By Roger Oakland (found on the Lighthouse Trails Blog)
(author of Faith Undone)
Over 400,000 churches have now participated in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven program. Quite obviously, millions of Christians have bought into the idea that the details of Christ’s return are none of our business, and we must help usher in a new reformation to eradicate the global problems facing the earth. According to Rick Warren, we accomplish this only if we all work together.
This togetherness/community mindset is the same message that [occultist] Alice Baileyreferred to as “right human relations” and the same one the emerging church hopes to convey to the people of the world. A personal, individual relationship with Christ is considered self-centered,6 because it doesn’t focus on the global, common good. Communal spirituality is seen as the only path to the world’s survival. Listen to today’s new reformation thinkers:
The church is only an anticipation of the full, promised community of the whole world … the church itself is not a goal of God’s creation.7—Walter Brueggemann, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope
The Church, in all its expressions—Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Protestant and many others—has 2.3 billion followers.… Let’s use the grassroots network that is already on the ground. It’s time to lay aside our prejudices and work together.8—Rick Warren, Forbes magazine
We are emerging into a new era of Christian faith as a “living color” global community. … It is immediately clear that this kind of emergence must lead to a convergence … a kind of relationship that has never before existed.9—Brian McLaren
Unfortunately, the “global community” so often spoken of in the emerging church camp is disguised language for a world-wide religious body that incorporates all belief systems. As [New Age leader] Neale Donald Walsch said, it’s a “global movement … which makes no one else wrong for the way in which they are doing it.”
The rate at which this global unity is developing should tell us that the return of Christ could very well be near. But not everyone who professes the name of Christ is going to be ready. Jesus Himself asked, “[W]hen the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). As in the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), many will not be ready when the Lord returns. Many will have fallen asleep.
Do you remember what Jesus told the disciples when they asked Him, “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3) He did not tell them the whole world would be experiencing a spiritual revival, turning to the Gospel. Rather he said:
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24: 4-5)
Jesus warned that in the days before He came back, there would be such a great falling away that “many” would be deceived. The word many in Greek means a vast amount or multitudes. In fact, the majority of the signs Jesus said to expect dealt with spiritual deception. He even forewarned there would be false appearances or manifestations of false Christs that would be associated with lying signs and wonders (Matthew 24:23-25).
The apostle Paul also issued Jesus’ warning about a time of deception that would dupe the whole world:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. (II Thessalonians 2:7-11)
Notice how Satan’s deceptive plan operates. As with the temptation of Eve in the garden, he will first call into question what God has said, influencing many to reject the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, or to get lost in strange interpretations of the Bible, pulling verses out of context. Next, he will undermine the Word of God as taking second place to experience. After all, doesn’t God want everyone to be happy and to “love” all? This love typically translates into accepting everyone and their strange beliefs as well. Ultimately, deception means rejecting the truth of God’s Word for a lie all the while thinking that God is being served.
Certainly, the words of warning Paul wrote to the church at Corinth regarding Satan’s seductive plans are very relevant today:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Corinthians 11:3-4)
Many have forgotten these basic warnings found in Scripture regarding the last days when another gospel and another Jesus will be presented to a deceived world.
(for more information on this topic, read Faith Undone by Roger Oakland)