The New Panentheistic "God" Of Christendom
Now, I bet you read the title of this article and thought I had misspelled the word "pantheism". Just so that those of you who write to me advising me of words I have misspelled in articles (and I do often) I want to tell you that I am using the term "panentheism" as coined by Karl C. F. Krause. You can read more about this word and concept in an excellent book called "A Time Of Departing" by Ray Yungen.
There is a new "God" being promoted in the Third Wave, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and Word of Faith movements whose teachers are regularly seen on TBN, Daystar, SkyAngel, CBN and other "Christian" TV networks. Some of those teachers even have, what would be considered, a fairly typical statement of faith or doctrinal statement they endorse. But by what they teach they end up promoting a false unbiblical view of God, especially through their actions and experiences. The whole phenomenon of "slain in the spirit" and all the antics that go with it are brainwashing an entire generation of Christians to put their faith in another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel. This new "Jesus" and "Holy Spirit" is clearly pantheistic or panentheistic in nature. Though some of these teachers would claim to be believing in the God who is One God in Three Persons, by what they teach they deny the very revealed character of God from Scripture.
The word "pantheism" is well known and is defined by Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc. this way:
pantheism - n 1: (rare) worship that admits or tolerates all gods 2: the doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of God"Tolerates All Gods"
It is noteworthy to notice that there are similarities between the "God" being worshipped and promoted today in many Christian churches and this description of the pantheistic deity. On the subject of toleration of all gods, there are many ecumenical/interfaith overtures being made today in Christendom, by a number of well known leaders, basically telling people that we all worship the same God and that we just need to know who Jesus is and recognize Him as Messiah. YWAM has been doing this among the Muslims.
Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. A March 24, 2000, Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to "hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices" so as to refrain from offending others within their culture. The Charisma article noted: "'Messianic Muslims, who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy which is being tried in several countries." One particular church planter in Asia related how 50 members of a Muslim family accepted Christ as Savior and formed their own fellowship. He writes in YWAM's staff newsletter, "They continued a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God's mercy for them." ... The Charisma report added that "YWAM is also adopting the approach in India, where a team is working with a Hindu holy man." (http://www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org/WTrumpet/fbcwt004.htm#Youth With)Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries had an email exchange with one of these "Messianic Muslims". This Messianic Muslim admitted that He did not believe that Jesus Christ was God. He was told to continue to follow the teachings of the Koran and his religion, but apparently was not told that to be saved one must "believe on the LORD Jesus Christ".
Another example of "toleration". Ted Haggard, now president of the National Association of Evangelicals, in league with the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) have been trying to get Christian leaders to agree to a platform where we are being more careful about what we say about Islam. This position paper "condemned remarks disparaging Islam by some high profile Christian leaders" including Franklin Graham. Yet in this paper it is implied that we basically worship the same God. Christians just add Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and so are "enriched" rather than "impoverished".
3. Try to formulate and celebrate common acts of worship. As Christians who worship God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as instructed by our Lord Jesus, we find any worship that omits those names and concepts of God (offensive to Muslims) to be impoverished rather than enriched. We do not wish to strip our worship down to the point that Muslims would find it acceptable, nor do we require Muslims to reduce their worship to a point that would be acceptable to Christians. It is better to worship alongside Muslims, with them practicing what they consider to be proper worship while we Christians observe, and vice versa, rather than trying to have a common worship. (Guidelines for Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Alan Wisdom, May 7, 2003, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/haggardmuslims.html)Of course the Pope claims Muslims worship the same YHWH and are actually saved because of it.
(841) “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (Catholic Catechism, pgs. 242, 243, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/cat841.html)We have a picture of the Pope kissing a copy of the Koran being given to him. You can find that photo and story here. Robert Schuller has been outspoken in his interfaith push to justify religions like Islam.
Robert Schuller, whose Crystal Cathedral houses offices for “Christians and Muslims for Peace,” told Imam Alfred Mohammed of the Muslim American Society that “if he [Schuller] came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him....” (http://www.letusreason.org/Poptea1.htm)Schuller may get his wish sooner than that. Mother Teresa was a big proponent of toleration of religion.
