Rethink and Break Forth:

Shall Seventh-day Adventists Send Their Leaders to Drink From Cisterns Such as These?


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Rethink and Break Forth:

Shall Seventh-day Adventists Send Their Leaders

to Drink From Cisterns Such as These?


Kevin Straub, January 1, 2008



We cannot be complete in Christ and yet be ready to grasp those things that come from the so-called great men of the earth, and place their wisdom before the wisdom of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. To seek knowledge from such sources is represented in the word as seeking to drink from broken cisterns that can hold no water.  {7T 204.4}  


God has placed in our hands a banner upon which is inscribed: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. This is a distinct, separating message, a message that is to give no uncertain sound. It is to lead the people away from the broken cisterns that contain no water, to the unfailing Fountain of the water of life.  {7T 150.2}


Not as judges of people but as inspectors of fruit, are we to decide whose counsel to take and the truth we are to present. We cannot rely on those that make void the law of God, however attractive their words and works. (Ethel Price)





If we would just read those three quotes and obey them, I would not have to write any more.  It is sad.  I was once welcome to expose these things in our church.  In the early 90’s, I did a mini-series presentation from our Red Deer SdA church pulpit on the New Age Movement, as I had studied it for a decade and had done independent course work towards my Christian university degree.  Now that it has come home to roost, it is not so well received.  But I am getting ahead of myself.


We are now told by the Super-Size-Me church leaders that the Megachurch, Purpose-Driven, Church Growth Movement paradigm does not work.  It has not been attracting the “unchurched” so much as the bored “other-churched” and furthermore, it has not been producing spiritual “grown-ups.”  In fact, it has been determined through in-house research that the more spiritually grown up the congregant, the less attractive they find these environments.  These are their own published conclusions.


They say that now it is time to “take out a clean sheet of paper.”  When I read about this great Willow Creek realization and confession, I was thinking, “here we go.  What are they going to bring on, now?  This will be the time to really rev up the deceptions.  We can expect it to get a whole lot darker, almost guaranteed.”  


I see it happening.  It is not new, but has been developing all the while the CGM paradigm was failing.  Now, we are to metamorphosis into whatever higher spiritual plane in which we are supposed to be dwelling through the birthing process implied in the term “Emerging Church.”


Now, just as Seventh-day Adventists have been drinking, -- no, gulping – from the cisterns of the Church-Growth Movement gurus (we are the largest denominational group that has attended the seminars at Willow Creek, seeking to import the seeker-sensitive, felt-needs paradigm into Adventism), we have also been turning toward the philosophies and practices of the Emergent Church.  It will not be my purposes in this paper to expose these inroads; I will save that for  another time.  (Or you can get a copy of a DVD presentation which I have on this subject, Innovation and Emergence, by Sandy Clark.)  What I intend to do here is to give a brief overview of what the EC is, some of the buzz words, and who are some of its leaders.  This work is by no means complete; in fact, it will be just an introduction to the subject as I have only begun to do some research and reading on it.


I am putting this together in haste so that I may place the information before our local church leaders and members that a more informed decision may be made with regard to the church board’s decision to fund our worship leaders to attend the upcoming Break Forth conference in Edmonton, to drink yet again at more of these broken cisterns.


Pastor Gary Gilley, of independent Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois, author of This Little Church Went to Market  is a good resource for information on the emerging church.  (Note that we do not agree with some aspects of his theology, such as millennial reign of Christ on earth, as per mainstream dispensationalist belief, so read with this understanding.)  To get an overview of his assessment of this postmodern “movement” within Christendom, read the articles found at his site

listed as follows:


The Emerging Church – Part 1 (April 2006)

The Emerging Church - Part 2 (May 2006)

The Emerging Church - Part 3 (June 2006)

The Kingdom of Emergent Theology - Part 1 (September 2007)

The Kingdom of Emergent Theology - Part 2 (October 2007)

The Kingdom of Emergent Theology - Part 3 (November 2007)


See also Lighthouse Trails Research for hours of research and reading on this topic.



A Brief Overview of the Emerging Church (EC)


“. . . mysticism, New Age ideology, and a return to Rome, are the building blocks of the emerging church.”


(Note: See the end of this paper for a glossary which defines the terms that relate to the EC.)


It is yet more capitulating to surrounding culture, only this time not in the accommodation of worldly tastes in entertainment but in the philosophical accommodation to postmodern thinking.


