May 24, 2014
Part I—“Anchored” to Sludge
Better known as Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel authored a number of beloved children’s classics. “I like nonsense,” Seuss exclaimed; “Looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” While I agree there is a time for every purpose under heaven, charming, but fanciful thoughts, as his, best remain in works of fiction. You see, by definition, “nonsense” refers to meaningless language and/or pointless behaviors—hardly the stuff of abundant, fruitful living in the real world.
Precursors to 21st century politicians, early sophists attended more to self-serving rhetoric than to truth. Over time, sophistry came to be known as false reasoning. To this day, fifth century thought rears its unsightly head as a sort of cerebral political correctness called deconstructionism whereupon words take on whatever meaning one chooses for them. This normalized nonsense renders meaningful communication unrealizable.
Contemporary sophists forfeit common sense for outright absurdities and inconsistencies (i.e., nonsense). For example, United Nations “experts” freely redefine words to suit their own purposes. Consider the word, “torture.” What constitutes the U.N.’s view of torture is not the practice of partial-birth abortion, as pro-life advocates contend, but rather it is accepting the inviolable dignity of human life that naturally restricts abortion (i.e., in cases of rape). Huh?
Proponents of said absurdity freely create language to win arguments, never to affirm truth. Your truth may not be my truth (and visa versa), but “What the hey; who’s to say?” Right and wrong don’t even exist—only good or bad debate. Sadly, U.N. officials aren’t alone in viewing life through the wrong end of a telescope. Another case in point is the American Psychological Association’s nonsensical argument that children are “not typically harmed by adult-child sex.” Balderdash.
Keep in mind that postmodernists embrace no metanarrative (“big story”) respecting the sovereign God of creation. The late Charles Colson rightlylabeled this feckless mindset “a formalized expression of despair.” Bereft of settled principles, a double-minded man or womanisnothing if notirresoluteand wavering. In contrast, hope in the unchanging nature of God’s purpose safeguards firm, secure anchorage for the soul.
• An Irresistible Revolution
Having mistakenly legitimized universalism, Rob Bell was awarded the #1 spot for top religious stories of 2011—probably due to its collateral damage. Ignoring that God isa god of justice, Universalists err by insistingwe all are children of God; and a loving God would never condemn anyone to hell.Then again, Scripture instructs otherwise. In recent years, many Christian youth groups have beenservedbountiful banquets of a-biblical babble. By imbibingThe Irresistible Revolution,written by ShaineClaibourne and Jim Wallis, ill-equipped Christiansnaively drop anchor insludge.
The Church at Risk
Many today consider it passé to believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Without appearingoverly opinionated, exclusive, and/or intolerant, they simply “live and let live,” hear the narratives of many and, then, do what seems right in their own eyes. A softer, gentler, milk-toast-of-a-gospelshushesfundamental warnings about hellfire and damnation.
Religious services officiated by the likes of Rev. Feargus O'Connor (Secretary of the World Congress of Faiths) feature readings from humanist sources along with scriptures of sundryfaith systems. At their core,all religions arethought to share the ethical principle of compassion. Accordingly, inspired by progressive thinkers from the world’s greatest religions, the U.N. Charter for Compassion (2009) affirms the Golden Rule and exalts empathy and compassion for all. Apart from divine empowerment, however, even well meaning do-gooders identify with the apostle Paul’s dilemma, “For the good that I want, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not want. More often than not compassion evades fallen humanity.
• Interfaith Deception
Lackinga spiritual compass, religious Universalists accept that all religions (or none) provide equal enlightenment; all represent valid pathways to God. Sadly, even “the elect” fall prey to interfaith deception. Case in point: Carlton Pearson. Raised in a traditional Christian home, and educated at Oral Roberts University, Pearson relies heavily on German “higher criticism” and espouses a non-literal view of the Bible. One of America’s 10 Most Influential Black Ministers, Pearson now proclaims a new Gospel of Radical Inclusion that wrongly exchanges universal salvation for personal redemption and social justice for spiritual purity.
Just this month, a mainstream evangelical, church-leadership conference drew thousands of pastors and church workers to Carrollton, Texas for an event called Catalyst Dallas. At an afternoon workshop, attendees engaged in “centering prayer,” a mystical practice of Eastern spirituality. So-called “theology of the heart,” acted out thusly, may well emphasize intimacy with God; but it nonetheless misses the mark. Whereas biblical meditation engages the mind, contemplative prayer empties it.
Enter, the groundbreaking global Prison Yoga Project. Byintroducing Karma Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation into prisons, rehabilitation facilities, and community programs, participants reportedly “reconnect more deeply with themselves and others.” The project’s self-transformative message shifts need for God Almighty to the Self—this, by means of Eastern spirituality—and thereby counterfeits the plan of God for personal salvation.
• Emerging Religiosity
While describing themselves as “spiritual,” increasing numbers of Westerners embrace “no religious affiliation.” With creed, commandments, and ritual increasingly falling by the wayside, manyaccept any brand of spirituality that floats their metaphorical boat. Unfortunately, vain attempts to build an unattainable world of tolerance, justice, security, and peace will end insudden destruction.
Today’s burgeoning ecumenicalism wrongly mixes universalism with humanism and Eastern philosophies: Having convened in Detroit (January 2014), the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation featuredHindu dancers cavorting all the whileMuslims droned“the Call” and Jews blew their shofars. This merge-and-splurge display of empty religiosity serves only to morph traditional faith systems into oblivion. Apart from the God of the Bible, emerging, pie-in-the-sky esotericismthreatens to deceive multitudes; andthat’s precisely what it will do.
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2. Ecclesiastes 3:1.
3. John 10:10.
4. Vatican Turns the Table on the UN: It’s Abortion That’s Torture, Not Our Pro-Life Views, Accessed 15 May 2014.
5. See Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman, “A Meta Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples,” Psychological Bulletin, 1998, Vol. 124, No. 1, pp. 22-53.
6. Genesis 1:1.
7. Barnes' Notes on James 1:8. 1-8. Accessed 15 May 2014.
8. 2 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 6:17-19; Accessed 15 May 2014. As early as 1382, The Etymological Dictionary attached the word “stability” to the first written use of "anchor."
9. Compliments of Jan Markell, Olive Tree Ministries.
10. Romans 1:8, 6:23, 11:22; James 1:13-15; Revelation 20:12-15, 21:8.
11. Is the church being lulled to sleep? Accessed 17 May 2014
12. Judges 21:25.
13. Carl Teichrib. Global Calendar Events of 2014 (Forcing Change, December 2013) Volume 7, issue 12.
14. Romans 7:19.
15. Matthew 24:24.
16. The gospel of inclusion, Accessed 17 May 2014
17. Major Christian conference accused of 'pushing mysticism', Accessed 16 May 2014
18. In assessing the worth of any belief system, one principle prevails: Let God be true and every opposing man (or spirit) a liar, Romans 3:4.Based in part on Hindu meditation, Transcendental Meditation involves repeating a special word or phrase (mantra) while assuming the lotus position—this, to induce a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. A trance state may well relieve stress, but at what price? For adept practitioners, the quickest way to contact one’s “spirit guide” is by means of meditative visualization, encouraging participants to create their own reality. Slipping in and out of consciousness via artificially induced possibilities thinking, hypnosis, or autosuggestion heightens suggestibility, thus vulnerability.
19. James Fox, Founder and Director of Prison Yoga Project, Announces Training Schedule for 2014, Accessed 17 May 2014.
20. 1 Thessalonians 5:3.