“I love all religions. ... If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” She upheld that there are many ways to God': “All is God--Buddists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.” (12/4/89 Time, pp. 11, 13, http://www.letusreason.org/Current34.htm)I hate to bring this up, but even Billy Graham has made interfaith statements. In an interview with Robert Schuller, Graham said this:
Well, Christianity and being a true believer-you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved and that they’re going to be with us in heaven. (Interview with Robert Schuller on May 31, 1997.On Larry King Live, January 22, 1997 Graham made these statements:
Larry King: "What do you think of Mormonism, Catholicism, other faiths within the Christian concept?"I could go on and on. For more information on the "toleration" issue, read our Ecumenism/Interfaith section. The above simply demonstrates toleration of all gods by men and organizations trying to claim Muslims, Hindus and other religions worship the Creator God of the Bible. This is one mark of a pantheistic view of "God".
Billy Graham: "Well I think I am in wonderful fellowship with all of them."
Larry King: "You’re comfortable with Salt Lake City. You’re comfortable with the Vatican?"
Billy Graham: "I am very comfortable with the Vatican."
"God Is The Universe"
Pantheism also sees God AS the universe itself. He is not the creator of the universe, He IS the universe. Thus the universe is a manifestation of God, everything is a manifestation of God because everything IS God.
This idea that God is the universe and all matter, leads to one major error in all religions, as well as in pantheistic Christianity today. That is the idea that if anything "good" happens it must be God, and if anything bad happens it is the devil battling against the nature of God. Of course, true pantheism would claim the devil and evil are all part of God also. But with people who believe that God is good and God is everything, then it follows that the more they are "infused" with God or realize they are God, the more they will be protected from the dark side or evil forces.
But the Bible teaches that the Creator is seperate from His creation and that God does allow "bad" things to happen to "good" people all the time. For Christians it is a way to test faith. For unbelievers and false believers it is a way to try to draw them to Himself, or a judgment.
As we will discuss later, the way God is treated in many churches today is an evidence that they believe the "manifestations" they are seeing are God Himself. They try to wave more "God" into themselves, press Him into people's foreheads, blow Him at people or try to breath Him in, attempt to birth Him, etc. They talk about all kinds of anointings, not just in people but in inanimate objects and even nations. Examples?
God is doing something in the earth today he is literally joining the anointing of nations this nation has anointing and that one ... (Dutch Sheets National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office May 12 2:30 2002)This is just a small sample from a few conferences hosted by the International Coalition of Apostles, head apostle C. Peter Wagner. It illustrates a pantheistic view of the Holy Spirit. (1) There are no such anointings mentioned in the Bible. The Anointing is shared by every Christian. (2) There is no "anointing" on nations and dead bodies.
"I felt a terrific anointing ... I was shaking all over ... trembling under the power of God ... `Dear God,' I said, `I feel the anointing.' ... I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee's (Aimee Semple McPherson, deceased) body." (Benny Hinn, April 7, 1991 sermon)
God can teach you the timing element. Lord I ask right now for the anointing of timing to fall on all of us. (National School of the prophets Chuck Pierce/Cindy Jacobs #00051311A Sat. May 13, 2000 11:00 AM Tape #15)
I want you to get a spirit of prophesy on you that just keeps going. I call it the energizer bunny anointing. (National School Of The Prophets - Mobilizing The Prophetic Office, John Eckhardt - Friday, 5/12/00, 7:00 p.m. - Session 12)
A tangible anointing filled the house as this man (Jim Goll) prepared our hearts to receive communion. It was an unforgettable experience. (National School of the Prophets:Mobilizing the Prophetic Office for the Next Century, January 28 -30, 1999, Colorado Springs, CO, Speakers included: C. Peter Wagner, Paul Cain, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, Dutch Sheets, Rick Joyner, Kingsley Fletcher, Mike Bickle, Jim Laffoon, Barbara Wentroble and Ted Haggard.)
Amazingly, Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, The Message "Bible" are all using the same language as Maitreya, the spirit being channeled by Benjamin Creme who is supposed to be the promised New Age "Christ" to come. They have all made pantheistic statements about God being "in" everyone.
