More Confusion?

 

Break Forth Update:

Will Christian Leaders Cause More Confusion Than Good?

Press Release

For Immediate Release – November 16, 2009
Joel Rosenberg says he will speak at Break Forth, but serious implications should be considered.
Dear Concerned Christian,

If your head is spinning, trying to keep up with the latest happenings of the leaders of the evangelical Christian church, it’s no wonder. For many, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see clearly through the muddy waters of organized Christianity. More and more leaders, who have been considered orthodox and traditional, are ending up on speaking platforms with those from the emerging/contemplative/New Spirituality arena.

These minglings are not occasional or isolated events any longer. They are happening with increased frequency. For the most part, Christian leaders are not speaking up about the confusion it is causing.

Some people watching this unfold are angry that ministries like Lighthouse Trails would dare question their  spiritual” heroes.” For others, they laugh and say, “See, I told you there was nothing wrong with this new paradigm spirituality.” And still others say, “I thought at one time it was wrong, but one of my favorite Christian figures shows no concern (and in fact stands alongside them), so now I believe this new spirituality is not wrong at all.” And in the midst of all this, confusion mounts, and the Gospel message is looking more obscure all the time.

Examples, you ask? Too many to list them all. But here are a few:

1. Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti have joined with New Spirituality teachers Leonard Sweet, William Paul Young, and a host of other contemplative/emerging figures to speak at the upcoming Break Forth conference in Canada in January. This is in spite of the fact that Peretti himself has written fiction stories that actually expose the darkness of the New Age.

2. Greg Laurie invited Rick Warren to give the opening prayer at Laurie’s 2009 Harvest Crusade and asked Chuck Smith to publicly welcome Warren at the event.

3. Apologetic figures Norman Geisler and Greg Koukl joined other “apologists” at Saddleback Church for an apologetics conference. Future Saddleback apologetic conferences are already being planned.

4. Emerging church leader Rob Bell and Chuck Swindoll shared a platform at the 2009 Catalyst event.

5. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa invited emerging church author/pastor Mike Erre to speak to thousands of youth at their 2009 Movement event. In opening remarks at the event, concerned ministries were called “haters” for publicly stating their concerns.

6.  In the 2007 Break Forth conference, Kay Arthur shared a platform with emerging/mystic Tony Campolo.

7. Andy Stanley (son of Charles Stanley), who says he is not part of the emerging/New Spirituality, shared a platform at Youth Specialties 2009 National Youth Workers Convention with contemplative/emerging figures Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), David Crowder, Duffy Robbins, Tony Campolo, Jim Burns, and a number of others in that camp. In fact, Youth Specialties is one of the main avenues through which the contemplative/New Spirituality is entering the church today and has been for many years.

8. The 2009 National Worship Conference brought together Calvary Chapel leader Greg Laurie and Jesus movement singer, Chuck Girard, with New Spirituality leaders Leonard Sweet, Brennan Manning, David Crowder, and Sally Morgenthaler.

This is just a sampling of conferences that have combined the “traditional” with the heretical. These conferences throughout North America are happening at a furious pace, and we believe are being used by Satan to converge and blend truth with error, so that soon there will be no distinction. Christians are flocking to these events, showing their full support. But this is one fast moving train that Christian believers should hop off before it’s too late.

On November 9th, Lighthouse Trails posted a report titled, WHY are Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti Appearing With New Age/New Spirituality Sympathizers? Then, on November 13th, Joel Rosenberg issued a public statement regarding this matter. He stated:

A few of you have expressed concern that I’ve agreed to speak at the “Break Forth 2010” conference in Edmonton, Canada Jan 29-31 because there are some other speakers slated to attend whose theology is questionable. Chief concern: William Young, author of “The Shack,” a novel I and others have found heretical. The reason I am attending is because it is the largest Christian conference in Canada (some 15,000 evangelicals are expected) and I’m not ready to concede such ground to those who are peddling false teaching. I’ve been asked to come there at [sic] [to] teach the Word of God and preach the gospel, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I can’t explain why Young, for example, was invited. But why cede the entire stage to him. Moreover, at this critical juncture, I plan on explaining why God loves Israel so much and why He wants us to help mobilize a global movement to stand with Israel while so much of the rest of the world is turning against her. Thanks for your concerns. I would appreciate your prayers. May God bless you guys.

In his statement, Joel Rosenberg has implied that Break Forth is a trustworthy organization that is bringing in just one heretical teacher, William Paul Young, but the conference is bringing in a number of them, and in fact, the New emerging spirituality is the dominant presence in the conference. Even though Rosenberg’s rationale sounds credible on the surface and even though his message is valid, unless  he specifically identifies and challenges what these other speakers are saying, he in essence gives credence by sharing a platform with them because his respectability will be implanted in the minds of the attendees. It is logical that because Rosenberg is respected and trusted,  the others will be too because in people’s minds you don’t have heretics and proclaimers of the Gospel on the same bill in  a non-debate scenario.  In essence, it is the opposite of guilt by association; it is validity by association.

