On yesterday’s post, I had talked about recent apostasy (turning away from the faith) among two well-known public figures–one a former megachurch pastor; and the other a singer/songwriter and worship leader. Today, I’d like to talk about two particular heresies going around that are quite prevalent. One is Progressive Christianity (PC), and the other is New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
But first, what is heresy? Basically, it is a belief contrary to generally-recognized and traditionally-accepted doctrine. In other words, a false doctrine. Sure, there can be disagreements among some–but emersion vs. sprinkling is not what one would consider heresy. KJV vs. NIV is not what one would consider heresy. Believing the Bible is not the authoritative word of God would be considered a heresy. Believing that Jesus is not God incarnate would be a heresy.
As the title of this blog series suggests, it seems as if apostasy and heresy are a sudden growing trend. Perhaps more so with apostasy. But when it comes to heresy, these two groups (PC and NAR) in particular, have been around for a little while, but are just now gaining more traction.
PC, as you can imagine, is quite ‘PC’ in the Political Correct sense. Its adherants span a pretty far and wide spectrum of belief–some not so much heretical, such as being more politically correct and socially conscious. Others deny Jesus’ diety altogether (Jesus’ claim that he was God, was the specific crime for which he was executed) and his death as atonement for our sins, yet call themselves Christian because they love his teachings and the example he set. Those who go so far believe Jesus as an all-around good teacher, rebel and martyr, but edit out more or less everything else in the Bible (or at least do not believe it in a literal sense).
For more specifics, you can check out the official “8 Points of Progressive Christianity” from progressivechristianity.org below:
What you see here is a rather nice-sounding, but vague, expression of beliefs. Nothing even comes close to the familiar Apostles Creed, which has been the essential tenents of Christianity for two millennia. Also notice, that #5 on the list goes well with what I mentioned in yesterday’s post about questioning–but here, some PC’ers revel in not finding answers. By not searching out true apologetic material, one is left continually questioning. But at some point, one has to eventually land somewhere, and therefore if they don’t seek time-tested, well-researched, scholarly Biblical material (usually because it’s seen as old-fashioned and conservative), then they’ll find their answers elsewhere, usually from the flavor-of-the-month ‘Christian guru’ (such as Rob Bell) who more or less just intellectually articulates his/her own ponderings and feelings. So under PC, you can pretty much believe whatever you want.
This type of belief, as you can also see, leans Universalist, and a bit New Age. Which leads me to the second heresy getting a lot of traction nowadays, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
For the sake of brevity, I’ll lean into one of the most shocking examples, which is the well-known and (formerly) well-respected Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. You may have heard of Bethel’s worship music, which is played frequently on Christian radio and whose songs are sung in churches worldwide.
Bethel is shocking for two reasons: one, its beliefs. And two, that such a well-known, well-respected church has gone off the deep end, and a lot of people just don’t know it (yet).
But don’t just take my word for it. Read their book, The Physics of Heaven, which outright teaches that New Age (occultic practices) were first created by God in perfection for His glory and which was intended for us to use. Only that Satan took hold of it, and perverted it for his glory. Now, it’s up to us to take it back by tapping into the supernatural (i.e. tanscendental meditation, vibrations, seeking angelic visitations, astral projection and ‘visiting Heaven,’ as just a few examples) and redeem it for God’s original intent (whatever that may be–kind of mysterious what God would want for us to accomplish with those things, since none of it is taught in the Bible). So how we can take it back? Simply by being saved, we (supposedly) have a redemptive version of the occult. Those who are not saved have Satan’s version.
Sorry, but no.
I’ll stick to the old rugged cross and that old-time religion. Sure, I believe in the supernatural. I believe in charasmatic gifts such as speaking in tongues and prophesying because both are backed up by scripture, and I have personally been around people speaking in tongues since my early teens. I have also been the recipient of spot-on personal prophetic words. And I can believe that angels can visit people, since that, too, is in the Bible. But when The Bible says no occultic practices, and there is not one single teaching or example of the above sought after by any of the apostles or prophets, then I’m out.
One more example of their heresy is that they believe that whatever Jesus did, we are supposed to do. Everything he did was an example for us, and that Jesus performed miracles, they say, not as God but as a man who was filled to the brim and overflowing with The Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need to be filled with The Holy Spirit as Jesus was filled, so that we can perform healing, raising the dead, walking on water, turning water into wine, feeding 5,000….and apparently so many miracles that it can’t be written down (John 21:25).
While it sounds nice, what I personally believe the NAR movement is actually doing is seeking the supernatural rather than seeking holiness and redemption (Rom. 1:25). At the very least, they are also trading in time-tested, true, scholarly Biblical study for whatever they want to believe from out of their own heads. Sure, feeding and healing and raising the dead are certainly ministries–but it seems they are seeking experience and goosebumps and God-like power rather than seeking salvation for the lost and practical ministry in a real-world that these so-called apostles are apparently sheltered from.