Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Searching Yet Unable to Come to the Truth

{Written by KEN}

It is not unusual for the Christian to long for something more in their spiritual life; to want to have a deeper and more abiding relationship with God that helps to satisfy a longing for intimacy with the Creator that has been missing since the days Adam and Eve walked in the garden with Jesus and fellowshipped with Him. Many a Christian movement, church and cult have been founded on this seeming need for more spirituality and more of a real and emotional connection with God. The mystics have been with us since the founding of the church; those who desire not just a relationship based on God’s Word and promises, but a real time emotional connection with God.

Many of us hear our pastors interject the quotes of many a mystic, and particularly one modern day mystic named Henri Nouwen. Nouwen, like many mystics, have excellent things to say about many aspects of spiritual life and hence make great quotes to spice up a sermon and cause the listener to think; "I do want something more than just knowing about God. I want to be in fellowship with Him and walk with Him in my daily life."

Recently we discovered a conference for Christian women where many of the well-known Christian women bloggers and book writers presented their views on spiritual life. Much of what was taught seemed to point from an old model of Christianity that is said to no longer be working to a new model based on the emergent church where women take on a whole new role as leaders in the church. I am sure that much of what was taught was biblically accurate as the listener was moved emotionally by emotional stories and videos to seek a deeper love for others; a strong sense of security in self-worth and a contemplative prayer life. The virtues of the words of Jesus as given by Sarah Young in her long time best seller Jesus Calling seems to also help many believers create an emotional bond to Jesus. 

Unfortunately, this new budding movement is too often not discerning enough to be able to weed out those things not based on God’s Word, but on emotionalism and new age speculation that is rampant in the emergent church. Like with Sarah Young, God seemingly speaks directly to the leaders and teachers of the movement, and how can one argue if “God says so?” God's Word in the Bible appears to take a back seat to a level of spirituality and contemplative prayer that is to replace the "old time religion."

Well, let me not argue with the movement, but instead encourage you to make an easy test for whether or not a female Christian blogger or author is on the right track or the wrong one. Do they honor God’s Word or instead seek only an emotional personal word from the Lord that they then want you too to believe is for you and the modern day church. My test questions come from Lori and are quite simple as older women are commanded to teach the younger women these things:

Do they ever mention what young women are called to do according to the Word?

Do they teach that a wife is to be obedient and submissive to her husband?

Is loving your children enough to discipline and train them in the ways of the Lord an important theme?

Do they exhort women to be chaste and modest, keepers at home, along with warning that those women who are not doing these things are blaspheming the Word of God?

"Titus 2:3-5 is the most important text in the Bible on married women's roles; capsulizing a young wife's marital, sexual, biological, economic, authority and ministering roles. Yet, women's books {and blogs} routinely ignore, mutilate or even mock this passage. There appears to be a great desire to accommodate Christianity to our culture, and a corresponding willingness to dismiss the Bible's teaching as a remnant of outdated, male-dominated culture." {Mary Price}

If your favorite female blogger or author is not teaching any of these important Biblical themes, and perhaps not even applying these things to her own life as her ministry comes first above her husband and family life, I suggest you stop learning them. Find Christian women who are teaching these important principles since this is what God wants young women to learn and know. These are what will make the biggest difference in your life and will be the greatest benefit to your family. {Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Elisabeth Elliot, Nancy Campbell, and women like these are who you should be listening to and learning from!}

So much of the church is now seeking something new, something exciting, something intimately and emotionally connected to God through contemplative prayer and the speaking in tongues with miracles. Jesus knows that mankind wants signs and wonders and he spoke against needing such things when he said: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” {John 4:48} and "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah" {Matthew 12:39}.

Listen, we are not against new and exciting. We are not against a contemplative prayer life, or even having one sense that God is speaking directly to you and not against speaking in tongues. What we are strongly against is when Christian teachers want to teach a new gospel and ignore, or go against, what is clearly written in the Word of God. God’s Word will stand forever, and before the believer starts running to a deeper spiritual life filled with emotional intimacy they should first ask the question, “Am I obeying God at His Word with what I already know to be true?” God honors those who honor His Word, and I fear that He allows those who walk away from it into emotionalism, and new things for the church, to be distracted from a true spiritual life, all the while thinking that God is with them.

If you want to know the dangers of Christian mysticism where God speaks to a mystic directly all the while this teacher moves away from the foundational truths of God’s Word, listen to Henri Nouwen, the philosopher who your pastor may be quoting this Sunday, in his final book, and tell me if you can see the lie plainly. It's not the lie that Buddhism and Hinduism and all religions have much to offer Christianity, but it is the ultimate culmination of exactly what Satan wants to do in the end of times; to form all of the world's religions into one religion upon which the Whore of Babylon may ride. The modern feel-good religion of Christianity where Christ dies for all, and nothing more is necessary for salvation because Love Wins:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today, I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.” {Henri Nouwen}

Mixed with many great thoughts about the spiritual life and how to get close to God are often lies that cut right through the heart of Christianity because an individual heard God’s voice which was louder than His infallible Word. Don’t ever allow anything to trump what God has already clearly told us in His Word, as God, and His Word, are never changing. 

Herein lies the truth of the matter; Henri Nouwen may indeed have been a wonderful Christian priest who through his battles with with loneliness, homosexual inclinations, which he is said to have never acted upon, and depression, has left Christianity with a wealth of spiritual thoughts and gems that can lead us to a closer walk with Jesus. So too, these emergent women may have some things to offer in their quest to recreate a more living and applicable modern gospel, but let us never walk away from the time-tested truths that God Himself has spoken so that one might move forward into "spirituality" while leaving God's established truths behind. 

There are many differing Christian ideologies, and we must embrace our brothers and sisters in Christ, all the while "testing to see if this spirit is from God" {I John 4:1}. To run ahead with personal spirituality without doing those things you know God has called you to do, is a test where you are failing God at His Word.  As for me, I would much rather hear a great preacher like Charles Spurgeon in his devotional Morning and Evening than focus upon the modern words of one who hears a voice of Jesus. The apostles and prophets I know, but I can't ever have certainty of words received by women who hear a personal voice of Jesus speaking to them well beyond the end of the Good Book.

Let the reader beware; for the Devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44