Kris Vallotton on Becoming an Incarnation through Holy Communion

Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA (Bill Johnson is Senior Pastor), recently stated the following on his website:

When Jesus said we must eat His flesh and drink his blood, he wasn’t talking about cannibalism, but he was referring to ingestion that leads to incarnation. Christ is the Word that became flesh. It is important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us. Ingestion without digestion will lead to feeling full but not being transformed. Digestion is more than just a taste test, it is the full meal of His presence that conforms us to His image. There is an old saying that is true in this case, “You are what you eat!

Many people ingest the Bible but they don’t digest the living, active Word of God. Religion fills their souls but never satisfies their longing for real life. Digestion requires assimilation, not just consumption. Truth was never meant to just be recounted, it was intended to be experienced. When we exchange the communion meal for a dinner commentary or a cookbook, we deprive ourselves of the privilege of abundant life, and relegate ourselves to a meager existence in the Kingdom. [Tuesday, July 16, 2013; emphasis added]

How do we interpret Kris Vallotton’s message?  The key is in the word incarnation.  Of course, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ occurred when the Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  This took place at the moment of the Virginal Conception (Luke 1:35).  But, do Christians become an incarnation?

While there are a few different meanings for the term incarnation, as it applies to Jesus Christ it implies preexistence, as in the preexistent, eternal Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity took on a new mode of existence as the one, unique God in the flesh.  The fully God and yet fully man Jesus Christ IS the Incarnation.  And since, according to orthodox Christianity, humans are not preexistent, then humans cannot become an incarnation in that sense of the term.  (However, those who believe in the preexistence of souls affirm reincarnation – not a Christian doctrine, specifically deemed anathema at the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, or Constantinople II of 553 AD.)

So what does Kris Vallotton mean?  Certainly, he’s adhering to the typical Word of Faith (WoF) doctrine of ‘new revelation’ (what Vallotton terms “living, active Word of God” above), or as Kenneth E. Hagin termed it, the “rhema” word.  According to WoF, these ‘new revelations’ are superior to Scripture, the written Word (Hagin called this the “logos” word).  But what does that have to do with becoming an incarnation?

The other modern day definitions for the term incarnation are used in a figurative sense, yet it’s clear Vallotton is speaking literally, as he states, “until Christ is literally formed in us”.  Taking the context of Vallotton’s message above, this seems similar to an old and oft-repeated quote by Hagin:

Every man who has been ‘born again’ is an Incarnation, and Christianity is a miracle.  The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.1

Hagin equates the Incarnate Word of God to the ‘born again’ believer.  Others have stated something similar, and here are two examples from Earl Paulk – one who taught explicit Latter Rain doctrine as well as WoF:

It was the quickening and bringing alive of the Word which was incarnate in Jesus ChristThat Word became incarnate in the Church. 

Jesus was the firstfruit of God’s incarnation, a man living out God’s perfect will.  Now He says, “…My people will bring forth life as they become the ‘incarnate Word’ on planet Earth”…the Church is the ‘ongoing expression’ of God.2

All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus.  Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth.  ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’  His inheritance is already ours3

While Vallotton has not gone so far as to declare the Church body “the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth”, he’s not very far off.  More important though is that if one reads the Vallotton quote carefully, one sees that the ‘believer’ becomes the ‘new revelation’ word made flesh.  Does this mean that, in the Vallotton quote, Jesus Christ was also the ‘new revelation’ word made flesh rather than the Word, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity made flesh at the Virginal Conception as the unique fully God and fully man, as the Hagin and Paulk selections above seem to imply? 

To see that this interpretation of ‘believer’ as ‘new revelation’ word made flesh is indeed the correct understanding, we’ll go through the above Vallotton quote sentence by sentence.

When Jesus said we must eat His flesh and drink his blood, he wasn’t talking about cannibalism, but he was referring to ingestion that leads to incarnation

This means simply that partaking of Communion leads to “incarnation”.

Christ is the Word that became flesh. It is important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us 

These two sentences are the most crucial as far as interpretation.   Here, we’ll have to make an initial hypothesis which will prove itself as we continue.  First, note the two uses of “the Word” above.  From a strictly orthodox perspective, the first sentence would be speaking of Jesus Christ as the eternal Word made flesh at the Virginal Conception.  But is this what Vallotton means?  We’ll return to this later.

Regarding the second, this could refer to either Scripture, or the ‘new revelation’ word.  However, in the second paragraph of the complete quote, Vallotton is clear that he’s referring to the ‘new revelation’ word, since he’s made a direct comparison between this and Scripture, with the ‘new revelation’ word the one to be “experienced”.  Therefore, for now we’ll tentatively conclude that this is the intended meaning here, as this Word “causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us”.

Ingestion without digestion will lead to feeling full but not being transformed. Digestion is more than just a taste test, it is the full meal of His presence that conforms us to His image. There is an old saying that is true in this case, You are what you eat!”  

Here “the Word” is personified as “His presence”.  Also, this implies that Holy Communion consists of the real presence, just as it does in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox, Lutheranism, and only a few others within Protestantism.  The majority of Protestant churches deny the real presence in Holy Communion, seeing it as symbolic instead.  For Vallotton, “His presence”, that is, the ‘real presence’ in Communion, literally makes the ‘believer’ become that which was ingested: “the Word”.

Many people ingest the Bible but they don’t digest the living, active Word of God. Religion fills their souls but never satisfies their longing for real life.

The message in these two sentences is that reading (“ingesting”) the Bible results in “religion”, the term used pejoratively; whereas,  the “living, active Word of God” (“His life” and “His presence” in the first paragraph), i.e., the ‘new revelation’ word brings “real life”.  By positing this false dichotomy between the Bible and ‘new revelation’, this confirms the earlier working hypothesis that the ‘new revelation’ word was the intended meaning in the first paragraph.

Digestion requires assimilation, not just consumption. Truth was never meant to just be recounted, it was intended to be experienced.

Studying and memorizing Scripture is not the real goal.  The “truth” of these ‘new revelations’ is to be digested, experienced, assimilated.  This is the goal.

When we exchange the communion meal for a dinner commentary or a cookbook, we deprive ourselves of the privilege of abundant life, and relegate ourselves to a meager existence in the Kingdom.

If Holy Communion is viewed as symbolic, rather than the ‘real presence’ of “the Word”, i.e. ‘new revelation’, then we become a spiritual ‘have-not’ instead of a spiritual ‘have’.  Why?  Because it’s “important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us.”  If we don’t “ingest the Word of God” in this way, then “Christ” will not be formed in us, literally. 

But, what does all this really mean?  The mystery and confusion evaporate when this is viewed from a Gnostic, or, more specifically, a Neo-Gnostic (New Age / New Spirituality) perspective.  First, we’ll need to provide a brief sketch of a basic Neo-Gnostic conception, keeping in mind that this is a perversion of Christianity.

In the Neo-Gnostic (New Age / New Spirituality) conception of deity, there is an eternal trinity consisting of the Father, the Holy Breath (sometimes Mother), and Christ (the logos, usually the offspring of the first two).  Christ is “the Word of God”, the “word” of Thought, Force and Love.  This “word” formed the entire cosmos, leaving a part of himself in all of creation, alternatively known as a seed, spark, Christ.  Therefore, the eternal word (third person of this false trinity, as opposed to second in orthodox Christianity) is the ‘Christ without’, while the internal seed/spark in everything is the “Christ within”.This is the doctrine of panentheism, that is, God is within all, yet simultaneously transcendent.

In the Gnostic understanding, mankind has two natures, one human and one divine spark/seed, or ‘Christ within’.  In order for humans to progress spiritually, the goal is to awaken the ‘Christ within’ (Christ in you, the hope of glory – a perversion of Colossians 1:27) via the “Christ without”, i.e., the “word” which provides “Thought and Force”,5 or ‘new revelation’.  As one increases in ‘new revelation’ knowledge, one progresses spiritually.6  This progression occurs over multiple lifetimes, as the spark/seed is then reincarnated into a succession of human forms.

Though “Christ” (divine seed/spark) was yet still latent in humanity, due to ‘selfishness’, most of the human race did not recognize this and, thus, was not progressing as it should.  This necessitated that the eternal Christ (of this false trinity), the “Word of God”, be made manifest in human form “by taking his abode in some pure person”.7  That “pure person” was Jesus of Nazareth.  This “Word of God”, ‘new revelation’ of “Thought and Force”, became flesh in the man Jesus at baptism, specifically when the dove (Holy Breath) landed upon him.  This is when the incarnation of the “Word of God” began.8

Once ‘the Word’ was “made flesh” in Jesus of Nazareth at baptism, Jesus became the model for all towards their own spiritual progression, for their own self-redemption.  The goal then for mankind is for each one to become his own ‘word made flesh’, to become his own incarnation, by recognizing the divine seed/spark within, and then begin its path towards actualization.9  This false Jesus instructs others: “Look to the Christ within who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me.”10  What was it that Vallotton wrote above?  “It is important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us.”

Viewing Vallotton’s complete statement from a New-Gnostic perspective works well indeed.  Using Neo-Gnosticism as our lens with which to view this statement, we can see how to interpret “Christ is the Word that became flesh”, and this adds clarity to the entire Vallotton quote.

As regards Vallotton’s references to Holy Communion, we’ll compare to material on a Gnostic website.  Please note that there are many different flavors of Gnosticism, with each one borrowing from other religions and occult traditions.  This particular one incorporates Hinduism, Jewish mysticism to include the Kabbalah, Tantric Yoga, and others into its own mix of Gnosticism.  Also, as a side note, the reader may have recognized that Hagin referred to the ‘new revelation’ word as the “rhema”, while above (and below) it was used as the “logos” instead.  This is not unusual, as terms are not necessarily consistent, though concepts usually are.

Jesus says that man cannot live upon this bread alone, this bread of Moses.  In other words, the teaching that Moses gives is vital, it is important, but it is not enough; there is something else.  And that something else is the Word of God, as Jesus says.  But here we have to look deeper than the literal meaningSome interpret this passage as meaning that we need the scripture or the Bible in order to have life, but this is only a literal, superficial meaning of the phrase. The document from which the quote is taken was written in Greek, and in Greek, ‘word’ is ‘logos’…11

Just like Vallotton, we have to look beyond the literal meaning of Jesus’ words in John 6, we must “look deeper” for the mystical meaning, as per the Gnostic quote above, for if we don’t, then this will result in “not being transformed”, per Vallotton.  The Bible is not enough.

…In other words, man cannot live by bread alone…but by the Word of God, by the Logos, by the Christ.  So he is pointing out a very important mystery that we need to comprehend…. 

receive the blessed elements so they can take those atoms [of the Christ] into their bodies as assistance for their work.

…these elements which will house the forces of Christ (the Logos) so that the congregation can receive those forces.12

As Vallotton concluded his first paragraph, “You are what you eat!”  This is what he means by “His life” and “His presence” in the first paragraph.  But, whose life and presence is this really?  All this reminds me once again of the following Alice Bailey quote, only this time I’ll place other emphasis:

…[T]he church movement, like all else, is but a temporary expedient and serves but as a transient resting place for the evolving lifeEventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this [20th] century…This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ [ED: the false Christ above, actually Satan/antichrist] and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle [ED: spirit of the ‘new revelation’ word], the true second Coming, has been accomplished…

The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplishedThe church must show a wide tolerance…The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [ED: occult/esoteric meaning]The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages.  Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.13

  

   1 Kenneth E. Hagin “The Incarnation” in The Word of Faith, (1980, December; #13) Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Tulsa, OK, p 14, as quoted in Russell Sharrock Covenant Theology: A Critical Analysis of Current Pentecostal Covenant Theology, 2006, Lulu Enterprises, Morrisville, NC, p 109.  Emphasis added.
   2 Paulk, Earl. Held in the Heavens Until…God’s Strategy for Planet Earth, 1985; K Dimension, Atlanta, GA, p 163.  Emphasis added.
   3 Paulk, Held in the Heavens, p 197.  Emphasis added.
   4 Levi Dowling The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ: The Philosophic and Practical Basis of the Religion of the Aquarian Age of the World, © 1907 Eva S. Dowling and Leo W. Dowling, © 1935 and © 1964 Leo W. Dowling, (11th printing, 1987), DeVorss, Marina del Rey, CA, p 6.  Dowling is cited as merely one Neo-Gnostic text, but there are many others, with subtle differences in basic doctrine.  However, Dowling’s very closely matches the Vallotton quote, and hence, serves our purposes here.
   5 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, p 6
   6 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, pp 6-7
   7 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, p 7
   8 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, p 8.  The point at which this false incarnation begins is detailed: …Jesus was man; Christ was Divine Love – the Love of God; and after thirty years of strenuous life the man had made his body fit to be the temple of the holy breath and Love took full possession, and John well said when he declared: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
   9 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, p 8
   10 Dowling Aquarian Gospel, p 8
   11 “Gnostic Instructor” “Sacrament of Communion” gnosticteachings.org website <http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/sacraments-of-the-gnostic-church/666-sacrament-of-communion.html>, as accessed 07/20/13, © Glorian Publishing, Brooklyn, NY; emphasis added.
   12 “Gnostic Instructor” “Sacrament of Communion”
   13 Alice A. Bailey The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, © 1957 Lucis, NY, 6th printing 1981; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, pp 510-511.  Underscore from italics in original; other emphasis added.  While the book was not published until 1957, most sections within the book have corresponding dates of initial writing, or, more accurately, transmission.  The portion quoted here is from 1919, some of the earliest writings of Bailey/The Tibetan.

