Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

   As we move toward another New Year, there are some important questions that each of us needs to consider: How has our knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ grown in the past year? Hopefully, He has become Lord of every area of your life and mine, and the foundation of all we think, speak and do. Do you love Him with all your heart, mind and might? Is life meaningless without Him? Have you become His disciple, and are you being equipped for true ministry—that is, obeying the commandments of Jesus? It is our sincere prayer that you are.

   This past year was another challenging year for GSM, as well as a time of learning and spiritual growth. One of the greatest challenges this ministry has always faced is trying to minister the life of Christ to people who have the wrong belief system, and who have accepted another Gospel, another Jesus and another spirit. The year 2003 was no exception, and as we look at ministry obligations lining up for 2004, we know that the same challenge holds true for it as well.

   One of the most alarming trends within the institutional church, and among those who claim to be Christians is the “gospel” of metaphysics. According to Webster’s Dictionary, metaphysical means “of or relating to the transcendent (extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience; being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge, transcending the universe or material existence) or supersensible (being above or beyond that which is apparent to the senses); supernatural; highly abstract or abstruse” (difficult to comprehend.)

   Unfortunately, many who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ are attracted to the esoteric claims, practices and seemingly endless, multi-faceted metaphysical avenues. This is one reason why those who are overseers and teachers of God’s people, in keeping with the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) must make disciples of Jesus. Anything other than making disciples who obey all of Jesus’ commandments is disobedience to God, and that includes causing people to believe that the most important thing is church attendance and membership. People need to be taught how to discern and test spirits. Satan knows very well how to dangle the bait of “supernatural” experiences and “hidden knowledge” in front of the eyes of a person who is weak in the faith, or who has the wrong foundation, or who has no personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

   Some people are drawn into the metaphysical world because it feeds their pride by giving them a feeling of intellectual superiority, and of power. Curiosity lures the unsuspecting, while others really do not believe what the Word of God says; especially concerning sin, hell, repentance, salvation, and who Jesus is (God Incarnate). Those who try to explain away the deity of Christ are of the antichrist spirit. (“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” 1 John 4:3.)  There are unbelievers (of the truth) in the church who may appear to be extremely “spiritual,” but they have an antichrist spirit as well. The discerning Christian will be able to identify such as having a religious spirit.

   Concerning the term “New Age,” allow me to quote from the Watchman Expositor, Volume 16, No. 4, 1999: “It is important to note that the term “New Age Movement” is somewhat of a misnomer. There is actually no New Age Movement, because a movement usually has a core set of beliefs with an identifiable leader or leaders. The New Age may more properly be called the New Age Movements: a number of separate groups that tend to be categorized according to their differences from the mainstream world religions. This becomes particularly important when labeling a belief or practice as “New Age;” while many New Age devotees may very well adhere to the belief or practice, it is also a given that many others will not. The New Age is ultimately a collection of diverse movements that revolve around the central belief that humans are capable of shaping reality and establishing truth; the theories regarding the ways in which reality and truth can be shaped are as varied as the groups espousing them.
While understanding that the New Age is incredibly diverse, it is also possible to identify several characteristics that are common to many adherents.”

   Keep in mind that people who are involved in metaphysical arenas, such as the New Age, Mind Science, Freemasons, and Unity, will declare that they are “believers” or even “Christians.” They quote passages from the Bible, talk about Jesus and His teachings, but they are coming from a completely different premise than a “fundamental Christian” which they deplore. The mind-science cults and the New Age Movement are founded on Hinduism and Eastern Mysticism, which is, of course, demonic to the core.

   We have also met the occasional poor soul who believes that he or she must find “hidden meanings” in the Bible by “translating” Scripture. This amounts to twisting and wrenching God’s Word out of context to mean something far different than the original intent. The Bible is very clear concerning those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” 2 Thessalonians 2:10b. God will send a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12. Satan, the master deceiver, is after our faith, and he can and does come as a lying “angel of light” to seduce and destroy souls. (See 2 Corinthians 11:14.)

   One New Age practitioner, Yvotte De Luca, who claims to be a “Metaphysical Christian,” “in the spirit of finding the hidden meaning of Bible teachings,” gives this definition of metaphysics: “Metaphysics is a study of truth. It is looking beyond the superficial, seeing what is really there and not just accepting things at face value. American Heritage defines metaphysics as: ‘the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality and the relationship between mind and matter.’ What does that mean, in the real world? It means asking Why, and How our world works the way it does. It means understanding everyday things on a deeper level…We study the imagery and metaphor used in the Bible and strive to understand the deepest meaning.” This theory is also the basis of the mind science cults such as Religious Thought, Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, Divine Science, New Thought, Religious Science, A Course in Miracles, and Silva Mind Control, to name a few.

