“Is hit book ‘Jesus Calling’ pushing New Age?” by Jim Fletcher of WND

Jim Fletcher writes:

When the entity formerly known as the Christian Bookseller’s Association decided to go secular business model a couple decades ago, the inevitable diluting of doctrinally sound books began.

Traditional titles, ranging from Charles Stanley to Ruth Bell Graham to Charles Spurgeon, began to share shelf space with the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books (musing about such things as the “golden Buddha inside us all”). Pretty soon, it was a theological free-for-all, with no vetting process in place. Anyone self-identifying as “Christian” was welcome. The transformation was complete by, say, 2008, when CBA (newly named as “ICRS”: International Christian Retail Show) feted “The Shack” author William Paul Young and his universalism beliefs.

So it is that Sarah Young’s wildly popular book, “Jesus Calling,” first published in 2004 by Thomas Nelson, has now sold more than 10 million copies. It has spawned almost countless spin-off products and seems to be gaining steam, featured as it is in Christian bookstore chains and recommended by prominent leaders.

But is something amiss here? Researcher and writer Warren Smith thinks so. His response to Young, “Another Jesus Calling,” presents the case that the mega-seller is soaked in New Age teachings. He makes a compelling case that “Jesus Calling” was influenced by a decades-old title, “God Calling,” in which the authors introduce mainstream New Age teachings to Christian audiences. continue reading

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Bonus: The common contemplative root of Alcoholics Anonymous, God Calling, and Jesus Calling: read article

Bill and Beni Johnson believe “truths” need to be extracted from New Age?

So…let’s say a number of Christians contributed chapters to a book. Well, nothing unusual about that.

But what if the contributors to the book “all agree that the next move of God will cause a shift at the deepest level of who we are—perhaps the very ‘vibrational level’ that the New Age movement has been exploring. They also all agree that there are precious truths hidden in the New Age that belong to us as Christians and need to be extracted from the worthless.” [1] (Emphasis mine)

This is a problem.

The book is The Physics of Heaven. As it turns out, The Physics of Heaven has both the approval and participation of Bethel Church of Redding’s movers and shakers.

Bill Johnson, lead pastor of Bethel, contributed a chapter. So did his wife, Beni Johnson. Bill Johnson’s personal assistant, Judy Franklin, co-authored the book! Banning Liebscher of Jesus Culture praised the book, [2] and Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate leader at Bethel, wrote the foreword. Vallotton lauded the contributors as “seers.” [3]

Well, I guess I am a “seer” too. Here is what I see: I see a high profile, very popular church with leaders who do not or will not understand the dangers of delving into New Age practices. I see that a church like Bethel Redding could take in New Age practices (while calling them “redeemed” or Christian), and end up being swallowed up by the New Age.

Ridiculous? Well, you make the call: Read
Endnotes:
1. Ellyn Davis, The Physics of Heaven (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, Kindle Edition, 2013), Kindle location: 447
2. Ibid., Banning Liebscher, Kindle location: 85.
3. Ibid., Kris Vallotton, The Physics of Heaven, op. cit., Kindle location: 96.

Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding discernment page

Questions about gold dust? The Holy Spirit being like the genie in Aladdin’s Lamp? Apostasy Watch has a variety of articles and videos exposing the goings on over at Bethel Church in Redding California. click here

Bethel’s Bill Johnson teaches Jesus performed miracles only as man, not as God

In 2012, The Physics of Heaven was published. Co-authored by Judy Franklin, personal assistant to Bethel Church’s leader, Bill Johnson, the book potentially serves as a lure into new age practices and quantum spirituality. The book has both approval and participation of Bethel’s movers and shakers, as Bill Johnson and his wife, Beni, each contribute a chapter and the Foreword is written by Bethel’s Kris Vallotton. Read

Bill Johnson’s willingness to look for truth in New Age practices comes in part from his faulty Christology. Johnson believes, and teaches, that Christ performed miracles and healings only as a man, not as God. Does this teaching, combined with the extreme emphasis on Christians performing signs and wonders, lend itself to acceptance of a New Age Christ?

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article over at Crosswise Blog which explains Johnson’s strange assertion: Read

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Bill Johnson’s Christology Explained

In essence, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a recognized “apostle” by some, teaches that at conception, or at least prior to the Virgin Birth, Jesus divested Himself of all His divine attributes thereby living a sinless earthly existence by being totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit while receiving the power to do miracles at His baptism. This divine self-emptying is known as the kenosis doctrine as discussed here.

The quotes used in this section are taken from six different books by Bill Johnson (and one sermon) to illustrate that this teaching undergirds his entire theology.

Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us.8

…Jesus did everything in His earthly ministry as a man who had set aside all His divine privileges and power in order to model the Christian life for us.9

..Jesus set aside His divinity, choosing instead to live as a man completely dependent on God.10

…He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…11

The above quotes can be construed such that Jesus retained all His divine attributes yet chose not to exercise them; however, the following illustrates that He no longer had inherent deity:12

Jesus Christ said of Himself, ‘The Son can do nothing.’ In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning—it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever!…He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.13

…Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself.’ He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow….Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…14

Given that deity is by very definition supernatural, Johnson has, in effect, reduced Jesus to less than God. With Johnson’s claim that Jesus had no inherent ability to perform miracles in and of Himself, it is clear that Johnson means Jesus no longer had his divine attributes to utilize even if He so desired. He “had NO supernatural capabilities”; He was totally and completely a man but “in right relationship to God” by the Holy Spirit:

The Father, by the Holy Spirit, directed all that Jesus said and did.15

Analytic theologian Oliver Crisp describes this view that Jesus Christ performed all His miracles by the Holy Spirit rather than His inherent divinity/deity as “not conventional”.16 Furthermore, this doctrine is simply not Biblically accurate. –For the rest of the article, Bill Johnson’s Christology: A New Age Christ?, Part 1, click Here
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So, what is the conclusion reached in the Crosswise article? According to Crosswise, it is this: “Bill Johnson’s Christology can certainly be described as heresy. It is known as separationist Christology34 for it separates Christ from Jesus and vice versa.” link to same Crosswise article

(Sources for Bill Johnson’s and other quotes can all be found at end of Crosswise article)

Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding amenable to New Age “truths”

Bill Johnson and his wife, Beni, are both contributors to the book The Physics of Heaven. Bill Johnson’s administrative assistant, Judy Franklin, co-authored the book. The Foreword is written by Bethel’s Kris Vallotton, and the book is endorsed by Banning Liebscher of Jesus Culture.