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77 Responses to Kris Vallotton on Becoming an Incarnation through Holy Communion

  1. Excellent.
    Reblogging.

    Blessings

  2. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Thank you, Craig, for again recognizing the problematic nature of statements like these and their link to Gnosticism and New Age teachings.

    In addition to your analysis, I would add that the statements are very confusing. Vallotton is mixing symbolism/metaphors to come up with a hodgepodge of mystic revelations. By referencing the Last Supper/Holy Communion, he is indeed stating the “real presence” view, but then suddenly shifts to the Word and back to the Communion table again. Doing so, he completely bypasses the atonement, which is what that event was/is all about to begin with. Jesus was just hours away from going to the cross to show Himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is exactly what He was telling the disciples when he led the Passover meal that was to become our model for Communion. But Vallotton references John 6:53 (ie. eat my body, drink my blood) which was not even at the Last Supper. But it was Jesus’ revelation that He indeed is the living bread. In essence, Jesus said that this “bread” was the revelation of what His blood atonement would be. But Vallotton omits that all together. What a mess Vallotton makes of this! No wonder I’m so confused!

    He also makes himself a legalist. Gal 3:1-6
    “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain–if indeed [it was] in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, [does He do it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?–just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    So….I have to eat the communion elements in order incarnate God? Sounds like strange cross between “neoJudiaism” and witchcraft to me! (Yes, I think I just made that term up because I don’t have any other vocabulary to describe what he is telling us.)

    And since Vallotton is the one coming up with the food imagery, I’ll take it further. I’ve been accused of being illogical before, so please excuse my ignorance, but I’m trying to figure this out. He’s saying that I have a spiritual problem if I ingest without digesting. How does one do that in a natural sense anyway? If I eat something my body automatically digests it, if it is an organic substance (I cannot digest lead, but my enzymes would at least attempt to break down grass). Am I a freak or something? How does Vallotton control how his body digests food?

    When I read, that is, “ingest” God’s Word, it is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring that Word to life in my heart, not mine. But then again, as you have explained, Craig, he probably isn’t talking just about the Bible, anyway.

    Whew!! Was Vallotton drunk when he said this? None of this makes any logical sense to this very simple sheep.

  3. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    Because you are trained in the correct interpretation, you are experiencing the cognitive dissonance that typically makes folks attempt to interpret as orthodox, thinking “he must have meant…”

    You wrote, …But Vallotton references John 6:53 (ie. eat my body, drink my blood) which was not even at the Last Supper… This is the very portion of Scripture that the RCC understands as literal, that is, referring to the ‘real presence’ (I think Lutherans do the same, but I’m not sure). I know because I had a debate with some Catholics on Cumbey’s blog about this.

    You wrote, And since Vallotton is the one coming up with the food imagery, I’ll take it further. I’ve been accused of being illogical before, so please excuse my ignorance, but I’m trying to figure this out. He’s saying that I have a spiritual problem if I ingest without digesting. How does one do that in a natural sense anyway? If I eat something my body automatically digests it, if it is an organic substance (I cannot digest lead, but my enzymes would at least attempt to break down grass). Am I a freak or something? How does Vallotton control how his body digests food?

    He’s speaking metaphorically and by analogy; and analogy does not have to be exactly applicable, but just approximate. But, for Vallotton – switching to literal – “digesting” “His presences” results in “incarnation”. He’s not making a good analogy because it’s metaphorical, yet literal. HE’s the one who is illogical. Unless he means that those ingest, then regurgitate before digesting. But, that’s OK, as the point is to sound clever, and his sheep just keep following him.

    The key in interpreting this is in equating “incarnation” with the Gnostic Christ (“Christ is the Word that became flesh”), who set the pattern for others to “incarnate” the “word”. See especially the Earl Paulk quotes with this in mind (“ongoing incarnation”). Once this is understood, the rest falls right in place – despite his faulty analogy/metaphor.

  4. Craig says:

    Let me add this for clarity. Vallotton compares and contrasts Scripture with ‘new revelation’ in the second paragraph:

    Many people ingest the Bible [Scripture] but they don’t digest the living, active Word of God ['new revelation'; "His life" and "His presence" in the first paragraph]. Religion fills their souls [by studying Scripture] but never satisfies their longing for real life [like 'new revelation']. Digestion requires assimilation ['new revelation'], not just consumption [reading/studying Scripture]. Truth was never meant to just be recounted [reading/studying Scripture], it was intended to be experienced ['new revelation'].

  5. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Yes, Craig, I agree. I was actually trying to be snarky and sarcastic, emphasizing the whole confusing muddle that Vallotton makes. The Word of God is simple and clear. It is disreputable shepherds, really hirelings, who muddy up the water so that the sheep cannot drink (Eze. 34).

    Carrying this metaphor further, the Great Shepherd leads His sheep to green pastures and calm waters. He restores their souls. The food that He gives them is nutritious and good for growing. They don’t have to do anything but eat and they will be well fed and healthy.

    But when hirelings put additives into the food to make the sheep artificially fat, the sheep become sickly and unable to live healthy lives and reproduce strong offspring that are able to withstand disease as well. Ha! The cry is for organic these days, but these folks are giving us “processed foods with artificial ingredients”.

    My point is simplicity for simple sheep like me. Why go to Johnson, Vallotton, et. al for all this convoluted, artificial–ie. faulty reasoning, when simple food is available for a feast?

    This is important for me because I live and minister among these folk. I am trying to bring folk back to the simplicity that is in the Lord Jesus Christ and the freedom from bondage as so many have to “speak their healing” and then have “faith” in it. What a bondage–what heavy burden in “doing”. And when their healing or wayward child, or …doesn’t manifest like they commanded, they become prey for the wolves. It is all legalistic bondage because they haven’t said the right incantations words to make it come to pass. And of course, this applies to Vallotton who, in this case, is putting a burden on them to have an experience.

    This make me VERY angry. We are told that we must have some kind of mystical experiences to have a valid Christian faith. We have to “hear” messages of identity and destiny from God to have successful lives and to fulfill a purpose. Fear is put into the sheep that if they don’t follow the rules they will fail. So in order to fit in, be approved, be recognized, sheep WILL fake it, or listen to every little whisper that sounds even faintly remotely like they’re “getting something” just so they can say they’ve had their valid mystical experience.

    The Apostle Paul wrote quite simply, “I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! Gal. 5:12

    God have mercy on the sheep!

  6. YesNa, I love the term ‘snarky’. Is it American? I get the tone. As for simple sheep, I am not sure that we are simple. What I see here is simply the experience (dare I use this term!) that those with open eyes and ears have. Just as the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, the false doctrines of those same perishing people are foolishness to our ears. And praise the Lord in his great mercy he has made it so for us!

    People like KV and BJ particularly irritate me because in all of the godless writings that have been handed down over the centuries, theirs’ is some of the worst. I think I would rather read the sophisticated nihilism of Nietzsche or Sartre than this tripe! I should clarify that I would prefer never to read any of these authors ever again, but if I had to choose I would take the godless intellectuals over the godless flakes who try to write like godless intellectuals to make themselves seem spiritually superior, in turn making God-fearing believers feel like simpletons. A pox on all their houses. (Was that snarky?) :-)

    It is exactly what you see consistently in new age writing, where you can read a whole book and not be sure that any concrete statement of fact has been made. Usually this is because it hasn’t…or it has been dressed up in allegorical language, mixed metaphors and deliberately misrepresented words. I am not sure the authors even know what they are saying. Having said all this, KV’s teachings are very dangerous so spread the word folks, and the WORD!!!

  7. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I’m with you: I would much rather read a straight-forward account rather than the deliberately distorted stuff in hyper-charismaticism (Johnson, Vallotton, Rick Joyner, Bentley, Bickle, Bob Jones, etc.).

    I have a book by the late John Hick titled The Metaphor of God Incarnate in which the author makes the claim that Jesus was merely a really good man who was so attuned to the Father that he ‘incarnated’ God – the use of ‘incarnated’ understood as metaphor/figurative, rather than literal. I disagree, of course, but at least he makes somewhat logical arguments. I’d rather read this than the hyper-charismatic material.

  8. Craig says:

    I want to be sure readers see how Vallotton’s thought process flows in his quote:

    When Jesus said we must eat His flesh and drink his blood, he wasn’t talking about cannibalism, but he was referring to ingestion that leads to incarnation. Christ is the Word that became flesh [Incarnation]. It is important that we ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest His life until Christ is literally formed in us [incarnation]…

    The first sentence makes it clear that ‘believers’ can and should become an “incarnation”. The second is, of course, speaking of what Christian orthodoxy would consider THE Incarnation; however, as we see this from a Gnostic perspective, “the Christ” (“the Word”) ‘became flesh’ when the Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus, which is the Gnostic definition of “the incarnation”. This must be the intended meaning, as the third sentence with “Christ” being formed in the ‘believer’ literally, i.e., the “Christ within” (divine seed/spark) grows with the assistance of the “Christ without” (Christ Spirit, “Christ anointing”, “the anointing”), is the Gnostic understanding of incarnation. Otherwise, Vallotton’s statement has no continuity.

    To explain from another angle, in the third sentence “ingest the Word of God in a way that causes us to digest” is similar to the first sentence phrase “he was referring to ingestion that leads to incarnation“. Digest and incarnation are correlative. And sentence two is certainly speaking of “the Incarnation”. So, apparently, Jesus Himself “digested” “the Word” and hence became incarnate, and this is the model we are to follow.

  9. Arwen4CJ says:

    First, I’d like to say something about communion in general. I believe that there are true Christians who view communion as being more literally the body and blood of Jesus. As pointed out above in the article, there are some Protestant denominations that hold to this view, to some degree. I know some Christians who believe that the elements literally become the body and blood. The literal blood and body view is difficult for me to understand, but the denomination that I was raised in has a variation of it as its official view. When I was growing up in the church, no one really taught on it, but my current pastor is very close to the Catholic viewpoint, which he insists is the denomination’s stance.

    The pastor goes so far as to claim that people who don’t hold to it aren’t really having communion properly. (He even has hinted that he doesn’t think they are Christian because he thinks that a big part of the definition of the church is the sacraments, and he thinks that it isn’t really the sacrament if it is just symbolic….)

    Now I strongly disagree with my pastor here, as I actually think that the symbolic interpretation makes more sense theologically, and I don’t see anything in the Bible that makes me think that communion is to be literal….but I understand that there are Christians who are convinced that the literal interpretation is correct.

    For me this is one of those non-essentials that Christians seem to be really divided on, so I try to stay out of arguments about it. People seem to feel really strongly about both sides.

