What we really need is to experience something beyond the realm of mere proclamation.  We need to see and experience God with all of our spiritual, emotional and physical senses.  We need to be impacted with the same kind of ‘sound’ from heaven that penetrated the atmosphere on the day of Pentecost.  I’m weary of sermons and teachings that only restate our need for transformation.  What I’m hungry for is to experience something fresh from heaven.  Now! Not later!” (95,96)

4. A new doctrine of the fall and regeneration: Orthodox Christianity affirms that according to Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve committed cosmic treason against their Creator plunging the entire creation into immanent death and ruinous destruction, they hid themselves from the very God with whom they had perfect fellowship with when they heard the sound of Him walking in the garden. This has been the natural state of man ever since.  And unless He calls to us as He called Lazarus out of the tomb, we remain in that guilty state forever.  But “The Physics of Heaven” has a different story to tell:

“Through the ‘sound’ of God’s voice, divine energy was released, splitting the atoms and forming a heaven and earth suitable for the habitation of created man.  Not long afterward, this created man, Adam, also heard the sound of God’s voice in the Garden, beckoning him to a deeper relationship with his Creator.  All this tells me that a divine sound from heaven, or at least the sound of God’s voice, can cause mind-boggling phenomena to happen. In the case of Adam, hearing the sound of God’s voice was merely an invitation into a deeper realm of supernatural experience.  That which began as a sound, apparently, led to multiple expressions of seeing, feeling, sensing, and communicating with the Creator” (96,97).

After making a fallacious connection between “the sound of God’s voice to Adam” being “an introduction into other realms of encountering God, and the sound of the wind at Pentecost opening the believers “up to other realms of supernatural phenomena” the author ties both events to the experience of “synesthesia.”

“Synesthesia, ‘meaning to perceive together,’ causes a person’s neural pathways to be cross-wired in such a way that their five senses interact with each other.  This unusual mingling of their senses allows them to hear colors, smell numbers, taste sound, and so forth.  Considering the description of Pentecost in the book of Acts, it appears that a spiritual synesthesia of sorts happened on that day… a heavenly ‘sound’ can create a heightened level of synesthesia that opens our senses to extreme encounters with the supernatural… What if the men and women at Pentecost had only embraced what they heard?  It’s possible that they would have missed God altogether.  Instead, after hearing a new sound, they were willing to allow that sound to cause a synesthetic response in them.  Through this cross-wiring of their spiritual senses, the neural pathways of the spirit realm created a myriad of spiritual encounters.  This is the kind of heavenly sound for which I’ve been longing.  It’s a new sound that will trigger our senses to ‘hear’ what we see and ‘see’ what we hear… the more our senses are involved in receiving from Heaven, the more of God’s Spirit we will retain.  In this next move of the Spirit, I am convinced that our encounter with God will radically transform the realm of our senses.  This will be the second Pentecost… In light of this truth, we need to start training ourselves to hear from God with our entire being.  No longer should we limit the way we ‘receive,’ nor should we cling to the ways we’ve preciously ‘heard’ His voice” (97-99).

Beloved, the only thing that prevents a person from hearing the voice of God is the fact that they are dead in their sins.  And they remain dead in their sins because God has not called them out of the darkness of that sin-sealed tomb.  1 Corinthians 4:6 says that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  When God says ‘Let there be light!’ or ‘Lazarus, come out!’ or ‘Sinner, be born again!’ neither darkness, nor corpse, nor rebel has any ability to un-hear that voice.  Moreover, when a person is made alive through the quickening of the Holy Spirit, there is no partial quickening.  Jesus Christ promised the Holy Spirit in full and the Holy Spirit delivers in full.  There is nothing we can do to receive more or less of His presence any more than there is anything an unregenerate person can do to be made a little more alive or a regenerate person can do to be made a little more dead.  It is absolute heresy to say that “the more our senses are involved in receiving from Heaven, the more of God’s Spirit we will retain.”

5. A new doctrine of worship: It’s important to understand this one because many would argue that there’s nothing wrong with singing the worship music produced by people who subscribe to this New Age mindset.  I urge you to consider the way worship is perceived by the producers of this book, the same producers of much of the mainstream worship music filling our churches, airwaves, and playlists today.

“If the essence of everything is vibrational , then it is fair to say that everything carries its own sound… One of the greatest revivals in human history–the vibration of heaven in Acts–set all kinds of things in motion.  Why? Because, the 120 believers in the Upper Room didn’t get hung up on sound alone.  They let the sound take them somewhere else, triggering all their senses to the point that they were drunk from the vibration… I believe that many of the spiritual discoveries of the New Age movement could be likened to the time in the Old Testament when the Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant from Israel. In both cases, then and now, that which belongs to the church fell into the hands of unbelievers.  So, in order to posture ourselves for the next move of God, like King David, we must take back what is ours.  Certain dynamics such as synesthesia, quantum physics,  and ‘vibrations’ are God-stuff, and we must not be afraid to seize what belongs to the Creator of all things… It shouldn’t be a surprise that David was a worshipping musician.  It was his worshipping spirit that played a big part in taking back the Ark.  This says to me that the coming sound of worship and warfare is going to be much more than we previously imagined” (102-104).

Here’s the goal of their worship folks:

“What if God chooses to speak more frequently in colors and numbers in this next outpouring?  What if he uses colors, numbers, smell, feeling and sound at the same time?  Or speaks to us in a combination of modalities that are physical, mental, and emotional, or even vibrational?  Are we really open to ‘new things’ in God?  The answer should be yes! And our cry should be, ‘Speak to us God!  We are now aware that You want to activate our spiritual and physical eyes, ears, taste, smell, and other senses.  No longer will we allow our minds to block out the sound of heaven because of our religious dogma.  We are committed to developing the sensitivity of our spirit, soul, and body, so that we can experience all the different ways Heaven expresses itself

As long a post as this has become, sadly it only covers 15 more pages of the book– which means in this section alone we’re averaging a heresy every 3 pages.

img_4533

Shred it.