The Devil is playing on many peoples’ understanding that Christianity today is thoroughly corrupt and introducing the EC as the solution; a return to true spirituality.  Out with the contemporary big-production style worship and in with the experiential and the mysterious.


“People increasingly long for the mystical and the spiritual rather than the evidential and facts-based faith of the modern soil.  Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p. 60


“The things that the seeker-sensitive church removed from their churches are the very things [postmodern] nonbelievers want to experience if they attend a worship service.” Ibid., 115


“The postmodern wants to reconnect to the past.  They want traditions and religious symbols rather than slick excellence, polished performance and state-of-the-art structures found in modernity. . . .  The emerging church appears to be the latest flavor of the day in a church age which allows itself to be defined by its culture rather than by Scripture.”  Gary Gilley, The Emerging Church – Part 1, p. 1 (link above).


“. . . the emergent church is a movement chasing a culture.”  Ibid., p. 1


I dare say, isn’t that what Rome did?


Those in the EC paradigm are sometimes referred to as “contemplatives.”  The “Spiritual Formation” movement is just another way of saying “Contemplative Spirituality.”  This depicts the mystic elements of the new spirituality, with it New Age practices of meditative/contemplative/breath prayers, candles, labyrinth exercises, yoga, lectio divina,  etc.  The contemplatives


“. . . are interested in religious experiences and feelings.  They want a sense of the supernatural.  They are not interested in systematic theology, tightly woven apologetic arguments or logical reasoning.  But they are attracted to spiritual mystery.”  Ibid., p. 2


One can certainly sympathize with this, as many of us are indeed weary of


“ ‘church-lite,’ consumer spirituality, church buildings that look like warehouses or malls, CEO pastors, educational programs structured like community colleges and church services that are reminiscent of a Broadway musical.”  Ibid., p. 2


So what believers are made to think is that they are making a return to “vintage church” but this is a deception, for this does not refer to a return to the primitive church of the apostolic faith, but to a vintage church that has been derailed by medieval Catholicism.  The sensory experiences of the latter has been foisted on contemplatives as spiritual experience.


“. . . just as the seeker-sensitive church saw felt-needs as the means of linking with unbelievers, so the emerging church sees spiritual experience as that means.  The philosophy is basically the same, just the methods have changed.”  Ibid.,  p. 2


We’ve touched a little on methods, now let’s look quickly at the message.


The church of today is said to be emerging from a traditional understanding of the church into a “postmodern expression.”  Post- as a prefix is difficult to use as a definition of anything, because it only defines what you are not.  However, defining postmodernism need not be impossible, for one need only look around to find: a plethora of philosophies in every sphere; blowing winds of doctrine from every direction; many living in their own idea of reality; and the ability of the contemporary mind to hold many of the conflicting simultaneous ideas in an Orwellian mode called “doublethink,” (that apparatus which is very useful to the globalist elite, New World Order folks – I heard a lady in London say, “we have to sacrifice our freedoms for liberty”), and one has a fix on our world of no boundaries, no truth, if a fix can be had on something so slippery!


“Attempting to combine postmodern philosophy with biblical theology is a tricky business, as one might imagine; we should not be surprised that unanimity in the understanding of this attempted merger will not be found. . . . Truth claims are held with suspicion within postmodernism. . . .  Since the very heart of postmodernity is rejection of absolute authoritative truth, yet Christianity claims to be the proclamation of absolute authoritative truth, a head-on collision is almost unavoidable.  What is to be done?  Something has to give and that something seems to be truth.”  Ibid., p.3


“Experience, not Scripture, becomes the basis for truth.  [Albeit a malleable truth, for the people are taught that their reality is just a model and it must remain subject to revision and revolution, upon the basis of new experience.]  ‘People today,’ Leonard Sweet writes, ‘are starved not for doctrines but for images and relationships and stories.’  [Leonard Sweet, Andy Crouch, et. Al., The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives, Leonard Sweet, ed., (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), p. 35].  There is no absolute truth or ultimate reality in the emergent agenda.  Even Scripture is appreciated for its mystery, not its presentation of truth.  Ibid., p. 4


This synopsis must be kept concise, I know, but before we leave it, I have to make mention of three more defining –isms that relate to the EC philosophy.


Deconstructionism – is a literary approach that seeks out apparent contradictions in a text in order to come up with new ideas that may even be out of harmony with the original text.  Humpty Dumpty says, “When I use a word, it means what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”  That’s deconstruction.  It “guts words of their meaning and redefines them according to one’s own preference” (Gilley, p. 4).