In Rosenberg’s earlier announcement on his blog about Break Forth, he called this a “powerful Christian conference.” Saying this indicates that he may not understand the gravity of what is going on in the church. This is not just a doctrinal issue – what’s at stake is  what Christianity will be in the future. Will it be mystical, panentheistic, and New Age, or will it be the Gospel once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)? If our concerns sound outlandish, read our report from last week where we show how Leonard Sweet resonates spiritually with New Age icons such as David Spangler and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

As the New Spirituality becomes more widespread and acceptable, we’ll be seeing in the future many more of these dichotomies: the defenders of the faith sharing platforms with those who seek to radically change and alter the very Gospel these defenders are seeking to uphold. This is not the example that the Old Testament prophets or the New Testament disciples set. Most of them stood alone and often died alone because they would not compromise under any circumstances. Regarding those who teach or promote heresy, the apostle Paul writes strong words: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10). According to the Rosenberg’s rationale, it is OK for him to share a platform with false teachers because his message is so important. But doesn’t his desire to get his message out override the Scripture in Titus 3:10? (And other Scriptures as well.) We must strongly disagree with this reasoning. The end does not always justify the means, and in this case, the end is highly questionable.

While Rosenberg says he is attending Break Forth to “defend Israel,” does he not realize that by giving credence to emergent/New Spirituality speakers, he is  abetting the emerging philosophy that sees NO prophetic importance in Israel. A flood of Christian leaders are turning their backs on Israel, directly or indirectly, merely by promoting the emerging/contemplative/New Spirituality. Mr. Rosenberg, defend Israel, yes, by all means, but first defend the Gospel.

A note of irony. In Rosenberg’s  rebuttal statement, he gives a link to Norman Geisler’s article refuting The Shack. Yet, Geisler recently teamed up with emerging-church-promoter Rick Warren (at Warren’s apologetic conference), all the while Rick Warren is selling The Shack on his Purpose Driven Connection website.  Perhaps part of the problem here is that  Christian leaders are not taking spiritual deception seriously. And yet Scripture warns that the days before Christ’s return will be very spiritually dark and that many will fall away: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. (II Thessalonians 2: 2).

This fusion of orthodox and heretical is not a new tactic. One of the best examples of this blending is Robert Schuller, identified by Bruce Wilkinson as “the real leader” (see A “Wonderful” Deception, p. 69) who has been inviting orthodox traditional Christians to  Crystal Cathedral for a long time. Often these invited guests, such as Corrie ten Boom, come because they want to share their messages. But often they are being used to bring credibility to these vehicles of heresy–just as we believe Rosenberg and Peretti are being used. Even Break Forth’s promotion photo shows William Paul Young sandwiched between Peretti and Rosenberg.

We want to make one thing very clear. Lighthouse Trails believes Israel has a biblical prophetic role, and we agree with Rosenberg that anti-Semitic as well as anti-Israel sentiment is growing at an alarming rate. We too are vitally concerned, which is one of the reasons we publish and distribute several books and DVDs by Holocaust survivors and former resistance workers.

But Rosenberg and other dedicated Christian leaders must understand that it is also vitally important for defenders of the faith to warn against the devastation of spiritual deception that is quickly overtaking much of the evangelical Church. The Bible warns that a day will come when a one-world religious body will join together with a one-world governmental body, and together they will serve a world master who will seek to destroy Israel (and the Church) and cause all mankind to worship him. What good will the church be to Israel (or anyone else for that matter), if the Gospel is no longer preached? [F]aith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

If Rosenberg and other Christian leaders can steer their own followers away from this subtle yet deadly deception, they will do more to help thwart anti-Israel sentiments than they can know, just by the very reason that they will be pointing believers back to the Bible and away from the New Spirituality.
Does Rosenberg realize that the very emerging spirituality that is represented at Break Forth will help to usher in a “kingdom” that will allow no room for Israel? Roger Oakland explains:

As the world becomes more and more resentful toward Israel, the view that the church takes the place of Israel, leaving Israel no prophetic significance (replacement theology), will become increasingly accepted within Christianity at large. Those who believe the Book of Revelation predicts an apocalyptic future will be considered a danger to society and the well-being of this new kingdom of God. (Faith Undone, p. 227)

New Agers believe these dangers of society (Bible-believing Christians) will need to be gone before the world can truly be “healed.” (Please read the free online book Reinventing Jesus Christ by Warren B. Smith for documentation on this “selection process.”)  This is where the emerging, apostate church is heading. And whether they realize it or not, many are helping her to get there through their promotion of this New Spirituality.

