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The Massive shift of Christianity

This page is a collection of articles and links regarding the massive shift of the Christian Church, what is happening and how it's happening and who are the players involved.
More information, links and articles here on our Bible studies and Christian Church and Culture page

 

 2006:  A Time mag article and a series of articles keep swirling around in my thoughts.  So... this blog's about the church---what's happening to the church?  To me, it's not so much about where or when believers gather as why they do and how they do... and who is the head of the church. 

There's a multi-part series on how to change the purpose of a church.  Gripping, really and sickening, too.  I say sickening advisedly and with caution, too,  bcz I hate to sound brash and I also know these comments or this topic will throw up a blazing red flag.  I read the series of articles on Pastors.com and was left with a sickened or grief stricken feeling bcz of determined and deliberate manipulation of people who are treated as pawns in a person's (often the pastor's) hand.  I am not saying this is occurring in every 'church' certainly, or that this is the action or intention of every pastor---no, no, no.   I am, however, saying that this *is* going on---and it must be going on in a whole lotta churches and it is appalling. 

Think you're not a chess piece in a well "strategized" game??? 

These quotes, from a multi part series of articles by Chuck McAlister, How to Transition an Established Church:  

Become an Expert on the Process of Change (Hebrews 6:1-3; Psalm 48:14; Isaiah 42:16; John 16:13; Psalm 27:11) Read everything you can get your hands on about leading an organization through change. Use the knowledge you gain to keep evaluating, not only the stages of your process, but also the methods you're using to implement change."

Take the time to read the articles---really, let them sink in.  What do you think of what he's saying? Then... perhaps dare to ask yourself: Am I being manipulated?  When you're sitting there listening to a message, are you being targeted for a particular response or action and is the message a part of a series of messages on a well determined track that is designed to assuage your doubts and manipulate your reactions?  I know, I know, this sounds like a hyper-sensitive, conspiracy laced hyperbole.

This, from part three:

For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. It does no good to build a new facility if you're still doing church as usual. You will not be able to retain the people who come to check out the new building."

Then, from part four:
Simultaneously Transition Your Worship Style as you change(Psalm 150; Psalm 100; Psalm 96:1-3) This will be, by far, the most controversial part of the transition process. People have strong preferences in regard to worship styles to which they assign spiritual significance. This part of the transition process must be handled delicately over an extended period of time or you could sabotage the whole process."

And this:

Introduce Drama, Video Illustrations, and Testimonies into the Service - This transition will be easy for the church family and tougher on the pastor and worship planning team. At this step, the pastor must prepare sermons far enough in advance to allow the worship planning team more time to prepare dramas, find video illustrations or enlist testimonies. At this point, additional ministries can be birthed that offer direct input into the worship service, for example, a drama ministry."

Start Praise Teams and Worship Training with Your Children and Youth - This will ensure that the worship legacy continues in your church. We have children praise teams, as well as junior high and senior high praise teams and praise bands."

Throughout that whole series of articles, there *are* definite admonitions to stay in line with God, to pray for God's wisdom,  to not go it alone---but then, there's still the disturbing current throughout.  Like this, for example: 

Preaching Change - Begin the transition with your preaching. Preach the Bible in such a way as to demonstrate how the Scriptures can meet people's needs. Stay at this step for one year before moving to the next step to allow for an influx of new people who are drawn by the relevant teaching."

Or this:

We are currently engaged in the construction of a church facility that, honestly, will require God to complete. If God doesn't come through on this, we are sunk. This is the largest risk that our church has ever undertaken. Believe me; it is being approached with much prayer."

I dunno... it just might be residual medication... too much morphine; or it might just be my new sedentary lifestyle... but something's
just not right here... and I can't help but be certain that I'm not the only one who sees that the Emperor Has No Clothes.

Then, this week's (March 2006) Time Magazine features an article about the "house-church" or "simple church" movement and why people are leaving "traditional churches" to gather in homes with other believers.  It's an interesting article---even has some very accurate points.  The article is entitled: "There's No Pulpit Like Home" and points to a few of the reasons people leave conventional churches. 