Pluralistic Relativism – The outcome of EC philosophy is that all paths lead home.  Nobody is right and everybody is right.  After deconstruction, this is all that is left.  We may not like this very much, but we should get used to it for now, because it is a good treatment for the cancer of final orthodoxy as found in absolutist/colonial/totalitarian modernity, say EC leaders, such as Brian McLaren in A Generous Orthodoxy, pp. 286-7.


Ecumenism --The EC is ecumenism on steroids.  In fact, why call it Christian, at all?  The new missiology says that God doesn’t care what religion you are, just add Jesus to what you already have:

1. You can keep your own religion — Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism — you just need to add Jesus to the equation. Then you become complete. You become a Buddhist with Jesus, a Hindu with Jesus, a Muslim with Jesus and so on.

2. You can throw out the term Christianity and still be a follower of Jesus.

3. In fact, you can throw out the term Christian too. In some countries you could be persecuted for calling yourself a Christian, and there is no need for that. Just ask Jesus into your heart, you don't have to identify yourself as a Christian.

Here is what is said by some popular postmodernists:

"For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained."—Donald Miller,  Blue Like Jazz, p. 115.

"I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts."Brian McLaren (leader of the Emerging Church movement), author of
A Generous Orthodoxy.

"I'm not talking about a religion this morning. You may be Catholic or Protestant or Buddhist or Baptist or Muslim or Mormon or Jewish or you may have no religion at all. I'm not interested in your religious background. Because God did not create the universe for us to have religion."Rick Warren, September 2005, United Nations, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast to 100 World Delegates.

“Does a little dose of Buddhism thrown into a belief system somehow kill off the Christian part?  My Buddhist cousin. . . is a better ‘Christian’. . . than almost every Christian I know.” Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p. 53.

Now, before moving on to the upcoming conference in Edmonton, Break Forth, I should let you know about the Rethink Conference to take place in California, just prior to the Edmonton Conference that our church leaders are being encouraged to attend.  Some of the same big-name teachers attending Schuller’s conference at the Crystal Cathedral, will be coming to the Edmonton conference.  It is important to understand that these are all of the same group of leaders, philosophy and agenda.  This is the New Age/Occult/Spiritualistic agenda on the march into the Christian church and into Seventh-day Adventism.



Rethink Conference


This is a Training Agency for the Emerging Church -- see


“But perhaps what is most disturbing in this isn't that Schuller is having contemplative and New Age promoting speakers to his upcoming event -- that really will come as no surprise to many. But what is disturbing is that some of these speakers (who promote contemplative and/or the New Age) are welcomed with open arms to evangelical conferences, seminaries and churches.  [Including Seventh-day Adventist conferences and churches].”  (Coming from the Lighthouse Newsletter, Sept. 26, 2006,


Schuller’s latest move is to hold a “Rethink Conference” at his Crystal Cathedral. With an unusual mix of Christian and non-Christian speakers, the conference will take place January 17-19, 2008. He is co-hosting the conference with Emerging Church movement leader Erwin McManus. Schuller's "rethink" website states the purpose of the conference: “Our aim is to bring together a cross-section of the key leaders in today’s culture so we can grapple with what’s truly happening in our world.”


Among the thirty speakers lending their names and varying degrees of credibility to Robert Schuller’s conference are Lee Strobel, Dan Kimball, Charles Colson, George Barna, Rupert Murdoch, George Herbert Walker Bush Sr., Larry King, and Rick Warren’s wife Kay Warren. (While Rick Warren has tried desperately to deny his spiritual ties to Schuller, his wife’s presence at the conference speaks volumes.)


From © 2007 we can read about the Rethink Conference :

It's an all-star conference set for the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., Jan. 17-19.


Former President George H.W. Bush will speak.


Chuck Colson will make a presentation.


Larry King will be there.


Rupert Murdoch will address attendees.


Ben Stein will appear.


And Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback Church mega-pastor Rick Warren, will join Robert Schuller, the white-haired, bespectacled purveyor of "possibility thinking."


What could such a diverse group have in common? What's the topic?


Well, it's a little vague.


It's called the "Rethink Conference," and Schuller promises 30 "Aha!" moments from the 30 different speakers confirmed for the event.