On page 88 in Messages From Maitreya The Christ, Maitreya is quoted as saying:Benny Hinn also allowed this same type of language to characterize all Indians by saying "we are all children of the one God" in his recent "crusade" there and on his TV show, and this was not corrected by Hinn or anyone else. These pantheistic statements by Warren, Schuller and others are pure heresy! They deny the true character of God and the ONE WAY by which men may become children of God as taught in the Bible.My friends, God is nearer to you than you can imagine. God is yourself. God is within you and all around you.On page 88 of his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Maitrieya's spokesman Benjamin Creme explained Maitreya's "new world religion." He described the same "immanent" aspect of God that Rick Warren was conveying with his New Century translation of Ephesians 4:6:But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent-outside of His creation-and also the concept of God immanent in all creation-in man and all creation.This "immanent" aspect of God, which is so important to Maitreya's New World Religion/New Spirituality, is also taught as part of the "Foundations" course at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. The Foundations Participant's Guide reiterates Rick Warren's teaching that God is "in" everything.The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation)." (Tom Holliday and Kay Warren, Foundations Participant's Guide: 11 Core Truths To Build Your Lofe On (Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2003) p. 46)Robert Schuller has also stressed this aspect of immanence. In a November 9, 2003, sermon at the Crystal Cathedral, Robert Schuller stated that God was not only transcendent but also immanent. He said that as a result of his becoming more aware of the immanence of God, his faith was now "deeper, broader, and richer more than ever." As previously cited, he summarized what he meant by the immanence of God by telling his worldwide television audience:Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being! (Hour Of Power, Robert Schuller, November 9, 2003.)Also, as previously mentioned in Chapter Three of this book, this "immanent" aspect of God is also evident in Rick Warren's favored paraphrase, Eugene Peterson's The Message. The notion that God is "in" everything and is "One" with creation is contained in the magical saying "as above, so below." This is the mystical, New Age phrase that Eugene Peterson injected in its entirety into the Lord's Prayer, and in its derivative form into Colossians 1: 16 - the verse that Rick Warren uses to introduce his readers to The Purpose-Driven Life. As previously cited, the editors of the New Age journal described this immanent aspect of God and its New Age significance in their book As Above, So Below.... "As above, so below; as below, so above." This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. (Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below, p xi.)The spiritual implications of all of these overlapping statements are enormous. Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Eugene Peterson are all now teaching this immanent aspect of God: that God is "in" everyone. On this critical theological point, these particular Christian leaders are not only not exposing one of the central concepts of the "New Spirituality" and probable New World Religion-they seem to be agreeing with it! (Deceived On Purpose, Warren Smith, pgs. 146-147)
Now, there is one issue we must deal with at this juncture.
"The Universe As A Manifestation Of God"
It is the issue of the "glory of the Lord". The difference between the glory of the Lord appearing in the Old Testament in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, on Mt. Zion and to many prophets and this new pantheistic anointing is clear. When the "glory" was present, the Person of God was also present.
Rick Joyner states “Angelic appearances will be common to the saints and a visible glory of the Lord will appear upon some for extended periods of time as power flows through them” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest, 128-129, http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain18.htm)The Bible is clear that where two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, He, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, will be there in the midst of them. The Person of Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father. That leaves the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. The Bible says that the Person of the Holy Spirit today indwells both the body of Christ corporately, and the individual.
Eph. 2:19-22 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune God. When the person of the Holy Spirit is being waved into people, pressed into foreheads, said to indwell dead bodies ... this is not the person of the Holy Spirit they are demonstrating or worshipping, but a pantheistic deity. Very likely this pantheistic "spirit" is evil spirits, or the spirit of antichrist (1 Jn. 4:3), because it is clearly not the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 14:17), nor do its followers tell the truth, for false doctrine, false prophecies and all manner of other lies are always present at their meetings. This "tangible anointing" being felt by people is a ruse of Satan, or the delusion of imaginations, but either way it is clearly not the Holy Spirit. God is not present where truth is disdained!
1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Consider some facts about the true work of the Holy Spirit and compare them to what we see in many churches today:
(1) The Holy Spirit's work is not to entertain by shows of manifestations. He is here, primarily, to bring the individual Christian to sanctification, ethically and biblically (1 Pet. 1:2, 2 Thes. 2:13). His work is to make us more like Christ (John 17:19) by focusing our full attention on Christ (Eph. 4:15) He is here to empower the Christian to serve God, edify the Church, and reach the lost.
(2) The Holy Spirit does not need a humanistically emotionally-charged "atmosphere" in which to work, but the spirit of the kingdom of the air feeds on emotionalism and sensuality (Eph. 2:2; 4:18-19; 1 Pet. 4:3-5).