Are we being extreme in saying these things? We think not. Watch, and see as the events and deception that the Bible warns about unfolds before your very eyes. And pray that there will be some courageous Christian leaders who will take a stand no matter the cost. It is possible that Rosenberg and Peretti could do more harm to Israel and the church than help by attending such conferences. We pray there will be those in these days,  when the birth pangs in the Earth continue to intensify, who will “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3). And may we as believers truly trust in Him and not lean to our OWN understanding but in all our ways acknowledge Him; then He promises to direct our paths (Proverbs 3).

.
Lighthouse Trails Research Project | P.O. Box 958 | 503/873-9092 | Silverton | OR | 97381

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27 thoughts on “More Confusion?

  1. When i read about the platform sharing i just had to smile. For anyone on the speaking circuit these days it nust be hard to avoid sharing a pulpit with a whacko or two. Anyway, they need to make a living so on it goes.

    My advice to Christians, ignore the whole industry. Get a few friends together in your house and pray for the lost and open the scriptures together led by the Holy Spirit.

    This is happening all over the place and you would never know it by the Christian media, which is OK.

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  2. One more thought, it’s interesting to think of the dynamic which takes place when those emergent chaps invite someone they know disagrees somewhat with their beliefs : Do they assess the preacher and if they think there’s little chance he will let them have it with all guns blazing, then invite them?

    If i was invited i would gladly go and preach ANYWHERE. I wouldn’t care if people did not like that i was sharing the platform with heretics, i would just preach the TRUTH, and who knows, some may repent or they could throw me out. No worries mate.

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    • Well, you know I thought of that too, just preach it. I think there is danger in confusing people who are not in the word or who are new believers or just gullible like me, and there could be in their minds a fusion of the truth and emergent. That is the concern!

      And I thought of Paul and the unknown god scenario. But he didn’t go along with them and include our God as one of theirs, he pointed out the difference.

      If you were preaching near me, I’d go hear you. 🙂

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    • Oh, home churches – Since the first time I heard you talk about it I liked it. The more confusion that I see brought in, the more I like the idea. It would simplify so many areas and just imagine not having to worry about false teaching creeping in. What a change!

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  3. Ian
    Great comments regarding home churches,if you read through Acts this is precisely the format i Believe God intended for His church.No building programs{ugh}no fund raising[ where’s the faith in that!!!] no carefully managed programs that empahsize loyalty to the leaders and not God, no larger than life personalities where its all about the man,and again neglecting God[ an abomination]no adgenda’s.I could go on here, but i think you guys get the idea.Just a short comment regarding sharing platforms with known false teachers, one is entitled to ask where is the discernment, do these guys really believe they are able to turn the tide of falsehood engulfing the church.I am of the firm opinion that association with false teachers amounts to a tacit approval of their tainted doctrine, the scriptures warn us to avoid such men.
    There is nothing new under the sun, these things have taken place previously, but i guess the troubling aspect of this is the intensity with which this is occuring and the once orthodox christians to whom it involves.
    God Bless you heaps as you continue to serve Him.

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  4. I have a good friend who “left” the NAR types for a network of home/organic churches. I dig it. But I’ve read City of God too many times—I’m too afraid of the Goths “Sacking” us cause’ we’re lacking in a unified direction (not in the MSOG sense). The church of rome went “homey” and lost any influence in society and got overrun.

    NOTE: please note the humor. I dig the home church stuff.

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  5. I agree and pray more and more eyes will be opened what the church system has become and how its very structure puts a barrier between God and man. Most have more of a relationship with the church than with God and when that happens all that is built is on sand and it will crumble. God is calling out to His people in powerful ways to come to Him in truth and Spirit and those that know His voice because they have spent time cultivating a relationship with Him and know His voice will follow where He leads.

    And I love Ian’s advice – “My advice to Christians, ignore the whole industry. Get a few friends together in your house and pray for the lost and open the scriptures together led by the Holy Spirit.”

    Rachel
    http://stirringthedeep.com

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    • Rachel, you said
      God is calling out to His people in powerful ways to come to Him in truth and Spirit

      This is so true and so powerful. I have found myself to be questioning everything now including holidays. I’m not going to be a very popular person amongst my family and others who know me. I just wonder if the “practice” or “worship” isn’t all about God, if it came from another source, what’s the point? When God is in it, people are changed by His power, when He is not, it’s just empty and meaningless.

      I’ll check out your blog. 🙂 Blessings to you! 🙂

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  6. Well, as we are members of Christ’s body and we are encouraging one another HERE then we’re having church here, or functioning as His Church, by His Spirit. Not as a substitute for face to face fellowship, yet valid fellowship nonetheless.

    When, in maturity, Christ is indeed our whole LIFE, then we function “in Church” all the time, for we understand that His LIFE can’t be divided into compartments.

    When believers understand The Kingdom and are committed to doing His will then things function naturally and freely wherever we meet.

