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Going Downhill Always Goes Faster Than Going Uphill- By Mike Oppenheimer

Posted by nazarenepsalm113 on October 20, 2008

I have not posted in a while. My apologizes. I have been busy with pre-production on the new DVD project on the Emergent Church for the Nazarene denomination and the Body of Christ.
Here is a great article by my friend and brother in the Lord Mike Oppenheimer. Mike will be one of the featured speakers on this new DVD Project.

Peace and Blessings

Tim

Going Downhill Always Goes Faster Than Going Uphill

When I was a child, I, like many others used to go down a playground slide, and then turn around and try to climb right back up the same way I slid down. It always took a far greater effort to do this. Christianity is somewhat like this, it takes effort, willpower and strength (both spiritually and physically) to go forward then  it does to slide backward. To resist than to go with the direction of the majority. This means we must think for ourselves, test what we see and hear to discern truth from error, good from evil.

We welcome new leaders and recognize them for their service to Christ. Today there are many new leaders, but there is a shortage of biblically well trained leaders who are aware of the issues and have answers to them. There are just as many new leaders serving an agenda, themselves and money than Christ. Postmodernism, pluralism, relativism, interfaith and occult ideas and practices have reached so deep into the church that we can’t seem to see through the murky waters we are now swimming in. Transformation, transition and change are words that are becoming quite familiar to us in practice. Something is “emerging” and very quickly I might add that we need to identify what it actually is. Unity and tolerance would are part of the agenda that is now taking place.

Here are just a few examples:

The joint Vatican-World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation convened some 30 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal and Evangelical theologians and church representatives in Toulouse, France, for a high-level meeting entitled “Towards An Ethical Approach to Conversion: Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World.” Their aim is to produce a code of conduct on religious conversion commonly agreed among Christians by 2010. The first meeting was attended by representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Yoruba faiths along with Christians (Ethan Cole Christian Post Reporter churchexecutive .com)

Numerous evangelical leaders who have said that Christians and Muslims need to come together because they worship a common God. A friend told me just this week (Feb.13-16 2008) TBN matt Crouch and Jan Crouch said that we Christain and Muslims worship the same God. Their ignorance on this matter exceeds others.

A while back this trend had gained momentum, Christian leaders across denominational lines responded to an open letter signed by 138 representative Muslim leaders with their own letter, calling on the two Abrahamic faiths to love God and neighbors together.

Over 100 theologians, ministry leaders, and prominent pastors have thus far signed the response letter issued by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

Signers include Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church; Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Association) Brian McLaren; Christianity Today; Fuller Seminary, David Yonggi Cho (Korea)YWAM; John Stott, rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals….”

Feb. 9, 2008, Pastor emphasizes path of good works, not divisive politics Author says Christianity needs 2nd Reformation By MIichelle Boorstein

WASHINGTON — Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor and philanthropist who is courted by political leaders worldwide, says he thinks Christianity needs a “second Reformation” that would steer the church away from divisive politics and be “about deeds, not creeds.”

Speaking Tuesday to a group of Washington Post reporters and editors, the evangelical author said he had an “epiphany” in recent years because of his wife’s battle with cancer and the success of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more than 25 million copies.

Humbled and scared, he said, he decided to focus on helping the needy and the sick, particularly those with AIDS.

That meant advocating for a broader agenda for evangelicals beyond same-sex marriage and bioethical issues like abortion and stem cell research. That’s a shift from the e-mail Warren sent before the 2004 election to his regular distribution list of 136,000 pastors, telling them to focus on those hot-button issues, which he called “non-negotiables.”

Warren said he now regrets that e-mail — not because he’s changed his views in opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, but because he places them on a longer list of priorities.

Now, he says, he wants to promote personal responsibility and restore civility in American culture.

“I just think we’re becoming too rude,” he said. “You have no right to demonize someone just because you disagree with them.”

Changing the culture, he said, is not done only through politics but also through things like art, music and sports.

“People are so worried churches are going to be about conversion,” he said, “but everyone has a motive. Everyone has a world view. Christianity is a world view. … I don’t care why you do good as long as you do good.” (Washington Post http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/religion/5527170.html)

This certainly agrees with his former concept he gave in his global peace plan,

“Who’s the man of peace in any village – or it might be a woman of peace – who has the most respect, they’re open and they’re influential? They don’t have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that’s going to bring the second Reformation (The Pew and Religion Forum May 23, 2005).

Should there be any doubt that Ecumenism and inter-spirituality are part of Warrens philosophy and peace plan? The believer still prays “Thy Kingdom Come” which will only be when Christ returns.