(3) The Holy Spirit needs hearts and minds submitted in obedience to the Word of God and the will of the Father (Luke 11:27, John 15;10). The pantheistic spirit wants hearts and minds committed to the pursuit of power, wealth, health, and following after men with special "anointings".
(4) Signs and wonders may indeed follow those who are born again and regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17), but signs and wonders never lead in true biblical Christianity. They do in pantheistic meetings.
(5) The Holy Spirit promotes a better understanding of Who God is (John 14:26, 1 John 2:27). The pantheistic spirit promotes pagan and Gnostic "understanding".
In the Third Wave you are seeing people worshipping a pantheistic "god" in the name of Christianity, no matter if they call Him "Jesus Christ" or "Holy Spirit". You are not seeing the true work or PERSON of the Holy Spirit. You are seeing New Age in the churches.
"Panentheism" is a derivative of pantheism and is defined this way:
"This universal arrangement is not pantheism (all is God), but panentheism, a term devised by Karl C. F. Krause (1781-1832) to describe his thought. It is best known for its use by Charles Hartshorne and recently by Matthew Fox. Panentheism says that all is in God, somewhat as if God were the ocean and we were fish. If one considers what is in God's body to be part of God, then we can say that God is all there is and then some. The universe is God's body, but God's awareness or personality is greater than the sum of all the parts of the universe. All the parts have some degree of freedom in co-creating with God. At the start of its momentary career as a subject, an experience is God--as the divine initial aim. As the experience carries on its choosing process, it is a freely aiming reality that is not strictly God, since it departs from God's purpose to some degree. Yet everything is within God." (New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality, pp. 89-92., http://websyte.com/alan/pan.htm)Matthew Fox
First of all, notice the mention of Matthew Fox, a defrocked Catholic priest now involved with the Episcopal Church. Fox has been influential to a number of Protestant Christian leaders who quote from him and have been in conferences with him. Yet he is clearly a New Age panentheist.
MATTHEW FOX (Dominican, Director of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality) - "Indeed, the birthing of the Cosmic Christ is the purpose of the incarnation. . . . Divinity wants to birth the Cosmic Christ in each and every individual." (Matthew Fox, "The Coming Of The Cosmic Christ", p. 122., http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/laugh4.html)The "Cosmic Christ" is a straight New Age concept, having nothing to do with the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. This idea of "birthing" Christ has now infiltrated Christianity, and is being promoted by the NAR.
The coming together of the historical Jesus and the Cosmic Christ will make Christianity whole at last...Christianity has been out of touch with its "core", its center...Perhaps a new "ecumenical council" will be forthcoming in our lifetime. This one would be deeply ecumenical and would call forth the wisdom of all the world’s religions...What is needed if there is to be a twenty-first century for Mother Earth and her children is a spiritual vision that prays, celebrates, and lives out the reality of the Cosmic Christ who lives and breathes in Jesus and in all God’s children, in all the prophets of religion everywhere, in all creatures of the universe. (Matthew Fox, Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Harper and Row, 1980, p. 7.)
I believe the prophetic anointing is so powerful because I believe that what it takes us five and ten years to get into that when you get around the prophetic anointing you can be birthed into that realm in a short period of time and I believe the way you raise up leaders very quickly and the way you accelerate the people of God is not to have them go ten years and Bible school and ten more years in discipleship and then you know five more years in internship. I believe the way we can raise up people very quickly is to get them around some apostles and some prophets who can raise them up very quickly and get them to healing the sick and raising the dead and casting out devils and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. ... one of the strategies that God is giving us as we go around the world is to touch an emerging generation of young apostles and young prophets and to expose them to the prophetic because when we prophesy over them something comes over them they are birthed into that position and they begin to move in that particular position and I believe its an end times strategy of raising up an entire generation of apostles and prophets(John Eckhardt, National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office May 2002)
There were three speakers, during this week, that can be credited with bringing the "Presence" back into the Brownsville Sanctuary. John and Carol Arnott came from Toronto. These two are famous for the so-called "Toronto Blessing" of which we do not hear very much anymore. Cindy Jacobs also came and ministered that week. Jacobs is billed, on her Website, as a "Prophetess to the nations." She ministers widely in river/Apostolic churches. C. Peter Wagner is on her board and Dutch Sheets is her pastor. She has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Bishop Bill Hamon. She sees prophetic intercession as commissioned by God to pull down spiritual strongholds in the heavenlies which impede evangelism. Her ministry is called "Generals of Intercession" and in the time of war "it is the generals who make battle plans." (By the way, you can partner with her by entering a "Shunamite Covenant" for as little as $25 a month). She, as well as others in the prophetic warfare movement, have picked up the Latter Rain teaching of the birthing of the manchild based on Rev. 12:5,6. This teaching asserts that an endtime church of overcomers will birth the "manchild." This manchild is said to be a world wide revival. In her most recent issue of Generals of Intercession News, the feature article is "Revival is in the Birth Canal." In the same issue she asserts that "Christians have pushed and pushed and it was like a postpartum depression." She prophesied, "but the Lord would say to you surely the baby has been born." Obviously she seems confused as to whether the baby has been born or is still in the birth canal. (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel2.html)The concept of a panentheistic "force" was promoted by Kenneth Copeland, John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement/Toronto Blessing and others.
