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It has come to light that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey asked David Jeremiah to partner with them in telling the story of the early church in the Book of Acts. They recently appeared at Shadow Mountain Community Church. Read about it here:

David Jeremiah Brings Roma Downey and Mark Burnett to Shadow Mountain Community Church
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17111

This appears to be a convergence of Christianity with New Age and occultic spirituality. Roma Downey has been on television with psychic Jonathan Edwards talking to her deceased mother, partnered with him in a book he wrote, and listens to books on tape by new ager Eckart Tolle.

See:

“Son of God” or Another Jesus?
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/son-of-god-or-another-jesus/

Read about Jonathan Edwards here:

Can you hear the dead speaking?
http://www.letusreason.org/NAM28.htm

Related:

Today’s ‘Biblical’ Movies Dishonor the God of the Bible
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/todays-biblical-movies-dishonor-the-god-of-the-bible/

Unity not uniformity, diversity not division
by Jonathan Bird

Christians around the world observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity each January. This year the Week fell on the 18th to the 25th, and I joined more than 100 other people, representing about a dozen congregations, at the Unity not Uniformity, Diversity not Division conference held on the 16th and 17th, organized by three Protestant congregations in Richmond.
Jonathan Coutts of Richmond Alliance Church (Christian & Missionary Alliance), Micah Smith of Emmanuel Christian Community (independent, with Brethren and charismatic renewal roots) and Albert Chu of The Tapestry (Christian Reformed) co-sponsored the conference.
The keynote speaker was Gordon Smith, President of Ambrose University (Alliance and Nazarene) in Calgary.
The conference centred on three presentations by Smith who outlined an Evangelical Protestant case for an ecumenism that includes Catholics and other mainline traditions. He began with an appeal to Scripture, explaining that the New Testament everywhere teaches there is only one Church and that this truth is foregrounded the most in Ephesians. . .

More here:
http://lightmagazine.ca/2015/02/two-conferences-focusing-on-christian-unity/

Keynote speaker Gordon T. Smith (previously Vice President and Dean of Regent College), is the new president of Ambrose University College Seminary. The college is a merger of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) with The Church of the Nazarene (Canada). Smith has written several books. The Voice of Jesus, is built on Roman Catholic spiritual traditions of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Ignatius of Loyola. Alone With The Lord is a self guided prayer plan adapted from The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

Read more about the link between Smith and the Jesuits, here: Ambrose University College hires Jesuit-educated contemplative spirituality proponent as its new president.

It appears that more than one evangelical denomination is being slowly persuaded by the Jesuit agenda to come together in an ecumenical plan and cross the bridge to Rome.

Related:

The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church
http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c97.shtml

C&MA and Ambrose: Welcoming Spiritually Muddy Theology
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/ambrose-welcoming-spiritually-muddy-theology/

Catholics and Evangelicals together at Ambrose
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/catholics-and-evangelicals-together-at-ambrose/

Are Ambrose Lecturers Leading Students into Muddy Waters?
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/are-ambrose-lecturers-leading-students-into-muddy-waters/

Christian & Missionary Alliance Students Taught to Listen to God – Contemplative Style
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/christian-missionary-alliance-students-taught-to-listen-to-god-contemplative-style/

“…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor. 6:14

“We do believe… that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings. The following are some of the books that the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada believes to be beneficial.”
Source: http://www.transformcma.ca/resources-2/

The New Mystics by John Crowder is one such book that the WCD of the C&MA believes to be beneficial to the discerning reader. The following videos show what it is like to partake of communion with this author and New Mystic, John Crowder:

___

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Note: While Crowder sounds incredibly more intelligent in his book than he appears to be on his videos, The New Mystics is filled with contemplative mysticism and lifts up many false prophets and teachers. On the cover of this book it says:

Discover the power of Mahesh Chvada – William Seymour – Aimee Semple McPherson – George Whitefield – Oral Roberts – Brother Lawrence – Madame Jeanne Guyon – Charles Finney – Todd Bentley – Smith Wigglesworth – Maria Woodworth-Etter – St. John of the Cross – Jonathan Edwards – and many more

These ‘many more’ include Sadhu Sundar Singh (one of Crowders “utmost favorite mystics,” page 31), Lonnie Firsbee, Heidi Baker, St. Teresa of Avila, George Fox, and Madame Jeanne Guyon.

Recently, more compromise in the C&MA has become evident as seen in Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) Promoting Interspiritual, Panentheist Monk, Basil Pennington at Lighthouse Trails.

