Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fire from Heaven

Part 3, Why is the Church Powerless?


Part 1: Missing the Connection
Part 2: Blessed are the Thirsty


By Pastor Anton Bosch


In the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel we find a graphic demonstration of the difference between the true fire of God and the lack of fire in false revival (1Kings 18:20-40). With much noise, shouting and dancing the false prophets attempted to move their god to action. Hour after hour they created the impression that something was happening but the only thing that happened was they fell into a mesmeric trance.[1]

Many of the techniques of the prophets of Baal are still repeated in churches today. “Christian TV” abounds with those who claim revival, miracles and a move of God, but it is all smoke and mirrors and no fire: “…there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29). Decibels and dancing do not move God, and these activities do not bring the fire of God down. Yet these are used together all the time, and every week people are told that the trance-like state they achieved is the “presence” of God. That it is not the presence, but rather the absence of God, is clear by the lack of any real change. (No fire, whether natural or spiritual, ever leaves that which it touches unchanged.) It does not matter how loud and how animated the worship becomes, if God does not reveal Himself through the pouring out of the fire of the Holy Spirit, then it is no different than the worship of Baal.

It is vital that we see the clear difference between Elijah’s approach and that of the false prophets. The one is dependent on the Lord and His blessing; the other has to whip people into a frenzy in order to create the illusion of an anointing.

After the prophets of Baal had failed, Elijah’s chance came, but he acted alone (v22). The true men of God are always a minority, and most often not the popular choice of the people like the prophets of Baal were.

The first thing Elijah did was to repair the altar. Every altar in the Old Testament was a foreshadowing of the Cross of Calvary. There will be no fire without restoring the Cross to its central position in our preaching, thinking and living. Israel had neglected the Altar of the Lord and allowed it to fall into disrepair. The church of today has not only neglected the message of the Cross, but turned its back on it and replaced it with a different gospel. Without returning to the Cross, there will be no anointing, no blessing and no fire. The altar also represents sacrifice, worship and prayer. There will also not be any fire unless true worship “In spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) and prayer are restored.


Next, Elijah put the wood on the altar (v33). Wood is a picture of our human flesh.[2] The wood was consumed in the fire and our fleshly tendencies will also be consumed when God’s fire falls.  In prophesying about Jesus, John the Baptist said: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire… but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Luke 3:16,17). Isaiah said: “When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion… by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning” (Isaiah 4:4).[3] Fire purges and refines so that only that which is divine and eternal will survive the flame. Before the fire can fall, each of us needs to be willing to allow the Lord to burn everything in our lives that does not speak of Him. Before the Lord met with Jacob at the brook, Jacob had sent all his possessions, and even his family, away and was left alone with the Lord. Sadly, very few are willing to allow their carnality to be consumed for Christ, and thus we want a sanitized fire that will not touch us, our pride, our sin, and our stuff.

Then the bull was cut in pieces and laid on the wood. The animal always represents sacrifice. Sacrifice is a word that we only understand in the context of what Jesus did and what others do. But it is not a word we like to think of in personal terms. Yes, others need to make sacrifices but we never think we do. However unless you, personally, are willing to be laid on the altar and are willing to sacrifice your comfort, ease, time, pride and possessions; your spiritual life will remain lifeless and cold. A sacrifice always required the death of the animal sacrificed. You cannot “sacrifice” ten percent of yourself – it has to be a total surrender, just as the whole bull was laid on that altar. To expect God to honor a half-hearted service and a partial sacrifice is an insult to God’s ultimate Sacrifice of His Son at the Cross.

What happened next is the most amazing thing: Elijah doused the entire altar, wood, and sacrifice with water. This is counterintuitive. If you want fire, then you surely need to create the right environment for the fire – which requires that things be as dry as possible. Clearly Elijah’s point was that he was not going to do anything that would even suggest a man-made fire. He killed any hope of fire. He didn’t just sprinkle a few drops, but soaked the altar and then filled the trench so that everything was standing in water. God did not need Elijah’s help in any shape and form. When the fire fell it made no difference at all that the whole lot was wet.


The difference between Elijah and the false prophets is marked. They would do anything, and stop at nothing, to bring the fire down. Elijah did everything to make sure that there was no human element to the fire so that when it came it would, without question, be a work of God.

For myself, I would rather be on Elijah’s side and kill any attempt to engineer a “move of God” through human means. Stomping all over fleshly manifestations and carnal attempts at whipping up a revival or move of God will not, and cannot, prevent a sovereign work of God. He is not hindered by a bit of water, and He is not limited by healthy caution and sound doctrine on the part of the church. There are indeed many things we can do that prevent God from moving (See part 1 of this series). But decency and order (1Corinthians 14:40), and an unwillingness to accept anything of the flesh never has, and never will, stop God from moving.

My personal prayer is that when God’s fire falls in my life and in that of my church there would be no doubt that it is truly a work of God and not some weak manmade imitation. Until that happens I will not settle for any compromise, substitute or placebo. It has to be all or nothing.

False revivals leave more questions than answers, but when the fire fell on that day, it “…consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38). There were no questions or doubts and the people who were more on the side of Baal than on the Lord’s “… fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39).


Endnotes:
[1] This is the meaning of “they prophesied” – v29 and resulted in them cutting themselves – v28.                                   
[2] This is particularly portrayed in the tabernacle where most of the furniture was made of wood, overlaid with gold, representing the humanity (wood) and deity (gold) of Christ. This figure also illustrates the believer whose humanity is overlaid with the nature of the Lord Jesus.
[3] See also Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 3:2&3


Pastor Anton Bosch (www.antonbosch.com) just published Building Blocks of Encouragement – A Devotional, a selection of 60 of his most popular articles written over the past 11 years. To order the book, contact the Discernment Ministries Book Center (903) 567-6423. The book is also available as a printed book as well as a Kindle book from Amazon.com.

For a video on "A Living Sacrifice" see: https://vimeo.com/69221123

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blessed are the Thirsty

Part 2, Why Is the Church Powerless? 

Part 1: Missing the Connection

“Ho, every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters...”

(Isaiah 55:1)



By Pastor Anton Bosch

In addition to the need for obedience and holiness, our attitude also affects whether or not the Lord will pour His Spirit on us. The only attitude the Lord blesses and anoints is that of humility, brokenness and utter dependency on Him.

Just as those who are well do not need the physician, so are those who are self-sufficient. They feel they can make God do what they want and have no need the Lord’s power. Yes, they ask for the Lord’s blessing, but they do not really want it since deep down they feel quite adequate to do things for themselves. To make their situation worse, not only does God not support them in their self-sufficiency, but He is actually opposed to them: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). The problem is that if you feel you are humble then, by definition, you are not! Only those who recognize their pride have any chance of finding true humility, and thus receive the Lord’s blessing.

In the Beatitudes Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The state of poverty of spirit is not only critical to receiving the Kingdom, but is vital to receiving anything from the Lord. Of course, all are poor, and there is no one who has anything to boast about (Romans 3:23). But the problem is that very few recognize their poverty and how much they need the Lord. This applies to every area of the Christian life, whether it is the sinner who recognizes his need for a Savior or the believer who understands that he has no strength in himself.

Sadly, the spirit of our age is that of the church of Laodicea which boasted, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” but of which the Lord said, “[You] do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). It seems most believers and churches are quite content in their lukewarmness and, like Laodicea, “do not know” how spiritually bankrupt they really are. Like the blind person who compensates for his disability though attuned senses of hearing and feeling, so the church compensates for its spiritual poverty through programs and hype. Like the bankrupt businessman who distorts his accounts and spends lavishly to hide his poverty, the church changes the way it evaluates its spiritual state and embarks on propaganda campaigns to speak of the “great blessing”.

