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                Choose whom you will follow; Making sense of the new spiritual openness

Tsunami’s of mysticism are sweeping onto Americas shores. The church is being greatly infected by the spreading poison. Even if one will not recognize that certain men are actively participating in new age spirituality, one cannot deny they have embraced at least some of the same values, ideology, and practices. These do not lead to Jesus as some claim but to interfaith, universalism, pantheism, panentheism, goddess theology and a host of alternative counterfeits.

Men who are more philosophical than theological, who are willing to read known authors that the church has already voiced rejection

We must ask: Do these practices enhance our Christianity or corrupt it; ruin it. If they do enhance it, why did Jesus not use them, why did he not quote another religion or religious teachers to the people – He only quoted the Jewish prophets. When you bring in other religions teachings they diminish and negate the true way God gave us to himself.
What makes something an acceptable Christian practice?
Not because we label it Christian. First- is it instructed in the Bible. Not do we find some people practice it in history but did Jesus teach or the apostles teach it to the church. If not, then why do we think it will improve or enhance our spirituality by it?

Paul warned to the Galatians about adding the law to grace, the law was once mandatory and yet he said it now that we are under the new covenant it would not improve their spirituality one iota. The Galatians began in the spirit and ended up using the flesh to improve themselves. Paul asked who has bewitched you? It is the same in the emergent movement - how do they reconcile practices used in other religions that reject Christ with Christ teaching he is the way?

Yoga, Contemplative prayer, mantras, use of icons, labyrinth walking and a variety of other non-Biblical practices are adopted from other religions to enhance ones spirituality. We now have a synthesizing with Christianity that is being practiced and defended as a new direction for the church. At the heart of all this is relativism, pluralism, multiculturalism, interspirituality, although the participants do not see it this way. The facts speak for themselves.

Mysticism changes ones view. Sweet writes in Quantum Spirituality, “We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience--a new feeling of what it is to be “I.”  Is this what we need? What does “I” have to do with knowing God? We are not instructed in Scripture to know thyself - but to know God.
An active principle throughout Sweets book and others is a deconstruction and reconstruction process that is used to introduce one to a new way of looking at the world, the church and themselves; it is a spiritual diaprax. Using new age terms and concepts brings about a paradigm shift, it introduces one into a new spirituality that has nothing to do with living a Spiritual life according to the Bible. To accept the new one must eventually let go of the old, or original. 

You can be of any religion and have a mystical experience this does not exclude believers in Jesus. Mysticism has never been a friend to the teachings of Christ. A mystical experienced will always lead one into opposing the biblical view. There is a huge difference in biblical spirituality and mysticism. Spirituality is walking in the Spirit. Being under the Holy Spirits control conforms us to only one- Jesus Christ. Not Buddha, not Krishna, not Ghandi or any other.

Mahatma Gandhi of India once said: “The soul of religion is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms.”
the Bahá’ís “In reality, there is only one religion, the religion of God. This one religion is continually evolving, and each particular religious system represents a stage in the evolution of the whole,” (the Bahá’í faith on its official Web site at bahai.org.)
“In whatever way men approach Me, even so do I go to them” (Hindu scripture by Swami Chidananda of Divine Life Society)
“The mystical worldview does not adhere to there being only one way to God –but sees many ways and that all are acceptable - each finds their own way. None is greater than another (as in Rosicrucianism).

Why are the promoters of the new spiritual openness making it sound like they are saying the same thing? The spirit of our age is moving to mimic the true Holy Spirits work who has always worked in compliment with the Word that He has inspired. This other spirit, disguising itself as the Spirit of God, is leading people into false practices by their spiritual experiences. Only the discerning, who hold to the written word will be able to tell the difference in the coming time period.

A mystic is someone who seeks personal contact - an experience with God by using certain methods or practices to produce an experience. The mystic quest changes ones thinking from pursuing truth revealed through the Holy Spirit from the Bible to be open to influences from other spirits, the very thing Paul warned in 1 Tim.4:1 there would be the teachers in the end times inside the church.

Mysticism has more to do with states of consciousness than a spiritual life in Christ. There is Mystical awakening in many religions but not in Christianity. Jesus did not teach man to go within.
The mystical path leads to a God that is contained within all creation. Nearly every mystic describes their experience of God as the “all in all,” uniting themselves with something greater than the sum of its parts.
Marilyn Ferguson a influential new ager wrote “The Aquarian Conspiracy.” She said 'The radical Center of spiritual experience seems to be knowing without doctrine ... the teacher does not impart knowledge but technique. This is the 'transmission of knowledge by direct experience.' Doctrine on the other hand, is second-hand knowledge, a danger- and she recommends 'Do not get entangled in any teaching” (Marilyn Ferguson, pp. 371, 377.)

Cabalism is a mystical practice of life found in Judaism which has absorbed elements of other mystical practices from various religions. Alice Bailey (considered the mother of the modern New Age Movement), writes of the plan in her book “The Externalization of the Hierarchy.” She tells of Cabalist agents who would infiltrate the Christian Church in the end to modify its message so it can become the vehicle for the Universal Religion of the 21 Century.

Approved by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. The New Community Bible published by the Catholic Church in India ( the Society of St. Paul) includes verses from the Hindu Scriptures and Mahatma Gandhi. (“New Indian Bible Draws Fire,” Christian Post, Aug. 11, 2008).
The Catholic Church in India is involved in syncretism with Hinduism (as they are with other religions), they borrow concepts and Christianize them. Just what we are seeing today.