To add to the already muddy mix, the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada[1] are embracing the season of Lent this year and are doing 40 days of Lent posts[2]. Also, as Lighthouse Trails reports, on their ‘Deeper Life Resources’ page[3] is a disclaimer:

The following list of resources contain a variety of perspectives that cannot be fully endorsed by the WCD in every manner. We do believe, however, that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings. The following are some of the books that the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada believes to be beneficial.

While the promotion of the Basil Pennington book is is disappointing, it is not even the most shocking recommendation of all. Another resource they believe to be beneficial is a book called Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks by Brad Jersak. This is a book about the practice of listening prayer. Jersak, who believes we can visualize ourselves into the throne room of heaven, is a universalist who does not believe in hell. He has recently become an ordained reader in the Orthodox church, and says he was “’chrismated’ at the end of June (2013) and ordained as a ‘reader’ for the All Saints Monastery…in October.” This was listed in the records of the ARCHDIOCESE OF CANADA, ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA: “Altar server Irenaeus (Bradley) Jersak was tonsured[4] to be a Reader at the Monastery of All Saints of North America in Dewdney, BC.”

Very recently Jersak interviewed Derek Flood who wrote a book called Disarming Scripture[5]. Flood, who blogs at The Rebel God[6], is among others like Brian McLaren who have been wrestling with questions of faith and doubt, violence in the Bible, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ. McLaren has written the forewords in both of his books. In Disarming Scripture, endorsed by Steve Chalke (also a denier of ‘Substitutionary Atonement’) and Jim Wallis, Brian D. Mclaren says “You need Derek Flood.”

If Brad Jersak, Derek Flood and all these men are like minded, why is he listed as an author of a beneficial book by the Western District of the C&MA? Other books by various contemplatives and mystics which are considered beneficial are equally concerning.

Rivers from Eden by Eden Jersak (Brad Jersak’s wife) is a forty-day spiritual exercise in Listening Prayer a lifestyle. Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark is described by C&MA as “a rich theological and historical foundation for healing in the church today.” However, Bill Johnson can hardly be called theologically sound[7]. The New Mystics by John Crowder is described as an examination of “Christian mystics throughout the ages who focused on the presence and power of God.” This may be the most shocking promotion of all. John Crowder of “Slosh Fest” reputation is often “drunk in the spirit” making animal noises and saying outrageous blasphemous things about Jesus[8].

The other beneficial books listed are mostly the typical contemplative material, such as The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen and Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross. In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson is a book about the offices, or fixed hours of prayer (the Rule of St. Benedict). The foreword is by Phyllis Tickle, who is arm in arm with the usual emerging church leaders and teachers of the new ancient spirituality. Let Go by Fenelon is touted as a classic by one of the church fathers, but Fenelon was the most famous disciple of French mystic and contemplative Madam Jean Guyon. Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius Loyola is another telling recommendation. These contemplative writings and exercises were written by the founder of the Jesuits[9].

In all, it appears that discernment in the Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance has died.

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?Galatians 3:1

[For those who are genuinely concerned about this denomination and would like to know what to contend and pray for, please read about the muddy mixture of spirituality due to lack of discernment by entering: ‘Christian & Missionary Alliance’ into the search box of this blog.]

____________

Endnotes:

[1] http://www.transformcma.ca/
[2] http://40days-faithandhope.com/category/lent-posts-2015/
[3] http://www.transformcma.ca/resources-2/
[4] Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tonsūra (to clip, or cut) and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsure
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYbva9J8L2g
[6] http://www.therebelgod.com/
[7] BETHEL CHURCH’S “APOSTLE” BILL JOHNSON: A COMEDY OF ERRORS, PART 1
http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/10/bethel-churchs-apostle-bill-johnson-comedy-errors-part-1/
[8] MYSTIC JOHN CROWDER Exposed – Part 1 of 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNGPA6Idopg
Part 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKj-pFo11ys
This is Not That: An Analysis of John Crowder’s 
“The New Mystics”
http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/crowder.htm
[9] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6844

Spiritual Mud

What does this muddy mixture have in common?

A minister in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, an archdeacon of an Anglican Cathedral, a reverend of a Presbyterian Church, contemplative prayer, Buddhism, mindfulness meditation, centering prayer, and brain-expanding practices?