Living in a false state of security and comfort is an old scam of false prophets: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11). In like manner church leaders assure their congregations that they can see when they are blind, that they are rich when they are poor and that they are healthy when they are sick unto death!

Paul had learned that the real secret to power was not becoming more charismatic but realizing his great need and utter dependence on the Lord: “And He said to me… My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Corinthians 12:9-10). May we, too, face our desperate need, and may it drive us to Him Who alone has any strength.

The first Beatitude (poor in spirit) inevitably leads to the second: “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Once we see ourselves the way we really are (the way the Lord sees us) it must lead to a great sorrow over our emptiness and lack of power and blessing. But no church wants to be in mourning – we all want to be celebrating and speaking joyfully about the non-existent “move of God” amongst us. Yet there is nothing more inappropriate than being joyful when mourning is required, and I see no reason for cheerfulness amongst the vast majority of churches today.

The gross sin in the church of Corinth should have reduced them to tears and repentance but instead they felt quite good about themselves (1Corinthians 5:2). So, too, the powerlessness of modern Christians should bring them to a state of mourning over what has been lost, or never found. But rather there seems to be a general state of euphoria in spite of our utter poverty. 


Mourning of a godly kind leads to comfort (Matthew 5:4). There is no better way to be comforted than through the comfort (strengthening) of the Comforter. Just as knowledge of our poverty leads to mourning, so mourning will inevitably lead to hungering and thirsting: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). This beatitude speaks of thirsting for righteousness but the principle also applies to the Holy Spirit. Jesus also said: “‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive” (John 7:37-39).

It begins with thirsting. If there is no acknowledgement of our great thirst, no awareness of our poverty, no sorrow over our spiritual bankruptcy and sin, then there will be no drinking at the Living Fountain. Yet churches are kept artificially satisfied through endless programs, events, entertainment and feel-good pep talks. They are dying of thirst but don’t even know it. It seems that the leaders are in cahoots with the devil to keep people from being divinely dissatisfied, remaining unaware that they are spiritually hungry and thirsty, lest they turn to the Lord Jesus for satisfaction. In defense of leaders, many feel they must keep people happy to prevent them from going to the next church. Meanwhile the people don’t understand that the solutions are not in the church down the street, but in the Lord Jesus alone.

Oh, that we would just recognize that the void within cannot be filled with more meetings, mindless entertainment, or anything else the world, or a worldly church, has to offer, but that God through His Spirit alone can satisfy the deep longing within. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalms 42:1-2). “O GOD, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalms 63:1).

Thirsting must drive us to Christ. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Jesus, and not the pastor, conference or Internet, is the source. How often when we thirst do we inevitably run to the counselors so they can affirm us, assure us that everything is okay, and tell us that there is no need to be stressed. When young Samuel first heard the Lord’s call he ran to Eli who assured him that he was not being called and told him to return to sleep. Every day pastors just as spiritually blind as Eli shush believers to sleep, assuring them that there is indeed no voice from heaven.

Pastors, prophets and visiting evangelists are not dispensers of the Spirit. Jesus alone is, and it is to Him alone we must turn and cry to be filled to overflowing. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Revelation 21:6).

In coming to the Lord Jesus there is a need to wait (tarry) until we receive what we need. In Luke 11 Jesus teaches on the need for persistence in prayer (the man asking bread from his neighbor). He then tells us to ask and keep on asking, to seek and keep on seeking, and to knock and keep on knocking, which He then relates to the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). The message is clear; we need to ask until we receive. The problem is that most believers ask a few times, and maybe for a few minutes, and when they do not receive, they move onto the next thing on their agenda. Yet, it is clear from Luke 11 that we need to be persistent.

Jacob understood this principle when he wrestled with the Angel at the brook and said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32:26). I do not see that kind of persistent wrestling with God anymore. Our instant religion has made us believe that if we don’t get what we want immediately and easily then we just need to move on to the next fast-food place or item on the menu. But God is not into fast food nor is He into instant gratification. It is not because He does not want to bless us, but because He knows we are fickle and often not really serious about our need for His blessing. When He does not respond immediately, and we simply stop wrestling with Him, he says: “See, I did not give it to you because I knew you were not desperate and by giving up after five minutes of prayer you have proven that you are not serious about this.”

Just before Jesus ascended, “He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father…” (Acts 1:4). Previously, he had commanded them to go into the entire world, but now He told them not to move until they had received the Promise. They would wait for ten days and then, at the appointed time (when the day had fully come – Acts 2:1), the Promise was fulfilled. I have often wondered what would have happened had they given up after a week or nine days. Ten days is a long time to wait, and others have waited even longer. Yet most believers cannot wait ten minutes, let alone ten hours, ten days or ten years. Unfortunately many Christians are like King Saul, who could not wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice and so resorted to taking matters into his own hands, thus incurring the wrath of the Lord (1Samuel 13). 

As we persist in prayer, as we wait on the Lord, He in due time, will hear us and will pour out His blessing. Even if He does not, the time waiting on Him is not wasted but is precious, refreshing and empowering:

“He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. ” 
(Isaiah 40:29-31)  

To be continued… 

Pastor Anton Bosch (www.antonbosch.com) just published Building Blocks of Encouragement – A Devotional, a selection of 60 of his most popular articles written over the past 11 years. To order the book, contact the Discernment Ministries Book Center (903) 567-6423. The book is also available as a printed book as well as a Kindle book from Amazon.com.
 

For a video on “Bankrupt Before God” see https://youtu.be/7vYrsHxaccI

Friday, July 17, 2015

Technocracy, Transhumanism, Mythology, & Hollywood

Discerning the Times
Quantum Mysticism Conference 2012



https://vimeo.com/album/3448979

Dr. Martin Erdmann has just posted four more videos online. These are four of the talks presented at the Discerning the Times Quantum Mysticism Conference in Niles, Michigan in June 2012 organized by Discernment Ministries.

The first talk was Dr. Martin Erdmann, who spoke about the historical, philosophical, and religious background of the new spirituality: The New Spirituality and the New Science


Saint-Simon's utopian vision was a response to the social crises erupting in the wake of the industrial and political revolutions in France. Fundamentally, his writings represented an attempt to spell out a new European social order. Segal has outlined the main themes of the vision: Science and technology were "to solve major social as well as technical problems"; technical experts would be needed "to run society"; the "unenlightened masses" would have to be controlled "in order to effect these changes"; there would be a need to establish a new European hierarchy "based not on social origins" but on "natural talent and society's requirements"; and a "need to abandon mass democracy and, in turn, politics."


In the second talk Dr. Erdmann spoke about the historical, philosophical, and religious background of Transhumanism: Transhumanism, Illuminism, and Scientific Revolution

The goal of transforming humans into posthumans is based on two underlying assumptions: first, the essence of human identity is lodged exclusively in the mind, and second, the evolution of the mind is an open-ended and malleable process.

In the third talk Dr. Martin Erdmann spoke about the history of the rise of Technocracy: The Rise of Technocracy: Creating a Technetronic Era


Progressivism was, to a great extent, the culmination of the New Protestant political impulse, the urge to regulate every aspect of American life, economic and moral -- even the most intimate and crucial aspects of family life. But it was also a curious alliance of a technocratic drive for government regulation, the supposed expression of "value-free science," and the religious impulse of New Protestantism to save America -- and the world -- by state coercion. Often both religious and scientific arguments would be used, sometimes by the same people, to achieve the old goals of the crusading Protestants. Thus, prohibition would be argued for on religious as well as on alleged scientific or medicinal grounds. In many cases, leading progressive intellectuals at the turn of the twentieth century were former New Protestants, who went to college and then transferred to the political arena, their zeal for making over mankind, as a "salvation by science." And then the Social Gospel movement managed to combine political collectivism and liberal Christianity in the same package. All of these were strongly interwoven elements in the progressive movement.

