Jesuit Agenda and Evangelical Protestant Church

An Understand the Times – Lighthouse Trails Special Report

According to Bible prophecy, a one-world religion that will offer the promise of peace throughout the world is going to commence prior to Christ’s return. To most, this global body will seem like a wonderful thing and very possibly will be a pseudo-Christianity (coming in the name of “Christ”); however, contrary to how the masses will view it, it will actually help establish and set up the antichrist and his one-world government.

In order for this to happen, all religions must come together in an ecumenical plan. Today, as part of this Satanic scheme, the evangelical/Protestant church is being drawn seductively into the Roman Catholic church, largely through what we call “The Jesuit Agenda.” Incredibly, while the evidence is obvious to some, the majority of proclaiming Christians are not at all aware it is happening.

So, what should we expect if we are in the time when such a system unfolds? First, many who once were Protestant and evangelical will become ecumenical and eventually assimilate with the Roman Catholic church. Second, all religions will unite in solidarity of purpose. Understanding the Jesuit Agenda is essential if we are to understand how this worldwide deception will come about.

Who are the Jesuits?

Since its foundation, the Catholic papacy has been zealous and often brutal in its endeavor to establish the kingdom of the Pope (of whom it is believed within the Catholic church is headed by Jesus Christ). In fact, the Pope has been referred to as the “Vicar of Christ.” This determination was witnessed during the Inquisition where countless thousands, if not millions, died cruelly for resisting Rome. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs describes many of these atrocities.

While many believers in Christ during the Reformation period attempted to spread the truth that God’s Word was truly God’s Word and could not be squandered and kept hostage by the papacy and the Catholic Church, it was not long before the Counter Reformation was founded to bring the “Separated Brethren” back to the “Mother of All Churches.”

This Counter Reformation was largely headed by Ignatius Loyola, the man who founded the Jesuit Order in the mid 1500s and launched an all-out attack against those who dared stand against the papacy and Rome. This excerpt from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs gives us an idea of the nature and determination of this Counter Reformation:

The emperor Ferdinand, whose hatred of the Bohemian Protestants was without bounds, not thinking he had sufficiently oppressed them, instituted a high court to prosecute the reformers upon the plan of the Inquisition, with this difference, that the court was to travel from place to place and always to be attended by a body of troops. This court was conducted chiefly by Jesuits and from their decision there was no appeal, by which it may be easily conjectured that it was a dreadful tribunal indeed.

This bloody court, attended by a body of troops, made the tour of Bohemia. They seldom examined or saw a prisoner, for the soldiers were permitted to murder the Protestants as they pleased and then to make a report of the matter to them afterward.

You see, the Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to do whatever it took to end the Protestant Reformation. The 1540 Constitution of the Jesuits states:

[L]et whoever desires to fight under the sacred banner of the Cross, and to serve only God and the Roman pontiff, His vicar on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity,- let him keep in mind that he is part of a society, instituted for the purpose of perfecting souls in life and in Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith . . . Let all members know, and let it be not only at the beginning of their profession, but let them think over it daily as long as they live, that the society as a whole, and each of them, owes obedience to our most holy lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs, his successors, and to fight with faithful obedience for God. (Emphasis added.)

While most Christians think that the Counter Reformation is a thing of the past because we are not seeing Inquisitions today, this movement continues until today and with renewed effort through various avenues of the evangelical/Protestant church. In a way, it is more insidious than the Inquisitions, because now it has infiltrated Christianity and is being disguised as the “new” Christianity. (Rick Warren promotes it as the “new” or second reformation.) But disguised or not, it is the Jesuit Agenda, and it is bringing about ecumenism and a one-world religion. And at the same time, it is attempting to destroy the message that so many died for – the message that Jesus Christ is not found in a wafer and a cup of juice to be re-crucified day after day but has died once and for all for the sins of man and offers a salvation that is an entirely free gift, unearned to those who believe on Him (Hebrews 7:27; 10:11-14).

Who Was Ignatius Loyola?

