In a 2010 article, Anton Bosch, pastor of Sun Valley Community Church, Sun Valley, CA, wrote:
Most people, whether Christians or not, have some ideas about a future life that could be called heaven. Many of those ideas are misguided or plain wrong and, sadly, even reasonably well taught Christians may have wrong ideas of what heaven is all about.
In a recent Time magazine article, the author said that many Christians are beginning to understand that heaven really is about making this earth a better place. I think he is right – that is what many people believe. But they are wrong. We cannot make this earth into heaven. Unfortunately, that is the agenda of much of the church today. They believe that the purpose of the church is to create heaven on earth and they work very hard to change the various structures of this world.
Herescope presents devotional thoughts on the death of Christ for sinners, excerpted from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Romans 5:6–11:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:6–11, KJV
Herescope presents an extract from J.C. Philpot’s Meditations on Sacred Humanity – The Union and Communion With Christ:
In our Meditations on the sacred humanity of the adorable Redeemer we must never, even in thought, separate His human nature from His divine. Even when His sacred body lay in the grave, and was thus for a small space of time severed from His pure and holy soul by death and the tomb, there was no separation of the two natures, for, as we have before shown, His human soul, after He had once become incarnate in the womb of the Virgin, never was parted from His Deity, but went into paradise in indissoluble union with it. It is a fundamental article of our most holy faith that the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ had no existence independent of His divine. In the Virgin’s womb, in the lowly manger, in the lonely wilderness, on the holy mount of transfiguration, in the gloomy garden of Gethsemane, in Pilate’s judgment hall, on the cross, and in the tomb, Jesus was still Immanuel, God with us. And so ineffably close and intimate is the conjunction of the human nature with the divine, that the actings of each nature, though separable, cannot and must not be separated from each other.
Warren B. Smith of Mountain Stream Press writes:
In today’s evangullible church, countless believers are yielding to the temptations of our Adversary and falling away (Luke 8:13). Giving in to the compromised teachings of the emerging apostate church, once faithful believers are succumbing to the deception that Jesus warned would come in His name.
Jared Moore of SBC Voices asks whether allegory is now a pandemic problem in the SBC:
Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, along with serving Southern Baptist Churches in ministry for over 10 years, I knew that allegorizing the Scriptures in the pulpit was a problem in the SBC. However, I did not have any hard data to confirm my assumptions…until now. In 2009, Chipley McQueen Thornton analyzed 171 sermons delivered at the meetings of the SBC from the years 1997 through 2006, in order to assess allegorical tendancies in contemporary Southern Baptist preaching. His findings are discouraging.
Herescope defines another neologism, rhema scriptura:
- The teaching that all things in Scripture are not self-contained, sufficient, plain or complete as written, but that in compensation for Scripture’s insufficiency, a new Word from God is needed for this generation and now being delivered by self-appointed and self-anointed apostles and prophets (or other mystics), whose spoken words (i.e., rhēma) now supersede, override or render obsolete that which is written in the Bible – the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3b).
Herescope carries an editorial by Rev. Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, highlighting how evangelicalism has had its attention diverted from the Gospel to ineffective political attempts to legislate morality.
Herescope defines another neologism. Here is an excerpt:
In a piecemeal fashion, seeking out random Bible verses (i.e., “proof texts”) and selfishly ascribing a privatized spiritual meaning to them even while being oblivious to the obvious meaning of the text; then, in numbed oblivion to the text’s obvious meaning, applying the patchwork of Bible verses to any life situation deemed personally appropriate, especially to soothe one’s emotions, forecast one’s future, drive one’s purpose in life, discover one’s destiny, determine God’s will, etc.
In an article entitled Scripture Amidst the Shadows, Pastor Larry DeBruyn writes:
Increasingly, evangelical-emergent leaders are viewing the Bible as “metaphor” – to be constituted of less than literal language from which the reader subjectively derives spiritual meanings. To fully grasp the sense of God’s Word, the reader must do so through the lens of the metaphor. This “new hermeneutic” asserts that ignoring the nuances of metaphor makes the Bible unintelligible. For example, Eugene H. Peterson (well-known composer of The Message) states in Eat This Book that “if we do not appreciate the way a metaphor works we will never comprehend the meaning of the text.”
William J. Broad writes in the New York Times:
The wholesome image of yoga took a hit in the past few weeks as a rising star of the discipline came tumbling back to earth. After accusations of sexual impropriety with female students, John Friend, the founder of Anusara, one of the world’s fastest-growing styles, told followers that he was stepping down for an indefinite period of “self-reflection, therapy and personal retreat.”
Mr. Friend preached a gospel of gentle poses mixed with openness aimed at fostering love and happiness. But Elena Brower, a former confidante, has said that insiders knew of his “penchant for women” and his love of “partying and fun.”…
But this is hardly the first time that yoga’s enlightened facade has been cracked by sexual scandal. Why does yoga produce so many philanderers?…
One factor is ignorance. Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult.