In the fourth talk, Sarah H. Leslie spoke about the rise of pagan mythology and the 7 Mountains of Dominionism teachings in modern evangelicaldom, and showed exhibits illustrating the utilization of the propaganda resources of Hollywood to further these agendas: The Rise of Pagan Mythology

The NAR and their many evangelical associates are busy
building the Hollywood entertainment & movie mountain,
media tools by which they can more effectually propagate their aberrant eschatologies.
 "9 Realms" being described by the space alien god Thor in the Hollywood (Marvel Comics)
Avengers
series movie Thor, based on the mythological Nordic god. 
Tim Keller's own Katherine Leary spoke at Os Hillman's 2008 conference
that launched the New Apostolic Reformation's 7 mountains movement.
Read more: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/12/rethinking-eschatology.html

 
Os Hillman's e-mail June 10, 2007,  "Church in the Workplace Conference Info"
advertising the conference that launched the 7 mountains of dominionism.
Watch HERE.

The text above states that when God told the Israelites to go into the Promised Land
that "He told them to divide the land into 7 parts.
They would also have to displace 7 enemies that currently resided in the Promised Land."
This interpretation is used to justify extreme Dominionism.
The source is the promotional material for the 2008 conference.
Read more: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/09/next-great-awakening_20.html

For further information on the issues being discussed in these 4 videos, see the related links suggested below.

Related links (some of which are in article series):

NOTE: Some people have experienced troubles with their computers accessing these online videos. See HERE or HERE for more information on how to obtain the conference talks.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Who Goes There?

Encountering voices in contemplative prayer . . .

An updated article by Pastor Larry DeBruyn*

 
“We are from God; he who knows God listens to us;
he who is not from God does not listen to us.
By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

—The Apostle John, 1 John 4:6, NASB



Introduction
Through practicing the discipline of solitude and silence, contemplative spiritualists hope to hear God personally speak to them. As one nationally known personality stated on the Be Still DVD, “intimacy automatically breeds revelation.”[1]  But if a voice speaks, there is some question regarding its identity. Therefore in the video’s same segment, “Fear of Silence,” Richard Foster offers advice about how to discern who might communicate in the stillness. He said:

Learning to distinguish the voice of God... from just human voices within us... comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we can know the difference.[2]

Though there could be others, Richard Foster admits to cacophony of possible voices that might speak: first, human voices within and without (a source that could involve hearing oneself speak, in which case, contemplators would be listening to themselves); second, the voice of Satan or demons; and third, God’s voice.  

Who’s Voice?
In order to determine whose voice might be speaking, Foster provides criteria. If the voice is positive and reaffirming, then the voice is God’s. If however the voice is negative and that like a bully who “pushes and condemns,” then the voice must be that of Satan. To discern whether or not the voice is human, Foster offers no advice.

So if the voice is human, one is left wondering, why go into a meditative trance to hear yourself or another human speak? After all, in the normal concourse of life people talk to themselves and listen to others all the time, unless contemplators feel so isolated and alone, or unless in accord with the eastern monistic worldview, meditators believe they are gods so that when they listen to their voice, they are listening to god’s!

Yet Foster is of the opinion that the voice could be God’s. He errs however, by asserting that the divine voice invariably “draws and encourages.” Scripture does not record that God exclusively speaks in that manner. Yes, God encourages. To disobedient Israel he said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). But God can and often has spoken negatively. Speaking for God, the prophets of Israel called the sinful nation to repentance as they warned the people of coming wrath and judgment. Of the prophets who droned on and on with their “encouraging” message even in the face of Israel’s utter moral and spiritual collapse, the Lord said, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). In light of God’s manner of speaking through the prophets, can biblical Christians legitimately dismiss negative messages as being from Satan?

In his classic work on the subject of holiness, German theologian Adolf Köberle countered the significance of the negative criteria Foster mentions. He wrote:

The clear-cut difference between mystical piety and that of the Bible can be seen most clearly in the attitude towards prayer. All mystical prayer... becomes a blissful absorption into divinity, where personal consciousness ceases, like the impassible, dreamy rest of Nirvana. The experience of all Biblical suppliants stands in direct contrast to this beatific transcendence. When anyone has really encountered God Himself and not merely a higher ego or an imaginary, fantastic portrayal of God, he is roused from dreaming to watchfulness, from an impure approach to a terrified retreat, from the familiar confidence of bombastic prayers to words that express a real feeling of awe towards the One Who is so far above the suppliant himself.[3]

Köberle then cites Isaiah’s response to his beatific vision and communication he had of and from the Lord as his response was: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Can Isaiah’s beatific experience accurately be described as one of being drawn to and encouraged by the Lord? If not, then to use Foster’s expression, was Isaiah being “bullied” by Satan?

Assuming that God speaks Soul to soul today, what if Foster’s paradigm for determining the supernatural communication’s origin was reversed, that the negative voice is God’s and the positive is Satan’s? It happened that way in the Garden. God warned Adam and Eve that for disobedience to God, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17), but Satan reassuringly told Adam and Eve, “You surely shall not die!” (Genesis 3:4). The point is that when engaging in meditative spirituality, the contemplator or mystic can never be certain who will speak, and as a consequence, the experience can become the spawning ground for myriads of flashy ideas based solely upon, he or she “heard this or that.” At the juncture of such hearing, Christians and the church will have turned aside to the hearsay of “myths” (2 Timothy 4:4).



We live in the age of the Holy Spirit and His spiritual communion and communication with the human soul. But the Spirit’s communication is not always pleasant. Of the Holy Spirit Jesus predicted, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Even the Comforter does not always comfort. Sometimes He convicts, and conviction of soul is not pleasant to experience. It upsets. We do not like to be told we are wrong. Yet without the voice of the Spirit’s conviction, we would continue in sin, pursue unrighteousness and deny we are accountable to God for our behavior. So when for legitimate reasons the Spirit’s conviction comes over them, will Christians be so deluded by the positivity and feel good message that saturates today’s evangelical church that they will ignore the Spirit’s conviction; or worse, in a turnabout, they will assign the criticism to be the bullying voice of Satan?

None of us likes criticism. Never is it pleasant, especially if deserved. Instinctively, we become defensive. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is not only the Comforter of believers, He is also their critic. As we might indulge the fleshly inclinations of our hearts, the Spirit brings feelings of guilt to bear down upon us. He calls us to repent of sin and return to God’s righteousness. Again, should believers rightfully assign all guilt feelings to Satan? If the message of the plethora of positivity preachers who dominate evangelicalism is to be believed, then the answer would be, “yes.” Negativity is satanic. But if the Bible’s standard of spirituality is believed, the answer is “no,” for one mark of spirituality in the Bible is a person’s sensitivity to sin (See Genesis 18:27; Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8; Romans 7:14-25; etc.).