    However, that isn’t to say that people can’t take things too far with it….and Vallotton has certainly done just that! It seems like he is saying that we can become divine (or become Jesus) when we take communion :(

  10. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Arwen,

    The communion viewpoint you are speaking of in Catholic doctrine is known as transubstantiation. To a Catholic, the elements are kept in the little box, ark, or “monstrance”. As I understand (and I can be corrected here as no doubt Craig will do ;) ) when the little bell rings at a Catholic mass, the elements literally become the body and blood of Jesus. Catholics worship the monstrance because of this. When they take the elements they are literally becoming one with God experiencing Christ within them for the few moments until the wafer is broken down by the body. This is why it is so essential that a dying Catholic receive communion before death. It is also why the wine is NOT served in the last rites. The concern is for the possibility of spilling. Spilling a drop of wine, would be to desecrate the blood of Christ.

    From that perspective, in my opinion, it is not a minor issue. To the Catholic, that communion is their salvation. This is one of the very issues that the Reformers stood against. Withholding communion from a Catholic is condemning their soul to hell. Many Christians see the problems of Mary worship, purgatory, and indulgences, but have no clue as to what the issues of transubstantiation are.

    I do not understand the how consubstantiation and sacramental union are related to transubstantiation, perhaps Craig can clarify. I believe most protestants who lean this way take one of those two views. My former pastor led a communion service at which he spoke of the “real presence” in the communion elements. I knew that he was pulling a switch on the sheep without telling them that he was converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. He told us that refusing to take communion was refusing Jesus Christ. There was no mention of salvation, nor of 1 Cor. 11 admonishment not to take unworthily, ie. with known sin or problems with a fellow brother/sister. (Our church went forward to receive the elements.) I knew what he was doing. It was my highest worship to remain seated and refuse communion that day. As the assoc. pastor’s wife, it was an act of defiance (protestation?) that was not unnoticed. (My husband was out of town.)

    I also see this issue as pulling unsuspecting sheep back to the bondage of the Roman church because most people have no clue what it really is about. It sounds like a very holy, deep activity. But now that most church goers are largely biblically illiterate, a religious ceremony that makes one feel religious is so convenient. I believe this issue is a huge piece of the delusion (2 Thess. 2) that is already upon us and growing.

  11. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Narrowing Path,

    I was using the term “simple sheep” to describe myself, not all people/Christians. We may have a difference in how we’re using the word “simple” based on US and Australian usages. I am taking my meanings from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simple.

    1. free from guile: innocent. [By this I mean, not tainted by the deceptive teachings of the current trends--ie. agendas that draw others away from the faith. I do NOT believe I am innocent in a legal sense. I stand guilty before God and by faith receive Jesus' sacrifice on my behalf. I call upon His righteousness.]
    2. free from vanity: modest.
    3. of humble origin or modest position
    4. lacking in knowledge or expertise: stupid

    I think that, in general, we forget that God describes us as “sheep”, which is not very flattering. We are in desperate need of a Shepherd. I know that I am or I will stupidly wander into every trap of the enemy. I do not need fancy, elaborate, self-aggrandizing theologies. I just need the simplicity of the Gospel (2 Cor. 11:3).

    Way back in the late 90′s, I came upon Eze. 34 and became very convicted regarding my behavior and function as a pastor’s wife. More and more I use the term “sheep” to describe the church. It helps me to keep me from thinking of myself more highly than I ought, and to remember what the Lord has called me to–feed the flock and shepherd those under my care as an undershepherd of the Lord Jesus.

    I use the adjective “simple” to remind myself of my vulnerability to stray away from the Lord, and fall prey to the wolves. As to #4 above…I am learning, growing, researching, aware and knowledgeable in the Word and the habits of wolves. But I hope that I am experientially “,i>wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Rom. 16:19.

    Hope that clarifies my description of myself as “just a simple sheep”. Bahh, Bahhh!
    (BTW–I accidentally deleted your email address [bahhh, bahhh ;) ]. I sent you a private message at Naomi’s table.)

  12. Word of the day… obfuscate.
    [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt]

    verb (used with object), ob·fus·cat·ed, ob·fus·cat·ing.
    1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
    2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
    3. to darken.

  13. Arwen, I agree, it is preposterous to suggest that we somehow become divine when we partake of communion. Again, where is the biblical basis for this belief? Um, nowhere! In the self-deifying imagination of wandering stars. I am a living testament to the fact that we DO NOT become divine when taking communion. Nothing divine about me. I am not even a good cook. Seriously.

    As for what people believe about the sacraments themselves (e.g. transubstantiation), I am fast learning to look for where the teaching leads. If it rests in a belief that something mystical happens but goes no further then maybeit isn’t an issue. But when you read of the Catholic Church’s ‘eucharist evangelization’ plan, it takes on a much more sinister relevance. I don’t know enough to really comment much, but I just find the Catholic church’s take on communion disturbing in light of their promotion of the Eucharist Jesus. Do they have more than one? Perhaps a Christmas Jesus too? And as YesNa says, to link any aspect of salvation into communion is false teaching. I am seeing this a lot in the Anglican comunity here in my city (not my church). There is a big move to head back to Rome. Whaaaat? What reformation?

    I think Lighthbouse Trails has had some good article on this subject. Also Richard Bennett of the Berean Beacon (a former Catholic priest) is a great resource.

  14. YesNa, thanks for your precise definitions of ‘simple’! I think simple when applied to a person does have specific negative connotations in my mind (i.e. stupid) but the other definitions you list are very appropriate. And let’s face it. We are all complete idiots at times. Shepherd definitely required. I am learning to appreciate the simple things in life. I try to limit myself to complicated things only when they provide a learning opportunity. Letting go of my own intellectual vanity is part of this process. Hard to do, but it’s more fun hanging with God’s simple sheep than the world’s obfuscating wolves. ;-)

    I will check for your message at the Table. I can always email you again too. Glad I’m not alone in the losing things stakes. :-)

  15. Arwen4CJ says:

    I don’t know enough to state the differences between transubstantiation, consubstantiation, or the view that my pastor holds. He stated the differences once in a sermon, but the differences were hard for me to distinguish, as I thought the views he was describing were very, very similar. There were only minor differences, and I don’t remember what they are right now.

    I know that he (and many other Protestants) would be opposed the the Roman Catholic practice of keeping the elements in boxes, or carrying them around, bowing down to them, etc. I wonder if Bethel would be opposed to these practices, given what Vallotton says above.

    I think that my pastor thinks that something happens to the elements when the words of institution are said…when he prays over it and says something like, “make them be for us Your body and blood.” I think that he believes that the elements are more spiritually His body and blood, rather than literally — I think that’s one of the things he said in his sermon when he tried to distinguish the different views. I could be wrong, though.

    The pastor has said something about the elements co-mingling with our our body and blood, so what you wrote about when “Catholics take the elements, they believe they are literally becoming one with God experiencing Christ within them for the few moments until the bread is broken down by the body,” may not be too far off what he believes. However, he doesn’t believe that someone has to have communion when they’re dying.

    I know that according to the denomination, once the elements have become consecrated, the left overs are not allowed to be thrown away. They have to either be eaten or poured on the ground for the animals to eat. This is for the same reason that you wrote about the Catholics not wanting to spill a drop of wine. Throwing it away would be desecrating the body and blood of Jesus.

    I don’t know how many mainline denominations have views like this about communion and its elements, but I think a lot of them seem to believe that something happens with the elements to put some level of Jesus into communion. At least that’s what it seemed from talking with various people in different denominations. This was so much the case that I wondered if I didn’t understand something when I read the Bible — that I had somehow missed something about Christ’s presence in the elements. I do not know what God intends to happen at communion, but as hard as I have tried to understand the real presence views, I just can’t hold that view. However, I’m open to God showing me differently, as I certainly don’t have a grasp on everything, as no person can.

    My conjecture is that this may be one of the things that many Protestant denominations carried over from Roman Catholicism, just out of tradition, and not because they could actually back it up with Scripture. (Yes, Jesus did say “this is My body” and this is My blood,” etc., but how do we know that Jesus meant this literally instead of symbolically? The context seems to be more symbolic….)

    Over the past few years I have really tried hard to understand what most Protestants in mainline denominations believe about salvation, a lot of it because of what this particular pastor has said, and because of what other mainline Protestants have talked about, and what their definition of a Christian is.

    Up until recently, I thought that all Christians were on the same page about salvation and what makes a person a Christian. I got my views of these things by non-denominational Christian events and organizations and churches. I also got my views from reading the Bible. From all of these things, I came to understand that a person becomes regenerated by the Holy Spirit when that person places faith in Christ (and this is when they become part of the universal church), and that they accepted what Jesus did for them on the cross, that they knew they couldn’t save themselves, they needed forgiveness for their sins, etc. I saw baptism as an act of obedience to something that Jesus commanded of us because we believed.

    However, I have come to understand that this is not what most mainline Protestant churches teach (at least traditionally). Most of them tend to teach that a person becomes regenerated by the Holy Spirit at baptism, whether or not the person believes in Jesus or what He did for them. Hence, infants are baptized, and these infants are then members of the church. In this view, baptism is what makes a person a Christian, not belief. Taking communion sustains them, as the person receives Jesus and grace to get through the week. They might say that belief is necessary at some point, but they are not overly concerned with it.

    This is why there are so many theologically liberal “Christians” in mainline denominations. I always wondered why they still held the sacraments in high regard, even if they didn’t really believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s because these sacraments are almost magical to them, it seems. In their view, a person becomes a Christian by being baptized, and they receive Jesus and sustaining grace through communion. To them, this is all they actually need in the Christian life. They can spout off whatever views they want to, and disbelieve in all the essentials of the Christian faith, and they still consider themselves Christian.

    This also helps to clarify why I was encountering people who were calling me “a born again” because of the viewpoint that I held to. This is why when I went off to seminary, I encountered a lot of people who had never heard of the gospel as I had always understood it.

    And my pastor has made comments like how he doesn’t want to gospel presented unless you also talk about the sacraments. For him the sacraments are part of salvation, although if he is directly questioned, he will say that baptism and communion are not actually necessary for salvation. So I guess he would say that a person wouldn’t go to hell if they didn’t have the sacraments, although the sacraments are instrumental in having to the Christian faith. I don’t know how he reconciles these two views, as they seem contradictory.

    Although I think there are huge dangers in teaching a sacramental view of salvation (it seems to be a different gospel to me), especially given the fact that there is no real need to really believe in that system, I do think that there are real Christians in these mainline churches who have come to faith in Christ, despite the sacramental gospel. They have repented of their sins, and they believe. There are many, many others who have not.

    So let me rephrase what I said before — I don’t think it is a minor issue in and of itself. If there is no real gospel being taught, and the person has not heard it, then it is a serious problem. However, if the person does believe in the real gospel, or teaches the real gospel, then whether or not the person believes in real presence (or to what degree they do) at communion is minor, as long as they do not believe that their salvation hinges on communion. I think that there are differing degrees to the views people hold. Believing in real presence definitely can lead into spiritually danger, but it doesn’t have to necessarily. I suppose it depends on how the view impacts their view of the gospel.

    There is always a time to confess sins at our church services, which I’m grateful for. However, what I don’t like is the open communion stance of the denomination, which includes being open to non-believers taking communion. I like the idea of any Christian from any denomination (or non-denomination) being able to take it….but I draw the line at non-believers. The pastor made the comment that non-believers are encouraged to take it too, because they receive Jesus when they do. :(

    You wrote:
    But now that most church goers are largely biblically illiterate, a religious ceremony that makes one feel religious is so convenient

    I think this is especially true if mysticism is attached to the ceremony, as it is with the real presence viewpoint. A person can run with it and go far off the deep end. This seems to be what has happened at Bethel and at many hyper-charismatic churches, and at many mainline churches.

    This reminds me of the church in my graduate school town that I had been going to. At the worst of those services, the pastor offered no time to confess sins before communion. He even stated that if someone felt that they were unworthy to partake because of sin or whatever reason, then that person was one of the ones who needed to take communion the most. They needed to feel God’s love, etc. :(

    And hasn’t John Crowder perverted communion through mysticism?