I am beginning to wonder... are people not also leaving bcz of the big biz of the church industry---the mega-church-machine?  Will the rejection that some are expressing regarding the big box stores like Home Depot or Walmart happen to the big box churches?  It ought to be sobering to every believer: what's going on in the 'church' today and it ought to be cause for some reflection: what're we doing here and why?   I don't mean the PDL "What on Earth am I Here For" question, I mean the bigger question about the whole shift... the whole "conversation" movement, the whole contemplation and emergent movement.  Is this *really* in line with the Word of God?  Will people just start reading the Word again and start saying, hey, the Bible says that it's the work of the LORD to build His church.

It's very simple, really.  The church---Jesus is the Head of His church; He will build His church.

Acts 2.42 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

46 "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house,
did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

2007

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From Lighthouse Trails Research Project
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Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Erwin McManus: "A Secret Behind The Secret"

February 28, 2007

When David Jeremiah endorsed Erwin McManus' 2002 book, Seizing Your Divine Moment, there should have been reason for concern. Then when Jeremiah made reference to McManus in his own 2003 book Life Wide Open, that should have sent up red flags. But Jeremiah also quoted New Ager Sue Monk Kidd in the book as well as a Buddhist sympathizer, a couple mystics, and Rick Warren.

This was a turn around for Jeremiah - for just about a decade earlier he wrote a book exposing the New Age (Invasion of Other Gods). It didn't seem possible that both books were written by the same person. But in 2001 Jeremiah was quoting mystic proponent Henri Nouwen, and in 2003 his church, Shadow Mountain, was recommending its men read Richard Foster's contemplative book, Celebration of Discipline.

Then in 2005, things seemed to go from bad to worse. After Ken Blanchard had been exposed as a New Age sympathizer, having promoted Buddhism and mantra meditation for twenty years, David Jeremiah became part of a speaking team (which included New Age sympathizer Laurie Beth Jones) for Ken Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus conference.

It was about that time that Jeremiah contacted Lighthouse Trails when he heard us mention him on a radio program. In his letter to us, he defended Ken Blanchard and insisted he was a new Christian, which he wasn't, and reprimanded us for saying Blanchard was promoting the New Age. What seemed odd though was that after it was brought out that Jeremiah favorably quoted New Agers like Sue Monk Kidd in Life Wide Open, he didn't pull the book from the market and give some public explanation and caution. On the contrary, his 2006 book, Captured by Grace, discussed (not critically) Henri Nouwen and carried an endorsement by Ken Blanchard.

And then something very strange happened. In the fall of 2006, Jeremiah sent out an email to subscribers which favorably quoted and discussed Erwin McManus and his book, The Barbarian Way. Jeremiah said he would use the book in his upcoming Sunday sermon to help prepare the congregation for what he called "a major paradigm shift." Since that email, we know of at least two occasions where Jeremiah has favorably referred to McManus again.

Erwin McManus is a promoter of the New Age. He admits himself that his book (The Barbarian Way) has a message that is the "core of mysticism," (which is the heart of the New Age). After studying McManus' books and evaluating his Awaken website as well as his other writings and websites, it is the conclusion of Lighthouse Trails that Erwin McManus has New Age proclivities. But it wasn't until Tuesday morning (February 27th) that we truly became alarmed by the acceptance of leaders like David Jeremiah (and many others) towards the spirituality of Erwin McManus.

Jon Gordon is the author of a book called The 10-Minute Energy Solution. Ironically enough, Ray Yungen wrote about Gordon and his book in A Time of Departing. He wrote about it to show further proof of Ken Blanchard's embracing of the New Age, for you see Blanchard had endorsed Gordon's book. Listen to what Yungen said:

In early 2006, a book hit the market called, The 10-Minute Energy Solution by Jon Gordon. The book is filled with suggestions on how to improve energy levels through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and other such techniques. Throughout the book, Gordon quotes favorably from the Dalai Lama, meditator Daniel Goleman, Thich Nhat Hanh, New Agers Marilyn Ferguson and Wayne Dyer, and from A Course in Miracles. Gordon promotes panentheism (God in all) by saying things such as: "You came from this source [speaking of God] and you are this source."
Jon Gordon is as New Age as it gets. On Tuesday morning we read an article from Gordon's recent newsletter. The article is titled "The Secret Behind the Secret." In discussing the new film, The Secret, Gordon states:
The law of attraction [what The Secret is based on] is important to share and it's a big part of my new book, "The Energy Bus," which tells the story of a man who uses the law of attraction to help turn around the negativity, fear, adversity, and challenges in his life. In understanding the law of attraction many are now realizing that they are involved in the creation of their lives; that their energetic thoughts, beliefs and actions have an impact on the world and in imprint on the energy fabric of the universe.