Faith is a Force (like Starwars). (Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)Matthew Fox has been behind a lot of the current panentheism we see in the churches today. Here is a smattering of his teachings.
As you can see from Wimber's statements, he says that God and His gifts are a "force". This is a completely New Age/Occultic concept, and the idea of moving in other dimensions is something commonly heard from those who have had a "close encounter of the third kind", or those in contact with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Elizabeth Care Prophet, Matthew Fox, Robert Muller, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/KJCVINEY.HTM)
Matthew Fox is a former Roman Catholic known for his "creation spirituality." While he was being examined for his radical ideas he received a invitation to become an Episcopal priest. Fox accepted and now teaches a celebration of the spirit of pantheism (the world is divine) during his monthly "Techno Mass" in Oakland, California. Indeed the Episcopal church stands for change and Spong and Fox's leaven has affected them first. Many of the women ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church pray to Sophia (wisdom), rejecting the biblical language of father for God the creator. (http://www.letusreason.org/Poptea3.htm)This ethic is at the heart of what is driving the World Gathering On Indigenous Peoples or First Nations movements. Others have been in conferences featuring Fox. Robert Schuller is among them.
The mystical discoveries of Matthew Fox, a Dominican priest, from the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality suggests that we abandon any further quest for the "historical Jesus" and refocus our attention on a quest for the cosmic Christ. The most important definition of the cosmic Christ is "the pattern that connects." Christ is just pre runner for us all as we follow the path. (http://www.letusreason.org/NAM17.htm)
Matthew Fox, a new age spiritualist said very similar statements. “Divinity is not outside us. We are in God and God in us” (The Cosmic Christ, p.50) “We are all called, like the Cosmic Christ, to radiate the divine presence to/with/from one another” (ibid. p.137) “Christ in the universe and the Cosmic Christ in other religions. Yet the Divine One is present in them all...” (ibid. p.229) (http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac27.htm)
Dominican priest and founder of the Institute for Culture and Creation, Matthew Fox, noted, “I think frankly that the survival of the Earth today depends upon an earth consciousness, that we move beyond nationalism, for example, to a sense of bio-regionalism,…. That we move beyond dualism's of first world/third world, north/south, communist/socialist/capitalist. It's all, um, it's over with. I think the only future the planet has is a spiritual awakening that's global; global but local. And this is why I think the earth religions are coming forth at this time in history.” (Full Circle: The Women's Spirituality Trilogy) (http://www.letusreason.org/NAM23.htm)
Matthew Fox visited Sydney in Jan. 1993! The New Age meeting attracted hundreds of church people, and was closed by a Uniting Church Minister, who praised Fox in glowing terms. (http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_D/Suter_Moyes.htm)
Matthew Fox, [apostate Catholic Priest] director of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality, in California, one of the top leaders in this New World take-over, has much to say about the relation between `Mother Earth' and native religions. [ Strong associations with the Uniting Anglican, and Catholic Churches] Fox writes of the New Age New World Order beliefs about `Mother Earth' and the religions of the tribal peoples in his book, `The Coming of the Cosmic Christ' Fox believes the earth is dying partly because the tribal religions are dying. Mankind has an urgent task, according to Fox. That task is to strengthen and support the tribal religions. He writes:- " 1. MOTHER EARTH IS DYING The first meaning of the warning, ` Your mother is dying,' can be taken in reference to Mother Earth. That the earth is our mother is a deeply held truth among native peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Among Europeans, the teachings of the great Benedictine abbess of the twelfth century, Hildegard of Bingen, stand out: ` The earth is at the same time mother, she is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all ' [HB,58]..." Fox goes on:- " 6. NATIVE PEOPLES, THEIR RELIGIONS, AND CULTURES ARE DYING. The oldest religions on our planet are not the `great world religions' of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, but the religions of the native peoples of the