Part 7: “The Last Gasp of Christendom”
Letting the Old Faith Crumble Away
The Spiritual Transformation of Today’s Christianity
On June 16, 2005, Rick Warren spoke to the Synagogue 3000 Leadership Network regarding “the challenges and strategies of building a compelling spiritual community.”1 He was explaining to them how to transition a church to the new when the congregation is hanging on to the old, and he gave the following illustration:
“Be a proponent of the new, not an opponent of the old. This is very important. Don’t be a reactionary. It’s not but or or, it’s and; yes and this, yes and this.…
“If you go down to the New Orleans, they build these houses up on stilts, so that when the Mississippi River comes and it floods, it doesn’t flood the homes … About every six or seven years those stilts go bad from the floods coming down, okay. Well they don’t just come in and knock out all the stilts. What they do is they come in and they just build up new ones underneath and leave the others. And they eventually just crumble, okay. And that’s what I teach pastors to do. I say, you know, don’t go in and say well we shouldn’t do this anymore, that’s out of date.… Just go in there and build the new thing and let the other stuff kind of crumble away. It saves you a lot of war.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)2
Please carefully read that again, and keep in mind that although he reportedly is referring to traditions rather than theology, this is clearly happening to theology as well.
This same craftiness and subtilty saves the Angel of light a lot of war in the transition from the faith to his (New Age) New Spirituality and its global interfaith unity. No wonder both/and is his methodology of choice.
“It is surely easier to swing the masses into step and give them the newer light of truth if that light is poured on to familiar ground.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul3
The Angel of light’s (New Age) New Spirituality has been built up underneath the old way of thinking and acting—“the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” As the old doctrines and faith are allowed to crumble away, the new counterfeit “Christianity” is departing from the faith and emerging with a new foundation -- the New Spirituality of the universal religion.
The Master Deceiver’s very effective transformational process has allowed him to turn the thinking of many Christians upside down:
• They think they are still believing and obeying God and His truth while they are increasingly following and serving the god of this world and his deceptive lies.
• They think they are still believing and preaching the same faith and the same Gospel of Christ while they are increasingly believing and preaching another gospel of another “Christ” of a faith, not the faith.
• They think they are not trying to take the place of God or become god while they are increasingly believing and following the Angel of light’s devices designed to do just that.
In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen makes the following astute observations in his section titled, “The New Age Christian—An Accepted Oxymoron”:
“All this popularity with meditative mysticism presents a very new and perplexing challenge for evangelical Christianity. We are beginning to encounter the New Age or Aquarian Christian. This new term describes someone who remains in his or her home church and professes the Christian faith but has also incorporated various aspects of the New Age or Aquarian mindset into his or her life. New Age author David Spangler was very optimistic about the possibility of this integration when he wrote, ‘The point is that the New Age is here … it builds itself and forms itself in the midst of the old.’
“What has fueled the momentum of this trend is the buffet-style dining approach that has become a hallmark of American religious sensibilities in the last twenty years—you take what you want and leave the rest. Americans are picking and blending religions as if they were ordering espressos: pick your espresso blend, but you still get coffee—pick your spiritual path, but you still get God. Whatever suits your spiritual tastes, you bring together. The result is hybrid New Age spirituality.” (Ellipsis dots in the original; bold added)4
Little by little, Christians have been purposefully lured into this (New Age) New Spirituality. This new foundation of today’s Christianity is succinctly summarized in the observation of Newsweek regarding the poll it conducted with Beliefnet:
“‘Rather than being about a god who commands you, it’s about finding a religion that empowers you.’” (Emphasis added)5
Today’s double-minded “Christianity” is succumbing to its epidemic of the blind leading and endorsing the blind. God repeatedly warned in His Holy Scriptures about false teachers that would arise among believers and that many would follow them.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2:1-2)
Yet exercising scriptural judgment in discerning between right and wrong, and truth and error, has been cast aside in favor of pragmatic unity and relativism. God’s Holy Scriptures have been replaced with the teachings of today’s leaders who want us to believe that:
• we shouldn’t judge anything because it isn’t “loving;”
• we shouldn’t judge our pastor’s teachings in light of Scripture because that doesn’t protect the all-important unity of our local church;
• we shouldn’t listen to anyone who tries to warn us that we might be listening to false teachers because that’s “self-righteous” “gossip.”
Although God is displeased when scriptural judgment is not exercised (e.g., see Isaiah 59:15), many still refuse to judge truth from error. Instead, in their effort to assuage their itching ears the masses are heaping to themselves false teachers to lead them in their preferred way.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
In condemning the departure from doctrine in his day, A.W. Tozer admonished in “The Importance of Sound Doctrine”:
“It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian.… [S]ound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.…
“It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers of religious beliefs, to be certain that these beliefs correspond exactly to truth. A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine. We cannot afford to have less.