   Occult and cult researcher, writer and speaker, Dave Hunt, explains: “The pantheistic belief that ‘nothing exists except God’ is the foundation of the Mind Science cults. It goes like this: ‘God is ALL and God is good; therefore all is good. Thus pain, disease and death do not exist. They are the projection of the negative thinking of those who imagine they experience such things. To be delivered from this delusion, one must change one’s thinking from negative (the dark side) to positive (the light side).’ Such is the theory behind The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale’s best-selling book that has powerfully influenced evangelicals for years.” (Occult Invasion, by Dave Hunt, pg. 103.)

   According to Dave Hunt, “Positive confession in the church today is usually found mostly among charismatics and can be traced back through Kenneth Hagin who popularized it to E. W. Kenyon.” Hunt continues, “Kenyon’s teaching about ‘the power of words’ and his warnings never to make a ‘negative confession’ deeply influenced Hagin and many others who are recognized today as leaders of this movement. Kenyon also taught that man is a little god ‘in God’s class’ and therefore can use the same faith-force that God does. We allegedly create our own reality with the words of our mouths: ‘What I confess, I possess.” (Ibid. pg. 119.)

   This belief, which is practiced by all the metaphysical mind-science cults, and New Age devotees has produced multitudes of “positive confessors” in the church who, in their rebellion or ignorance of God and His ways, are actually practicing a form of witchcraft (control) that is not only faith-destroying, but opens them up to a wrong spirit and major delusion. It cannot be stressed enough that the popular “Faith Movement” today is based upon the ancient, pagan, occult belief that ‘faith is a force.’ The Word of God, however, teaches no such thing and defines faith as, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”. 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

   Dave Hunt writes, “‘Positive Confession’ means to verbalize positive thought and speak it aloud—precisely what shamans have believed and practiced for thousands of years in all cultures.” (Ibid. pg. 119.) The question is, does it really work? Yes, sometimes it can and does work, but it is forbidden by God, contrary to Scripture, because it is of another spirit, and it is witchcraft in action. All such mental and spiritual exercises will be judged by God as wicked, ungodly and unholy because their source stems from “the god of this world,” or Satan, and because it seeks to elevate the person to the status of a “little god,” while demoting God Almighty.

   Satan always works in extremes. If he can’t push a person into one extreme, then he will try to push him or her to an extreme in the opposite direction. Those who have recognized and withstood the muddy river of occultism that has flooded Christendom, however, often overreact to any experience or revelation that a true believer has had. In this extreme, Satan loves to discredit any legitimate believer who has received a greater revelation of Christ through the Scriptures, or to whom the Holy Spirit has imparted truths by the gift of wisdom or word of knowledge.

   There are experiences and revelations that come from God. However, such experiences and revelations lead back to a greater reality of God. They enlarge one to embrace God in greater measure, bringing about change. Such also lines up with the Word of God in Spirit and Truth. Testing experiences and revelations is quite simple. Do they exalt the true God of the Bible or man’s intelligence and feelings?

   Some of the differences between metaphysics and Christianity are as follows:  Metaphysics appeals to a person’s pride by denying the existence of sin and by exalting him or her to godhood, whereas the Bible plainly teaches that we are all sinners and that there is only one God by nature. Metaphysics carries with it a seducing spirit that deceives people into believing that the mysteries of the Universe can be psychically explored and discovered through complex, open-ended, mind-boggling means. The Word of God, on the other hand, gives mankind the answers to life’s basic questions that, when accepted and believed by faith, produce peace of mind and heart. Metaphysics causes people to turn inward to find “god,” whereas Christianity points to the Creator God who exists separate from His creation.

   Metaphysics results in an altered state of consciousness that is incapable of discerning spirits, truth and reality, but, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” Galatians 6:22,23. Metaphysics is incomprehensible, confusing, and hard to understand, whereas basic Christianity and the Gospel are so simple that even a small child can understand it. Finally, metaphysical thinkers are forever seeking “greater revelations and hidden meanings” behind the plain words of Scripture, whereas the Christian seeks to know the Jesus of the Bible in greater ways. Note: God reveals Himself to those who seek Him with all their heart, who are humble and who obey Him. Obedience is the key to gaining a greater revelation of God. Real Christianity is practical and down-to-earth—where we live in our everyday lives. Religion is man’s effort to reach up to God, but Christianity is God reaching down to man in the Person of Jesus Christ.

   If you want to gain eternal life, then you must believe what God has revealed about Himself. There is only one way to escape the final judgment and to inherit eternal life, and that is by believing the record that God has given of His Son. There are no “hidden meanings” in the Word of God, no “hidden agendas” that we must somehow discover, and no exceptions to the plain text of Scripture. The way to eternal life is so simple that even a little child can understand it, and accept it by faith. Are you willing to humble yourself and become as that little child?