A Warning
That contemplative spiritualists engage in practices that by their own admission expose them to the influence of Satan’s voice is troubling. Scripture admonishes believers, “Neither give place [i.e., an opportunity] to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). But in his advocacy of contemplative prayer, Richard Foster admits that Satan may seize the silence as an occasion to speak. He states:

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance... there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way![4]

How to Contemplate
In the first edition of his book The Celebration of Discipline (1978), Foster proposes “four forms” of meditation.[5]  The first involves two activities: one, in yogic style, sitting for about five to ten minutes with your palms down (consciously letting go of your problems—release it) and then with your palms up (silently waiting for God’s peace—receive it); or two, concentrating on breathing (exhaling worries, fears and concerns, inhaling God’s peace).

The second involves meditating on some aspect of creation because if we will but listen, God, as Foster quotes Agnes Sanford (1897-1982), “still speaks to us through the earth and the sea, the birds of the air and the little living creatures upon the earth....”[6]

The third involves meditation for an extended period of time on a particular Scripture during which time the contemplator can “actually encounter the living Christ... be addressed by His voice and be touched by His healing power.”[7] In contrast to imagination that might happen during meditation, Foster writes that with Jesus “it can be a genuine confrontation” and then adds, “Jesus Christ may actually come to you.”[8] Meditators can, it appears, stimulate their own personal and private Parousia, Presence or Second Coming (Matthew 24:30), and this despite the fact that Scripture declares the event will be public (Revelation 1:7).

But Foster describes yet a fourth type of meditation, one he calls “the Mt. Everest of the soul,” one that “has its objective to bring you into a deep inner communion with the Father where you look at Him and He looks at you.”[9] And this can happen despite Jesus’ testimony that He alone had visage of the Father; He said, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father”; and despite the Apostle John’s statement, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 6:46; 1:18; Compare 1 Timothy 6:16.). But go for it anyway...

Going Out of the Body
As contemplators climb smaller meditative peaks, and meditatively gaze at the sky above, they may sense a desire to go higher.[10] Foster describes an exercise of meditation that can induce and transport the contemplator’s soul to experience another dimension of reality. “After awhile” wrote Foster, “there is a deep yearning within to go into the upper regions beyond the clouds.”[11]  So to climb the highest peak, Foster tells readers,

In your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily. Imagine your spiritual self, alive and vibrant, rising up through the clouds and into the stratosphere. Observe your physical body, the knoll, and the forest shrink as you leave the earth. Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence. Listen quietly, anticipating the unanticipated. Note carefully any instruction given. With time and experience you will be able to distinguish readily between mere human thought that may bubble up to the conscious mind and the True Spirit which moves upon the heart. Do not be surprised if the instruction is terribly practical and not pointed if no words come; like good friends, you are silently enjoying the company of each other. When it is time for you to leave, audibly thank the Lord for His goodness and return to the meadow. Walk joyfully back along the path until you return home full of new life and energy.[12]

Question: In light Scripture’s admonition to “resist the devil” (James 4:7), why should Christians flirt with a spiritual practice that might expose them to hear Satan or a demon speak?

Conclusion
The fact that contemporary evangelicals seek “fresh” revelations from and experiences with God, even to go “out of the body,” indicates that they no longer consider Holy Scripture to be sufficient and authoritative in matters of faith and its practice (Contra 2 Timothy 3:16.). Yet if the Bible is no longer considered sufficient, hearing another voice give a revelation raises the following conundrum:

If a voice repeats what’s in Holy Scripture, then the word is unnecessary. If a voice intuition or actual speaking contradicts the Word of God, then what it says is heresy. If however, the voice supplements the Word of God, then the fresh revelation points to Scripture’s insufficiency, and regarding this last point Proverbs warns: “Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he [God] reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6, KJV).

So the Apostle Paul warned the Colossians against the folk religion that was leading them astray from the faith:

“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Emphasis added, Colossians 2:18-19).

One of the marks of spiritual defrauders is, as Paul points out, that they take their “stand on visions they have seen.” Would it not also be a legitimate application of Paul’s words to think that spiritual defrauders might also take their stand upon voices they have heard?

Endnotes:
[1] Michelle McKinney Hammond, “Fear of Silence,” Be Still (DVD © 2006 Twentieth Fox Home Entertainment LLC).
[2] Ibid: Richard Foster segment.
[3] Italics mine, Adolf Köberle, The Quest for Holiness, John C. Mattes, Translator (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1938): 35-36.
[4] Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1992): 157.
[5] Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1978): 27-28. In the book’s 10th Anniversary revision, Foster still advises the same formats for meditation, but eliminates much of the advice and goals of meditation evident in the first edition. See Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, Revised Edition (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988): 29-32. Christianity Today, the magazine of evangelicalism, has called the book, having sold over a million copies, one of the top ten books of the twentieth century. This raises the question, How many copies of the 1978 edition are still in circulation as used books? If they are still circulating, then the issues raised deserve continuing address for the mystical path Foster promotes is even today being followed and experienced.

[6] Ibid: 25. During the 60s thru the 80s, Sanford was a charismatic leader of the Inner Healing Movement.
[7] Ibid: 26.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid: 27.
[10] As they climb the “mystic mountain,” contemplators may at hear and experience “attendant voices and visitations.” See Ray C. Petry, Editor, Late Medieval Mysticism: The Library of Christian Classics, Volume 17 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1957): 21. Other experiences may include body illumination and levitation. Other experienced paranormal phenomena (PSI) can include clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, prophecy and so on. See Herbert Thurston, S.J., The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, J.H. Crehan, Editor (Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 1951); Montague Summers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism: With Especial Reference to the Stigmata, Divine and Diabolic (London, GB: Rider & Company, 1950); and Raynor C. Johnson, The Imprisoned Splendor: An approach to Reality, based upon the significance of data drawn from the fields of Natural Science, Psychical Research and Mystical Experience (Cambridge, GB: University Press, 1989).
[11] Foster, Celebration of Discipline (1978), 27.
[12] Ibid: Emphasis added. In a bibliographical note regarding the first edition of Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (1978), Christian philosopher Arthur Johnson stated: “In an attempt to provide advice on living the Christian life, Foster promotes a very mystical view of Christianity.” Therefore Johnson concluded that, “Much of what the Protestant Reformers opposed is promoted by Foster.” See Arthur L. Johnson, Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988): 153.


*This article has been updated significantly from the original version published years ago, especially now that the evangelical church world has so widely embraced the eastern mystical practices of meditation. For related articles see:

Monday, July 06, 2015

Why is the Church Powerless?

Missing the Connection
By Pastor Anton Bosch

Anyone who is half-honest will admit that the church of the 21st century is powerless when compared to the church in the first century and at other times of great blessing. The problem is that making such a statement is akin to saying the emperor has no clothes since most feel quite content with their situation.

I know generalizations are exactly that, and I also freely admit that there are differences between the church in the West and other places where there still is a visible sense of God moving amongst His people. In broaching this topic we also have problems with terms, so allow me to define what I do, and do not, mean by power.

Power is not measured in noise, hype or even large numbers, just as the “anointing” is not measured in shouting, sweat and spit. Power cannot be measured in statistics, budgets, buildings or programs. A telling statement comes from a Third-World believer after visiting churches in the West: “It is amazing what the church in the West has been able to achieve without the Holy Spirit.”[1]

Power must be defined by the Scripture itself, and the definitive text is Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This promise of the Lord Jesus is made manifest by the disciples in the book of Acts as “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33). This power is visible in sinners powerfully transformed, powerful preaching and, yes, powerful miracles. And yes, I am painfully aware that my own church and ministry fall into the category of the powerless!