These concepts are not new but they are being embraced as never before. “If there is to be a new world it must come first of all through a new spirit in the nations. There must be created an international mind and conscience; we must learn to think of humanity as one family and to have a world patriotism; they must keep their minds free from jealousy and selfishness, and must base their policy and practice upon true and Christian principles, they must be as quick to resent injustice by a nation as by an individual. Humanity must become an ideal in order that it may become an actuality. World patriotism must be a faith, a chivalry, before it can be an organization. International peace must become an aspiration, a religion, before it will become a reality.”
(Samuel Z. Batten of the FCC, The New World Order (1919), cited by Martin Erdmann, Building the Kingdom of God on Earth, p. 122. )

Muslim Groups in the U.S. have joined with left-wing Protestants and Catholics in planning an “interfaith fast” on the upcoming “day officially known as ‘Columbus Day,’” according to fast organizers. Called “From Conquest to Community, From Violence to Reverence: An Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq,” the day of October 8, 2007 will conveniently synchronize with Islam’s “Night of Power” during Ramadan.

The fasters include officials from the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of Churches, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Catholic Maryknollers, Sojourners, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and the Quaker Fellowship of Reconciliation” (By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com 7/31/2007)

Unity that we have decided on has made the church feel good despite it having no biblical precedent or substance. All these movements are an appeal; to the flesh and soul not the spirit. Spiritual unions will increase with such magnitude that our jaws will drop at those who unite, even within the church. Imagine Paul saying to the Corinthians, since the majority of you want to conduct the church in this way we will do it. Lets vote on it… That is exactly what we are seeing in the fastest growing cultic movement within the church at large, called the emerging church.

“Many emerging churches, including Bluer, have revived medieval liturgies or practices, including prayer labyrinths and lectio divina, or sacred reading, a process of intense meditation and prayer over a short biblical passage.” Churches Pray to a Different Drummer, The New York Times (USA), Feb. 18, 2004)

They visualize, do Yoga, chant mantras and borrow numerous other practices of other religions and call this a movement of rethinking of Christianity. Along with this movement is a new Jesus and different gospel message.

Brian McLaren who has surfaced as one of the main spokesman for the emergent church tells us on page 139 of The Secret Message of Jesus: “…If Jesus were here today, I am quite certain he wouldn’t use the language of kingdom at all” A better term than “the kingdom of God” is “the dream of God for creation” (referring to Martin Luther King, Jr.; p. 140-142). That evil and sin (i.e., such things as “prisons” and “conformity”) are God’s “nightmares” (p. 141). We should“Invite people of all nations, races, classes, and religions to participate in this network of dynamic, interactive relationships with God and all God’s creation!” (p.74)

In his book The Secret Message of Jesus, Brian McLaren is saying that God is calling everyone to be part of His “dream for our world coming true,” a dream that will be fulfilled when everyone and everything in the entire universe will become the kingdom of God (pp. 91, 104, 191, 193, 194, 210, 234).

McLaren wants us all to be open to change. That belief in God is enough, absurdo reducto – the goal is to have a generic belief that all can accept and unite with.

Taking statements out of their correct context he makes up his own. Paul said it like this: ‘Old distinctions like Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female no longer exist, for you are all one in Christ.’ To McLaren this includes other religions that reject who Christ is and his message. “ …. Christians with Jews and Muslims and Hindus (pp.99-100).

It does not matter that he and others subvert the faith delivered once to all the saints when he teaches that there people of all religions included in the kingdom of God, The Christian faith should become a welcome friend to other religions of the world, and not a threat” as He stated in “A Generous Orthodoxy.” That not all people need to be Christians to follow Jesus.  Some may be able to be “Buddhist or Hindu followers of Jesus.” And Leonard Sweet agrees. In his book Quantum spirituality “ One can be a faithful disciple of

Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.

A globalization of evangelism “in connection” with others, and a globally “in-formed” gospel, is

capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim–people from other so called “new”

religious traditions (“new” only to us)–without assumption of superiority and power. (p.130 underline mine)

McLaren “…many Hindus are willing to consider Jesus as a legitimate manifestation of the divine… many Buddhists see Jesus as one of humanity’s most enlightened people….  A shared reappraisal of Jesus’ message could provide a unique space or common ground for urgently needed religious dialogue—and it doesn’t seem an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet may depend on such dialogue. This reappraisal of Jesus’ message may be the only project capable of saving a number of religions.” (Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that could change everything, page 7.)