Americas, Africa, ancient Europe, Australia, Polynesia, and Asia. In these religions one finds deep memories of what essayist Frederick Turner calls `aboriginal mother love' These religions arose in cultural periods that were matrifocal. They reverenced Mother Earth and her fruitfulness: they were nondualistic in their celebration of the `sacred hoop' that binds all creatures and gifts of the earth together - the rock people, the cloud people, the tree people, the finned ones, the winged ones, and the two-legged ones. By following the cycles of seasons and harmonizing with the wisdom of Mother Earth they shared in the family of creation... Aboriginal mother love was imperiled by Europeans schooled in hatred of creation and sacralization of dualism. The Great Mother archetypes of native peoples everywhere have been practically exterminated by patriarchal holocausts and colonialism. There is Spider Woman and White Buffalo Woman in the Americas; there is Gaia and Athena in Europe; there is Oshun and Yemaya [ among others] in Africa; there is Sophia in Greece and Shekinah in Israel. Aboriginal mother love is in us the mother principle.' Without Spider Woman no creation would ever take place. The goddess in everyone has been dying, along with creation, Mother Earth, and wisdom. So said my dream. " (Extract: "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ", pp. 13, 24, 27)
In October 1987, Schuller spoke at a Roman Catholic conference called the Jesus Day VII, in Chicago. Catholic priests Matthew Fox, John Powell, and Richard McBrien also spoke (National & International Religion Report, Sept. 21, 1987). (http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/schullerand.htm)M. Scott Peck endorsed Fox's book.
In 1988, M. Scott Peck endorsed a "Cosmic New Age Christ" book by Matthew Fox, a mystical New Age Catholic priest (recently defrocked). Yet evangelical David Mains has extensively/approvingly quoted from Peck's writings on his radio broadcast. And the GARBC-approved Grand Rapids College (now Cornerstone College) has carried an article in its paper by Bill Hybels which favorably quoted Peck. (http://home.hiwaay.net/~contendr/12-15-95.html)This is all to show that Matthew Fox and his panentheistic ideas have had an effect on many Christian leaders and movements, and now we are beginning to see the effects of this special brand of New Age in the Church.
"All Is In God"
Panentheism tries to make "God" a little bigger than the "God" of pantheism. The "God" of pantheism is everything. The "God" of panentheism is bigger than the sum of His parts, and the universe is only part of His manifestation. But really these concepts are the same. In both, God is the universe.
The First Nations movement as well as YWAM, both promoting the agenda of the NAR, are busy preaching the message that First Nations cultures were created by God and already had a way to make things right with God even before they heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to them, all they have to do is reassert their God-created cultures and get back to where they started.
“So these are clues that we felt God had left (the Hawaiian people) and evidence that He’s left as well as processes He has left in which our Hawaiian people can respond in a very natural way to God and really set things right between them and God.” (Leon Siu, Word To The World, show #544)This is the same idea that has been circulated among ecumenical World Council of Churches groups for years.
“There’s a myth that we have labored under for centuries in indigenous communities and the myth is that we are a godless heathen people.”(Terry LeBlanc, Word To The World, show #542)
Appreciating one's culture is appreciating the creation of God in a unique and beautiful manner. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are also called to redeem our culture as we grow in God. (YWAM DTS, Island Breeze, http://www.islandbreeze.com.au/training.htm)
The Sovereign God created cultures within the expanse of his grace and subservient to his redemptive plan. He chose cultures as the arena in which the Gospel of the kingdom transpired, was transmitted, responded to and applied. Thus, churches have to be more intentional in building up their capacity to reach others for Christ and enfold them into a community that values the meaningful cultural expression of their faith. (GOSPEL AND CULTURE IN KINGDOM MINISTRY - A reaction paper on the WCC Gospel and Culture discussion, by Jose Maria Luz Lamigo, Reformed Ecumenical Council, http://www.gospelcom.net/rec/MB-May96-Lamigo.html)This idea, now used by First Nations adherents, is that God already had a plan of salvation before Jesus Christ was even known, among the Hawaiians for instance.