Not everyone is thrilled about this meeting of the minds. Some, including Christian author and former New Age devotee Warren Smith, suspect an agenda to subvert the church – to take the focus off biblical truth and absolutes.


"From my perspective as a former New Age follower, I believe that Robert Schuller's mission has always been to 'rethink' and 'change' biblical Christianity into something 'new' – as in New Age/New Spirituality," he says.


Smith's "Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church" documents Schuller's contacts and endorsements of New Age stars such as Gerald Jampolsky, Neale Donald Walsch and Bernie Siegel.


"As a former New Age follower I could hardly believe it," says Smith. "On October 17, 2004, more than 20 years after his first appearance on the 'Hour of Power,' New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky was once again Robert Schuller's featured guest. I was not surprised on one level, because I had always been aware of Schuller's affection for New Age teachings. What did surprise me was Schuller's willingness to still be so openly aligned with a veteran New Age leader like Jampolsky."


Smith says it was Jampolsky who first introduced him to "A Course in Miracles," the best-selling book New Age bible that taught him "there is no sin," "a slain Christ has no meaning" and "the recognition of God is the recognition of yourself."


All of Jampolsky's books, according to Smith, are based on "A Course in Miracles." But yet, there was Schuller on his TV show recommending all of Jampolsky's "fabulous" works. He even noted he sold some of them in the Crystal Cathedral bookstore. And, according to Smith, for awhile, Schuller even hosted "A Course in Miracles" study groups in his church.


It's not a one-way street, either, says Smith. New Age leaders like Walsch, author of the best-selling "Conversations With God," and Jampolsky go out of their way to praise Schuller, too.


"They know that Robert Schuller has always been open to spiritual compromise," he says.


According to Smith, Schuller has always "done a good job of softening up the church" for what he sees as unbiblical New Age ideas. And that's just what he expects the "Rethink Conference" is all about.


If indeed that's what the conference is all about, some other big names are going along for the ride. They include Christian pollster George Barna, former heavyweight champ George Foreman, American Center for Law and Justice founder Jay Sekulow, Gary Smalley and "The Case for Christ" author Lee Strobel.


"Never before have we gathered such dynamic leaders who will challenge us to think outside the box as we grapple with a changing culture and our response to it," said Schuller.


The conference will not only be attended by thousands at the Crystal Cathedral, but it will be telecast by satellite around the world by Church Communication Network, according to organizers.


"These culture pioneers know what is center-stage in our culture right now and also what is breaking on the horizon," says Rethink Conference executive director Bill Dallas.


"This conference will confront outdated and pre-conceived ideas, offer new perspectives and open our minds to all kinds of possibilities that connect us with out shifting culture without compromising our core values."


Smith just wonders about those "outdated and pre-conceived ideas."


"The church does not need to 'rethink' and 'compromise' its God-given biblical doctrines to accommodate the world," he says. "It needs to rethink its willingness to follow worldly leaders like Robert Schuller."




Break Forth Conference, Jan. 25-27, 2008


Note that Strobel and McManus, and others are coming straightaway from the Rethink Conference; these are not unrelated events, as pointed out above, as some of the same keynote speakers are featured in both.  In my research, I find frequent associations of the personalities on both lists, these are the same people, with the same agenda to move the church closer to the world and vice versa, via New Age spirituality.  It is interesting and important to note that this event is not pure EC, but has also a heavy CGM (Church Growth Movement) emphasis in its catering to the “felt need” to enjoy the worldly entertainment worship style.  I have not in this paper gone into CGM/Purpose-Driven exposition, as that has already been done elsewhere by this writer; it is “old hat.”  In fact, it will be found that there is much overlap between the two paradigms.  There is nothing “cut and dried” about the EC.  It is a “postmodern movement”, remember? (I realize this is an oxymoronic term, for a movement has to be rooted in a common belief system or ideology).




Lee Strobel --  former atheist, teaching pastor at Willow Creek.  Apparently an EC Leader, has recently spoken at contemplative conference, the 30th Annual of the CMA (Christian Management Ass’n), Mar. 12-15, 2007.  Also involved with Alpha Course, a program of affirmative party-on feel-goodism, espousing the ecumenical, deconstructionist, dominionist, charismatic spiritualistic, and New Age philosophies and sophistries, while avoiding the full gospel call to repentance and the sanctified life.


Erwin McManus -- Erwin McManus is a promoter of the New Age. He admits himself that his book (The Barbarian Way) has a message that is the "core of mysticism," (which is the heart of the New Age).