A mystic is someone who seeks personal contact or an experience with God by invoking certain methods or practices. The mystical worldview does not adhere to there being only one way to God –but sees many ways and that all are acceptable as each finds their own way. None is greater than another (as in Rosicrucianism)

The mystic quest does change ones thinking from truth revealed through the Holy Spirit to influences from other spirits that Paul warned would be the teachers in the end times from the pulpits (1 Tim.4:1)

According to these “rethinkers” everyone can have different opinions, we can all be right and can live happily together? So says the Oprah worldview. Many of these movers and shakers in the church are majoring in the Hegelian dialectic, intent on moving the sheep to religious syncretism, and accepting Universalism. It has become a very serious and expanding deception. They have their own opinions and think they are doing everyone a favor by their new way of thinking.

The prophet Isaiah wrote-5:18-21 “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; That say, “Let Him make speed and hasten His work, That we may see it; And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, That we may know it.” Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!

Like a child that will not color within the lines of a picture, the emergent church movement is moving outside the lines. The emergent church questions nearly everything that was basically settled by the church long before, they are unhindered by doctrine of their predecessors and instead bring other spiritual practices inside for worship.

When you have a leader like McManus state: “My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ,” (said in a telephone interview) “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right” (from The Barbarian Way) (referenced Lighthoustrailsresearch.com), we had better sit up straight and pay attention to what they are saying and where they are leading the church to.

While we slept the world changed and so did the church. Many church leaders are like politicians who have stuck their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, they make sure to catch the direction of the wind.

Joel Osteen has 30,000 in weekly attendance and its service broadcast to over 7 million people a week. His book A Better You has gathered the attention of some of the Media. He was interviewed on “60 Minutes,” in about 1 minute into this clip he speaks of 7 principles he believes will to improve you.

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6324320

The Interviewer mentions, be positive toward yourself- develop better relationships- Embrace the place where you are – but God and Jesus are missing in all this equation he came up with, “Osteen says that’s just my message-emphasis on “MY.”

What about the Bibles teaching of denying and dying to self which seems to go contrary to the “ME” he is preaching about. Without it one is not being discipled.

Osteen “How do we walk out the Christian life how do we live it- these are principles that can help you if, theres a lot better people qualified to say here’s a book to explain the scriptures to you- I don’t think that’s my gift.”

As Jesus said: Out of the mouth the heart speaks–then he is not called to be a pastor. And I say this regardless of his smile.

Sir John Marks Templeton is an evolutionist and a pantheist and not a friend to Christianity. He appeals to all faiths to have unity with common goals. His Foundation seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the influence spirituality has in our everyday lives and brings people together from various different religious persuasions. Rick Warren of the bestseller The Purpose Driven Life was one of five on the judging committee for the Power of Purpose Essays. Can one have a right purpose without Jesus Christ in their life? That certainly was not who won. Compromise to the left, compromise to the right- where does it lead to?

An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; And my people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

We are told that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. The word of God tells us in the parable of the woman and leaven that the whole church will be permeated by foreign teaching. Matthew 13:33-35: “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

There is a prophetic significance to the parables that Jesus revealed to the church, they tell us of what will transpire as we get closer to His coming. When so called leaders go into mysticism, the occult and the people follow, we are nearing the conclusion of things. There are those who seek God the wrong way- and those who seek God correctly. Who you listen to and are taught by matters. When the church wants to listen to leaders who give us other religious practices, yoga, mediation etc. they have chosen a Saul over David. And they will end up with the same judgment of Saul, who in the end consulted a witch to hear from God.

This has been a steady diet of occult practices into the church from the word faith / Latter Rain teachers .

Dominnionist Earl Paulk contacts the dead; Benny Hinn practices necromancy, hearing from the dead Kathryn Khulmann, the dead even appear in his room…Rick Joyner’s visions that are completely against the Scripture are accepted, others like Jesse Duplantis claim to visit heaven and as they describe it in their books and speaking tours they have a very different description and theology than the Bible. Many more examples can be cited.

Kenneth Copeland denies Jesus ever claimed to be God according to Jesus himself that spoke to Copeland and then Copeland turns around and teaches that he is a little god.

“The more you get to be like Me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah” (Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine, February 1987, pg. 9).

Yet when Copeland was challenged as to the validity of the “prophecy” he stated “Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one simple reason. He hadn’t come to earth as God, He’s come as man” (Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine, Aug. 1988, p. 8).

The more the church overlooks the more it increases. God has been testing his church as he did Israel in the wilderness (Deut.8 2-3). God does His testing during different periods of history. It was Israel then and it is our time of testing like never before (Deut. 13). Psalms 11:4-6 “The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.” What are YOU going to do with what is taking place?

As Jeremiah says, we love to have it so (Jer. 5:31). The church hates the true prophets that speak the word of God for correction and in so doing they have rejected the Lord’s counsel not once, not twice but repeatedly.

