New Age Christianity Part Four
Start at the beginning. Read Part One Jocelyn Andersen: New Age Christianity PART ONE
Participants in spiritual formation retreats, such as Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis Walk, or other events where “historic Christian traditions” are taught, are often introduced to the concept of the Fourth Day.
Fourth Day living includes growing in spiritual disciplines and historic Christian traditions by studying Roman Catholic mystics, such as St. Teresa of Avila and the Desert Fathers (known as the Fathers of Contemplative Prayer). During these event books by Evelyn Underhill and many others are also recommended as nurturing and guiding resources.
Underhill was an Anglican mystic who believed that Eastern mysticism (meditation/contemplative prayer also known as “The Silence”) was the vehicle in which all religions could come into contact with the “Absolute,” which is God however one perceives him to be. This is not a concept found in scripture nor is it compatible with the exclusive gospel of Jesus Christ.
As previously stated, in application and experience, there is little to no difference between transcendental meditation and contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer is transcendental meditation, the only difference being that instead of repeating a traditional mantra such as the Hindu, “Om,” the Christian contemplative might repeat the name Jesus or one of the various names of God, or even a short Bible verse. And the end result for the Christian is identical to that of the Hindu or any other practitioner of transcendental meditation. If the Christian mystics get it just right, they will achieve a state of altered consciousness. And if they get it really right, they might even experience a good high. And all, Christian and non-Christian alike, eventually become awakened to the unity and oneness of all creation and come to the lofty [though unbiblical] understanding that God is in everyone and everything.
How have such blatantly unbiblical heresies managed to take root within the Christian Church to the degree they have? What is the impetus that gives this movement such momentum?
It appears that at least a partial answer to this question could be…money.
In following the money trail on some interfaith organizations that put on a big show of being “Christian,” but are certainly not the kind of Christianity we find in the Bible, we discovered a common denominator in many of the financial grants bestowed upon faith based so-called “Christian” outreaches. One of the stipulations of receiving the money was that grant recipients would commit to participation in “the restoration of ancient, historical, Christian traditions.”
To the educated reader, the term, ancient, historical, Christian traditions, generally means mystical, contemplative, Roman Catholic, Christian traditions. It has no relation or meaning to the average protestant Christian. The term, ancient, historical, Christian traditions, refers to restoring a Christianized form of transcendental meditation called contemplative prayer (also known as centering or soaking prayer).
Proponents of contemplative prayer claim to be restoring the practice to the Church. This is interesting, because there has never been any such tradition as contemplative prayer in the Protestant church, so how can something be “restored” that was never there to begin with?
Such is the deceitful nature of the dialogue of spiritual-formationists.
The Bible does not support “Historic Christian Traditions.” So, scripture cannot be considered a component in leading protestant evangelicals down the path to contemplative mystical oneness. As we have shown, the Bible begins to exhibit less impact and influence in the lives of contemplative Christians but diluting the authority of scripture is not enough for those driving the spiritual formation movement. There are those with deep pockets willing to take a crack at buying out evangelical Christianity.
And they do not seem to be at a loss for takers.
For instance, The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program grants thousands of dollars each year to churches who will send their pastors to their retreats and who will commit to recovering what they call the “wisdom of the Christian tradition for our contemporary situation” (that’s code for contemplative).
Prior to 2014, the foundation boasted of investing more than $29,000,000 into more than 700 congregations since the year 2000. The Lilly Endowment also feeds other grant foundations which, according to them, are “enriching contemporary religious life by an appreciative recovery and critical re-appropriation of the riches of the Christian tradition.”
Christian congregations are being paid handsomely through grant monies, to allow their pastors the “privilege” of attending clergy renewal retreats where they can travel, worship, explore their faith, and recover the wisdom of historic Christian traditions together with other leaders from all denominations.
The result of these retreats is that Christian leaders are being brought into a more ecumenical and global mindset. Would that logically be the first step to ultimate acceptance of a one world religion?
In looking at the retreat rosters for the year 2000, it was expected that Universalists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics, and some of the more ecumenical protestant congregations would participate in the clergy renewal programs. And they were there. But what was shocking was that, from the very beginning, traditionally conservative Christians such as Baptists and Mennonites, among others, were among grant recipients and retreat participants as well.
What is worse, the number of conservative congregations selling out by sending pastors on these heretical retreats has been steadily increasing, with each passing year seeing more and more churches and denominations participating.
Among grant recipients for the year 2007, there were many more Baptists than were represented in the year 2000. There was more than one Mennonite congregation, a Moravian congregation, and a Church of God.
The following is an excerpt from the National Clergy Renewal Program 2014 press release: “Since 2000, more than 1,900 congregations across the nation have received grants in the National Clergy Renewal Program to support the renewal programs of their pastors. Congregations in the 2014 program received grants totaling more than $5,000,000. Christian congregations were invited to apply for program grants of up to $50,000. Up to $15,000 of the grant could be allocated to fund interim pastoral leadership as well as to support renewal activities within the congregation.”
In 2014, 140 churches received grant monies from the Lilly Foundation through their National Clergy Renewal Program. The list of recipients includes:
- Many Non-Denominational churches
- Christian Reformed
- United Methodist
- Church of the Nazarene
- United Church of Christ
- Church of Christ
- Christian Church
- Christian Methodist Episcopal
- Church of the Brethren
- Antiochian Orthodox Church
- Reformed Church
- Catholic Churches
- United Protestant Church
- Community Church
Each of the 140 churches represented by the above denominations received up to $50,000 in exchange for sending their pastors on an extended sabbatical which included a clergy renewal retreat where they would be directed into spiritual formation along with a commitment to support renewal activities within their congregations back home as well.
This is frightening.
And the Lilly Endowment is not the only philanthropist organization buying out the Christian Church. There are many organizations bestowing big bucks in the form of grant money on Christians willing to sell their birthrights for bowls of pottage.
- Money is the bait
- Ancient, “historic,” Christian traditions is the hook
- Contemplative spirituality is the line
- And a paradigm shift straight into a panentheistic hell is the sinker
The church is selling, and philanthropists are buying.
Do we even want to know who is behind the philanthropists?
It is as our Lord said, the love of money truly is the root of all evil.
 Eli Lilly and Company is an American global pharmaceutical company. In 2009, Eli Lilly pleaded guilty to illegally marketing the drug Zyprexa for off-label uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, particularly the treatment of dementia in the elderly. The company paid a $515,000,000 criminal fine, at the time the largest in history.
This is an installment of the book, New Age Christianity, by Jocelyn Andersen. Read along on this blog as the book is being written, and then have opportunity to buy it once it is completed. To receive an announcement from Amazon whenever a new book is released by Jocelyn, subscribe to Her Amazon author's page.
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