    There’s a process of unlearning and relearning what Church is.

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  7. Love has to be totally voluntary and also from a pure conscience. This is what we mean by relational church. Whatever we do it must be from love alone and also never as to appease our conscience.

    A lot of believers go to church solely out of a sense of duty to God, and that they would be sinning if they didn’t. This is not a basis for Church, yet God can correct that.

    So, when people don’t consider meeting freely in homes as ‘church’ then their conscience, if it has been conditioned by Christian culture and not renewed to the Word, will witness wrongly that one is failing in their Christian duty.

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  8. The “church of self” is basically the church of ‘what’s good for me’ and ‘what i prefer’. The truth has to be the basis for our life, not just what’s cool, convenient, painless or easy. In this way, people can meet in homes and still be serving themselves, happens all the time. The ‘club’ has just relocated, that’s all.

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  9. Just on the article: definitely, she is right that there can be no mixture of light and darkness. While i wouldnt judge a person’s motives for answering a call to preach at any whack-fest, ya have to wonder why the whacks invited them in the first place, if they are aware of what they teach. Maybe there is some affinity there? Who knows. Soitenly, after the whack-fest is over we could judge whether the invited preacher was faithful to Jesus in the message they preached.

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  10. by Finding the Truth in Jesus
    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=278

    Lighthouse Trails recently reported on the fact that Joel Rosenberg and Frank Peretti have been slated to speak at the upcoming Break Forth conference in Alberta, Canada. They will be sharing the stage with New Age sympathizers, and mystic/emerging proponents, such as William Paul Young (The Shack), Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality), and contemplative proponents such as Duffy Robbins (Enjoy the Silence) and Brad Jersak.

    Their participation in the conference has concerned Lighthouse Trails, as to how followers of these prominent Christian figures will come to view emerging contemplative/mystical spirituality, and rightly so.

    Following their initial report, Joel Rosenberg released a public statement explaining his participation in the conference. This led Lighthouse Trails to write another report questioning the wisdom, of such prominent evangelical leaders sharing the stage with prominent mystic/emerging proponents. I have to say my sentiments resonate completely with Lighthouse Trails.

    I have nothing to add or take way from their latest posts regarding this issue, and I certainly appreciate them raising this voice of concern. I would simply like to share a couple of observations I had while reading this latest post. Click here to continue reading.

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  11. The “reformer” and “Way of the Master” types denounce the sinners prayer. Some, like McArthur and Washer, go as far as saying it’s from the devil (you could include Friel into this.

    Seems most reformers ignore Hebrews and Romans in their dialogue about “belief.” The galatians added to salvation, thus Judeaized the Gospel.

    Hope that’s clear.

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    • The argument that I have heard is to make people think they only need to make a quick prayer and be done with it. While it is a matter of the heart, so to speak, asking Jesus into it is not biblically acurate. True repentance and salvation, the daily act of discipleship involves much more than a moment’s decision that come through pressure tactics and emotionalism. This is the danger I have heard in such warnings and I would have to agree with it.

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  12. The point being, and what the Lightouse Trails article points to, is that Christianity is specific in the need of repentance of sin and forgiveness, the need of guidance from the all knowing and loving God, the need that believers have of others and living out the life that has been so clearly defined in the word. It is recognizing we cannot do this alone therefore the need for believers to meet together.

    Christians cannot have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and practice prayer and meditation methods of other religions. There is no merging and can never be. Those who think otherwise are mislead and have parted from the faith. Without seeing the truth, their future in this life and the next is lost. This is the danger in the mixture of Christian speakers and those who teach and promote practices of other religions.

    Unless Joel speaks clearly and calls out the false teaching, many could be mislead thinking this emergent movement is one and the same as Christianity. It is not and can never be. This is why I warn people on my blog to get out from under any and all teaching that does not adhere to the basic principles and teaching of the bible and the pure gospel message. It is very easy to become deceived especially in group settings like this one, and the power of the deception intensifies more as time goes by. Many have fallen away and will continue to do so. Sad, but true!

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  13. Like Ian pointed out in comment #3. I would find it very hard to think they would allow Joel or anyone to speak differently at this conference. It just does not make sense they would allow their deception to be exposed at such a large gathering.

    We will see.

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  14. “Unless Joel speaks clearly and calls out the false teaching, many could be mislead thinking this emergent movement is one and the same as Christianity.”

    Thanks MKayla, that’s EXACTLY the issue on the table. In certain situations to be silent is a grievous thing, it’s criminal negligence. Let’s see if he is faithful to Jesus.

    Another factor, our responsibility before those who profess Jesus Christ is quite different to our responsibility to those who don’t claim to follow Him.

    Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not entirely with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.

    ***For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside?***

    do not you judge them that are within?

    ***But them that are outside God judges.***

    Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
    (1Cor 5:8-13)

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