After a serious injury in the military and during a lengthy rehabilitation, Ignatius Loyola (b. 1491, d. 1556) turned his focus from “military enthusiasm to ghostly fanaticism.”2 Ignatius assumed the name and office of Knight of the Virgin Mary, seeing himself as Mary’s favorite. Ignatius wanted to start a new order, The Society of Jesus (or the Jesuits) and presented the idea to the Pope. He told the Pope that the idea had been inspired by heavenly revelations. At first, the Pope hesitated, but when Ignatius added a fourth vow (in addition to the regular poverty, chastity, and obedience), “absolute subservience to the pope,” promising to do whatever the Pope wanted and go wherever he wanted, the Pope agreed and sent the new order out to “invade the world.” While other monks of other orders sought to separate themselves from the world, the Jesuits went out into the world and obeyed whatever command the Pope gave. Often this was to win the world with the sword. No violent act was withheld if the order came from their top “general.”3

In time, the Jesuits entered the education system, especially that of the Protestants. The Jesuit maxim was: “Give us the education of the children of this day – and the next generation will be ours.”4 The Reverend W. C. Brownlee, D.D. stated: “They pretended to be converted and to enter into Protestant churches.” One Jesuit even boasted that the Jesuits were successfully able to imitate the Puritan preachers. They used trickery and deception to become “all things to all men.” Within 48 years, there were eleven thousand Jesuits around the world, quite a large number for back then. 5

By 1773, the order was abolished because of their horrible reputation of bloodiness, deception, and immorality. However, they were reinstated fully in 1814 by Pope Pius VII. Even by this time, the influence and infiltration into the United States by the Jesuits was significant.

In 1857, the Reverend W.C. Brownlee, D.D. compiled a book of a translated document called Secret Instructions of the Jesuits (found on the Boston College Libraries website, for one). While Catholic sources say that the Secret Instructions of the Jesuits is an untrue document, there is enough evidence to indicate that it is true indeed. Naturally, it is so indicting against the papacy and the Jesuit Order that one can understand from a human point of view why Catholic sources would say the document isn’t true. But the facts are that the Jesuit Order was performing brutal cruel acts to bring the world to “Christ” and the Mother Church and that they were infiltrating every area of society to do so. This cannot be denied. Brownlee’s book would be a worthwhile read for those who wish to understand more of the history of the Jesuits.

The Jesuit Oath

It is said that the ancient Jesuits took the Jesuit Oath. This has been refuted by Catholic sources as a true oath taken by Jesuits of the past; nevertheless, there is evidence enough that the oath did exist to include excerpts of it in this report. We have taken these excerpts from a book titled Political and Economic Handbook by Thomas Edward Watson published in 1916, and found in the Harvard College library:

I do declare from my heart, without mental reservation, that the Pope is Christ’s Vicar General and . . . He hath power to depose Heretical Kings, Princes, States . . . that they may safely be destroyed. Therefore, to the utmost of my power I will defend this doctrine. . . . I do further declare the doctrine of the Church of England, of the Calvanists [sic], the Huguenots, and other Protestants to be damnable and those to be damned who will not forsake the same.

I do further declare that I will help, assist, and advise all or any of His Holiness agents in any place wherever I shall be; and to do my utmost to extirpate [exterminate] the heretical Protestant doctrine, and to destroy all their pretended power. (p. 437)

In another version of the Jesuit Oath, the Jesuit is asked to promise that he will make “relentless war” against “all heretics, Protestants” and to “hang, burn, waste, boil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics” (found in U.S. House Congressional Record, 1913, p. 3216).

The Jesuit Agenda Today

While we are not saying that Jesuits today are murdering Protestants if they don’t convert to Catholicism, we are saying that the determination and efforts to convert Protestants back to the Mother Church still exist. Basically, while the methods may have changed, the plan and objectives have not. The following quote from an article titled “Essay on Popery” by Rev. Ingram Cobbin M.A. (taken from one edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) is insightful:

The Jesuits, though at times expelled or pretendedly so from Rome, have been its awful emissaries to augment its power. The intrigues and deceptions of these men would fill volumes, and the conveniency of their creed to deny or affirm anything, or assume any profession as it may serve their purpose, is too well known to need recapitulating here. These men have at times assumed so much that every papal state has alternately ejected them; and large numbers are now in this country—doubtless many under false colours —waiting the most favourable opportunities to corrupt the rising generation, and, as much as possible, restore the dark days of former ages. The Jesuits are unchangeable.