The Jesuits founder, Ignatius Loyola (a mystic having visions of Mary), was convinced that the “Virgin” had coached him through visions and audible voices to draw up “Exercises” which are still practiced today. These exercises of “exterior piety to Mary” were promised “to open heaven’s doors”.

Loyola had made the Virgin the most important thing in his life. The Worship of Mary was the base of his religious devotions and was handed down by him to his Order. This worship developed so much that it was often said, and with good reason, that it was the Jesuits’ real religion’ “ [the quote inside the quote is by “Father” Charmot, a Catholic, not a Protestant] (“The Secret History of the Jesuits: Paris, p.59).

Masonry also borrowed its mystical concepts from the mystical societies of medieval Europe. In the Middle Ages interest in mysticism continued. Many people joined Freemasonry because of their interest in mysticism (Spence, pp.174-175).

Masonic authority Henry Wilson Coil states the Cabala's teachings can be seen in some of the mystical and philosophical degrees of Masonry.

Pike said “Masonry is a search after light”(Morals and Dogma, p.741.) He tells us that at least some of the light of Masonry is based on the Cabalah, or Jewish mysticism. “In all time, truth has been hidden under symbols, and often under a succession of allegories: where veil after veil had to be penetrated before the true Light was reached, and the essential truth stood revealed” (Pike, Morals and Dogma, p.248.)

In the same vein as the mystery religions there was always an esoteric side that would enlighten the initiated.
“Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!” (Morals and Dogma p. 321, p. 1)

This can seen at work in Heinrich Himmler's vision of creating a master race by a religious order steeped in “Aryan mysticism”. Reading the writings of the German mystics, clairvoyants and occultists. He became obsessed with astrology, spiritualism and herbalism.

In fact it was Himmler's mysticism that influenced Hitler to bring the holocaust as he attempted to establish an Aryan empire by removing the “inferior races.” By breeding out the imperfections of inferior races in the German people, he believed could produce a genetically superior master race in which the Aryan psychic powers would grow.

The Biblical Christian cannot accept the occult beliefs or experiences of the mystics. The Bible tells us that the “light” which is a metaphor for truth can only be found in God's Word. Christ's teachings are not mystical, he does not use flashes of experience that being “wisdom.” Salvation is not enlightenment, knowledge comes by the objective and the subjective. God reveals Himself to us objectively, through the Bible (1 Pet. 1:23), that is directed through His Spirit (John 3:5). Once the mystical transference of knowledge (enlightenment) is accepted it moves us further away from the objective truth of the Word.

Many are uncomfortable sitting under the expository teaching of the word because it takes effort to use our minds, to understand it. They would rather seek a spiritual experience than take the time to learn God's Word and deepen their faith.

There are not faiths but only one faith, The Bible does not teach universalism but this is what meditation and mystical experiences practiced in and outside the Emergent church lead too.
Acts 14:16 gives a good example of what the Bible calls universalism “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” Mankind rejected the true God as Rom. I states, and believes all ways as acceptable -- God does not, never has. Deuteronomy 12:30: “be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? “
Deut. 11:16 “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them”

Mysticism will lead to the central idea of Universalism. That teaches that all religions hold elements of the truth and that no religion or religious teacher is fully right or wrong. One of the ways to build bridges to other religions, and unite with them is to claim God is the same and we are diverse in our approach to him. It also presupposes that as long as people worship God in their own way and are sincere they are accepted.
Interfaith is a bold attempt to unify all of the world's religions by removing any borders. Dispense with any differences so we can work together. This goal is considered the higher road – Jesus called it the wider road. They employ these methods by introducing a whole new way of doing things.

God kept Israel separate unto him - He said have no other gods before me Deut. 6:14: “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.” Micah the prophet said: “All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”(4:5)

Some want to widen the narrow road God gave through His Son Jesus Christ. You cannot Christianize another's religions practice. When syncretism occurs Christianity loses its power, purity and influence. This is a large issue in the Church today just as it was in the past. This kind of syncretism did much damage to the church. After Constantine people began to synthesize their pagan practices into the church. The people kept the same ways they worshipped in their culture and called them Christian. Contextualization can be done accurately as long as it is NOT done by revising a people's history or having their past religious practices considered equal with Biblical truth.

The intent of syncretism is to have us unite with the various different religions. Many take the god[s] of their culture and religion and presume their god is the same God (Yahweh) of the Bible. They believe all the different religions worship the same God, only with different names. Worshipping a different God does not only mean one uses a different name; it can also be a different concept of God with the same name. It is when intermixing beliefs of how one approaches God or what is acceptable to him. Interfaith compromises the exclusive claims of Christ because it accept other religions' concepts of God as valid. It does not matter whether they worship a god that may be a he, a she, or an it. When we combine two belief systems, one which is found outside the bible we are committing spiritual adultery. Paul was greatly encouraged of his new converts “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).We can become greatly discouraged seeing multitudes turning from God back to idols.

Jesus wants us to worship God in Spirit and in truth, to have freedom that does not lead to bondage. This means we cannot mix other religions practices to improve our worship; when it corrupts it.

Jn. 5:20-21: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

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