Josh McDowell -- Evangelical leader, noted Christian apologist.  Ecumenist, Dominionist, Charismatic, Self-Esteem Theology.  Promoter of Emerging Church leaders.


Kay Arthur -- heavily committed to integration of humanistic psychology with the Bible, her associations read as a veritable "Who's Who" of the ecumenical, charismatic, 1neo-evangelical world.  Into demonology and deliverance ministry.


David Nasser – convert from Islam, emerging church movement leader, calls U2’s Bono the “pope of the emerging church.”  Maybe a joke, but lets us know where he is coming from.  Ministered recently in Ireland at the “Summer Madness” event with top emergent church leader New Age/Mystic/Contemplative Brian McClaren. 


And Many, Many more presenters in workshops for training in modern methods of entertaining worship techniques employing the world’s musical tastes, drama, comedy, etc.  Lots of folks out of Willow Creek, Crystal Cathedral (Robert Schuller) etc.  Seminars in prayer, evangelism, healing, children’s ministries, finance, etc.






1 In general, a neo-evangelical would be defined as one who has taken a "lower view" of Scripture, has developed a more open, inclusive spirit toward liberalism, and has become ecumenical in evangelism efforts. The movement was one born of compromise, nurtured on pride of intellect, growing on appeasement of evil, and doomed by the judgment of God's Word (Lightner, p. 109). In general, the neo-evangelicals "are radical -- theologically, politically, and socially" (Pickering, p. 131). One of the chief spokesmen of neo-evangelicalism would be Billy Graham; chief neo-evangelical scholars would be Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, and Bernard Ramm; major neo-evangelical organizations would be the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), The World Evangelical Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee, Campus Crusade for Christ, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; and major neo-evangelical periodicals would be Christianity Today and Moody Monthly.




Chris Seay -- Highly regarded for his innovative thinking, Chris Seay is a leader in the emerging church discussion. He is the founding pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, one of the earliest examples of generational church planting.


Currently, Chris pastors Ecclesia, a progressive Christian community in Houston, Texas, which he launched in 1999. Ecclesia is recognized for exploring spiritual questions of culture and breaking new ground in art, music, and film.

Chris travels extensively speaking on faith and postmodernity. He has authored several books including The Gospel according to Tony Soprano and The Gospel Reloaded.


Eric Bryant  --  Eric serves as an elder, speaker, and navigator overseeing the leadership team at Mosaic (Erwin McManus’ Emergent Church) in Los Angeles. A sought-after speaker, Eric is one of the co-authors of The Uprising Experience, a workbook developed for Promise Keepers based on Erwin McManus’ book Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.


Carl Albrecht -- Carl, one of the Christian world’s most noted drummers, has played on 70+ Integrity Music projects; Maranatha Praise Band recordings, and numerous Christian, pop, and country projects working with such artists as Bob Fitts, Michael W. Smith, and LeAnn Rimes. His video teaching series is considered the top worship drummer resource.


The reader can download the brochure located at the link given above and see the dozens of speakers and seminars of which I am speaking.  What we fail to understand in much of this is that we don’t need to learn from these people how to engage with the world in ministry and how to conduct our worship.  We have the counsels and instructions all right before us in the little red books.  Why aren’t we reading them and following their heaven-sent light?  Why do we scorn and shun these things?  Are we afraid to be viewed as peculiar, fanatical, straight-laced?  Surely that would be the case.  We would not receive the world’s accolades for being true to our calling, but the level of spirituality and true heart religion amongst our people would surely improve.  We could lose numbers in the process, but the Scriptures make no push for numbers.  We are to preach the truth and leave the results with God.  As I am doing now.


Looking over the workshops that are running, you will find that they are heavily geared towards the entertainment aspects of “worship.”





In addition there is a whole lineup of contemporary gospel music artists to entertain with evening Rock Concerts:



Third Day  --  “. . . not only one of the best Christian bands of the ‘90s but one of the best rock bands, period.”  



Mercy Me – “. . .Christian music’s fastest-selling new act to one of the most successful bands in all musical genres, . . . propelled into the mainstream spotlight . . .”



Lincoln Brewster & Band “known for his modern, rock-tinged worship. . .”



