Religion (not Christianity)

I first learned these in a philosophy class, and answered the question "Is Buddhism a Philosophy or a Religion" here.

As I read through the "Noble Truths" I was sad - What is missing from these "truths?"

As a Christian, the answer leaps out at me - grace.

The short version is "life's a bitch, and then you die."

The first noble truth:  Life is suffering.

There's physical suffering, we all know what that is.  There's mental suffering, whether it's a job you don't like, an argument with a neighbor, grief, or simple unhappiness.

Even when you have joy and happiness, it just leads to more suffering; a break from suffering, at best.

Suffering is a fact of life. There are four unavoidable physical sufferings; birth, old age, sickness and death. There are also three forms of mental suffering; separation from the people we love; contact with people we dislike and frustration of desires. Happiness is real and comes in many ways, but happiness does not last forever and does not stop suffering. Buddhists believe that the way to end suffering is to first accept the fact that suffering is actually a fact of life.

The book of Ecclesiastes affirms (sort of) this thought, although in a more balanced way.

The second noble truth: the Cause of Suffering

First - craving.  Whether you crave health, food, a new car - if you want something that you don't have, that's "suffering."

And craving is rooted in ignorance - the inability to see the truth about "things"

What is ignorance? Real ignorance is not just being uneducated, or not knowing many things. Buddhists see ignorance as the inability to see the truth about things, to see things as they really are. This ability to see the truth is not a question of either eyesight or education. Buddhists believe that there are many truths about the world that people are ignorant of, because of the limits of their understanding.

and

The Buddha said that overcoming craving and ignorance leads to true happiness and Enlightenment.

I'm going to leave this topic here...and visit the other two "truths" in a couple of days...

 

I recently started, read, and finished “Another Jesus Calling: How False Christs Are Entering The Church Through Contemplative Prayer” by Warren B. Smith, who wrote the book because he's so concerned about so many Christians reading (and falling into) “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.

The unusual use of language by the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling was also disturbing. It seemed to run the gamut from “everyday Joe” language to strange word choice, unwarranted flattery, worldly clichés, repetitive phrases, disparaging comments, and not-so-subtle mockery. All in all, Jesus Calling seemed to be an obvious attempt by our spiritual Adversary to get an even further foothold inside the Christian church. While I was surprised that Sarah Young’s devotional had become such a huge best-seller in the Christian marketplace, I was not completely surprised. Deceptive occult/ New Age teachings are swallowing up much of what calls itself Christian these days. In this book , I have done my best to raise some of my questions and concerns. I am sure my conclusions will upset a great many people who are devoted to Jesus Calling. Obviously, what you do with these conclusions is completely up to you. But I couldn’t imagine not bringing what I discovered to your attention. Hopefully, you will consider what I have presented here.(1)

Another Jesus Calling” is “quote-heavy,” drawing from a variety of sources, comparing “Jesus Calling” to New Age sources, as well as “God Calling,” in order to show how New Age beliefs, terminology, and practices have crept into mainstream Christianity.

Smith is uniquely qualified to speak to these comparisons, coming, as he did, out of the New Age movement. Armed with this knowledge, he spots and points out to his readers how the “jesus” of “Jesus Calling” pulls Young's followers toward a false Jesus.

In the prologue, Smith reminds us that Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before." (Matthew 24: 24-25) With this warning in mind, we can work through “Another Jesus Calling” with a discerning eye, comparing and contrasting Young's jesus with the Jesus of the Bible.

I had previously worked through a bit of “Jesus Calling” and left it knowing that something was wrong there. The jesus of that book was not the Jesus of the Bible, but I had written it off to the longing voice in Young's head. Reading “Another Jesus Calling” makes it clear that it's much, much worse.

It would be a mistake to condemn “Jesus Calling” because Young uses terminology similar (okay, identical) to New Age writers. But many of these terms are very specific: visualization, co-creation, channeling...Smith spots these and more.

As I finished “Another Jesus Calling” I wanted to reach those who “like” “Jesus Calling” and tell them to follow the real Jesus, not the fake jesus of Sarah Young.

You should read “Another Jesus Calling” if you've read “Jesus Calling” (in any of its forms) and felt a little “off.” You should read it if you've contemplated giving “Jesus Calling” to anybody you like.”You should read this book (with an open and discerning eye) if you want to read (or have read0) “Jesus Calling.” You should read this book if you have a friend who wants you to read “Jesus Calling.”

Another Jesus Calling” is a warning bell that is well written, well researched, well qualified to tell us of the problems of (generally) false teachers and (specifically) “Jesus Calling.”