“And yet all brings glory to God in its own special way, and that’s true of human beings and cultures as well.” ... “God is now calling forth from among the indigenous communities of the world that good deposit which He has made in them of their cultures, their languages, their musical expressions and all that sort of thing ... as an expression of praise and worship unto Himself.” (Word To The World, show #542)This "God" he is describing is part of their cultures, languages, and music, and all human beings and cultures bring glory to God in their own way. But I have to ask ... did Hitler's Germany bring glory to God? Did Saddam Hussein's Iraq bring glory to God? Does American culture bring glory to God? Did Israel bring glory to God by worshipping in the high places? The stark reality is that NO earthly culture is created by God, nor does any culture bring glory to God, especially Gentile cultures. Cultures are the "traditions of men" which the Bible states are in OPPOSITION to God (Mark 7:8-9). We are even warned to not be taken in by those who hold up culture above the Word.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.The following sounds like a panentheistic "God" to me ...
It's about exploring, expressing and celebrating the presence of God among the peoples and the fulfillment of that presence in the person, the work, the life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that's what we're doing. (Terry LeBlanc, Word To The World, show #542)This is clearly panentheism. God was and is not "present" among pagan societies. He has always been evident in His creation (Rom. 1:20, Ecc. 3:11), but this sounds like God's blessing was resting on pagan societies, or it sounds like pantheism, or a mix of both. God is said to have been present in all cultures and Jesus Christ is the personification of that "presence". But the Bible teaches that God is not His universe. He stands separate and distinct from His creation, outside His creation.
Isaiah 40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.God is contrasted with the world (Psa. 102:25-27; 1 John 2:15-17). God created the world (Gen. 1:1; Psa. 33:6; 102:25; Isa. 42:5; 44:24; John 1:3; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 1:2; 11:3). This is because He dwells in the supernatural, in eternity.
Acts 17:24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.
John 8:23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I amd not of this world." (NASB)
God is ...
Self existent: John 5:26
Unchangeable: Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8
Eternal: John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2
Omnipresent: Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph.1:23; 4:10: Col. 3:11
Omniscient: John 16:30; 21:17; cf. 2:23-24
Incomprehensible: Matt. 11:25-27
The reason He can be omnipresent without BEING everything is because He is in eternity, while His creation is in time.
Psalms 93:2 Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.He is in the supernatural, while the rest of creation is in the natural. Time and matter don't effect God. He is present everywhere at all times, but He is not His creation. He holds together the fabric of the universe (Is. 46:4, Col. 1:17), but He is not that universe.
Proverbs 8:23 I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
The fatal mistake of both pantheism and panentheism is a misunderstanding of Who God is. Panentheism has failed to understand the true uniqueness of God, and people who call themselves Christians who have this view of God do not know God. He is far greater than His creation. The Bible says that at the Great White Throne Judgment heaven and earth will flee from His presence.
Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.When God really "shows up", as NAR people are fond of saying in their meetings (but which is obviously not happening) the whole fabric of the universe comes apart at His appearing. The heavens and earth will pass away, and He will create an entirely new universe FROM NOTHING, like he did the first time (John 1:3).
2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.Only those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ to save them by His blood shed on the cross, in their place, will go to eternal life beyond the day the universe as we know it is dissolved. There is no one who can be a child of God without coming through the Son. NONE of the "earth religions" do anyone any good at all. There may be some "good" traditions in them, but these traditions do not save or even make a person good. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This earth IS going to pass away, and those who do not know the Son will not have Life, nor do they have abundant life now.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."Co-Creating With God"
Take note that, in the definition of panentheism, everyone and everything are said to be part of God's body, and that all the parts have some degree of freedom in "co-creating" with God. This is the New Age concept you will find in many New Age and occult books and other source materials.
I may, according to the RCH, be one hundred percent responsible for creating my own reality, including my current body, but we are all co-responsible for co-creating the entire physical earth plane as we find it. (You Create Your Own Orthodoxy: The New [Age] Orthodoxy's Formative Metaphysical Hypothesis Examined and Applied - The Ethics of Reality Creation & Co-Creation by Jordan S. Gruber, http://www.enlightenment.com/media/essays/creationbig2.html#anchor133825)This is also basically what Word-Faith and the NAR leadership teaches.