Counsels, Admonitions and Warnings from the Pen of Inspiration:


"If God has any new light to communicate, He will let His chosen and beloved understand it, without their going to have their minds enlightened by hearing those who are in darkness and error. . . . God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go. . . and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness."  EW 124-5


HERE IS OUR PLACE AND OUR WORK; not all this study to fine-tune and perfect our “worship” after the pattern of Babylon, whose citizens bow down to the six instruments playing "all kinds of musick."  Dan. 3:10.


"There is to be no compromise with those who make void the law of God.  It is not safe to rely upon them as counselors. Our testimony is not to be less decided now than formerly; our real position is not to be cloaked in order to please the world's great men. They may desire us to unite with them and accept their plans, and may make propositions in regard to our course of action which may give the enemy an advantage over us. 'Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A  confederacy' (Isa. 8:12). While we should not seek for controversy, and should not needlessly offend, we must present the truth clearly and decidedly, and stand firm to what God has taught us in His Word. You are not to look to the world in order to learn what you shall write and publish or what you shall speak. [Or how you shall worship?]  Let all your words and works testify, 'We have not followed cunningly devised fables' (2 Peter 1:16). 'We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place'" (2 Peter 1:19). {2SM 371.1}.


“Watchmen on the walls of Zion are to be vigilant, and sleep not day nor night. But if they have not received the message from the lips of Christ, their trumpets will give an uncertain sound. Brethren, God calls upon you, both ministers and laymen, to listen to his voice speaking to you in his word. Let his truth be received into the heart, that you may be spiritualized by its living, sanctifying power. Then let the distinct message for this time be sent from watchman to watchman on the walls of Zion.  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 9}  


“This is a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, a time when we must build the old waste places, and with interested effort labor to raise up the foundation of many generations.  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 10}  


"Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 11}  


"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old . . . . " {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 12}


“While you hold the banner of truth firmly proclaiming the law of God, let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God. The third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." The first, second, and third angels' messages are all linked together. The evidences of the abiding, ever-living truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to us, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, cannot be extinguished. Satan is constantly seeking to cast his hellish shadow about these messages, so that the remnant people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time, and place; but they live, and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last.  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 14}  


“The influence of these messages has been deepening and widening, setting in motion the springs of action in thousands of hearts, bringing into existence institutions of learning, publishing houses, and health institutions; all these are the instrumentalities of God to co-operate in the grand work represented by the first, second, third angels flying in the midst of heaven to warn the inhabitants of the world that Christ is coming again with power and great glory. The prophet says, "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power: and the earth was lightened with glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils." This is the same messages that was given by the second angel. Babylon is fallen, "because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." What is that wine? --Her false doctrines. She has given to the world a false Sabbath instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has repeated the falsehood that Satan first told to Eve in Eden,--the natural immortality of the soul. Many kindred errors she has spread far and wide, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 15}  


“When Jesus began his public ministry, he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Among the last acts of his ministry was the second cleansing of the temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel's message is, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." And in the loud cry of the third angel's message a voice is heard from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."  {RH, December 6, 1892 par. 16}


Again, I ask, what are we doing in Babylon, dancing to her tunes and drinking of her wine, when our duty is set before us in no uncertain terms?  These are serious questions.  I don’t need to be in the Adventist Church to ‘Rock and Roll’ and be entertained after the similitude of the world and all its ‘fine arts’; I don’t need Adventism to teach me how to have transcendent and mystical experiences, so that I may be inebriated by New Age ideology; nor to have my thinking clouded by the doubts, uncertainties, and -isms of the postmodern wasteland – I can get this from many places all around.  These leaking cisterns are everywhere.  Let’s keep them out of our church!  


Let us not be these people:


“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16.




An Emergent Church (Contemplative) Glossary:

(Compiled by author, using as the basic springboard for research.)


Intro to glossary:


As you read through the following list of terms, you will realize that you are looking at unadulterated New Age spirituality.  This list is not comprehensive, for then it would also include such items as “Renovare Study Bible,” “Enneagram” “Soaking Prayer,” “Reiki” “Christian Yoga,” and much more, but it is not my intent to write a book.  The purpose here is to facilitate an understanding of the EC/Contemplative Spirituality through giving a definitive rundown of the terms which denote the kind of philosophies and practices that are embraced by the New Age, Postmodern, Contemplative, Emergent “Church.”  Once a person is aware of the basis of Contemplative New Age Spirituality, it should not be a difficult matter to discern it when it is presented through teachers, leaders, and brethren under whose spiritual sphere of influence you are subject.