P.S. I’m adding this link today because the Cultish podcast just released their 3 part series interviewing 2 former new-agers on their inside perspective on Bethel Church and the New Age.  They specifically reference this book! Click here to listen.

Tolle Lege: “The Physics of Heaven” part 2

In my last post I began an examination of “The Physics of Heaven” put out by the leadership of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, Redding.  I only got about 1/3 of the way through the book on that one, and now I just want to focus on the middle section.  Here are a few quotes from “The Physics of Heaven” which highlight Bethel’s teachings on sound, music, and worship.

  1. “We live in the ‘Information Age,’ an age of increasing revelation, prophetic insight, and sensitivity to the spirit realm… I believe that the Holy Spirit has given me some of the pieces of the puzzle to heaven’s sound, so the information I share with you about sound, light and vibration will be based on scientific fact, confessed speculation, and spiritual revelation” (65,66).
  2. “Everything that God has ever brought forth has come from His creative voice–the same voice which impregnates the earth with light, sound, music, and glory, the elements of God.  The sound of heaven that is called the “sound of many waters” in Revelation 14:2, encompasses all the frequencies in the sound spectrum.  The four universal elements are water, wind, fire, and earth.  The sound of heaven–all the frequencies of the sound spectrum–can be heard in water, wind, and fire.  We are made of the fourth element which is earth.  When He created us, He simply animated dirt… We are the creatures God chose to give free will to accept or reject His sound breathing in us… we have a choice to align our sound with the sound of heaven… we have been given the creative ability to release the sound of God” (66,67).
  3. “Sound has the power to change everything… Music is the indicator.  Sound sets the tone for her [the church’s] destiny.  Throughout the generations of history, the spiritual climate of God’s people has always responded to a musical indicator.  With every revival, there has been a release of new music or new sound… the sound changes as God’s people respond to what God is doing and saying… God unveils new songs and new sounds in relationship to the new revelation of His presence in His people” (69,70).
  4. “Particular sounds, tones and frequencies motivate us to particular responses… When the sound of many waters, which is the song of the Lord, comes illuminating out of heaven and joins the realm that we are living in, phenomenal things happen… When the sound of heaven is magnified by the creative force of God releasing His authority to the earth, the sound of corporate worship is heard… Every time that sound visited the earth something phenomenal took place.  When the sound that resonates out of the heart of God’s people comes into agreement with the sound resonating out of God’s heart, we find worship on Earth as it is in heaven” (72,73).
  5. “We produce a sound that’s been in us since the beginning of time.  We bring to life the full meaning of Emmanuel–Christ with us, Christ revealed in us… Christ will be revealed as we hear His sound and release our individual, God appointed sound as His unique instruments… Christ in you is the hope of being ‘lit,’ or the hope of being ‘sounded.’ Christ is your hope of producing the sound that has resided in you since the beginning go time… The sound God desires to release will chase religion from the church and bring truth”(74,75).
  6. “Modern scientific discoveries have recently joined the voice of ancient sacred writings to pull back the veil of ignorance that once shrouded the power of sound in God’s universe.  Today these applied sciences and theologies can be woven together toward the redemptive understanding of sounds that heal, deliver, destroy, and open up portals in the heavenly realms… Quantum physics serves as one of the great scientific disciplines bridging the river of confusion between science and biblical kingdom thinking” (77).
  7. “Trees, plants, rocks and people are perhaps music that has taken on visible form… How can we begin hearing more?  How can we increase our sensitivity to the sounds of God in whatever form they appear?  Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears with an expectancy to encounter the sounds and sights of heaven on a new level… No more passive seeing or hearing.  Activate your sensitivity to your aural and spiritual environment.  When you suspect a unique sound or light encounter–follow it” (82-86).

For those of you who are aware of the false teachings of Bill Johnson and Bethel Church Redding but still defend the practice of using their music in your worship setting because the songs themselves don’t appear to be saying anything unbiblical, please consider the ideology behind the music.  This isn’t about throwing a song out because of the compromised lifestyle of the author (if that was the case we wouldn’t be singing some of the Psalms of David or “It Is Well With My Soul”).  This is about promoting and participating in a form of worship based on manifestly unbiblical teaching and New Age  practice.  Can the church be too careful about the ways and means we use to worship a Holy God?  Shouldn’t we at least make sure that what we are singing was written with that same triune God in mind?  Take for instance the following hymn lyrics:

“We thank thee for every blessing
Bestowed by thy bounteous hand.
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee
And love to obey thy command.
When dark clouds of trouble hang o’er us
And threaten our peace to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
And we know that deliv’rance is nigh.”

Those words certainly seem just as edifying as any modern worship song’s.  And yet when you add the first stanza, you should have reason for pause:

“We thank thee, O God, for a prophet
To guide us in these latter days.
We thank thee for sending the gospel
To lighten our minds with its rays.”

This song is straight out of a Mormon hymnal, which also includes many favorites from the Protestant church.  Should we throw out some of our hymns because the Mormon church has adopted them?  No!  Should we maybe examine them and see if there is any untruth in them that promotes Mormon ideology?  Yes!  Should we think twice before using Mormon hymns in our own corporate worship?  Yes!  Should we think twice before using worship songs that are being produced in an environment with a known penchant for false teaching?  Yes!  Is our God not worthy of our highest praise?  Please church, let’s stop settling for less simply because it’s popular.

img_4533

Shred it.