“The apostles not only taught truth but contended for its purity against any who would corrupt it.…
“While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain.…
“Only in religious thought is faithfulness to truth looked upon as a fault. When men deal with things earthly and temporal they demand truth; when they come to the consideration of things heavenly and eternal they hedge and hesitate as if truth either could not be discovered or didn’t matter anyway.…
“The teacher of spiritual things only is required to be unsure in his beliefs, ambiguous in his remarks and tolerant of every religious opinion expressed by anyone, even by the man least qualified to hold an opinion.…
“These [‘liberal churches’] will not quite give up the Bible, neither will they quite believe it; the result is an unclear body of beliefs more like a fog … where anything may be true but nothing may be trusted as being certainly true.…
“Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be laboring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers … but so far are they from being advanced thinkers that they are merely timid followers of modernism—fifty years behind the parade.
“Little by little evangelical Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe but …” —A.W. Tozer (Bold added)6
There is nothing more fundamental to salvation than the Lordship of Jesus Christ (e.g., see Romans 10:9). And the Lordship of Jesus Christ is inseparable from His absolute truth. It is through believing and obeying the truth that Jesus Christ is truly our Lord.
The “many” who are obviously doing the works and following the ‘modelship’ of Jesus -- they “prophesied,” “cast out devils,” and did “many wonderful works,” all in the name of Jesus -- will never be accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ because they didn’t believe and obey the truth (see Matthew 7:21-27). To drop the truth of Jesus Christ is to drop the Lordship of Jesus Christ, lip service notwithstanding.
They say they believe, but they are allowing the faith and the Lordship of Jesus Christ to crumble away, even in their new “Bibles.” One such example is Eugene Peterson’s book, The Message, which is referred to as a “Bible” by its publisher and the masses and leaders in Christianity who have embraced it as God’s Word. Yet his counterfeit Message only contains the word Lord (or Lord’s) in a paltry 23 verses in its supposedly unchanged “New Testament”!7 To show the magnitude of this change, the New Testament in the King James Bible contains 632 verses with Lord (670 if one also counts those with lord, many of which are also clearly referring to the Lord Jesus Christ).
Yet as galling as this change is, an even more significant and appalling change in this “fresh” so-called “Bible” is that the following terms are in Peterson’s changed “Message” ZERO times!:8
• Lord Jesus
• Lord Jesus Christ
• Christ Jesus my Lord
• Christ Jesus our Lord
• Christ Jesus the Lord
• Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
• Jesus Christ our Lord
• Jesus Christ is Lord
But this deletion will no doubt be viewed as trifling by those who have already replaced Lord with “model.” The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language is popular for a reason.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4)
Simply marketing a book as another “translated” or “paraphrased” version of God’s Word does not mean that it actually is God’s Word. With the Lordship of Jesus Christ absolutely indispensable to salvation, God would never delete the references to this from His true Word and then deceive people into believing that the only change made is that it has been rewritten in “contemporary language.”
The truth is, today’s Christianity claims that—along with “outdated” “preaching styles”—an “old-fashioned” Bible also prevents the world from hearing God’s Word. So it has taken upon itself to repeatedly rewrite God’s Word for Him into language that matches the world’s itching ears.
Yet the purity of the Word is the issue, not how well it matches the people. God’s Word and message and ways and worship and faith are all being conformed to the image of man. This is clearly all about you, or mankind, not the truth and purposes of the Lord God.
The Master Deceiver’s Vision is coming to pass. The new has been built up underneath the old, leaving the old faith to crumble virtually without notice. It saves our Adversary a lot of war this way.
Return to Chapter 20 Proceed to Chapter 22
1. Rick Warren meets with the S3K Leadership Network, Video Resources, Synagogue 3000, http://www.synagogue3000.org/video.html.
2. Transcribed from the video available at ibid., “Congregational Transitions,” June 16, 2005.
3. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Section IV - Stages in the Externalization of the Hierarchy, The Subjective Basis of the New World Religion, http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/externalisation/exte1215.html.
4. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions, p. 105.
5. “In Search of the Spiritual” by Jerry Adler, Newsweek, Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2005 issue, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9024914/site/newsweek/, (page 2); quoting Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.
6. “The Importance of Sound Doctrine” by A.W. Tozer, The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book Two, Compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe, pp. 174-176.
7. According to a search for the term “Lord” in the New Testament of The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene Peterson (USA: NavPress, 2002-2003), at http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?new=1&word=lord§ion=2&version=msg&language=en.
Copyright © 2006 Tamara Hartzell. All rights reserved.