Alpha – the state associated with relaxation, meditation, and dreaming.  It is desired by contemplatives as a way to go into the stillness and experience God.  Shamans, Witches and Occultists of all kinds, recognize it as “the heart of witchcraft,” and “the springboard for all psychic and magical workings.”  (Lori Cabot, Power of the Witch).


Breath Prayer -- picking a single word or short phrase and repeating it in conjunction with the breath. In this context it would be a Biblical or Christian spiritual word or prayer of a short sentence that can easily be uttered within one breath.  This is classic contemplative mysticism as found in the Eastern religious practices such as yoga and Buddhism and other New Age practices.  Its purpose is to “empty the mind in order to fill it.”  It is just another method of using meaningless repetition to put the mind into an altered state of consciousness, known as “alpha.”


Contemplative PrayerAs it is expressed in a modern day movement it is the technique or method in which one silences or empties the mind of thought through repetition, usually of a word or phrase or focus on the breath, such as the “breath prayer.”  The desired silence achieved thereby would be an absence of thought, all thought.  


The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one's true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.


Centering Prayer – Prayer or spiritual discipline such as Lectio Divina or even shamanistic drumming, that takes one into the altered state of consciousness aka “the silence.”  It can be viewed as synonymous with Contemplative Prayer.


Deep Church  The emerging church.  


“. . . a return to tradition and orthodoxy, to past practices, observances, and customary ways of worshiping. But it is not simply a return to the past—at least not in all cases. Even while drawing on deep traditional resources, many participants are creating something new within the old forms. They are engaging in what Penn State sociologist of religion Roger Finke calls “innovative returns to tradition.”

Desert Fathers, The -- In the early Middle Ages, there lived a group of hermits in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They were known to history as the desert fathers.  They dwelt in small isolated communities for the purpose of devoting their lives completely to God without distraction. The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks. They were the ones who first promoted the mantra as a prayer tool.  The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the east. While Jesus and his teachings were their inspiration, the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery. The ways of the Desert Fathers influence Christian monasticism to this day.

Experiential Prayer – Meditative, centering prayer exercise to clear and focus the mind.  Can be achieved through the labyrinth rituals.  See


Interspirituality – beyond ecumenism, interspirituality is the outcome of contemplative prayer and is the uniting of all religions and the denial that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.  It is common for folks to define their religious affiliation as “interspiritual.”


Labyrinths  A “Prayer Tool,” the labyrinth is a winding walk through a maze pathway, that one takes physically.  It is another way to perform contemplative or centering prayer in which all paths lead to God, the middle-eye of “Divine Illumination” (the mystical realization of our own Divinity) at the center.  Walking a Labyrinth is a personal meditative activity and can be understood as a path of contemplation or prayer for people in seeking the Divine or seeking peace without regard to any particular religious tradition.  The Labyrinth has been part of the esoteric world for a long time and its roots are deep into the occult, New Age, and pagan world; its uses and purposes are as a “conduit for the mystical.”

According to the international Labyrinth Society it is "a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity.”  (See “Alpha”).  


The labyrinth exercise is broken into three parts:


" Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
 • Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
 • Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for."

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(See for more details.)


Lectio Divina --  Means “Sacred Reading” wherein the practitioner reads a text or a portion of Scripture for an experience rather than an understanding.  It is to be done repetitively, in a state of stillness.  Also known as “Centering Prayer.”  Participants are encouraged to boil the reading down to its essence of a word or phrase and repeat it as a mantra.


Practicing the Presence of God --  Going into the silence to there experience the oneness with the Divine, through the practice of the interspiritual disciplines.  Can also refer to the use of the repetitious breath prayer, akin to the Catholic practice of praying the rosary.


Prayer StationsA place set aside for prayer.  It can be set up with a combination of candles, incense, crosses, icons, Scripture passages, devotional questions, a prayer notebook, and a soft place to kneel or sit. There can even be a guide or helper there to pray with you.  Can also be called “Contemplative Gathering Stations” or “Journey to the Cross.” "Stations of the Cross" is a Catholic ritual with 14 prayer stations, each one with pictures or sculptures that depict the various "stages" of Jesus Christ's final days. This is a practice that began centuries ago and was sanctioned by the Pope Clement XII in 1731. In more recent days the practice has spilled over from the Catholic church into the evangelical church.