The Jesuits were driven in the past to bring back the lost brethren, and they are driven today with the same vision. Today, that vision is part of the pope’s Eucharistic Evangelization, drawing people to the Eucharistic Christ. The Eucharistic Evangelization is discussed at length in Another Jesus: The Evangelization of the Eucharistic Christ and in several articles on the Understand the Times website.

Jesuit (Mystical) Spirituality and the Protestant/Evangelical Church

So if the methods of converting lost or prodigal souls back to Rome have changed, what is the method to accomplish these goals today? It is largely through what is called Jesuit Spirituality. A 2002 book titled Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way reveals how the Jesuit order has had and continues to have a “great influence” in people around the world. It attributes this “vitality” to “its spirituality” which has also “evoked fierce loyalty and fierce opposition.”6

What is the spirituality of the Jesuits that was so controversial? By their very roots, Jesuits are proponents of mystical prayer practices. The founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, created “spiritual exercises” that incorporated mysticism, including lectio divina. Today, millions of people worldwide practice the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.”

One Jesuit priest who resonates with the mystical spiritual outlook is Anthony De Mello (d. 1987), author of Sadhana: A Way to God. De Mello is often quoted today by contemplative and emerging authors and embraced the mysticism of Hinduism. He stated:

To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. – Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28 (cited from A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen, p. 75).

Ray Yungen explains that Sadhana “is very open in its acknowledgment of Eastern mysticism as an enrichment to Christian spirituality.”

It doesn’t take a long search to find De Mello within the evangelical/Protestant camp. In fact, Richard Foster, one of the pioneers of the evangelical spiritual formation (contemplative) movement wrote the introduction to one of De Mello’s books, The Sacrament of the Present Moment. In A Glimpse of Jesus, popular contemplative author Brennan Manning quotes De Mello. Amazon shows that De Mello’s book, The Sacrament of the Present Moment is cited in 82 books, some of which are written by some of evangelicalism’s most popular authors: John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Jan Johnson, Philip Yancey, and Calvin Miller – incidentally all these are contemplative advocates.

Another example of Jesuit influence in the evangelical/Protestant church is the Be Still DVD, where Richard Foster quotes 18th century Jesuit priest, Jean Nicholas Grou as saying: “O Divine Master, teach me this mute language which says so much.” This “mute language” Grou speaks of is the mystical “silence” practiced by contemplatives and mystics throughout all religions.

One of the key figures in the “new” progressive Christianity today is Leonard Sweet. Sweet has partnered on a number of occasions with Rick Warren and speaks at evangelical events frequently. In Sweet’s book, Quantum Spirituality, he states:

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center. . . . In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. (p. 76)

How fitting that Sweet would quote a Jesuit priest’s prediction about the “Christian” of the future.

Tony Campolo, another popular figure in the evangelical church, reveals something quite interesting in his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical. In the book, he explains the role mysticism had in him becoming a Christian. He explains:

I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. (p. 30, see “Coming to Christ Through Mysticism,” Oakland )

For skeptics who may need further evidence that Jesuit Spirituality has come into the evangelical/Protestant church, consider this. In 2006, Baker Books, one of evangelicalism’s top book publishers, released a book titled Sacred Listening: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola written by James Wakefield. A publisher description of the book states:

Central to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Spiritual Exercises is a manual used to direct a month-long spiritual retreat. Now adapting these time-honored Exercises specifically for Protestant Christians, James L. Wakefield encourages readers to integrate their secular goals with their religious beliefs and helps them reflect on the life of Jesus as a model for their own discipleship.7

Wakefield’s book, devoted to the Jesuits and Ignatian Exercises, should be proof enough that the Jesuit Agenda has entered the Christian church and that mysticism is the tool by which the Jesuit Agenda is largely being brought into the lives of countless evangelicals and Protestants. Is it any wonder Wakefield’s book found praise within the Jesuit community? Armand M. Nigro, professor emeritus at the Jesuit school, Gonzaga University, said:

As a Jesuit for 62 years, I have been formed by the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, our principal founder. I rejoice, then, at the long-awaited publication of Sacred Listening. It will be for its readers, I hope, a classic manual for spiritual growth in genuine mystical prayer. (on back cover of book)

Incidentally, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message wrote an endorsement of Wakefield’s book on the front cover.