The Greek word for “power” is dunamis. Many point out that the word “dynamite” stems from this word. While that is true, I do not believe that dynamite is what Jesus had in mind when He used this word, simply because dynamite results in a huge explosion, the release of great power, and then destruction and silence in its wake. The word “dynamo” also comes from the word dunamis. A dynamo generates a constant flow of (electrical) power. The dunamis of the Spirit should not result in a momentary explosion (as in some questionable “revivals”) but in a constant empowering from within – driving the individual and the church forward in the face of difficulties and attacks, empowering lives that powerfully witness to the power of the Gospel and the power of the Cross.

This stands in stark contrast to modern conversions that seem to be more about joining, behavior modeling, and superficial assimilation; preaching that is clever, eloquent and impressive, but that leaves the sinner and the rebel unconverted; and a reliance on medical science, hype and advertising as a replacement for miracles.

The decline in the manifestation of God’s power amongst His people cannot be ascribed to Cessationism, or Hyper-Dispensationalism. That there is a decline is beyond dispute, but the weakening of the church cannot have been part of God’s original design since the power of Acts 1:8 is intimately connected with the Great Commission, which has not yet been fulfilled. If the dunamis was specifically given to empower the witness of the church, and the Great Commission has not yet been withdrawn nor fulfilled, then the power must still be available.

Concerning the gifts, Harry Ironside said:

There are commentators who insist that some of these gifts have absolutely disappeared, but I do not know of any Scripture portion that tells us that. I do not know of any passage that says that the age of miracles has passed and I would not dare to say that the sign gifts all ended with Paul’s imprisonment. I know from early church history that this is not true… Therefore I do not think it is correct to take the position that these sign gifts have necessarily disappeared from the church. I do, however, believe that many of the gifts are not often seen today, and I think there is good reason for that. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 the apostle wrote, “I have espoused you... as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Paul was writing to a separated company, the affianced bride of the Lamb, and it was the delight of the blessed risen Lord to lavish upon her gift after gift. The Corinthians “[came] behind in no gift,”… However, it seems to me that we can see in the book of Acts that as time went on and the church began to drift a little, and as dissension and other things that grieved the Lord arose, there was more reserve on His part in bestowing gifts. That, I believe, explains the lack of many of these gifts today. The church has gotten so far away from what she should be and there is so much strife, division, worldliness, and carnality that the Lord no longer delights in lavishing His gifts as freely as He did in the beginning.[2]

Before I continue I also need to make it clear that while we are solely responsible for our anemic state, God remains sovereign, and we cannot manufacture a revival by applying a formula by which God then becomes obliged to fulfill our wishes. In a church I recently visited I was rebuked by an elder for not believing that we could absolutely bring about a revival as long as we simply prayed and believed hard enough![3] But we cannot control, manipulate or force God into doing anything. At best, we can simply obey Him and then trust Him to do what He alone wills. The revivalist who touts various formulas for revival is no different than the prosperity teacher, who believes we can bribe God to prosper him, or the Word of Faith evangelist, who believes that God is subject to his faith. To all these God simply becomes a puppet on a string that dances to the tunes of men.

But, at the same time, it is very evident that we can do much that would hinder the work of the Spirit and that would prevent the Lord from pouring out His blessings on us. One of the misconceptions taught during the last century is the idea that the Holy Spirit and the attendant power is a gift and, since a gift cannot be earned, God will pour His Spirit on anyone who asks, irrespective of the individual or church’s spiritual condition. Thus there have been accounts of unbelievers, drunkards, and other vile persons “filled with the Spirit”. This is not the truth. There are clear conditions set for the receipt of the power of God.

Conditions to the Outpouring of the Spirit:

God does not give His Spirit to those who are disobedient to the Divine will. The Bible does not teach that God will bless and empower those who are disobedient but, on the contrary, there is a clear connection between our obedience and God’s blessings in general, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit in particular: “… the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Obedience obviously covers a huge area and would include things like holiness, obedience in ministry, and obedience to any of the many commands contained in the New Testament. The prime reason for a lack of power in the lives of individuals and churches is clear when one looks at the general disobedience so prevalent in churches today.

In John 14:15-16, Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” Jesus Himself predicates the giving of the Spirit on loving Him, and the consequent obedience that flows from such love. Believers that love themselves, the world, pleasure, ease and comfort are clearly excluded from this promise, as are those who do not love Him sufficiently to obey Him.

These two principles – love and obedience – cover everything else. But under these main principles there are a number of other more specific conditions.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Notice again the conjunction “and” which indicates that receiving the Holy Spirit will happen once the conditions had been met. Baptism here is symbolic of obedience. However, repentance seems to be the first condition.

By repentance Peter was referring to two main areas in which repentance is necessary. We need to repent from religion void of the Cross. Peter was preaching to religious Jews but calls them to repent from their religiosity and to believe on the Lord Jesus. But clearly implied in the word “repent” is repentance from any form of sin and disobedience. It is interesting that all great and true revivals are always accompanied and preceded by deep sorrow for, and repentance from, sin. The notion that the Lord will give His Spirit to a rebellious, sinful and unrepentant heart is utterly contrary to both Scripture and the holiness of God. Also, leaders cannot demand that their followers repent if they themselves are not truly broken before God.

The connection between obedience, sanctification, and the presence of God is illustrated in Exodus 40:18-38 where the Tabernacle is a type of the individual believer, and also of the church.[4] The text explains the final erection of the tabernacle and between verses 19-32; it says seven times that Moses did everything “as the Lord commanded Moses.” Repeating that many times that Moses did as He was commanded is highly significant. Following these seven repetitions, verse 33 says: “So Moses finished the work.” This statement is immediately followed by: “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34, emphasis mine). Note the clear connection between Moses’ obedience, completing the work as he had been commanded, and the descent of the Glory of the Lord.

One of the very real reasons the believer and the church are powerless is because of our disobedience and sin. God will simply not anoint our disobedience, laziness and sin.

Many who desire the power of God in their lives, ministries, and churches also do not have it because they want it for the wrong reasons: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3). Some want God’s power to make them look good, others want power over people, and others want power so their churches can grow for selfish reasons. While any reason other than the Lord’s will is bad, nothing is worse than those who want God’s power so they can make money out of it. This is not new. Simon the sorcerer seemed to be motivated by ego and money, and was even willing to offer money to purchase the gift of God (Acts 8).

Even without the real anointing of God, there is still good money to be made in selling books, videos and conferences on revival. If the peddlers of such books were serious about wanting revival they would give the books away. Yet it is a lucrative segment of the Christian market. Amazon.com lists over 1500 titles on “revival” and over 6200 on “renewal.”[5]

The Lord will never bless our greed, lust for power, or desire for the honor of men. The thousands of prayers going up every day for power for the sake of power are a stench in the nostrils of God and will forever go unanswered. Only the desire for more of Him, and not just His gifts, will be answered. Once again there is little difference between those who follow the Lord for financial riches and those who follow Him for spiritual gifts – both are rooted in selfishness, a lack of gratitude for the Cross, and lack of true love for the Lord.