  16. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path,
    You wrote:
    As for what people believe about the sacraments themselves (e.g. transubstantiation), I am fast learning to look for where the teaching leads. If it rests in a belief that something mystical happens but goes no further then maybeit isn’t an issue. But when you read of the Catholic Church’s ‘eucharist evangelization’ plan, it takes on a much more sinister relevance.

    Exactly. I don’t know anything about the ‘eucharist evangelization’ plan, but I can take a guess that it wouldn’t be too different from my pastor saying that non-believers are encouraged to take communion because they receive Jesus through it.

    If it is an evangelization plan, then I might take a guess as to what it means. Instead of sharing the gospel with people, they share communion with people, thinking that the person is exposed to Jesus through that. :(

    Yeah, when communion becomes the gospel, it’s gone way too far.

  17. Craig says:

    I’ve been very busy and unable to make comments; so, briefly, I wanted to touch on transubstantiation. This article discusses the differences between Trans- (= “change”) and Con- (= “with”):

    http://www.gotquestions.org/consubstantiation.html

    The official RCC doctrine on transubstantiation was not established until 1215. So how did the Catholic Church account for this transformative change in the wafer prior to 1215? I’m not sure. However, I think those interested in this discussion should read the Gnostic website I referenced in this article under Magic (scroll about 1/4 page down):

    http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/sacraments-of-the-gnostic-church/666-sacrament-of-communion.html

  18. Arwen4CJ says:

    You know, I wonder if it wasn’t the influence of Roman Catholic mystics or people who had been influenced by Gnostic “Christianity” who originated the transubstantiation viewpoint, and it then leaked slowly into the everyday Christianity of the day?

    Or maybe it was just a few ideas that led to this viewpoint.

    There were some influential Gnostics back in the early church…..

    Maybe something similar happened then that is happening with the hyper-charismatics — evil doctrine spreading.

  19. Arwen4CJ says:

    Or maybe not — maybe it really is what Jesus had in mind. (Although that is hard for me to fathom, but doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.)

    The viewpoint, though, seems to be a little bit too much in the mystic direction and not supported enough in Scripture……but again, only God knows what He intended with it.

  20. Craig says:

    YesNa,

    I was unaware that last rites do not include the wine for fear of spillage. But it makes sense. Years ago I had read that there were very serious discussions on what to do should a congregant regurgitate after partaking of the Eucharist. What should be done with the vomit? How long does the ‘real presence’ remain in the human system? Etc.

    While I didn’t find 100% evidence that the Eucharist was integral to salvation, though I inferred this from writings, I recall one priest making the explicit claim that a wayward Catholic should attend Mass at least once a year, presumably to retain salvation. So, I was left with the belief that the partaking of the Eucharist was/is salvific (based on a literal understanding of John 6:53-58). But note in the Gnostic article I reference that those Gnostics made the claim that the Catholic priests are taking the role of ‘Theurgist’ (magic worker), not of themselves, but of the ‘divine’ within them. While I don’t know if this is truly what the priest believes, I suspect the priest actually is deluded into thinking his incantation, er, uh, words, can REALLY bring about the ‘real presence’. Strong delusion, I say.

    I had read that Luther believed in consubstantiation, rather than transubstantiation; but, for me, they are so close as to be practically synonymous. This article goes into some detail about it, while also illustrating Calvin’s disbelief in either doctrine. Luther’s doctrine on “ubiquity” (omnipresence) was such that the Person of Christ, even in His humanity, was/is present in Communion while yet also at the right hand of God, the doctrine specifically adopted to support the ‘real presence’. This seems an absurdity to me. Of course, Christ’s divine nature IS omnipresent and had/has been/is upholding the cosmos.

    http://www.wlsessays.net/files/PetersCalvin.pdf

  21. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    Craig and Arwen,

    Thanks for your comments. Reading these it reminds me of our closing days at the church we left after 18 years. The pastor became enamored with Eastern Orthodoxy, I believe he has completely converted, but doesn’t openly identify it with the congregation. His office had prints of the EO icons and he was always telling us to greet each other with classic “EO” verbage (which I refused to do). Turns out that evangelicals have been converting to EO in increasing numbers. Apparently it’s a nice way to return to the vintage faith without all the RC trappings. That old religious, vintage, liturgy has its attraction.

    There is an excellent video that I found when researching what my pastor was doing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZrsbCK5Hrg
    You can see how this is now taking off in other renditions:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wnj52gaauBs
    &list=PL3LZ30RUWs4pOi9yQq8XRRyf5HmTpZwzk&index=1

    Brad Jersak’s rendition:
    http://vimeo.com/57271733

    When I saw that video, I knew that my pastor had turned his back on the truth. He gave very weak lip service on Sunday morning, just enough to keep the sheep’s wool over their eyes. This is a deadly attack on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the pastor, who you think is preaching truth, is really preaching the antiGospel, you will believe him and be effectively hijacked from the truth without knowing it. I saw this for three years and listened to the sheep talk about their anointed pastor. It so grieved me.

    May God have mercy on His true sheep and open their eyes quickly.

  22. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    By the way, I haven’t taken time to listen to it, but Chris Rosebrough has done an expose on The Gospel in Chairs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwGeygvHoDg

  23. Arwen4CJ says:

    As I’ve said, I’ve been thinking about this for some time, trying to understand how my pastor (and the denomination) officially view the sacraments and salvation. Although a strict belief in baptism makes a person a Christian, and communion sustains their salvation is a different gospel, I think that some who regard the sacraments mystically may still believe the real gospel. It may just be a different way of understanding the gospel.

    For example, if someone believes baptism makes a person a Christian, and yet that person is raised in the church to believe the real gospel, to realize what Jesus did for them on the cross, their need for Him to save them, and their need to repent of their sin, etc, then that person can still come to Christ. The gospel is the gospel, regardless of what someone believes about the sacraments, so long as they believe that it is God and not the sacrament itself that saves.

    Furthermore, this same person might come to the communion table with acknowledgment that they need God’s grace to get them through the week. They can’t live this life on their own. So, because of their trust in Jesus, they might view the elements as Christ’s presence, and be thinking of Jesus and their need for Him when they take it.

    So if they view it in light of the real gospel, and they acknowledge God as the One saving, and not the elements of communion that are saving, then it may be just a different understanding of the gospel and the Christian life.

    However, if they are looking at the elements of communion themselves, and interpreting the sacraments as acts of magic, and that they actually become divine, or they get wrapped up into mystical explanations for what happens during the sacraments, or they put too much emphasis on a mystical viewpoint, and especially if there is no real gospel being taught, then that’s when they have gone off the deep end and it becomes another gospel.

  24. Pingback: Iosif Ton si blasfemiatorul Kris Vallotton | ioan8

  25. Craig says:

    The above is a pingback from a site written in Romanian. From Google Translator, I translated to English:

    Kris Vallotton blasphemer according to the great heretical Bill Johnson developed a theology that says serious in taking the Lord’s Table he becomes the incarnation of Christ, that Christ himself! Such blasphemy are part of thinking and charismatic propaganda. Here is an article that deals largely in English, blasemiile Kris Vallotton [references this Vallotton article].

    This shows that, as I’ve stated before, this heretical movement is worldwide in scope.

  26. Craig says:

    Here’s a snippet of Brannon Howse’ one hour program. The entire message is apropos here, but also note at 12:20 what he states about the RCC and their Eucharistic Jesus:

    http://www.worldviewweekend.com/tube/video/glenn-beck-oprah-winfrey-modern-day-evangelicalism-and-shamanism

  27. Arwen4CJ says:

    Here’s an interesting track I found, written from the Roman Catholic perspective. In reading that, it became evident to me that they misunderstand what it us that many of us Protestants find problematic in real presence viewpoints, our concerns, etc.

    It seems that they see us as more gnostic in our views — that we reject matter and favor spirit. Because the Eucharist is made of matter, they claim that we reject it. That is an interesting conclusion to draw, as no Protestant I know of holds that as the reason that a real presence view should be questioned. (It is near the end of the article that they say this. They don’t use the term “gnostic” for us, but that’s basically what they are accusing Protestants of holding to.)

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/christ-in-the-eucharist

  28. Craig says:

    Given that this passage (John 6:52-53) is viewed as literal by the RCC, I’m curious as to why Matthew 5:29-30 is not viewed in the same way (see Biblical Literalism post).

  29. Arwen4CJ says:

    Probably because they know that viewing Matthew 5:29-30 literally would be barbaric, but viewing John 6:52-53 literally suits their doctrine. My pastor also thinks that John 6:52-53 is talking about communion….

    But for me to have it be referring to communion (and passages about water in the Gospels always referring to baptism) forces a meaning on the text that I don’t think is there. It seems to be more eisogesis rather than exegesis. It’s starting with a belief that the Roman Catholic Church (and many mainline denominations hold to), and then reading that meaning into passages that seem to be metaphorical, from their context.

    “Let’s see what passages in the Bible we can find to support the Eucharist and what passages support baptism.” Then they see passages about Jesus calling Himself the Bread of Life, and they automatically think communion.

    It’s hard for me to imagine Jesus referring to a sacrament, making it seem almost the essence of the Christian faith, while none of the NT authors speak about the sacraments like that. Paul does mention communion, but that was in response to a specific problem behavior in the Corinthian church. He does mention baptism as well, but it seems to be more of a minor comment. None of the NT writers devote an entire letter about the sacraments, if they are to be viewed the way that the Roman Catholic Church views them.

    And interpreting John 6:52-53 literally leaves open the possibility for teachers like Vallotton to interpret it mystically, as many of the Roman Catholic mystics did. Vallatton is just following in their footsteps.

  30. This is a very helpful conversation, thanks!. Arwen, you hit on exactly what I was thinking as I read through the comments. If there were important things we must do in relation to the communion (e.g. never spilling the wine) surely there would be some instructions somewhere in Scripture. I attend a Gospel-focused, ‘low’ Anglican church and at the end of our afternoon family service that I attend with my kids, the kids all go and drink the left over grape juice. Shock horror, I know. Admittedly, our minister is a born and bred Baptist, as is half our congregation…it’s part of what I like about the church. (Admittedly they probably wouldn’t do it at the morning service as that is more traditional, but even then leftovers are just thrown out).

    There are so many extravagant traditions out there that add a mystical element to…well, everything. In my whole life (as a Baptist, and raised with Southern Baptists overseas), it never occurred to me that the actual substances of the bread and wine/juice changed into something special. What I was taught was that taking communion itself was a very serious action, and that the state of our hearts and minds was what mattered. Following on from that non-believers were instructed NOT to take communion, and only believers invited to the communion table. Kindly, but firmly. To me this seems in line with the Scriptures and in particular Paul’s instructions to examine ourselves first. It also seems that since I have know many genuine, born-again Christians who have never believed or practiced these things, it would come as quite a shock to many of them that perhaps they aren’t actually saved since they have spilled communion wine on more than one occasion, have never worshiped a wafer or even confessed anything to a priest. Yikes, me either.

    Eucharist evangelization is also described in the following articles (the first is a newsletter from LIghthouse Trails so you will need to scroll down, but don’t miss the article about kundalini and Christian spirituality!):

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter080607.htm

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=10140

    http://www.bereanbeacon.org/IEC.pdf

    It is helpful to understand that the emergent church is also getting into this in a big way. And it isn’t just the big churches. I drove past a small Catholic church in a rather drab neighbourhood in my city and what did I see on the church sign out the front? “The Eucharist is what unites us”…and then something about community that I can’t quite remember but that sounded very emergent. Sigh…what reformation??

  31. Craig says:

    …what reformation??

    The New Apostolic Reformation, perhaps?

  32. Lol. They wish.

    I have primary school aged-children and to see the butchering they do to history, geography etc, in the name of political correctness already makes me want to homechool them full time. Not out of fear, but just because I hate poor scholarship and bad science!

    Then I look at the state of the ‘church’ and see them essentially trying to eradicate all signs of the Reformation (the real one LOL), and I am starting to understand why the Flood happened. Really, I get it.