These are just a few of a great many examples where the “Jesuit Spirituality” has come into the Protestant church; thus this new modern (post-modern) mystical method to accomplish the goals of the papacy is working.

If Protestants and evangelicals can be convinced to practice mysticism (i.e., contemplative), this conditions them to begin embracing Rome and even all religions. It’s important to understand that mysticism is the bridge that unites all the religions of the world. In order to unite them, there would need to be a uniting, common denominator, so to speak. That common uniting medium is mysticism. Thomas Merton recognized this. In a conversation he was having with a Sufi master, the topic of Christian atonement arose. The Sufi master said this was an area they could never agree on, to which Merton replied:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy [atonement] is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light, . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.8 (Emphasis added.)

Tilden Edwards, co-founder of the Shalem Institute (where Ruth Haley Barton was educated), would agree with Merton. He said, “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality” (Spiritual Friend, p. 18). And in a New Age book titled, As Above, So Below, the author states (quoting Aldous Huxley) that “the metaphysical [mystical] that recognizes a divine reality” is the “highest common factor” that “links the world’s religious traditions.” And even evangelical-turned-emerging author Tony Campolo recognizes this commonality in mysticism when he states: “Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam” (pp 149-150).

Incidentally, when we say all the religions of the world uniting, we include the New Age movement (perhaps one of the largest “religions” in the world today). New Agers believe that in order to enter into an age of enlightenment (or Age of Aquarius), the world needs to become “vibrationally sympathetic,” meaning that a sufficient mass (critical mass) of people will need to engage in mystical prayer.9

The Counter Reformation Continues

Jesuit influence in the world today is everywhere: in the business world, in education, in government, and yes, in the evangelical/Protestant church. According to Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way, there are over one million people living in the United States alone who have graduated from Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities (Introduction, p. 1).

While there have often been tensions between the Pope and the Jesuit Order over various issues, the current Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, reassured the Jesuit commitment to Rome when he stated:

The Society of Jesus was born within the Church, we live in the Church, we were approved by the Church and we serve the Church. This is our vocation…[Unity with the pope] is the symbol of our union with Christ. It also is the guarantee that our mission will not be a ‘small mission,’ a project just of the Jesuits, but that our mission is the mission of the Church.”10

Where Else in Evangelicalism is the Jesuit Evangelism Showing Up?

Earlier this year, Understand the Times released an article titled Jerry Boykin and the Calvary Chapel Connection. It was a difficult article for many to read. People do not want to think that Christian leaders and pastors they have trusted for years would be so foolish as to associate with and promote someone who is part of a group that wants to bring the “lost brethren” back to the Mother Church. But the fact is that a high officer in the Vatican’s Jesuitical, “Knights of Malta” was a featured speaker at a Calvary Chapel sponsored Preach the Word prophecy conference.

Another example, and I believe an important one, has to do with one of the most well-known and influential evangelical organizations in America. Robert Siciro is a Protestant turned Catholic Paulist priest, and he is one of the featured speakers in the very popular Truth Project by Focus on the Family. While the Paulist Order is not a Jesuit Order, it has basically the same objective as the Jesuit order with regard to winning souls for the Catholic church. According to one Catholic source , the Paulist order is “A community of priests for giving missions and doing other Apostolic works, especially for making converts to the Catholic faith.” Robert Siciro is President of the Acton Institute, an ecumenical think tank where, incidentally, there are scores of articles by or about those in the Catholic faith, including a number of Jesuits. Now, through the Truth Project, thousands and thousands of evangelical/Protestant Christians have been introduced, by way of proxy, to the Eucharistic Evangelization.

The Fatima Plan

For those who are not convinced that we are headed toward a one-world religion for “peace,” take a trip some time to Fatima, Portugal where annual pilgrimages bring people from the religions of the world to pray to “the queen of heaven,” also called “our lady of Peace.”

Pope John Paul II was dedicated to Mary and especially “Our Lady of Fatima.” He believed this entity saved him from an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the so-called apparition’s appearance (to have first occurred in 1917).