(Log in required.)
Freelance writer Warren B. Smith has updated his 1995 article about authors M. Scott Peck and Matthew Fox, which showed an example of how the New Age movement was entering the church. Smith writes:
What I didn’t know in 1995 was that a then obscure Methodist minister by the name of Leonard Sweet had already written a 1991 book entitled, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic. In his book, Sweet aligned himself with the Cosmic Christ (p. 124) and described Peck and Fox as two of his “personal role models” and “heroes” (p. viii). He also went so far as to heretically hail the mystical Catholic New Age Chardin as “Twentieth-century Christianity’s major voice” (p. 106). Because Leonard Sweet himself is a major voice in the evangelical church today—speaking in worldwide Christian conferences and to the leaders of major denominations regularly—it is imperative to understand what this man really believes and not just what he conveniently says when challenged about his beliefs.
I have updated my 1995 article with some minor revisions to demonstrate the influence Peck, Fox, and Chardin have had on popular church figures like Leonard Sweet.
SOLA MYSTICA [(soh’-luh) (mis’-tik-uh)]
[Sola 1685–95; and Italian, Latin sōlus alone] [Mystica:1275–1325; Middle English mystic; Latin mysticus; Greek mystikós, equivalent to mýst (ēs) an initiate into the mysteries + -ikos -ic; akin to myeîn to initiate, teach]
- Mystical experience alone—in contrast to the Reformation which set forth the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone)—as the basis for spiritual authority; new revelation and/or spiritual encounters deriving from mystical experience as modern evangelicalism’s basis for final authority spiritual matters.
- Ascribing superior significance and insight to paranormal encounters and mysterious experiences so that they provide new revelations and/or insights which…
Pastor Larry DeBruyn writes:
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 1 John 2:19-20, NASB
The impression left by some televangelists is that they possess an exceptional anointing above and beyond that commonly possessed by the Christian masses. They give the impression that an anointing is available from God through them. In a sense, these well-known ministers have appointed themselves as distributors of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. Either by the contact of their hand with an individual’s forehead, or by a forceful exhaling of air from their lungs (thereby simulating Spirit and wind), these anointed ones slay individuals or entire audiences in the Spirit. On stage and in crowded auditoriums, these “anointed” evangelists also heal persons by a touch as they command demons to take flight. They are “the anointed,” God’s power brokers, channels by whom and through whom the power of the Holy Spirit is released and distributed into the lives of thousands. Of course, all of this raises the question, What is this anointing is all about?
MANTRA SCRIPTURA (man’-truh) (skriptər’ uh)
[C19: from Sanskrit, literally: speech, instrument of thought, from man to think. 1808, “that part of the Vedas which contains hymns,” from Skt. mantra-s “sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel,” lit. “instrument of thought,” related to manyate “thinks.” Sense of “special word used for meditation” is first recorded in Eng. 1956.] [Scriptura: 1250–1300; Middle English and Latin scrīptūra writing. See script, -ure]
- The repetitious use of the words of Scripture by means of prayers, chants, incantations, words and musical verse, performed in order to reach a higher level of spirituality, to attain greater spiritual perfection, to ascend to ultimate reality, to access the heavens, to gain new revelation, to encounter interior spiritual oneness with God, and/or experience peace, harmony, unity, euphoria, ecstasy, self-awareness, self-actualization, enlightenment and bliss. [See Mystica Scriptura)
- The teaching that in Scripture all things are not plain, nor sufficient, nor alike clear unto all, but that God’s Word needs to be enhanced by repetitive, formulaic, hypnotic and mind-altering extra-scriptural rituals, practices, techniques and ceremonies that induce religious feelings in participants, particularly when performed in combination with...
MYSTICA SCRIPTURA [(mis'-tik-uh) (skriptər' uh)]
[Mystica:1275–1325; Middle English mystic; Latin mysticus; Greek mystikós, equivalent to mýst (ēs) an initiate into the mysteries + -ikos -ic; akin to myeîn to initiate, teach] [Scriptura: 1250–1300; Middle English and Latin scrīptūra writing. See script, -ure]
- The teaching that in Scripture all things are not plain, nor sufficient, nor alike clear unto all, but that God’s Word needs to be enhanced by extra-scriptural rituals, practices and ceremonies (i.e., meditative techniques, art, dance, drama, chanting, music, etc.) that induce and alter religious feelings in observers and participants. In an ecstatic state induced by these mechanical means…
INCLUSIVA SCRIPTURA [in-kloo-siv] [skriptər’ uh]
1. Belief in an open canon, as opposed to a closed canon, as the word of God. The canonical biblical text plus anything else. See Plura Scriptura
2. Disbelief in, disavowal, disregard, discounting, disparagement of, and deconstruction of the Bible on the one hand, while on the other, …. continue reading…