  33. Craig says:

    All,

    Since Sherryn mentioned Bono a bit ago, I thought I’d bring up the following. About 5 years ago, I had started an article on the U2charist – yep, you read that right and it’s otherwise known as the U2 Eucharist. That is, the Eucharist would be done in concert (pun intended) with the music of U2. My title was going to be “An Uncommon Communion”, but that may not be appropriate any longer, as it seems it’s grown to be not so uncommon:

    http://u2-charist.com/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U2charist

    Note the wiki:
    Universal Music Publishing Group and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) do not require a license for U2′s music to be used during U2charist services provided that:
    - the context is a worship service and it is not called a concert
    - all of the money raised goes to a nonprofit or non-governmental organization supporting the Millennium Development Goals with none of the money going to the hosting church

    Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are part of the UN’s Agenda 21, which is part of New World Order objectives.

    I will say that I used to enjoy U2′s music, but only the very early material, my favorite (and the only record I’ve kept) is War from 1983. I still enjoy some rock music (and jazz, classical, etc.), and I think War is a classic of its genre. The last track “40″ consists of verses from Psalm 40, “Surrender” also has allusions to Scripture. I’ve no idea if Bono had already been deceived into furthering New Age goals at this time, or if this is evidence of his Catholic upbringing.

    Nonetheless, I’d NEVER be a part of any Communion service that used rock music as part of the ‘service’.

  34. IWTT says:

    As an X-American Baptist turned X-Episcoplain turned X-Open Bible -turned X-A/G turned X-4square I got a lot of different takes on communion. If you ever have a chance to see or study the passover dinner (I think it might be called something like a Sedar Supper??) you’ll see how the ceremonies original take was O.T. and the deliverence from Egypt. As I saw that little ceremony I saw how the Euchurist has all of the same things in it just different application.

    Frankly I think Jesus was just saying, for now on as a follower of the new covenant when ever you do the supper do it in rememberence of his deleverence from sin that was to occur on the cross, the new covenant and instead of the deliverence from egypt

  35. YesNaSpanishTown says:

    IWTT:

    A Passover Seder led by a Messianic Jew is an awesome experience. A few years ago, I began teaching a series on Jesus and the Blood Covenant. It is an amazing Bible study. About half way through we come to the Exodus account, which is then related to the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His disciples just hours before his arrest. The sacrament that we call Communion or the Lord’s Table is actually a small segment lifted out of the Passover Seder. (Seder means “order” because there is a specific order to follow that explains the Exodus from Egypt.)

    If you have an opportunity to attend a Seder, you will understand 1 Cor. 11:20-34 so much better. I never could understand why the Apostle Paul would tell the believers not to go to the communion service hungry, but to eat beforehand. How could people get so hungry over a little wafer and a swallow of juice/wine? Absolutely do eat a quick snack late in the afternoon before the Seder. The meal will begin at 6:00 (sundown, the beginning of Sabbath) and then progress through the order. It may be another hour before you eat the entree because when Believers do the Seder, they must stop and remember how it all relates to the Lord Jesus. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful. If you can’t tell–I just love a good Seder! LOL!

    Many Bibles use a subheading at the point that Jesus breaks the bread at the Seder: Jesus institutes the Lord’s Table or something similar. This is unfortunate because Jesus really didn’t institute anything new. He stopped to reveal something to the disciples. It was probably the most tender, intimate moment of Jesus’ earthly life. When I teach it, I share the following:

    Passover has become my absolute favorite celebration. Teaching this blood covenant class coincides beautifully.

    Luke 22:14-20 is one of the places you’ll find this event described. Look carefully at verse 15. Jesus said, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The word “desire” is repeated for emphasis. It is the Greek word epithymia (epee-thoo-me-a). Epithymia means intense craving or desire. It is also the same word used for lust as in James 1:14, 15. Lust is an intense longing for something that is forbidden. Obviously Jesus was not in sinful lust; rather he had an intense longing to share Himself with His disciples in that Passover meal.

    It reminds me of living in Jamaica when family would come to see us. We were excited to see them not only because we missed them, but also because we wanted to share our experiences with them. Or like bringing a new friend to meet your family…or sharing Jesus with him.

    Ever since coming into this study, I cannot read Luke 22:15 without being brought to tears. “With [fervent] desire, I desire to eat this passover with you…” Can we imagine what Jesus might have been feeling? After centuries of the Jews experiencing Passover and after he had spent 3 years teaching and showing who He was to His disciples, Jesus was getting ready to reveal the ultimate purpose of His coming. He said, “This is my body, broken for you….This is my blood of the new testament (diathake– testament / covenant).” He was, in effect, saying, “This is me.”

    Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. He is our Passover Lamb(1 Cor. 5:7).

    It’s been about a year since I last taught this…it stirs my heart every time! Gotta go back and study it again….

  36. Wow, I didn’t know any of that. Thanks for sharing.

  37. IWTT says:

    First, thanks for sharing that great information…

    Second, This must be what I had experienced:
    The sacrament that we call Communion or the Lord’s Table is actually a small segment lifted out of the Passover Seder. (Seder means “order” because there is a specific order to follow that explains the Exodus from Egypt.)

    I hope I didn’t sound like I wa putting the communion down. I thought as an Episcopalian that the service was beautiful. I had the opportunity of experiencing everything from the “high mass” to the “contemporary mass”. I even sat on the vestry (elder board) for a term.

    It was in this denomination that I had come in contact with and experienced the charismatic movement (Dennis Bennett book Nine Oclock in the Morning)..

    But since we have been talking about Vollatton and the mystic of the sacrament, IMHO, once again man has made much more out of something than was ever intended… Its the… “get your head out of the clouds and your feet back on the ground”… that I wish these folks would get to.

  38. IWTT, perhaps it is even more so a case of “climb down off your self-made throne and leave divinity with its rightful owner”. Something we all have to be careful of! :-)

  39. IWTT says:

    agreed

  40. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path,

    You wrote:
    “I attend a Gospel-focused, ‘low’ Anglican church and at the end of our afternoon family service that I attend with my kids, the kids all go and drink the left over grape juice. Shock horror, I know. Admittedly, our minister is a born and bred Baptist, as is half our congregation…it’s part of what I like about the church. (Admittedly they probably wouldn’t do it at the morning service as that is more traditional, but even then leftovers are just thrown out). ”

    My response:
    Actually, that would be perfectly acceptable in the United Methodist Church, even under the current pastor at my church. Why? Because the elements are either to be consumed or they have to be put on the ground for birds and other animals to eat. So kids drinking left over grape juice or eating the leftover bread would be fine. Some kids eat and drink the leftovers at my church after the second service.

    But yeah, throwing it out is forbidden by the UMC.

    IWTT,

    You wrote:
    “As an X-American Baptist turned X-Episcoplain turned X-Open Bible -turned X-A/G turned X-4square I got a lot of different takes on communion. If you ever have a chance to see or study the passover dinner (I think it might be called something like a Sedar Supper??) you’ll see how the ceremonies original take was O.T. and the deliverence from Egypt. As I saw that little ceremony I saw how the Euchurist has all of the same things in it just different application.

    Frankly I think Jesus was just saying, for now on as a follower of the new covenant when ever you do the supper do it in rememberence of his deleverence from sin that was to occur on the cross, the new covenant and instead of the deliverence from egypt”

    My response:
    Yes, it is the Seder, and they have liturgy that goes with it. I have been to three Christian ones, one of which was led by a Christian pastor who had been raised as a Conservative Jew, so I think that his was more authentic than the others, since he grew up doing Seders every year. It was actually during a Christian Seder that his girlfriend brought him to that he became a believer in Jesus, so communion is really special to him.

    I thought it was really awesome to see how Jesus fulfilled everything that they celebrate during the Seder. In fact, it almost seems like the Seder was meant to proclaim Jesus. They celebrate being freed from physical slavery, and yet through Jesus we are freed from spiritual slavery.

    They have three “loaves” of flat bread, and they take the middle one and break it, hide it, and then make it come back during the whole Seder ceremony. They take the piece that was hidden away and brought back to eat as their dessert for their Seder meal (the meal portion of it). Even the Jews who do not believe in Jesus do this. It was suggested by two of the liturgies that were used in the Christian Seders that I went to that this was the bread that Jesus used and said, “this is my body,” with.

    And it was also suggested that the cup of wine that Jesus used to say this is my blood was the Cup of Redemption, which is one of the four cups that the Jews use in the Seder liturgy. (Some people say it was the Cup of Elijah, so there is some discrepancy.) The Cup of Redemption makes more sense to me, though, as that’s the cup that’s drunk after the dessert bread, and it’s right after the Seder meal.

    In the Seder liturgy, they have four cups of wine that they drink during the ceremony, each one with a different name. The way we did it with the pastor who’d been raised Jewish was that we had the actual meal in the middle of the ceremony. We had some of it before the meal and some of it after the meal. I don’t know if that makes sense. There is the liturgy of the Seder, and there is the actual meal, and food is part of the liturgy, too. So, with this thinking, when the NT says “after the meal was over,” it would be talking about the actual meal, rather than after all of the Seder liturgy was over.

    If it was the Cup of Redemption, than this makes perfect sense for Jesus to lift it up and say, “This is My blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Because it is Jesus’ blood that redeems us.

    And it is the context of the Seder that makes it hard for me to understand how it is supposed to be seen as something mystical happening there, the elements changing into Jesus’ literal body and blood. It just doesn’t make sense in the context of the Seder.

  41. Arwen4CJ says:

    YesNaSpanishTown,

    You wrote:
    A Passover Seder led by a Messianic Jew is an awesome experience. A few years ago, I began teaching a series on Jesus and the Blood Covenant. It is an amazing Bible study. About half way through we come to the Exodus account, which is then related to the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His disciples just hours before his arrest. The sacrament that we call Communion or the Lord’s Table is actually a small segment lifted out of the Passover Seder. (Seder means “order” because there is a specific order to follow that explains the Exodus from Egypt.)

    If you have an opportunity to attend a Seder, you will understand 1 Cor. 11:20-34 so much better. I never could understand why the Apostle Paul would tell the believers not to go to the communion service hungry, but to eat beforehand. How could people get so hungry over a little wafer and a swallow of juice/wine? Absolutely do eat a quick snack late in the afternoon before the Seder. The meal will begin at 6:00 (sundown, the beginning of Sabbath) and then progress through the order. It may be another hour before you eat the entree because when Believers do the Seder, they must stop and remember how it all relates to the Lord Jesus. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful. If you can’t tell–I just love a good Seder! LOL!

    My response:
    While it is true that the part that we use for Communion is a portion of the Seder, it almost seems that the very early church actually celebrated Communion more often than once a year. I know in my church history class we talked about house churches, and we also talked about the services that they had. The people would gather together when they met, they would eat a big meal, someone might read a copy of one of the NT letters (a house church would be fortunate to just have a copy of one of the books), or share news about what was going on in Christian news, and they would have a teaching. They would also pray together and things.

    But I wonder if they celebrated Communion every time they met, because that is almost what it sounded like from class. They were breaking bread together in remembrance of Jesus. I don’t think they had an actual Seder each week, but they did eat together, and Communion was part of the meal that they shared together.

    But I could be wrong, and maybe Paul was just talking about their yearly Seder celebration, but the context of the passage seems to suggest that it happens more often. And I do know that at some point in the early church, when they had house churches, they did have meals together regularly.

    You wrote:
    Many Bibles use a subheading at the point that Jesus breaks the bread at the Seder: Jesus institutes the Lord’s Table or something similar. This is unfortunate because Jesus really didn’t institute anything new. He stopped to reveal something to the disciples. It was probably the most tender, intimate moment of Jesus’ earthly life.

    My response:
    There appears to be some discrepancy among believers in regard to this :) The booklet that the pastor who was raised Jewish made up for everyone in attendance says that no one knows when the practice of breaking the middle piece of the bread started. Some suggested that Jesus actually started the practice, but no one knows for sure. That was just someone’s speculation, and I don’t know what evidence they used. The pastor used three different Seder sources when he gave us the booklet. Two were traditional Jewish sources, and one was a Messianic Jewish one. I’m guessing he got that info from the Messianic Jewish one, and that it wasn’t something he wrote himself.

    But anyhow, whether or not Jesus started that particular Jewish Seder tradition, Jesus did institute something new — the new covenant, and He did tell people to repeat it in remembrance of Him. So a person could argue that Jesus did institute Communion itself there, as a practice that Christians were supposed to do. From the text, it is unclear whether or not Jesus meant just the Seder meal itself, or if He meant we were to do it often, whenever believers met in His name. But it is clear that we were to remember Him, and that a new tradition was added.