Satan does not pick no-bodies but uses those of influence. The original 12 apostles were ambassadors in chains, prisoners of Christ who gave their lives to bring the truth to those inside and outside Israel. Our modern day “super-apostles” and “prophets” would have a better fit with the miracle working magicians of Pharaohs court than Moses. Even Moses who misrepresented God once to the people was not allowed to enter the promised land. A lesson that is intentionally ignored.

Christians are not to be at ease, at home in this world and they certainly are not to use the worlds wisdom or spiritual ideas to improve themselves. It all continues in a downward slide but when it will end? In 2 Pt.2 we are told that there judgment does not slumber, it is waiting for them at the end of the slide.

Watching what and who the “New” leaders of the church say has become a interesting past time. You never know what will be their next Scripture slaughter.

Brian McClaren mocks the “fundamentalist expectations” of a literal second coming of Christ and coming judgments on the world (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 305).

Friday Church News Notes, February 15, 2008 The emerging church considered the Rapture doctrine to be dangerous because it interferes with their “kingdom building” and environmental activities.

Tony Campolo- That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age” (“Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence,” Baptist Press, June 27, 2003).

While they propagate taking over the earth by their wrong spiritual warfare model, the believer knows the whole armor of God must be put on to stand against an incredibly intelligent schemer, the devil and his army who is out to make you doubt, be disengaged or disbelieve the truth, replacing it with men’s opinions. And there is a never ending stream of opinion-s a never ending stream of clichés and sappy sayings one can remember.

The Rethink Conference was co-hosted by Erwin Mc Manus and Robert Schuller where emergent church leaders and others congregated together. Yes, Bible liberals do have unity. The Rethink Conference had speakers: Gary Smalley, Chuck Colson, Henry Cloud, and Kay Warren, along with Larry King, Former President George Bush Sr., Rupert Murdoch of Fox.

Their message is the paradigm shift is now underway. I agree- it’s called the apostasy from the faith delivered to the saints once and for all – found in the word.

Robert Schuller who promotes religious syncretism wrote:

“Move into mighty moods of meditation. Draw energy from centers of sacred solitude, serenity, and silence…. Find yourself coming alive in the garden of prayer called meditation…. Yes, the “New Agers” have grabbed hold of meditation…. Hey, Christian! Hear me! Let’s not give up the glorious, God-given gift of meditation by turning it over to those outside our faith” (Prayer: My Soul’s Adventure with God, pp. 141, 151)

If others can practice this mediation then this type of meditation is cannot be Christian in fact it will change you, it will synthesize you into the New Age movement!

Schuller also stated “Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we’re all doing God’s work together” (2001 biography, My Journey p. 501).

Like his original influence, Robert Schuller openly embraces all types of spiritual paths where he actually said if he came back 100 years from now and found his descendants to be Muslim it would be fine. What nice thing to say. Why wait, why not do it now?

This is their “Rethink,” we are seeing a molding together of several different religio/spiritual systems with Christianity to purposely change it. The conclusion is that it will be more palatable for the masses, it will water down the churches influence. To think you can combine some Christian teaching, Buddhism, Islam and we will all get along. One should tread lightly following men who state such things, lest you be led away by their error to another Jesus, and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

The doors seem to be swung wide open for anything to walk through our assembly. The church has kept up with the pace of the dumbing down in culture that she is no longer able to recognize what is good, right or true. People cannot recognize error nor the apostates because they are not in the faith (2 Cor.13) or trained by the word of truth (Heb.5:13).

When you do not have a basic understanding of the gospel as is present in the emergent church then you are not saved buy it. For the message is linked to Jesus. When you see people claim to be followers of Christ and question nearly everything written in the Bible they have religiosity, they are unconverted. They think like the world and lack faith. This movement has had had a deleterious effect on the church. These men are dismantling the church doctrine by doctrine until all that is left is everyone’s personal opinions.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3: “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”

God has proven himself to those who are faithful in adhering to His word. They may wander but they will be fed.

Ever watch something roll from the top of a steep high hill, the longer it goes down the faster it goes and the more momentum it gains until it is unstoppable. An unstoppable force-

Judges 2:20-3:1: Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.” Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.”

God has been testing us, and is no longer driving out the false teachers but allows them to stay, and even increase. Why? “And my people love to have it so. But what will YOU do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31). Make your choice while you can, for you can have an assembly, a church God has put together and upholds-or YOU can put together a house with staples but eventually it will fall apart at the seams.

© 2008 No portion of this site is to be copied or used unless kept in its original format- the way it appears. Articles can be reproduced in portions for ones personal use. Any other use is to have the permission of  Let Us Reason Ministries first. Thank You.

 

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