Is this a problem?

As co-author Ellyn Davis acknowledges, “[The contributors of the book] all agree that the next move of God will cause a shift at the deepest level of who we are—perhaps the very ‘vibrational level’ that the New Age movement has been exploring. They also all agree that there are precious truths hidden in the New Age that belong to us as Christians and need to be extracted from the worthless.” [1]

According to contributor Jonathan Welton, “I have found throughout Scripture at least 75 examples of things that the New Age has counterfeited, such as having a spirit guide, trances, meditation, auras, power objects, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and more. These actually belong to the church, but they have been stolen and cleverly repackaged.” [2]

It gets worse.

Read: The New Age Propensities of Bethel’s Bill Johnson

Endnotes
1. Ellyn Davis, The Physics of Heaven (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, Kindle Edition, 2013), Kindle location: 405.
2. Jonathan Welton, The Physics of Heaven, Kindle location: 808.

Guideposts Magazine Managing Editor uses Centering Prayer

A reader has informed Lighthouse Trails:

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I was given a subscription to Guideposts magazine.  In the February issue, there is an article titled “Summoned” written by Anne Simpkinson – Online Managing Editor.  The first paragraph reads as follows:

I start my day with prayer. Centering prayer, in which, rather than saying prayers aloud, you sit in silence, letting go of thoughts and distractions and resting in God.  The point isn’t to talk to God, or even to listen to him, but to simply be with him.

Further down, the article reads:

 I close my eyes and try to open to God’s presence.  The sixteenth-century mystic Saint John of the Cross wrote that God’s first language is silence, and I’ve chosen centering prayer as a way to connect with God-beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond emotions.

I would have to write the whole article to give you all she relates in it.  She brings her cat in to it, also.

I did not realize Guideposts was going down this path.

D. R.

You can read the response of Lighthouse Trails editors by linking  HERE

Published in: on February 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Age fundamentalist passages in A.A.’s “Big Book”

In Alcoholics Anonymous theology, anything and everything can be “god.” Yet, paradoxically, A.A. takes key passages of How It Works from the A.A. Big Book (the A.A. “bible”) literally. These passages may as well have been chiseled in stone. Because of this, Alcoholics Anonymous can be strangely–but accurately–described as a fundamentalist New Age religion.

This is what is read to alcoholics at the beginning of every single meeting:

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.” (bold mine)

How It Works goes on to note, “We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not.”

These two fundamentalist passages thus serve to lock alcoholics into the A.A. system, while also teaching contempt or distrust for alternative ways of gaining sobriety. Particularly opposed is the idea of getting help in “church.”

Researcher Rober Tournier observes that A.A.’s “continued domination of the field and its members’ claims to be spokesman for the victim have fettered innovation … and tied us to a treatment strategy which … is limited in its applicability to the universe of alcoholics.” [1]

In Alcoholics Anonymous, most Christians experience a transference of faith. The twelve step experience often becomes an idol. Thus it is not uncommon to speak with Christians who are more concerned with “recovery” than sanctification; and who demonstrate a preference for A.A. rather than the fellowship with the saints.

And those who bow down and swear to the Lord, and yet swear by Milcom, (Zephaniah 1:5b)

On November 15, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that AA is indeed religious in nature. An A.A. meeting is essentially a devotional service. The “higher power” receives worship; confession is heard; testimony is given; the group invokes the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer. The 12th Step instructs AA members to go forth and Spread the Word.

Whether one calls it religious, or spiritual, the bottom line is that millions have been taught to reach outside (or inside) of themselves, and draw on a higher power to give them strength.

Endnotes:

1. Robert Tournier, quoted in Journal of Drug Issues, Volume 10, pg.150

Published in: on January 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Catholic Pontifical document notes connection between New Age, Twelve Step Programs

So…when are leaders in Protestant churches going to figure this out? In Jesus Christ, The Bearer Of The Water of Life, two Pontifical Councils released a report on the New Age. According to the document:

“Advertising connected with New Age  covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic,  kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of   “bodywork” (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity  massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional  therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by  crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally,  twelve-step programmes and self-help groups.(25) The source of  healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in  touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy.” (bold mine)

Source:                                    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_doc_20030203_new-age_en.html#2.2.3. Health: Golden living

Published in: on November 23, 2013 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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The longer in AA, the less important the nature of God

“The founders of A.A., it is obvious, felt that alcoholics need the help of a Power greater than themselves. But again, whether by accident, design, or divine guidance, they have wisely refrained from strictly defining this Power. While A.A. literature has used and continues to use the personal pronoun which describes the concept of a personal deity, a belief in this concept is by no means required. In fact, I am convinced that the greater a member’s years in A.A., the less important the nature of this Power becomes.” (bold mine)

(From A Member’s Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous, a speech given to a class on alcoholism counseling)

 

 

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mysticism and God’s Word

What exactly is this that is entering the church? Yungen and Oppenheimer in an informative session.

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