Those who have a pure motive pray that they may be consumed, broken and humbled in order to gain more of the Lord. They understand that when God’s fire falls, all of the flesh must be consumed. They are not only willing to pay that price, but they desire the loss of all that they may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8). Only those with the right motive pray John’s prayer: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

To be continued…

Endnotes:
[1] The origin of this statement is unknown but is variously attributed to a Chinese and African believer.
[2] HA Ironside – Commentary on 1Corinthians 12 – 1938.
[3] In spite of these leaders regarding themselves as experts on revival this church is literally falling apart at the seams. The less than a dozen people are divided and bullied by the leaders who constantly berate them for their lack of prayer, faith and results. The leaders are directly responsible for this sad state of affairs yet are arrogant and abusive as they blame the church for failure for which they are personally responsible.
[4] The Tabernacle is primarily a type of Jesus, but also of the church and the believer.
[5] Searched by “Christian revival” and “Christian renewal” in order to filter out secular books containing the terms “revival” or “renewal”.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Quantum Charismatics

Part 9: The Physics of Heaven*
A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction


"The God Vibration" author Dan McCollam at School of the Prophets


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Review of Chapter 8 (authored by Dan McCollam)
“The God Vibration”[1]

All of creation is constantly resonating with the praises of God. (Psalm 19:1-4) God’s voice and the sound of angels can also be heard and experienced by man. A whole new realm of encounter awaits those who possess three simple qualities: expectancy, intentionality, and intimacy. Because God, creation, and the angels are constantly interacting, we can expect to hear from them at times.
—Dan McCollam
(TPOH, 85)

Introduction
In a dialectic three step, Dan McCollam dances with deception as he first accepts the Genesis account of creation (no other step need be taken), then synthesizes that account with quantum physics and finally, promotes contemplative spirituality or mysticism as the way to encounter the supernatural realm.[2] In this chapter the author weaves together a combination of Scripture, science and supernaturalism.

Scripture
In his chapter “The God Vibration,” the author employs the Bible to explain the origin of the universe. God the Father, as the opening verses of Genesis state, created “something out of nothing.” (TPOH, 79) To buttress the creation account, McCollam refers to the writings of creation scientist Dr. Henry Morris (1918-2006).[3] He also accepts that the Son is the Creator (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and that “by” Christ the universe coheres or holds together (Colossians 1:17b). But then he injects physics into the explanation of origins. As the chapter’s preface states, Modern scientific discoveries have recently joined the voice of ancient sacred writings to pull back the veil of ignorance that once shrouded the power of sound in God’s universe.(TPOH, 77)

Science
For example, McCollam defines the action of Holy Spirit’s “moving [or] hovering over the surface of the waters” as “vibrating,” a meaning he imports from quantum physics (Genesis 1:2). The author states: “Therefore it could be said that the Holy Spirit vibrated over the formless universe” even as he proceeds to add, “Vibrations are the forces that hold particle matter together.”(TPOH, 79-80) These continuing vibrations of the Spirit of God McCollum associates with string theory; that theory of quantum physics which proposes that, “there are tiny vibrating strands of energy at the center of all matter.”(TPOH, 81)
McCollam's bio at Bill Johnson's Bethel website "School of the Prophets"

McCollam constructs this theory from the Hebrew word used to describe the Holy Spirit as “hovering” (i.e., rachaph) over the dead and dark material mass God had spoken into existence ex nihilo, out of nothing. The author states “hovering” can mean “vibrating” despite the fact that in its only other occurrence in the Old Testament the rare verb pictures an eagle providentially caring for its young eaglets by guarding the nest (Deuteronomy 32:11). So rachaph pictures God’s Spirit protectively hovering “over the surface of the waters” as God (the Father and the Son) was about to energize matter with light and fill the void of an otherwise empty universe.

For McCollam it might be assessed that the Genesis narrative provides the “frame” for his understanding of origins which he then “fills” with inferences extracted from the science of quantum physics (i.e., that the material universe is filled with “vibrations” infused in it by God).[4] As he states, “Quantum physics serves as one of the great scientific disciplines bridging the river of confusion between science and biblical kingdom thinking.”(TPOH, 77) But McCollam does not stop there.

Supernaturalism
In taking his quantum leap of faith and providing a platform for pursuing mysticism, McCollam proposes that “God... and the angels are constantly interacting” with a vibrating universe and then proceeds to advocate readers get in on the action by opening their hearts, eyes and ears with “an expectancy to encounter the sounds and sights of heaven on a new level.”(TPOH, 85) Openness to the vibrating oneness of reality, says the author, will breed the spiritual “intimacy” necessary to incubate “increased encounters from the supernatural realm.”(TPOH, 86) So vibrations become the focal point for contacting and encountering nature (of which all earth-bound persons like us are a part) or super-nature (the realm inhabited by God, angels, Satan, demons, Nephilim, space aliens, familial spirits or whatever other invented entities or mythological deities are believed to inhabit and traverse throughout the universe). But how does one make the “contact” to connect with the supernatural beings inhabiting the universe’s upper story or outer space? According to the author, the devout can generally do so by cultivating the right attitudes and taking the proper action.[5]
McCollam at a NAR-related website:
http://www.reva.org.sg/author/jamestan/


Panentheism and Process
So my problem with the worldview McCollam creates does not lie in the references he makes to the Genesis creation—though I think, as has been pointed out, his interpretation is off on some points—but with his enhancing the Scriptural account by integrating speculative science into it.[6] (“Everything in the universe has a vibration at the center of it.”—TPOH, 84). All creation therefore becomes animated with and permeated of the vibrations of God. This oneness worldview is panentheistic and resembles that of process theologians.[7] Both systems of spirituality and thought incorporate God into the being (permeation of divine vibrations throughout the universe—i.e., panentheism) and becoming (divine interaction with that energy—i.e., process) of the universe. Both understandings sacrifice God’s transcendence upon the altar of “His immanence,” which becomes the seedbed of idolatry. In his dedicatory prayer for the Temple, Solomon steered clear of the idea of oneness (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6; Compare Isaiah 66:1.). The universe is not God’s “container.” While God is omnipresent throughout, He does not omnipermeate the universe.

Though energy may help us to understand reality, it does not explain, I believe, the entire complex in which “we live, move and have our being” Acts 17:28a, KJV). By itself, light or energy reveal nothing to us about God’s plan of divine redemption for both a fallen humanity and creation.

So in our acceptance of the Genesis account as well other points regarding creation, I agree with the author. But despite some agreement, there resides a “quantum” difference regarding our understanding of and spiritual experience in the reality we know as “life.” In short, by reading speculative science into the understanding of God’s Word and then seeking confirmation of the synthesis by adventuring into speculative spirituality, McCollam undermines the sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

We turn to look at the mystic way the author promotes at the end of the chapter.
McCollam at a 2010 School of the Prophets


The Mystic Way
1. Anticipation
First, anticipate . . . “Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears with the expectancy to encounter the sounds and sights of heaven on a new level,” counsels McCollam.(TPOH, 85) To experience whatever “vibrations” might be “out there,” Christians must make preparations “down here.” They must break away from their old spiritual past (traditional paths to spirituality like Bible reading, prayer, the Apostle’s teaching, fellowship with other believers, and observing the Lord’s Table) in order to experience a new spiritual future, to encounter the “vibrations” of the supernatural realm in new ways. “Expect it” if you want to “get it”! McCollam writes that, “God wants to broadband your ability to receive from Him.”[8](TPOH, 85-86) So at the vibrating quantum level of reality, God “delights” to interact with His children even as He interacts with that reality Himself. So to this end, both “faith and expectancy create an environment for encounter.”(TPOH, 86) But the believer is not to stand idly by and wait for encounters to just happen (though mystics teach that encounters can be spontaneous). Illuminations may unexpectedly happen.