    You wrote:
    When I teach it, I share the following:

    Passover has become my absolute favorite celebration. Teaching this blood covenant class coincides beautifully.

    Luke 22:14-20 is one of the places you’ll find this event described. Look carefully at verse 15. Jesus said, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The word “desire” is repeated for emphasis. It is the Greek word epithymia (epee-thoo-me-a). Epithymia means intense craving or desire. It is also the same word used for lust as in James 1:14, 15. Lust is an intense longing for something that is forbidden. Obviously Jesus was not in sinful lust; rather he had an intense longing to share Himself with His disciples in that Passover meal.

    It reminds me of living in Jamaica when family would come to see us. We were excited to see them not only because we missed them, but also because we wanted to share our experiences with them. Or like bringing a new friend to meet your family…or sharing Jesus with him.

    Ever since coming into this study, I cannot read Luke 22:15 without being brought to tears. “With [fervent] desire, I desire to eat this passover with you…” Can we imagine what Jesus might have been feeling? After centuries of the Jews experiencing Passover and after he had spent 3 years teaching and showing who He was to His disciples, Jesus was getting ready to reveal the ultimate purpose of His coming. He said, “This is my body, broken for you….This is my blood of the new testament (diathake– testament / covenant).” He was, in effect, saying, “This is me.”

    Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. He is our Passover Lamb(1 Cor. 5:7).

    It’s been about a year since I last taught this…it stirs my heart every time! Gotta go back and study it again….

    My response:
    I think the whole Passover points to Jesus, in the spiritual sense. What happened during the Exodus was a foreshadowing of what would happen spiritually. So, yes, it is powerful to think of Jesus in terms of the Passover.

    The pastor who had been raised Jewish talked about Psalms of praise, which are sung throughout the Seder liturgy. He said the last one was the one that they were singing just before Jesus and His disciples went out to pray. That’s what he said the “they sang a hymn” was referring to. I don’t remember which ones he said they were something through Psalm 118 or 119, I think. If I remember right, several of those Psalms were ones that prophesied about the Messiah.

    And the Seder itself is very much focused on the coming of the Messiah. So, really, everything in it ultimately points to Jesus. Jesus is the Passover Lamb, yes, but the liturgy itself is also about Him and what He has done for us.

  42. Arwen4CJ says:

    But since we have been talking about Vollatton and the mystic of the sacrament, IMHO, once again man has made much more out of something than was ever intended… Its the… “get your head out of the clouds and your feet back on the ground”… that I wish these folks would get to.

    I think that Jesus wanted us to look to Him and what He’s done for us, and to remember all that. If the main focus of Communion isn’t Jesus, or isn’t the gospel message, and remembering what Jesus did for us, then all we are left with is trying to explain just exactly what mystical thing happens, how it happens, etc. When we do that, we take our eyes off Jesus, and can quickly turn Communion into something evil, if we run far enough with it.

    And for folks like Crowder and others in the hyper-charismatic movement, this is exactly what they’ve done. They’ve focused so much on the mystical that they have lost sight of the real Jesus Christ and the real gospel and the real purpose of Communion. They’ve made it all about us, what kind of spiritual experiences we can have, and how “drunk” we can get on spiritual presence. They’ve turned something very holy into something very unholy. They’ve perverted it.

  43. Arwen4CJ says:

    Here are a couple more comments that I wanted to make regarding Communion:

    It seems in the Seder that whenever they eat or drink anything, there is a prayer that is said before eating. There is a blessing that is said right after the meal part. This is what it is in the booklet that the pastor who’d been raised Jewish had in the booklet that he printed for everyone:

    Leader: Let us say the blessing for our food.

    Respond in unison: Blessed be the name of the Lord from now unto eternity.

    Leader: Let us bless our G-d of whose gifts we have eaten.

    All together: Blessed be He (our G-d) of whose bounty we have eaten and through whose goodness we live.

    All together: Blessed be He and blessed be His name.

    And this is what it says before drinking the third cup — The Cup of Redemption:

    Blessed are Thou, O Lord our G-d, King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.

    So those would have been similar prayer to what Jesus would have prayed when it says that He gave thanks before His statements about “this is My body” and “this is My blood.” I just find that interesting because it puts things in greater context.

    The other thing that I wanted to mention is that I’ve gone to several Jewish services for extra class for various classes that I’ve taken. At most of them there has been a time either at the end of the service, or immediately following, when they pass out either bread or wine (or grape juice), or both together, and the people all eat it together, kind of like a toast. It is similar to what happens when they all drink the cups together or eat a particular food together during the Seder meal.

    They explained that they do this as part of community. They consider bread to be a staple, and so eating it together like that is a sign of community and hospitality. Remember that Jewish culture highly values hospitality and eating meals together. It seems that these views have continued to be passed down through time.

    I don’t know if the Jews in Jesus’ day broke bread and drank grape juice at the end of synagogue services, but if they did, then perhaps Jesus was also thinking about this practice as how people could “do this in remembrance of Me.” I have no idea. It is a possibility.

    But it is clear that the house churches ate meals together, which included Communion itself.

  44. MaryM says:

    Not sure if this should go here (feel free to move/remove it)….but one of my ‘friends’ on facebook posts Bill Johnson, Kris Vallatton, and several others’ posts – this is Kris Vallotton’s Facebook post today…..

    Kris Vallotton KVMinistries.com
    I don’t know why or where it came from, but I have always been possessed with a sense that I was born to change the world. To be clear, I have never felt capable, nor have I felt that I had much to offer, but that has never deterred me from the deep need to influence the world.

    When I was a little boy I used to visualize and pretend that I had a helicopter and I was bringing food to African children. When I was in my 20s-30s I wanted to be president of the United States, (I finally realized that it was pretty unlikely since I had barely passed high school).

    My guess is that God put this in me because I wasn’t raised around people with passion to make a difference…never the less, it is a fire in my bones.

    There are times that I wish this drive wasn’t in me because if I don’t manage it, it tends to manage me. I start to believe that it’s my responsibility to make “things” happen. This never works out to good for me.

    In these seasons I often find myself envying people who are laid-back and seem to just take life as it comes. “Live and live,” they say. In some ways it would be nice to not feel the responsibly to transform the world, make a difference, or be so intense about life. But how do you change who you are? I am learning to be patient with myself and also with others who are wired different.
    Like · · Share · 1,520180119 · 6 hours ago ·
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    I guess it’s overwhelming to be ‘god’….

  45. Craig says:

    I guess it’s overwhelming to be ‘god’….

    That’s just one of the inherent problems with becoming literally like Christ through digesting Holy Communion.

  46. Craig says:

    While cleaning up some of “my favorites” in my computer, I came across the following article by Robert Mulholland, Jr. titled “Biblical Spirituality as Incarnation of the Word”. Note that “spiritual formation” is another name for, well, I’d say yoga, which means “union/yoke with the divine”:

    http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1408&context=leaven

    Mulholland’s basic thrust is that through contemplative prayer one can become “the Word made flesh”.

  47. Arwen4CJ says:

    Just a note regarding spiritual formation……

    While it definitely can be used to speak of Eastern spirituality, contemplative stuff, etc., it doesn’t always mean that.

    That’s why I think we need to be really careful with definitions, and making the assumption that whenever someone uses a particular word that can be occult in nature, that it means that everyone who uses it gives it that meaning.

    Now, I never took the spiritual formation class that was at my grad school, but I’m pretty sure that they didn’t give it the Eastern definition. I think that they used the term to mean building up people’s spiritual lives in a church setting. For some, this would have entailed Eastern practices. For others it wouldn’t necessarily have done so.

    Here is the wikipeida article on it —
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_formation

    Please note that I understand how this definition of spiritual formation leaves it wide open for someone to use Eastern techniques, and some definitely do this :( However, the definition also makes it possible to talk about building up a spiritual life in an orthodox way.

    Just my thoughts.

    And I am very against using Eastern/occult spirituality. It saddens me that so many who call themselves Christian are engaging in such practices.

  48. Craig, has it struck you (as it has me) how incredible man’s ability is to ignore blindingly obvious evidence that contradicts their own belief? (We’ve all been there, of course!!) In what way I wonder, does Robert Mulholland and the countless numbers of people he shares his beliefs with, think that they have become Jesus Christ through their CS practices? Really, I do wonder. Just one storm-calming or dead-raising verified by anyone in the slightest bit objective might catch my attention. Gloria Copeland telling us her husband controls the weather in her family and rebukes storms (from their private jet!!!!!) DOES NOT COUNT. Until then, seriously…this is so delusional I want to weep. And so blasphemous.

    It is right that we should want to become more LIKE Christ. Not that we should want to become him, as if we ever could. Perhaps they take the ‘I in them and them in me’ too literally? Even if there is an aspect of literal fulfillment to this, surely it is in the life to come, as we are currently corruptible and he is not!

    Seriously, my bright and beautiful son who has Asperger’s Syndrome (a strong tendency for literal understanding) and even he gets this stuff. He is 9. My Dad is cut from the same cloth and is has an extraordinary grasp of the Scriptures. Spiritual blindness is the only explanation I can think of, and perhaps sheer wilfulness? BTW- If you get a chance, listen to the audio link I posted yesterday. It shows the blinded wilfulness of man in all its awfulness.

    It really makes me sad to see the blindness. I can see you are also defending the faith with Holly at the moment…how wonderful to see your diligent study of God’s word benefiting others. I appreciate your kind patience with others, and feel glad for the fellowship of the saints we enjoy in this virtual world. May the Lord continue to guide and bless you, brother.

  49. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    The wiki article references Dallas Willard, who is one of the most outspoken advocates of contemplative prayer. Check out Lighthouse Trails:

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/dallaswillard.htm

    Also, see this:

    http://christianresearchnetwork.org/topic/contemplative-prayer/

    I must ask why one would use the term “spiritual formation” rather than sanctification.

  50. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    I’d say we all have our blind spots. Certainly, I must have them, yet being blinded to them, I don’t know what they are.

  51. Pesky thing about blindness. Hard to see blind spots. Well, hard to see anything really. :-) In the words of Fat Tony “you crack us so consistently up”.

  52. Arwen4CJ says:

    I just checked out the article by Robert Mulholland that Craig posted. Sad to say, this reads like so many seminary textbooks and articles. No wonder — this man is a professor at a seminary. At the bottom of his article it says that he is a professor at Asbury.

    Now Asbury used to be considered quite conservative — so much so that the people at my seminary made fun of it and laughed at it. However, apparently this had all started to change, and it was swinging more towards the center or liberal theology by the time I graduated from my school.

    I’m not sure what exactly changed — I got the information from just one student who said, “It isn’t conservative anymore….”

    At any rate, Robert Mulholland is not part of NAR, and he is not part of hyper-charismaticism. However, it seems that he teaches similar doctrines about Jesus and the spiritual life. This is exactly what I was talking about when I said that liberal theology is moving in this direction.

    As I said before, at least two of the most theologically liberal scholars have completely embraced New Thought, and they are actively trying to make Unity type beliefs the future of Christianity. It seems their practices are winning out :(

    So what we’re really up against is two seemingly opposing streams of “Christianity” that are reaching the same conclusions and teaching the same sort of spirituality, but from different directions. We have these theological liberals, and we have the hyper-charismatics. They don’t necessarily express their beliefs in the same way, and there are differences between the two.

    For example, it seems that these liberal “Christians” have this viewpoint:
    Let’s strip Christianity of all of the orthodox doctrine and replace it with New Thought. Jesus’ death on the cross is meaningless other than showing that Jesus was a good victim. Jesus is just like us. He was not really God in the flesh…at least not the way that orthodox Christians claim. He was a human Jesus. The idea that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and that His blood cleanses us from anything is barbaric. The idea that original sin exists is insulting to humans. It gives us bad self-esteem. Miracles are not real because they can’t happen. We realize that this leaves Christians empty, so we must replace it with something else.