People from all around the world have been coming to Fatima to pray to “Our Lady.” At a gathering for “world peace” in Fatima, Jesuit priest Jacques Dupuis stated:

The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all. The other religious traditions in the world are part of God’s plan for humanity and the Holy Spirit is operating and present in Buddhist, Hindu and other sacred writings of Christian and non-Christian faiths as well. The universality of God’s kingdom permits this, and this is nothing more than a diversified form of sharing in the same mystery of salvation.11

Fatima is just another avenue through which the Jesuit Agenda is being accomplished.

In Summary

Perhaps the best way to understand the Jesuit Agenda that undermines biblical Christianity is to recognize the move toward a so-called “social gospel” that unites the religions of the world for the cause of peace. Like mysticism, this social gospel is a vehicle through which all religions will be united. Who would have believed this could have happened to the Protestant evangelical church? But we have already been warned in Scripture that Satan’s ministers are “transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15).

Rick Warren has been one of the many pied pipers of this move to unite through “good works.” Called “America’s pastor,” Warren has become the evangelical/Protestant spokesperson for a one-world religion. His Purpose Driven model has become the battle cry for let just all get along and do good. We can work together as one for one common purpose – peace in the world.

Willow Creek has helped to escalate this global religious body through their Global Leadership Summits, where they are “bringing people together from all nationalities to complete our shared Kingdom assignment in the Church and beyond”12 (emphasis added). Warren and Hybel’s global agenda is moving full force throughout the earth today.

Rick Warren and Bill Hybels – protégés of Peter Drucker, by the way – have advanced the Jesuit Agenda by leaps and bounds. Many of these “new” Christianity, new reformation leaders have ignored the prophetic warnings of Jesus Christ’s soon return based on the signs we see from Bible prophecy. Instead, they promote the establishment of the kingdom of God with all the world’s religions.

The emerging church movement, which has been widely propagated by Warren, Hybels, and a host of other Christian figures, has been used by Satan to quickly bring about this worldwide deception by introducing mystical experiences and the social gospel to an entire generation of young people. Sensual experiences that tickle the flesh of the postmodern generation are often the same ones that Rome has used in the past to convince the faithful that they have encountered the God of the Bible. History reveals that history is repeating, and the same tools of delusion are being used over and over.

Those who shine the light on the Jesuit Agenda are considered to be conspiratorial crackpots. The prophets of the past when they exposed the Babylonian worship by the leaders of Israel were also deemed to be crazy, as have been Bible-believing Christians since Christianity began. One of those was John Huss (1372-1415). John Foxe describes what happened:

[Huss] compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines. . . . 13

Eventually Huss was arrested, and when he was brought before the council (of the papacy), he was mocked and called “A ringleader of heretics,” to which he replied:

My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.14

At 43 years of age, John Hus was burned at the stake, singing hymns during the brutal execution. Why was he called a “ringleader of heretics”? For standing up for biblical truth against the Pope and Rome.

Discerning Christians should be asking many questions. But one question that stands out foremost is: why are so few saying anything about the Jesuit Agenda? Do they see it but are afraid to speak? Or do they see it and are part of it?

Speaking of questions, Jesus asked one: “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find it in the pastors and theological professors? Will He find it in your own church? Or will He only find those who have remained silent?

Just as God raised up others to carry the torch of truth after Huss was eliminated from this earth, God will and is raising up others today who are willing to risk all to stand for the truth and speak against the lies.

To believers who are standing fast, look up, for “your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. . . . See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:6-11, 15-17)

Continue reading at source: Lighthouse Trails Research

The Pope and The Papacy

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What Are We Left With?

As emergent apostate McLaren continues his satanic agenda to dismantle the Gospel, and as John Piper promotes Rick Warren, the real question emerges: “What Are We Really Left With?”