Phony Glory
In his chapter titled “The Luminous Phenomena of Mysticism” from his book The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, Herbert Thurston, S.J., notes “the frequent occurrence of luminous phenomena in mediumistic séances” which then inclines him to think “that similar manifestations are not likely to be lacking in the records of mysticism.”[9] Then the fact of the similarity between the miracles of Moses and the counterfeits performed by Pharaoh’s magicians leads Thurston to therefore observe that,

No careful student of physical research can fail to notice a very close resemblance between the marvels recorded in the lives of Saints, and the phenomena of what is loosely termed spiritualism.[10]

Though on this point I do not think Thurston was indicting the mysticism of the saints to be spiritualism, his analogy does beg the question about PSI phenomena, which authors in The Physics of Heaven advocate experiencing, “How can anyone definitively discern which is which?” Reader: Connect the dots. Even Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light and we therefore should not be surprised that his ministers are likewise (2 Corinthians 11:14). So expectancy can end in fantasy and deception, or worse.
McCollam advertised on TheElijahList, 2/17/11,
http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word/9595

2. Initiation
Second, initiate . . . Encounters are not accidental. Activity, not passivity, is the key to experience the “God vibration” or the sights and sounds of the supernatural realm. Heaven can come down to earth, and devout souls can make that happen. So Christians must develop intentionality if they are to experience the supernatural realm. “Intentionality is simply the decision to see and listen.”(TPOH, 86) “Activate your sensitivity to your aural and spiritual environment,” suggests McCollam, and then adds, “When you suspect a unique sound or light encounter—follow it.”(TPOH, 86) (Ed. Note: In other words, pay no attention to the Apostle Paul’s notice that, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”—2 Corinthians 11:14). Though the author does not directly use either the verbs contemplate or meditate, he repackages the activity with the advice to “activate your sensitivity to your aural and spiritual environment phrase.” So to activate, Christians might be encouraged to contemplate. This initiatory mystical practice has been around the church for fifteen centuries plus and produced physical phenomena—what the author would call “encounters”—from the supernatural realm.[11] Of the relationship between contemplative or meditative prayer, paranormal expert Rosemary Guiley notes that often,

Psychic phenomena and powers are associated with prayer and meditation. The literature of Western mystics describes clairvoyance, clairaudience, levitation, precognition, prophecy, and so on as unsought by-products of mystical prayer.[12]

After referring to clairvoyance experienced by St. Anthony (1195-1231) and levitations by St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) and St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1633)—“who could ‘fly’ short distances and stay aloft for a considerable time”—Guiley remarks that, “Such phenomena may be compared to the siddhis of Eastern meditation and yoga.”[13]

On this point it should be noted that Jonathan Welton, another author in a chapter in The Physics of Heaven, has stated:

I have found throughout Scripture at least 75 examples of things that the New Age has counterfeited, such as having a spirit guide, trances, meditation, auras, power objects, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and more. These actually belong to the church, but they have been stolen and cleverly repackaged.(TPOH, 49)
McCollam advertised on TheElijahList, 2/17/11,
http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word/9595


3. Cultivation
Third, remain sensitive . . . Because “encounters are born out of intimacy,” Christians need to keep their hearts sensitive and humble before God. At the slightest hint that God might be vibrating a message to or an encounter with them, they need to cease what they are doing and “turn aside with Him even if just for a moment.”(TPOH, 86) To this end, Christians need to continually “cultivate a sense of the Lord’s presence” in their everyday life for “Intimacy is the incubator of increased encounters from the supernatural realm.”(TPOH, 86).

This raises the question, “Intimate encounters with what?” The realm of spirits, whether angelic and demonic, is real. Seeking intimacy with supernatural entities, whatever they might be, is unscriptural. Never are we told in the Bible to seek intimacy with angels. Furthermore, Scripture tells believers, in light of the spiritual conflict they are in, to “Resist the devil” (James 4:7) and not give him “opportunity” (Ephesians 4:27). In the contemplative and mystical world, intimacy may provide opportunity for unwanted invaders to bring their influence to bear upon our lives.

To the contrary, believers’ intimacy with God and experiencing His enduring presence in their lives comes by grace through faith in the Gospel. For reason of their being baptized by the Spirit when the believe they are thus united together with Christ and His church where with other believers they can “in Christ” worship God, continue in the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship with one another, observe the ordinances of the Lord, cultivate His righteousness in their lifestyles, and evangelize the lost.[14]


Interacting with the Chapter
God the First Cause
In his analysis of “The God Vibration,” Dan McCollam prevails upon the cosmological argument for the existence of God; specifically that the vibrations in the universe today could not exist unless God originally energized the cosmos. (See footnote 4.) He correctly states: “Energy does not create itself; it must have a source or energizer.”(TPOH, 81) Something cannot derive from nothing. So Hoover states that, “The choice is simple: one chooses either a self-existent God or a self-existent universe.”[15] McCollam, as I, chooses to believe the former while Stephen Hawking (1942-    ), embracing the big bang idea that gravity self-derived spontaneously, reportedly stated in his book The Grand Design that, given the existence of gravity, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”[16] Hawking opines that physics offers a “more convincing explanation” for the universe’s origin because “miracles of religion ‘aren’t compatible’ with scientific fact.”[17] He also thinks that believing in heaven or an afterlife is “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”[18] So we have a universe in which at this point in time, energy seems omnipresent and some might say omnipotent.


Energy Spirituality
So McCollam believes that given the scientific fact that energy fills the universe and holds it together, “The God Vibration” as he calls it, and that therefore God and other supernatural beings interact with what he calls a “singing” creation.(TPOH, 84) “All creation” he writes, “is constantly resonating with the praises of God. (Psalm 19:1-4)” And the way to get in on the interaction is to receive communications from God, angels and even the creation itself through cultivating a contemplative or mystic way of “expectancy, intentionality, and intimacy.”(TPOH, 85-86)

Interestingly, Augustine (354-430) advocated a similar spiritual path of energy spirituality when he wrote that through contemplation (i.e., mysticism) a person can attain to “the Divine Kinetic Energy, whereby all things were made and exist.”[19] As Augustine describes his contemplative experience in encountering the “Divine Kinetic”; that is moving, however momentarily, from the natural to the supernatural realm:

My mind in the swift flash of a motitation [Latin, “to move about”], attained to the Absolute Being, the Ultimate and only Reality, All that Is. Then, of a truth, I saw and understood What is Invisible comprehended by Things Created. Yet I could not sustain the sight of Infinity and Eternal Reality. It was a glimpse, transient, a second’s space.[20] 


So what McCollam advocates is nothing new, for Augustine likely adapted his contemplative path from the philosophers who and the mystery religions that were either contemporary with or preceded him.[21] As Summers stated approvingly, “Fathers and Saints of the Church, not without purpose, have sanctified and legitimized many terms in the Mysteries by applying them to the Divine faith and inspired practice of the Catholic Church.”[22]

Cosmos, Curse and Chaos[23]
But nature does not always, as McCollam states, “sing.” Often it groans and screams. Vibrations are not always positive. Yes, even in its fallen state nature evidences beauty. But it can also be a beast. Nature is both fractal and chaotic. Even as beautiful mountains, forests and lakes adorn this planet, so also do earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, volcanoes ravage it (See Job 1:16, 19.). Chaos remains the dark side of the quantum physical world, a negative aspect of reality which McCollam ignores in his chapter “The God Vibration.”

In his fanciful reliance on creation’s positive vibes recorded in Genesis 1, he makes no mention of Genesis 3 where God told the first persons that because of their sin against Him, “Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it / All the days of your life... For you are dust, / And to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19). In alluding to that original curse, Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation groans [Not sings!] and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Romans 8:22). So the theory McCollam imposes on the Bible does not fit the reality in which we live, unless Christians believe we’re already living in the promised millennial kingdom, something both the Bible and experience contradict (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4, 6).