    The old Christianity needs to be replaced with new. We need to look to Eastern spirituality for wisdom. There is substance there. And, hey, look at the mystics, and those in New Thought — like Christian Science, Unity, etc. There is something to these — these express the truth. Christianity must become these.

    Earlier, when we said Jesus was just human, what we really meant is that Jesus was no different from us. Jesus was God no more than we are God. We are God no more than Jesus was God. We are the same. We must look within, and from doing this, we find union with God. To find this kind of spirituality, which is true spirituality, let’s look to the ancient mystics. Let’s do what they did. Let’s do what those in Eastern religions do. All religions are mostly the same, and God has revealed Himself to all religions in different ways. Anyone who disagrees with us is a fundamentalist, closed-minded, narrow-minded, or a bigot.

    Humans should not try to actively engage in miracle work, as there is no such thing. Our focus should be on finding the god within. If we do find miracles in this, then that is something else, but it isn’t our main focus.

    Everything spiritual is good. There is no such thing as Satan or demons, so there is no reason to fear spiritual practices that come from other religions or are occult in nature. It is all good.

    Those in the hyper-charismatic camp seem to have this view:
    Let’s try to keep up the appearance of holding to orthodox doctrine, so we will overtly oppose sound doctrine — at least not in a blatant way upfront. However, we will oppose sound doctrine gradually over time. After all, who needs doctrine? It is a hindrance to who God is. He is bigger than doctrine.

    Let’s teach people how much God loves them, and how important they are to God — how special they are. And let us over-emphasis miracles and the miraculous. Let’s make that be the main focus of the Christian faith. In fact, the whole reason that Jesus died and rose again was so that we could do miracles too.

    There is no real difference between us and Jesus. Jesus came to earth and stripped Himself of His deity, so He was a human just like us. He did everything by the power of the Holy Spirit, and so can we. We are to do all the same miracles that Jesus did. We’re greater than He.

    We have this creative force we can use to make things happen — it’s called faith. We can make God act on our behalf by just speaking something out loud. Isn’t that wonderful? We’re a mini-god.

    Oh, and to make sure that we have the Anointing flowing through us, we need to regularly engage with God by soaking and becoming one with God. How do we do this? We look to the ancient Christian mystics. Having spiritual experiences is everything to the Christian. Yes, we know that these practices are found in Eastern religions and the occult. But that’s okay. You know why? Because they originated with God. It’s just that Satan stole these practices, so we’re taking them back for God now.

    We have this special elite group of Christians that we hope will take the world back for God — we want to plant them in all 7 spheres of influence on society.

    Anyone who disagrees with us is a heresy hunter, Pharisee, Sadducee, elder brother, throws stones at others, not a true Christian, has a religious spirit, has a Jezebel spirit, is possessed by Satan, has something wrong with their relationship with God, or has some other spiritual problem.

    Everything that we experience spiritually is good because God would not allow us to experience evil spiritual experiences. Satan can’t do miracles. So, everything coming from a Christian context must be good.

  53. Arwen4CJ says:

    Craig,

    I’m not trying to defend the use of the term “spiritual formation.” I only meant to show that there is a broader use of the term than meaning only Eastern spirituality.

    Again, there is no doubt that many who use the term “spiritual formation” are using it in the eastern sense. However, what I was trying to say was that not everyone who uses the term is talking about that.

    At the time that I wrote that comment, I hadn’t looked at the article yet. It was just meant to be a comment in general, because I have seen people on various Internet sites red flag the term over and over again, using use of the term as proving proof that someone is into the occult. I’m just saying that someone using the term doesn’t necessarily mean that they are into occult spiritual practices.

    Upon reading the article, yes, this guy has some very strange ideas, and it seems that he definitely views spiritual formation in an eastern way.

    Anyway, I think that there are differences between the broad use of the term “spiritual formation” and “sanctification.” I understand sanctification to be a process that the Holy Spirit has us go through to make us more holy. He works in us and continues to convict us of sin, etc.

    “Spiritual formation” (if someone wants to use that term), is more about spiritual practices and disciplines that we do, our on our end to spend time with God — like reading the Bible or taking things to God in prayer — it’s more like how we live out our spiritual life.

    I don’t really like using the term “spiritual formation,” but those are the differences between the two terms, at least from how I understand them.

  54. Craig says:

    Arwen4CJ,

    I understand your point about terms and how some go to the extreme and assume that if one uses such-and-such term they MUST mean the esoteric or occult usage. That happens WAY too much.

    The way I see “spiritual formation” is that is subsumes contemplative prayer under the larger umbrella of other legitimate disciplines. Even the wiki article uses the term “prayer” which could well be an allusion to contemplative prayer. Not that it HAS to be, but I see this as a sneaky way to bring it in. If you look at the folks who are advocates for “spiritual formation” I do believe you’ll find that same are advocates for contemplative spirituality.

  55. Craig says:

    Also, “spiritual formation” comes from the some of the same ideas as perpetuated by RC mystics.

  56. Craig says:

    One other thing to note about Mulholland’s article is the way in which he uses Scripture – similar to the way some of it was used in Johnson’s “Thinking from the Throne” article as detailed here:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/bill-johnson-claims-you-can-think-and-live-from-the-right-hand-of-god/

  57. Arwen4CJ says:

    Hmmm….advocates of “spiritual formation” may very well be contemplative prayer promoters. I think “advocate” is the key word here. That is very different from just using it as a general term to talk about legitimate spiritual disciplines like normal prayer or reading the Bible or worshiping God or whatever.

    And it may very well be that seminaries that teach spiritual formation might use authors for their classes that are promoting contemplative prayer. Like I said, I didn’t take the class, so I don’t know what all they used, or even what they taught specifically.

    And, yes, I did notice that Mulholland used certain Scriptures almost exactly the same way that Bill Johnson and other hyper-charismatics do.

  58. I checked out two of our main Anglican seminaries for evidence of ‘spiritual formation’, out of interest and in relation to this conversation. Ridley Theological College, in the ‘anything goes’ Melbourne diocese mentions it on the front page of it’s website! There is a massive Catholic influence in this diocese (which is where I live), and their monthly magazine is full of spiritual formation and contemplative advertisements and articles. So this didn’t surprise me.

    What filled me with great comfort is when I searched the website of Moore Theological College, in our staunchly conservative and much-maligned Sydney diocese. Not one reference to spiritual formation or any related terms. NOT ONE!!! Hooray….this is where both of my pastors trained. And you can tell. They preach nothing but the Bible at our church. No Alpha courses, no PDL groups. Just the Bible. And old-fashioned Bible studies. (Not bragging, just wanting to share that there are still thriving Bible-believing churches.) Praise God for his provision!

    Our church is also serving a rapidly growing congregation of Chinese families. Given the popularity of the pentecostal movement amongst our Chinese community here and overseas, it is wonderful to see so many leaving those churches and coming to hear the true Gospel preached. This is mission work on our own doorstep!

  59. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Good news indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  60. On the subject of spiritual formation, I came across this site through a recommendation. I thought it looked great until I found the following:

    http://www.biblicaltraining.org/spiritual-formation/john-coe

    What a disappointment. It is very interesting to go through each numbered item and look in the outline. It is bizarre. When read carefully, it seems that what it is promoting is that we actually try to create a ‘dark night of the soul’ to get closer to God. That seems extraordinarily foolish and dangerous a thing to do. It also means I have trouble trusting the rest of the content on the site.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this. This is one of the most clearly outlined processes for ‘spiritual formation’ I have seen. How is this different from the ‘god on tap’ of the NAR gang? Just do x,y & z and hey presto…union with God. I actually find it creepy.

    Thanks.

  61. Craig says:

    “Dark Night of the Soul” comes from “St.” John of the Cross, a Roman Catholic mystic. In a translation (from Spanish) by E. Allison Peers are these words from the back cover:

    DNofS follow’s the soul’s journey from a state of abandonment and darkness to a loving union with God…St. John describes the process of moving away from routine religious rituals and embracing a Being who can be known only through love. His words, Peers writes, “are a wonderful illustration of the theological truth that grace, far from destroying nature, ennobles and dignifies it, and of the agreement always found between the natural and the supernatural – between principles of sound reason and the sublime manifestations of Divine grace.” One of the greatest contributions to the literature of mysticism, DNofS offers support and encouragement to all who seek oneness with God.

    Lectio Divina is described pretty well by wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectio_Divina

    Under Meditatio: Meditate: is the following

    Although Lectio Divina involves reading, it is less a practice of reading than one of listening to the inner message of the Scripture delivered through the Holy Spirit.[2] Lectio Divina does not seek information or motivation, but communion with God. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the “Living Word”.

    And, THAT is what “spiritual formation” is all about. Mysticism. We might as well call it yoga, which means yoke or union with the Divine (Brahma).

    I go back to my earlier point – why not have a class about “sanctification”? Certainly, the process of “sanctification” requires that we, through our own self-will, submit to the Holy Spirit. Yes, it’s the indwelling Holy Spirit who does the work, but we must submit to the Spirit rather than the flesh.

  62. I did realise that about spiritual formation from the Catholic mystic perspective. What was a bit shocking to see was how blatantly it was presented as something normal on this otherwise seemingly biblically solid site.

    What is so disturbing is the deceptiveness. It’s opening sentence seems to promote eactly what you suggest.. a class about sanctification (btw – nice use of the word “about” and not “10 easy steps to sanctification” LOL) The first quote…

    “The Christian life is not fundamentally about being a moral person, obeying a set of principles, or doing spiritual disciplines. The Christian life is about opening our heart to a relationship with the living God. As we depend on the indwelling Spirit and experience abiding in Christ, we will learn an obedience that comes without the burden of guilt and shame. ”

    …seems to be a correct statement, but is then in direct contradiction everything else in this section which is essentially about self-sanctification. Which clearly makes sense when you think you are god. Who else would sanctify you but you?

    I get what you are saying now…it is essentially yoga without the health benefits of increased flexibility and better circulation!! (Surely an evil spirit or two is a small price to pay for feeling good. Right?)

    This is bad stuff:

    Introduction
    1. Teresa of Avila
    2. “Maturing of the saints”
    3. The “ministerial temptation”
    4. Storehouse of potential for growth
    A. Purpose or goal of dark nights.
    1. Development of spiritual hunger and purging of the heart (Deut 8:1-5)
    2. Union with God in love as the power for change in the spiritual life. (Eph 3:16-19)
    B. Kinds of dark nights.
    1. Initial dark nights
    2. Ongoing dark nights
    a. Ongoing dark nights are a further transition or movement in love by the
    Spirit.
    b. The nature of ongoing dark nights.
    1. Ongoing seasons and process of purgation.
    2. Deep purging of beginner’s natural character to develop fruit of the Spirit.
    3. This involves a “stripping away” of our dependence on our own efforts in order to open us up to the work of the Spirit.
    a. darkness in the intellect
    b. emptiness in the memory-character
    c. dryness in the will

    Ughh, really bad stuff. No one in their right mind could read that list and think it was going to end well, or that it is Christian. Did you note the very last point? Darken the intellect, empty the self (hmmm, this is sounding familiar) and something ridiculous about having a dry will. Fascinating how it sounds like Chinese medicine terminology (which of course is founded on the same lies). This is hard-core pagan teaching. How wrong Christians are to think that this it has anything to do with God.

  63. Craig says:

    Going back to yoga. Many wish to divorce the ‘spiritual’ aspects of it from its presumed physical benefits. While I certainly don’t think that many who practice yoga in the West are consciously doing it with a thinking towards “union with the divine”, the actual purpose for some of the stretches is to open oneself up to that very thing. Here’s one site I found on the purposes of the specific poses:

    http://www.realyoga.org/yoga-spirituality-answers.php?answer=8

    The real purpose of practicing yoga postures is to develop the
    strength of body and calmness of mind in order to sit in
    meditation for 30-60 minutes without moving
    . However, that
    said, there are many other purposes of doing the postures.
    Yoga asanas (postures) start the process of opening up the
    body in order for the prana (internal energy) to increase its
    flow thru the meridians of the body. These meridians connect
    with the glands and organs of the body and when flow of
    prana is balanced charge the glands to produce the hormones
    which run our bodies and act as catalysts for the optimum
    operation of the organs. This energy (prana) is also called
    kundalini when it resides at the base of the spine
    .