What it all comes down to is this: Do we have a love of the truth or do we just experience what we want to experience and hear what we want to hear? Ultimate truth is not found in channeled messages, “new” revelations, or “new” truth. Ultimate truth— God’s truth and nothing but God’s truth— is explicitly, authoritatively, genuinely, and most amazingly found in the pages of God’s inspired Holy Word.(1)

 

  1. Smith, Warren B. (2013-11-19). Another Jesus Calling (Kindle Locations 216-225). Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Kindle Edition.
  2. Smith, Warren B. (2013-11-19). Another Jesus Calling (Kindle Locations 2100-2102). Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Cessationism (or not) --> false prophets --> new age --> Sarah Calling --> or not --> end times?

Did you get all that?

In the past I've  read about cessationism vs. continuationism and have come down on...I'm still not sure.  What I am sure of is that the Canon is closed.  I'm sure that Jesus isn't writing any more Scriptures.  I'm sure that modern day prophets are doing it wrong.

That would make them "false prophets" and Jesus said there would be lots of them in the end times.  Not only that, but He said that many would come in His name - even claiming to be Him.

A while ago, I bought "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.  The only reason I'd suggest that anybody own it is so that they know what it says, and I'd only suggest reading it if you first read "Another Jesus Calling" by Warren Smith.

The "Jesus" in "Jesus Calling" is so...nice.  It's easy to get sucked into the passivity and neediness of that Jesus.  But the Jesus of Scripture talked about sin, and repentance, and -yes- false teachers.

Sarah Young said that she read Scripture, but that she longed for "more"(1.) - and more is what she got.  She longed for more, but a few days into her book, I longed for "deep."  Her Jesus is so unlike the Jesus of Scripture, that Phil and I started calling the book "Sarah Calling" because the voice in her head is...the voice in her head.

But then I read "Another Jesus Calling" and I'm not sure what to call Young's book.  Warren Smith came out of the New Age movement and he knows what he's talking about.  When he compares "Jesus Calling" to "God Calling" - he knows what he's talking about.  And when he compares both of these to "The Revelation" (Barbara Marx Hubbard) - he knows what he's talking about.

Smith describes a scene from "The Beautiful Side of Evil" (Johanna Michaelsen) and how Michaelsen was given her "spirit guide" - Jesus.  She challenged her jesus at L'Abri, When challenged, this jesus disappeared.

Young also went to L'Abri.

Smith writes:

TWO young women traveled to L’Abri Christian communities run by Francis and Edith Schaeffer with two very different outcomes. Johanna Michaelsen’s visit to L’Abri resulted in the abandonment of her “Jesus” presence when she realized he wasn’t the true Jesus Christ. Yet Sarah Young’s visit to L’Abri resulted in the immediate acceptance of her “Jesus” presence, which she just “knew” was Jesus Christ(2)

False teachers have always been with us.  But Young's "jesus" has inspired her to turn out 15 books - half the size of the New Testament.  In her study Bible, you can read the "jesus" of "Jesus Calling" right next to the "Jesus" of Scripture.

False teachers have always been with us.  But Young has seven titles in the top 50 Christian bestsellers list, and she is consistently in the top 10.  The "Jesus Calling" facebook page has nearly 140,000 followers.

The first time I visited New City Church, I had finished my first look at "Jesus Calling" and wanted nothing more to do with it.  It was this great service, but at the end of it, a woman got up to give her testimony and went on about this great book that changed her outlook!  Yeah..."Jesus Calling."  I almost didn't go back, but Phil challenged me to ask myself if the pastor (or anybody) had known.

Jesus talked about the end times:

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13: 22)

How many people have fallen for the jesus of "Jesus Calling?"

How many believe that Jesus needs us more than we need Him?

How many people embrace New Age demonic terminology, beliefs, and practices, all in the name of the jesus of "Jesus Calling?"

There is much error in "jesus Calling" - Smith exposes it.  I want to pass it along.

 

  1. Jesus Calling; Young, Sarah; introduction
  2. Smith, Warren B. (2013-11-19). Another Jesus Calling (Kindle Locations 327-330). Lighthouse Trails Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Yin and Yang is part of an Eastern philosophy that deals with opposites...and balance.

 

right/left, up/down, dark/light.  One cannot exist without the other.

"Yin and Yang" and Taoism are deeply connected, Taoism is directly anti-Christian.

Yet, we see dichotomies evident in Scripture.

God calls us His slaves...and His sons..  We die, yet we live.  Christ was fully God and fully man.