by James Jacob Prasch

First Satan raised up ecumenical deceiver Chuck Colson supported by false prophet Pat Robertson and J. I. Packer to betray the scriptural Gospel compromising with the sacramental one of Roman Catholicism. Then Satan raised up anti-Israel preacher John Stott and Replacement Theology Restorationist Roger Forster to deny that Jesus died to save souls from a permanent conscious hell because they teach none exits. Then Satan raised up Tony Campolo and his son Bart to deny that things Scripture calls “sin” are sin, stating that portions of God’s Word with which they disagree will either be spiritualized away or ignored. Then Satan raised up Mike Bickel’s assortment of predatory perverts, drunks, homosexuals, and mystics — the Kansas City False Prophets who propagated an over-realized eschatology of Kingdom Dominion Theology fueled by failed prophetic predictions. Then Satan raised up Rick Warren to replace God’s peace plan with Rick Warren’s multi-faith one and replace the scriptural kerygma of Gospel presentation with a seeker-friendly one based on the marketing psychology of Peter Drucker, Bill Hybels, Robert Schuller, and New Age mystic Ken Blanchard. Warren’s “Purpose Driven Lie” is not built on biblical theology but on popular psychology which downplays sin. Then Satan raised up Steve Chalk to deny that Jesus died for sin because it would make God a child abuser in his view.

If this were not enough, then Satan deluded the church with counterfeit revivals in Toronto, Pensacola, and Lakeland raising up deceivers

Please click here to read full article

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A New Kind of Christianity

Review of Brian’s McLaren’s new book A New Kind of Christianity

by Tim Challies

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about Brian McLaren and got in trouble. Reflecting on seeing him speak at a nearby church, I suggested that he appears to love Jesus but hate God. Based on immediate and furious reaction, I quickly retracted that statement. I should not have done so. I believed it then and I believe it now. And if it was true then, how much more true is it upon the release of his latest tome A New Kind of Christianity. In this book we finally see where McLaren’s journey has taken him; it has taken him into outright, rank, unapologetic apostasy. He hates God. Period.

“It’s time for a new quest,” write McLaren, “launched by new questions, a quest across denominations around the world, a quest for new ways to believe and new ways to live and serve faithfully in the way of Jesus, a quest for a new kind of Christian faith.” McLaren frames the book around “Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith.” They cut to the very heart of the faith, foundational in every way. He asks:

  • The narrative question: What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
  • The authority question: How should the Bible be understood?
  • The God question: Is God violent?
  • The Jesus question: Who is Jesus and why is he important?
  • The gospel question: What is the gospel?
  • The church question: What do we do about the church?
  • The sex question: Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
  • The future question: Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
  • The pluralism question: How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
  • The what-do-we-do-now question: How can we translate our quest into action?

His purpose, he insists, is not to answer the questions, but to provide responses to them. Answers indicate finality, responses indicate conversation and openness. “The responses I offer are not intended as a smash in tennis, delivered forcefully with a lot of topspin, in an effort to win the game and create a loser. Rather, they are offered as a gentle serve or lob; their primary goal is to start the interplay, to get things rolling, to invite your reply. Remember, our goal is not debate and division yielding hate or a new state, but rather questioning that leads to conversation and friendship on the new quest.” But that is mere semantics. Whether answering or responding (whether saying tomato or tomahto), what McLaren does through these ten questions is to completely rewrite the Christian faith. His “gentle lobs” rip the very heart out of the faith.

At the center of his remix of the faith is the claim that most Christians look at their faith through a flawed Platonic, Greco-Roman lens instead of through a biblical, Jewish lens. “God’s unfolding drama is not a narrative shaped by the six lines in the Greco-Roman scheme of perfection, fall, condemnation, salvation, and heavenly perfection or eternal perdition. It has a different story line entirely. It’s a story about the downside of ‘progress’—a story of human foolishness and God’s faithfulness, the human turn toward rebellion and God’s turn toward reconciliation, the human intention toward evil and God’s intention to overcome evil with good.” This Greco-Roman God, the one that most Christians believe in, is a “damnable idol … defended by many a well-meaning but misguided scholar and fire-breathing preacher.”

McLaren plays the all-too-typical “everyone else has it wrong” card. It turns out that most of us (all but a handful of enlightened intellectuals, as it happens) have been reading the Bible through the distorted lens of a Greco-Roman narrative. This narrative produced many false dualisms, an air of superiority and a false distinction between those who were “in” and those who were “out.” These three marks of false narrative have so impacted our faith that we can hardly see past them. But Brian is willing and eager to play Moses, leading us out of the Egypt of our own ignorance and into the Promised Land of the new Christianity.

… continue reading at Challies.com

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