Conclusion
Chaos will continue until “the regeneration” when “according to His promise,” God will create a “new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13*; Compare Matthew 18:28.). In view of the present distress, it becomes difficult to see how quantum physics bridges “the river of confusion between science and biblical kingdom thinking.”(TPOH, 77) After all, while the science of quantum physics sees fractal order in the universe (the remnant of the garden) it also observes chaotic disorder (the result of the fall and curse).

So before God’s kingdom can come, chaos must cease and the curse be lifted. The biblical kingdom will not come until Jesus comes, binds Satan, restores creation, and judges the world. When this prophetic promise is fulfilled, when believers are translated, resurrected and manifested as God’s sons, chaos will cease (“the wolf will lie down with the lamb”) and believers will become “priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Isaiah 11:1-10; Revelation 20:4-6*).


Endnotes
[1] Dan McCollam, Chapter 8: “The God Vibration,” The Physics of Heaven: Exploring God’s Mysteries of Sound, Light, Energy, Vibrations and Quantum Physics, by Judy Franklin & Ellyn Davis (Crossville, TN: Double Portion Publishing, 2012): 77-86.
[2] In common with the religions of the East, “mysticism” is the word used to describe a process by which human beings attempt to experience union with God. So as one meets the word “contemplation” in the writings of the church fathers and modern evangelicals, it is assumed that contemplation differs from mysticism because, “In the West for centuries” wrote Montague Summers, “the word which was in use was Contemplation and not Mysticism.” But practically the words refer to the same thing. See Montague Summers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism: With Especial Reference to the Stigmata, Divine and Diabolic (London, GB: Rider & Company, 1950): 26. The point is that modern day evangelical contemplatives are—as they attempt to incubate union with God through practicing spiritual disciplines and following spiritual directors—mystics!
[3] I might add that personally, the writings of Dr. Morris as well as Dr. Duane Gish (1921-2013), also influenced my understanding of creation and delivered me from believing evolutionary theory. See Henry M. Morris, Studies in the Bible and Science (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1966).
[4] To illustrate: Like a clock, the universe evidences “design.” Like a clock, the universe also “ticks.” So the questions regarding origins become, “Who designed the universe?” and “Who originally energized it?” Genesis informs believers that out of nothing God first created and energized the material from which He would then construct the clock. After creating matter, God said, “Let there be light” and “there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Morris states that, “The energy of light, in fact, may be considered the most basic form of energy.” See Morris, Studies in the Bible and Science: 124. At the moment He spoke the Word, the infinite God infused His creation with finite energy (This energy evidences that it’s “finite” because it’s undergoing entropy.) Thus God energized the matter from which He would proceed to form and fill what would become a living universe. God is not only the Originator of the universe but also the Energizer and Designer of it. Presently, science studies and calculates that energy, its motion and the forces affecting its motion. This is called quantum physics or kinetics.
As other philosophical physicists, Stephen Hawking understands gravity, though it’s unexplainable—gravity just “is”—to be the kinetic genius of the universe. This cause Hawking to deduce that gravity is God. But if gravity is god, god is decaying, a fact known to every scientist. So perhaps in the far, far, and far distant future when god “runs out” of energy and reaches the omega point (this is called metastasis), planetary life as we know it will end. The universe will flame out! This prophetic end inheres within nature; that is, unless God intervenes by reconstituting, reenergizing and resurrecting the universe, something Scripture promises He will do (See Isaiah 50:9;  2 Peter 3:10-13; Compare Romans 8:18-25.).
[5] The “mystical path” can involve as few as three stages or perhaps, as many as seven. The three most common involve “contemplation” (what McCollam calls “expectancy”), “illumination” (what McCollam calls “encounters with the supernatural realm” and what Petry stated involves hearing and seeing “attendant voices and visitations”), and “communion” (what McCollam calls the “sense of the Lord’s presence in your everyday life”). The fourth stage involves “unification” and “deification”; that is God’s entry and perfect penetration into the fabric of one’s physical and psychological being while yet in this life on earth. See Ray C. Petry, Editor, Late Medieval Mysticism: The Library of Christian Classics, Volume 17 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1957): 21.
[6] Regarding this integration, three points can be noted: first, attempting to understand God by inferences from nature might qualify as “natural theology,” and “by nature” natural theology is non-redemptive; second, science (human knowing) has and will continue to change and any who marry their understanding of Christianity today to science today may widow their faith tomorrow; and third, Paul warns that the enticements of scientific philosophy—and quantum physics mostly is philosophy—will, as they become enamored with “the elementary principles of the world,” lead Christians away from Christ (Colossians 2:8).
[7] Unlike pantheism (God is all.), panentheism asserts that a universal soul inhabits, permeates or vibrates inside matter of nature so that if persons hug a tree, they are not hugging God per se, but merely the wood hosting the divine soul. Process theology or philosophy on the other hand, emphasizes God’s participation—what McCollam calls “interaction”—in a changing or vibrating universe, to the extent that “as the word turns” or changes, God turns and changes also. I am not saying that McCollam espouses panentheism or process theology, but only that his thinking resembles them, both of which contradict Genesis 1-3.
[8] Broadband means, “Of, having, or relating to a wide band of electromagnetic frequencies.” See Webster’s II: New College Dictionary (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995): 140.
[9] Herbert Thurston, S.J., The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, J.H. Crehan, Editor (Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 1951): 169-170.
[10] Ibid: 170.
[11] See Thurston, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, and Montague Summers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism: With Especial Reference to the Stigmata, Divine and Diabolic (London, GB: Rider & Company, 1950).
[12] Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Prayer,” Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience (New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991): 462.
[13] Ibid.
[14] See Larry DeBruyn, “God’s Present of His Presence,” Discernment Ministries (http://www.discernment-ministries.org/God’s%20Present%20of%20His%20Presence.pdf).
[15] Arlie J. Hoover, “God, Arguments for the Existence of,” The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Edited by Walter A. Elwell, Abridged by Peter Toon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991): 195.
[16] Richard Allen Greene, “Stephen Hawking: God didn’t create universe,” CNN, September 2, 2010 (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/02/hawking.god.universe/index.html).
[17] Dominique Mosbergen, “Stephen Hawking Says ‘There Is No God’: Confirms He’s An Atheist,” The Huffington Post, September 25, 2014 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/25/stephen-hawking-atheist_n_5882860.html).
[18] Ken Ammi, “Atheist Stephen Hawking claims to know that God does not exist,” Examiner.com, October 13, 2014 (http://www.examiner.com/article/atheist-stephen-hawking-claims-to-know-that-god-does-not-exist).
[19] Summers, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism: 27, quoting St. Augustine, De Quantitate Animae, 75, 76.
[20] Ibid. This quote is Summers’ translation from the Latin text taken from St. Augustine Confessions, Books I-VIII (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1912): Book VIII, Chapter XVII.
[21] Ibid: 19-23.
[22] Ibid: 23-24.
[23] Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “Quantum Physics and the New Spirituality: from Cosmos, to Chaos, to Consciousness,” Parts 1, 2, and 3, Herescope Blog Spot, October 22, 25, 28, 2010 (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/10/quantum-physics-and-new-spirituality.html).


*Read Part 1: "The Physics of Heaven"
Read Part 2: "The Power of the Zero-Point Field"
Read Sidebar: "Jesus' Lesser Works"
Read Part 3: "Extracting the Precious From the Worthless"
Read Part 4: "Vibrating in Harmony With God"
Read Part 5: BILL JOHNSON: Squandering Our Spiritual Inheritance
Read Part 6: Unsagacious Seers
Read Part 7: Bad Vibes

Read Part 8: "Sound of Heaven, Symphony of Earth"