Posted in tolle lege book reviews

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.

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Shred it.

 

Posted in tolle lege book reviews

Tolle Lege: Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out a closet while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “Mama Bear Apologetics,” as they discussed their new book by the same title.  Listening to them talk, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that book.  Their motto, “You mess with our kids, we’ll demolish your arguments” resonated deeply with this former-philosophy-major-now-mother-of-5.  When they called on us to “rise up, Mama Bears” I could just feel that inner roar welling up.  But then I spotted a mouse in the back of the closet and ran screaming out of the house.

My middle-son, Nathan, came out to see what was wrong and from across the yard (I really had run that far) I warned him about the dreadful creature inhabiting the closet.  Nate disappeared back into the house and a minute later returned holding a pellet gun in one hand with the lifeless form of the perpetrator dangling by its tail in the other.  Not my proudest Mama Bear moment. 

After re-establishing the “no shooting guns in the house” rule, I finished the closet (actually I had Nate pull everything else from the back of it, just in case), and immediately ordered the book.  Here’s why I think every mom needs to do the same.

Mice are in the house.  They creep in unbeknownst to us, take up residence, and reproduce at an alarming rate.  They chew away at the fabric of our minds and leave their filth in every corner.  They are the ideas which Paul calls us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to trap, take captive and conform to Christ.  Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies” edited by head Mama Bear herself, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, will help moms shine the light of truth into the cluttered closets of young minds and identify intruders. 

Each chapter is authored by a different Mama Bear and focuses on a particular ideology, such as Naturalism, Skepticism, Moral Relativism, Marxism, Feminism etc…  Rebekah Valerius in her chapter called “The Truth Is, There Is No Truth” discusses how sneaky an intruder mindsets like post-modernism can be.  Parents think they’re “helping their children build on a foundation of truth” but all the while the children are reinterpreting it, not as THE truth, but rather YOUR truth.  Which is fine until you “claim that your truth should be theirs—then you’ll have pushback.”  She continues,

“Postmodern principles are insidious in that way.  They are like viruses that lay dormant for years.  We may not even know our kids are infected until it is too late.  That is why we need to expose the lies early and show how a postmodern mindset leads to chaos, not freedom” (139).

It’s like that mouse quietly making its home in the back of my closet, getting all nice and fat with my pantry supplies, wreaking havoc in my forgotten linens until one day I’m surprised into flight by its presence.  Thankfully my cub at least had the presence of mind to put his tools into use to demolish it himself.

Oh, and lest you think that by sheltering your kids in the church and Christian schools they will somehow avoid dangerous ideologies like these, Alisa Childers has an excellent chapter on how unbiblical thinking has invaded even the church.  New Age Spirituality, Social Justice Marxism, Self-Helpism, Feminism, Emotionalism have all made themselves quite at home in Christian closets, propagated by Christian speakers, writers, music, social-media etc… 

Identifying and rooting out these ideologies can be a daunting task.  It’s like standing in front of that long-neglected, cluttered up closet and not even wanting to open the door.  Who knows what’s lurking there in the dark.  

But that’s why this book is so great.  Using the acrostic “R.O.A.R.” it will help moms Recognize the massage, Offer discernment (“affirm the good and reject the bad”), Argue for a healthier approach, and Reinforce through discussion, discipleship, and prayer (54).

The Mama Bears have finally built a better mousetrap.

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You can visit their website here

Rebekah Valerius also blogs here

I also listen to Alisa Childers’ podcast here 

 

Posted in tolle lege book reviews

Tolle Lege: Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology by J.P. Moreland

It was a joy to hold in my hands this week a book that I think makes up for that evolutionary bit of nonsense Crossway published earlier this year called “God and Galileo” by David Block and Kenneth Freeman (you can read that review here).  What Block and Freeman claim Galileo’s 400-year-old letter teaches us about faith and science is that the one must bow to the other in matters of the physical universe.  “Science needs to be falsified using the scientific method, not by simply quoting the Scriptures…It is the domain of scientists to verify or disprove scientific theories.  It is not the place of theologians to falsify scientific ideas using bare scriptural arguments (80).”  Even though this quote lies within the chapter titled “The Fraud of Scientism,” the book itself as a whole is just one grand example of the very thing they weakly identify as fraudulent.  In fact, in rereading that chapter, I never was able to pinpoint a direct argument against scientism, other than their refutal of the current theory of a multiverse.  

God and Galileo” really serves to exemplify the kind of weak scientism that J. P. Moreland claims has crept into the church in his book “Scientism and Secularism” (Crossway, 2018).  According to his definition, “Scientism is the view that the hard sciences—like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy—provide the only genuine knowledge of reality (26).”  Moreland further distinguishes between strong scientism, which “implies that something is true, rationally justified, or known if and only if it is a scientific claim that has been successfully tested and that is being used according to appropriate scientific methodology (29)” and weak scientism, which “acknowledges truths apart from science, granting them some minimal rational status even if they don’t have scientific support (30).”  Block and Freeman do this very thing by making  sharp distinctions between “the nature of truth and the truth of nature”(66),  “intellectual discernment and spiritual discernment”(97), and “material and spiritual” systems (104). There is  a book of Scripture and a book of nature (43) and “the book of nature can never be suppressed”(81).  I would argue that Romans 1:18-23 suggests otherwise but I’ll leave the arguing to Moreland who does a far superior job than I ever could.  Oh, and I must mention in speaking of Moreland’s superiority, that there are sections of his book I’ll have to go back and reread because they were honestly way over my head.  I’m thinking specifically of chapters 7-9 which dealt with non scientific knowledge and first philosophy (pretty pathetic of me since I was a philosophy major but clearly I need to review).

Moreland’s greatest strength, and the thing that I think makes this book a necessary read, is that he not only puts forth a clear and thorough examination of scientism but how in its weaker form it has infiltrated the church.  “Weak scientism, when believed and put into practice, leads to a constant revision of doctrines that the church has held for centuries under the pressure of scientistic political correctness (72).”  The implications reach far beyond the origins and age of the universe affecting the foundations of human identity, gender, the nature of sin etc…(73).  The effects of scientism have been marked and destructive and yet we’ve been practically incognizant of its presence, so subtle has been its infiltration.  Moreland contends that truth need not be compartmentalized with science always taking the superior position over theology.  There needs to be a reintegration of the Christian world view into every discipline.  For too long, “Christians compartmentalized their faith, kept it tucked away in a private compartment of their lives, and did not integrate their Christian ideas with their work” (185).  

This book serves as a huge encouragement for Christians who have been left grasping for reasons to have confidence in a Biblical worldview and courage in applying that worldview to all of life.  

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* Even though I was given a copy of this book by the publisher I am under no obligation to write a favorable review.