Words of a Fether

I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father except through me. ~Jesus

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Like Moths To Flames

In the movie “A Bug’s Life”, two bugs are flying along when they see a “bug zapper”. One turns toward the light and the other screams, “No! No! Don’t go near the light!” But the first one says, “I can’t help it, it’s so beautiful!”. And of course that bug is promptly “zapped”.

In today’s Churchianity, there is a giant “zapper” called Contemplative Prayer or the Emergent Church. It looks so beautiful, so full of light and peace, and it’s drawing in Christians like moths to a flame. Some of us stand and scream “Don’t go near that!”, but the others just can’t believe there is any danger in something so attractive, and they get quite annoyed and even hostile to the few who aren’t joining them and are ruining their party. But the Bible warns us,

For such persons are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Cor. 11:13-15)

“Not all that glitters is gold”, and not all that shines is the Light. We are told to “test the spirits”:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.(1 John 4:1)

Exactly how are we to test the spirits, to discern true from false? Inner feelings? Muslims and Mormans have those. Rely on some ecclesiastical authority? Pretty much all other religions and cults have those. Mystical meditation? That’s the thing we’re trying to test!

Jesus told us that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). Note that is it knowledge, not experience or feeling or passing the responsibility to others, that leads to truth. Knowledge involves the brain, and it requires the examination of facts and claims. And the statement just prior to that one is even more specific: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” So to know the truth, we must know and accept Jesus’ teaching.

The New Testament is the written record of Jesus’ teachings, either directly or indirectly through his apostles. Without this written record we would have no way of knowing what is divine teaching and what is human distortion. So to discern or test the spirits, we must look to the Word as our unchanging anchor. Ironically, the Contemplative/Emerging movement would never have gotten off the ground without their proponents writing books! People quote them and treat them better than the Bible, which they hypocritcally dismiss as being outdated, dead words.

Don’t be naive and gullible like moths who cannot help themselves from the attraction of that which will kill them. Learn to recognize a “zapper” when you see one. Study the Word.

Posted 2007-11-30 under behavior, relationships, discernment, contemplative prayer, emergent worship, community