You see, Gordon likes The Secret because he believes that God is in all creation. And The Secret teaches that God is in everyone; actually it teaches that we are God. Listen to The Secret:

We are the creators not only of our own destiny but also of the Universe ... We are all connected, and we are all One (p. 175).

No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life ( p. 183).

You are God in a physical body ... You are all power ... You are all intelligence ... You are the creator ( p. 164).

Few could deny, after hearing these statements, that The Secret is pure occultism, especially when we realize that the author of the book is a disciple of "the teachings of Abraham," 1 which is a group of spirit guides (demons). But listen now to what Jon Gordon says next in his article. To him who has ears, let him hear:

While having dinner the other night with Erwin McManus, author of "Soul Cravings" and a person who has had a profound impact on my life, we discussed The Secret and Erwin made a great point that we need to explain there is a secret behind The Secret.

God gave us free will and the power to choose. In choosing to have faith and believing in a brighter and better future, cultivating a grateful and appreciative heart, and practicing forgiveness we open ourselves up to amazing possibilities. We become a vessel God can use to mold into the people we were born to be... who share the love we were meant to share.

We are co-creators of our life with God. We are both creating and being created at the same time. The universe is not some magic genie that's says, "Your wish is my command," bringing you any car, house, or amount of money you desire. The Secret does not exist to satisfy your every wish but to help us become the kind of people God can use to make His ultimate wish come true - Heaven on Earth and inside each one of us.

Erwin McManus resonates with The Secret and with Jon Gordon. And there is a simple explanation for this -- he agrees with the same spirituality. The following is taken from McManus' website, Awaken:

Awaken is a collaboration between a team of dreamers and innovators who specialize in the field of developing and unleashing personal and organizational creativity. Awaken is committed to creating environments that expand imagination and unleash creativity. Convinced that the world is changed by dreamers and visionaries, Awaken serves humanity through its commitment to maximize the creative potential in every individual and organization. Awaken emerges out of the unique ministry of Mosaic and reflects Mosaicís commitment to creativity, uniqueness, innovation and diversity.

McManus further reveals his spirituality: "My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ," (said in a telephone interview) "Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I'm anti-Christian. I think they might be right." (from The Barbarian Way)

We would propose that the "Jesus" McManus refers to is another Jesus, and the gospel he proclaims is a different gospel (II Corinthians 11:4).

The Secret has the potential to prepare the world for such delusion as it has never seen before. And now countless Christian leaders will help to take Christendom into the same spiritual deception through mysticism and the contemplative prayer movement. When we see leaders like David Jeremiah promoting Erwin McManus and Sue Monk Kidd, Josh McDowell endorsing Dan Kimball's new book and sharing a platform (twice now) with meditation promoter Tony Campolo, Charles Stanley authoring an audio series called Meditation: The Power of Silence, Southern Baptist Convention embracing the emerging church through their partnership with Leadership Network (the organization that launched the emerging church), Beth Moore being part of the Be Still DVD and later saying she sees nothing wrong with contemplative spirituality, Focus on the Family promoting a man who tells his readers to repeat a word for twenty minutes, Erwin Lutzer endorsing Larry Crabb's book, The Papa Prayer which outright promotes contemplative and centering prayer, and Chuck Swindoll exalting the name of Henri Nouwen and saying we can't really know God without the silence ... when we see the massive shift by Christian leaders, we know there will be a convergence where millions will come together unified through meditation and exalting man as God.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (I Timothy 4:1)

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. (II Thessalonians 2:3)

[T]o them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 1:2-3)

Learn more ....

Lighthouse Trails Research Project
Editors - Lighthouse Trails Publishing
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