Sacred Spaces – an atmosphere conducive to Contemplative Prayer/Worship/Spirituality, created by setting mood through props, art, furniture, fabric, lighting, incense, music, etc.  Derives from occult ritual in which there is a sensory environment created in order to draw the spiritual forces into a specific physical dimension and space.


Silence, The -- One of the disciplines is the practice of the silence.  Contemplative Henri Nouwen speaks of it as “descending with the mind into the heart.”  And as many contemplatives teach, anyone can practice entering the silence and get results.  Silence is described as a stilling of the mind.  As Ray Yungen puts it, it is like putting the mind in neutral.  Witches call this the alpha state and Laurie Cabot, a well-known witch, calls it the heart of witchcraft.

Our minds cannot naturally go into a neutral or thoughtless state without the help of either drugs or some kind of repetitive practice thus the reason contemplatives use lectio divina, breath prayers or a mantra to enter their silence or alpha state.


Spiritual Directors, Spiritual Direction, and/or Spiritual Directorship – Mentors and mentoring programs in Spiritual Formation.  Spiritual direction is "the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life," and they respond "to this call by tending the holy around the world and across traditions.  Spiritual directors are trained up from all spiritual backgrounds, including SdA’s.


Spiritual direction is a long-established practice in the Roman Catholic tradition and eminently compatible with the hierarchical structures and priestly roles of the Roman Church.  


It was developed by Jean du Vergier de Hauranne in the mid-17th century.  An enemy of the Huguenots, he became known as St. Cyran after becoming the abbot of the Benedictine monastery by that name.  (Christopher Baker, ed., Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary, p. 101; Greenwood Press: 2002).


Spiritual Directorship is the new priesthood, an “interspiritual” office, for the purpose of bringing the world under one religion of Jesuit control.  It is a confessional, which has its roots in and is connected to Ignatian spirituality (Jesuit).  To become a Jesuit one must go through a program of Spiritual Exercises under the instruction of a Spiritual Director.  


Basically, the Spiritual Director functions as a kind of Father confessor.  Derek J. Morris (former Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology at Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists) quotes Elizabeth O’Conner describing the process: “It is an open relationship where your fear, feelings of rebellion, critical attitudes, misgivings, etc., are confessed… Your Spiritual director is one to whom you want to reveal your hidden self.” (Elizabeth O’Conner, Call to Commitment, New York: Harper and Row, 1963, p. 201).


Morris also writes:


“For much of the Christian era the practice of spiritual direction was confined to Catholicism, particularly monasticism and the Society of Jesus [the Jesuits]. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in spiritual direction as a resource for spiritual formation among both Catholics and Protestants.”  (Derek J. Morris, Spiritual Formation in Ministry, p. 7).]


Spiritual Disciplines – Spiritual Disciplines, rightly understood and practiced are a good and necessary thing.  We need to pray, read, study, and meditate thoughtfully upon the words of inspiration, witness and evangelize, etc.  The counterfeit Spiritual Formation is effected through its own Spiritual Disciplines.  It is a deceptive arena, for much of the writing on the disciplines includes many good and helpful things to the Christian that seeks God outside of his/her own self and not in the silence of an emptied mind.  Therein lies the danger.


“Typically, those who begin following the teachings of the . . .  [contemplatives], and begin promoting the silence, continue steadily on a downward spiral into outright mysticism and deception.” (Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., pp. 190-192.)


These other disciplines are Contemplative Spiritual rituals, exercises and practices such as meditative prayer (with its “centering down” and visualization exercises), lectio divina (scripture mantra), entering the stillness of the silence, solitude, journaling (as God’s channeled thoughts through automatic writing), etc.


Big name teachers and promoters of the disciplines are Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson and Richard Foster.  These teachers are endorsed and promoted by other big names such as Robert Schuller and Rick Warren.  Mystics who point the way to the specific practice of the exercise are people such as Madame Guyon, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton.  


Spiritual Formation -- Spiritual Formation is just another term for Contemplative Spirituality. The idea behind Spiritual Formation is that we need certain practices and disciplines in order to be like Christ.


“The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the forbidden book. . . . I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to emulate him. Thus the idea that if you do certain practices, you can be more like Jesus. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite.”  (Coming from the Lighthouse Newsletter, Oct. 08, 2007).


Stillness, The – see Silence, The


Taize – A Contemplative worship service.  Taize is an ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song (repetitive chant) and silence.  Practicing the silence with icons, candles, incense and prayer stations, this very contemplative interspiritual community is attracting young people from around the world.