    Thru ritualistic disciplined practice of asanas the kundalini
    moves up the spinal cord opening the energy centers called
    chakras. There are seven chakras along the spine. These
    energy centers are associated with an emotion,color,sound
    and sanscript letter.When opened the practioner can see the
    colors, hear the sounds and feel the emotions. Here is the
    interesting part. If the practioner is not balanced in mind and
    body,headaches and othe physical problems will arise. It is
    important for the practitioner to have started to understand
    his or her true nature before practicing Kundalini Yoga. I
    experienced 3 years of acid reflux by not practicing properly.

    One may protest that they are not practicing Kundalini Yoga. Perhaps. But, why adopt a specifically pagan ritual, to the point of even using a name specifically meaning “union with the divine”? If one wants to do physical stretching and/or exercise, there are many other things one can do.

    Here’s another site:

    http://www.swamij.com/yoga-meaning.htm

    Yoga defines itself as a science–that is, as a practical, methodical, and systematic discipline or set of techniques that have the lofty goal of helping human beings to become aware of their deepest nature. The goal of seeking to experience this deepest potential is not part of a religious process, but an experiential science of self-study. Religions seek to define what we should believe, while a practical science such as meditation is based on the concrete experience of those teachers and yogis who have previously used these techniques to experience the deepest Self. Yoga does not contradict or interfere with any religion, and may be practiced by everyone, whether they regard themselves as agnostics or members of a particular faith.

    Throughout history, yogic techniques have been practiced in both the East and West, so it would be an error to consider yoga an “Eastern import.” In fact, yoga, with its powerful techniques for creating a sense of inner peace, harmony, and clarity of mind, is absolutely relevant to the modern world–both East and West. Given the increasing pace and conflict present in modern life, with all its resulting stress, one could say that yoga has become an essential tool for survival, as well as for expanding the creativity and joy of our lives.

    Contrary to the assertion of the above writer, yoga IS a spiritual discipline (not science, but a pseudo-science) based upon the spiritual concept that we have a divine within.

  64. Craig says:

    My point in bringing up yoga, is that that is essentially what “spiritual formation” is – an attempt at union with the divine through mysticism. The method may not include the specific physical postures as yoga, but the end-goal is the same.

  65. Thanks Craig. It is crystal clear now. I was more clear on yoga than SF, but interestingly, once I saw this recent example of ‘spiritual formation’ content sounding so eastern, it kind of clicked in my mind. Thanks, as I now feel like I can articulate this to others, which is often why I am trying to nut things out here. I appreciate your patience and thoroughness.

  66. You don’t have to post this comment if you don’t want. I wasn’t sure where to put it but wanted to send it to you.

    I just came across this while looking for something else. It was completely bizarre, and I thought it was unrelated to your articles and the discussion here, until I looked closer and saw how this guy’s ministry began…Cindy Jacobs and her false prophecies, and the lying signs and wonders of the Toronto fame.

    http://aslansplace.com/category/articles/discernment-and-spiritual-beings/

    http://aslansplace.com/testimony-discernment-of-spiritual-beings-in-the-tabernacle/

    This is some of the most far out stuff I have seen, and from a former Baptist minister. The second article I have linked seems to be written under demonic influence. This is the fruit of the river from Toronto, the same river infecting Bethel Church.

  67. Craig says:

    Sure thing!

  68. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    Toronto is part of the history of today’s hyper-charismaticism. And, my firm belief/opinion is that it’s all from the same poisonous well. If you’ve read this, look over Tricia Tillin’s excellent series on the “New Thing”:

    http://www.banner.org.uk/res/newthing.html

  69. Arwen4CJ says:

    Thanks, Craig. I hadn’t really looked that closely at spiritual formation, as it seemed to me that it was be used in a general spiritual disciplines sense. I don’t know the content of that particular course at the school I went to, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was Eastern/occult centered.

    Perhaps most people do mean something contemplative/mystical when they talk about it, or when they offer courses in it. I had just made the assumption that it didn’t have to be about those things because the term itself seems to be more general….but then, the question is how do people apply it?

    Perhaps from spiritual formation comes more and more error. I don’t know how long they’ve been offering the course there….but I do know that when I came for orientation, the bishop in residence spoke very highly of a spiritual director that was present. She and the professors encourage students to go to this spiritual director. The spiritual director tried to lead us into a guided imagery session, but I refused to participate. I knew that what she was teaching was evil, and it sounded occultish to me. She also wanted us to focus on some picture of Jesus. I refused to do that, too.

    When I later looked up her information on the Internet, from the website she’d provided, the woman blatantly said she was New Age, and that she was also a practicing shaman. Her business partner was of the same cloth. The lady who spoke talked about helping people find their animal spirits.

    Also, this particular bishop in residence teaches a course called Spirituality, in which she uses books by John Shelby Spong (who is into Unity spirituality), and others like him.

    A course that I did need to take was called Integrating Spirituality and the Helping Professions, or something like that. That course was normally offered by some guy who is heavily into the New Age, and who only used New Age textbooks when teaching the course. Thankfully when I took it, I had a more Christian professor. She had us read one New Age book, but she didn’t make us practice any of the things in it. She just wanted to expose us to it because this stuff was out there. She didn’t say she thought it was right. She also had us use a Christian book, too. That’s not letting her off the hook for it…but I think my experience was better than those who took the course with the other professor, who forced students to participate in New Age and Eastern practices in class.

    My church history professor had us do the Jesus prayer once — she sent us out all over to campus to pray silently. I didn’t know what contemplative prayer was, but I tried to use the time to just pray to God, and pray normally.

    So, given all that, you are probably right that the course in Spiritual Formation was very much occult and mystic in nature. Sigh….

    They probably don’t teach a course on Sanctification because they don’t think it would be necessary, or maybe they think it is covered in other classes, or they don’t think that it is possible to be taught.

  70. just1ofhis says:

    Formation: an act or process of being formed (constructed, developed, shaped)

    Conformation: an act or process of conforming (being made similar in form, nature or character)

    The true Spiritual walk of the born-again Christian is one of “conformation” (not “confirmation” and certainly not “formation”). This conformation is a work of the Holy Spirit of God through faith in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ and belief in His Word; we are in a process of being “conformed” to His likeness.

    imo, the very word “formation” is problematic for Christians. We are not being “formed”, but we are being “conformed”. One can be formed without a model to follow; but to be conformed, you must have a model.

    satan is an expert at feeding people words that sound right enough but always fall short or go too far.

  71. Craig says:

    just1ofhis:

    Excellent!

    I believe it was Oswald Chambers (or Spurgeon?) who said (paraphrase) that apologetics is not finding what’s wrong; it’s about exposing what’s “almost right”.

  72. just1ofhis says:

    A good example of “formation” versus “conformation” off the Elijah list:

    http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=12476

    Chuck D. Pierce:
    “My Faith Train is Coming – Get on the Train!”

    Dear Train Riders:

    Our Celebration Service on Sunday morning was just amazing. The worship and prophetic revelation exhorted us to “Get on the train!” I love when the Spirit of God helps us get in His timing so we can go beyond where we have been.

    Be sure to read the TRAIN word further below. This will get you moving! Early Sunday morning, He asked me “Are you confident that you have crossed the bridge from the past to the future?” He then led me to share on the examples of Abraham, the Hebrew, as well as Lot’s wife.
    As we heard this Sunday morning, this is a time to GET ON THE TRAIN!

    Back in September and October 2009, the Lord was also speaking to us about trains, and how faith is like a locomotive! I believe the prophetic exhortation we sent out on October 30, 2009 will still encourage you today!

    My Faith Train is Forming!

    “I am reordering the cars that have been moving in My procession. I am putting cars in different orders. I am creating My ‘Faith Train’. Some who were on one track are being put in the right order on another track. This will cause My people to gain momentum. Some of you will hear your call in a new way.
    “You will say, ‘Wait, that is not where I am going in the next season. That is not the destination I am getting to.’ People get ready, there’s a train coming!

    “You are a vital link in what is being formed. I am calling all cars that I need to make up this faith train – the storage cars and the freight cars that need to make up the faith train for the future. Those who have been lagging will connect and make up the caboose. I am reordering the engines that can pull. All you have to do is to connect and you will be pulled through and into the new.

    “I am reforming My engine and giving new steam! There are some that I have risen up with a new energy.

    “There are some that I am putting at the beginning. They cannot be lagging at the back because they have a faith energy that I have stored up for this season. I am getting them in place to pull others. Some have been used to being pulled, but I am reordering so they can pull others.

    “A new faith train is moving in territories. Some are being positioned to bring supply. Some are being positioned to pull with new energy. I am connecting those who could not get on in the last season. A divine connecting is occurring and I am sending forth many to go out and get the disconnected.

    “There are some intersections in your life that are dangerous in the days ahead. Now I am sending the sound down that will warn you at dangerous intersections. Do not stop connecting because you are afraid of the dangerous intersections. Don’t stop flowing, but learn to hear the sound of caution so you can move through the intersection with faith.

  73. just1ofhis says:

    I find Pierce’s imagery disturbing.

    The true body of Christ is compared in the Bible to a real living organism, each individual part important and growing as God causes it to grow. But Pierce describes a machine, an inanimate object powered along by energy, each part simply following those parts in front of it.

    That sounds more like a Marxist vision of a human machine, something developed in all its horror in Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China. People are no longer individuals with distinct gifts, strengths and talents; they are reduced to human rubble, little cogs in a big collective wheel spinning for the “good of all”.

    “All you have to do is connect….”, Pierce’s “jesus” tells him, and follow those “he” has “risen up with a new energy”.

    The New Age “christ” will indeed lead a machine of humans into a final global fascist rebellion against all that is good, holy and true.

  74. Craig says:

    Right away I was reminded of a track by a band called Love & Rockets titled “Kundalini Express”:

    This is an announcement
    For the transcendental run
    The train now standing
    Leaves for higher planes
    Due to a derailment
    There will be no other train
    So why not hop on this one?
    Hear the porter’s glad refrain

    Each carriage is connected
    As is every single train
    The rails all form a track
    Which is a link within a chain
    The chain’s connected
    To another chain now
    You will need no ticket
    If you wish to ride on this train

    All aboard the express Kundalini
    All aboard the express Kundalini
    All aboard the express Kundalini

    The song is in your heart
    Your heart is in the song
    The song is of the earth
    The song is of the sky

    You are disintegrating
    Into everything around
    Reintegrating
    The worm we dug from higher ground
    You have let go of ego
    Ego is no longer you
    Closer to nirvana
    Since the porter’s whistle blew

    All aboard the express Kundalini
    All aboard the express Kundalini
    All aboard the express Kundalini

  75. Pingback: Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 | CrossWise

  76. Carolyn says:

    Excerpt from Alice Bailey quote: “The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages. Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated.13″

    This is exactly what has been happening. In a way, it’s a wearing down, a constant brainwashing technique. Always new teachings, distorted and (I can’t really say thought provoking, as much as provoking) but as Bill Johnson hums along with his antics, he bids his audience to “stay with me” and gives a delighted little chuckle…before digging for some more treasures in the Word to mangle with New Thought….

    Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Excerpt from Alice Bailey quote: “The church must show a wide tolerance…The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance.”

    This is how I see Kris conditioning his listeners for change. He takes a basic doctrine, shatters the old form and shows the “true” inner spiritual significance.

    As professing Christians, we have innate, defence mechanisms in place for our own spiritual safety. They can however be broken down through the process of deception. Once again, with regards to the above post, I’m hearing that we don’t need to fear ingesting this new, exciting divine concept. We must resist our predisposition to fear and taste it for ourselves.

    Doing a quick analysis of some of his other online talks, I thought I noticed a recurring pattern or formula…for example, he will take something divine, say, for instance “glory”, make it appear expedient and profitable to us and tell us that up to this point, we have been misled as to it’s functionality and desirability, but now due to a new understanding (which he is about to deliver to us), we should not to be afraid of it and as he extracts the fear factor, he introduces the new novelty of its redefinition to us and then drives home the necessity of our walking in this specific divine attribute.

    Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate;

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