Such wizards must repeat these lessons until they have concluded that the path to evolution stems from conscious co-creation using the Divine Will aspect. (Wizards, http://www.wizardrealm.com/metaphysics/wizard.html)
"The era of the single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation." (Neal Donald Walsch, Conversations With God, p. 157)
I mean there is a major shift in the relationship between humans and God, from the passive creature child to the active participant in the process of creation. We are the “co” and the Creator is the “creator.” We are the first generation to be conscious of evolution, and responsible for guiding our evolution on a planetary scale. (The Age of Co-Creation, interview with Barbara Marx Hubbard, 1993 Thresholds interview, ©1994 Vol. 12 No. 1, http://www.som.org/3library/interviews/hubbard.htm)
"You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth." (Kenneth Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2.)We find many leaders in Christendom today stating that they can create reality with their words, just like God can. This comes from a panentheistic view of God from New Thought, Latter Rain and Word of Faith. This erroneous view of the nature of God is now touching practically every church in every part of the globe. You can go to your local church and most likely see and hear evidences of pantheism and panentheism in the music, materials, manifestations, worship, and messages. Here's a popular Christian song you have probably heard and sung:
The "force of faith is released by words." (Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer II (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0302), side 1.)
"You create the presence of Jesus with your mouth ... He is bound by your lips and by your words ... Remember that Christ is depending upon you and your spoken word to release His presence." (Paul Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Volume One (So. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1979), 83)
"Words create pictures, and pictures in your mind create words. And then the words come back out your mouth....And when that spiritual force comes out it is going to give substance to the image that's on the inside of you. Aw, that's that visualization stuff! Aw, that's that New Age! No, New Age is trying to do this; and they'd get somewhat results out of it because this is spiritual law, brother." (Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 28 March 1991.)
We're going to declare. We're going to decree. This is what the prophets do. God has called us here tonight to change things in the heavenlies ..." (Cindy Jacobs, National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office May 2002)
Cho's concept of fourth-dimensional thinking is nothing short of occultism. In his best-selling book "The Fourth Dimension", Cho unveils his departure from historic Christian theology and his entry into the world of the occult. Cho lists four steps in his incubation formula: 1) Visualize a clear-cut goal or idea in your mind; 2) have a burning desire for your objective; 3) pray until you get the guarantee or assurance from God that what you desire is already yours; 4) speak or confess the end result into existence. ((Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, 1993 citing Paul Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Volume One (So. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1979), 9-35; vol. 2, 18-33)
This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread, this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I´m desperate for you
And I, I´m lost without you
This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread, this is my daily breath
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I´m desperate for you (I´m desperate for you)
And I, I´m lost without you (I´m lost without you)
I´m lost without you
This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
I´m lost without you (3x)
What we are seeing today in the counterfeit revivals and apostolic movements is evidence of a panentheistic "God" who is different than the revealed God of Scripture. Anytime you see people claiming they can impart and manipulate God the Holy Spirit, you are seeing a denial of the core doctrine of the Trinity, Who God is. God is one "What" and three "Whos" with each "Who" possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality ... one God eternally existing in three Persons. When you see people teaching you that you can co-create with God because you are a little God (confession doctrine), they are in denial of the Deity of God because we make Him subject to the will of men. When you see the Holy Spirit being thrown around rooms and pressed into people's foreheads, you are seeing a denial of the Person of God. The Holy Spirit is not a force or an "it". He is a He, the great I AM. He exists apart from His creation. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit has to do with the supernatural in the spirit of man, not the material realm of the body and soul, though those can be sanctified through obedience to the Word through the Spirit. Panentheistic Third Wave meetings are soulical, fleshly. They do not understand Who God is, therefore they are not experiencing God, but rather they are at the mercy of their imaginations, their emotions, and sometimes the demonic/paranormal realm. It is startling that the New Age has so thoroughly leavened the Church, but then this was predicted by some long ago.
The movie "Star Wars" popularized the concept of a Force that permeated the universe, with its dark and light sides, that can be tapped into and used for good and evil. This modern concept of God has generally replaced all past ideas of God or gods. George Lucas [creator of Star Wars] is only one of millions of people who believe in this Force, including many of today's leading scientists [we will have more to say about this in another chapter, AT]: and his film series is an evangelistic tool for converting the world to his belief. This is the basic Hindu-occult philosophy ... and it lies at the heart of the New Age Movement. (Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust, 1983, page 215.)