Read all about it, here (the article may be a year old but still relevant):

Prayer research opens fresh frontiers of spiritual practice
http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/12/24/prayer-research-opens-fresh-frontiers-of-spiritual-practice/

Perfectly Muddy Pitch

The former member of a very popular Christian music group wastes no time opening her talk at her church with quotes from Richard Rohr (Franciscan priest of contemplative mystic theology who has taught the equality of Buddha with Christ and the indwelling of God in all things[1]) and Madeleine L’Engle (believed in universal salvation[2]) and Aldous Huxley (humanist whose spiritual interests were parapsychology mysticism and universalism [3]).

In the voice of an angel, with appealing words and songs with perfect pitch and harmony, she tells her story. Initially saved by an invitation to escape hell, the lovely singer with a voice of honey has changed her narrow misconceptions for untruths. It happened after disappointments, trials and sorrows coupled with doubts, that she started reading books. She read Brian McLaren (false teacher[4] who will be visiting her church), Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton (contemplative mystic/panentheist[5]) and Phyllis Tickle (has false views about the Bible, the gospel, nature of God and the Trinity[6] who will also be visiting her church). After accepting their words as truth, this lovely musician concluded that fear based approach to spirituality doesn’t work, and that the most devastating fear is the fear of God. Now, she says, everything belongs (Rohr), and love always wins (Bell). Freed from fear, she is now an open and inclusive pastor and mom who leads worship. The songs of comfort they will be singing from now are centered on how we belong and how we are beloved. The theme of the old hymn Amazing Grace is to be pitied, because we are not wretches. The core of who we are is not unworthiness. Those are old fearful concepts.

But fear not, this changed worship leader has written a lovely new song based on a quote by Julian of Norwich, a universalist and mystic[7] who engaged in meditation to identify with Christ’s suffering, praying and striving to experience fear and bodily pain to achieve union with Christ in many visions. The following Julian of Norwich quote is not quite as pleasant as the one which the new worship song is based on.

“In this sickness I wanted to have every kind of pain, bodily an spiritual, which I should have if I were dying, every fear and assault from devils and every other kind of pain except the departure of the spirit, for I hoped that this would be profitable to me when I should die, because I desired soon to be with my God” -Julian of Norwich, pg 24, Julian of Norwich’s “Showings”: From Vision to Book by Denise Nowakowski Baker [8]

The choice of this fear craving mystic seems somewhat ironic, especially after this worship leader has just insisted that fear based approach to spirituality doesn’t work.[9]

Wrapping up her lyrically lulling talk, the pastoress of worship finishes with a prayerful assurance that Jesus told great stories, but it is our stories of our journeys that make God’s grand story.

Watch the half hour sermonette here:

IF: Gathering Leader/Pastor Melissa Greene—A Female Version of McLaren, Bell, Rohr, and Merton
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17015

Why should this presentation be a concern to North American Christians? Recently, this pastoress has also been given a far reaching platform at other events. Please consider the following questions:

Is this the voice of truth?
What muddy streams of spirituality lurk beneath the perfect pitch and crystal clear harmony of this message?
Who is being influenced by, and accepting, this nice sounding message?
Isn’t universalism and inclusiveness at odds with the Bible?
Can Satan use beautiful things (people, music, words) to draw people into deception?
Is this part of the greater plan of the emerging church network’s agenda for the new kind of inclusive gospel-free spirituality to invade Christianity?
If so, aren’t all those involved in this muddy message… deceivers?

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
2 Cor. 11: 13-15

Endnotes:

[1] http://apprising.org/2008/05/10/who-is-richard-rohr/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_L’Engle
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley
[4] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/brianmclaren.htm
[5] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/merton.htm
[6] http://rootedinchrist.org/2010/11/30/the-great-emergence-or-a-great-deception/
http://thebereanlibrary.com/archives/category/phyllis-tickle-2
[7] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/julianofnorwich.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_of_Norwich
[8] https://books.google.ca/books?id=ZEcABAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
[9] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Cor. 14:33

Related:

Was Satan in charge of music in Heaven?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-music.html

Was Lucifer originally an angel of worship?
https://carm.org/questions/about-demons/was-lucifer-originally-angel-worship

Rob Bell Suggests Bible Not Relevant to Today’s Culture

Former Mars Hill church Pastor Rob Bell has been raising a lot of eyebrows for his evolving views about Christianity and the Bible.

Bell and his wife, Kristen, recently appeared with Oprah Winfrey on her “Super Soul Sunday” program, where he suggested the Bible is irrelevant to today’s culture.

“We’re moments away. I think the culture is already there. And the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense,” he told Winfrey when asked about the Church embracing gay marriage.

More here:

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/February/Rob-Bell-Suggests-Bible-Not-Relevant-to-Todays-Culture/

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