But we must understand, with "yin and yang" - these two opposite forces exist in balance and neither should have more power.  Indeed, when one is out of balance, illness results.

In Christianity, God wins.  Righteousness prevails.

Death will be no more!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

.

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!

~~Matt Maher

 More than 100 things...

 

I've heard it said that discernment is not being able to tell what is right from what is wrong, it's being able to tell what is right from what is almost right.

Are Mormons "on the same team" as Christians?

Do they portray themselves as right?  Or are they "almost right" - or sound almost right?

One of the core doctrines of Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity.  If you can really nail a Mormon down...they deny it.

God as an eternal being - uncreated.  They don't believe that.

More later.

 

I don't listen to Glenn Beck very often, but this caught my attention today.

Beck was talking about this New York Times opinion piece.  Mocking the Time's linking of a belief in God and a belief in space aliens seems absurd.

Then it hit me.

Beck is a Mormon.

The god of Mormonism IS a space alien.

If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him? Personally, I might not disqualify him out of hand; one out of three Americansbelieve we have had Visitors and, hey, who knows? But I would certainly want to ask a few questions. Like, where does he get his information? Does he talk to the aliens? Do they have an economic plan?

Yet when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively.

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Jonathan Dodson, Resurgence blog, references a book, "God Is Not One," by  Stephen Prothero.

The basis of the book is good - but if we are going to compare religions that don't look very much like Christianity, I believe it is even more important to look at religions that DO look very much like Christianity.

On Page 12 of his book, Prothero writes:

And so it goes with all the world's religions.  Christians align themselves with Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, and fast-growing Mormonism may well be emerging as Christianity's fourth way.

This is a problem.  Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism have a few things in common, that Mormonism does not share.

  • The Trinity
  • Christ as eternally existent, not a created being
  • the mortality of man (we do not become gods, with our own planets
  • God the Father as eternally existent, not a created being
  • salvation by grace (compared to "we are saved by grace AFTER ALL THAT WE HAVE DONE."

Mormonism is not Christianity.  To blur that line, to put the gospel on that line...believing in a 'different Jesus' - Mormonism's Jesus - could have eternal consequences.

via a post at The Resurgence.

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Four Christian missionaries who were arrested at Dearborn's Arab American Festival were arraigned Monday on misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace.

Charged were Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Paul Rezkalla and David Wood Mayel, all members of a group called "Acts 17 Apologetics."

Negeen Mayel faces an additional charge of disobeying an officer.

They all pleaded not guilty.

The four were arrested on June 18 while handing out Christian literature and videotaping themselves.

The group said they were arrested over religion, but police insist that it's not true, and continue to stand behind their arrest. Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly defends his police department's arrest, saying he saw the video police confiscated from them and he believes the missionaries came into town to cause trouble.

Dearborn, MI has one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States...and (like most of the country) and these days it seems like if there is a question between Christians and "anybody else", the Christians are going to lose.

BUT...

I'm not sure if this is the case here.  There are certainly different accounts.

The four who were arrested were not the only Christians at the festival.

Groups were to get a permit and have a booth...most Christian groups did that.

These four evidently did not get a booth, but they did get a video camera.

There are quotes of them saying things like they had been threatened the year before, so they brought along the video camera...they were there expecting excitement.  This is not what missionaries should be after.

Here is a video from 2009:

I see aggression on both sides, I see the Christians being inflammatory.  I think that perhaps the arrest was justified, if they were breaking the rules.

Let the courts figure it out.

~~~

On the other hand, here is a t-shirt that was confiscated from Arab students at a Dearborn high school

Philosophy reflection paper:

January 19. 2010

Is Religion Necessary?

John Piper once said, “Words don’t mean things…definitions mean things.” In order to answer the question, “Is religion necessary?” we must first define “religion”. Some definitions say that “religion” is “the service and worship of God or the supernatural” (Merriam-Webster) or “the belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief” (google dictionary).  Others define “religion” as "a set of symbolic forms and acts that relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence” (Robert Bellah, professor at the University of California, Berkley).

Huston Smith noted that the oldest artifacts found by archaeologists have religious significance.  In ages past, before more recent scientific advances, the world around us must have seemed far beyond human comprehension…and yet creation got here somehow…and so did we.

All (or nearly all) cultures around the world, past and present, have had some sense of “religion”. Even today, many cultures do not have a mandated religion, yet most people have access to at least one belief system called “religion”. Whether the worshippers wanted salvation from the physical world around them or whether they wanted access to an afterlife, it seems that human beings are programmed to seek something (or someone) larger than themselves.

...continue reading